University of Cambridge > > Centre of African Studies Occasional Talks > The Kat River Settlement, Cape Racism, and the Origins of South African Democracy

The Kat River Settlement, Cape Racism, and the Origins of South African Democracy

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The Kat River Settlement was founded in 1829 to provide a modicum of land to the Khoekhoe in the aftermath of the ending of legal discrimination and to act as a bulwark between the Cape Colony and the amaXhosa. In the subsequent quarter century the settlers achieved a modest prosperity, but were burnt out three times during the recurring warfare, twice by the amaXhosa and once by the British after about a third of the Kat River men had gone into rebellion.  In this presentation I will be arguing that the Kat River was of major importance not just in the local context of the Eastern Cape, but more widely both as the butt of an increasing white racism, but equally in the establishment of the Cape’s highly liberal constitution of 1853.

Professor Robert Ross; Born in London, studied in Cambridge, PhD (1974) on the history of the Griquas in central South Africa. Since 1976 in Leiden, as coordinator and (later) professor in African history. His teaching has been in the BA degree course Languages and Cultures of Africa, and the MAs (including the Research MA) on African Studies. In addition to his specialised research, he has written general works on South African history, notably being involved as senior editor in the Cambridge History of South Africa (Cambridge UP, 2010 and 2012)

This talk is part of the Centre of African Studies Occasional Talks series.

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