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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Chattels or Colonists? 'Freeblack' Women and Their Households
Author:Malan, AntoniaISNI
Periodical:Kronos: Journal of Cape History
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:material culture
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Women's Issues
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41056427
Abstract:Little is known about the material culture of household and family in Table Valley, South Africa, between 1652 and 1740. Rich sources of information, such as household inventories, have long been tools for historical archaeologists, but at the Cape, such documents still need to be systematically analysed. This article analyses the inventories of six households chosen for the following reasons: the women could be identified as freeblack, i.e. free persons wholly or partially of African (but not locally indigenous) or Asian descent (or Eurasian in one case), they possessed property, their deceased estates were inventoried, and they lived in Table Valley. The conclusion is that there were no significant differences in material culture between households of any free persons of property in the early 18th century Cape, except those associated with family composition, wealth or occupation. The marital trajectories of the Colony's few slave women cannot be regarded as real evidence of racial fluidity, but their household inventories suggest that there existed no rigid line between white and so-called coloured. App., notes, ref.