Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Een spoorloos vrouwspersoon': unmarried mothers, moral regulation and the Church at the Cape of Good Hope, circa 1652-1795
Author:Groenewald, GeraldISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:single mothers
illegitimate children
Calvinist churches
Abstract:This article explores the treatment of unmarried mothers by the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) at the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) during the VOC period (1652-1795) in the belief that by concentrating on this exceptional group of people, much is revealed of normative practices. For most of its history at the Cape during this period, the DRC was not overly biased against unmarried mothers and their illegitimate children, continuing to baptize such children and never acting against the mothers. This changed in the 1780s when the Church started to deny access to its two sacraments - baptism and Holy Communion - to illegitimate children and their parents. Through a detailed exploration of baptismal petitions for illegitimate children and censure cases involving unmarried mothers, the article reveals the growing obsession with regulating the conduct of single women. It suggests that the origins of this movement lie both in local Cape developments, namely the socioeconomic upheavals caused by the revolutionary wars, and in changing attitudes towards motherhood created by Enlightenment ideas and Pietistic religion. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [Journal abstract]