Ancestral Voices: From Slaves to Matriarchs

Please join us for a presentation by Andries Fourie (Dept. of Arts) this Friday, April 12th at 3:00 pm in the Library Hatfield Room. The title of his talk is: “Ancestral Voices: From Slaves to Matriarchs”

In 1652 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope. The VOC almost immediately began importing slaves, about half of which came from South and South East Asia (primarily Sri-Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bengal, the Coromandel Coast and Malabar Coast of India). Male colonists vastly outnumbered women in the early part of the colony’s history. Consequently male, white colonists frequently purchased, manumitted and married Asian slave women (the average Afrikaner today has about 8% Asian ancestry). In this way several slave women became the matriarchs of today’s Afrikaner families, and played an important role in shaping Afrikaner culture.

In this talk Andries Fourie will discuss his research on this subject and his recent installation and performance that explore the role of South and Southeast Asian slave women in shaping Afrikaans language, culture and foodways.