First Religious Encounters, 1487-1795


Christianity in South Africa is rooted in the Dutch East India Company (VOC) settlement in the Cape in 1652. Although Portuguese mariners first planted a cross on the southern tip of the continent in 1488, proselytization first occurred with the arrival of the Dutch. It began among slaves and servants imported by the VOC, while missionary work among the Khoikhoi only began in 1738. This was at Baviaanskloof with the work of George Schmidt of the (Herrnhut) Moravian Brethren. A systematic strategy of mission to indigenous people had, in turn, to await the arrival of the first London Missionary Society (LMS) missionaries in 1799.

To understand the impact of Christianity on the indigenous population, account must be taken of the social context within which the early history of Christianity unfolded on South African soil. Long before the first whites set foot on the southern shores of the African continent, heralding the beginning of colonization and the missionary process, Bantu-speaking Africans had already settled the area that is today known as South Africa. Archeological research shows that people were already settled in the Transvaal as early as 270 CE, and that by 600 CE early Iron Age settlements could be found in the Northern and Eastern Transvaal, extending as far south as the coastal regions of Zululand and Natal. From the fourteenth century onwards black settlements extended to the Eastern Cape, into central Natal and the Highveld. The Khoikhoi were, in turn, already resident in the southern parts of the country from the beginning of the Common Era. [1]

The lack of definitive resources on the religions of the Khoisan [2] and Bantu-speaking people of Southern Africa at this time makes any detailed analysis of precolonial African religion extremely difficult. It is at the same time important to realize that the religious beliefs of indigenous inhabitants significantly influenced the encounter between missionaries and those who 'heard' their message. To quote Mary Kingsley, it is quite wrong "to regard the African minds as so many jugs, which [had] only to be emptied of the stuff that [was] in them and refilled with the particular form of doctrine they, the missionaries, [were] engaged in teaching". [3] It is precisely this assumption that led to the missionaries' frequent failure to convince Africans of the truth and significance of their gospel. J. W. Dunbar Moodie, reflecting on his work among the Xhosa observed: "The [Xhosa] are a reasoning and independent people, who have no prejudices in favor of Christianity, and have no immediate interest to serve by adopting our religion ...." [4] [1.1.1] With few exceptions, missionaries, colonists and others encountering Africans for the first time voiced similar sentiments - as is shown in the pages that follow.

Religious beliefs are never static and African religions in particular were undergoing significant change in the nineteenth century, not least because of the political, social and economic change which African society faced under the impact of colonialism. Thus we must take care not uncritically to impose insights gained into contemporary African belief systems onto a precolonial African society. At the same time, the colonization of African traditional religions by Christianity and the persistence of African Traditional Religion in contemporary South Africa make the re-emergence of interest in the academic study of African belief systems of this early colonization period vitally important. [5]

Khoisan religion was inherently related to practical everyday needs-the need for rain and healing, the protection of crops, the control of animals and daily survival. The San deity was the creator /Kaggen, capable of manifesting itself in different animals, in the ancestors and in ordinary people, with visual depictions often being part human and part animal. [6] The religious leaders were not a separate class. A range of 'ordinary' San possessed religious powers and entered into religious trances. The Khoikhoi acknowledged Tsui//Goab as their supreme God, who was in constant struggle with /Guanab, the god of evil. Ancestors provided a link between the Khoikhoi and the Tsui//Goab.

Europeans who encountered the Khoisan at this time made little effort to understand their religious beliefs or their value systems. [7] Suffice it to say, the Khoisan were willing to assimilate Christian beliefs and practices with a view to appropriating the benefits of healing, education and protection which the missionaries offered, without necessarily denying the essentials of their own belief systems.

The Bantu-speaking people shared a similar belief in a supreme creator God - what has been described as a background God or a God who had gone away. [8] The names for this God varied. The Sotho-Tswana spoke to Modimo, the Xhosa to Qamatha or Thixo, and the Zulu to Unkulunkulu or Umvelinqangi. [9] Others employed different names. Africans lived their lives in closer proximity to their ancestors than to the creator God. Herein lay a source of confusion and confrontation in the encounter between missionaries and potential African converts. The unitary worldview of the Xhosa, for example, within which nature, humanity and the unseen were an inherent whole, also made it difficult for them to comprehend missionary ideas about the spiritual realm. William Shaw complained about the "great difficulty they find in entertaining an idea of beings that are wholly spiritual." [10] [1.1.2] Further, John Ayliff observed that "any discourse on spiritual things is as totally unintelligible as if we spoke English to them." [11] [1.1.3]

At one level the religion of the missionaries dominated because colonialism dominated. The religio-cultural encounter was, however, less one-sided than is often suggested. As the Comaroffs have so admirably shown, in the missionary encounter with the Sotho-Tswana, the battle for and the exchange of religious symbols and ideals was a struggle both for space in which to survive, and for the creation of modes of resistance in which the appropriation and redeployment of missionary discourse, symbols, and rituals [12] The encounter changed both missionised and missionary alike. The essays and documents that follow constitute an attempt to portray the ambiguity of cultural and religious encounters between European Christians and African people.

First Encounters

Only sporadic accounts exist of the early encounters between European explorers and the indigenous people. [13] When the Portuguese navigator Bartholomew Dias and his mariners went ashore at Mossel Bay in February 1488, this was probably the first time the Khoikhoi had seen whites. An altercation followed and the Khoikhoi herders withdrew. The mariners proceeded along the coast, planting the first wooden cross, a sign of their devotion to the Christian God, on the island of St Croix in Algoa Bay. Christianity was to feature in every stage of the ensuing European colonization process.

Vasco da Gama landed in St Helena Bay almost ten years later in 1497. Several of his party were wounded in an encounter with the Khoikhoi. Sailing further, they reached Angra de Sao Bras (now Mossel Bay) where they erected a cross and reported meeting native people who rode on cattle, played flutes, danced and wore ivory armlets. On Christmas Day they discovered a safe port further up the coast, which they named Port Natal. From 1500 Portuguese fleets frequently rounded the Cape, but chose to use Angolan and Mozambican ports as refueling posts. Thus it was accidentally that Antonio de Saldanha entered Table Bay in 1503. Attacked and wounded in an encounter with the Khoikhoi, he sailed on. Francisco d'Almeida (the first Portuguese viceroy in India) was, in turn, killed after going ashore in Table Bay in 1510.

Having no greater expectation from the Cape than the acquisition of supplies to ensure monopoly on trade with the East, the Portuguese sojourned on South African soil only briefly and sporadically. This was sufficient, however, for Joao da Nova to build a chapel in Angra de Sao Bras (Mossel Bay) in 1501. This early Roman Catholic presence was short lived, with further encounters between Portuguese navigators and the Khoikhoi telling the story of mutual suspicion, plunder, violence and death. Then, in 1635, the Nissa Senhora de Belem was shipwrecked at the mouth of the Umzimkulu River. The captain used some of the wreck to build a new vessel to take the crew to Delagoa Bay. What was left from the wreck was used to build one more chapel. [14]

As the sixteenth century drew to a close, the Portuguese trade monopoly with the East began to be challenged by Dutch and English commercial fleets dropping anchor in Table Bay. Consequently, trade with the Khoikhoi expanded (iron barrel-hoops, nails, brass and trinkets for cattle and sheep), and further confrontation and exploitation ensued. [15]

The Dutch Settlement 1652-1795

The grounding of the Dutch East Indiaman, Haerlem, off the Cape coast in 1647 set the stage for things to come. Leendert Jansz and some of the crew were ordered by the commander of the accompanying fleet to salvage what they could and await the fleet's return. Jansz boarded a ship on a return voyage to Holland a year later. On board he met Matthys Proot, an army officer, and Jan van Riebeeck, a merchant accused by the VOC of fraud. [16] Proot and Jansz wrote a memorandum or Remonstrantie, dated 26 July 1649, noting the advantages of establishing a permanent refueling station at the Cape for ships trading with the East. Here, they suggested, fresh produce and water could be acquired to counter the death rate among sailors dying from scurvy and related diseases.

From a Dutch perspective the Cape 'belonged' to no one. It was there to be occupied. Van Riebeeck's diary includes the following brief reference to the native people:

Others will say that the natives are brutal and cannibals, from whom no good can be expected, and that we will have to be continually on our guard, but this is a vulgar error as will be shown further on. We do not deny that they live without laws or police, like many Indians, nor that some boatmen and soldiers have been killed by them, but the cause is generally not stated by our people in order to excuse themselves. We are quite convinced that the peasants of this country, in case their cattle are shot down or taken away without payment, would not be a hair better than these natives if they had not to fear the law. [17] [1.1.4]

Concerned to promote the need for a refreshment station, the memorandum emphasized the friendly disposition of the native people and their willingness to trade with Dutch ships. The Company officials responded positively to the proposal, while their limited commitment to anything more than a service to passing ships is seen in the decision to send the disgraced van Riebeeck as merchant and head of the project. [18] He was instructed to maintain peaceful relations with both indigenous people and foreign traders who might call at the Cape. These relationships were at the same time bound by a stipulation of the Second Charter of the Netherlands government of 1622, which required the VOC to promote and protect 'public religion' - namely, the Reformed orthodoxy of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). The stipulation was a consequence of the Eighty Years' War between Holland and Catholic Spain, which ended shortly before the Dutch occupation of the Cape. [19] Described as "a struggle in which church and people were thrown together in one mighty exertion of power," it laid the foundation for religio-political Dutch imperialism. [20]

Arriving in the Cape on 6 April 1652, van Riebeeck accordingly emphasized the need for the "Reformed Christian religion" to be promoted in the settlement. [21] He opened the first meeting of the Council of Policy (appointed by the Company's directors, the Heeren XVII, to act on its behalf in the Colony) with the VOC's prescribed invocation, praying that the "true Reformed Christian Doctrine" be spread among "these wild insolent people." [22] [1.1.5] Van Riebeeck warned that "[a]s many absent themselves from daily prayer ... attending very little to their religion ... [are] warned henceforth to attend at the place appointed for the purpose, ... those remaining absent shall forfeit six days wine rations..." [23] [1.1.6] Each year on the anniversary of his arrival, prayers of thanksgiving were offered "so that our descendants may never forget the mercies we have received at the Lord's hands..." [24] [1.1.7] In brief, rather than pointing to the religious piety of van Riebeeck (as South African white-nationalist mythology has suggested) his actions seem to imply no more than the faithful execution of government religious policy. Robert Ross' Beyond the Pale: Essays on the History of Colonial South Africa, which provides an analysis of the social strata of the Cape at the time, suggests no evidence of any pronounced Calvinist religiosity. "VOC recruits," he suggests, "were the scum of society". [25] Quoting a DRC historian of the period, he argues that "the eighteenth century was period of great religious decline." [26] Andrč du Toit shows that Afrikaner Calvinism cannot be traced back to before the late nineteenth century. Indeed, it was not widely accepted among Afrikaner nationalists until the 1930s. [27]

Dutch Reformed Church

It was not until the first DRC minister, Johan van Arkel, was appointed to the Cape in 1665 that the first church council was elected and given some authority over ecclesial matters. [28] Still, however, these matters were referred to the Council of Policy for approval. By 1745, five separate congregations had been established: in Cape Town (1665), Stellenbosch (1686), Drakenstein [Paarl] (1691), Roodezand [Tulbagh] (1743) and Swartland [Malmesbury] (1745), and the need emerged for a structure to facilitate joint decision-making. [29] It was not until 1748, however, that the Amsterdam Classis (Presbytery), to which the individual Cape congregations were affiliated, agreed to an annual meeting between these congregations to facilitate cooperation. It was designated the Combined Church Council (Gecombineerde Kerkvergardering), as opposed to a Classis, in order to emphasize its limited decision-making powers, and was abolished a year later by the Council of Policy on instructions of the Heeren XVII. The first synod of the DRC in the Cape did not meet until 1824, by which time the Dutch had long since withdrawn from the shores of the subcontinent. By this time the effects of a pietistic revival, which generated missionary consequences, under the leadership of M. C. Vos, Helperus Ritzema Van Lier, Machteld Smith (Van Lier's most prominent convert) and others was under way. It led in co-operation with LMS missionaries to the formation of the South African Missionary Society.

Religious Conflict

Determined to control all religious development in the Colony, the VOC prevented the Roman Catholics from engaging in public worship - even to the extent of preventing the Roman Catholic Bishop of Malagasy and four other priests, shipwrecked in Table Bay in 1660, from celebrating mass on shore. [30] [1.1.8] In 1685 six Jesuit astronomer-priests, who came to the Cape for scientific research, recorded the desire of local Catholics for priestly care and the opposition of the Cape government to their attempts at pastoral ministry. [31] [1.1.9] Five Roman Catholic priests were, in turn, banished from the Cape in 1706 when they attempted entry. [32] [1.1.10]

German Lutherans, who constituted a sizeable portion of the VOC settlement in the Cape, were initially also not permitted to engage in public worship. Although admitted to Holy Communion in the DRC from the time of the arrival of the first DRC minister in 1665, it was not until 1778 that Lutherans in the Cape were granted the same freedom of worship that they enjoyed in Batavia. In 1780 the first Lutheran minister, Rev Andreas Kolver, was appointed in the Cape region.

The French Huguenots (although Calvinist victims of persecution in Europe) found it almost as difficult as the Lutherans to establish themselves when they arrived in the Cape in 1688. [33] Even though they were accompanied by a minister, Pierre Simond, they were denied permission to establish a separate French-speaking congregation in Stellenbosch. Occasional services were initially held in French, while the cultural and language differences between the Huguenots and the Dutch eventually dissipated. Eventually, the Huguenots were absorbed into the Dutch settler community.

Not only did the Company control the religion of its officials and those under its protection, it extended this control to missionary work among the Khoikhoi. Such mission contact made with the Khoikhoi was limited. The report of two Danish missionaries, Bartholomew Ziegenbalgh and Henry Plutscho, who called at the Cape in 1706 en route to the East Indian island of Malabar, indicates scant Khoikhoi awareness of the existence of a Christian faith. [34] The Khoikhoi were at the same time described by the missionaries as "truly a wretched and miserable people [who] have no divine worship at all." [35] In effect this became an excuse, if not a reason, for the sustained attacks and ultimately near extermination of the Khoisan people by the colonists.

The response of the DRC and Company officials to the Moravian missionary George Schmidt, who undertook the first serious missionary work among the Khoikhoi in 1738, vividly illustrates the kind of ideological control which religion was expected to exercise in the Cape settlement. Arriving with a letter of authority from the Heeren XVII in the Netherlands, Schmidt commenced his work at Baviaanskloof, where he established the first mission station on South African soil. [36] [1.1.11] Schmidt's work soon aroused the opposition of the DRC ministers in the Cape, who saw his presence as a threat to their authority. In a letter of complaint to the Classis in Amsterdam, [37] [1.1.12] ,they asked for his immediate recall. They argued that in administering the sacraments to converts as an unordained person, Schmidt exercised a "public violation of the ministry." This they saw as "an insult to the National Synodical Laws." They further argued that his presence in the Overberg would "seduce even the innocent Christians" to have their children baptized by him, "This being impossible for us to prevent as we are not able to travel to Overberg without great danger." The Classis replied that while Moravian baptisms were considered illegal by the Synod, Schmidt was not to be victimized any further. The DRC clergy, they added, should rather display the same diligence for the souls of the Khoikhoi as was shown by the Moravian missionary. Insisting on the right to preach the gospel without being subject to any particular confession, Schmidt returned to Germany in March 1744.

Apparently not all the Khoikhoi were sorry to have Schmidt leave the Overberg. Swedish naturalist Anders Sparrman, while touring the Cape interior in 1775, reports having encountered Khoikhoi tales of a German who had introduced a new religion. He was described as having established himself as a chief who exploited Khoikhoi labor and cattle to his benefit. It was only later, on his return to Germany, that Sparrman discovered this to be Schmidt. A pattern was established. Christian mission was henceforth to be judged in terms of European expansionist policy. European belief in the importance of evangelism and colonialism was to take precedence over the opinion of the colonized in missiological writing. Within twenty-five years of the Khoikhoi objections recorded by Sparrman, the LMS was sending missionaries to the Cape.


In accordance with VOC policy not to enslave the indigenous people in the place of settlement, van Riebeeck had to wait for the importation of slaves from elsewhere. [38] His first consignment of slaves came on the Amersfoort six years after his own arrival of 1652. Soon further shipments of slaves arrived from West Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, present-day Java, Bali, Timor, the Malayan Peninsula, China and various parts of India. This process was aided by a German Jesuit, Martinus Martiny. [39] [1.1.13] Although the dominance of the Malay language among the slave population assisted in welding the diverse peoples into a united group, other factors divided them. In addition to differences of origin, class divisions between domestic slaves (who included artisans and craftspeople, permitted to hire out their skills) and the less privileged farm (akkerboer) slaves were divisive forces. The result was a lack of the kind of slave solidarity present on the cotton plantations of the United States and elsewhere. Not only did the VOC judicial system deal brutally with slaves guilty of violating slave or criminal law; the slaves, in turn, brutalized one another. Under these circumstances, desertion often seemed the only way out of the misery, and small runaway slave communities took refuge in mountainous and coastal hideaways.

It is this that made the work of Shayhk Abidin Tadia Tjoessoep (more commonly known as Shaykh Yusuf), Abdulla Kadi Abdu Salaam and other Muslim leaders so important. Shaykh Yusuf, who was deported to the Cape in 1694 for resisting Dutch activities in the Indonesian Islands, contributed significantly to the spread of Islam in the slave community. Living with about forty of his followers on the farm Zandvleit (owned by a DRC minister), he further contributed to the protection of runaway slaves. [40] The Islamization of the slave community was further bolstered after Imam Abdullah Kadi Abdu Salaam (also known as Tuan Guru) was released from Robben Island prison where he had been incarcerated since his arrival in the Cape in 1780. He immediately started the first school for the children of free blacks and slaves - a decisive factor in the cultivation of the Muslim faith.

From a liberation perspective the message of the early Muslim leaders was often ambiguous. This was seen most clearly in Tuan Guru's preaching: "Be of good cheer my children and serve your masters," he said, "for one day your liberty will be restored to you and your descendents will live within a circle of kramats safe from fire, famine and plague, earthquake and tidal wave." [41] As with any other community, there were internal differences in the Muslim community, and these were exploited by the British who through their Turkish ally financed the ministry of Abukar Effendi in the Cape in 1862. He introduced Hanafee teachings in a predominantly Shafee community, and tensions grew. [42] This was not, however, before the Islamic faith provided a significant degree of social unity within the slave community. Such unity among the slaves was something the Christian church showed little concern to achieve, although later (essentially after the British had occupied the Cape) missionaries and authorities alike would lament the failure of slaves to adopt the Christian faith.

The developments leading to the Islamisization of slaves can be attributed to a number of factors. [43] Firstly, many of the slaves who originated from the East were at least nominally Muslim from the time of their arrival in South Africa. Robert Shell suggests that their assimilation into the Muslim faith was further motivated by a variety of other factors: the adoption by Muslims of neglected and abandoned children, the provision of marriage ceremonies for slaves (often denied them by the church), the availability of burial services (again neglected by Christians) and the teaching of the Qur'an in the schools provided by the Islamic community. Not least, slaves were attracted to Islam by the promise of freedom, a promise made real as the emerging Muslim culture in the Malay (or Colored) community promoted the well-being and liberation of slaves. [44] Although required neither by the Qu'ran, nor the Sha'ria (Islamic law), humanitarian actions were seen within the Muslim community as virtuous acts of great religious piety, with Muslim slaves frequently being freed by Muslim slaveowners. Moreover, evidence exists of slaves having been bought by Muslim people who had the means to do so, specifically in order that they could be set free.

The later arrival of LMS and other Christian missionaries resulted in an attempt to reverse the trend of slave conversions to Islam (see Chapter Two), but this was essentially a case of 'too little too late.' Evidence at the same time suggests that within a few years of the emancipation of slaves in 1834, the growth of Islam in the Cape leveled out. [45]

Christian indifference regarding the religion of slaves in this early period can be partly attributed to the religious ethos of Reformed orthodoxy enshrined in the charter of the Company. The driving ideological force behind the Charter was the theology of the Synod of Dort (1618) which, inter alia, determined that the children of heathen were not to be baptized even if they were taken into Christian households. While this clearly influenced the religious attitude of slaveowners to the children of slaves, some ministers acted independently, baptizing these children where their owners guaranteed that they would be raised Christian. [46] [1.1.14]

However, another principle of the Synod of Dort, namely, that all Christian slaves be set free, was the decisive factor concerning the attitude of slaveowners to the religion of slaves. Translated into law in 1770, article 9 of the Statutes of India stated that Christians were required to instruct their slaves in Christianity and to have them baptized. Christian slaves were, however, never to be sold. Their masters were obliged to emancipate them or to bequeath them to others under the same obligation. Alternatively they were to allow all Christian slaves to purchase their freedom [1.1.15]. [47] A direct consequence was growing opposition of slaveowners to Christian mission work among slaves. Within a few years the benches reserved for slaves in the Groote Kerk in Cape Town were no longer needed. [48] High Commissioner Hendrik Van Rheede, who visited the Cape in July 1785, gave further effect to the legislation by stating that male slaves above the age of twenty-five and descended from white fathers, and women slaves above the age of twenty-two who could speak Dutch, should be allowed to buy their freedom, provided they were confirmed in the church. In similar vein, imported slaves after thirty years of service, and slaves born in the Cape, on reaching the age of forty could be set free on the payment of a fee, provided they could speak Dutch and had professed the Christian faith. Slave children were, in turn, required to attend school, be taught the Heidelberg Catechism and attend church twice every Sunday. [49]

Suffice it to say, the rules were never fully adhered to or enforced by the VOC. The class distinction between slaveowners and slaves in the settler community was often manifest in religious difference. Some slaveowners encouraged their slaves to become Muslims, not least because of Islam's prohibition on the drinking of alcohol and other social vices, which made slaves more reliable workers and better servants [1.1.16]. [50] In brief, as the century drew to a close the slave community in the Western Cape was essentially Muslim - and the slaveowners, Christian.

The Eastern Frontier

Of equal importance to the situation within the Colony were the activities of the trekboers who sought to establish themselves beyond the borders and the control of the VOC. Rough and determined people, they initially found themselves locked in both conflict and cooperation with the indigenous population. [51] Switzer's observation is a telling one:

Dutch and Xhosa stockfarmers actually had much ... in common with each other. They ate the same kinds of food and lived in the same kinds of huts. Boer children, at least, were actually dressed in animal skins like the Xhosa. The trekboers were less effective as cultivators, but livestock exhibited a socio-cultural dimension in Dutch frontier society that bore some resemblance to the role of cattle in Nguni society. [52]

At times the trekboers went into an alliance with a particular Xhosa group against another. On other occasions they allied themselves with the Xhosa and the Khoikhoi in opposition to both Dutch and English colonial authority. They intermarried with the Khoikhoi. The fugitives among them often took refuge with the Xhosa, taking black concubines and living under the authority of Xhosa chiefs. [53] On still other occasions they resorted to brigandage-demanding the cattle, the crops and the land of the very people who provided them with protection. As much as they wanted to escape the rule of the Dutch (and later the English), they depended on Cape Town to market their stock, to purchase supplies, for solemnizing social relations such as marriage and baptism and for the supply of teachers and ministers of religion. [54] It is this that ultimately separated them from the indigenous people - whom they eventually fought over the question of land.

While acquiring land with relative ease from the San and the Khoikhoi, boer settlers failed in their initial attempts to occupy Xhosa territory. With the outbreak of the First Frontier War in 1786, the VOC established a regional authority in Graaff Reinet. The boer population despised this imposition of control, while it reduced the Khoisan to dependent servants or marauding bands fighting for survival. The Xhosa, in turn, were coming under repeated attack. These and other tensions were moving the colonists and the local population into what has aptly been called the Hundred Years War, consisting of nine wars between 1779 and 1878. Into this situation the first missionaries moved in 1799 - the topic of Chapter Two.


[1] Martin Hall, The Changing Past: Farmers, Kings, Traders in Southern Africa, 200-1860 (Cape Town: David Philip, 1987). See also Les Switzer, Power and Resistance in an African Society: The Ciskei Xhosa and the making of South Africa (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1993).

[2] This anthropological term links two distinct groups of people - the cattle-herding Khoikhoi and the cattleless San. While acknowledging that this sidesteps the contested issue of the precise relationship between these two peoples, it nevertheless remains a useful (if somewhat problematic) term. See Jacqueline S. Solway and Richard B. Lee, "Foragers, Genuine or Spurious? Situating the Kalahari San in History," Current Archeology, 31:2 (April 1990), 109-146.

[3] Max Warren, Social History of the Christian Mission (London: SCM Press, 1967), 75. To be sure, however, the notion of the 'African mind' as an empty vessel to be filled permeated much missionary thinking and discourse: "The mind of the African is empty, and he has a great idea of what he calls 'getting knowledge'", wrote James Stewart (James Stewart Papers BC 106 D16:3-4, undated, UCT).

[4] J. W. D. Moodie, Ten Years in South Africa: Including a Particular Description of the Wild Sports of the Country (London: Richard Bentley, 1835), 284-285.

[5] See, inter alia, Comaroff and Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution:, Vol. 1; David Chidester, Religions of South Africa (London: Routledge, 1992); Chidester, Savage Systems: Frontier Comparative Religion in Southern Africa (Cape Town: Univ. of Cape Town Press, 1997); Elizabeth Elbourne, "To Colonize the Mind: Evangelical Missionaries in Britain and the Eastern Cape 1790 - 1837" (D.Phil thesis, Oxford University 1991); Janet Hodgson, The God of the Xhosa (Cape Town: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992); Gabriel Setiloane, The Image of God Among the Sotho-Tswana (Rotterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1976).

[6] Nicholas Southey, "Introduction," in A History of Christianity, J.W. Hofmeyr and Gerald J. Pillay eds., (Pretoria: HAUM, 1994), xvi-xix. Also I. Schapera, The Khoisan Peoples of South Africa: Bushmen and Hottentots (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965); Nigel G. Penn, "The Northern Cape Frontier Zone" (Ph.D Thesis, University of Cape Town, 1995).

[7] See I. Schapera and B. Farrington, eds., The Early Cape Hottentots: The Writings of Olfert Dapper (1668), Willem Ten Rhyne (1686) and Johannes Gulielmus De Grevenbroek (1695) (Cape Town: Van Riebeeck Society, 1933).

[8] Janet Hodgson, God of the Xhosa, 35; John V. Taylor, The Primal Vision (SCM Press, 1963), 84; Aylward Shorter, African Culture and the Christian Church: An Introduction to Social and Pastoral Anthropology (London: Geoffrey Chapman; 1973), 65.

[9] Gabriel Setiloane, African Theology: An Introduction (Johannesburg: Skotaville, 1986), 21-28.

[10] "Extracts from the Journal of Mr. W. Shaw," in Report of The Committee of the Wesleyan-Methodist Missionary Society, for the year ending December 1828, 65. South African Library.

[11] Ayliffe, J., Journal of John Ayliffe, July 1833. Cape Archives, A80.

[12] See, inter alia, Comaroff & Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution.

[13] See, inter alia, Richard Elphick, Kraal and Castle: Khoikhoi and the Founding of White South Africa (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1977); Major R. Ravan-Hart, Before Van Riebeeck (Cape Town: Struik, 1967), 82.

[14] J. E. Brady "Catholic Archives in South Africa," South African Archives Journal 5 (1963).

[15] Elphick, Kraal and Castle, 82.

[16] Having indulged in what was regarded as the culpable practice of private trading.

[17] Leibbrandt, H.C.V. (ed.), Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope : Letters and documents received, 1649-1662 , Part I (Cape Town: W. A. Richards and sons, 1898), 12-14.

[18] For an analysis of socio-economic and political relations in the Cape, see Richard Ross, Beyond the Pale: Essays on the History of Colonial South Africa (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand Univ. Press, 1995).

[19] P. B. Van der Watt, Die Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, 1652-1824 (Pretoria: NG Kerk Uitgewers, 1976), 2-4.

[20] T. N. Hanekom, Kerk en Volk: Die Verhouding Tussen Afrikaanse Samelewenskringe (Cape Town: NG Kerk Uitgewers, n.d.), 101. Also J. N.Gerstner, The Thousand Generation Covenant (Leiden & New York, E.J. Brill 1991) Chapter 7.

[21] Leipoldt, C.L., Jan van Riebeeck: Bibiographical Study (London: Longmans, Green and Co, 1936), 101-103.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Spilhaus, W., The first South Africans (Cape Town: Juta, 1949), 46-47.

[24] Thom, H.B., (ed.), Journal of Jan van Riebeeck, April 1654, Vol. I, (Cape Town: A.A. Balkema for the van Riebeek Society, 1958), 225, 226..

[25] Ross, Beyond the Pale, 77.

[26] Ibid., 184.

[27] Andrč du Toit, "No Chosen People: The Myth of the Calvinist Origin of Afrikaner Nationalism and Racial Ideology," American Historical Review 88 (1983), 920-52.

[28] Ross, Beyond the Pale, 69-71.

[29] See J. W. Hofmeyr, "Christianity in the Period of Dutch Colonisation," in A History of Christianity in South Africa, ed. J. W. Hofmeyer and G. Pillay (Pretoria: HAUM, 1994), Vol. 1, 18-22.

[30] Leibbrandt, H.C.V., "Wreck of the French ship Le Mareschal on the 19th May, 1660", Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Letters and Documents Received, 1649-1662, Part 1 (Cape Town: W.A. Richards and Sons, 1898), 188-189.

[31] "Records of the Jesuit Fathers, 1685)," in Brown, J.E., The Catholic Church in South Africa (London: Burns and Oates, 1960), 432.

[32] "Concerning the five captured French priests, 1706," in Leibbrandt, H.C.V. (ed.), Precis of The Archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Letters and Documents Received, 1695-1706 (Cape Town: W.A. Richards and Sons, 1898), 431.

[33] C. G. Botha, The French Refugees at the Cape (Cape Town: Cape Times Limited, 1919), 27.

[34] B. Zeigenbalg, Propagation of the Gospel in the East: An Account of the Success of Two Danish Missionaries Sent to the East-Indies for the Conversion of the Haethen in Malabar (London : Joseph Downing, 1718), 52.

[35] For a detailed account of an advancing colonial frontier and sustained aggression against the Khoisan see Penn, "The Northern Cape Frontier Zone," 49f.

[36] Journal of George Scmidt in Bredenkamp, H.L. and Hattingh, J.L., (eds.), Dagboek en Briewe van George Scmidt: Eerste Sendeling in Suid Afrika 1737-1744 (Die Wes-Kaaplandse Intituut vir Historiese Navorsing, 1981), 45.

[37] "Briven van de Kaapsche Kerken," in Spoelstra, V.D.M., Bouwstoffen voor de Geschiedenis der Nederduitsch - Gereformeerde Kerken in Zuid-Afrika (Amsterdam: Jacques Dusseau Co., 1906), 196.

[38] For a full discussion on slavery in the Cape see Robert Shell, Children of Bondage: A Social History of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838 (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand Univ. Press, 1994); Nigel Worden, Slavery in Dutch South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

[39] "'Oliphant' Arrived from Batavia April 19th," Leibbrandt, H.C.V., Precis of the Archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Letters and Documents Received, 1649-1662, Part 1 (Cape Town: W.A. Richards and Sons, 1898), 4.

[40] S. A. Rochlin, "Aspects of Islam in Nineteenth Century South Africa," Bulletin of School of Oriental and African Studies 10 (1940-42): 213-221.

[41] Achmat Davids, The Mosques of the Bo-Kaap: A Social History of Islam at the Cape (Athlone: South African Institute of Arabic and Islamic Research, 1980), 53.

[42] Ibid., 53.

[43] Robert Shell, Children of Bondage, A Social History of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838 (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand Univ. Press, 1994). 356-62.

[44] Robert Shell, "From Rites to Rebellion: Islamic Conversion in the Cape Colony," in forthcoming publication on Islam in South Africa, edited by Abdulkader Tayob and Muhammed Haron.

[45] F. Bradlow, "Islam at the Cape of Good Hope." in South African Historical Journal 15 (November 1981), 12-19.

[46] Nachtigal, A., De Oudere Zending in Zuid-Afrika (Amsterdam: J. H. de Bussy, 1893), 48.

[47] "Letter from Sir John Cradock to Lord Bathurst," in Theal, G.M., Records of the Cape Colony, Vol. 9 (London: William Clowes and Sons), 130-132.

[48] Johannes Marais, The Cape Coloured People, 1652-1937 (London: Longmans, 1957), 168.

[49] G. M. Theal, History and Ethnography of South Africa Before 1795 (Cape Town: Struik Reprint, 1964), vol. 3, 273.

[50] R. L. Watson, The Slave Question: Liberty and Property in South Africa (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand Univ. Press, 1990), 172. See also R. W. Cope, ed., Journals of the Rev T. L. Hodgson (Johannesburg: Witwatersrand Univ. Press, 1977), 44.

[51] Martin Legassick, "The Frontier Tradition," in Economy and Society in Pre-Industrial South Africa, ed. S. Marks and A. Atmore (London: Longman, 1980), 44-79.

[52] Switzer, Power and Resistance, 47.

[53] One of the more famous, or infamous, of these, was Coenraad de Buys, who lived in the kraal of the Xhosa chief Ngqika, and married his powerful mother, Yese. De Buys was to become an important mediator of the encounter between Ngqika and Van der Kemp. See Nöel Mostert, Frontiers: The Epic of South Africa's Creation and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People (London: Jonathan Cape, 1992), 237-239.

[54] Switzer, Power and Resistance, 47.