Episode 13 – Harry the Strandloper makes off with the Dutch herd and van Riebeeck orders a new garden at Rondebosch

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By Desmond Latham. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
This is episode 13 and we’re covering the period between 1652 and 1657. These five years saw the establishment of the Dutch’s refreshment station at the Cape and the increasing frustration of Jan van Riebeeck who commanded the small group of sailors and soldiers who were trying to build a garden to feed the passing VOC fleets. Last episode I explained how the Dutch were facing a problem in terms of communication. No-one in the little fortress could speak Khoekhoe and they were relying on Khoe translators. What the Dutch did not properly understand for quite a while is just how fractured the Khoe were as a people who functioned as small clans and often at war with each other. As we will hear over coming podcasts, Khoe hierarchy was a fleeting thing based on economic power and not laws of succession. By December 1652 the group of Khoe van Riebeeck called “The Saldanhas” had migrated back to their grazing lands along the base of Table Mountain – where Kirstenbosch, Constantia and the Steenberg is today. He wrote that “…the country is covered with cattle and sheep as grass…” These Saldanhas or Chochoquas were obviously different people compared to the Strandlopers as the Dutch called the small clan living along the Cape Town beach. “there is nothing degenerate in the proud Saldanhas…” he wrote “they have all the traditional courtesy of the cattle-keeper…” As far as van Riebeeck was concerned, they were unlike the non-cattle keeping Soaqua or San he was to meet.

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