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Illustration showing Jan Van Riebeeck overseeing the construction of the refreshment station with native people excluded.

The Exclusion of Indigenous People: Jan Van Riebeeck's Strategy for Establishing the Cape Refreshment Station


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Question: 'Within few weeks of Jan Van Riebeeck's arrival at the Cape, he wanted slaves at setting up the refreshment station as the Cape was not to be his Colony'. Explain the reason why he decided to exclude the indigenous people of the Cape in this regard?

Asked by Mzwandile

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Jan van Riebeeck, who founded the Cape colony as a refreshment station in 1652 on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, opted to use slaves rather than indigenous Khoikhoi people for several reasons. Firstly, the Dutch East India Company instructed van Riebeeck to avoid military confrontation and seek peaceful trade relations with the indigenous people. Thus, forcing the Khoikhoi into labor would have violated these orders. Secondly, the Khoikhoi were organized into their own mobile societies and had their own economic and social systems. They were not interested in this type of work. The Khoikhoi were also skilled pastoralists and preferred their lifestyle as compared to working for the Dutch settlers. Thirdly, from a socio-cultural perspective, it was considered easier to control and exploit foreign slaves than the indigenous people who were more familiar with the area and could potentially rebel or escape. For these reasons, van Riebeeck decided to import slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Madagascar to work in Cape Colony. This decision had far-reaching consequences that shaped the demographic and socio-economic dynamics of South Africa.

Answered by gpt-4

April 23, 2024, 12:06 p.m.

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This article was generated in part by one of OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, answering user Mzwandile's question. Images were generated with OpenAI's AI model, DALL·E 2. The Internet takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.
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Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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