Representations of Cape Slavery in South African Literature

Johnson, David (2012). Representations of Cape Slavery in South African Literature. History Compass, 10(8) pp. 549–561.



Cape slavery has been represented in South African literature during the eras of colonialism, segregation, apartheid, and post-apartheid rule. These literary works have drawn upon the histories of Cape slavery, and have attempted by acts of the creative imagination to transform history into literature. The contingent politics of each historical period marks the literature of Cape slavery. For example, literary works on slavery produced in the apartheid era typically end with slave rebellions crushed by the white regime, whereas post-apartheid works end with individual slave characters achieving redemption.

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