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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:In Onegt Verwekt: Law, Custom and Illegitimacy in Cape Town, 1800-1840
Author:Malherbe, V.C.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:illegitimate children
family law
social history
Women's Issues
Urbanization and Migration
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Religion and Witchcraft
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
Education and Training
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070500035844
Abstract:The first four decades of the nineteenth century were momentous for Cape Town, South Africa, which passed from Dutch to British rule and from a long history as a slave society to one adjusting to emancipation. This article examines these years though the prism of out-of-wedlock births - an appropriate perspective on a society in which concubinage and casual sex were rife, and where (until late in that period) the men and women of the large slave population could not contract lawful marriages. Both Church and State attempted to impose order and promote morality in the expanding colony of which Cape Town was the chief entrepôt and busy port. The churches exhorted members to observe Christian precepts, censured defaulters, and pressed government to enact and enforce measures deemed to be supportive of their aims. While the government was initially bound by the Statutes of India, as amended from time to time during the span of Dutch East India Company rule (1652 to 1795), the Roman-Dutch law of the Cape differed in some respects from British common law regarding, for example, marriage, inheritance and the legitimation of out-of-wedlock births. Hence, after Britain took control in 1806, following a period of transition, certain aspects of the law and justice system were made to conform more closely to British jurisprudence. The influx of Britons had a cumulative impact both on attitudes and social life, as did successive slavery edicts issued by the metropole. In seeking to contribute to the comparative history of illegitimacy, this study of a particular locality and period opens a society to view in a new way, and uncovers a pivotal moment of legal and attitudinal change in family and sexual relations. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]