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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Erasing history: the destruction of the Beersheba and Platberg African Christian communities in the Eastern Orange Free State, 1858-1983
Author:Coplan, David B.ISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
Orange Free State
colonial conquest
race relations
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02582470903189733
Abstract:The white settler Cape Colony and later Republic and Province of the Orange Free State in central South Africa imposed a harsh regime of suppression on the African communities found within their territory. Chieftaincy was largely abolished and independent Bantu, Khoisan, and 'Coloured' (mixed race) communities were progressively destroyed and their inhabitants made to work on white farms and in the towns. The only exceptions were the tiny Native Reserves that later became apartheid Bantustans. Such destruction was visited not only upon precolonial chieftaincies and villages but equally black Christian mission stations and settlements. This paper documents the systematic destruction of two such communities on the eastern side of the Caledon River Valley on the border with the independent African Kingdom of Lesotho: Beersheba mission station near Smithfield in 1858 and the Platberg location attached to Ladybrand over the period 1968-1983. The disappearance of these communities illustrates not simply the pillaging of independent black communities, whether precolonial or Christian, but the effective attempt as well to erase them from history. How and why this was done forms the subject of the author's reflective commentary on race and place in rural white-ruled South Africa. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]