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Title:The evolution and destruction of Oorlam communities in the Rustenburg District of South Africa: the cases of Welgeval and Bethlehem, 1850s-1980
Authors:Manson, Andrew
Mbenga, BernardISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review
Geographic term:South Africa
social history
group identity
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17532521003607518
Abstract:This is a study of two Oorlam communities in the Rustenburg district of South Africa. The one, Welgeval, was predominantly rural, the other Bethlehem, otherwise known as the 'Oorlam Locasie', in Rustenburg town itself, was mostly urban in character. They were situated no more than 60 kilometres apart. They were both off-springs of Boer, later Afrikaner society, and, to a lesser extent, of attachment to missionaries. They both survived for approximately the same duration, and both were victims, in slightly different ways, of apartheid. There was some known contact between the two communities. The emergence of their respective histories has rested in part on land restitution claims, which like many across South Africa, have brought to light previously forgotten or uncovered remembrances. There are, therefore, significant points of similarity and comparison between them. This article further complements the existing literature of previous scholars on the Oorlam by uncovering the experiences of two more sites of Oorlam occupation. Finally a study of the two communities raises interesting issues regarding their identity and the ways in which they have remembered and reconstructed their pasts. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]