An official state visit from 18 October 2023 offers a great opportunity to acknowledge the Dutch complicity in slavery and oppression.
Remarkably, when the Dutch government and the King recently apologized for the Dutch involvement in slavery, South Africa was not mentioned. Who remembers the history of Indian Ocean slavery? How does this history affect people in current-day South Africa? And why is this history largely forgotten in the Netherlands?
For thousands of years, |xam, Khoekhoe, and many other peoples lived in Southern Africa. In 1652, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) established a colonial settlement in the Cape, which by 1658 relied completely on an inhumane system of slavery. This history laid the foundation for the cruel system of apartheid.
In her 2023 ZAM Nelson Mandela Lecture, Zimbabwean/South African writer and academic Panashe Chigumadzi spoke at length about this cruel history and strongly c the omission in the official Dutch apologies for slavery. Watch Chigumadzi’s lecture here.
This history is also the subject of a new exhibition by The Black Archives in collaboration with Nancy Jouwe and HKU, CAPE X Utrecht.