Robert van Batavia1
M, #18714, b. circa 1682, d. 4 July 1713
|BirthOrigin*||Robert was from Batavia and was perhaps born there circa 1682. He was said to be 30-years-old in 1712.1 |
|Death*||He died on 4 July 1713, he was sentenced to death as follows: To be bound on a cross and have the flesh pinched from the body with red hot irons in four different places. After that to be broken on the wheel, without receiving the coup de grace, and to be left on it till he dies. After that his head was to be cut off, and the body brought to the outside place of execution, there to be left exposed to the air and the birds of the air. The head to be affixed to a pole on the spot where he had first assaulted the girl. The prisoner to pay all expenses.2|
|Crime and related||In October 1712 Robert van Batavia was charged with the attempted rape of Neeltje Olivier, the 27-year-old granddaughter of his owner Trijntje Theunisz Gansevanger. In his defence, Robert argued that the banter between the two - which involved sexually suggestive use of the word melktert - and Neeltje squatting provocately and enticing him sexually, implied that this was an implicitly consensual attempt at seduction. However, this interpretation was soon turned on its head, as he was accused of attempted rape. He fled but was soon caught, tried and sentenced to a brutal death.3,4,5,2|
- [S205] Mansell G. Upham 'Keeping the gate of Hell… 'subliminal racism' & early Cape carnal conversations between black men & white women', First Fifty Years, Uprooted Lives Unfurling the Cape of Good Hope's Earliest Colonial Inhabitants (1652-1713), (http://e-family.co.za/ffy/ui66.htm), 18 October 2012.
- [S562] Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, W.A. van der Stel Journal, 1699-1732, H.C.V. Leibrandt; (Cape Town, South Africa: W. A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, Castle Street, 1896), p.256. A slave tried and executed for rape. Sentence as follows : To be bound on a cross and have the flesh pinched from the body with red hot irons in four different places. After that to be broken on the wheel, without receiving the coup de grace, and to be left on it till he dies. After that his head was to be cut off, and the body brought to the outside place of execution, there to be left exposed to the air and the birds of the air. The head to be affixed to a pole on the spot where he had first assaulted the girl. The prisoner to pay all expenses.. Hereinafter cited as W.A. van der Stel Journal 1699-1732.
- [S205] Mansell G. Upham 'UL06 Keeping the gate of Hell…', Uprooted Lives Unfurling the Cape of Good Hope's Earliest Colonial Inhabitants (1652-1713), "In October 1712, the 17-year-old Neeltje Olivier was left alone while her mother and brother were out in the fields with the slaves. She was 'accosted', so she claimed, by Robert van Batavia, aged 30 years, who belonged to Neeltje's maternal grandmother, the widow of Gijsbert Dircx: Verwey (from Cuijk), Catharina (Trijntje) Theunissen Gansevanger de boerin (from Harmelen). Robert was adamant that Neeltje had led him on, and that this had not been the first time. Whilst mashing rice to feed the chickens, she made a point of squatting provocatively on her heels and enticing him sexually. The repartee that followed purportedly revolved around the word melktert being used as a sexual innuendo. Attempted seduction turned into 'attempted rape'. Robert, realising the outcome of even false accusations, fled. Caught soon thereafter, he was tried and sentenced to death. Neeltje Olivier (baptised at the Cape on 23 January 1695) was the daughter, and 10th child, of Ockert Cornelisz: Olivier (from Ouwerkerk) and Aletta Verwey (from Woerden). She was deceased by 1721 and probably died a year after the attempted rape in the 1713-smallpox epidemic. She is not named in the will of her mother and the deceased estate papers of her maternal grandmother."
- [S156] Robert C-H Shell, Children of Bondage, A social history of the Slave Society at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1838 (1 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2001: Witwatersrand University Press, 1994), p.317. Early on a spring morning in 1712, after the field slaves had left for work, Robert van Batavia, the household slave of Gijsbert Verwey, attempted to seduce the owner's 17-year-old [sic] granddaughter, Neeltje Olivier. According to the accused, the victim was provocatively squatting on her heels mashing rice to feed the chickens. The voluminous documents of this case disclose that the had been watching her on several similar prior occasions. The ensuing verbal exchange, centering around the word "melktert" (custard pie), was sufficiently ambiguous (in Robert's view) to suggest that he was given at least some "encouragement".. Hereinafter cited as Children of Bondage.
- [S842] First Fifty Years project on Facebook, posts by Mansell Upham, online www.facebook.com/FirstFiftyYearsProject. Hereinafter cited as FFY FB post Mansell Upham.