Krotoa of the Goringhaicona1

F, #8000, b. 1641/42, d. 29 July 1674
Mother*Pn of the Goringhaicona2 b. c 1610

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NGK (Cape Town) Baptisms 1665-1695NGK (Cape Town) Baptisms 1665-1695
Last Edited18/10/2015
Birth*Krotoa of the Goringhaicona was born in 1641/42 in de Caep de Goede Hoop, she was said to be 15 or 16 years old on 31 October 1657.3,4,5
BaptismKrotoa of the Goringhaicona was baptized on 3 May 1662 (Cape Town), de Caep de Goede Hoop. The baptism was witnessed by Roeloff de Man, Pieter van der Stael and Dom:e Petrus Sijbelius. The baptism was performed by Dom:e Petrus Sijbelius.6,7 
Marriage*She married Sr. Pieter van Meerhof on 2 June 1664 (Cape Town).8,9,5
Death*She died on 29 July 1674 Robben Island, de Caep de Goede Hoop.10

Family 1

Sr. Pieter van Meerhof b. c 1635, d. b 27 Feb 1668

Family 2

Names in the record, in publications, etc.1 September 1666, the name of Krotoa was written in the record as Eva.5
Krotoa of the Goringhaicona was also known as Eva Meerhoff.11
NotesIf you are interested in knowing more about this founding mother, you should read Mansell Upham's article available here: .
Everything we know about the Khoe and San (Bushmen) in the first decades of the settlement at the Cape, comes from records (journals, letters, etc.) written by members of the settler population. We do not have the words, perspectives, or knowledge of these original people, except as quoted by the settlers who did not know their language, and who routinely commented on their lifestyle, customs and traditions as individuals who clearly saw themselves as superior. They often wrote with disdain, suspicion and prejudice, and if the expected action did not materialise and confirm the suspicion/prejudice, this was frequently turned on its head, to show ill-intent on the part of the indigene(s). A complete picture never emerges. Intrepretation of these records is therefor always going to be constrained by this lack of balance.
Slave TransactionsOn 23 October 1669 Jan Vos, owned by the widow of Pieter van Meerhoff, Krotoa of the Goringhaicona, who had been placed in the care of the Church Council, had been on loan to Jan Verhagen for a month. On 1 January 1670 it was noted in the margin of the entry that the slave had been returned together with an appropriate loan fee.12,13,14
Company JournalOn 28 January 1654 in the Company Journal, as translated: S. East. No work on the fort possible, so sent the men to the forest for wood for platforms for the guns. Sent, in consequence of their repeated requests 19 armed soldiers and the Catechist Willem Barentsz: to the Saldanhars with some wire to obtain as much cattle and sheep as possible; also some bread, wine, tobacco and pipes to treat them. Set a silversmith at work to discover whether he can extract silver from a certain mineral found Has been so far successful that he has obtained a better species than tin. The Catechist returned in the afternoon with 2 head of the stolen cattle. The Saldanhars not at all willing to trade, very likely, as last year, influenced by Herry, who is allied with the Captain, as we found at the time and now see as clearly as daylight; neither saw Herry nor the Captain, but the latter's father, an old and very stout man who had last year lived with Herry under the fort and now appears to be Chief of the whole gang, and among whose cattle all our stolen beasts were; also all the watermen and one of Herry wives, who is very deaf, and all his children, among them a girl who had lived with us and whom we called Eva. Said old man had come to the fort with a wife, to bring the news that the Catechist had obtained the two beasts, and to get some tobacco which was given him with as much wine and bread as he could consume. Could only gather from him that Herry was far inland, but our opinion is that he and the Captain were hiding in the bushes, afraid of being caught; assured them that such would not take place, though it is as much as can be borne to see our cattle and the thieves, and show them friendship instead of taking vengeance and paying ourselves for the losses and insults suffered, and the shedding of Christian blood, which could easily be done as they have about 12 or 1,300 head of cattle and 5 or 600 sheep which by breeding would provide the ships and the garrison abundantly as they are not more than 50 persons whom we might catch with 14 or 15 men. Of this they were very much afraid, though having 20 armed men among them, continually asking whether we intended to seize them or their cattle; they were told that such were not our intentions. We shewed them copper and tobacco with which we intended to buy, treating them likewise with bread and wine. As they came of their own accord, we decided not to do them any harm this time, though we suffer much annoyance from them as they meet no one that is unprotected without robbing him, and in case of his showing any opposition, they threaten to murder him with the assegai on his breast; cannot bear this much longer, it would pay better to punish this guilty gang, taking their cattle for our support and their persons as slaves in chains to fetch fuel and do other work to relieve our men, who have unceasingly to suffer much from them, and daily beg us to pay them off. Not one Councillor who would object, consequently dare not moot the subject at the Board as we would be outvoted, though that would not trouble us much as we would at once obtain sufficient cattle. The natives are too lazy to trouble themselves with ivory or musk, those which they bring being found on the road. It is the same with musk, what they carry around their necks they take from cats found dead or caught in snares, not keeping them alive, but feeding on the flesh. It is the same with feathers, a saleable quantity will hardly be gathered in 100 years, so that if we revenge ourselves on this troop the others would know the reason and not mind it; would therefore like our masters to weigh this matter, as next season we will have the same opportunity for revenge as now, and in the meantime we will continue to bear the nuisance, and do our best to keep our men away from them. Went before dark to the mountain where the mineral had been found, with picks, crowbars, &c; dug up some stones and found said mineral in large quantities apparently, and took various samples home, shining most extraordinarily, to see what is in them. Feared the South-easter would blow down all the houses during the night.15
On 12 January 1656 in the Company Journal, as translated: Fine weather. Herry took careful notes of the walls of the fort and the cattle kraals; he was allowed to do so, but carefully watched. At table he stated, on being asked what he thought of the works, that the Saldanhars could easily take the cattle from the kraal at night (every one having 12 assegays) by cutting the cord with which the gate is fastened: but he did not know and was not told that at night the gate was closed with a good lock. In the meantime the hunters were ordered to go to Herry's camp and see how things were there. Whilst still at table 3 or 4 Hottentoos came to tell Herry to return home at once, as swarms of bees had come into his camp, greatly troubling the inmates and cattle, so that they would be obliged to move, &c. Herry then left, taking all the fuel carriers, &c., with him, so that not one Hottentoo remained with us. The story of the bees was false, the hunters having found at Herry’s camp only the stout Captain of the Caapmen with 2 wives and 150 cattle without even a herd; on their return many Hottentoos, walking briskly, had passed them about a musket shot distance, and going in the direction of Herry's camp. As at present only Herry's people and the Caapmen are here, and our fuel carriers have left in the same manner as when the cattle were stolen, we carefully watched Herry, and therefore have sent out scouts to see what is going on, whilst the guns on the fort are loaded with grape, especially those near the kraal. The guards are also strengthened and the rounds are made oftener. On their return the soldiers reported that they had found Herry with 20 men in his five huts, eating thick milk and unarmed; their arms they hide in the bushes; his cattle numbered about 100 large and 200 small. All this the rascal procured with the copper of the Company, which he pretended he had been robbed of. A certain girl, called by us Eva, (living in the house of the Commander (Jan van Riebeeck), properly clothed, and in that way already able to converse in Dutch) had told our people that Herry intended to pitch his tents nearer to the fort. Of our fuel carriers not more than 2 or 3 were with him; all had joined the Caapmen, making us fear that the cattle is in danger, for the chief of the Caapmen was also in Herry's huts, with not more than 2 or 3 women and only a few children. Strong N.W. wind and clear sky.16
On 22 November 1663 Zacharias Wagenaer noted in his journal: This morning we were told that our interpretess Krotoa of the Goringhaicona who had disappeared last Friday with both her children, without saying a word, was staying in the country with a freeman named Thielman Hendricx , whose house is situated right in the way leading to the aforesaid Hottentoos; but as her brother-in-law, Oedasoa, takes little interest in her (as it is said) we doubt whether we shall fetch her back, or leave her there, as this lewd vixen (die lichtvaerdige prije) has often played us this trick, throwing aside her clean and neat clothes, and instead, using stinking old cattle hides, just like all other dirty Hottentoo women do.17


  1. [S550] Mansell Upham 'In a kind of custody: For Eva's sake; who speaks for Krotoa' 4 August 2010, "p.6."
  2. [S673] Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, December 1651 - December 1653[5], Van Riebeeck's Journal, &c. Part I, H.C.V. Leibrandt; (Cape Town, South Africa: W. A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, Castle Street, 1897), p.175. Hereinafter cited as Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5].
  3. [S646] Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, JVR Journal II, 1656-1658, H.C.V. Leibrandt; (Cape Town, South Africa: W. A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, Castle Street, 1897), p.80. [31st October 1657] means of a girl named Eva, about 15 or 16 years old,.... Hereinafter cited as Precis of the archives, JVR Journal II 1656-1658.
  4. [S550] Mansell Upham 'In a kind of custody.' "p.6, c. 1643-1674."
  5. [S397] NGK G1 1/1, Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Kerken Boek (Bapt.), 1665-1695: ao 1666
    den 1e Sept: een soontie van Sr Pieter Meerhof en Eva syn huysvrouw wiert genaemt Salomon de getuygen waren Lydia Lacus Joannes Koon en Pieter Schenckenbergh, transcribed by Richard Ball, Norfolk, England, (May 2006), Genealogical Society of South Africa, eGSSA Branch Hereinafter cited as Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Kerken Boek (Bapt.).
  6. [S654] Mansell Upham 'What can't be cured, must be endured … Cape of Good Hope - first marriages & baptisms (1652-1665)', January 2012, Den 3:en d:o heeft dom:e Sijbelius wederom een predikatie gedaen, ende gedoopt een bejaarde vrous persoon de eerste van dese ingeborene lantsluiden
    Meij anno 1662
    lantsluiden, genaemt Hottentoos, is genaemt met den naem Eva de getuijen sijn Roelof de Man, ondercoopman, en tweede persoon van deser fortresse, en Pieter vander Stael kranckbesoeck:r mede van deser fortresse."
  7. [S550] Mansell Upham 'In a kind of custody.' "p.6, She was the Cape's first indigene to be baptized (3 May 1662 as "Eva") and to marry according to Christian rites (2 June 1664)."
  8. [S654] Mansell Upham 'What can't be cured, must be endured … Cape of Good Hope - first marriages & baptisms (1652-1665)' "Monday 2 June 1664: Pieter [van] Meerhoff (from Copenhagen [Zealand/Sjaelland, Denmark]) & Eva [born Krotoa of Goringhaicona clan]."
  9. [S550] Mansell Upham 'In a kind of custody.' "p.6, She was the Cape's first indigene to be baptized (3 May 1662 as "Eva") and to marry according to Christian rites (2 June 1664)."
  10. [S550] Mansell Upham 'In a kind of custody.' "p.6, Detained and banished without trial to Robben Island. Died there (29 July 1674) aged 31 years."
  11. [S397] NGK G1 1/1, Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Kerken Boek (Bapt.): ao 1673
    Den 6 August's
    Een soontje van Eva Meerhoff ................ wiert genaemt Anthonij, 1665-1695, Genealogical Society of South Africa, eGSSA Branch
  12. [S853] J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "Kaapse noteriële stukke waarin slawe van vryburgers en amptenare vermeld word (1658 - 1730? 1670)", Kronos - Kaapse noteriële stukke waarin slawe van vryburgers en amptenare vermeld word (1658 - 1730? 1670) 15 (1988): 23.10.1669     CTD 3, p.303
    Die vryburger Jan Verhagen leen vir een maand van die kerkraad die gebruik van die slaaf Jan Vos, behorende aan die weduwee van wyle Pieter van Meerhoff [die Khoivrou Eva] en belowe indien die slaaf in sy diens iets sou oorkom na behore daarvoor te vergoed. [Kantnota] Die slaaf is weer op I Januarie 1670 aan die kerkraad besorg met die daartoe behoorde loon.. Hereinafter cited as "Kaapse noteriële stukke waarin slawe van vryburgers en amptenare vermeld word (1658 - 1730? 1670)."
  13. [S606] J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "A.J. Böeseken se Addendum van Kaapse slawe-verkoopstransaksies: Foute en regstellings", Kronos (Foute en regstellings) 9 (1984): Wat Böeseken hierin as die hoofaspek stel, naamlik dat die weduwee Meerhof haar slaaf in die sorg van die Kerkraad plaas, is bloot 'n ondergeskikte identifiseringstelling van die stuk, terwyl dit wat volgens haar net 'n kantnota is, eintlik die essensie van die werklike document is.
         Met ander woorde, in werklikheid ontvang Jan Verhagen die slaaf Jan Vos van die Kerkraad vir die duur van 'n maand "in lening" en beloof terselfdertyd om hom virs sy dienste na behore te vergoed. Die weduwee Meerhof was natuurlik die bekende Hottentot-vrou, Eva, wat na die dood van haar man onder die sorg van die Kerkraad gekom het. Die betrokke kantnota van 1.1.1670 sê net dat die slaaf wel met die "daartoe behorende loon" aan die Kerkraadt terugbesorg is.. Hereinafter cited as "Foute en regstellings."
  14. [S418] Anna J. Böeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700 (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1977), pp. 127-, III, p. 303: Jan Vos, a slave belonging to the widow of Jan [Pieter] van Meerhoff, was placed in the care of the Church Council. In the margin a note added on 1.1.1670 states that Jan Vos had been hired out to Jan Verhagen for one month.. Hereinafter cited as Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700.
  15. [S673] Precis of the archives, JVR Journal 1651-1653[5], pp.175-176.
  16. [S405] H.B. Thom, editor, Journal of Jan van Riebeeck Vol II 1656-1658 translated by J. Smuts from the original Dutch, (Cape Town, Amsterdam: A.A. Balkema, 1954), pp.2-3. Hereinafter cited as Journal of Jan van Riebeeck Vol II 1656-1658.
  17. [S574] H.C.V. Leibbrandt Compiler, (Castle Street, Cape Town: W.A. Richards & Sons, 1901). Hereinafter cited as Journal 1662-1670 - Zacharias Wagenaer.
  18. [S605] Mansell G. Upham, "Who were the children of Eva Meerhoff", Capensis 4/1998 [Upham ... Eva's children] 4/1998 (November 1998): p.14. Hereinafter cited as "Eva's Children."
  19. [S687] VC 603, Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, baptisms. Cape Archives Verbatim Copies, (1665-1696), Western Cape Archives and Records Service, Roeland Street, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa: [ao 1666]
    den 12 Sept: een soontje van Sr Pieter Meerhof en Eva syn huysvrouw genaemt Salomon; de getuigen ward Lydia Lacus, Joannes Koon en Pieter Klinckenbergh
    [Thanks to Mansell Upham for clarifying this transcription]. Photocopy image thanks to Mansell Upham. Hereinafter cited as Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, baptisms.
  20. [S687] VC 603, Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk, baptisms, 1665-1696, Western Cape Archives and Records Service: [ao 1670]
    23 Novb'. Een soontje van Eva wiert genaamt Jéronimus, tot getùige stont Joannis a Bolten als School meester.

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