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Delia Robertson

Cape Melting Pot - the role and status of the mixed population at the Cape 1652-1795

With the permission of Han Heese, the author of Groep Sonder Grense from which Cape Melting Pot is translated, I have decided to make it freely available.

When first published in 1985, Groep Sonder Grense, Dr. Hans (H.F.) Heese's seminal work on the interracial relationships among the residents of the early Cape (1652-1795) had a profound effect on South African society.

The reader is reminded that in 1985, when Groep Sonder Grense was first published, South Africa was in the grip of one of its most repressive periods in history. The government, under the leadership of then President P.W. Botha, responded with extreme violence to a freshly invigorated struggle against apartheid.

The year 1984 had seen the launch of the United Democratic Front, in essence a newly public internal wing of the African National Congress, whose leaders were born out of the 1976 Soweto Student Uprising. Imbued with a militancy that responded with ever greater defiance to ever greater repression, these young leaders were determined to take the struggle to the heart of the ruling community. In exile, the ANC leadership had little choice but to sanction a shift in the armed struggle away from inanimate and military targets such as power lines and military bases, to animate and non-military targets, including so-called "soft" targets, i.e. civilians.

This period was marked by widespread state sponsored violence, government dirty tricks, and the introduction of the pervasive Joint Management System in which the reach and control of the security apparatus was extended to every aspect of human activity.

During this crucial time, Dr. Heese exposed, more comprehensively and more scientifically than anyone before him, the racially mixed origins of South Africa's so-called white population. Many "white" families, along with the so-called coloured population, descend from interracial unions between the European occupying population, imported African and Asian slaves, the indigenous populations, and their vari-hued offspring.

Groep Sonder Grense was published only in Afrikaans by the Institute for Historical Research of the University of the Western Cape. As a result it passed by many potential readers (in South Africa and abroad) who it may have reached if it had also been published in English.

In the year 2000, with Dr. Heese's very kind cooperation, it was decided to translate Groep Sonder Grense into English, published under the title Cape Melting Pot. This version, is now being published on CD in a searchable format.

In the 20 years since Groep Sonder Grense was first published, some of Dr. Heese's findings have been updated by new research. In those cases where I am aware of later research that updates, supplements or refutes the original, I have directed the reader to the subsequent work in footnotes, thus: [. . .]

Because of the classical nature and importance of the original, it was decided to keep Cape Melting Pot, with a few exceptions, true to the original text.

Delia Robertson
Translator & Publisher

'Viking' blood at the Cape - DNA evidence confirms European paternity of Christoffel Snijman van der Caep and debunks theory he was the biological son of Anthonij Jansz van Bengale

A examination of recently published public DNA test of Kornelius Snyman showing him to be in the Y-DNA haplogroup I-M253 - the ancient paternal lineage of the Nordic countries popularly known as the 'Viking' haplogroup. Forty percent of Fins and 38% of Swedes are from this haplogroup which also commonly occured other other north European countries and in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. This article should be read in conjunction with Mansell Upham's 'Cape Mothers - Groote Catrijn van Paliacatta (c. 1631-1683), her slave Maria van Bengale & her de Savoye daughter-in-law Marguerite-Thérèse (1673-1742)'

Adolf Jonker - a myth shattering convergence of science and the 300 year old record? 

An examination of recently published public DNA tests of two individuals who claim descent from Adolf Jonker whose origins remain contested today. The tests slot him into a haplogroup whose modern descendants are found in southeast Asia, and shatter the 'mythical' view that he was of patrician German ancestry. They support the theory, posited by Mansell Upham, that he was a descendant of the royal family of Ternate. This article should be read in conjunction with Mansell Upham's God's Slave' & Afrikaner 'Hearts of Darkness' - Abdullah alias Adolf Jonker (c.1709-1779)'

Helena Vosloo - mtDNA Haplogroup L1c1d 

An investigation into the contested maternal heritage of Helena Vosloo, purported daughter of the progenitor of the South African Vosloo family.

Several genealogical publications identified her mother as Helena van Malabar, a slave women from the Malabar Coast of India. This became widely accepted in the genealogical community. However, evidence in the contemporaneous record did not support this contention.

Now, a direct matrilineal descendant has tested positive for the mtDNA haplogroup L1c1d, a predominantly central African haplogroup which is likely tracks the occurrence of L1c. A very small, but apparently established, pool of L1c1d is also found on Madagascar.

The Author




Delia Robertson is the researcher, compiler and developer of the First Fifty Years project.






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