Nomenclature & identity tags peculiar to the Cape of Good Hope deriving from an individual’s legal status made for legally-entrenched hierarchic discrimination

  • Christen = Christian.
  • Onchristen = non-Christian.
  • Vrij geboren = free-born and never enslaved (refers generally to swartes - indigenes, east Asian political exiles & to offspring of liberated slaves).  Such a person was not the same as a free-black, although s/he would easily and often (even purposely) be mis-identified as being vrij zwart.
  • Vrij zwart = manumitted or liberated from slavery having ostensibly the same legal status as free-burghers.  Sub-groups also existed, eg vrij chinees & vrij caffer.
  • Lijfeijgen or Slaaf = slave.
  • Heelslagh = full caste or full-blood (refers generally to non-white slaves having no white admixture).  These were further distinguished inter alia as neger, caffer, indisch, chinees etc.
  • Halfslagh = half-caste.
  • Mestiço or Mesties = Eurasian half-caste (refers generally to child of a white father and an Asian slave mother).
  • Mulatto = Eurafrican half-caste (refers generally to a child of a white father and an African / Negro / Bantu slave mother).
  • Kastiço or Kasties = child of a mesties or mulatto slave mother and white father.
  • Bastaard = child of a white father & Hottentot / Bushman mother.
  • Bastaard Hottentot = child of a Hottentot / Bushman mother & (African / Negro / Bantu or Asian) slave father.
  • Hottentot = Cape indigene known as Quena / Khoena / Khoekhoe.
  • Bosjesman = Bushmen / San / Saan and also Hottentots who have been Bushmanised (ie Hottentot minus their livestock and hunted down as Bushmen).

Mansell Upham

 

My thanks to Mansell Upham for this information.  DR

 

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