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


Bookmark and Share