Retitled: Slavery and Freedom

Blettermanhuis, Stellenbosch (2019)

Hendrik Lodewyk Bletterman became the landdrost of Stellenbosch in 1785, the last magistrate to be appointed by the VOC (Dutch East India Company) at Stellenbosch (1785-1795). He resigned in protest over the first British occupation (1795-1803) of the Cape. His residence, Blettermanhuis, now forms part of the Stellenbosch Village Museum.

The brief for this exhibition was to provide an insight into the lives of the enslaved who worked in the house but whose voices had been silenced. Bletterman himself owned at least fifteen slaves, some of them children, as evidenced in the ledger that he and his wife kept. The exhibition attempts to situate Blettermanhuis and Stellenbosch within the larger framework of the practice of enslavement at the Cape.

These silenced voices have been acknowledged on the wall of an annex in the house. The bench with laser-cut letters, references the later use of the outbuilding as a school for enslaved children.

Read more here:  Stellenbosch Village Museum

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