AM van Rensburg
by van Staden 1710.
Lodge is in front of Church with tower.
Model of Slave Lodge, the Church Tower is missing in model.
Notice cemetery between Church and Lodge.
well. See also picture below of well.
VOC needed workers to perform all kinds of work. Slaves formed an
integral part of the social and labour network of the Company at the
Cape. They performed manual work, domestic, clerical, hospital, garden,
and skilled artisans etc. They played a major part in the building of
the present Company Fort, which was completed in 1674.
the late 1650's Angolan and Guinea slaves were brought to the Cape. The
slaves had to be housed and this is where the Slave Lodge came in. Those
who became Company slaves were first housed underneath the granary in
the earth walled fort. Then a Lodge was build as part of the Fort's
outbuildings, known as Corenhoop. Later a Lodge was build just below the
Company gardens (9 acres in size), and opposite the Company Hospital,
later the Church was build immediately opposite the Slave Lodge.
Lodge was rebuild in 1669 because it had become to small and was falling
apart. It was the first high density housing in South Africa. This
second lodge was a single storey building made of plastered brick. It
had a pitched, tile roof in 1679 this building was burned down.
was rebuild in 1679 as a quadrangular building with a courtyard. The
building which replaced it was made of four feet solid thick walls. The
average number of people living in the Lodge was 476 persons per year.
At its peak the Lodge housed 1,000 persons. The Lodge also served as a
lunatic asylum and a prison, for which separate rooms were set aside. It
was build in the shape of a big rectangular panopticon. The highest
Company official who was in charge of the Slave Lodge was the Fiskaal.
The building became 30 feet high. The lodge was expanded enlarged in
1716, 1732 then a flat roof design was given to it. In 1753 it was
enlarged again. Most external walls had no windows, however the internal
walls had narrow slits with iron cross bars. In the centre of the
courtyard was a fountain.
1702 and 1713 over 500 slaves died from epidemics. At first the Company
hospital treated slaves but by 1685 one of the reasons was that the
pressure was so great on the hospital that they decided to provide a
separate hospital for the slaves. The Lodge thus housed a small little
hospital on the east side of the Lodge. Rather ironical when the big
Company Hospital was immediately opposite, and with the numbers of the
slaves who would have been working there. The Lodge also had a little
school for the slave children.
Lodge also served as the brothel for many a VOC worker or Cape Burgher.
The Slave Lodge was located right in the heart of the town. It was an
integral part of the VOC life at the Cape. Today one is able to go and
look at the totally altered and renovated Slave Lodge since it houses
the South African Cultural Museum.
the Lodge was a well. Very close to the Slave Lodge was the old slave
tree were the slaves were sold. Today there is a plaque that marks the
spot where the tree stood. Inside the South African Cultural Museum is a
slice of this tree trunk. Looking at the plaque where the old slave tree
stood, one can see the Slave Lodge behind it and part of the rebuilt
Church on the right hand side.
Robert Shell: Children of Bondage
H Vollgraaff: The Dutch East India Company's Slave Lodge at the Cape