South Africa: The Lie of 1652 - a Decolonised History of Land

analysis

This radical critique of established precolonial and colonial history retells the story of dispossession, the destruction of livelihoods and the brutality of slavery in South Africa. Characters such as Autshumao, Krotoa and Doman come to life in the story of the founding of a port at Cape Town. Mellet debunks the 'empty land' myth and claims of a 'Bantu invasion', while outlining more than 220 years of war and resistance. 'The Lie of 1652' is published by Tafelberg.

From 1600 to 1652 there was already vibrant multicultural interaction at a nascent refreshment station and proto-port settlement that would eventually become Cape Town and a colony run by the Dutch East India Company (in Dutch the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, or VOC). A fresh look at the narrative of the founding of the port of Cape Town enables us to understand and appreciate not only the role that the Peninsula indigenes - the Khoe - played in its establishment, but also their holding of the shoreline frontier for 52 years prior to colonial domination.

In the popular arena, across all communities the South African view of early Cape history tends to be moulded by an interpretation of the 1652 Dutch landing at...

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