Challenging Certain Aspects of Intergroup Relations in “The Shaping of South African Society, 1652 – 1840″: A Review ArticlePosted in Africa, History, Media Archive, Social Science, South Africa on 2012-05-08 00:58Z by Steven
Hans Heese, University Archivist
When the first edition of “The Shaping of South African Society 1652-1820″, dealing with the integration of southern Africa into a world economy and the domination of whites over blacks, was published in 1979, it filled a need which was increasingly being felt in South African historiography. In its introduction the authors stated that they wanted to “redress” the imbalance created by previous, Eurocentric historiography which has given “inadequate attention to non-Europeans: in this case the slaves, Khoikhoi, Khoisan hunter-gatherers, Bantu-speakers, free blacks and persons of mixed descent”
The volume consisted of four parts: the first part covered the major population groups, the second the rulers and the ruled, the third the expansion of the colony and its frontiers, and in the last part Elphick and Giliomee reviewed the development of social stratification over the whole period.
The other contributors were Armstrong, Freund, Guelke, Legassick, Schutte and Shell who had all done prolonged research in the various archives of South Africa, the Netherlands and Great Britain. With the exception of Legassick, all of them represent the “liberal” school — as opposed to the “radical” school.
In 1982 an Afrikaans translation, ’n Samelewing in Wording: Suid-Afrika 1652-1820, was published. Both versions were used as textbooks at undergraduate and postgraduate level at South African universities.
In 1989 a second edition was published under the title The Shaping of South African Society, 1652-1849. The new edition contained two new chapters—one on the Cape economy and the other on the Cape under the British, 1814-1834. The chapters on the Khoisan and Slaves had been extensively revised and extended to cover the period up to the 1830′s, both with the help of Malherbe and Worden as co-authors respectively. The authors of these two additional chapters—the one on the Cape economy and the other on the British at the Cape—were Robert Ross and Jeff Peires. Giliomee incorporated his earlier chapter on the burgher rebellions (1795-1815) from the 1979 edition in his contribution on the Eastern Frontier in the second edition…