Added: August 9, 2014 – Last updated: October 1, 2016


Author: Nigel Penn

Title: Casper, Crebis and the Knegt

Subtitle: Rape, Homicide and Violence in the Eighteenth-Century Rural Western Cape

Journal: South African Historical Journal

Volume: 66

Issue: 4

Year: 2014 (Published online: July 28, 2014)

Pages: 611-634

ISSN: 0258-2473 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1726-1686 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 18th Century | African History: South African History; European History: Dutch History | Types: Interracial Rape


Link: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)


Author: Nigel Penn, Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town

Abstract: »Rape is a shockingly prevalent crime in contemporary South Africa. Using a micro-historical approach to analyse a rape case in the criminal records of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) this article seeks to explore whether rape was as widespread in the eighteenth-century Cape as it is today. In examining the details of a case in which a white knecht (hired labourer) raped a Khoikhoi woman and murdered her son the article finds that no white man was ever convicted for the rape of a Khoikhoi or a slave woman and seeks to explain why this was the case. It also finds that though white settlers greatly feared that their women would be raped by slave or Khoikhoi men, this seldom happened. Though focusing on rape the article also examines colonial attitudes towards illicit or extra-marital sex between members of different racial groups. It concludes that issues of honour and respectability played a factor in limiting rape and that, despite a climate of violence, there is plentiful evidence of consensual interracial sex, especially in the frontier regions. Thus, although rape was a crime that white men could commit with virtual impunity, the records do not provide evidence that rape was common.« (Source: South African Historical Journal)

Lecture: Penn, Nigel. »Casper, Crebis and the Knegt: Rape, Homicide and Violence in the 18th century rural Western Cape.« University of Cape Town. Cape Town 2013. – Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: History of Africa: History of South Africa / History of South Africa (1652–1815), Khoikhoi | History of Europe: History of the Netherlands / Dutch East India Company