Slave Origins – Cultural Echoes

The range of objects displayed in this exhibition at the Slave Lodge – including puppets, furniture, weapons and fashion objects – reveals in a general sense the rich diversity of cultural backgrounds of the slaves transported to the Cape during the 17th and 18th Centuries.

These objects are not from the period of colonial slavery, but reflect how customs and traditions are passed down from one generation to the next and adapted for different conditions.

The VOC (Dutch East India Company) maintained a settlement at the Cape to support its profitable Asian trading operations. Nearly all the men, women and children were from regions around the Indian Ocean, including present-day Madagascar, Mozambique, India, Sri Lanka and Indonesian islands such as Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Timor.