About The Book
The book title draws on a series of debates in South Africa aboutthe humanity of people of colour. In particular, it draws on a 17thcentury debate between two Dutch men (Jan [Johan Anthoniszoon]van Riebeeck and Mathew [Matthijs] Proot) regarding the humanity ofthe people of the Cape (Kaapmans [Dutch term for Khoisaninhabitants around Cape Town]) – a debate which in the 21st centuryrages on, albeit in a different form. The pertinent question then was:What are the people of the Cape – Bastaards or Human? Are theygodless savages as van Riebeeck believed or are they humans just likeEuropeans, as Proot argued?
This is a book that retells 500 years of historical interaction between South Africa and
its European visitors. It does so in the form of short stories linked to specific dates and retold here from the perspective of intimacy rather than hatred and enmity. In theoretical terms, I am entering the meta-(impersonal) historical narrative from a micro-(personal) experience. History is after all the story and journey of a people and not the retelling of abstract emotionless events.
Praise For The Book
Our history curriculum has not been inclusive enough of our diverse heritage. It is important that we learn the whole history of our country so we can heal and move forward. The book goes a long way in doing this, and I hope that this book will make a positive contribution to schools across the Western Cape. We are supporting the integration of the works into the history curriculum. Debbie Schäfer Minister of Education, Western Cape Government … a road map through especially the last 400 to 500 years of socio-cultural history in South Africa with special emphasis on how the coloured people came about.
Eerste Nasie Nuus [ENN] – First Nation News
KhoiSan Community Newspaper
… there is a strong message of hope in Dr Ruben Richards’ understanding of the human race, which can only be beneficial in the global perspective and uncertain times in South Africa.
Singer, Actor, Director, Producer
In a lively and very challenging way, Dr Richards retells the history of South Africa from a first nation perspective – a rare work and perspective indeed.
Principal, Heathfield High School
… critical insights into the distortions of our history and presents us with the necessary tools for reinterpreting this history to restore the dignity of a people with a rich and proud history.
High Commissioner Aaron Messelaar
Head of Administration: Griqua Royal House
Western Cape Chairperson: Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa
… a personal quest and an educational excursion of a piece of South African history that has never been told in this way. This is a book of affirmation to coloured people that there is no shame in claiming and owning their indigenous and slave identities.
Stan Henkeman, Executive Director
Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
… a critical catalyst in the discourse of decolonization and a theology of liberation … a must read for all faith-based activists.
Rev. Benoit Messeur
Community Youth Leader
MTh Candidate, University of Stellenbosch
… a sentinel text that answers the nagging questions about origins, bravely gives shape, form and definition to a people who have been relegated to the margins of South Africa’s history … Richards carefully excavates the histories that many would rather forget about.
Chief !Garu Zenzile Khoisan
Head of Gorinhaiqua Cultural Council
… affirmation that we have the agency to tell our own story of our dispossession, and our determination to claim our identity.
Khoisan heritage and slave history specialist
This book should not be labelled as a history book, per se. To pigeon-hole it down like that, would be to do the book a disservice. It can be used in the history classroom and in a number of other subjects – Economics, Business Studies, Accounting, Social Studies, etc; or simply as a good read – to understand our country, its past and where it is going.
Principal, Lavender Hill High School