The Abolition Of Slavery Act

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The Abolition of Slavery Act was passed by the British government in 1807. This abolished slave trade in the British Empire. Amelioration laws and a slave guardian protected the wellbeing of the slaves at the Cape. The lives of slaves improved after this but slavery still existed at the Cape until 1834 when the Slavery Abolition Bill was passed in 1883 was imposed. The manumitted slaves became apprentices of their former masters until 1838 when the apprenticeship was ended by the British.
After the abolition of slavery, slaves were free but poor. They were exploited and given dismal wages. Their freedom was only on paper. In 1841 The Masters and Servants Ordinance restricted the movement of the newly manumitted slaves (now called workers). Former slaves were looked down upon for their previous status and because of this prejudice, they earned a little money. “Slaves” only really gained their freedom after Apartheid which ensued a little after the end of slavery.
The legacy of slavery is seen today as a type of music, different cuisine, language and slang or festivals. As slaves came from different parts of the world, they brought their different food and music with them. Colonialists would bring instruments from their countries so that they could have music for enjoyment. Slaves who could play musical instruments were valuable. Music from colonialists’ countries e.g. Dutch folk songs was adapted by slaves. Other music that developed was from the Malay and Afrikaans. Instruments such as the “ghomma”, a small drum held between the knees, were created. Denis-Constant Martin said that the Governor of the Cape had a slave orchestra from 1676. The first Capetonian song was in 1707 which was a song that was half Malay and half Dutch. Th...

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... higher than the rest. It contains some names of the thousands enslaved at the Cape. Another memory of slavery is the 25 kramats overlooking Cape Town to honour Sheikh Yusuf, a slave from Goa, Celebes, and his followers whose teachings of Islam developed a strong Muslim community at the Cape. There are also festivals to honour slaves such as the marching of the minstrels on “tweede nuwe jaar”. The festival is thought of as a right of renewal and is a reminder of the slave past of Cape Town as Muslim slaves used the day to celebrate their only day off work in the whole year. Minstrels march in colourful clothing, playing a variety of instruments.
Slavery was a barbaric practise but as forbidding as it was, it is a testimony of the resilience of the spirit of the slaves which is why more than three hundred years later, we still honour their contributions to Cape Town

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