PROEFSCHRIFT - Children of the Mist, the Griquas, the lost ... ?· PROEFSCHRIFT Ter verkrijing van...

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Transcript of PROEFSCHRIFT - Children of the Mist, the Griquas, the lost ... ?· PROEFSCHRIFT Ter verkrijing van...



Ter verkrijing van de graad van Doctor aan de Universiteit Leiden

op gezag van de Rector Magnificus Dr. D.D. Breimer, hoogleraar in de faculteit der Wiskunde en

Natuurwetenschappen en die der Geneeskunde, volgens besluit van het College voor Promoties

te verdedigen op woensdag 18 januari 2006 klokke 14.15


Michael Paul Besten

Geboren te Roma, Lesotho,

in 1969


Promotor: Prof. dr. R.J. Ross Referent: Prof. S. Newton-King (University of the Western Cape) Commissie: Prof dr. P.C. Emmer Dr. J.B. Gewald (Afrika-Studiecentrum, Leiden) Prof . dr. P. Pels Dr. G.C. Quispel.



Acknowledgements iv Abstract v Chapter 1. Introduction 1


Chapter 2. Early Khoe-San and the emergence of the Griqua 16 Chapter 3. Griqua land struggle in East Griqualand (1894-1898) 51 Chapter 4. Quest for an ethnic identity (1898-1921) 94 Chapter 5. Griqua-Coloured resettlement (1920-1941) 121

Chapter 6. Griqua-Coloured ethno-nationalism (1920-1970s) 151


Chapter 7. Loyal subjects (1948-1980s) 176 Chapter 8. The Griqua and Coloured party politics (1965-1980) 197 Chapter 9. Griqua inquiries (1980-1983) 222 Chapter 10. Between fragmentation and unity 247


Chapter 11. Democratic transition and the re-articulation of Griqua identities 263 Chapter 12. The neo-Khoe-San 287 Chapter 13. Staging indigeneity 309

Summation 344

Bibliography 349


1. Griqua and Le Fleur leadership lines 364

2.1 Picture of AAS le Fleur I and followers 365


2.2 Picture of AAS le Fleur I and family 366

2.3. Pictures of Eric le Fleur and AAS le Fleur II 367

2.4. Picture of AAS le Fleur II and neo-Khoekhoe 368

3.1 Map of South Africa, 2004 369

3.2 Map of South Africa, 1885 370

3.3. Map of East Griqualand, 1922 371

3.4. Map of East Griqualand, 1879 372

4. South African population figures, 2001 373

Abstract in Dutch 374

Curriculum Vitae 375


$FNQRZOHGJHPHQWVI acknowledge with gratitude financial support from the National Research Foundation (RSA), South Africa-Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development, Research School for Asian African and Amerindian Studies (Leiden) and the Study Fund Foundation for South African Students (Amsterdam) which enabled me to undertake this study. The views expressed in this dissertation are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my sponsors. I would also like to thank Janneke Jansen and Willem Stoetzer for the translation of the Abstract into Dutch.


$EVWUDFWFocussing on AAS le Fleur I (1867-1941), the Griqua, and post-apartheid Khoe-San revivalism, the dissertation examines changes in the articulation of Khoe-San identities in South Africa. It shows the significance of shifting political, cultural and ideological power relations on the articulation of Khoe-San identities, and by extension on the subjectivities of ethno-racial underclasses. It shows the complexity of Griqua subjectivities (and socio-political behaviour) generated and reshaped in intercultural environments and subjected to multiple and contending discourses, manifested acutely in AAS le Fleur. Whilst colonial somatic and cultural discrimination engendered distancing from Khoe-Sanness and the assumption of alternative (Christian, Bastaard and Coloured) identities, the emergence of Griqua polities and identities in the early 1800s allowed for the maintenance of an awareness of a Khoekhoe indigenous heritage. Broader socio-political and legislative developments influenced the configuration and reconfiguration of elements in Griqua identities, with different elements of their heritage tending to be emphasized under different historical periods and political regimes. Discrimination against Natives under White regimes encouraged Griqua to affirm that they had partial non-indigenous origin, to locate the Griqua category within the Coloured category suggesting distance from Nativeness and proximity to Whiteness, whilst varyingly acknowledging having some Khoekhoe heritage. However, the official consolidation of the association of the Griqua and Coloured categories allowed Griqua nationalists to ambivalently disassociate the Griqua category from Colouredness during apartheid (1948-1994) and to promote Griqua ethno-national specificity. With the ending of apartheid, and the attendant reconfiguration of political, cultural and ideological relations, the Coloured category lost much of the psychological, socio-economic, ideological and political value it previously conferred, further inclining Griqua and some Coloureds to distance themselves from a Coloured identity; to (re)affirm an indigenous heritage; and to promote Khoe-San identities engendering and conferring the geographic rootedness, sense of belonging, sense of entitlement and ownership, group security, self-esteem, and ethno-cultural specificity, legitimacy and unity they desired.




&KDSWHU,QWURGXFWLRQIn the aftermath of the 1994 democratic change in South Africa, a relatively small but growing number of people previously categorized officially as Coloured, started to promote a Khoe-San indigenous and First Nation identity manifesting a process of psychological, cultural and socio-political repositioning within the national and international order. The affirmation of a Khoekhoe (or Hottentot ) and San (or Bushman ) heritage was a rarity prior to 1994. There were however individuals who continued to openly acknowledge and/or affirm their Khoekhoe and San indigenous origins and identities, for example, individuals from the Griqua, Kalahari San and Nama Khoekhoe communities. After the 1994 democratic change, Khoekhoe and San identities were increasingly promoted. An overarching Khoe-San identity was also promoted at the same time, marking thus the appropriation of a term originating in the academy. These identity re-articulations were attended with aspirations for unity, government recognition, constitutional accommodation and empowerment. This dissertation explores changes in the articulation of Khoe-San identities and the contexts of specific identity articulation and re-articulation. The dissertation focus on Griqua identity and the Griqua under the Griqua National Conference (GNC), established in 1920 by Andrew Abraham Stockenstrm le Fleur I (1867-1941) who positioned himself with a measure of success as heir of Griqua Chief Adam Kok III (1811-1875). The GNC played a prominent role within the Griqua socio-political landscape prior to 1994. The Kranshoek based GNC1 also played a significant role in the post-1994 Khoe-San revivalism. The Griqua and the GNC thus provide a useful avenue for the exploration of the articulation and re-articulation of Khoe-San identities prior to and after the 1994 democratic change. Dealing with Griqua identities and the post-apartheid Khoe-San resurgence, the dissertation explores the way in which certain sections of Khoe-San descent have historically related to their Khoe-San past in articulating a group identity. Focussing particularly on the Griqua the dissertation also explore how people appropriating an ethnic identity (i.e. an identity engendering a sense of peopleness) imputing them a Khoekhoe heritage, without themselves necessarily being of Khoekhoe descent, have related to the Khoe-San past in articulating a group identity. The dissertation also examines how Griqua have located themselves socially and politically in articulating a group identity. Given the multiple ethnic heritages of Griqua and post-apartheid Khoe-San identity claimants, the exploration of their identity articulations necessarily take into account the way they related to their to their multiple ethnic heritages. The dissertation also necessarily explore the way in which Griqua and post-apartheid Khoe-San identity claimants related to non-Griqua and non-Khoe-San group categories that were crucial for defining or distinguishing Griquaness and post-apartheid Khoe-Sanness. Given the prominence of the GNC in the Griqua and Khoe-San socio-political landscape, both before and after 1994, a study of the GNC is essential for understanding Griqua and South African Khoe-San identity politics. To understand the socio-political conduct of the GNC, a study of its founder, Andrew Abraham Stockenstrm le Fleur I, is essential. To understand Le Fleur and his influence on the orientation of Griqua under the GNC, it is essential to understand his behaviour and ideas as they were shaped and transformed from the late 1800s onwards, particularly since his ascent in Griqua politics in East Griqualand in 1894. With the articulation of Griqua identities explored in the context of changing power relations between socio-cultural assemblages, the dissertation shows how different socio-political landscapes in South Africa fostered particular relations between cultures, discourses, ideologies affecting subjective orientations and identity articulations. The dissertation shows general identity shifts and cultural, discursive and ideologi