Episode 100 - Ordinance 50 shock, Dr John’s mission and Wesleyans vs polygamy

For my listeners who’ve lasted a century of podcasts, thank you folks! The series has far exceeded my expectation when it was launched I thought perhaps a few people would respond and that would be that.

But no! This series has managed to climb 6 places on Apple’s South African podcast top 20, we’re at 16 on the hit parade and passed 500 000 listens!

Sorry, this sounds self-serving, and probably is, it’s just so exciting to see how many people are interested in this unique place called South Africa, with its crazy paving history and characters that Edgar Allan Poe wouldn’t dream up in a thousand years.

So with that self-important note - let’s head on back to 1828.

Lord Charles Somerset’s perfidious tenure had ended, that period of post Napoleonic nepotism. In Liverpool, the centre of the trading world in the first half of the 19th Century, laissez-fire oceanic liberalism was raising its genteel bewigged head. The principle of free trade was growing. And in conjunction with this new economic free trade a new kind of radical liberalism was surging it was the time of a new philosophy of the rights of the human individual.

This is no small matter, as Adam Smith would agree.

You could argue that if it wasn’t for Doctor John Philip, with two p’s, one L and no S, South African history would be quite different. By the second half of the 1820s the majority of the Khoekhoe had no other employment than as farm labourers, mainly for the trekboers.

Dr John had summed up the situation in the Cape and his grim memorandum had led to the establishment of a commission of inquiry. He was fighting for what he called “the emancipation of the wretched aborigines of South Africa…”

If you remember an earlier podcast, Dr John Philip had single-handedly convinced Sir Rufane Donkin the acting governor to take action to protect the Khoekhoe labourers from abuse suffered on farms.

Dr John had returned to England by mid-1820s, and was a force of nature, persuading the public there that they should enjoin him in the mission to ensure that all men and women living in southern Africa should be regarded as equal.
Andries Stockenstrom was no longer the landdrost of Graaff-Reinet, the British had given him a new title. He was the Commissioner General of the frontier, and his new seat was in Uitenhage. This Afrikaner was one of two colonists appointed to the new Advisory Council which helped govern the colony. He was in his middle thirties and during Dr John Philip’s great trek around the Cape, they’d both spent many days arguing and debating about the rights of the Khoekhoe.

And so it was, in April 1828, four months after being installed as Commissioner General, Stockenstrom sent a memorandum to Major General Bourke about the Khoekhoe, and recommended precisely what Dr John Philip had been suggesting. A law that would sweep away all restrictions on the Khoekhoin, and put them on an equal footing with the colonists.

7 Jan 2023 English South Africa History · Places & Travel

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