'Have You Ever Captured Anything for Your Parents?' War, Captivity, and Slavery on The Precolonial Southern African Highveld, C.1800-71

'Have You Ever Captured Anything for Your Parents?' War, Captivity, and Slavery on The Precolonial Southern African Highveld, C.1800-71

Author: 
Morelli, Ettore
Publisher: 
Cambridge University Press
Date published: 
2018
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of African History
Source: 
The Journal of African History, Vol. 60, N0. 1, 2019 pp. 45-65
Abstract: 

The article analyses various cases of captivity in a region comprised within modern-day South Africa and Lesotho in the late precolonial period. Focusing on a single social institution, bohlanka, the article follows its traces scattered among the Batlhaping, the Basotho, the Barolong, the Bataung, and other smaller precolonial communities. Generally considered by scholars as a form of clientship based on cattle-loans, bohlanka is here redefined as originating from warfare and captivity, and later expanding to include the destitute. The fundamental elements of the institution -- violence, natal alienation, and suspended death -- lead to the conclusion that bohlanka constituted a local form of slavery that pre-dated colonial influences.

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CITATION: Morelli, Ettore. 'Have You Ever Captured Anything for Your Parents?' War, Captivity, and Slavery on The Precolonial Southern African Highveld, C.1800-71 . : Cambridge University Press , 2018. The Journal of African History, Vol. 60, N0. 1, 2019 pp. 45-65 - Available at: http://library.au.int/have-you-ever-captured-anything-your-parents-war-captivity-and-slavery-precolonial-southern-african