The taking of the slaver Meermin, 1766

Book cover for The taking of the slaver Meermin, 1766 by Dan Sleigh, Piet Westra published by Africana Publishers

R210 | 159p. | ISBN 9780-620-58141-7

In February 1766 while the slaver Meermin was returning to Cape Town from Madagascar with 140 slaves, some male slaves got hold of a number of their native spears, killed most of the officers and crew on deck and trapped the remainder, some of them badly wounded, in a cabin in the stern of the ship.

The fight raged for days, while the ship was carried helplessly along by wind, current and tide, until it ran aground near Cape Agulhas. This first complete account of the violent uprising on the hooker Meermin, entirely based on archival records, describes a desperate struggle on the open sea for freedom and survival.

The dramatic tale of courage, bloodshed, endurance, death, deceit and betrayal, also sheds light on the economic and social conditions at the Cape at the time. Details are given about the origins of Cape slaves, why and under what circumstances they became slaves, with what they were bought, how they were transported, treated and employed by the Cape government, and how they were punished when they transgressed its laws.

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