318 pp., paperback, Cambridge, 2012
R.L.Watson examines the social and cultural changes brought about by the abolition of slavery in 1834 in the Cape Colony. He also explores the early development of racism in South Africa, arguing that it was driven by whites' need for exploitable labour after abolition.
"This book, based on meticulous research, is well written and at times deliciously sharp. It provides an unprecedented account of the ways in which both the slaves of the Cape Colony and their erstwhile owners reorganised their intertwined lives in the aftermath of abolition. For the first time, a description of Cape society is combined with a clear understanding of the shifting social ideologies that led to an enhanced South African racism. It is a singular achievement." Robert Ross, Leiden University
"This is a critical study of a much-neglected period - the decades around and after slave emancipation in the 1830s - and its impact on the racial structuring of the Cape Colony. Watson writes with vigor and insight, offering fresh perspectives on a vital topic in South African history, with comparative insights from North American scholarship." Nigel Worden, University of Cape Town
R.L.Watson is Professor Emeritus of History at North Carolina Wesleyan College. He is the author of "The Slave Question:liberty and property in South Africa" (1990).