By Nigel Penn
A 2007 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
“With this book Nigel Penn has made a significant contribution to South African historiography and filled a glaring lacuna in Cape colonial history.... It must be on the shelf of any South African historian and of libraries with an Africana collection.”
International Journal of African Historical Studies
“This unsentimental, clearly written and very wide-ranging study is indispensable reading for anyone seeking not only a clearer understanding of eighteenth-century South Africa, but also a better sense of that period’s bitter legacy.”
Canadian Journal of African Studies
“A very solid, even fundamental, monograph, based on exceptional source materials and throwing new light on a period and subject in the history of South Africa that are almost unknown. Thanks to this book one can view the nuances of the history of the region in the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries from a new perspective.”
Werkwinkel: Journal of Low Countries and South African Studies
“Penn has performed exhaustive archival research in English, Dutch and early Afrikaans and subsequently produced a narrative of considerable intricacy.”
Journal of Social History
Traditionally, the Eastern Cape frontier of South Africa has been regarded as the preeminent contact zone between colonists and the Khoi—“Hottentots”—and San—“Bushmen.” But there was an earlier frontier in which the conflict between Dutch colonists and these indigenous herders and hunters was in many ways more decisive in its outcome, more brutal and violent in its manner, and just as significant in its effects on later South African history.
This was the frontier north of Cape Town, where Dutch settlers began advancing into the interior. By the end of the eighteenth century, the frontier had reached the Orange (Gariep) River. The indigenous Khoisan people, after initial resistance, had been defeated and absorbed as an underclass into the colonial world or else expelled beyond it, to regions where new creole communities emerged.
Nigel Penn is a master storyteller who brings a novelist's sensitivity to plot and character and a command of the archival record to bear in recovering this epic and forgotten story. Filled with extraordinary personalities and memorable episodes, and set in the often harsh landscape of the Western and Northern Cape, The Forgotten Frontier will appeal both to the general reader and to the student of history.
Nigel Penn is a senior lecturer in the history department at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of Rogues, Rebels and Runaways: Eighteenth-Century Cape Characters.
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