To What Extent Did Krotoa Eva Exist Between Two Cultures?

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  • Topic: Dutch East India Company, Netherlands, Dutch Empire
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University of Stellenbosch

History 144: Research Essay
Topic 4: To what extent did Krotoa Eva exist between two cultures?

Ms BL Garces Fernandez
Student No.: 17053986

Contents
Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… 3 Body……………………………………………………………………………………3 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...6 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………7

Introduction
There is no doubt about the fact that Eva, the Khoikhoi girl initially called Krotoa, is by far the most written about black woman in the History of South Africa. Her name resides in the many journals of the Dutch East India Company, from the very arrival of the Dutch at the Cape of Good Hope. She became a very important and powerful asset in the Dutch colony, as an interpreter and as a mentor for the Dutch, with special regard to Jan Van Riebeeck himself. The discussion that will proceed will depict to what extent Eva was immersed in both the Dutch and the Khoikhoi culture and how this cross-cultural life may have affected her. Eva was primarily a woman stuck between two cultures. Body

Jan Van Reibeeck:
The Dutch East India Company, the VOC, in December 1651, appointed Jan Van Riebeeck to sail to the tip of Southern Africa to establish and command a permanent Dutch settlement. After four months of sailing, Jan van Riebeeck and his men arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the 6th of April, 1652. Keeping in mind the interest of trading, Van Riebeeck was instructed to maintain peace with the indigenous populations of the Cape, namely the Khoikhoi. Krotoa Eva:

Krotoa was born in 1642, in the Goringhaikona tribe in the Cape. Soon after Jan Van Riebeeck had arrived in the Cape, the twelve-year-old Krotoa was taken in by the Van Riebeeck family at the fort, in 1653. Krotoa was renamed Eva due to the fact that all indigenous women that were adopted into Dutch service were to to given a Christian name. She was initially a servant, but when she could speak Dutch fluently she became a valuable interpreter between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi. She also provided Van Riebeeck with valuable information about Khoikhoi culture, political structures and plans. She was a key element when it came to trading negotiations, which enabled the Dutch to acquire livestock in exchange for tobacco, copper, beads and drink. There was no doubt that from a very young age, Krotoa Eva, had established herself as a true ally of the Dutch. The period of peace between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi was somewhat very brief. Conflicts began to escalate due to runaway slaves and because the Dutch began the confiscation of cattle and land of rebellious Khoikhoi tribe. Unfortunately, for Eva, she had found herself right in the middle of the quarrels. Eva disappeared once; Aushumato took Eva out of the fort along with some stolen Company cattle and other livestock from the Dutch settlement in 1653. According to Van Riebeeck’s journals she returned in 1654. A few months later, the Dutch spotted the perpetrators, amongst them was Eva. Van Riebeeck refused to use brute force in order to get the livestock back and instead entered to negotiate with the Khoikhoi. In order to save her position in both Dutch and Khoikhoi communities, she was allowed to enter into the service of the Dutch and was indeed very keen to encourage the alliances and the trade between the colonial settlers and locals. Ever since then, the relations between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi resulted in a considerable improvement. Eva’s initial entry into the Dutch colony was due to her availability to the Dutch and the need that they had for an indigenous interpreter. The second time she entered the colony signified as more of friendly gesture and a sign of good will from the Khoikhoi tribe which indeed settled the disputes between the two cultures. The Khoikhoi realised that her presence of Krotoa in the Dutch colony would work to their advantage too, with regard to the fact that it was seen as honourable and a useful way to gain more...
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