J.T. van der Kemp and his Critique of the Settler Farmers on the South African Colonial Frontier (1799-1811)
As first London Missionary Society (LMS) President of African Missions in South Africa, J.T. van der Kemp came into conflict with the settler farmers on the South African frontier (1799-1811). This revolves around the fact that the settler farmers saw themselves as settled in South Africa (and not as a temporary phenomenon as perceived by the D.E.I.C.), that they supported the patriot and revolutionary movements in the Netherlands/ Europe, and America, and were critical of both the British and the Dutch governments of their time. They in actual fact rebelled against these government, were slave holders, participated in the slave trade, and manifested ‘cruelty’ towards the Khoi and Xhosa on the frontier. This article unpacks these issues with specific reference to Van der Kemp’s South African texts as published by the LMS in their Transactions of the London Missionary Society Volumes I – III. Theoretically, I draw on some insights from works of Michel Foucault, especially with regard to eighteenth and early nineteenth century ‘representational thought’, where ‘idea’ and ‘object’ are directly related.
Keywords: J.T. van der Kemp, settler farmers, frontier, patriot, rebellion, slavery, baptism, cruelty, Black Circuit Court