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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1812. Apprenticeship of Servants Act

[or Proclamation?] Freund (1989: 353) refer to this as the APPRENTICESHIP OF SERVANTS LAW; Simons & Simons (1969: 16) refer to it simply as PROCLAMATION of 1812; Marais (1938: 127) refers to it as CRADOCK'S APPRENTICESHIP LAW.

Apparently it is a reworking of the HOTTENTOT PROCLAMATION (Crais 1992: 60). Together with some other proclamation issued in 1819, the APPRENTICESHIP OF SERVANTS ACT "allowed a settler to apprentice and employ without remuneration a free Coloured child, from the age of eight to eighteen years, if it was an orphan, or destitute, or had grown up on the employer's farm" (Simons & Simons 1969: 16).

Marais (1938: 118, note 3) further states that the concept of 'apprenticeship' "was first introduced in 1775 when it was applied to the children of slave men and Hottentot women, who were apprenticed to the farmers on whose 'places' they were born, till their twenty-fifth year ... the practice seems to have been extended to purely Hottentot children, but for them was abolished shortly before 1795. Slave-Hottentot children, however, were still being apprenticed as late as 1799."

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.