Friday, 22 June 2018

Slavery and wine

DEON MELCK gave a talk on the Stellenbosch vinery in South Africa at this week’s meeting of Henley Rotary Club.

DEON MELCK gave a talk on the Stellenbosch vinery in South Africa at this week’s meeting of Henley Rotary Club.

He told how it owed its existence to Ansela Van de Caab, one of the earliest slaves in South Africa, and to a pioneering German immigrant to the Cape of Good Hope.

He described how in 1650 Lourens Compler arrived in the Cape from Pomerania and was introduced to Ansela by Dutch reformer Christina Demer, who had purchased Ansela and granted her freedom.

After forming a relationship, the couple had four children and set off into the uplands behind the Cape and began to farm at a site called Stellenbosch.

Their relationship was legitimised in 1690 and, following the death of Lourens, his eldest daughter Cornelius took over the farm.

Unfortunately, Cornelius was not successful and was forced to sell up for a handsome sum and, as they say, the rest is history.

Mr Melck left the club with this poser — was the failure a result of Ansela’s refusal to use slave labour when surrounding businesses had no such scruples?

The vote of thanks was given by Derek Cragg.

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