Translator, Negotiator & Peacemaker (1642 – 1674)

Krotoa was born in 1642, into the Camissa community of traders who founded the Port of Cape Town. Her name means a girl “in the wardship of others”. Her uncle the Chief Autshumao can be credited with establishing the trading settlement. He was a leader of one of the Khoe or Khoena groups called the Goringhaicona (those who drifted away). The Camissa (//Ammi i ssa or Sweet Waters) is a river flowing from Table Mountain (Hoerikwaggo) to the sea at Table Bay. This was the contact point between the Indigenes and passing ships on the shoreline frontier of the Cape Peninsula (//Hui !Gaeb).

For 52 years before the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck a port community, people referred to by sailors as the Watermen (Watermans), evolved in three stages. The first stage of development was simple opportunistic trading between ships and the indigenes. The second stage was after Chief Xhore of the Goringhaicona people was kidnapped and taken to London in 1613. On his return a more formal approach governed trading through an interlocutor – Xhore. The third phase began around 1630 when Autshumao went to Java with the British and returned to the Cape. He was assisted by the British to establish a trading community of indigenes which comprised a formal trading and port logistical station for passing vessels. Jan van Riebeeck in his journals admits that Autshumao was highly conscious of his role in having started the port. He says, “Herrie (Autshumao) would have it that it was he who started the incipient trade…”

Exposed To Many Languages

The Camissa settlement was a free un-colonised growing port run by indigenes. Ever since 1600 European shipping increased to the East and stopped off in Table Bay. There were 1,071 ships with over 200,000 travellers since 1600 passing through the port on the outward bound journeys alone, with between 6 weeks and 9 months stay-overs by crews and passengers. The indigenes at Camissa had left other groups and began a new economy of trading, facilitating, running a communications service, helping to gather wood for ship repairs, mining for and selling salt, being interlocutors for meat supplies and so on. The port served shipping from the Netherlands, France, England, Portugal and Denmark. It was hardly the barren place with primitive communities who had never previously engaged with Europeans, as projected in some colonial history books. This was the world into which Krotoa was born and raised until 10 years of age. As a result of her uncle Autshumao’s prominent position, she was exposed to many languages and new ideas. Krotoa herself may, from descriptions of her appearance, have been born from a relationship between a European traveller and a Khoe woman in this seaport environment.

VOC Commander Jan van Riebeeck took her into the service of his wife as a maid, possibly recognising that she had many talents. There is disagreement about how Krotoa came to be in the Van Riebeeck household. Some would contend she was possibly kidnapped while others claim it could have been the result of a deal struck between her Uncle Autshumao and Van Riebeeck.

Jan van Riebeeck’s wife Maria de la Quellerie van Riebeeck was a relatively young woman aged 22 who arrived with one child of her own and two orphaned nieces. Maria was sickly and was pregnant almost every year while at the Cape, having one miscarriage after another. She died two years after leaving the Cape. During the period that Krotoa worked for Maria van Riebeeck her Dutch improved considerably and she was used as an interpreter for the Commander. She spent ten years of her life with the van Riebeecks and six of these years as a VOC interpreter, emissary and diplomat.

At first Jan van Riebeeck praised her work but later he began to distrust her and even treat her with disdain. He complained that Krotoa was “Drawing the Longbow” in her interpretations, meaning that he believed that she was misleading him, exaggerating, telling him what she thought he wanted to know, rather than the truth. He intimated that she was disloyal and could not be trusted.

During this time Krotoa’s Uncle Autshumao was treated as an enemy by van Riebeeck and his community of Camissa traders were decimated. Krotoa built bridges between herself and her sister who had married into the Cochoqua tribe to the powerful Chief Oedasoa.

A Dominant Factor

Krotoa was caught in the vortex of social and economic change and wrestled with this wave of change, handling it relatively well for a female teen in the world of roughneck men. These circumstances thrust her into the dangerous and uncertain world of politics and she proved to be a very strong and feisty person in this environment.

Her importance in the early Dutch occupation at the Cape is underlined by the fact that Commander van Riebeeck first provided a simple note on Krotoa in his journal in 1654 by referring to – ‘a girl living with us in the service of my wife from the beginning’. But then after this first mention in the records, the Commander went on to mention her name over 200 times in 65 entries in the journal. Krotoa was a dominant factor in Jan van Riebeeck’s entire time at the Cape of Good Hope.

In Krotoa’s early years with the Van Riebeecks she was as one of six children. These were Maria’s son and two nieces and the other two were the Arabus slave girls, the same age as Krotoa, given to the Commander by a passing French seaman.

After distrust had set in with Jan van Riebeeck he secured the services of another Khoe interpreter, Nommoa or Doman, to try and ‘expose’ Krotoa. He stoked antagonism between these two highly competitive interpreters. Their positions also enabled them to trade for their own benefit (mainly livestock) and this fuelled the antagonism further. Krotoa is likely to have passed her cattle onto Autshumao for tending.

Fiercely Independent & Sharp

In the six years as an interpreter Krotoa grew into a fiercely independent and very sharp woman. A young girl entering into puberty had to be strong in what was a world of 140 roughneck men in the 146 strong (female depleted) European and slave community where protection was far from guaranteed.

Two years after entering service at the Fort, Krotoa absconded with her uncle and had to be brought back to the Fort after Van Riebeeck had pursued them. Between the age of 12 and 15 she was further instructed in language, religion and culture of the Dutch, not for philanthropic reasons, but to act as an interpreter and diplomat. She had been found to have both an aptitude and a flare for the work when the Commander tried her out in this role on a few occasions. At 15 already the Commander indicated in his journal that she was doing interpretation work.

Though some writers try to project that Krotoa was like a foster child to the Van Riebeecks and that she was a pious Christian teen there is nothing in records that suggest that this was the case. Indeed, the facts show the opposite. No attempt was made by the Van Riebeeck’s to baptise Krotoa and that is the only way that she would be regarded as a Christian and Burgher. It was a sign of non-integration into Dutch society. He mode of dress was also not that of the Europeans, but rather that of the slaves and of servitude. She was only baptised just as the Van Riebeecks were leaving the Cape. She was sharp enough to know that baptism would afford her some status and protection. She was baptised at the age of 22 at her own request. The Dutch renamed her Eva. Her role as an interpreter with special status had been abruptly ended as had her wardship under Jan van Riebeeck.

The VOC leaders at the time of Jan van Riebeeck’s departure were warned against her by the Commander. He states in his journal that the matter was so grave that he could not write it down but could only convey his concern verbally. She was suspected of aiding her people with strategic information and advice, particularly during the first Khoe-Dutch war of 1659 – 60. Krotoa was both a clever and wise young person. She too must have recognised that she was in a powerful position to carry useful information, warnings and good counsel to her people. Jan van Riebeeck strongly hints that this may be the case.

Held Onto Her Traditions

Commander van Riebeeck noted that the child, the teen and the young adult over a 12-year period regularly stripped off her Asian dress — kabaka, sarong and kaparangs — and donned her traditional Khoena clothes (skins) and adornments to engage in rituals and communion with her people. By all accounts she took great pleasure and pride in doing so.

Krotoa was to some degree torn between being Eva and Krotoa. Between being penned into the European world and at the same time being prevented from being part of the Khoena. She was marshalled, briefed and de-briefed by her handler, the Commander. She was asked to go among her people and to report back. At the same time Van Riebeeck did not want her to be with them too long or unchaperoned. She would also at times be asked to go among her people and possibly mislead them. She saw the ruthless and manipulating side of the Commander. He was a hard nut VOC official protecting the interests of a powerful company one day and a gentleman singing her praises the next. Contradictions abounded. As she matured she was clearly less able to be manipulated by Van Riebeeck if you read between the lines of his journal and was split in her loyalties between the VOC and her people.

Jan van Riebeeck was 37 year old by the time Krotoa was doing interpreting. Van Riebeeck was a stout, balding, rough-faced, hardened VOC employee from a posting in Vietnam and highly prejudiced against indigenous people. He was a dishonest man who had been caught out cheating the VOC and enriching himself at its expense. We have a good idea about his outrageous attitude when comparing his counter-report to the VOC after his 18- day visit to the Cape in 1647 to the main report of Captain Janszens who had spent a year at the Cape. The latter recommended that the indigenes were great people for developing a partnership. Van Riebeeck was disparaging and as a non-firsthand witness he misrepresented the situation with his disparaging view of an incident between some of Janzsens’ men and the indigenous people, challenging the (just) manner in which the Captain had dealt with the incident.

Van Riebeeck’s Forced Removals Plan

There is evidence in Van Riebeeck’s letters to the VOC that he wanted permission to enact forced removals plans to rid the Peninsula of indigenes. Jan van Riebeeck was the father of the trends towards “Forced Removals” and “Group Areas” in our history. Krotoa’s entire life was filled with trauma heaped upon trauma. It was a life full of danger. She was distrusted by the Dutch and also by various persons with differing interests among her own people. At the same time, she most likely would have also seen tremendous opportunities around her and surely would have had big dreams of her own.

At times she could have been happy with her own people and treated like a princess but at other times she was surrounded by European men who may have plied her with alcohol and crept into her bed at night. The inner turmoil must have been great and like any person who has been in such situations she became resourceful and streetwise. Her skills as a diplomat and linguist also had a lot riding on it. The wrong word in the wrong company could result in reprisals and death. What a responsibility for a young girl. There were also intense periods of violent conflict and war. On top of all of these experiences she was later a young unmarried mother with two small children. In her later teens Krotoa had two ‘illegitimate’ children at the Fort, indicating that she could have been abused as a female teen in this overwhelmingly male environment. The signs are there that there was likely to have been abuse and that would have gone hand in hand with the introduction of alcohol into her life.

This latter aspect of her experience – alcohol, was to have a devastating effect on her future. In a fort and environment mainly made up of European men, a child of colour, and indigene on top everything, would have been prey to these wild roughnecks. The use of alcohol and tobacco was policy of the Commander to control the local people as well as the 400 West African slave children who arrived in 1658, sick and dying. Krotoa too it would seem, could have been pacified with alcohol and tobacco introduced to her by Van Riebeeck. This would have started her path of destruction.

Finding Herself

Krotoa particularly between 1656 and 1662 blossomed and found herself. She turned a situation of being used and manipulated into an advantage for herself and her people. Krotoa’s chief critic was her competitor, the fellow interpreter and an open resister of the Dutch, Nommoa or Doman. He criticised her and implied that she had compromised her people. Krotoa and Doman clashed around who was a more able interpreter and Doman then accused her to unseat her. They both accused each other for whatever reason they harboured.

Krotoa certainly gave excellent interpretation and diplomatic service to the Dutch, but equally she provided the same for Chief Oedasoa and her people. It also emerges from Van Riebeeck’s journal that she could have been quietly providing intelligence to the Cochoqua in their more subtle struggles with the Dutch. Her information from Chief Oedasoa conveyed to the Dutch during the Khoena-Dutch war was nuanced in favour of the Cochoqua’s stance. She further showed great loyalty to her uncle Autshumao when he increasingly became persona non grata to the Dutch. All of this was noticed and commented upon by Commander van Riebeeck.

To understand Krotoa’s resistance role one needs to look at the Khoena’s overall resistance strategy – one that ultimately failed after the second Khoena-Dutch war of resistance. The Khoena strategy was one of containment. That is to keep the Dutch isolated from the interior by means of a blockade and, to keep them economically dependent on the Peninsula Khoena. Jan van Riebeeck’s counter-strategy was to break out of any blockade and to open direct contact with the interior by means of divide and rule tactics.

Khoena Divisions

The Khoena’s Achilles’ heel was their own divisions. There were three main tactical approaches to dealing with the Dutch and these were unfortunately competitive. Krotoa played her crucial part as an ally of Chief Oedosoa.

The first tactician, Autshumao’s approach was to pressurise the Dutch to stay locked in to the Table Bay area and to remain dependent on the Goringhaicona for all trading with the interior. He went to great lengths to ensure that direct contact between the Dutch and the other Khoena clans were kept to a minimum. Autshumao also resorted to trying to play up the English threat to the Dutch which he knew to be their fear. Autshumao and his small Camissa group were however, soon overwhelmed by the Dutch. During the first Dutch-Khoena war van Riebeeck put a bounty on the heads of all of those associated with the Camissa/Goringhaicona trading station. They were wiped out in an ambush. Autshumao only survived because he was incarcerated on Robben Island.

The second tactician was Nommoa also known as Doman, who had learnt much about the Dutch weaknesses after he had travelled to Batavia (Jakarta) and back to the Cape. He followed a similar tactic to that of Autshumao, but with significant differences. He saw Authshumao’s Camissa people as insignificant in numbers, not militant enough and undisciplined. Nommoa sought to replace the Dutch dependency on Autshumao and also on Krotoa with himself. In turn he also attempted to develop a united front between the Goringhaiqua and Gorachoqua to stand up against the Dutch and flex their muscles. Ultimately his solution was a military one in which he felt that by going to war, the Dutch would capitulate. Under Nommoa the Peninsula Khoena went to war in the first Khoena-Dutch war of resistance from 1659 – 1660. The result of the conflict was a stalemate, but the wounded Nommoa’s power and influence was reduced. The Dutch made significant gains.

The third tactic was employed by Chief Oedasoa of the Cochoqua. The containment strategy took a completely different approach through what was essentially a diplomacy and brinkmanship tactic. Oedasoa had large herds of cattle outside of the immediate reach of the Dutch as well as the numerical strength to oppose them and isolate them to the Peninsula. But he needed to bring his entire operation nearer to effect both a blockade and open up direct trade. He also faced the hostility of all of the Peninsula Khoena clans. Chief Oedasoa needed to tread carefully. He needed to either subject the Peninsula Khoena to his rule or he needed to win them over to a united front. He thus operated in a manner that kept both options open.

Divide & Rule

Oedasoa knew that if he entered the territory being occupied by the Dutch in a piecemeal manner, and if small groups of Cochoqua were constantly attacked by Peninsula Khoena, the Dutch would eventually get the upper hand through divide and rule tactics. Chief Oedasoa utilising the skills of his wife’s sister Krotoa, attempted to present the Dutch with an offer he believed that they could not refuse. He offered to bring his cattle and people into the Peninsula where he would keep order among all of the Khoena as long as the Dutch assisted him in such a move and extended a sole and direct trading relationship with the Cochoqua. Effectively this would have made the Cochoqua the sole Khoena authority in the region and a large and economically powerful enough Khoena presence. Surrounding the Dutch would in his belief have effectively contained them.

Krotoa played a crucial part to realise this strategy. She first did her rounds raising enough cattle to provide Van Riebeeck with a taster for the economic gains that he could make. She then set up meetings at the highest levels between Jan van Riebeeck and the Cochoqua. And finally as interpreter she passionately argued the case for the Cochoqua.

But Van Riebeeck smelt a rat. He began to distrust where Krotoa’s loyalties lay. He refused to go along with Chief Oedosoa. He first wanted the Cochoqua to demonstrate loyalty to the Dutch by allying with them against the Peninsula Khoena. This would have amounted to removing the thorn in the side of the Dutch without any immediate gain for Oedosoa. The chief was no fool and decided to walk away, telling Van Riebeeck that he would have no part in his war against his fellow Khoena.

But Van Riebeeck smelt a rat. He began to distrust where Krotoa’s loyalties lay. He refused to go along with Chief Oedosoa. He first wanted the Cochoqua to demonstrate loyalty to the Dutch by allying with them against the Peninsula Khoena. This would have amounted to removing the thorn in the side of the Dutch without any immediate gain for Oedosoa. The chief was no fool and decided to walk away, telling Van Riebeeck that he would have no part in his war against his fellow Khoena.

Death & Departures

The diplomatic brinkmanship of the Cochoqua through Krotoa did not win the day. Oedosoa’s struggle continued for another decade well after Van Riebeeck’s time. Krotoa had however, exposed herself and her loyalties to her people and she was to pay a heavy price for this. Her role as interpreter and emissary came to an abrupt end and her relationship with her protector, Jan van Riebeeck, soured. This threatened her place in Dutch society at the Fort.

There were few entries about Krotoa in the Commander’s journal from this point onwards. The last entry showing Krotoa as interpreter was in 1661. By 1662 the Commander and his family were about to leave the Cape. Over the next decade after the Peninsula Khoena had been subdued, the Dutch and the Cochoqua were on a collision path that ultimately resulted in the second Khoena-Dutch war of resistance leading to the defeat of the Cochoqua and the Khoena strategy of containment. The importation of horses (cavalry), more soldiers and guns gave the Dutch the strategic advantage in war. Mobility and fire-power was their key to success as was their divide and rule strategy. Krotoa’s life underwent a new dramatic change in 1662 when Commander van Riebeeck left the Cape. It also coincided with the death of her uncle Autshumao, her mother’s death and the death of her sister, the wife of Chief Oedosoa.

Faced with her uncle, mother and sister’s deaths, and with the growing distrust in her by the Dutch, the deaths of the few Dutch friends that she still had and, the fact that her main patrons the Van Riebeeck’s were about to leave the Cape, Krotoa needed to find some security. She had to use all that she had learnt to make her next moves.

She found her tenuous security in requesting to be baptised as a Christian and by entering a marriage which could be characterised as one of convenience with a VOC official. While some Europeans opposed this marriage as scandalous, it was a convenience not only for Krotoa but also for the VOC as it provided a means to spirit Krotoa away from the public gaze without too much ado. The VOC could manipulate its officials’ lives in whichever way they desired.


The man that she married was a Danish man, Peter Havgardt who by a custom enforced by the VOC adopted the Dutch persona of Pieter van Meerhof. Known as the VOC surgeon (known at the time as barbers) responsible for amputations. The marriage effectively was another wardship and allowed the company to quickly dispatch Krotoa and van Meerhof to company duties on Robben Island… a kind of exile. This did two things – it cut off Krotoa from supplying information to her people and it took her out of circulation among the emerging gentry where the presence of the young Khoena woman was an embarrassment, particularly because of the prior dalliances of their husbands during the time when women were in short supply.

On Robben island Krotoa gave birth to another child. Cut off from her people and her life at the Fort she suffered even more abuse. Van Meerhoff requested ‘surgical assistance’ from the mainland at one time because Krotoa had been hurt. He claimed she was sitting, fell over and hit her head on the side of a staircase. She was unconscious for three days. The doctor who came to attend to her found that her cranium was cracked. Hardly the type of injury you get when you slip from your seat.

Pieter van Meerhof grew tired of Robben Island and was away from the island periodically on expeditions. After having another child with Krotoa, he seized an opportunity to go on a slaving operation to Madagascar and in the course of the expedition he lost his life. His role of ‘taming’ Krotoa as new custodian of the ‘ward’, had lost steam and, there is evidence that the VOC had plans to establish him in a senior position in Mauritius. The short marriage between Pieter and Krotoa had come apart at the seams.


Their marriage had only lasted three years. After her husband was killed, Krotoa was temporarily allowed back on the mainland. She tried to fit into the very different European world to that of her teens. She was for the first time no longer a ‘ward’. But the terrain around her had changed and required a new set of skills and a power base that was not there for her. Krotoa had two more surviving children viewed as ‘illegitimate’. She was rejected by the new gentry and forced to ‘know her place’ amongst the “Free Blacks” and transient lower classes, mainly men, who only wanted her as a drinking companion and to satisfy their sexual urges.

With van Meerhof’s death, the full weight of the years of trauma and displacement weighed heavily on her. The ever-deepening dependency on alcohol, probably first introduced to her in her childhood, took her right over the edge. Her children were removed from her, she was hunted down, thrown into the dungeon and then she was banished to Robben Island. She again was made a ‘ward’ of the VOC and the Dutch Reformed Church. Her children were made ‘wards’ of the church which then parcelled the older children off to a brothel keeper and the younger were given to the “Free Black” Everts family.

During this time on Robben island, in 1673, a certain Willem ten Rhijne, a Dutch visitor to the Cape, described Krotoa as: “…A masterpiece of nature. She had embraced Christianity, spoke fluent English, Dutch, French and Portuguese and was conversant with the Holy Scriptures… in short, she was most commendable, being trained in all womanly crafts and married to one of the surgeons serving the company.” This description contrasts sharply with the figure painted by the Church Council and the VOC authorities at the time.

Historian Karel Schoeman points out how this version by Willem ten Rhijne and another positive note in 1672 by JP Cortemunde contrasts sharply with the accounts in Commander Zacharias Wagenaer’s Journal for 1671 – 74 wherein he refers to Krotoa as ‘drinking herself to death’ and to her ‘vile unchastity’. Krotoa had walked a thin line that determined her relations with her own people and the Dutch. When it mattered most, in the time of war and she truly found herself caught in the middle.

Scorned by the Dutch

She also became the advocate for the Cochoqua strategy to isolate the Dutch settlement and develop an equitable trading relationship. Had the Khoena succeeded under the Cochoqua, Cape Town and indeed South Africa may have had a different history. For her asserted independence and experimental approaches, she was scorned by the Dutch, rejected and treated as one who had betrayed them.

As she found herself more and more of an outcast she turned to alcohol and it took her closer towards her tragic end. She was called “a deceitful whore and a vixen” by the people who once embraced her. Karel Schoeman says that on her death, the new VOC Commander’s Journal talks of her ‘irregular life’ and says that ‘she finally quenched the fire of her lust by the passive acceptance of death’. It would seem that the Journal tells us more about the writer than about Krotoa. In the last decade of her life she was clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after a decade of upheavals, disappointments and abuses.

Krotoa who was a carefree child in the exciting world of the Camissa settlement, experienced the whirlwind of changes brought about by the Dutch settlement on the doorstep of her village. Like the Camissa port community she got swept up by the forces and experiences of the time but began to develop her own form of resistance after having found herself in the extraordinary circumstances of her teenage years. She sought out and followed the potential opportunities that beckoned. She was no ordinary young woman. Right up to her death she refused to be down at heel and cursed the society in which she had felt used and abused.

The Legacy

Without Krotoa and the information she provided, Jan van Riebeeck would never have been able to pass on such a rich wealth of information on the local indigene people to us as recorded in his journals and letters. This is a great legacy that makes Krotoa much more than an interpreter and diplomat. She was also a chronicle.

Krotoa’s life is bound up with the hidden story of the people and events on the banks of the Camissa River of the 1650s and 1660s. By looking at the life and times of Krotoa and her other indigene and slave contemporaries we are able to discover something of ourselves that has been lost in time. Like the Camissa River that still flows hidden beneath the City of Cape Town, so is it with the descendants of the Camissa people. Connecting with Krotoa is one of the keys to unlocking the heritage of many South Africans and rediscovering the strength symbolised by this great ancestor.

Linguistically Krotoa was a pioneer of the Afrikaans language. Xhore, Autshumao, Krotoa and Doman as interpreters were the earliest midwives in the birthing of the linguistic mixture that morphed into the Afrikaans language. They and the earliest slaves were the first to cross the borderline of suiwer-Nederlands (pure Dutch into the world of the patois Cape Dutch or the Creole Afrikaans.

Krotoa was the first indigene African to convert to Christianity in South Africa and she was the first indigene African to formally marry a European.

Her Children

Krotoa’s children Pieternella van Meerhof and Salomon van Meerhof were shipped off to Mauritius in 1677 as wards of Theuntje Bartholomeus van der Linde and her husband Bartholomeus Borns on the ship ‘De Boode’.

Jacobus van Meerhof, the eldest of the children was later also sent off to Mauritius to join them. He would later be sent back to the Cape but died mysteriously on the return voyage.

Krotoa also had two other children which officialdom called ‘illegitimate’. These were Jeronimus and Anthonij. It is not known into whose care they had been placed nor whether either the Church Council or the authorities at the Castle officially even concerned themselves with these children. The records are silent. The only records on Anthonij is that he was alone, unmarried and without children when he died during the smallpox epidemic in 1713. One clue that exists is that Anthonij had the surname Everts suggesting that he was brought up in the care of Anne and Evert of Guinea, two freed African slaves.

Pieternella was to return to the Cape with her husband Daniel Saayman after the Dutch East India Company (VOC) abandoned Mauritius. She died aged 50 in Stellenbosch in that fateful year of the smallpox epidemic in 1713. Daniel died the following year.

Krotoa’s descendants can be traced through four of Petronella’s 8 children, through the Diodata girls in Indonesia, and the Bockelenberg, de Vries and the Zaaiman (Zaayman or Saayman) lines in the Cape.

  • Catharina Zaaiman who was born in 1678 in Mauritius. She married Roelof Diodata and had two
    children, Elizabeth and Agnita. The family moved from Mauritius to settle in Batavia (Jakarta).
  • Magdalena Zaayman who was born in 1682 in Mauritius and married Johannes Bockelenberg and they
    had four children – Petronella, Johannes, Anna Elizabeth and Susanna Bocklenberg.
  • Maria Martha Maryke Zaaiman who was born in 1683 in Mauritius and married Hendrik Abraham de
    Vries who had 4 children Daniel, Jacob, and Izak de Vries.
  • Pieter Zaaiman who was born in 1686 in Mauritius and married Anna Koopman who had 8 children –
    Pieternella, Daniel, Bartholomeus, Engela, Francina, Barend, Cornelis, and Christiaan Zaaiman

These descendants in turn married into many other families in South Africa and it is through thousands of these descendants, carrying many different surnames that the old Camissa community of the Goringhaicona still live

No children are recorded for the other four of Pieternella’s children. These were: Eva Zaaiman who was born in 1680 in Mauritius and died in the Cape. Daniel Zaaiman who was born in 1692 in Mauritius and died in the Cape. Johannes Zaaiman who was born in 1704 in Mauritius and died aged 21 in the Cape. Christiaan Zaaiman who was born in 1708 in Mauritius and died 9 months later in Cape Town.


  • HB Thom edt; Journal of Jan van Riebeeck 1652 – 1662; Van Riebeeck Society; AA Balkema, Cape
    Town / Amsterdam (1958) –
  • Anna Jacoba Böeseken; Die dagregister en briewe van Zacharias Wagenaer 1662 – 1666; (1973)
  • Anna Jacoba Böeseken; Memoriën en instruction 1657 – 1699; (1966)
  • Mansell Upham; Made or Marred by Time;
  • Karel Schoeman; Seven Khoi lives; – Cape biographies of the seventeenth century; Protea; Pretoria
  • Alan Mountain; First People of the Cape; David Philip; Cape Town (2003)
  • Riaan Voster and Alan Hall; The Waters of Table Mountain;
  • Nicolaas Vergunst; Hoerikwaggo – Images of Table Mountain; SA National gallery Iziko Museums;
    Cape town (2000)
  • Nigel Worden, Elizabeth van Heningen, Vivian Bickford-Smith; Cape Town Making of a City; David
    Philip; Cape Town (1998)
  • Adrien Delmas & Nigel Penn; Written culture in a Colonial context: Africa and the Americas 1500 –
    1900; Written culture and the Cape KhoiKhoi – From travel writing to ‘full description; UCT Press
  • William Crooke edt; Tavanier: Travels in India; transl V Ball; (1925)
  • Sir Richard Carnac-Temple; The travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia 1608 – 1667; (1967)
  • JP Cortemünde; Adventures at the Cape of Good Hope; (1962)
  • HCV Leibbrandt; Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope; Journal 1662-70, 1671-74; WA
    Richards & Sons (1901, 1902)
  • John Cope; King of the Hottentots; Howard Timmins; Cape Town (1967)
  • Richard Elphick; KhoiKhoi and the founding of White South Africa; Raven Press; Johannesburg (1985)
  • Schapera edt; Dictionary of South African Biography: The Early Cape Hottentots – Willem ten Rhijne;

Some Modern Sites

  • The original site of the Fort de Goede Hoop of Krotoa’s time is the Grand Parade. In the corridor of the
    lower floor is the preserved aqueduct and reservoir of the Camissa stream as built by the Dutch to harness
    the water.
  • The underground Camissa River: There are tours to look at Camissa underground.
  • The DRC Church alongside the Camissa and next to the Slave Lodge was her last burial place.
    Unfortunately, the remains were symbolically removed from next to the Camissa to the Castle (which wasn’t built during her lifetime) because of poor research by Khoi Revivalists and the SANDF .
  • Robben Island: She was banished so many times to this site.

THE CAMISSA RESERVOIR SITE. Basement, Mall of Golden Acre Centre