Reading highlights abolition anniversary

05 November 2007 | Story by Helen Swingler

The Centre for African Studies recently hosted South African-born author Yvette Christiansë who read excerpts from her novel, Unconfessed. Poet and fiction writer, Christiansë emigrated with her parents via Swaziland to Australia at 18.

Unconfessed (2006), her first novel, tells the story of a 19th century South African slave, Sila van den Kaap.

Inspired by actual court records, the novel follows Sila's struggle for survival as she is passed from master to master, farm to farm, and ultimately, from prison to prison.

The Cape Town launch of the book took place at the Slave Lodge, built in 1679, a hub of slave life in the Cape Colony.

The reading formed part of UCT's Respect campaign, encouraging "the discovery of a different heritage and history", said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Hall.

"Beneath the landscape Cecil John Rhodes created lies another landscape of slavery, of those who settled along the Liesbeeck River."

The reading also highlighted the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill, introduced on 25 March 1807, bringing the slave trade to an end in the former British Empire.

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