Cape Town on Foot: Castle to Slave Lodge
Stop and turn to look back at the eleven black stones. These stones were created by Prof. Gavin Younge and Wilma Cruise and unveiled in 2008.
The eleven stones bear the names of slaves, slave ship captains and ships that brought the slaves to the Cape. The names engraved on the two bigger blocks indicate where the slaves came from. Of course, these were not their real names, they were given toponyms of the regions where they were captured or born, such as Ceylon, Madagascar, Malabar, van de Kaap. Or they were named after the month of their arrival or even the name of their owner.
Slaves and their owners were expected to speak Dutch. Imagine the Tower of Babel rising in Cape Town. From the mingling of languages emerged a new language, Afrikaans, which is still one of the eleven official languages of South Africa.
The street running along the side of the monument is Spin Street. Its name is a reminder of Governor Willem van Stel’s failed venture to establish a silk industry in the Cape in the early 1700s.
Turn to face Spin Street and look carefully at the centre isle. Can you make out a large octagonal stone between two trees? This is the “Slave Stone” and apparently marks the spot where the original Slave Tree stood, underneath which slaves were sold.
You're welcome to wander around Church Square and take a closer look at the buildings and slave stones. But first let me point out where I'll meet you next. Can you see the building with wooden shutters over all its windows at the traffic lights? That's the Slave Lodge. Cross over Spin Street and head that way when you're ready.