South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Krotoa

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Krotoa was a Khoi woman, known as Eva to the Dutch. She was the niece of Autshumato, a Khoi leader. She worked as a domestic servant in the Van Riebeeck house and as a translator for the Dutch authorities. At the age of 21, in 1664, she married a Dutch surgeon, Pieter van Meerhof. At this time marriages between whites and people of colour were not prohibited. A year after their marriage, Van Meerhof got a job on Robben Island as a superintendent. His job was to get rid of snakes, spiders and similar. After only three years of marriage, Van Meerhof was killed by some slaves while on a slaving expedition in Madagascar. Krotoa turned to alcohol, and her children were given to a white family. She was banished to Robben Island as a result of alcohol abuse where she died at the age of 31.
(Source: ‘Soweto’ supplement, The Leader)


This biography is from South African History Online. Used by permission. 
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