Loyalism in the Cape colony: Exploring the Khoesan subject-citizen space, c.1828-1834
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This article presents the argument that British loyalism became a defining feature of Khoesan identity during the period from 1828 to 1834. The analysis suggests that expressions of loyalty to the British Crown reflected Khoesan claims to a civic identity that transcended their position of inferiority in Cape colonial society. Loyalism functioned as a collective identity that reflected a sense of belonging to an imagined, British-inspired, civic nation via the performance of subject-citizenship. During the early nineteenth century, the Cape Colony witnessed spirited public debates over the desirability of the extension of civil rights to its indigenous subjects. In the process, Khoesan subject-citizenship became entangled with loyalist impressions of empire which transcended local authorities and racial hierarchies. There was no universal group response to settler-colonialism by the Khoesan. The path to Khoesan subject-citizenship was determined by the extent to which individuals were exposed to ideas and imaginings of imperial civic nationhood and loyalism. Colonial law, evangelical-humanitarianism and imperial commissions of inquiry all functioned as important conduits of the notions of subjectcitizenship and loyalism; together, and to varying degrees, these influences shaped Khoesan claims to a subject-based civic identity. The discussion focuses on Khoesan claims to subject-citizen status following the passage of Ordinance 50 in 1828 and in particular, at the time of the vagrancy agitation of 1834.