1st Edition

Khoesan and Imperial Citizenship in Nineteenth Century South Africa

By Jared McDonald Copyright 2023

    This volume explores the formative and expressive dynamics of Khoesan identity during a crucial period of incorporation as an underclass into Cape colonial society.

    Khoesan and Imperial Citizenship in Nineteenth Century South Africa emphasises loyalism and subjecthood – posited as imperial citizenship – as foundational aspects of Khoesan resistance to the debilitating effects of settler colonialism. The work argues that Khoesan were active in the creation of their identity as imperial citizens and that expressions of loyalty to the British Crown were reflective of a political and civic consciousness that transcended their racially defined place in Cape colonial society. Following a chronological trajectory from the mid-1790s to the late 1850s, author Jared McDonald examines the combined influences of colonial law, evangelical-humanitarianism, imperial commissions of inquiry, and the abolition of slavery as conduits for the notion of imperial citizenship. As histories and legacies of colonialism come under increasing scrutiny, the history of the Khoesan during this period highlights the complex nature of power and its imposition, and the myriad, nuanced ways in which the oppressed react, resist, and engage.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and students working on British imperialism in Africa, as well as histories of settler colonialism, nationalism, and loyalism.

    1. Masters and Subjects: The British Occupations and Khoesan Subjecthood, 1795–1828 2. Subjecthood in Contest: The Demise and Incorporation of San, 1806–1830 3. Imperial Citizenship and Nationalism: Civil Rights, Political Consciousness, and the Deployment of Loyalty as Resistance, 1828–1834 4. Competing Loyalties: Masters, Missionaries, and the Monarch, 1830–1850 5. From Resistance to Rebellion: Khoesan Loyalism and Its Discontents, 1849–1858


    Jared McDonald is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History and Assistant Dean of the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of the Free State, South Africa. His research interests include the history of the London Missionary Society in southern Africa, settler-colonialism, and histories of children as victims of genocide. He has published on these themes in Historia (2022) and the Journal of Genocide Research (2016).