Finding Meermin

  • Location: Maritime Centre
  • From: June 27, 2011     To: August 31, 2016
Finding Meermin
Lines plan of the Hoeker Meermin by J. Vlaming, 1760. Courtesy of the Scheepvaart Museum, Amsterdam

This exhibition focuses on the saga surrounding the slave ship, Meermin. It includes extracts from the newly filmed documentary, “Slave Ship Mutiny”, a touch-screen with a 3D digital model of the ship, as well as educational material. Designed as a travelling exhibition, it will be featured at upcoming events and schools in the region.

The Meermin left Madagascar on 20 January 1766 with 140 slaves. After a few days on the voyage, the slaves seized an opportune moment and revolted, taking over the ship and killing half the crew. The slaves, unable to sail the ship themselves, came to an agreement with the sailors to spare their lives if they sailed the ship back to Madagascar. The Dutch, however, set course for the Cape and eventually reached Cape Agulhas.

After several trips ashore by the slaves and interventions from local Dutch farmers, the ship ran aground.

In 2004, Iziko Museums started a National Lotteries-funded attempt to locate the wreck of the Meermin. Groundbreaking new technology was employed in the search for this enigmatic shipwreck. These included an airborne gradiometer survey and excavation methodologies at the location in the De Mond Nature Reserve on the Cape South Coast. Other aspects of the project included the development of a Waterlogged Objects Conservation laboratory with unique capabilities, including a freeze-drying facility.


Jaco Boshoff
Tel: +27(0)21 467 7204

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