Ships of Bondage and the Fight for Freedom

  • Location: Slave Lodge
  • From: December 3, 2013     To: March 31, 2014
Ships of Bondage and the Fight for Freedom

Ships of Bondage and the Fight for Freedomtells the story of slave insurrections on three vessels: the Amistad, the Meermin, and the Sally. It examines the global networks involved in the slave trade during the period of European colonial empires and explores the struggle of the enslaved to resist captivity, gain freedom and return to their homelands.

The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University in Rhode Island, United States, are the curators of this exhibition, which will be on display at the Iziko Slave Lodge in Cape Town, South Africa, until 28 February 2014.

The exhibition provides a unique platform to share the global history of the slave trade and its contemporary legacies.

The slave ship Sally was commissioned by the Brown brothers, early benefactors to the Ivy League Institution, Brown University. In 1765 the ship experienced what the captain deemed a “failed insurrection.”

In 1766, 146 slaves from Madagascar in an insurrectionary act, seized the slave vessel, the Meermin, bound for the Cape Colony.

In 1839, a group of Africans slipped their chains on La Amistad and seized the ship. Archival images and documents provide an opportunity to give voice to these brave individuals who fought to regain their freedom and others like them whose stories are often left out of historical accounts.

Once a space associated with inequalities; the Slave Lodge symbolized brutal oppression, the yearning for freedom and resistance to oppression. 

The many names of the building over three centuries – Slave Lodge, Government Offices Building, Old Supreme Court, and SA Cultural History Museum – reflect its long, complex and often painful history. Today, Iziko is committed to transforming the Lodge from a site of human wrongs to a space connecting us to our past – raising awareness of issues of human rights, equality and justice.

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