This book examines the social transformation wrought by the abolition of slavery in 1834 in South Africa's Cape Colony. It pays particular attention to the effects of socioeconomic and cultural changes in the way both freed slaves and dominant whites adjusted to the new world. It compares South Africa's relatively peaceful transition from a slave to a non-slave society to the bloody experience of the US South after abolition, analyzing rape hysteria in both places as well as the significance of changing concepts of honor in the Cape. Finally, the book examines the early development of South Africa's particular brand of racism, arguing that abolition, not slavery itself, was a causative factor; although racist attitudes were largely absent while slavery persisted, they grew incrementally but steadily after abolition, driven primarily by whites' need for secure, exploitable labor.

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