Susanna van Mombasa, SM/PROG

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Susanna van Mombasa, SM/PROG

Also Known As: "van Bambaser", "Susanna from Bombasa", "van Bombasa", "Susanna van Bambasa", "Susanna van Macassar", "Madagaskar"
Birthplace: Mombasa, Kenya
Immediate Family:

Partner of Gerrit Gerritsz, SV/PROG and Anthoniij van Angola
Mother of Hermanus Gerrits, b1; Hilletje Gerritzs b2; Maria Brits, b3; Sophia Elizabeth Koeleke, b4 SM; Susanna Gerritsz, b5 and 1 other

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Susanna van Mombasa, SM/PROG

Gerrit Gerrits

of Gerritz v. Oldenburg. As soldaat vermeld in 1693, burger 1698, †1730. Hy het vyf onegte kinders gehad by Susanna, v. Bombassa.


The First Fifty Years Project

  • Susanna van Mombasa was born circa 1660 at Mombasa.

Before Susanna van Mombasa and Anthonij van Angola were in a defacto relationship at de Caep de Goede Hoop 22 October 1696

Circa 1700 Susanna van Mombasa and Gerrit Gerrits were in a defacto relationship at de Caep de Goede Hoop.

Susanna van Mombasa was sold by Hillegond Redoux, to Hester van Lier on 15 June 1680 for 20 Rds (rycksdaalders)

She was owned by Elisabeth van Angola, c1690

Susanna was emancipated by Anthonij van Angola, with the authority of Henningh Hùijsing and Willem Corsenaar on 22 October 1696. In the emancipation record, Anthonij is described as Susanna's husband. They could not have been legally married because Susanna was a slave, but the relationship appears to have clearly been a defacto marriage. Although Anthonij was already deceased at the time, he had prior to his death promised Susanna she and her children would be freed and this was carried out by the authorities because of the testimony of Grimp and Van der Bijl.

Child - father Anthonij van Angola

  • Marta b. c 1694; In sy ongeduldigheid het hy vir Marta, haar kind, gegryp en “seer deerlijck” met 'n stok geslaan. Susanna kon slegs die baba bykom en het daarmee na hul buurman Isak Schrijve gevlug. Later die aand het Paij Zijlo (waarskynllk Marquart van Ceylo) vir Mart daar aangebring, “deerlijck bebloet” weens die hou teen die hoof en 'n sny aan die arm.11

Father Gerrit Gerrits


  • Maria Gerrits bapt. 30 Aug 1705, d. 30 Mar 1738


Added by: Gerhardus Frederik Oosthuizen

Attention now falls on the central figure of this study, Gerrit’s consort Susanna of Bambaser. Her place of origin has not been identified despite extensive research. The name is variously spelt as Bombaser and Bambaser9 in documents referring to her and in the Dutch Reformed Church baptismal registers she appears as of Macassar and of Madagascar. Neither Bambaser or Bombasa has to my knowledge been found as referring to any slave at the Cape and the location remains unsolved.

The first document that refers to Susanna is to be found in the volumes of Scheepenkennisse for 1695-1696 in the Deeds Registry, Cape Town12 (The volume is unpaginated and unnumbered but the document can be located next to Transfer 402 which does appear.) However it seems obvious that she had been at the Cape for a few years before 1696 for this document is in fact her emancipation from slavery, and it provides details of her life that would otherwise have remained hidden. It is a fascinating document and far more than the stereotyped freedom papers usually to be found, for Hugo de Goyer, the secretary or the Council of Policy which normally handles such matters, added that six weeks before his death, her late master Anthony of Angola had told her “synde geweest de lyfeigen van Anthony van Angola”, that he intended to free her from slavery. This freedom was to include that of her child, fathered by another man, and her unborn child by Anthony himself.

Unfortunately Anthony died before he could carry out his promise and his posthumous son was therefore born a slave. However, the matter of the proposed emancipation had apparently been common knowledge and two well-known burgers of Stellenbosch, where Anthony lived, Hans Jurgen Grimpe and Pieter van der Bijl came to the aid of Susanna and the deposition that they made to this effect bore sufficient weight for the authorities to grant the requested freedom forthwith.

It is obvious that Susanna was living with Anthony at the time of his death and that she had apparently taken the place of his former consort, Lysbet of Angola who had died towards the end of 169314. Anthony was an enterprising freeblack who, with his partner Manuel of Angola had been granted some 57 morgen of land in the Mostertsdrift area of Stellenbosch in 169215. The census return for that year states that he had already worked the property for 9 years, not an unusual situation at that date, and that he possessed 4000 vines, 154 sheep and had sown and reaped both corn and rye with the assistance of one man slave: that he had a wife named as Lysbet, but no children. No slave woman is mentioned in this document and her appearance in the inventory of the deceased Anthony in September 1696 as “den slavin Susanna en haar kint” establishes the fact that she was acquired between those dates. Their humble little home was described, and the entire story of Anthony appears in The Slaves and Freeblacks of the Cape 1658-1700 by Dr A.J. Boeseken on pages 88-89.

After the death of Anthony, Susanna, with or without the two children, (there is no further mention of them) apparently made her way to the Cape for there is no evidence that Gerrits was ever resident in the Stellenbosch district. Somehow she came under his protection, and into his home, where she remained for the rest of her life of thirty-five years as his wife in all but name, and the mother of their five chiJdren. No evidence has to date been found of the exact date of Susanna’s death which took place after that of Gerrits in 1730.

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Susanna van Mombasa, SM/PROG's Timeline

Mombasa, Kenya
Age 41
Suid Afrika, Kaap
May 20, 1703
Age 43
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
August 30, 1705
Age 45
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Age 48
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Age 52
Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa