Shadrach Boyce Mama

Shadrach Boyce Mama

Shadrach Boyce Mama

The APS received a single letter from Shadrach Boyce Mama dated 29 December 1879.

Mama was born in 1855 as a nephew of the chief of the Gqunukwebe Xhosa, who had been expelled from the Neutral/Ceded Territory in 1819 and later established themselves as British loyalists on the border of British Kaffraria.

Mama’s uncle was the first Xhosa chief to publicly convert to Christianity, and his brother, Boyce, became a reverend at a mission school in Graham’s Town. Mama was educated at the Heald Town mission school, received his Government Elementary Teacher’s Certificate in 1877, and afterwards worked as an interpreter for the Cape government.

He was brought as an interpreter to the eastern Cape during the Ninth Frontier War of 1877-78, and accompanied a group of prisoners who were brought back to Cape Town. During this trip Mama witnessed government officials overseeing an auction of prisoners as indentured labour, and it was this auction that Mama wrote about to the Aborigines’ Protection Society.

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