This digital archive includes the letters written by 19th century magistrate Louis Anthing, as well as images of some of the sites he described and the places where massacres of San by commandos and trekboers took place.

In the 1860s Louis Anthing was appointed special magistrate to Namaqualand. During his tenure he studied the situation of the San on the northern frontier of the colony, investigating claims of atrocities committed against the San. Anthing wrote relentlessly to the Cape government advocating for a magistracy to be established in the Kenhardt district, that land be put aside for the San and that their means of survival be ensured. Although his mission failed, his letters remain as a testament to the cruelty of the settler farmers, the endurance of the San and, indeed, to his own compassion. The digital Louis Anthing includes scans of many of the letters he wrote, and a project to photograph in the areas in which he travelled will, in the future, add another visual component to this collection.

Read Anthing’s report to Parliament in 1863