The Slave Lodge in Cape Town is an unprepossessing building on Wale Street close to the Cathedral, the Company Gardens and the Houses of Parliament. Don’t be fooled by its lightly coloured exterior, as the exhibitions inside reveal dark secrets about its past.

The Slave Lodge was built in 1679, making it the second oldest colonial building in South Africa. It continued to be used until 1834 when slavery was abolished and during these 155 years, approximately 9,000 slaves who belonged to the Dutch East India Company would have lived here. The Company maintained a settlement at the Cape and needed the slaves to support its profitable Asian trading operations.

The exhibitions outline the history of slavery and its scope. Slaves were brought to The Cape from most of the countries bordering the Indian Ocean though the four main areas were Indonesia, the Indian sub-continent, Madagascar and Mozambique. The cramped conditions of their passage are outlined in diagrams. Individual slaves are honoured in a column of names.

The Slave Lodge is a place that everyone should visit. In Western minds slavery is associated with the transport of humans across the Atlantic from Africa to North America. This museum will show that a similar trade went on at the same time in the Indian Ocean.

Traveler JulianJulian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734