Classic DACB CollectionAll articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.
Van Meerhof, Eva
Eva van Meerhof (née Eva Krotoa, and also known as “Eva the Hottentot”) (circa 1642-74) was a Khoikhoi (Hottentot) interpreter who married the Afrikaner explorer Pieter van Meerhof. She was the first black African to marry a South African white in a Christian ceremony.
Belonging to a Khoikhoi band near Cape Town, she had been adopted into the household of Jan van Riebeeck as a servant. Learning Dutch and some Portuguese, she acted unofficially as an interpreter for the Dutch East India Company in its dealings with the Khoikhoi. She was baptized a Christian in 1664, and married van Meerhof in 1666; he died the following year.
After his death, she reputedly followed a dissolute life style which brought her into disrepute with the Dutch community, and resulted in her losing custody of her children. South African whites came to regard her as a symbol of Khoikhoi degeneration. Some of her own people, however, saw her as a traitor and tool of the Dutch.
Mark R. Lippschutz and R. Kent Rasmussen, Dictionary of African Biography, Chicago. Alpine Publishing Co. 1978.
Readers’ Digest, Illustrated History of South Africa: The Real Story, Readers’ Digest, Pleasantville, N.Y., 1988.
This article was reprinted from The Encyclopaedia Africana Dictionary of African Biography (In 20 Volumes). Volume Three: South Africa- Botswana-Lesotho-eswatini. Ed. Keith Irvine. Algonac, Michigan: Reference Publications Inc., 1995. All rights reserved.