An enslaved woman brought to the Cape of Good Hope by Dutch slavers, Tryntjie of Madagascar (b. 1688) only appears in the archival records as a result of her criminal conviction. Sentenced to death for several charges—including the attempted poisoning of her enslaver, Elizabeth Lingelbach, and adultery with her enslaver’s husband, Willem Menssink—she was publicly executed, her body left hanging from a forked post. The question of who Tryntjie was, her desires, her motivations, and her fears, marks a seething absence in the archive. Reading her archival remains, scholars and students are left only with an impression of her criminalized agency, a distorted fragment that casts a long shadow into the present.

This essay may be found on page 19 of the printed volume.

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