There are a number of studies describing colonial lunatic asylums, and more broadly, colonial psychiatry and its operation in Africa.
This monograph breaks new ground in tracing the route of people thought to be `of unsound mind' from their homes and families to eventual committal to a lunatic asylum in the Cape Colony in the late nineteenth century. The central concern is with the complex interface between lunacy legislation, colonial government, families and communities, and the ways in which these aspects affected individuals' experiences of treatment both before and after committal to a lunatic asylum.
A theme linking each chapter is the movement of the insane: in and out of gaols, asylums and families; in and out of the colony by land or sea; and journeys by ship, cart, train or horse in search of care. The management of the insane in the Cape Colony, and the legal and medical institutions with primary responsibility for delivering humane care to this intensely vulnerable group, gives a unique perspective on the operation of colonialism itself. Recommended for: Medical historians; historians of British colonialism, the history of the family and Jewish history; psychiatrists and psychologists.