1887

n Historia - The many battles of Isandlwana : a transformation in historiography

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Abstract

The Battle of Isandlwana was a dramatic turning-point in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, and has become an icon of South African heritage because of the crushing defeat inflicted on the invading imperial British army by the indigenous Zulu one. In the historical literature of the war, the official British account of the battle held sway till 1965. In that year Donald Morris' and the movie awakened a popular interest in the war which has endured to this day. More important for the battle itself, David Jackson's took apart the official account and reassembled the known facts in new account. Thanks largely to Morris, since 1965 the war has averaged a new book a year, most of them (and several exclusively) dealing with Isandlwana. Thanks to Jackson, a revolution has taken place in the interpretation of the battle, sustained by new sources and perspectives, most notably ones which focus on the Zulu victory, rather than the British defeat. The great majority of the writers are popular (and amateur) historians. Unfortunately their knowledge of historical method varies greatly and their handling of source material often is weak. As a consequence of this, we are still without a comprehensive and reliable account of the battle.


Die Slag van Isandlwana was 'n dramatiese keerpunt in die Anglo-Zuluoorlog van 1879. As gevolg van die verpletterende neerlaag wat die invallende imperiale Britse weermag daar onder die plaaslike Zululeër gely het, het die slag 'n ikoon van die Suid-Afrikaanse erfenis geword. In geskiedkundige literatuur oor die oorlog, het die amptelike Britse weergawe van die slag tot 1965 die botoon gevoer. In dié jaar het Donald Morris se publikasie , asook die rolprent openbare belangstelling in die oorlog aangewakker wat tot vandag toe voortduur. Van meer belang vir die slag self, was David Jackson se publikasie . Dit het die amptelike weergawe van die stryd ontleed en die bekende feite in 'n nuwe vorm hersaamgestel. Veral danksy Morris, het die oorlog sedert 1965 gemiddeld tot die verskyning van 'n boek per jaar aanleiding gegee. Die meeste hiervan het aandag aan Isandlwana gegee - sommige het dit selfs as eksklusiewe onderwerp behandel. Jackson het daarvoor gesorg dat 'n rewolusie in die vertolking van die slag plaasgevind het. Dit is onderhou deur nuwe bronne en perspektiewe, veral dié wat eerder op die Zuluoorwinning as die Britse neerlaag fokus. Die grootste meerderheid van die skrywers hiervan is populêre (en amateur) historici. Ongelukkig wissel hulle kennis van historiese metodologie en dikwels benut hulle die beskikbare bronne op onoordeelkundige wyses. As gevolg hiervan beskik ons nog steeds nie oor 'n omvattende en betroubare weergawe van die slag nie.

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/content/hist/52/1/EJC38247
2007-05-01
2016-12-09
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