1887

n Historia - Shaka the great

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Abstract

Recognising the unavoidable bias of colonial sources, the article reassesses the personality and career of Shaka by means of oral tradition alone. In doing so, it explicitly rejects the opinion, currently prevalent in South African studies, that oral historical narratives are nothing more than a variant of oral narratives generally in favour of the view that oral historical narratives possess underlying invariant structural elements. The body of the article consists of a structural analysis of the oral historical narratives concerning Shaka's accession to power and his role in the death of his mother Nandi. Shaka emerges from this analysis as a distinctive figure who intervened decisively in the history of the Zulu kingdom. The extraordinary violence of his reign and the abrupt break with social norms inherent in his abolition of circumcision must be explained in terms of his ultimate objective of destroying the family and replacing it with an entirely new social organism based on the state. Dingane, by assassinating Shaka, prevented him from realising his ambitions, and it is Dingane, not Shaka, who must be seen as the true founder of the mature Zulu state.


Hierdie artikel erken dat koloniale bronne onvermydelik bevooroordeeld is, en gaan dan voort om die persoonlikheid en loopbaan van Shaka te herevalueer, gebaseer op slegs mondelinge oorlewering. Deur dit te doen, verwerp die artikel op duidelike wyse die opinie wat tans so algemeen in Suid-Afrikaanse studies voorkom, naamlik dat mondelinge historiese oorleweringe niks meer is as 'n variasie van mondelinge oorleweringe nie. Dit betoog ten gunste van die mening dat mondelinge historiese oorleweringe onderliggende onveranderlike strukturele elemente besit. Die hoofdeel van die artikel bestaan uit 'n strukturele analise van die mondelinge historiese oorleweringe rakende Shaka se magsoorname en die rol wat hy in sy moeder, Nandi, se dood gespeel het. Shaka tree uit hierdie analise na vore as 'n uitsonderlike figuur wat op beslissende wyse in die geskiedenis van die Zoeloeryk ingegryp het. Die buitengewoon gewelddadige aard van sy heerskappy en die plotselinge breuk met sosiale norme inherent aan sy afskaffing van besnydenis, moet verduidelik word in terme van sy uiteindelike doelwit om die familiestruktuur te vernietig en met 'n volkome nuwe sosiale organisme, gebaseer op die staat, te vervang. Deur die sluipmoord op Shaka, het Dingane voorkom dat Shaka in sy voorneme geslaag het en dus is dit Dingane, en nie Shaka nie, wat as die ware stigter van die volwaardige Zoeloestaat beskou moet word.

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/content/hist/54/1/EJC38347
2009-05-01
2016-12-07
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