n Historia - Magema Fuze: The Making of a Kholwa Intellectual, Hlonipha Mokoena : book review

Volume 57, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Magema M. Fuze emerges from this exceptional study as a far more interesting and thoughtful character than modern scholars have imagined. The very circumstances that propelled him into the public eye in the 1860s and 1870s ensured that he would be underrated as an independent thinker. Anglican Bishop J.W. Colenso during the early, evangelical phase of his career enrolled Fuze as a student in his short-lived experiment in elite education, Ekukhanyeni School. After the school fizzled out due to Colenso's financial problems and loss of interest, Fuze stayed on as the bishop's printer. From time to time Colenso wheeled him out as an "authentic" voice of Zulu public opinion. Miraculously, Fuze's views always ran parallel to the bishopâ??s current enthusiasms. After his death, Fuze continued in the employment of the Colenso daughters, Harriette and Agnes, who dedicated their lives to the bishop's last cause: justice for the Zulu royal house. In this capacity he accompanied Dinuzulu during his exile on the island of St. Helena. Up to this point Fuze's public life may be regarded as a textbook example of colonial ventriloquism; he was ever the loyal subaltern whose black skin and Zulu speech could be invoked in support of the Colensos' positions on current affairs.

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