n Historia - The last of the frontiersmen who lived between empire and kingdom
Cetywayo and the Three Generals, 1861-1879, John Dunn : book review

Volume 60, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



John Dunn's autobiography forms part of a historiography that offers us a fascinating perspective of a witness to his times. His account is certainly not that of a bystander or spectator because he had a vested interest in the outcome of the events he writes about. It is entirely possible that on occasion, as a key player, he even had a hand in shaping some of these events. Therefore Dunn's treatise is best read together with the other evidence in our possession, made up of official documents; further witness reports; and the oral histories of the Zulu nation, in order to arrive closer to the historical "truth" via triangulation. When reading this autobiography one has to constantly keep in mind the self serving nature of the work, which is in reality Dunn's attempt to legitimise his status as a civilising force on, and intermediary with, the Zulu nation.

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