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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Literary Portrait of Chaka: Thomas Mofolo and Mazisi Kunene
Author:Bodunde, Charles A.ISNI
Periodical:African Study Monographs
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:traditional rulers
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
About person:Shaka king of Zululand (ca. 1787-1828)ISNI
External link:https://jambo.africa.kyoto-u.ac.jp/kiroku/asm_normal/abstracts/pdf/ASM%20%20Vol.14%20No.1%201993/Charles%20A.%20BODUNDE.pdf
Abstract:This paper examines two literary works on Shaka Zulu, one by Thomas Mofolo ('Chaka', written in 1908 in the Sotho language), the other by Mazisi Kunene ('Emperor Shaka the Great', 1979), and determines the antipodal perceptions of Shaka embodied in these works, noting in particular the way in which genre choice (romance and epic) becomes part of the interpretation. The central purpose of the paper is to review the available historiography on Shaka in order to lay the basis for the different portraits of this Zulu king in the works of Mofolo and Kunene. It appears that some historians try to create the impression that Shaka was a ruthless tyrant whose amorality represented a satanic pursuit. Others explain Shaka's action in the context of the demands of his time and portray him as a gifted warrior with a revolutionary spirit. Literary works on Shaka reflect these varying historical portraits. Mofolo chose the medium of the tragic novel to present a fictionalized Shaka wearing the devil's garment. His choice of the romance is consistent with the intention to portray Shaka as a ruthless personality. Kunene's choice of the epic form achieves the opposite effect. The epic, because of its celebrative nature, is suitable for Kunene's elevation of Shaka as a hero. Bibliogr., notes, sum.