Go to AfricaBib home

Go to AfricaBib home AfricaBib Go to database home

bibliographic database
Previous page New search

The free AfricaBib App for Android is available here

Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Thomas Mopoku Mofolo's 'inverted epic hero': a reading of Mofolo's 'Chaka' as an African epic folktale
Author:Ayivor, KwameISNI
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:traditional rulers
epics (form)
About persons:Thomas Mofolo (1876-1948)ISNI
Shaka king of Zululand (ca. 1787-1828)ISNI
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3819919
Abstract:Thomas Mofolo's 'Chaka' (first published in English in 1931) has been considered the initiator of what amounts to a literary subversion of the collective black image of Shaka, the Zulus, and, in general, traditional Africa and its legendary heroes. His representation of Shaka constitutes a black counter image that challenges the Eurocentric portrayals that malign traditional Africa and peoples of black African descent. This article identifies the elements of oral epic traditions Mofolo has incorporated in 'Chaka' and takes a critical look at how he has manipulated these in order to achieve his creative purpose. Some of the major oral epic elements assimilated by the novel are the noble ancestry of the hero, the mysteriousness of his birth and early youth, his supernatural and magical endowments, his preeminence as hero, his ability to invoke supernatural agents to aid him in his destiny, and his heroic martial ferocity. Besides these heroic attributes, Mofolo's 'Chaka' also manipulates two major epic narrative techniques: epic horror and praise singing. These African epic elements all work together to provide the structuring framework of the novel. Bibliogr., notes, ref.