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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nxele, Ntsikana and the Origins of the Xhosa Religious Reaction
Author:Peires, Jeffrey B.
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:South Africa
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Abstract:The sudden explusion of the Xhosa across the Fish River in 1811/12 created a practical and conceptual crisis which the traditional political authorities were unable to resolve. Two commoners, Nxele and Ntsikana, emerged in this vacuum, each proposing his own solution to the problems posed by the white irruption. Nxele urged resistance, he was war-like and nationalist, embodying African beliefs and African culture. Ntsikana preached submission, he was pacifist and Christian, enjoining salvation through obedience to the will of God. Examination of the personal histories of two men shows that their final conclusions were more the product of exterior pressure than interior revelation. Their attraction depended not on their charisma or their supernatural abilities but on their power to reinterpret a world which had suddenly become incomprehensible. They symbolise the opposite poles of Xhosa responce to Christianity and the West: Nxele representing struggle and Ntsikana submission. Map., notes, sum.