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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'A Paralysis of Perspective': Image and Text in the Creation of an African Chief
Author:Guy, Jeff J.
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
traditional rulers
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
About person:Ngoza kaLudaba
Abstract:This article traces the history of the visual representation of an African man within and through the historiography of empire, from its origin as a photographic image of African authority a century and a half ago, in its subsequent role in the creation of Victorian stereotypes of African savagery, to its appearance in recently published books of African history. The original photograph was taken early in the 1860s in Natal and shows Ngoza kaLudaba, a Zulu chief who depended on the authority granted to him by the British colonial administration. The author shows how different imperial historical contexts have changed the texts with which the image has been presented. He argues that the common factor in the different misreadings has been the capacity of the original photograph's representation of African traditionalism to disconcert the colonial and imperial observer. Their reaction to the image demonstrates the steps they have taken to bring it under control, to reduce its independence. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]