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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Whose uNkulunkulu?
Author:Weir, Jennifer
Year:2005
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:75
Issue:2
Pages:203-219
Language:English
Geographic terms:South Africa
Natal
Subjects:Zulu
deities
ancestor worship
traditional rulers
1800-1899
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3556819
Abstract:'UNkulunkulu' was a term taken up in the 19th century by certain missionaries in Natal, South Africa, as synonymous with the Christian God. Though the idea of 'uNkulunkulu' is now well entrenched in African as well as missionary Christian theology, historically the concept of 'uNkulunkulu', as the High God of all, is inaccurate. This paper argues that there was actually a multiplicity of 'oNkulunkulu' (plural of 'uNkulunkulu') in the early 19th century - including females. 'UNkulunkulu' was simply a generic name for particular significant Zulu ancestors - family, chiefly or 'national'. The development of the concept of 'uNkulunkulu', as the High God of all, obscures important aspects of the relationship that formerly obtained between chiefs and their departed ancestors. The attainment of Zulu political ascendancy, which has so often been viewed in purely secular terms, had a critical religious dimension. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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