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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:They Poured Themselves into the Milk: Zulu Political Philosophy under Shaka
Author:Bjerk, Paul K.ISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Zulu polity
political philosophy
oral history
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4100562
Abstract:The South African colonial historian and administrator James Stuart spent 25 years collecting Zulu oral history from over 200 sources. This article synthesizes metaphors and practices surrounding human and bovine milk and semen appearing in the James Stuart Archive of Zulu oral history. Milk is a constant topic of conversation in the Stuart Archive, and not simply as a food. The King's control of the flow of milk in society was the source of his power and the mechanism by which he controlled the Zulu state. A fluent understanding of this Zulu political philosophy in the Stuart Archive opens up a rich and underutilized source of historical information for Zulu history that adds significantly to prior studies. Parallels to these images in the Great Lakes region suggest a 'milk complex' rather than the common perception of a 'cattle complex'. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]