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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Christian Converts and the Production of 'Kholwa' Histories in Nineteenth-Century Colonial Natal: The Case of Magema Magwaza Fuze and His Writings
Author:Mokoena, Hlonipha
Periodical:Journal of Natal and Zulu History
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:religious conversion
History and Exploration
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
About person:Magema M. Fuze (ca. 1840-1922)ISNI
Abstract:By the time the missionary expansion reached southern Africa, literacy and Christianity were inseparable. This article examines how the act of conversion, by being open to disparate interpretations and misunderstandings, defined the convert's identity and social position. In particular it explores why a Natal Christian by the name of Magema Magwaza Fuze, born in the 1840s, composed historical accounts or histories of the Zulu people and kingdom and of the Natal colony. In general the tendency has been to assume that the main complication in the convert's life was the transition from orality to literacy. This article, however, moves away from this perspective to a more biographical examination of the impact of the introduction of the twin forces of literacy and Christianity into the Zulu-speaking groups of South Africa. It not only presents Fuze's self-perceived role as a Zulu historian, but also demonstrates how his intellectual project typified, or deviated from, the general dilemma of the African Christian converts, the 'amakholwa'. The article argues for the 'historical' nature of Fuze's work in order to demonstrate how he could be said to have inaugurated a uniquely 'kholwa' outlook. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]