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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The returns of the king: the case of Mphephu and Western Venda, 1899-1904
Author:Braun, Lindsay FrederickISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:traditional rulers
political systems
colonial history
Anglo-Boer wars
About person:Ramabulana khosi Mphephu
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2013.796739
Abstract:In histories of the South African Highveld, the persistence of extra-colonial authority after the South African War (1899-1902) often appears as a vestigial remnant, and even more so when the kings and chiefs in question were deposed by the Boers or the British. However, many of those polities reinvented themselves around the very centres of power that were ejected years before. By looking at the example of the Ramabulana khosi Mphephu, who fled the Boers in 1898 but returned in 1901 and again in 1904, the multivariate relationship between African political systems, colonial rule and the exercise of authority is clearly visible. Although the restoration of autonomy was never a realistic goal, it was possible for Mphephu and his allies to negotiate the conditions of colonial rule in the short term and rebuild their power base within the local community. The example of western Venda attests to the robustness and adaptability of these political orders as well as the tenuous nature of colonial rule across much of British southern Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]