Saber and Scroll


Excerpted on author's behalf:

In the 1990s, approximately eight million people living in cities of suburban South Africa (outside the coastal borders of KwaZulu) considered themselves Zulu or members of interrelated ethnic groups. This identity persists in spite of apartheid efforts that lasted until the late twentieth century to eliminate ethnic and linguistic distinctions by grouping all blacks together and attempts to oust them from South Africa en masse. This Zulu identity originated from the heroification of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona (r. 1816 – 1828). It can be examined in two parts: the popular acknowledgment paid to Shaka’s sweeping social, political, and military reforms, including the socio-militaristic regimentalization of all aspects of Zulu life; and the more recent role of dehumanization as employed by European colonialists and later apartheidists, together with the African cultural response.



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