Seeking Shaka Zulu

by oneafrikan on July 31, 2005

I recently rented the TV series “Shaka Zulu” from Amazon (yes, they do a 4 movie per month rental and it’s better than going to Blockbuster), and really enjoyed it. I’m not a historian, and claim no real working knowledge of the Zulu king other than what an apartheid schooling system fed me and what I’ve read since, but nevertheless have admired what he achieved since first learning about him at school.

Shaka Zulu (Wikipedia)

Being an African, instead of naming my machine after Abe Lincoln or Winston Churchill, I called it Shaka, and my laptop Impi. Go figure… I guess it has something to do with the mystery that surrounds him, and the way he both created and united the Zulu kingdom.

I remember the same television series being aired on TV when I was a boy, so I had some memories from then, but they were mostly of the gruesome bits and the witchdoctor/hyena scenes. Watching it again was pretty surreal ‘cos there is actually a lot more detail and meat to it than I can remember, and although I’m not sure of it’s entire historical accuracy, it is a well told masterful story that I really did enjoy this time around.

I’ve often wondered whom I would invite to dinner if I could invite anyone I liked, and I’m going to add Shaka to my list. I think Madiba (Nelson Mandela) and Shaka would both be very interesting and stimulating company. Imagine the conversation! Shaka is recognised to have ruled mostly through force and assimilitation into his tribe, whereas Madiba is known for forgiveness and reaching out to his people – quite differing strategies in very different times.

Speaking of history, there doesn’t seem to be an accurate, historical account of Shaka’s life. From the reading I’ve done in the last half hour or so there seems to be many differing versions (hadn’t they heard of version control then? ;-) ), some playing his legend down while some bordering on hard to believe. So, I’m going to give you the stuff I’ve already read now, and am wondering whether you know of any other sources of information?

_ Johnny Clegg website
_ Wikipedia
_ MSN Encarta

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