Mfecane Debates

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Julian Cobbing against ‘The mfecane’

Has the mfecane a future? In recent times historians known as “Africanists” revived the topic of the mfecane in the early 1960s and it was well exploited and was also used to justify certain aspects of Apatheid. The word ‘mfecane’ is a characterised product of the South African liberal history that is used by the Apartheid regime state to legitimate South Africa's racially and unequal land division. In the 1970s the mfecane has become the most widely used terms in south African history and historical literature .finding the original meaning of mfecane could somehow be merely impossible reason being from on angle the mfecane was the Nguni diaspora which from the early 1820s which took Nguni raiding communities such as Ndebele, the Ngoni and Gaza and over more southern regional parts of south-central Africa which reach as far as Lake Tanzania. Astonishingly some of the selective use or the actual invention of evidence has produced the myth of an internally-induced process known as the black-on-black destruction centring on Shaka Zulu. A re-evaluating from the ‘battles’ of Dithakong and Mbolompo suggests very different ideas and enables us to decipher the motives of subsequent historiographical amnesias and knowledge. After about 1810 the black peoples of southern Africa were caught between intensifying and converging imperialistic thrusts: one to supply the Cape Colony with labour; another, at Delagoa Bay, to supply slaves particularly to the Brazilian sugar plantations. The flight of the Ngwane from the Mzinyathi inland to the Caledon was, it is argued, a response to slaving. But they ran directly into the colonial raiding-grounds north of the Orange. The (missionary-led) raid on the still unidentified ‘Mantatees’ (not a reference to MaNtatisi) at Dithakong in 1823 was one of innumerable Griqua raids for slaves to counter a shortage of labour among the Cape settlers after the British expansionist wars of 1811 to 1820....
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