Emperor Shaka the Great: A Zulu Epic

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Heinemann, 1979 - Epic poetry, Zulu - 438 pages
Emperor Shaka the Great is an epic poem based on the Zulu oral tradition, compiled in Zulu then translated by South African Poet Mazisi Kunene. The epic follows the life of Shaka Zulu. The poem documents his exploits as a king of the Zulu people, produced considerable advances in State structure and military technologies of the Zulu. Some critics express concern over the historicity of the retelling. However, Kunene's embrasure of an African perspective on Shaka's Rule expresses an attempt at understanding the apparent horrors observed by Europeans in the Shaka's history.

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The prophecy
The worst time of exile
Mthethwa Kingdom and the rise

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About the author (1979)

Born in Durban, South Africa, Mazisi (Raymond) Kunene was educated at the University of Natal, where he earned an M.A. with one of the earliest studies of literature in African languages. He later spent a year at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, where he continued his African language and literature studies. Although he has published highly competent poetry in English, Kunene is remarkable for his commitment to developing creative writing in his native Zulu language. His Zulu Poems (1970) include his original compositions in Zulu, as well as English recreations or translations. In 1979 he produced a copious poem, Emperor Shaka the Great, in an effort to introduce the Homeric type of epic into the literary repertoire of his mother-tongue. Kunene is currently a professor of linguistics at the University of California.

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