The Deaths of Hintsa: Postapartheid South Africa and the Shape of Recurring Pasts

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HSRC Press, 2009 - History - 337 pages
"In 1996, as South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission was beginning its hearings, Nicholas Gcaleka, a healer diviner from the town of Butterworth in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, set off on a journey to retrieve the skull of Hintsa, the Xhosa king. Hintsa had been killed by British troops on the banks of the Nqabarha River over a century and a half before and, it was widely believed, been beheaded. From a variety of quarters including the press, academia and Xhosa traditional leadership Gcaleka's mission was mocked and derided. Following the tracks of Nicholas Gcaleka, author Lalu explores the reasons for the almost incessant laughter that accompanied these journeys into the past. He suggests that the sources of derision can be found in the modes of evidence established by colonial power and the way they elide the work of the imagination. These forms and structures of knowledge in the discipline of history later sustained the discourse of apartheid. The Deaths of Hintsa argues for a post-colonial critique of apartheid and for new models for writing histories. It offers a reconceptualisation of the colonial archive and suggests a blurring of the distinction between history and historiography as a way to set to work on forging a history after apartheid."--Publisher's website.

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Colonial modes of evidence and the grammar of domination
Mistaken identity
The properties of facts or how to read with a grain of salt

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About the author (2009)

\Premesh Lalu is an associate professor of history at the University of the Western Cape. He is the chair of the program on the study of the humanities in Africa and a trustee of the District Six Museum Foundation in Cape Town. His work has been featured in the journals Current Writing, History and Theory, History in Africa, Kronos, and The South African Historical Journal.

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