The Significance of Ndebele Historical Fiction

The Significance of Ndebele Historical Fiction There is a preponderance of historical themes in Ndebele literature, particularly those pertaining to the formation of the Ndebele state, the succession crisis, and the fall of the Ndebele state. The appeal of historical themes stems from a widely held belief that the formal historical accounts have largely been written by outsiders, who, particularly in the colonial era, distorted the `history' in order to justify the defeat of the Ndebele in terms of liberating the "lower-caste" groups that constituted the majority. This essay attempts to show those aspects of Ndebele history that have been fictionalized and to explain why authors are drawn to specific themes. It reveals some of the reasons that make Ndebele historical fiction more appealing to its target audience than documented history. It concludes that Ndebele writers have tried to respond to the negative portrayal of the Ndebele past by highlighting the challenges that affect the community. In doing this, they have contributed to shaping the aspirations and ideals of the Ndebele-speaking people of Zimbabwe. Introduction HE FIRST TWO N D E B E L E N O V E L S , published in 1956 and 1957 respectively, are historical fiction. In the first http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Matatu Brill

The Significance of Ndebele Historical Fiction

Matatu , Volume 34 (1): 77 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
Copyright 2007 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0932-9714
eISSN
1875-7421
D.O.I.
10.1163/9789401205665_006
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There is a preponderance of historical themes in Ndebele literature, particularly those pertaining to the formation of the Ndebele state, the succession crisis, and the fall of the Ndebele state. The appeal of historical themes stems from a widely held belief that the formal historical accounts have largely been written by outsiders, who, particularly in the colonial era, distorted the `history' in order to justify the defeat of the Ndebele in terms of liberating the "lower-caste" groups that constituted the majority. This essay attempts to show those aspects of Ndebele history that have been fictionalized and to explain why authors are drawn to specific themes. It reveals some of the reasons that make Ndebele historical fiction more appealing to its target audience than documented history. It concludes that Ndebele writers have tried to respond to the negative portrayal of the Ndebele past by highlighting the challenges that affect the community. In doing this, they have contributed to shaping the aspirations and ideals of the Ndebele-speaking people of Zimbabwe. Introduction HE FIRST TWO N D E B E L E N O V E L S , published in 1956 and 1957 respectively, are historical fiction. In the first

Journal

MatatuBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

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