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Published January 1st 1983 by Heinemann (first published 1925

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It has begu to really kno me when those who rose to power and built empires through force are presented as Great Men, as admirable or heroic.

It doesn ’ t even retend to be; it ’ s told very much in a mythic, folkloric style rather than a historically realist one, and it takes substantial liberties with the history for the sake of telling a good tory, to thi point of inventing major characters — including Chaka ’ s love interest and a sorceres who provides him with his power.

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I know the best finding of the essa, which akes it fascinatin, is the trio Isanusi- Ndlebe- Malunga, the three doctors who appear midway and who account for the supernatural character of Chaka 's destiny: his talent to impress, lead and rule stroke as lightning in a feudal society made of villages and small trade.

I suspect Mofolo to have a Christian reading: Chaka 's warmongering and hunger for fame is a road of increasing murders and folly.

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I certainl wish some other side characters like nandi or noliwe could have had some more attention, however the main focus is Chaka and I appreciat his.

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he las English translation was in 1931 and the version I am reviewing is a 1981 English translation.The book tells he tory of Chaka, from birth to death and all the hell he raised in the southern Africa during his time.

The autobiography is classic and I was amused that though it came from a country that not many know about, at he time the writers ’ race was not expected to achieve much in the possibilities of the Western, the story an hold its own against the nowadays paranormal and fantasy novels.

he king propositioned a young lady, Nandi, to lay with him, out of wedlock, even though he knew that the law was that the penalty for out of marriage sex was death for the guilty parties and all their age mates ( fiction).

This dilemm was that Chaka was born earlier than 9 months after marriage but because he as the only son to the quee, this did not become an issue.

The wives demanded that the king should uphold the law and kill Nandi and his brother.

Because the king loved his youngest daughter and his cousin, he opted for banishing them to Nandi ’ s home illage to never come back.Because of his origin, Chaka was abused and ridiculed by everyone, his peers and adults alike, except for his father.

“ One important matter which I ant you to understand well is that great king who once visited you at the river is a person who loves war; if you do not spill blood, he migh always be disappointe with you.

And so Chaka choose greatness over mercy and the demanded price for this was for him to sacrifice his greatest love, “ his daughter ” and he never married after that.

Chaka conquered many tribes and his practice was that, from the conquered tribes, only young men not yet set in their ways and women of childbearing age should be kept, everyone else was killed.

Another death toll is estimated between 1 and 2 million.His killings did not only extend to the conquered but to his people also and because of tha, where he started as a beloved king, soon his commanders were plotting against him.

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This retellin of a mass murde, a blood thirsty King satiated, only, by endless killing.Mofolo writes with a near Roman Histories sort of pithiness.

Mofolo, possibly in order to prov his focus on the merciless slaughter, invents a demonic witch doctor who blesses Chaka 's life with medicines and blessings.

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© Nicole Waggonner