The idea that the period of social turbulence in the nineteenth
century was a consequence of the emergence of the powerful Zulu
kingdom under Shaka has been written about extensively as a central
episode of southern African history. Considerable dynamic debate
has focused on the idea that this period - the 'mfecane'- left much
of the interior depopulated, thereby justifying white occupation.
One view is that 'the time of troubles' owed more to the Delagoa
Bay Slave trade and the demands of the labour-hungry Cape colonists
than to Shaka's empire building. But is there sufficient evidence
to support the argument? The Mfecane Aftermath investigates the
very nature of historical debate and examines the uncertain
foundations of much of the previous historiography.
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