The mass migration of the Boer farmers from Cape Colony to escape
British domination in 1835-36 - the Great Trek - has always been a
potent icon of Africaaner nationalism and identity. For African
nationalists, the Mfecane - the vast movement of the Black
populations in the interior following the emergence of a new Zulu
kingdom as a major military force in the early 19th century -
offers an equally powerful symbol of the making of a nation. With
their parallel visions of populations on the move to establish new
states, these two stories became part of divided South Africa's
separate mythologies, treated as unconnected events taking place in
separate universes. For the first time, in this groundbreaking
book, accounts of both migrations are brought together and
examined. In uniting these separate visions of African and
Afrikaaner history, Norman Etherington provides a fascinating
picture of a major turning point in South African history, and
points the way for future work on the period.
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