They poured themselves into the milk: Zulu political philosophy under Shaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article synthesizes metaphors and practices surrounding human and bovine milk and semen appearing in the James Stuart Archive of Zulu oral history. The King's control of the flow of milk in society was the source of his power and the mechanism by which he controlled the state. A fluent understanding of this Zulu political philosophy in the Stuart Archive opens up a rich and underutilized source of historical information for Zulu history that adds significantly to prior studies. Parallels to these images in the Great Lakes region suggest a 'milk complex' rather than the common perception of a 'cattle complex'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of African History
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

Keywords

  • Oral narratives
  • Political culture
  • Precolonial South Africa
  • Social organization

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