A case for sheer compulsive and imaginative depth

[...]when I read the Dutton translation of Mofolo's Chaka-about the circumstances of Chaka's birth, his difficult upbringing, his subsequent, all-consuming vengeance, accentuated by his meeting with Isanusi and his choice of a life of killing, which reached its highest destructive power af...

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Published in: Tydskrif vir letterkunde Vol. 53; no. 2; pp. 98 - 104
Main Author: Ndebele, Njabulo S
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Afrikaans
Published: Pretoria Tydskrif vir Letterkunde Association 2016
Tydskrif vir Letterkunde
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Summary: [...]when I read the Dutton translation of Mofolo's Chaka-about the circumstances of Chaka's birth, his difficult upbringing, his subsequent, all-consuming vengeance, accentuated by his meeting with Isanusi and his choice of a life of killing, which reached its highest destructive power after he seems to lose his mind after the death of his mother Nandi-I recognized the resonances with the tragedy of Faustus who gains all the power in the world, but loses his soul, considered to be the most precious attribute of human life. Sometime after reading Chaka, I bumped into a copy of a French play also called Chaka in the same Lesotho University library, written by a French speaking African dramatist, and it gave me a sense of just how much the book moved across the continent.3 I like to believe that what I found is probably what Senghor and Césaire found: here was something grounded in our myths, universal and authentically ours. [...]what Mofolo does through the power of his imagination is to expose us to human experience that is as powerful and as mysterious as the force of gravity, the flashes of lightning that make you ponder existence deeply.5 You keep going back to it-awed by the complexity of the human being. In the introduction to the new edition, Ndebele describes how he was listening to an SABC broadcast at a party in Lesotho in which respectable leaders of the Mass Democartic Movement (MDM) were publically condemning and distancing themselves from the actions of Winnie Mandela and her infamous Mandela Football Club.
ISSN: 0041-476X
2309-9070
DOI: 10.17159/tvl.v.53i2.7