Amaqaba nama Gqobhoka?

Working through Colonial Derision of Black Ontology

in Theoria
Author:
Siseko H. KumaloUniversity of Fort Hare, South Africa skumalo@ufh.ac.za

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Abstract

Working through the two concepts of amaqaba nama gqobhoka, I outline ‘ontological derision’. I argue that ontological derision is rooted in intra-Black conflict that leads to interracial conflict, and propose ontological recognition as a resolution to the tensions that exist in the South African political landscape. To reach the postcolonial condition advanced by scholars like Mahmood Mamdani (2021), the modes of life that existed in South Africa prior to colonial imposition need to be recognised as legitimate and worthy of participation in the formation of the public sphere. I argue that recognising this ontology will inform the genuine formation of an inclusive national identity in South Africa. Such a proposal is rooted in the thinking of William Wellington Gqoba, who suggests that the more the two cultures understand each other, the less tensions will exist between them.

William Wellington Gqoba (1888) and Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi (1914) engage with belonging in South Africa (cf. Kumalo 2023). I am inspired here to deal with whether their thinking can be used in defusing the tension inaugurated by coloniality. This tension is analysed at two levels: firstly, intra-Black tension (conflict). Such an exploration is aimed at discerning how Gqoba (1888) and Mqhayi (1914) responded to the implications of colonial violence and epistemic injustice in real time. This approach establishes the canonical contribution that sustained an intergenerational engagement with Gqoba (1888) and Mqhayi's (1914) work into the twenty-first century.

In the secondary move, I look to interracial tension and at how the texts under examination inform Blackness's response to colonial settler violence and dispossession. This is done in order to consider political action, through tracing how Black institutions such as the Native Education Association responded to colonial laws, derision and violence.

Conceptually Framing Ontological Derision

In this article, the primary focus is on the ‘ontological derision’ that Blackness/Indigeneity encounter, both at the level of culture and within the political domain.1 Upon the advice of an incredibly generous anonymous reviewer, I wish to make it clear that my engagement with the concept of derision is aware of the psychoanalytical school that has applied itself to derision. While my own theoretical articulations might make similar points as Denis Vasse on the function of derision ‘as an attack on difference’ (Faÿ 2008: 832) insofar as ‘derision is [a discourse] which cannot withstand the very notion of difference and, by extension, of otherness’ (Vasse 1999: 99), I do not claim to speak from this perspective of the psychoanalytical tradition. More importantly, however, my analysis does take the fact of the abjured state of Blackness/Indigeneity seriously. To the extent that I do not write about derision from the perspective of the psychoanalytical tradition, I also do not merely use the concept in its common parlance form.

Resultantly, I wish to begin by defining the concept of ontological derision. In my previous work (Kumalo 2021), I develop the concept of ‘ontological recognition’, which denotes the acknowledgement of the Indigene's ontology, conferring epistemic authority on the Indigene to speak. The concept of speaking (with ‘speaking as but another mode of acting’, cf. Arendt's (2018a) lecture on Revolution and Freedom), as I use it, is in line with Arendt's conception of the distinction between the private and the public realm. Such a speech act – which feeds into the debates on epistemic justice – is made in a context where their (Blackness/Indigeneity) epistemic contribution is not only understood, but is appreciated, even as it necessarily differs from that of the Other.2 Ontological recognition in this respect denotes an epistemic framework that extends the analysis that the reader finds in Miranda Fricker's (2007) conception of epistemic justice.

Ontological derision, then, is a concept that denotes how Blackness/Indigeneity is treated, both in terms of analysis as well as in the political realm. Faÿ (2008: 832) gives us a useful explanation, which will deepen my reader's understanding of how I am using the concept in this argument, when he writes:

Among those linguistic technologies, derision can be found in the widespread and confusing hybrid combination of two contradictory paradigms: communication which seems to encourage subjective openness – through discourse of personal or organizational development – and instrumental rationality, which forecloses subjectivity – through indifferent instrumentalisation, cynical manipulation or reinforced control.

Kristeva (1982) uses the concept of abjection to outline that which is delineated outside of the in-group owing to the responses the abject(ed) object solicits from us at a very base level of human understanding. While the abject could possibly be a useful concept to use here, it is jettisoned in favour of derision owing to the fact that the same conceptual reasoning, when abjecting a thing, is not found in the context of how we use and treat Blackness/Indigeneity. I will appeal to Vasse through Faÿ (2008: 838) in making the point that

through a falsely ‘true speech’ derision calls for subjective consent, only to manipulate and repress following the ego's fantasies, in the a’-a binary logic: ‘true speech becomes the most deadly of lies; knowledge of the most unjust law of repression; and the guiltiest science of the body of manipulations.’

The reader must pay careful attention to my use of ‘use’ above. The abject(ed) is no longer useful, if the reader takes seriously Kristeva's (1982) analysis. The abject is non-usable; it sits at the boundary outside of that which is life-giving and life-sustaining, irrespective of whether such properties are manipulated or taken on their own ontological merits. In the case of derision we bear witness to the manipulation theorised by Faÿ (2008) owing to the fact that derision abjures difference. This manipulation is categorised by Vasse (1999: 100) as follows: ‘[such] a language which only leads to the logic of words is a perverse and violent way of retaining repressive and manipulative order through “a stony discourse that does not let others speak”’. The use of ‘derision’, then, recognises how those who would treat Blackness/Indigeneity with derision are well aware of the usefulness, that is, the life-maintaining properties, of Blackness/Indigeneity, and resultantly manipulate it to maintain the repressive and manipulative order that frames Blackness as Indigeneity as existing outside the pale of citizenship and belonging in the context of South Africa. To say that Blackness/Indigeneity is useful while being derided is premised on their labour quality. In The Human Condition, Arendt's (2018) analysis of the domestic realm, which is lorded over by the master who keeps slaves, explains what is intended by a derision that still finds Blackness/Indigeneity useful.

To elaborate on this point, the first section of this article will look at how modes of writing that are steeped in a derisive attitude towards Blackness/Indigeneity affect our understanding of the ontology of the Indigene. And to demonstrate derision, I invite the reader to consider how the customs of Blackness/Indigeneity have been regarded. Looking to the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1895, which was later amended in 1957, the reader sees the concept of derision in action. Criminalising the ontology of Blackness/Indigeneity to the extent of imposing a fine and a jail sentence on those who were found to be practising ‘witchcraft’ is a useful starting point with respect to understanding not only how the concept of derision is used in this analysis, but also what is meant by it. The concept of ontological derision, insofar as such an attitude is held with respect to the life prospects of the Indigene in the country of their ancestors, has not received systematic attention in scholarship – especially, moreover, inasmuch as such an attitude is held by Blackness/Indigeneity itself. Aside from the scholars who have been working in decoloniality, both in the previous century and contemporarily – cf. Achebe (2019), Mazrui (1978) and Mudimbe (1988) – attention to the ontology of Blackness and Indigeneity has been elided in the academy. When the lives of Blackfolk are examined and analysed, the analyses merely stop at the level of interracial conflict. This is understandable, however, in a context where the native population posed a threat to the legitimate claim of the colonial settler and their progeny – a claim that sought to style the country as a vast and empty abyss, salvageable only by the efforts of colonial invasion and imposition. J. M. Coetzee has already treated this subject in his White Writing: On the Culture of Letters in South Africa (1988), and as such, I will not pay it too much attention in my own analysis.

An additional complication is encountered at the level of treating Blackness/Indigeneity with deferentiality, wherein that which defines Blackness/Indigeneity is always taken to be the colonial encounter, as if to say that the Black/Indigenous being was without ontology or history prior to colonial incursion. In analysing this problem, let me begin by drawing our attention to van der Vlies (2018: 5) when, introducing the collection of essays penned by Zoë Wicomb, he writes, ‘Instead of merely reflecting the spectacle of apartheid – which would effectively allow the state to act as “author” of their works – black writers might instead insist that their future would make room for the parochial, the quiet, the ordinary’. That which is considered to be ‘parochial’ and mundane is that which (when taken up seriously by Blackness/Indigeneity) is framed as essentialist writing and thinking, and as not warranting a legitimate intellectual project in and of itself (cf. Praeg 2014, 2019).

There are two moves that facilitate the delegitimation of the Indigene, leading to the derision exhibited by the general public when it comes to the lives of Blackness/Indigeneity. In the first instance, the lives of Blackness/Indigeneity are only ever analysed in view of the colonial moment. This is due to the work of thinkers such as Fanon (2007), who popularised this mode of analysis when he penned The Wretched of the Earth. This first mode of delegitimation is taken up contemporarily by scholars like Lewis R. Gordon (2021: 8) when he argues that ‘This concluding reflection brings forth an additional element of philosophical concern. The movements from double consciousness to a dialectical relationship with the Euromodern world’. In recounting these challenges, the one that is of crucial importance to our analysis concerns ‘the transformation of whole groups of people into categories of “indigenous”/“native,” “enslaved,” “colonised,” and “black”’ (ibid.). This leads Gordon to the conclusion that ‘Such people suffer a unique form of melancholia (bereavement from loss or separation), as they are indigenous to a world that rejects them by virtue of making them into problems’ (ibid.).3 To conclude this first concern around the delegitimation strategies used against Blackness/Indigeneity, insofar as Blackness/Indigeneity ever find validation through displacement by the white colonial encounter, Gordon (ibid.) continues to suggest that ‘The homelessness of which I speak is not geographic. It is temporal, even where one is geographically in one's home. The African, in other words, struggles paradoxically, as do the African Diaspora, with being temporally homeless at home.’

The second conceptual move of delegitimation comes in the form of the claim that the Indigene is being essentialist when they wish to pay attention to their lives, their experiences and their modes of being. Achebe (2019: 2–3) puts it aptly when he writes, ‘Quite simply it is the desire – one might indeed say the need – in western psychology to set Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe's own state of spiritual grace will be manifest’. Achebe makes this remark in his consideration of the racist undertones that inform Conrad's Heart of Darkness. This brings us to the secondary point on the second move of delegitimation, the reality that much of western thought, along with academe, makes the claim of essentialism on the premise that they are no longer the ones writing about our context. Nowhere is such a claim of essentialism offered more than in Praeg's (2014) defence of his farcical and incomprehensible take on Ubuntu, where his analysis removes the ontology of Blackness/Indigeneity completely from his treatment of the philosophy. Moreover, other scholars (cf. Mamdani 1990) have classified such methods of engagement with Blackness/Indigeneity as a failing nationalist project, which is to say that there has not been a systematic engagement with Blackness/Indigeneity on terms agreeable to what Kumalo (2018) has previously called the recognition of the ontological legitimacy of the Indigene. Simply, Indigeneity is robbed of the capacity to treat its own ideas on its own terms, while having such treatments come into mainstream analyses of race, political theory and literary analyses.

Resultantly, my analysis will proceed in the following format, as a mode of analysing the context that has been outlined here. In the first instance, I will look to Gqoba's earlier text, which I will use to demonstrate how Blackness/Indigeneity can be accused of complicity in the derision towards Blackness/Indigeneity that now abounds. The first section will thus conduct a very close reading of Gqoba's (2015) ‘The Native Tribes, Their Laws, Customs and Beliefs’. This was the only piece penned by Gqoba in English. The address to which I will pay attention was given to the Lovedale Literary Association. The second part of the article will look at how intra-Black conflict fuels interracial conflict and violence, with the third and final component looking at how both aspects are dealt with by Gqoba and Mqhayi.4 This will be done with the intention of demonstrating the existence of thought among Black intellectuals, and the ways that they responded to the reality of colonial incursion, while striving for an inclusive national framework that holds both Black/Indigenous and colonial settler identities in tandem.

Intra-Black Conflict and its Catalysts

William Wellington Gqoba, according to the Lovedale history that was compiled by then Principal James Stewart, was born in Gaga in August 1840 ‘and [was] educated at Tyhume before entering Lovedale in September 1853’ (Opland 2015: 13). With any writer, the context in which they are socialised is what informs their thinking, writing and the themes of analysis in their oeuvre. This is to say that what follows aims to demonstrate how such a link is made between the thinking and writing of Gqoba, along with the social context in which he was reared. In footnote 10 of the introductory chapter to the collection of his works, Opland (ibid.) states that

In the following commentary, and in the notes to the texts, ‘Gqoba’ will refer to William Wellington Gqoba and ‘Gqoba Peyi’ to his father Gqoba, son of Peyi. It was acceptable practice at this time to refer to a Xhosa man by his given name followed by the name of his father; the name of the father soon developed into a surname for the European record. Thus, William Wellington took the name of his father, Gqoba, as his surname, as did his children.

‘At Lovedale Gqoba was active in educational affairs (he was a prominent member of the Native Education Association, founded in 1879, the first known African political organisation in the Eastern Cape [of South Africa])’ (Opland 2015: 14). These biographical details demonstrate how the training to which Gqoba was subjected at Lovedale was to play a crucial influence in the life prospects that he was to enjoy afterwards. Two important points require mentioning. First, and as a reiteration, the contextual specificities in which a writer writes shape the ideas that they explore in their oeuvre. Born into a world that was fast becoming ‘modernised’,5 through the repression and violent erasure of Indigenous modes of life in the British Cape Colony – memorialised through the 1820 Settler's Monument in Makhanda (formerly known as Grahamstown) – Gqoba, like Gordimer, as per my analysis in the paper ‘Outlining Gqoba (1888) and Mqhayi's (1914) Engagement with the Dilemma of Belonging and National Identity in South Africa’, is influenced by the social realities to which he is witness. Secondly, to claim, as I do in note 4, that Gqoba occupies (and occupied) a space of liminality is predicated on the fact that he was articulately trained in the formal missionary colonial education style, which does not, however, take away from his appreciation of the epistemology of his people – amaXhosa. This claim itself is premised on the fact that he was the editor of Isigidimi samaXhosa from 1884 to 1888 (the year of his untimely death), and was a man of letters, occupying a prominent role within organisations such as the Native Education Association (NEA). Moreover, within the NEA and in his role as a man of letters (an educated Indigene), he was critical of both the colonial missionary education system and ‘backward’ cultural practices such as ukuthwala (which I will discuss momentarily, when I conduct an analysis of the only work he wrote in English).

Returning, then, to his biographical sketch, as is the case in the Rortean (1991) sense, wherein Richard Rorty talks about education as socialisation, what we see in Gqoba is a man who is socialised into an understanding of the western world. Such socialisation did not take away from the appreciation that Gqoba had for his own people's life and the ways in which they organised society. What is possibly best to say of Gqoba is that his exposure to both worlds facilitated understanding that was not only critical but acted as a catalyst to systems of evolution in both cultures to which he belonged. Secondly, the influence of the European missionaries was furthermore to play a role, for a number of African liberation leaders were educated in Christian institutions and would thus hold to the values that define the Christian moral economy. The Christian debate as it influences the political landscape under examination is not the focus in this analysis. Inasmuch as this is the case, however, the function of Christianity plays a crucial role insofar as it distinguishes between those who would be classed as heathens and as lesser, even by fellow Blacks. To demonstrate the point of the role of Christianity, Mazrui (1978), in his introduction to Political Values and the Educated Class in Africa, notes the role that the Christian religion played in the Black/Indigenous community. To the extent that Mazrui was correct, this article considers the intra-Black conflict that defines our contexts, resulting in two, seemingly clear, categories of ontology, that is, amaqaba6 nama gqhoboka.7

Risking the challenge of philosophical particularity to the extent of losing my reader, I must answer the question of how these two categories become ontological (or rather, how I come to regard them ontologically). My thinking proceeds from the understanding that pure philosophical ontology is foundational to scientific ontology. The latter allows me to defend my choice vis-à-vis a domain of existent entities. It is in this latter category, that is, scientific ontology, which is predicated on pure philosophical ontology, that we are able to explain the concepts (in this analysis, amaqaba nama gqobhoka), either supporting the propositions that are made in their regard or disputing said propositions, owing to the fact that philosophy is a study, in part, of the deepest presuppositions of truth. In treating these two categories, I must make it emphatically clear that my analysis rests on pure philosophical ontology, even as the method of conducting such an analysis might borrow from the form found in pursuit of scientific ontological answers.

In conducting such an analysis, I am thinking alongside Jacquette (2002: 1) when he observes that ‘Philosophical confusions . . . lie in wait for thinkers . . . who have not first clarified what it means for something to exist’. My proposition, then, is that the two categories of amaqaba nama gqobhoka exist qua being. As a derivative of this claim, the questions that follow need to address the implications of what it means to have both amaqaba nama gqobhoka exist, in a context where they have historically been oppositional to each other, owing to their underlying epistemologies as a result of the place of Christianity as it relates to each. In part, I attempt to address this question in the context of the political situation that defines South Africa.

I wish, then, to return to my analysis. Mazrui (1978: 2) highlights the role of Christianity in relation to one of South Africa's leaders when he notes: ‘In South Africa the late Albert Luthuli, winner of the Nobel prize for peace and symbol of non-violent resistance to South African apartheid, was a deeply devout Christian.’

The function of Christianity also distinguished Black intellectuals to the extent that they became very well respected within the circles of Black intelligentsia. This was due to the fact that an educated Black/Indigenous Christian could also assume the role of priest or minister to the congregation of Black converts, or amagqobhoka. Inasmuch as Gqoba did not focus in his writing on ministry in either of the orthodox churches that came to define the landscape of Black life in South Africa, he was well regarded to the extent that the following was said of him upon his untimely death in 1888. His obituaries were published in a series of publications that dominated the Xhosa landscape at the time, namely the Christian Express, Isigidimi and Imvo Zabantsundu, which all praised him as follows:

um-Cirha omkulu, um-Xosa wama-Xosa kum-Xosa; i Lawu lama-Lawu kuma-Lawu; um-Lungu kwabateta isi-Lungu; iciko kumaciko; incoko kumancoko; into ebuso buhle kuwo wonke umntu angamaziyo nomaziyo; umxoxi ezincokweni – ititshala ezititshaleni, umshumayeli kuba shumayeli bendaba zika Kristu; umvuseleli we Cebo lombuso wo Sombawo.8 (Opland 2015: 15)

He was a well-renowned man among his people and a leader of note within the Xhosa community and beyond, to the extent that he would be one of the leading figures to orchestrate a commendable public debate on many of the issues that affected the Xhosa people at the time; among these, we count the questions of religion and secondly education. One of the debates led by Gqoba concerned the life and customs of the Native in South Africa. The tone that is taken in this debate seems to be derisive and possibly undermines the life and values that are held by the Indigene, specifically towards the end of the debate. Christianity, as an influential institution in Gqoba's formation, is a useful lens through which we can understand his comments. And more importantly, he utters these comments in a crowd that was predominantly made up of white missionaries, which might suggest that he was pandering to their prejudices. In making a case for this reading, it is important to bear in mind the derision that even the elite and educated Black/Indigenous class was explicitly aware of in the governance styles of the white settler colonials, what is referred to as ikethe in Gqoba's epic poem Ingxoxo Enkulu Nge Mfundo.

This comment, with respect to the derision exhibited by Gqoba in this address, is made in view of how Gqoba was socialised in the context of his education at Lovedale College and his prior training at Tyhume, which subsequently positions him as one of the foremost leading thinkers of Black/Indigenous intellectual society at the time. His work straddles a border of understanding and anguish, to an extent, in the sense that he occupies a role that knows the systems of thought that defined the world that was, and that was quickly receding owing to the world that the country was becoming due to colonial imposition. Such a border position is interesting in the kinds of questions that it inaugurates, in that it allows the reader to be critical, as was Gqoba, of the life practices that were against the intervening moral economy that was taking root in the country. This border position also reveals the intra-Black conflict that was beginning to define the context of the lives of Black/Indigenous people.

To frame the discussion led by Gqoba as symptomatic of intra-Black conflict is premised on the reality that amaqaba, those who were classed as uneducated owing to their rejection of western customs, were seen as something altogether Other by those who were educated. Gqoba (2015: 210) himself introduces the discussion as follows, which is to say that he occupies a position that understands both worlds with incredible aptitude: ‘The deeper investigation goes into Native questions[,] the more interesting they will become, and the two races will gradually understand each other, and all suspicions and grievances as well as all ill-feeling towards one another will be removed for ever.’ This frame of reference is premised on Gqoba's knowledge of the two worlds, which is to say that he is keenly aware of the similarities, styling themselves as differences, that exist between the two cultures. His suggestion of deeper investigation into both worlds is made in view of the fact that the world of the Indigene is severely understudied and poorly understood by those who have imposed their mode of life as hegemonic in the country. To this end, Goqba is aware of the derision that Blackness (as Indigeneity) faces and encounters in the country. This derision, his thinking seeks to suggest, is premised on the lack of understanding, insofar as such understanding can and must be gleaned from a systematic study of the customs of the Indigene. Such a mode of study would only be realised in the context of the ‘ontological recognition’ that I have written about previously (Kumalo 2018).

Gqoba's (2015) thinking, then, is inspired by the desire to end all animosity from either side of the racial divide. This is one of the principal reasons that he is touted as a thinker who can effectively enable us to transcend the racial animosities that define our context, subsequently creating a society that holds competing identities in tandem and coevally. However, it is crucial to first understand the challenges that define intra-Black relations prior to accommodating alternative identities that are now also constitutive of what has become known as South Africa.

To demonstrate the understanding and appreciation that Gqoba has of his context, I wish to highlight his consideration of the custom of ukulobola or dowry. He begins by outlining that ‘The word ukulobola means to exchange one thing for another. To exchange words for instance is ukulobola or ukulobolelana ngamazwi. It never meant to buy or sell’ (Gqoba 2015: 218, emphasis added). Highlighting exchange and ruling out buying or selling serves the function of demonstrating the impact that the capitalist economic order had on Blackness/Indigeneity. His analysis also demonstrates the changing function of language and how the concept could change in line with the changing economic system. This is simply to say that he recognises that the languages and the customs, as they are infused, informed and come to life through language, are changing with time. Life and the ways in which it is approached are not stagnant nor untouched by the changes that were defining the country. His consideration of ilobolo gives us two perspectives; one that appreciates the function of the custom, and another that condemns the practice as it has bought into perversions of the capitalist market system. He writes:

Those who condemn ukulobola, or the contract under which this delivery and promise takes place, say that it is a contract made without consulting the woman, by which natives may, according to their law, force their children into marriage for a consideration, which becomes the father's absolute property; without creating any future obligation of support in him. (Gqoba 2015: 219)

In his continued analysis, he comes to suggest that:

All evidence however proves that a woman is not the slave for her husband; he has no property in her. He cannot, according to native law, kill, injure, or cruelly treat her with impunity. He cannot legally sell, or prostitute her, and with the exception of paying cattle to her father, as dowry upon marriage, there is nothing to indicate that native law or custom treats the wife as a chattel; nor is there anything in that law that a child is its father's slave, unless it be shown by this contract of dowry. (Gqoba 2015: 219)

In the face of those who would treat some African customs as outdated, ascribing to them even beliefs and practices that are archaic and deserving of public shunning, Gqoba's intervention demonstrates salvageability in how we both understand and approach these customs, ‘approach’ here denoting the ways in which we practise them. Moreover, the critical stance that is taken by Gqoba towards some of these customs is what has allowed for the culture(s) to evolve and grow, shedding practices that are disagreeable to contemporary cultural currents. To demonstrate the point, consider the custom of ukuthwala, which often saw (and sees) young women kidnapped and forced into marriages against their will. Chelete Monyane's ‘Is Ukuthwala Another Form of “Forced Marriage”?’ (2013) analyses the concept, while demonstrating that which Gqoba was speaking out against two centuries ago. This comment is made with the intention of demonstrating the saliency of Gqoba's thinking, even in the contemporary age. How, then, does this lend itself to the notion of ontological derision as it is experienced by the Black/Indigenous subject?

When Gqoba (2015: 224) discusses the doctors of the African context, he applied himself to a series of categories that define the concept (of African doctors, who-unfortunately-become witch doctors in the eyes of westerners) and the way that it was interpreted and understood by the Indigene in South Africa. The fundamental disagreement that leads to ontological derision is premised on the ways in which the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1895, which was itself based on the Witchcraft Act of 1735 of Great Britain, was used as a system of organising how we treat the customs, beliefs and epistemology of the Indigene. This is where the institution of religion assumes an important role insofar as religious organisations were interested in driving a narrative that framed African customs and understanding as primarily heathen, demonic and associated with witchcraft, which was not only criminalised with a fine, but also carried a jail term if one was found to be in contravention of said Act. Put simply, if an Indigene was found to be practising witchcraft9 they could either be fined, jailed or both, as outlined in the Witchcraft Suppression Act. How, then, are the majority to relate to their ontology, which was not only criminalised but was given negative connotations, and solicited negative attitudes from the leading intellectuals (Black/Indigenous) of the time?10 While I will not spend too much time focusing on this question here, I will return to it when I consider the response to this ontological derision to which Blackness/Indigeneity has been subjected.

Gqoba (2015: 224) discusses the issue of doctors in African custom as follows: ‘There are at least twelve kinds of doctors, which I shall briefly enumerate. The principal ones are Izanuse, or Abangoma in Zulu, who profess to have direct intercourse with the spirit world, and to practice divination.’ He continues, ‘Though no one, within the boundaries of this and other Colonies, openly accuses another of witchcraft, still there are many heart-burnings and much bitter feeling caused by hints and innuendos’ (ibid.: 225). The position taken by Gqoba begins to lay the groundwork for the outlawing of African customary beliefs, to the extent that the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1895 was adopted and enforced without much resistance from the Black/Indigenous intellectuals, who were themselves married to notions of Christian conversion that subsequently led to the violence that constitutes intra-Black conflict. Intra-Black conflict is picked up as a theme in the most systematic and apt way by Zakes Mda (2000) in The Heart of Redness. The reader will find the first such consideration in Noni Jabavu's The Ochre People (1963), although her treatment of the concept of intra-Black conflict is implicit.

Gqoba (2015: 225) begins his derisive comments when he distinguishes between the different doctors that we find in African custom, and states the following:

I may class the amacamagu, also diviners or fortune-tellers, awamashologu, charmers or seers, amagogo, seers, with the above, viz. the izanuse, so far as their intercourse with familiar spirits is concerned, the only difference being in the smelling out which these do not do. But I think they are a great deal worse, for they infatuate and destroy whole tribes, men, women, and children [emphasis added]. Nxele, or Lynx, Mlanjeni, Nongqause, Mhlakaza, Nxitho all belonged to this class.

Stressing the point of conversion that all ministers were concerned with at the time, a concern that sought to advance the Christian mode of life, which was seen as more enlightened than that which existed prior to the arrival of colonial thinkers, Gqoba's concluding remark is the most telling. He (2015: 228) states that

From what I have already shown, in spite of all the various and hideous, as well as absurd notions, the natives entertain and their superstitions, yet in some respects they are much nearer the light, though they dwell in darkness, than many would suppose.

More concerning is the approach that Gqoba takes towards the role of Christian missionaries in our context. It is concerning specifically in view of the instruction that was given by Ntsikana,11 wherein he implores all Xhosa people and those who would intermingle with the culture of whiteness specifically to select only those aspects that advance the life prospects of the Indigene, rather than engaging in wholesale conversion. Gqoba (2015: 228) suggests that

These white men, have out of love and obedience to their Lord and Master and His cause, faced death, being content to count all those things as nothing, provided only that they may win the souls of us black men and women for Christ, and guide them out of darkness into the marvellous light of true religion.

This is where the reader will encounter the principal challenge of the derision that the Indigene is faced with. The attitudes that were adopted by the first Black/Indigenous intellectuals led to the current conditions that define Black life, to the extent that Gqoba (2015: 229) himself comes to the conclusion that

May the day soon come when we natives of this country shall altogether have been freed from the power of heathenism in all its forms, and when we in turn shall willingly and out of the same love that prompted the Britons to sacrifice everything for Christ's sake, do the same for our benighted countrymen.

Interracial Conflict as Premised on Intra-Black Conflict

The root of the derision that is faced by the Indigene in South Africa, and at that, the Indigene who rejects or rejected colonial modes of education, is detailed above. The initial divide within the community of Blackness/Indigeneity, a divide that was premised on the incursion of coloniality, inaugurated the transformation of society to the extent that much of the world that existed prior to colonial invasion was drastically changed. Mqhayi (2009c: 451) has the following to say about the succession of Mpande to the Zulu throne, as a matter of demonstrating the point: ‘Lomfo ngunyana ka Senzangakhona, – u Tshaka no Dingana ngabakuluwa kuye; yena wayengowezindlwana ezisemva kanye, engacingeki ukuba angaze ade ongamele ubukumkani bakwa Zulu bakwa Malandela.’12 This example is used deliberately to showcase the effects that colonialism had on the lives of the Indigene in our context. It also stresses the point raised by Kunene (1996) regarding Blackfolk who collaborated only to secure their positions of power within the framework of the changing world. Moreover, we can understand the work of Mqhayi in this regard as a counter-historical narrative that tells the (hi)story of Blackness/Indigeneity from the perspective of Indigenous historiography. Further developing this counter-historical narrative, we see Mqhayi (2009c: 453) recounting the battle between Pretorius and King Dingana when he writes:

Apo ke ngoku u Mpande aze kungena kona ke yena kusemveni kweloduli. Ute ngokupateka kakubi kumkuluwa wake u Dingana wade wacinga ukuba makamkwelele, aye kuzicelela indawo ezintshabeni paya, kuba hleze abulawe ngomhla otile omnye. Ute kuba u Mpande uza nomkhosi ongqindilili wempi engakolwayo sisipato sika Dingana, avuya kakulu nama Bhulu esitsho nokuti yimpendulo yemitandazo yawo. Amlinge ngendlela zonke u Mpande ukuba angaba unyanisile na akayiyo na intlola, amfumana umfana eqinisekile enyanisile ukuba uyazinikela kuma Bhulu.13

In the previous section, the matter comes up as an issue of education – the education that was adopted by the Indigene, the education of the colonial missionary – which came with the agenda of the colonial missionary. Mazrui (1978: 25) identifies three aspects of this conversion agenda, which primarily concerns ‘the idea of Christians leading pagans into the light’. The reader encounters this very comment when they pay attention to the concluding remarks by Gqoba in his Lovedale Literary Society address, to which we have made reference above. In the second respect, Mazrui (ibid.) outlines that missionaries were also concerned with ‘the idea of a pilgrimage, of a long journey from sin to virtue; from earth to heaven; from the way of Satan to that of God’, a matter that also comes up in the coven agreement made by Pretorius to God, in the call to defeat Dingana's army, as documented by Mqhayi's counter-canonical historical writing. This is to say that Pretorius vows that should he defeat the Zulu nation, such a defeat will be a demonstration of God's favour upon him and his people. Thus, Christianity, converting the heathen natives from their barbarous ways, and education are closely interwoven and interlinked. On the defeat of the heathens (i.e. the Indigene), the superiority of the coloniser's belief system is purportedly established and substantiated.

The third aspect under consideration in the Christian conversion agenda is the notion of ‘separating the material from [the things of] the spirit or the soul; that is separating the material from the spiritual.’ Mazrui (1978: 25) continues to demonstrate for us what is meant by such a separation when he writes, ‘When we talk here of the separation of body and soul in our educational institutions we should try as much as possible to relate it to the ordinary school, not the specialised’. To the extent that Christian dogmatism played a crucial role in the process of colonial dispossession and the incapacitation of the African subject, ‘Many schools taught the virtues of obedience instead of the ethos of initiative; they taught the fear of God instead of love of country; they taught the evils of acquisition instead of the strategy of reconciling personal ambition with social obligation’ (ibid.: 29). However, it is useful to keep in mind that ‘colonial education did not merely produce teachers, politicians and administrators. It also produced a new literate culture which affected a much wider range of social variables’ (ibid.: 4). Essentially,

During the colonial period in Africa, education served the purpose of creating not only a reservoir of qualified people which the government could use, but also a pool of potential qualified nationalists who came to challenge the colonial presence itself. (ibid.: 1)

This last reality is what we see in the South African context, wherein the educated elite, inasmuch as they held problematic views towards the Indigene, were also driving the quest for liberation, as we see in the case of earlier political organisations such as the Native Education Association in the late 1870s. In this respect, there are two aspects that require our attention vis-à-vis interracial conflict. It is in the devaluation of the ontology of the Indigene by the Indigene (a move that happens owing to the apparent superiority of the belief system of the colonial settler), wherein the educated elite view their western training as superior to that of the systems of education that existed on the continent,14 that the initial seed of interracial conflict lies. We see the second point of interracial conflict when the elite use their education as the premise from which to mount a nationalist struggle that contests processes of dislodging Blackness/Indigeneity from the country of their birth, inspired by and premised on the initial move of intra-Black conflict. This is to say that the change that introduces two models of education, one with a written practice, is a move that privatises knowledge, as per Kunene's (1996: 16) contention that

Written literature by Africans in the earlier period, when literacy was low, had a surprisingly great significance and relevance. The reason was that Africans did not look at writing with a sense of awe. On the contrary, to Africans, written literature violated one of the most important literary tenets by privatizing literature.

Herein, as detailed above, lies the initial problem for the lifeworld that existed prior to the arrival of the colonial settler and their progeny. This initial problem, insofar as it reverberates through time and history, and is called a dilemma by Zoë Wicomb at the dawn of democracy in the early 1990s, inspires modes of resistance against the denigration of the lifeworld that exists in our context. Archibald Campbell Jordan (1939) details this reality very well in the fictional tale Ingqumbo Yeminyanya (which became known as The Wrath of the Ancestors in translated form). To the extent that this clash of worlds had and has defined the lives of Indigenous people on the southernmost tip of the African continent, it has also preoccupied the literary attentions of most Black writers since the late eighteenth century, as evinced in Gqoba's compositions as they are inspired by Ntsikana's teachings; Mqhayi's Ityala Lamawele (1914), inasmuch as this book does not treat the theme directly, as other publications do, but continues to inspire the question of the implications associated with the changing world as it was unfolding in front of the Indigene in our context; Magema Fuze's Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona (1979), which was translated into English title as The Black People and Whence They Came: A Zulu View; A. C. Jordan's Ingqumbo Yeminyanya (1939); and Noni Jabavu's The Ochre People (1963). In more recent times, Zakes Mda (2000) has taken up the theme in his The Heart of Redness, joining a litany of literary giants who have sought to think through this problem of belonging and identity insofar as it vexes both intra-Black and interracial relations.

The analysis developed here has focused intensely on the function of education as inspiring intra-Black conflict, which then leads to interracial conflict. The rationale for this lies in outlining the reasoning of the analysis presented in the previous section of the article. I do, however, wish to apply myself now to the implications of the interracial tensions insofar as these are inspired by collaborations between Blackness/Indigeneity on the one hand and whiteness on the other. This will be done as an entry point to the next section of the article and will use the work of Mqahyi (1928) when he recounts the history of Idabi lama Linde (the Battle of Amalinde). The analysis presented above points to the reality that there were Black/Indigenous intellectuals who were convinced of the superiority of the thinking that came with the colonial settler. Mazrui (1978) points out that the chaos that came with colonial incursion saw some natives vying for power, via forms of collaboration with the colonial settler, and in no place is this better demonstrated than in Mqhayi's (2009d: 125) account of Idabi lama Linde:

Ngemfazwe yama Linde eyayingo 1818 pakati ko Ngqika no Ndlambe, imikhosi ka Ngqika yayipetwe ngu Maqoma lo ese lirwala. Acitwa kwamdaka ama Ngqika, akalipe kunene, aye ecitwa yinkungu nelanga yakwa Ndlambe, kudibene zonke izizwe zasema Xoseni; wabhungca elijaja ngamanxeba ezikhali no-Maqoma lowo. Kukuze kufe uJotelo uyise ka Soga, no Nteyi uyise ka Tyala, no-Ntlukwana uyise ka Neku, amagora ka Ngqika. Kukuze ke u-Ngqika aye kuhlabela eyomlungu, ize kumnceda, ize ke yona izisikele ilizwekazi elikulu ukuzivuza, imise i-Ngqikayi isiti yenza ukumgcina u-Ngqika [emphasis added].15

Black/Indigenous society was refashioned by a multiplicity of things, but the factors that emerge in this analysis are as follows. First is education as it is tied to the institution of religion, through the institutions of colonial missionary education. Secondly, we have the refashioning of Black/Indigenous ontology owing to the imposition of the education system established by the colonial settler. Such systems of refashioning Black/Indigenous ontology influence how Blackness/Indigeneity relates to itself, as seen in the case of intra-Black conflict. As a way of resolving this reality, it is useful to consider how Blackness/Indigeneity relates to itself and whether such modes of relationality could resolve the interracial conflict that preoccupies our analysis.

Responding to the Ontological Derision of Blackness/Indigeneity

In the opening of his address at the Lovedale Literary Society in 1885 (Opland 2015), Gqoba makes the remark that in focusing on the lives and customs of Blackness/Indigeneity, the reader will establish a multiplicity of similarities between Blackness and whiteness, such that the animosities that exist between both worlds can be resolved. While his remarks on the life of the Indigene can be read as derisive, specifically when he disagrees with the cultural and religious practices of the Indigene, there is a sense in which his thinking and attitude are aligned with the quest for sovereignty, as outlined in the analysis we get from Mazrui (1978) nearly a century later. This is to say that Gqoba and his peers corroborate the position that is propounded by Mazrui (1978) when the latter suggests that education also served as the inspiration for organising around a nationalist agenda of liberation, for it is in the literary circles of the time that the reader finds the establishment of the earliest political organisation in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, the Native Education Association. What the reader establishes from the factors that change the life of the Indigene to the extent that it is redefined forever is the foundational place of education, which necessitates its analysis by both Gqoba (1888) and Mazrui (1978), both of whom take up similar themes even as they were writing in different languages and eras. The place of education is crucial in the way that it not only shapes the political possibilities that are open to the Indigene, but influences cultural values to the extent that some Black members of the historical intelligentsia deride the cultural practices of their people, which they classify as outdated, heathen and worthy of being discarded.

The role of education as it changes the life potentialities and possibilities of the Indigene is crucial in understanding the long-standing frictions between the colonial settler and the Indigene. This is due to the fact that the educated elites are not entirely convinced of the new life they are adopting owing to their conversion to the new form of education brought by the colonial settler. Their education, thus, becomes the place from which they organise and begin to propose wholesale emancipation and self-determination, as seen in the examples of Gqoba and Albert Luthuli. While Mamdani (2021) takes the position that the categories as they have been established, that is, colonial settler and Indigeneity, require abolishment, this conclusion is seen both as rash and as not taking into account the ways in which Black ontology is derided in the colonial state apparatus, which necessarily informs national culture and identity. In order to restore the ‘ontological legitimacy’ (Kumalo 2018, 2021) of the Indigene, a confrontation with the constitutive factors that define the derision with which Blackness is regarded is not only necessary, but constitutes the ways in which one can respond to said derision. It is only once we have fully accounted for this derision that a countenancing position can be established from which to curate a truly postcolonial condition, as Mamdani (2021) strives for in his analysis. Denying the variance that constitutes Indigenous populations, and reading them as a monolithic identity rooted in similar if not singular realities, results in (mis)readings that have created incongruent solutions, owing to the initial misdiagnosis that takes place at the level of silencing Blackness/Indigeneity by reading it in a singular way.

With the reality established by the Witchcraft Suppression Act (1895), a reality that saw the lives of Blackness/Indigeneity suppressed even through the penal code of the country, the question remains: how does Blackness/Indigeneity relate to itself in response to said derision? The answer to this question is found in the preceding section, wherein Mqhayi (2009a; b; & c) performs two moves: in the first respect, his thinking responds to these systems of derision by establishing a counter-historical canon from which to draw when attempting to establish a nuanced understanding of the historical machinations that brought us to the contemporary situation. To read Mqhayi as a counter-historical canon begins with recognising that the Indigene can and indeed does think, irrespective of the fact that said thought is not developed in the hegemonic cultural framework of the colonial settler. That is to say that the initial move in reading Mqhayi as a counter-historical canon lies in understanding that knowledge is produced and producible in the Indigenous languages of our context. This move suggests a recognition of the ontological legitimacy of the Indigene, which would suggest a truly decolonial approach. In the second instance, Mqhayi's writing, along with that of Gqoba, mounts a nationalist agenda aimed at liberation, especially if the reader accounts for the subtle epistemic resistance frameworks that are embedded in their writing. Simply put, Gqoba and Mqhayi allow us to establish a framework from which to undermine Black ontological derision, by highlighting the key contributing factors that inform the position to which Blackness is relegated. Their writing proposes a liberatory sociopolitical framework by establishing the ontological legitimacy of Blackness/Indigeneity through treating this category of personhood with deferentiality. This treatment is not only found in the ways that both authors write about and engage with the Indigenous subject, but also extends to the reader who engages with their writing as a serious academic exercise.

Acknowledgements

I am indebted to the generosity of the anonymous reviewers, both for their kind directions and suggestions for this article and their collegial spirit in highlighting how best to showcase the intellectual richness that lies in the untapped well that is the collection of historical Black and Indigenous intellectuals in South Africa. I am grateful too to Dr Gerhard Wolmarans (my supervisor) for his support, guidance and patience in the development of this project. This project is affiliated with the University of Pretoria's Political Sciences Department, insofar as it is undertaken in partial fulfilment of the Doctoral Thesis by Publication Degree.

Notes

1

At the level of culture, the institution of religion is significant in this analysis. The culture of the Indigene is the premise for their disqualification from the realm of the political, for they do not exist within it as conceptualised since Greek and Roman antiquity, as outlined by Arendt (2018) in Part II of the book The Human Condition, wherein she writes about the Public and the Private Realm. Several Black/Indigenous intellectuals of the time participated in the public realm through their conversion to the Christian faith, specifically when Christianity sought to establish itself as the only and leading epistemic framework that organised the lives of the majority. To this degree, Mqhayi (1914) proffers a warning to the Xhosa people when he speaks of a demise of the life of amaXhosa owing to the customs and traditions that have been brought to our context by missionaries.

2

I use the word ‘Other’ as ‘Otherness’ is denotative of anything and everything that exists outside of the identity that is familiar and known to the speaker – who, in this case, is represented in the form of an Indigenous being. The Indigenous being is a subject who has their own forms of organising the political realm, and exists within the realm of cultural practices that are not dependent on modernity's intervention and coloniality's incursion. ‘Otherness’ recognises the Indigene as a legitimate being in and of themselves, without the qualification that might be rooted in colonial understanding.

3

The question with which the reader is confronted is the notion of ‘loss’. In a context where the Indigene has not lost their language and still has an affinity and connection to the land, be that owing to the fact of the Bantustans that were created by the apartheid state or otherwise, how does one make sense of this claim of loss that Gordon is alluding to? The response to loss is found in Sisonke Msimang's Always Another Country, wherein she points out the difference between those who have access to the land and their language(s) and the loss that Gordon writes about in his work in terms of those who were stripped of their land, their language and their culture. To defend the claim, Gordon needs to do more, if it is to stand as a claim that holds true even in contexts such as ours, which he claims it does. Moreover, this demonstrates why this analysis focuses on derision and not abjection. Such a realisation comes from an acknowledgement of intra-Black conflict that is spurred by conversion.

4

It will also be apparent in the article that Gqoba occupies a space of liminality between the world that was and the world that was becoming. It is for this reason that he can be read as chastising some of the ideas and customs that are associated with the Indigene, on the one hand, while also acting as a defender of certain customs within their lives, a matter that we see manifestly in his epic poem on Ingxoxo Enkulu Nge Mfundo.

5

I will rely on the generosity of my reader in the understanding that when I propose the concept of a world that was modernising, I am referring to a double process. First, I refer to a world that was gaining access to technology and advances in systems of information dissemination, such as the printing press, seen in the publications Imvo Zabantsundu, Isigidimi SamaXhosa and Ilanga lase Natali. Second, I refer to a world that was being subjected to the modernism (of enlightenment) of the colonial civilising mission. I insert this caveat as it would be irresponsible of me not to situate this reality in view of the missionary, Christian conversion debates that are constitutive of the intra-Black conflict I theorise in this article.

6

The concept of iqaba (which is the singular of amaqaba) has two meanings. In its original sense, it means those who smear red ochre on their faces (ukuqaba imbola). This group of Black people clung to their systems of political organisation, legal frameworks and a moral code that differed from the colonial settler's. Mqhayi's (2009d: 131) discussion of the lawsuit between a ‘white man and a slave’ demonstrates this point of pre-existing legal systems when he writes: ‘pambi kokuba litéthwé ityala u Mhlekazi uMaqoma uvakalise indawo ethi: “Ke apa ema-Xóseni, asinto ikóyo ikóboka, ke ngoko wosel’ esiti elityala alijonge njenge tyala lamadoda amabini amangaleleneyo”’ (‘Before the case proceeded, His Majesty Maqoma made this point: “Here in Xhosaland there is no such thing as a slave, so we would regard the case as one between two men who had made a bargain”’). In its secondary meaning, which was as a result of this sect of society rejecting colonial modes of being and education, the concept became associated with those who were considered ‘illiterate’ in the colonial modes of education. Illiteracy as associated with amaqaba is predicated on the rejection of missionary colonial education, which was embraced by amagqobhoka (those who rejected pre-colonial epistemic frameworks) and became amakholwa. The popular and contemporary meaning of amaqaba has come to be associated with illiteracy and replaced the first (read: original) meaning.

7

Igqobhoka (the singular of amagqobhoka) suggests the process of ‘conversion/converting’. This meaning is taken from the Fort Hare Greater Dictionary of isiXhosa, Vol. I, p. 625, and is derived from the act of ‘piercing or making a hole’. The implication(s) of this meaning is that Christianity was seen as a foreign object that had infected the life of the convert by way of getting through their natural defences. Amagqobhoka acquiesced to western epistemic frameworks as advocated by the colonial settler, that is, they became Christian converts (amakholwa), following the colonial settler's mode of life.

8

‘A great man of the Cirha clan, a Xhosa's Xhosa among the Xhosa, a coloured's coloured among the coloured, a white man among those who speak the language of the white man, a wise man among wise men, an eloquent man among eloquent men, a man pleasant to strangers and those he knows well, a good debater, a teacher among teachers, preacher among those who preach Christ's message, one who revives the law of our forefathers.’

9

To say that someone is found guilty of practising witchcraft is itself a bold claim, for how can a culture that does not understand the customs of those that it has come to conquer classify what is witchcraft and what are understood as practices of healing and attending to the life potentialities of the people? The point, here, is to highlight how the African's ontology was fundamentally crushed and jettisoned in favour of the western Christian conception of the world and how it is organised.

10

At this point, the reader might inquire as to whether the claim made in the previous section about the work of Lewis Gordon is not misplaced, in framing such a claim as one that feeds into the delegitimation strategies of Blackness/Indigeneity. There are two ways in which to respond to this question. The first deals with the reality that even as these modes of being were jettisoned by those who occupied prominent positions in the public life of intellectual discourse and debate in the country, these were not the only leading voices in respect to what the people clung to and believed. To the extent that the Black/Indigenous intellectual understood this themselves, the reader must note Opland's (2015: 8) quotation from Donovan Williams, who writes, ‘Christianity, qua Christianity, did not produce conflict; it was when Christianity attacked the customs and rites of the Kaffirs [sic] that it became a menace to Kaffir [sic] society and the chiefs in particular.’ Opland (ibid.), in his own analysis, continues by highlighting that ‘But up to a point, Soga was tolerant of Xhosa custom. He was not opposed to circumcision as such, but sought a modification of some of its practices, such as smearing the face and body with white clay. Circumcision, he claimed, was “a civil and not a religious rite”. When boys on his station at Mgwali, including the sons of two of his elders, entered the circumcision lodge, he did not oppose them, but offered them guidelines; as he wrote “If they wished to be men, they required only to perform the rite, without adopting other degrading customs”.’ In the knowledge of the reality that their mode of life was not the only one that prevailed, even those who were converted to the Christian faith understood the function of certain customs, to the extent that these customs are still around to this very day. This leads us to the second point. Inasmuch as the customs are still around to this day, the concept of ‘temporal homelessness’ that we find in Gordon's thinking is not only misplaced, but lacks substantiation in the context of existing languages that are able to root and ground the Indigene in the systems of thought that were primarily treated as lacking any form of ontological legitimacy.

11

As outlined by Opland (2015: 1–2), ‘Ntsikana is a figure of enduring influence, revered as a charismatic prophet who foretold the arrival of white settlers; he urged acceptance of some European innovations but only on Xhosa terms, a policy of assimilation by the Xhosa rather than wholesale conversion by the missionaries. He stressed the need for the community and the nation to remain as tightly unified as a compressed, compacted ball made of the scrapings from the inside pelt, imbumba yamanyama, a phrase that now serves as one of South Africa's national mottoes.’

12

‘This fellow [Mpande] was the son of Senzangakhona – Shaka and Dingana are his older brothers; as he comes from a minor house of less significance, it was inconceivable that he could rule the kingdom of Zulu and Malendela.’

13

‘Only now, after this battle, did Mpande enter the picture. Because of his ill treatment at the hands of his elder brother Dingana, he had decided to leave and seek a place of refuge from his enemies for fear of being murdered one day. Because Mpande brought with him a massed army of soldiers dissatisfied with Dingana's rule, the Boers greatly rejoiced at this answer to their prayers. They tested Mpande in various ways to establish that he was not a spy; they found him a dependable young man sincere in his desire to place himself in Boer hands.’

14

Mazrui (1978: 35) makes the useful observation that ‘Education in Africa has been charged, again and again, with being irrelevant to African conditions and incapable of preparing the young for “what they are to practice when they come to be men”’. Discussing the role of a suitable education, which differs from that which came with the importations of western modernity to Africa, he makes the point that ‘Here we have an example of the kind of education that is three things at once. First, it is relevant to the society in which the child will spend his entire life. Second, it is fun, not agony. Finally, the child does not postpone the process of life till later when he is grown up. He is living fully now and enjoying it’ (ibid.: 38).

15

‘At the Battle of Amalinde in 1818 between Ngqika and Ndlambe, Ngqika's armies were commanded by Maqoma, who had recently emerged from initiation school. The Ngqika fought valiantly but were utterly destroyed, destroyed by the overwhelming numbers of Ndlambe, who had joined forces with all the Xhosa nations; Maqoma narrowly escaped, bleeding from battle wounds. And so Ngqika's heroes fell, Jotelo the father of Soga, Nteyi the father of Tyala, and Ntlukwana the father of Neku. And so Ngqika secretly appealed to the white man for support, and so the white man excised a large section of land for himself as a reward, and established Ngqikayi, claiming it was for Ngqika ‘s protection.’

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  • Msimang, S. 2017. Always Another Country. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball.

  • Mudimbe, V.-Y. 1988. The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Opland, J. (ed., trans.). 2009. Abantu Besizwe: Historical and Biographical Writings, 1902–1944 – S.E.K. Mqhayi. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

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    • Export Citation
  • Opland, J. 2009. ‘Introduction’. In J. Opland (ed., trans .), Abantu Besizwe: Historical and Biographical Writings, 1902–1944 – S.E.K. Mqhayi. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 129.

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  • Opland, J. 2015. ‘Introduction’. In J. Opland, W. Kuse and P. Maseko (eds., trans.), William Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali – Xhosa Histories and Poetry (1873–1888). Scottsville: UKZN Press.

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  • Praeg, L. 2014. A Report on Ubuntu. Scottsville: UKZN Press.

  • Praeg, L. 2019. Philosophy on the Border: Decoloniality and the Shudder of the Origin. Scottsville: UKZN Press.

  • Rorty, R. 1991. ‘Education as Socialisation and as Individuation’. In Philosophy and Social Hope. London: Penguin, 114126.

  • Van der Vlies, A. (ed.). 2018. Race, Nation, Translation: South African Essays, 1990–2013. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

  • Vasse, D. 1999. La dérision et la joie. Paris: Seuil.

Contributor Notes

Siseko H. Kumalo is a Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare and a Harvard South African Fellow at the Centre for African Studies, Harvard University, where he is pursuing research on the Black Archive for a monograph contracted with Vernon Press. His teaching spans the areas of epistemology, decolonisation, and feminist and queer theory. Siseko supervises students on higher education transformation and the Black Archive. E-mail: skumalo@ufh.ac.za

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Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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  • Mqhayi, S. E. K. (1917) 2009d. ‘U-Maqoma’. In J. Opland (ed., trans.), Abantu Besizwe: Historical and Biographical Writings, 1902–1944 – S.E.K. Mqhayi. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 123144.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Msimang, S. 2017. Always Another Country. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball.

  • Mudimbe, V.-Y. 1988. The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

  • Opland, J. (ed., trans.). 2009. Abantu Besizwe: Historical and Biographical Writings, 1902–1944 – S.E.K. Mqhayi. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Opland, J. 2009. ‘Introduction’. In J. Opland (ed., trans .), Abantu Besizwe: Historical and Biographical Writings, 1902–1944 – S.E.K. Mqhayi. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 129.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Opland, J. 2015. ‘Introduction’. In J. Opland, W. Kuse and P. Maseko (eds., trans.), William Wellington Gqoba: Isizwe Esinembali – Xhosa Histories and Poetry (1873–1888). Scottsville: UKZN Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Praeg, L. 2014. A Report on Ubuntu. Scottsville: UKZN Press.

  • Praeg, L. 2019. Philosophy on the Border: Decoloniality and the Shudder of the Origin. Scottsville: UKZN Press.

  • Rorty, R. 1991. ‘Education as Socialisation and as Individuation’. In Philosophy and Social Hope. London: Penguin, 114126.

  • Van der Vlies, A. (ed.). 2018. Race, Nation, Translation: South African Essays, 1990–2013. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

  • Vasse, D. 1999. La dérision et la joie. Paris: Seuil.

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