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Emperor Shaka the Great (African Writers Series) [Hardcover]

Mazisi Kunene
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

2 July 1979 African Writers Series
Tells how the Zulu's themselves view their empire, both in the past and the present.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann International Literature & Textbooks (2 July 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435906488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435906481
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,303,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 28 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For all those who claim that epic poetry is restricted to the upper hemisphere, here is an excellent example to the contrary. UNESCO poet laureate of Africa, Mazisi (Raymond) Kunene (12 May 1930 - 11 August 2006) wrote an excellent epic described by World Literature Today contributor Christopher Larson as a "a monumental undertaking and achievement by any standards." I also recommend his other poem Anthem of the Decades:A Zulu Epic which describes how death came to mankind.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Time of Shaka 28 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book is unique among many others in African history. This is the story of Shaka translated directly from Zulu oral history into English. I felt as if I were in the time of Shaka in a way that I never felt from reading other histories of Africa. This book made me realized that my perception of Africa needed looking into. I always approached books about African history as if I were going to a place and time that is inherently alien. Then I read "Shaka," and because it was the current events, or at least recent history, to the historians of the day, the events and characters are reported as the stories of men and women, and I realized that I was not reading "African" history -- I was reading World history, and there is only one history.
This story stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other great first-hand accounts of history and warfare for military accuracy (not that I've attempted to re-trace the route of Shaka's campaigns for accuracy!): the Pelopennesian War, the Punic Wars, the campaigns of Napoleon.
This history, insofar as it is verbal and just happened to be transcribed, is also a very long poem, and the instances of poetic adornment are many, but bear them! for they are as much a part of the story as what they describe. And don't skip over the reflections on the application of the power of the king and political philosophy. For the non-African, these are essential to beginning to understand African (or at least Zulu) aesthetics and philosophy.
A must-read (not just a must-OWN, by the way) for the casual student or scholar of history, African or otherwise.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece!!!! 22 Dec 2004
By D. Festus Okoro - Published on Amazon.com
Mazisi Kunene's penchant for history is alive in this collection. As a scholar of Zulu literature, it is no surprise that Kunene is able to present the story/legend of Shaka in poetic language that is both engaging and skillfully constructed. Also, Kunene's brilliant execution of folklore, myths, images and metaphors affords the reader a rare opportunity of experiencing his virtuoso and visionary commitment. Inspiring!!

--Dike Festus Okoro

Milwaukee, WI USA
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read and Highly Dependable 11 Feb 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Mazisi Kunene, the great Zulu Poet, relates the story of Emperor Shaka from various oral sources. This is an excellent read and very enlightening account of the Shakan times.
3.0 out of 5 stars Written in poem format, a difficult read. 8 Feb 2014
By mac-2012 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Product was on time and the description was accurate. I am having a hard time reading and making sense of this epic poem. Painful.
5.0 out of 5 stars As far as EPIC Poems Go 29 Jan 2013
By Mosha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I began reading this poem, I had no idea that Africa was already made up of nations until Britian decided it wanted Africa and destroyed the continuity of this land. It took one powerful individual to stand-up and fight against the tyranny that was to befall Africa, leaving its people worse off to day, than they were prior to the turn of the century.
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