SHAKA ZULU by E. A. Ritter


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The Zulus, early in the 19th century, were united as a people by a powerful, tyrannical man, whose brutality was matched only by his obsessed devotion to his mother. A band of a few hundred well-trained, highly disciplined troops enabled Shaka to rout or conquer his rivals. Once in power, he ruled by fiat and assegai. Though he couldn't civilize, he forced obedience, and instilled the rudimentary sense of civic duty. When Shako's mother died, 7000 people perished in an orgy of shared bereavement, and the sorrow-maddened King slaughtered all those accused of showing too little grief at his tragic loss. Shaka never recovered, and though he initiated new military campaigns and ventured into diplomatic dealings with the English, the spirit of nationalism and sovereignty which had imbued him- died with him. His jealous brothers assassinated him but could not usurp his rule. These events and countless details of anthropological interest Mr. Ritter learned during his own childhood among the Zulus. He remembers them in a fond and chilling recall here.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1957
Publisher: Putnam