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"The Zulu Iklwa. Evidence of an African Miltary Revolution" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2020 9:33 p.m. PST


"In 2016, the History Channel's competitive weapon manufacturing reality show "Forged in Fire" included a final segment that instructed contestants to construct a "Zulu iklwa," or short stabbing-spear made famous by the Zulu king Shaka kaSenzangakhona, known popularly as "Shaka Zulu." Beyond questionable visual representations, including an illustration that was described as Shaka but was actually of his nephew Utilmuni,[1] the short stabbing spear of the Zulu was offered as part of the military genius of Shaka, highlighting an often repeated, entrenched narrative in our understanding of the history of the Zulu people. This narrative, facilitated by European and African sources since the death of the Zulu king in 1828, claims that Shaka, through ruthlessness, treachery, and military innovations, forged with his iklwa a kingdom that became the source of Zulu nationalism and ethnic identity for the next two centuries. One cannot help but read a similar dramatic narrative in the recent Black Panther film, which also features a weapon similar to the iklwa prominently. Shaka remains a figure of myth, legend, and misinterpretation, with numerous books and films depicting the rise of the "Black Napoleon." However, "Shaka's spear" offers an example of how one object can come to represent not only the individual but also the sweeping changes that he ushered in during a period of revolution…"
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