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Shaka is a popular name for the Zulu king and military leader Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. 1787 –1828)[1], a popular character in numerous works of history and fiction.

Better known outside Zulu culture as Shaka Zulu or Shaka, he is also referred to as Chaka, Tshaka or Tsjaka (in Afrikaans).

The character

He is the most legendary of the Zulu kings, a military genius who revolutionized African warfare and subdued a large part of the sub-continent. He was murdered by his brother Dingane, who then assumed the kingship.

A number of novels (notably Mofolo's famous work), epic poems (e.g. by B.W. Vilakazi) and plays have been written on his life.

Plays and films about Shaka

The plays include Shaka by Sam Gorey,

Tshaka Seripa sa I, II and III (“Tshaka Chapters 1, 2 and 3)” by E.K.K. Matlala,

Ukufa kukaShaka (Zulu) by E. Zondi,

Xaka (Tsonga) by S.J. Baloyi, Bayede-Shaka: The Spear is Born by Edmund 'Muzi' Mhlongo.

Kwadedangendlale by M. Khumalo, an opera based on Vilakazi's epic poem.

Tsjaka by Pieter Fourie (1940-), written in 1963 and published as Tsjaka in Afrikaans (by Perskor, Johannesburg), as well as Shaka in English (translated by Sheila Gillham, published by Longman, Cape Town) in 1976.

Shaka Zulu, an epic television series about his life, was made for the SABC by Bill Faure, introducing and starring Henry Cele as Shaka.


De Beer, 1995

Nico Luwes 2010. Pieter Fourie (1940-) se bydrae as Afrikaanse dramaturg en kunsbestuurder: 1965-2010. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Bloemfontein: University of the Free State, pp. [2]

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