History and memory as revolutionary tools: An analysis of the significance of Ndabaningi Sithole’s historical novel Umvukela wamaNdebele (The Ndebele Revolution)

Authors

  • Lindiwe Ndlovu Lecturer, African Languages Department Great Zimbabwe University
  • Beatrice Lantern Lecturer, African Languages Department Great Zimbabwe University
  • Faith Sibanda Lecturer, African Languages Department Great Zimbabwe University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18533/journal.v2i2.75

Abstract

“The colonised man who writes for his people ought to use the past with the intention of opening the future, as an invitation to action and a basis for hope.(Fanon 1969: 187)”   This paper analyses Ndabaningi Sithole’s historical novel Umvukela WamaNdebele (1956) as a tool for revolution. It argues that although the novel was written under repressive colonial conditions , the author uses the history of the Ndebele in a militant and radical manner to come up with rebellious literature meant to raise the consciousness of the oppressed Africans in the then Rhodesia, to fight against the oppressors. The novel, although written in the 1950s, transcends historical epochs as it interrogates the present post Zimbabwean independence situation, especially the betrayal of the aspirations of the masses by the present leadership and thus gives a direction for the future. History can be a tool for empowerment and liberation. The way a historical artist retrieves and articulates the history of his/her people influences how those people negotiate their present and shape their future. 

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