William Wellington Gqoba

Isizwe Esinembali: Xhosa Histories and Poetry (1873-1888)

Edited by: Pamela Maseko, Wandile Kuse, Jeff Opland

Contributions by: Jeff Opland, Wandile Kuse, Pamela Maseko

William Wellington Gqoba (1840-1888) was prominent among the African intellectuals emerging in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa towards the end of the 19th century. By trade, he was a wagon maker, licensed preacher of the Free Church of Scotland, teacher, historian, poet, folklorist, and editor. For much of his brief life, he served at mission stations as a catechist, and he ended his career as editor of the Lovedale newspaper Isigidimi sama-Xosa, to which he contrived ~to contribute subversive poetry that was outspokenly critical of Western education, the European administration of black people, and the discrimination suffered by colonized blacks. Gqoba fashioned the figure of the Xhosa man of letters. Unrivalled in his time in the generic range of his writing, he was the author of letters, anecdotes, expositions of proverbs, histories, and poetry, including two poems in the form of debates that stood for over 50 years as the longest poems in the Xhosa language. This book assembles and translates into English all of William Wellington Gqoba's clearly identifiable writings. They offer an insider's perspective on an African nation in transition: adapting uncomfortably to Western mores and morality, seeking to affirm its identity by drawing on its past, and standing on the brink of mobilization to resist white control and to construct its social, political, and religious independence of European colonialism. (Series: Publications of the Opland Collection of Xhosa Literature - Vol. 1) [Subject: African Studies, History, Literary Criticism, Poetry]

Publication Date: 4/1/2015
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869142827