As the author of Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona  (trans. The Black People and Whence They Came ), Magema Fuze was a classic South African example of how first-generation converts made the transition from oral to literate cultures, from the homestead to the mission, and from being 'native informants' to being kholwa intellectuals. The kholwa had no secure cultural or political identity, caught as they were in the 'Natal-Zululand divide,' between the promise of full and equal incorporation into colonial society and the ties that bound them to traditional society and culture. This book examines the life of Magema Fuze and suggests that kholwa identity was fashioned through the practice of bricolage: the cobbling together, in indeterminate and sometimes contradictory ways, of elements from both colonial and indigenous cultures. The amakholwa used the instruments of cultural imperialism - namely petitions, letters, books, and newspapers - to create a signature resistance to subjugation and conquest. Magema Fuze's literary life represents a black intellectual tradition whose potential was not realized. Beyond his work as a printer and scribe, it is worth adding another role, namely that Fuze was a popular South African historian who attempted to write histories with intimate resonances that would appeal to his readers and rouse their nationalistic sentiments.
Publication Date: 1/3/2011