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Mr Sibusiso Mnyanda

The Priest King of myth and misunderstanding

European fascination with a submissive Africa and its people has led to centuries of misguided and misinformed details of the precolonial continent. Even in its attempts at telling the real story of Africa it has never been able to avoid falsehoods, hyperbole and the perpetuation of myth, as is the case with the legend of the…

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The Mbira | a story of appropriation and dilution

On the 37th anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, MR SIBUSISO MNYANDA charts the history of the colonial capture and appropriation of the Mbira, arguably the Shona nation’s most spiritual musical instrument.   Cultural performance, music and rhythm have always been vehicles that transport (even teleport) humanity through the highways of spiritual linkage. Whether it is travelling to the past, communicating…

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Reclaiming Nongqawuse | of prophesy and colonial deceit

More than a century and-a-half after one of the most devastating events in South Africa’s colonial history, the story of the mass Xhosa Cattle Killing –  by the young prophetess Nongqawuse’s vision – is still mired in wanton mythology. MR SIBUSISO MNYANDA argues that a proper reading of information in the public domain exposes the events leading up to…

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The myth of the SS Mendi and the sacrifice of black life

This week marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi. Hundreds of black Africans perished with it and over the years, the narrative of colonialists – and subsequently the post-94 South African government – has been dominated by tales of the deceased’s bravery. But, as historian MR SIBUSISO MNYANDA argues that this event should be located in…

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