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Whose Unkulunkulu?

Weir, J. (2005) Whose Unkulunkulu? Africa, 75 (2). pp. 213-219.

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    uNkulunkulu was a term taken up by certain missionaries in Natal as synonymous with the Christian God. Though the idea of uNkulunkulu is now well entrenched in African as well as missionary Christian theology, historically the concept of uNkulunkulu, as the High God of all, is inaccurate. This paper will argue that there was actually a multiplicity of oNkulunkulu (plural of uNkulunkulu) in the early nineteenth century - including females. uNkulunkulu was simply a generic name for particular significant Zulu ancestors' family, chiefly or 'national'. The development of the concept of uNkulunkulu, as the High God of all, obscures important aspects of the relationship that formerly obtained between chiefs and their departed ancestors. The attainment of Zulu political ascendancy, which has so often been viewed in purely secular terms, had a critical religious dimension.

    Publication Type: Journal Article
    Murdoch Affiliation: Teaching and Learning Centre
    Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
    Copyright: Paper reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
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