CAUSES OF MFECANE PDF

Alistair Boddy-Evans Updated September 01, The word mfecane is derived from Xhosa terms: ukufaca "to become thin from hunger" and fetcani "starving intruders. It is also known by the Sotho name difaqane. European Colonization Euro-centric historians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries regarded the mfecane as the result of aggressive nation-building by the Zulu under the rule of Shaka and the Nbebele under Mzilikazi. Such descriptions of devastation and depopulation of Africans gave white settlers an excuse to move into the land which they considered empty. As the Europeans moved into new territory which was not theirs, it was a time of transition during which the Zulus took advantage.

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Alistair Boddy-Evans Updated September 01, The word mfecane is derived from Xhosa terms: ukufaca "to become thin from hunger" and fetcani "starving intruders. It is also known by the Sotho name difaqane. European Colonization Euro-centric historians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries regarded the mfecane as the result of aggressive nation-building by the Zulu under the rule of Shaka and the Nbebele under Mzilikazi. Such descriptions of devastation and depopulation of Africans gave white settlers an excuse to move into the land which they considered empty.

As the Europeans moved into new territory which was not theirs, it was a time of transition during which the Zulus took advantage. More destruction actually was initiated by those people that Shaka defeated, rather than by his own forces—this was the case with the Hlubi and the Ngwane.

Devoid of social order, the refugees pillaged and stole wherever they went. The impact of the Mfecane extended far beyond South Africa. Cattle and grain were stolen from the communities that were defeated, but the attacks were booty for the Zulu soldiers to take what they wanted.

All the property from the organized raids went to Shaka. By the s, the mfecane and Zulu nation building were being given a positive spin — considered more as a revolution in Bantu Africa, where Shaka played a leading role in the creation of a Zulu nation in Natal.

Moshoeshoe similarly created the Sotho kingdom in what is now Lesotho as a defense against Zulu incursions. Historians View of Mfecane Modern historians challenge the suggestions that Zulu aggression caused the mfecane, citing archaeological evidence which shows that drought and environmental degradation lead to increased competition for land and water, which encouraged the migration of farmers and cattle herders throughout the region. More extreme and highly controversial theories have been suggested, including the conspiracy theory that the myth of Zulu nation building and aggression was a root cause of the mfecane, used to cover up systematic illegal slave trading by white settlers to feed the demand for labor in the Cape colony and neighboring Portuguese Mozambique South African historians now posit that Europeans, and slave traders, in particular, played a significant role in the upheaval of the region during the first quarter of the 19th century, more so than was previously thought.

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Causes of Mfecane/Difaqane

Causes[ edit ] Theories vary as to the causes of the catastrophic warfare and migration of many ethnic groups in the area. Populations had increased greatly in Zululand following the Portuguese introduction of maize in from the Americas in the late 17th century, reaching the inland around The agricultural surpluses and increased population enabled Shaka to raise a standing army of Zulus. By the end of the 18th century, the Zulus occupied much of their arable land. Declining rainfall and a ten-year drought in the early 19th century set off a competition for land and water resources among the peoples of the area. Another possible cause is the increased trade of ivory with the Portuguese in the Delagoa Bay.

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Causes of the Mfecane

Communities that previously had often spread across the countryside or had repeatedly divided and moved along the frontier became more settled and more concentrated. The introduction of corn from the Americas through the Portuguese in Mozambique was one major reason for this trend. Corn produced more food than indigenous grasses on the same land, and thus could sustain a larger population. Trade in ivory with the Portuguese in Delagoa Bay was another factor that induced people to settle just south of Mozambique. Moreover, possibilities for population movement had become much more limited by the end of the eighteenth century because land was in short supply. Bantu-speaking farmers had reached the margins of arable land on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in the northwest and in the mountains on the southern border of the Highveld, and people settling in the area found their access to water more and more limited. Declining rainfall in the last decades of the eighteenth century, followed by a calamitous ten-year drought that began about , caused massive disruption and suffering.

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The Mfecane in South Africa

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