Remembering The First Zulu Native To Publish A Book In Zulu Language In 1922

Image<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>via<a href=httpshowafricacom> <a>UKZN Press


It is evident that history books, which were primarily authored by colonists, have not been fair to Africans since the days of colonization, when their expertise and abilities appeared to be disregarded. Therefore, it was crucial that Africans take the lead in creating publications specifically for Africans. Many Black thinkers, leaders, soldiers, freedom fighters, and other valiant men and women have purposefully been erased from history throughout Africa.

The majority of Africans and their great historical contributions are eliminated or reduced to incidental incidents that transpired at the time. Magema Magwaza Fuze wrote a book in Zulu for Zulu people called “Abantu Abamnyama Lapa Bavela Ngakona,” which translates to “The Black People and Whence They Came.”


Fuze, a renowned Zulu, was converted to Christianity by Anglican Bishop John Colenso at a young age. He was born around 1840, and in 1856 he relocated to Colenso’s mission in Ekukhanyeni, where he received an education, underwent a Christian conversion, and learned the craft of printing. His printing endeavors helped promote Christianity even though he wasn’t an overt preacher. Colenso utilized the printing press at Ekukhanyeni to print Bibles while he was in England, and he eventually established his own printing business in Pietermaritzburg.

The first edition of Abantu Abamnyama was published in 1922, but the English translation wasn’t available until 1979. It is the first book of its sort to have been published and was written by a native Zulu speaker. It is regarded as a fundamental source for learning Zulu history. Fuze traveled for Saint Helena in 1896 to work as King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo’s secretary after writing to a number of Zulu journals. He didn’t come back to Natal until 1898.

According to an article posted on, historians have written in-depth essays about Fuze’s book, focusing on how he introduced his Christian views into a Zulu community that had been completely upended by internal and colonial wars. The Zulu and other Africans were able to struggle for their liberation from the colonial administration because of how he integrated Zulu and Christian principles.

Recalling Fuze, whose life was outstanding despite its challenges, allows us to rediscover the depth of writing and ideas that have existed prior to this time, first in the service of Christianity and later in the fight for Africans’ freedom and complete inclusion in modernity.

According to Sihle Zikalala, Fuze and another convert, William Ngidi, disregarded Colenso’s decree that every Christian man should only have one wife. They also supported the traditional practices of their African ancestors, which colonialism had devastated and undervalued. They continued to engage in polygamy.

For how he handled himself during the 19th century, which was one of the worst periods for colonial violence and land theft against Africans in this region of the world, the people of KwaZulu-Natal and Africa as a whole owe Magema Fuze a great debt of gratitude.

Fuze died away in 1922. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the deaths of Abantu Abamnyama and Fuze. Fuze denounced colonialism and the suffering it brought upon Africans. He was a Kholwa scholar and one of the pioneers of African nationalism, thus we should respect him.


Written by How Africa News

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