White Chief, Black Lords

September 2010
7 black and white, 3 line illustrations
191 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580463416
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC LCO001000, HIS001040, POL045000

White Chief, Black Lords

Shepstone and the Colonial State in Natal, South Africa, 1845-1878

Thomas V. McClendon

A study of colonial Natal, focused on the contradictions related to indirect rule, the legacy of which continues to inform the political and social climate of post-apartheid South Africa.
White Chief, Black Lords explores the tensions and contradictions between the British colonial civilizing mission and the practice of indirect rule. While the colonial imperative was to transform colonized societies and bring them within "civilized" norms, fiscal limitations frequently resulted in ruling through indigenous authorities and customs. In this book, Thomas McClendon analyzes this deep contradiction by looking at several crises and key turning points in the early decades of colonial rule in the British colony of Natal, later part of South Africa. He focuses a keen eye on the tenure of Theophilus Shepstone as that colony's Secretary for Native affairs, examining his interactions with subject African communities.
In a series of case studies, including high drama over rebellions by African "chiefs" and their followers and intense debates over the control of witchcraft, White Chief, Black Lords shows that these colonial imperatives led to a self-defeating conundrum. In the process of attempting to rule through African leaders and norms yet to discipline and transform African subjects, the colonial state inevitably was itself transformed and became, in part, an African state. McClendon concludes by spotlighting the continuing importance of these unresolved contradictions in post-apartheid South Africa.

Thomas McClendon is Professor of History at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

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Table of Contents

The Man Who Would Be Inkosi
Witchcraft and Statecraft
You Are What You Eat Up
Guns, Rain, and Law
From Show Trial to Shallow Reform

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