It helps to go back to the earliest known history of the Zulu people or rather, their ancestors. Additionally the relationships between the church and its followers echoed the relationship between king and nation Sundkler This essay examines how Zulu religious activity changed in response to the events of the 19th and 20th century by showing how new religious forms emerged and how old religious systems transformed.
Eventually these bantu-speaking people would come to populate and dominate practically all the arable land in South Africa Prozesky Such apocalyptic visions were rife after the Boer War Sundkler The oppression suffered by the Zulu was fertile ground for emergence of new movements, namely independent churches Lawson The Independent churches are expressions of African Christianity but they also provided alternative messages that showed a way out of the crisis that the Zulu were experiencing Lawson Where they had once reigned supreme, they were now debased to being servants on their own lands Janzen Religion does not develop in a vacuum, it responds and transforms in step with social, political and economic factors.
Yet a change of fortunes awaited the Zulu people, a fate which years before was almost inconceivable.
No religious world can remain the same forever and in response to this traditions undergo transformation processes, answering to the needs of the community. This is significant as the Zulu had found themselves lacking any earthly hope Sundkler The chance to break away and form new movements presented an opportunity for the Zulu people to assert their right to self-government, if only on a religious basis.
The Zionist churches provided Zulu society with a new means to economic advancement through the taboos it preached.
It was not long before the Voortrekkers of the mid s began to make inroads into what is now known as the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, engaging and humiliatingly defeating the Zulu Janzen Around years ago a new group of people began to arrive in South Africa.
A story of subjugation and oppression so keenly experienced by those who had been pushed into the status of second class citizens in their own lands Prozesky Their majestic domain covered mountains, rivers and coastlines Laband After all every peak is followed by a fall and the higher the peak, the greater the fall.
Although this is an over-simplistic view of the independent Churches, one cannot ignore the political effects of the movements. One general way that religion responds to external factors is by developing new beliefs and adopting new forms. Their warriors defeated and belittled and their land snatched from them.
Already from their earliest forbearers the Zulu had inherited a history of domination and power. As Black trade unions were outlawed Sundkler As previously mentioned by the turn of the 20th century Zulu society was experiencing a great crisis.
At this time the Zulu had never been mightier. This dominative power reached its peak in the 19th century with the creation of the Zulu Kingdom, a powerful centralised territory of warriors and kings.
A Lord, who appears to have deserted them yet was posed to return and restore them to glory, not only provided such an explanation but also gave them hope of a justice beyond oppression.
Now that the social and political context has been established one must examine how religious activity responded to this.
The independent Churches also tended to have a revolutionary element Lawson From Europeans had begun to trickle into South Africa, followed by substantial waves in and Prozesky To add insult to injury Europeans had appropriated their mineral wealth and had imposed controls to hinder Africans benefiting from the burgeoning urban industrial economy on their own volition Kiernan In this way Zionism was a bold challenge to the social, economic system and political that had been imposed on them Sundkler One can understand the popularity of the independent churches as playing a key role in the search for cultural authenticity and identity Kirby It makes sense then that the Zulu began to look beyond this earthly plain and seek an explanation for their hardship.
The mighty Zulu kingdom was in disrepute. The izibongo chiefly praises of the past seemed wildly distant in the face of defeat instead, Zulu Pride was kept alive through hymns Cabrita Nevertheless the Zulu would not be adhering en-masse to the Christianity that white missionaries gave them; on the contrary they would be following uniquely African Christian movements.
In the process of creating this state the Zulu had usurped smaller tribes and conquered their lands leading to a social crisis known as the mfecane Janzen The Influence of Social, Political, and Economic Factors on the Development and Form of Zulu Religious Activity in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
What are the fundamental social, economic and political factors Of course economic factors, but also social (education is Demographic Change, Economic.
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