A podcast that adds to South Africans’ knowledge of one of the most powerful societies in our history

I directed and produced a podcast series on life in Dingane’s Zulu kingdom before colonial oppression. The series is named uMgungundlovu, and was created in collaboration between some extraordinary academics, spoken word artists and musicians.A core challenge of South African history is that the vast majority of african people in southern Africa had their histories excluded from the record, or grossly mischaracterized, under colonialism and, later, white supremacy. A lot of work is being done to bring the histories of oppressed and marginalised people in southern Africa to the centre of public life where they belong.The Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative brought together a team to create an audio production on uMgungundlovu, the centre of the Zulu kingdom, under Dingane in the 1830’s. The team used an extraordinary written record of the memories of four Zulu men who visited and worked at uMgungundlovu. These are eye-witness accounts of what life was like in the centre of Zulu power before colonialism. They provide remarkable and vivid descriptions of King Dingane's court.The accounts are over a hundred years old and are steeped in the evocative historical phrasing of the time. Nobody speaks in this way anymore. We combined the readings with a soundscape that was born out of a breathtaking original musical composition. The vision was to evoke the mood and energy of the accounts in the music. This adds hugely to South Africans' knowledge of one of the most powerful societies in our history. Its form honours the oral history tradition of many South Africans.

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