Ngiphathel’ uGubhu Lwam’ Ekhaya Lapha, Mnawami! UMntwana uMagogo and the photographic image

Shange, Belinda Kholeka
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Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu’ is a historical figure whose prominence and acclaim has been primarily documented through ‘Zulu’ historiography. She has been immortalised as the daughter of ‘King Dinuzulu’1, the mother of ‘Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi’ and an unparalleled musician, imbongi2, instrumentalist, composer, performer and custodian of ‘Zulu culture’. However, in this thesis, I posit that the way in which this seemingly larger-than-life ‘Zulu’ royal woman has been commonly represented is in many ways one-dimensional and patriarchal. In this study I explore how her obscure existence in ‘Zulu’ historiography not only perpetuates the marginalisation of ‘Zulu’ royal women’s histories at large, but is also an illustration of how white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy relegates the experiences of Blackwomen to the margins. Moreover, through the use of a Blackwomen-centric feminist methodology, I examine how a re-reading of photographic representations of ‘Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu’ not only challenges the peripherilisation of these histories, but I investigate how this historic woman’s hypervisibility (as a ‘big’ woman in ‘Zulu’ historiography) paradoxically renders the everyday woman that I refer to as uMntwana uMagogo invisible. In this regard, I am interested in how normative readings of the aforementioned images may be disrupted through various methods that I employ in each chapter. As such, ‘Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu’ is re-conceived as an ordinary Blackwoman that was not only a colonised subject, but existed in twentieth century South Africa as a Blackwoman wherein institutionalised race-based domination was systemised through apartheid
A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities, University Of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020