337pp., illus., paperback, Cape Town, 2009
In 1996 Nicholas Gcaleka, a healer-diviner from the Eastern Cape, returned to South Africa from Scotland with what he claimed was Hintsa's skull. Hintsa was a Xhosa king shot by the British colonial forces in 1835. Gcaleka claimed his ancestors had told him the violence and corruption that plagued the new South Africa was because Hintsa's soul had had no rest and its return would bring peace. His mission was mocked and derided. Premesh Lalu explores the reasons for such laughter and examines the controversy surrounding the different stories of King Hintsa's death, arguing for new models for writing histories.
Dr Premesh Lalu is Professor of History and Director of the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape.