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Title:'A faithful, circumstantial and unvarnished detail of incidents': a critical reassessment of the accounts relating to Shaka in 'The diary of Henry Francis Fynn'
Author:Gewald, Jan-BartISNI
City of publisher:Leiden
Publisher:State University
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:traditional rulers
historical sources
diaries (form)
About person:Henry Francis Fynn (1806-1861)ISNI
Abstract:This paper critically examines the sections of the 'Diary of Henry Francis Fynn' (ed. by J. Stuart and D. Malcolm, 1950) dealing with the Zulu king Shaka, with the aim of assessing the validity of the Diary as a historical source. The sections examined deal with Fynn's arrival in Natal, South Africa, in 1824 and his first attempt to visit Shaka; the 'annexation' of Natal and the first visit to Shaka's kraal; the attempted assassination of Shaka; Fynn's travels to the Amapondo and Faku, and the death of Shaka's grandmother; the 1826 war against the Ndwandwe and Beje, and the role of firearms in this war; the death of Shaka's mother; Shaka's alleged interest in Macassar oil, a raid on the Amapondo and Fynn's role in it, and the assassination of Shaka in 1828. The author concludes that throughout the Diary statements and claims are invalid, unverifiable, exaggerated, or inconsistent.