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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Siyamfenguza': the creation of Fingo-ness in South Africa's Eastern Cape, 1800-1835
Author:Fry, PoppyISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
ethnic identity
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057071003607303
Abstract:This article explores the origins of Fingo (Mfengu) identity in South Africa's Eastern Cape. While observers have generally understood the Fingo as an ethnic group, this article argues that Fingo-ness developed out of a lifestyle and worldview that emphasized agriculture and trade, and rejected established systems of Xhosa authority. The participation of men in farming activities, as well as attempts to engage in trade outside the control of chiefs, constituted a significant break with social practice by those who identified as Fingo, who, in challenging widely accepted standards of Xhosa-ness, were perceived by many Xhosa (and especially Xhosa chiefs) as antisocial and supernaturally dangerous. The idiom of witchcraft therefore became essential in marking out the distinctions between Fingo and Xhosa identities. While the 1835 frontier war saw the movement of the Fingo into the Cape Colony, the contours of Fingo-ness had already been established in the context of Xhosaland. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]