Original Research

A socially committed literary work: perspectives on Elliot Zondi’s Insumansumane

N.N. Mathonsi
Literator | Vol 26, No 3 | a238 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v26i3.238 | © 2005 N.N. Mathonsi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2005 | Published: 31 July 2005

About the author(s)

N.N. Mathonsi, School of IsiZulu Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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In this article Elliot Zondi’s historical drama, “Insumansumane”, is discussed as a committed literary work. The main character, Bhambada, urges his contemporaries to challenge the ideological domination of the apartheid system and to fight for their freedom to the last man, if necessary. According to Elliot Zondi, the 1906 Bhambada Rebellion was caused by a lack of consultation and utter disregard for the feelings of the African majority regarding taxation. The rebellion was also caused by the forceful introduction of Western culture and social values. The play in itself is actually a metaphor for the Zulu people living in the 1980s under the iron rule of President P.W. Botha. In this play the Zulu are urged to live up to the freedom ideals for which their forefathers had been ready to fight and to die. The development of the plot in the play emphasises that the “winds of change” at that time were becoming stronger, causing the undercurrent that was to bring about liberation in 1992 and in 1994.


Bhambada Rebellion; Ideological Domination; Insumansumane; Zondi 1986; Social Commitment And Relevance; Elliot Zondi


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