1. gr. 10 historical sources.
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HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR PRE-COLONIAL HISTORY
Grade: 101Term: 3
Topic: 4 TRANSFORMATIONS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA AFTER 1750Sub-Topic: Chapter 1: WHAT ARE THE DEBATES ABOUT THE
EMERGENCE OF NEW STATES?HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR PRE-COLONIAL HISTORY.
DEBATES ABOUT THE EMERGENCE OF NEW STATES
San hunter-gatherers and Khoi pastoralists werethe first inhabitants of southern Africa.
By the mid-18th century, African farmers hadsettled in the central and eastern parts ofsouthern Africa.southern Africa.
They settled where the climate was suitable forgrowing crops and keeping cattle.
San hunter-gatherers and Khoi pastoralists thenshared the southern African farming landscapewith farmers.
A hunter-gatherer is a human living in a society in which most or all food is obtained by collecting wild
plants and pursuing wild animals, in contrast to agricultural societies, which rely mainly on
A pastoralist is a sheep or cattle farmer.
In the early 16th century, Portuguese explorerslanded in Delagoa Bay (modern-day Maputo inMozambique).
On the east African coast, Delagoa Bay grew as aport of call for Portuguese merchant sailors ontheir way to and from India.
The Portuguese set up a small trading station at
The Portuguese set up a small trading station atthe port, which they later protected with smallforts.
On the south-west coast, by the mid 17th centurythe Cape Colony had been established by theDutch East India Company (DEIC).
SOUTH AFRICA IN 1750
African farmingsettlementswere situatedwere situatedto the right inthe greenareas of themap.
Historical evidence for pre-colonial history
One of the questions that this topic focuses onis:
'Why did new states emerge in southern Africa after 1750?' Africa after 1750?'
Different historians have provided differentanswers to this question, depending on thehistorical evidence they use and how theyinterpret it.
From about 1780, great changes began to happen insouthern Africa.
There was intensifying conflict among Africanchiefdoms.
There is no debate about the fact that new statesemerged in this period.
Neither is there debate that political and social violentdisturbances in southern African societies occurred on
disturbances in southern African societies occurred ona huge scale.
However, there are very heated debates amonghistorians about why new states emerged.
Before we study the debates about transformation inthe 18th century, we need to understand a little of howthe history of southern Africa at this time wasconstructed.
Sources of information
In order to find out why new states emerged after 1750, states emerged after 1750,
historians use different sources of information.
Source B: The cover of a book about South African history
Source C: An artists impression of a Zulu soldier in the 19th Century
Source D: these are objects used in South Africa long ago that
Source E: This is a book that contains the diary of a British settler. It was
written in the 18th century.
Source F: This is an example of an oral tredition.
Nani magundwane ahlala eyikhotheni kwaNongomaGijimani nge 'ndlela zonkana niyobikela abangake-e-
ZW-A!Nithi 'Lukhulu luyeza luyanyelela,
silufanisa nendlovu emnyama yasoBhaluleluzoshis' i'khotha zakwaNongoma.'luzoshis' i'khotha zakwaNongoma.'
And you rats that live in the long grass at Nongomarun along all the paths and go and announce to those
who haven't HE-A-ARD!Say 'Something big is coming, it is sneaking up,we compare it to the black elephant of Bhalule
it will burn the long grass of Nongoma.'
There are four different types of sources :
1. Written sources: Forthe pre-colonial periodin our history, there arevery few writtensources. Thesources. Thedocuments, letters anddiaries from the timewere written byEuropean outsiders,and were not written inAfrican languages.
2. Visual sources: These include maps, drawings and paintings. These were
also created by European settlers and travellers.
ARCHAEOLOGY 3. Material sources: These include geographical features such as the
landscape of a region, skeletal remains of
humans and animals, as well as items people made and used that remain from the past - buildings, tools, the past - buildings, tools,
weapons and pottery.
These material objects are also called artefacts. The study of material sources
is called archaeology.
4.Oral sources: These provide spoken accounts of the past.
In societies that did not have a culture of writing, historians can uncover some of what happened in the past through oral history. history.
Oral history uses the spoken word as well as legends and myths as historical evidence.
Oral sources include oral testimony and oral tradition.
Oral testimonies are the first-hand accounts ofpeople telling about themselves and their pastexperiences. This information is usually recordedby historians in interviews and later writtendown.down.
Oral tradition are the stories that have beenpassed down through generations by word ofmouth. Oral tradition, together with archaeology,is an important source of pre-literate, pre-colonial history.
Oral traditions Contain songs, praise poems and the genealogies of the
king or chief. Oral traditions also include culturalknowledge, for example, court rituals. Like written history,oral tradition is influenced by the politics of the day. Itconstructs a story of the pre-colonial past that serves theinterests of those in power.interests of those in power.
The history of chiefdoms was passed on orally bystorytellers linked to the chief's advisors and told in publicceremonies. The histories of defeated groups were oftensuppressed by chiefs in order to protect their own status.
When British settlers arrived in the region in the 1820'sand 1830's, some of them learnt African languages andwrote down the oral traditions that were told to them.
Using oral sources
All sources tell us a story from a particular point of view. We should always be careful when using oral sources because:
1. The memories of people are not always accurateaccurate
2. Information can change when it is passed on
3. Not everything is remembered
4. Some events may be deliberately altered or left out.
Primary and secondary sourcesHistorians also distinguish between primary and
1. Primary sources
Primary sources come from the actual periodwhen an event occurred. They are based onwhat an eyewitness saw, heard, wrote orwhat an eyewitness saw, heard, wrote orcreated.
Primary sources include stories, interviews,drawings, diaries, documents, skulls andbones, ruins of buildings, and artifacts likejewelry.
2. Secondary sources
Secondary sources are produced after the event, using primary and other secondary sources.
Secondary sources describe, interpret
Secondary sources describe, interpret or explain a historical event after it occurred.
Textbooks are typical examples of secondary sources.
How history is written
A good historian works with many different kinds of sources.
Historians also ask questions about each source. source.
'Who produced the source?'
'Why was the source produced?'
'When was the source produced?'
Writing history is a complex process.
Historians use a number of sources ofinformation called evidence in order to writeabout and interpret the past.
The past includes all events that have everhappened.
Since these are countless, it is impossible forhistorians to write down everything.
Historians select events and interpret evidencefrom the past in order to construct history.
This means that all history can be challenged bythose who disagree with the version beingpresented.
Historians select and interpret evidence that hassurvived from the past with regard to the present.
They are also influenced by their personal values,attitudes and ideologies.
attitudes and ideologies.
It is important to understand that history does notsimply exist; historians construct history.
There is not just one history, but many differentversions of history.
So, it is very important that histories be rooted inthe evidence left by the past.