James Stuart was a colonial official and a prolific recorder of oral historical materials in Natal in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the early 1900s, he recorded accounts of life in the Zulu capital, uMgungundlovu, from Lunguza kaMpukane, Thununu kaNonjiya , Ngidi kaMcikaziswa and Sivivi kaMaqungo. In 1925, Stuart published parts of these accounts in a school reader called uKulumetule.
In September 2020, the Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) project launched the first of a series of podcasts entitled uMgungundlovu: through the eyes of the izinceku, which is based on these accounts. The podcast offers a description of life at the Zulu king Dingane’s capital, uMgungundlovu, in the 1830s using materials from the 500 Year Archive, one of the FHYA’s digital tools.
Stuart’s recordings were textual but the podcast brings them to life in new and engaging ways. In it we hear Dr. Mbongiseni Buthelezi read the descriptions of life uMgungundlovu in the Zulu language, as recorded in uKulumetule. The podcast also includes an original score by Thokozani Mhlambi and was directed and produced by Dan Corder. Listen below: