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Renaissance Men: Ntsikana, A. C. Jordan, S. E. K. Mqhayi And South Africa's Cultural Awakening

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Chapter Summary

Since Mbeki first raised the issue of an "African Renaissance" in the mid-1990s, there have been several attempts to provide clarity about what this "renaissance" entails; yet, as Ulrike Ernst points out in her introduction to From Anti-Apartheid to African Renaissance, the concept remains poorly-defined. The intellectual journey starts with an exploration of one of the earliest isiXhosa works, Ntsikana's "Ulo Th ixo omkhulu", which is still often sung at religious services. The root verb that has been inflected in "kuhlangene" is ukuhlangana, which means to unite, to come together, to join. In the way they suggest sacrifice to the iminyanya to achieve ubuntu, both Jordan and Mqhayi assert themselves as renaissance men: in an era where racial segregation was becoming more virulent as the years passed, they talked about healing and striving towards a sense of unity that arises from within indigenous knowledge systems.

Keywords: A. C. Jordan; African Renaissance; iminyanya; isiXhosa; Ntsikana; S. E. K. Mqhayi; ubuntu; ukuhlangana; Ulrike Ernst



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