People ask us all the time - what is White Shaka really about? What is it trying to say?
Why is it a Graphic Novel? Is it for Children? Is it a true story?
Now that the full book - Volume 1 and 2 is finally off the press - we can answer all these questions.
1. The Greatest Story You Never Heard about the Zulus and South Africa - The White Chief White Shaka isinspired by a true story.
In 1858 King Cetswayo nominated a white hunter as a chief because he needed an intermediary between the Zulus and the British. He gave him land the Zulus don't normally value - coastline property less than 2 hours from Durban. And he gave him, as is Zulu custom, 49 wives.... They developed an amazing hybrid society that lasted until 1879 when the Anglo-Zulu War tore them apart. The book deals with the consequences of this from the perspective of an unwitting descendant growing up in today's New York.
If you are South African you probably know everything you need to understand why this story was never included in your history lessons. If you are not South African, then will understand this as a kind of Hemmings-and-Jefferson story. Today, it is more complicated because the real family which had trouble fitting in with the old White minority government is still unsettled in the new black majority government.
2. Why is it Fiction? How did Gandhi get in there?
There are several reasons it is fictional - some having to do with the continuing violence in the area. But the main reason is that we wanted to make it speak to American readers without getting too bogged down in local history. We also wanted to explore ideas that you can't really do in non-fiction. For example, we have good reason to believe that Gandhi learned certain key lessons from Shaka by way of the Bambatha Rebellion. Hard to prove but in fiction, we can explore this amazing story and then turn it into an even bigger one that holds a lesson for us all.
3. Why is it a Graphic Novel - is it for kids?
Fortunately, there is a graphic novel version of Mandela's life story and it's not just
for kids either! However, we chose this format because it does speak to a new audience,
because we can incorporate our beloved South African music and art and because we thought this whole story was movie-like and ought to be seen. At the end of the day, this a story adults can read and enjoy while kids can just absorb the pictures - and get the idea. Hopefully, they will ask questions. (We are adding a Study Guide on the website so they can learn.)
4. Can you see the White Shaka experience at your school?
Yes! We will give free readings if the author is in the area and in some cases we will even arrange to bring in our Zulu dancers for a Show and Tell.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details. That's it! So order your copies!
Available on Amazon and select bookstores. Free CD with direct orders at www.whiteshaka.com or (800) 273-2832
A few words about the author: Alan Brody is the Durban-born journalist who first brought the story of Mandela's impending freedom from jail to New York Newsday in 1989. He has written numerous business strategy articles and books that subtly underlie this complex story of South Africa's 4 races, the legacy of King Shaka, the origin of Gandhi's passive resistance, feminism and the transformative possibilities of the New Africa.