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African Voices Echoing in European Texts: The Muffled Meanings of the Madzimbabwe of the Mocaranga between the Sixteenth and the Nineteenth Centuries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2020

Abstract

The present article contributes to understanding of the Zimbabwe political institution of the southern portion of the Zambesi Valley based on the conceptualization of its population, between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. We reconstruct the local perceptions of this institution by detecting information provided by local persons as recounted in Portuguese ethnographic documents. The original information underwent different types and degrees of translation and editing to reach the forms recorded in these documents. We present a critical process of recovering local voices, ideologies, and conceptualizations from written literal translations of excerpts of oral statements that can serve as a valuable methodological tool in expanding our understanding of the history of early African politics.

Résumé

Résumé

Le présent article aide à comprendre l’institution politique zimbabwéenne de la partie sud de la vallée du Zambèze au prisme de sa propre population entre le XVIe et le XIXe siècle. Nous reconstruisons les perceptions locales de cette institution en analysant les informations fournies par les populations locales telles que racontées dans les documents ethnographiques portugais. Les informations originales ont subi différents types et degrés de traduction et d’édition pour atteindre les formes actuelles de ces documents. Nous présentons un processus critique de récupération des voix, idéologies et conceptualisations locales à partir de traductions littérales écrites d’extraits de déclarations orales qui peuvent servir d’outil méthodologique précieux pour améliorer notre compréhension de l’histoire africaine ancienne.

Type
Critical Historiography
Copyright
© African Studies Association, 2020

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African Voices Echoing in European Texts: The Muffled Meanings of the Madzimbabwe of the Mocaranga between the Sixteenth and the Nineteenth Centuries
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