Retro Movie of the Month: SHAKA ZULU (1986)
Shaka Zulu is a 1986 South African television series directed by William C. Faure and written by Joshua Sinclair for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), based on Sinclair's novel of the same name (1985). It is based on the story of the king of
Shaka Zulu is a 1986 South African television series directed by William C. Faure and written by Joshua Sinclair for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), based on Sinclair’s novel of the same name (1985). It is based on the story of the king of the Zulu, Shaka (reigned 1816 to 1828), and the writings of the British traders with whom he interacted. Harmony Gold USA partly funded and distributed Shaka Zulu in spite of the economic sanctions at the time. It aired in the United States in syndication. The series consists of 10 episodes of approximately 50 minutes each in duration.
Yes, each episode was 50 minutes each however, we are only going to concern ourselves with only the few episodes that cover the journey of Shaka from conception to manhood.
Shaka was the son of Nandi and Senzangakhona, and rightful heir to the Zulu throne, Shaka grows from child to warlord and one of South Africa’s greatest kings and one of history’s greatest military minds. He reorganized the Zulu armies into a formidable force that fought the mighty British Army for years.
Combined with Shaka’s “buffalo horns” attack formation for surrounding and annihilating enemy forces, the Zulu combination of iklwa and shield—similar to the Roman legionaries’ use of gladius and scutum—was devastating. By the time of Shaka’s assassination in 1828, it had made the Zulu kingdom the greatest power in southern Africa and a force to be reckoned with, even against Britain’s modern army in 1879.
– – Wikipedia.
The film was once aired in the United States on the FOX network every year around Thanksgiving. The mini-series was a five part story taking place every night for a week. This is probably Henry Cele’s most well-known performance and years later would reprise the role for Shaka Zulu: the Citadel (2001) also starring Grace Jones; the 2001 film is and was under some scrutiny for its historical validity, therefore this will be the only time I’ll ever mention it on NRW.
The mini-series was filmed in Africa with beautiful cinematography and strong performances by its cast. I’m not going to sugar coat anything – there is nudity and violence. But, it’s history and history was navigated by war. The main theme was “We are Growing” by Margaret Singana – beautiful film score with poignant timing and presence.
This is better than the LION KING and is inspired by actual history unlike a Marvel film.
Happy BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Sit back and enjoy SHAKA ZULU.
Stay safe, stay healthy and always keep your finger on that REWIND button.