Shaka Zulu

Season 1 Episode 4

Part 4

Aired Unknown Nov 05, 1987 on
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Part 4
With his rapid rise through the ranks of the Mtetwa Paramountcy, Shaka eventually attracts enemies from within who attempt to assassinate him. After he recovers from the near-fatal wound thanks to Dr. Finn's tending, Shaka is reinvigorated and even more driven towards the goal of complete subjugation of every Kingdom in the area. He first rewards Farewell's contingent with parcels of land and hunting rights around the Port of Natal and then he plans for the largest battle of his career. After the Mtetwa King is murdered by agents of their chief rivals and with the help of the British who use their rifles and cannon, Shaka and his soldiers finally conquer the powerful Ndwandwe Paramountcy in the north, securing Shaka's place as King of the Mtetwas. However Shaka's subjects begin to express their concerns about the persistent presence of the whites in their midst, afraid that all that they have gained will eventually be taken by them.moreless

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  • The battle story...

    This episode basically focuses on the warrior aspect of Shaka Zulu and is most likely a subject fascinating for history and war buffs. However this is not quite my cup of tea, although the acting was good and the coordination and choreography of the various battle sequences involving many hundreds of extras was top notch. Here the viewer also sees the first direct involvement of Great Britain's solution to assessing the real threat and impact of Shaka on their Capetown colony through the use of a cadre of adventurers, soldiers, intellectuals, and businessmen. The philosophical questions and debates about war and Kings that occur between Shaka and these men are vital to illustrating the irony of both 19th century British and Zulu arrogance, where both sides continually re-evaluate their cultural perceptions and assumptions.

    In any case, I suppose this part of the story needed to be told and it is, albeit in a somewhat graphic fashion, which certainly doesn't sugar-coat war. So I can't mark it down for that, but only for the desire to have seen some more of the cultural debates as this seems to be one of the miniseries' strong points.moreless

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