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THE BULHOEK MASSACRE: ORIGINS, CASUALTIES, REACTIONS AND HISTORICAL DISTORTIONS

DOI: 10.5787/26-1-237

Keywords: Bulhoek massacre , accounts of South African history , the Popular or Peoples history movement , Enoch Mgijima , Sir Thomas Graham , University of Witwatersrand (Wits) History Workshop , Israelites , political heroes

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Abstract:

The Bulhoek massacre remains a standard feature in accounts of South African history. Historians who wrote on the incident before the birth of the Popular or Peoples history movement and evidence submitted to Sir Thomas Graham, the presiding judge at the trial of the Israelites, made it clear beyond all doubt that the Israelites were religious fanatics who were driven by their fanaticism and blind faith in Enoch Mgijima's words to attack the Police. In the 1980s, with the birth of the Popular history movement, the massacre was reinterpreted by social historians, especially those associated with the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) History Workshop to fit into the perspective of the Popular history approach. The Israelites were seen as political heroes who stood against an oppressive system. The two different approaches to the massacre leads to the historical distortions of the event.

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