Whoosh! Issue 35 - August 1999


Disparate Cultures:
Shock Of the Other, Collision, Apartness, and Resolution




Changing Attitudes

"Periods of transition, then, heighten uncertainty and anxiety, which means that there is a nostalgia for certainty, for dogmatic, unambiguous answers to what turn out to be quite complex issues."
  -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 'Freedom and Tolerance', speech, Cape Town Press Club, June 6, 1995

Xena: They're not like us. There is nothing about them that we can... should understand.
Gabrielle: But have you even tried?
Xena: I know them. There's nothing.
  -- THE PRICE

Gabrielle: Xena, you're not the same person you were back then. You know more about yourself now. You know more about the Horde.
  -- DAUGHTER OF POMIRA

..Xena

[111] In THE PRICE, Xena described the massacre of her men by the Horde. When her army went west, they scouted for a pass through the mountains. Laying in wait in the ravine, the Horde ambushed her scouts. Meanwhile, Xena raced to bring up the rear of her army to rescue her embattled forward troops.

[112] When she arrived with her rear force, her soldiers were "nothing but bones". During the siege, Xena yells, "We're gonna kill 'em all!" When she axes one of the fleeing Horde, Gabrielle challenges her, "It's murder." Xena retorts, "I told you, Gabrielle, this is war." By Gabrielle's actions, Xena realizes that the Horde can be reasoned with. She recognizes that she must find something that she and the Horde have in common. Xena tells Gabrielle, "Peace and understanding don't happen overnight. This is the only communication we both understand. A warrior's code of honor."

[113] By the time Xena meets the Horde again in DAUGHTER OF POMIRA, she is willing to make peace with them. Xena protects Vanessa/Pilee from Milo, the bounty hunter. She also defends Cirvik, the Pomira chief. Xena leaves the town satisfied that she brokered peace between the settlers and the Horde.

[114] From killer to diplomat, Xena has matured in her attitude towards the Pomira.

..Adiah

Rahl: Forgive me. I should have kept searching. I love you, Vanessa. By the Gods, I'll never let those Horde savages near you again, I swear.
Adiah: They're not savages to her, Rahl. Remember they fed and clothed her for six years.
Rahl: Those years belong to us. They stole her childhood from us and I'll never forgive him for it.
  -- DAUGHTER OF POMIRA

[115] Vanessa/Pilee's mother, Adiah is willing to accept her daughter as she is. Adiah's grief at losing her child could have turned to hate towards the girl in face paint and skins. Unlike her husband, Adiah forgives Cirvik. Like any mother, she is reluctant to lose her child again. Adiah's acceptance of her daughter enables Vanessa/Pilee to love her.

..Gabrielle

Gabrielle: This is my fault. If I hadn't been so blind about my feelings towards Vanessa, none of this would have happened... I thought that she deserved to know her family, to be able to make a choice. I thought that she would be happier with them than the Horde, but now I don't know.
  -- DAUGHTER OF POMIRA

[116] Gabrielle realizes that her actions were hasty. She assumed that Vanessa/Pilee would miss her family, and failed to consider the consequences of her actions. Now she questions her motives, and her assumptions. Unfortunately for Gabrielle, Xena applauds her actions. Would Xena have lauded her as a hero if things turned out badly?

.. F.W. de Klerk

"If we do not adapt we run the risk of being swept aside and left bobbing in the waves of history."
  -- F.W. de Klerk, former President of South Africa, 'De Klerk Rode 'Waves of History', Seattle Times, October 27, 1997

[117] South African President F.W. de Klerk was the last person that anyone expected to dismantle apartheid. This man who grew up in the bosom of Afrikaner nationalism -- his uncle was one of the creators of apartheid -- voluntarily dismantled a system that had kept his people in power for decades. When he was young, de Klerk believed that the philosophy of 'separate development of black and white nations was a morally justifiable goal.' Looking back, de Klerk ponders whether "apartheid resembled European paternalism and unselfconscious racism".

[118] De Klerk's religion sets him apart from his fellow Afrikaners. He was the first post-war President of South Africa not to belong to the Nederluitse Gereformeerde Kerk (a branch of the Dutch Reformed Church). Instead, de Klerk belongs to the Gereformeede Kerk, a small fundamentalist sect. His belief in his church's literal Biblical teachings probably led him to political reform. When South Africa erupted in violence, de Klerk realized that "apartheid hurt millions of people". He had "a change of heart" within him, that let him seek a new path for South Africa.


Learning From History And Fiction

"Those who wish to create a future may not lose sight of the past. Therefore look into the past for all that is to be discovered there which is good and beautiful. Form your ideals accordingly, and try to realize those ideals in the future."
  -- Paul Kruger, President of South African Republic, (1825-1904)

[119] Various characters in the two episodes of THE PRICE and DAUGHTER OF POMIRA have historical counterparts. These fictional characters illuminate various aspects of those lives. By illustrating them in fiction, a person can know of the abuses of a Leopold II and the leadership of Moshoeshoe.


Actions of Individuals

"I am very happy this day had come. I never thought it could happen here... I thought I would never be able to vote."
  -- Miriam Mqomboti, 93 year old African voter, 1994 South Africa All-Race Elections

"We said at the start it was mission impossible, and we were just too dumb to realise it. But you know what? It worked."
  -- Judge Johann Kriegler, head of Independent Electoral Commission, 1994 South Africa All-Race Elections

Xena: Gabrielle, because of you, Raul and Adaih now know that their daughter is alive and happy, instead of dead like they thought. Because of you, Vanessa now has two loving homes. And because of you, for the first time ever, there's peace between us and the Hor -- the Pomira.
  -- DAUGHTER OF POMIRA

[120] Echoes of Moshoeshoe and Eugene Casalis exist in Gabrielle. For the sake of his people, Moshoeshoe sought peace. Casalis showed the power of love. Xena credits Gabrielle's leadership and compassion for her change of heart. In THE PRICE, through Gabrielle, Xena discovers that the Horde act honorably.

[121] An unlikely pairing of Xena with F.W. de Klerk has one thing in common -- a dark past and a desire to make amends. In February 1990, President F.W. de Klerk announced to his Parliament that he was lifting the restrictions on banned organizations such as the controversial African National Congress (ANC). Then without further warning, de Klerk announced that he would unconditionally free Nelson Mandela.


Reactions of Others

[122] For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. DAUGHTER OF POMIRA leaves the Greek villagers and the Pomira at the moment of their truce. Another Milo, who wants profit from killing Pomira, will probably come. A smooth talking Milo can easily rouse the edgy villagers to another war.

[123] For a lasting peace, Rahl must forgive Cirvik for taking his daughter. The Pomira need to forgive the villagers for killing 'everything'. Both sides must obtain justice before they are reconciled.

[124] De Klerk's actions were met with chaos. Reeling from the loss of their power, the Afrikaners rioted. Meanwhile, the former black homelands refused to give up what little power they had. The worst fighting occurred in KwaZulu/Natal between Africans of different political parties. In spite of everything, elections were held as scheduled, and everyone voted.

[125] Questions remain about the future of South Africa. "To try to heal a traumatized and wounded people", the Truth and Reconciliation Committee has grappled with the systemic abuses of apartheid. The Chair of the Committee, Archbishop Desmond Tutu believes that reconciliation between all South Africans will happen eventually.


The Last Lesson

[126] The words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu emphasizes the lessons of THE PRICE and DAUGHTER OF POMIRA in daily life:

"[W]e should never feign impotence even before a massive problem. We can each make a difference. This is a moral universe. Right and wrong do matter. Our choice in favour of truth and goodness, our individual acts of courage, honesty, standing up for the truth do not evaporate into the ether. They impregnate the atmosphere and then in the fullness of light everything comes to a head -- the collapse of Communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid, freedom for Namibia and a rash of democracies where before there were dictatorships -- these are not just happy coincidences. They are a tribute to all those who have striven for justice and goodness, even those who might have seemed to have failed."
  -- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speech, the London School of Economics, February 1995

[127] Salani kahle (Goodbye to everybody (who are staying))


Notes

Note 01:
[128] Not to be confused with Star Trek in its many forms, 'trekboer' is derived from the Dutch 'trek' ('to pull'), and 'boer' ('farmer'). In Afrikaans, 'trek' means 'to travel by ox wagon' or 'the journey itself'. 'Voortrekker' means 'early trekker'.
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Note 02:
[129] The Khoikhoi and San are the original inhabitants of southern Africa. These people were formerly called 'Hottentots' and 'Bushmen' respectively. The San include the !Kung, Nharo, G/wi, and /Xam. The Nguni include the Xhosa, Zulu, and Swazi. President Nelson Mandela of South Africa is a Xhosa.

[130] Names of various people have many spellings. Where ever possible, I have used official South African spellings. Otherwise, I used the most commonly agreed upon spelling.

[131] The alternative for

Khoikhoi is Khoekhoe
Tlokoa is Tlokwa
Moshoeshoe is Moshweshwe
Basotho is Basuto
Mma-Ntatisi is Mantatisi
Nongqause is Nongqawuse.
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Note 03:
[132] Shaka's reformations included the use of the short stabbing spear ('assegai') and the buffalo attack formation.
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Note 04:
[133] Sir George Grey was the British colonial governor of the Cape Colony (1854-60).
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Note 05:
[134] Farewell Victoria is an historical novel about the Victorian and Edwardian eras in England. In one of his adventures, Mundy, the main character, leaves his quiet life in England to serve in Her Majesty's army against the Zulu.
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Note 06:
[135] December 16 was called various names: Dingaan's Day, Day of the Covenant, and Day of the Vow. In 1990, President F.W. de Klerk renamed it, Day of Reconciliation. In 1997, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (the Afrikaans Language and Cultural Association) decided to stop celebrating the Day.
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Note 07:
[136] Preface to Basotho, The Heritage Library of African Peoples, Gary van Wyk, (1996, New York, The Rosen Publishing Group).
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Note 08:
[137] I do not include Greek since the characters of XWP speak in English.
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Note 09:
[138] Zulu uses prefixes to attach shades of meanings to a word root. For example, "KwaZulu" ('the land of the Zulu'); "amaZulu" ('the Zulu people); and "iziZulu" ('the language of the Zulu'). In iziZulu, a month is a singular noun, and has a prefix ('u'). "Sawa bono" and "Salani kahle" are iziZulu greetings.
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Note 10:
[139] Sample pronunciations of words containing clicks:

Aich-aiAh eek (click-click) ai
DifaqaneDee fah (click-pop) ah neh
Gu-nuGu (click-click) NU
MfecaneM feh (click-tsk) ah neh
MvelingqangiM vell een (click-pop) KUNG gi
Vanessa/PileeVanessa (click-tsk) Pilee
Xhosa(click-cluck) Kaw sah
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Note 11:
[140] These categories refer to official racial classifications under Apartheid.
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Note 12:
[141] A sangoma is usually a man. His hat resembles the headdresses of the Pomira.
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Note 13:
[142] Donald Harman Akenson. God'S People's: Covenant And Land In South Africa, Israel, And Ulster (1992, McGill-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion, Canada) examines these concepts and their effects on society at large.
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Note 14:
[143] The Romans were featured in DESTINY (36/212), THE DELIVERER (50/304), WHEN IN ROME... (62/316), A GOOD DAY (73/405), ENDGAME (--/420), and IDES OF MARCH (--/421). The Persians were in ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313). The Scythians were in IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404). The Gauls were in WHEN IN ROME... (62/36). The Britons were in THE DELIVERER (50/304) and GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305). The Egyptians were in KING OF ASSASSINS (54/308). The Hebrews were featured in THE THE ROYAL COUPLE OF THIEVES (17/117), GIANT KILLER (27/203), and A SOLSTICE CAROL (33/209). I excluded the Chinese, Indians, and Philistines since only Xena and Gabrielle have had contact with them on XWP. The Phoenicians were represented by only a few individuals.
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Note 15:
[144] The Amazons were in the following episodes: HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124), THE QUEST (37/213), A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), and ENDGAME (--/420). The Centaurs were in HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124), ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311), PAST IMPERFECT (77/409), and THE PLAY'S THE THING (--/4--). The Giants were in GIANT KILLER (27/203) and A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215). The Golden Hind was featured in HTLJ episodes: ENCOUNTER (H50/313), WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN (H51/314), JUDGEMENT DAY (H53/315), and END OF THE BEGINNING (H56/319).
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Bibliography

[146] A Note from the Author:
I included an extensive bibliography for those who want to explore more about the issues raised in the essay or southern Africa in general.

Battlefields.co.za (Battlefields of South Africa). Berglund, A.I., Zulu Thought-Patterns And Symbolism (1976, David Philip, Cape Town).

Betts, Raymond F., Europe In Retrospect: A Brief History Of The Past Two Hundred Years, Britannia Internet Magazine, LLC.

Casalis, Eugene, My Life In Basutoland, (1971, C. Strick, Cape Town).

de Klerk, F.W., The Last Trek: A New Beginning, (1999, Macmillan, London).

Edgerton, Robert, Like Lions They Fought (1988, The Free Press, New York).

Fagan, Brian, Clash Of Cultures (1984, W.H. Freeman & Company, New York).

Hinde, Robert A. "The Psychological Bases of War", American Diplomacy, Volume III, No. 2, Spring 1998.

Kenkinson, Thomas, Amazulu: The Zulus -- Their Past History, Manners, Customs, And Language (1969, Negro Universities Press, New York).

Mann, Kenny, Monomtoapa, Zulu, Basuto: Southern Africa: African Kingdoms Of The Past (1996, Dillon Press, New Jersey).

Melbourne, Roy. "Commentary on Current Issues: Cultural Characteristics & Foreign Affairs", American Diplomacy, Volume III, No. 1, January-March 1998.

Mills, Dorothy, The Book Of The Ancient Greeks (1925, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York).

Morris, Donald, The Washing Of The Spears (1965, Simon and Schuster, New York).

Muller, Beverly and Sihawukele Ngubane, Khuluma Beginner's Course In Zulu (1998, Durbanet, South Africa).

Ober, Josiah. "The Evil Empire: Sparta", The Quarterly Journal Of Military History, Volume 10, No. 4, Summer 1998.

Okrand, Marc, The Klingon Dictionary (English/Klingon Klingon/English), (1992, Pocket Books, New York).

Palmer, R.R. and Joel Colton, A History Of The Modern World (1950, Alfred A. Knopf, New York).

Parsons, Neil, A New History Of Southern Africa (1993, Macmillan Press LTD, London).

Paton, Jonathan, The Land And Peoples Of South Africa, (1990, J.B. Lippincott, New York).

Pillay, Kanthan, South Africa For Beginners.

Reader's Digest, Illustrated History Of South Africa: The Real Story, (1994, Reader's Digest Association, Cape Town).

Rudnick, Bret Ryan. "An Interview with Steven L. Sears", Whoosh!, Issue 22, July 1998.

South Africa: Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

Southern Africa Places (news and tours of southern African countries).

Time-Life Editors, Time Frame, 1500-600 BC: Barbarian Tides, (1987, Time-Life, Richmond).

Time-Life Editors, Time Frame, 600-400 BC: A Soaring Spirit, (1987, Time-Life, Richmond).

White, T.H., Farewell Victoria, (1933, Collins, London).

Whoosh! Episode Guide for THE PRICE and DAUGHTER OF POMIRA.



Biography

Virginia Carper Virginia Carper
My goal is to be a garden variety human being. My friends know me as a squirrel. I am, however, a card carrying member of the Squirrel Lovers Club, and do squirrel studies. My family watches XWP for the marvelous things Xena does and for Joxer, the warlord with autism.
Favorite episode: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302)
Favorite line: Joxer to Xena and Gabrielle: "A great many people have become allies because of their hatred of me." Xena and Gabrielle nod 'Yes!' BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302)
First episode seen: WARRIOR PRINCESS (H09/109)
Least favorite episode: Most of the Third Season


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