'Knobkerrie' more than just a weapon

CapeTalk/702's Eusebius Mckaiser speaks to Professor Hlonipha Mokoena, an associate professor at Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Wiser), about the origin and the history of Knobkerrie.

This is a short stick with a knob at the top, traditionally used as a weapon by mostly Zulu and Xhosa tribes.

Lately, it has been seen also being used as a fashion statement by youngsters, calling it a swagger stick.

Mokoena argues that the Knobkerrie is not just a weapon as people assume but it can be used for ceremonial purposes.

Read: Some preliminary notes on the transformation of a weapon into a swagger stick

You basically hold it in your hand to show that you are a man of stature or wealth.

Professor Hlonipha Mokoena, an associate professor at Wits

Although it looks very dangerous it is actually not meant to kill anybody...You can use to hunt small animals like rabbits...

Professor Hlonipha Mokoena, an associate professor at Wits

The idea that it is a killing abject it is actually a colonial idea. It's not that the Zulu tribe did not get into fights and end up fighting each other using them but they were not made as a weapon it had other purposes.

Professor Hlonipha Mokoena, an associate professor at Wits

Prof Mokoena provided fascinating historical insights on how guns were introduced into tribes and often became the preferred weapon.

To hear more of this discussion of the knobkerrie , listen below:

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