Doris Lessing’s The Old Chief Mshlanga.

4 April 2015
A critical review of the short story: The Old Chief Mshlanga, by Doris Lessing.

The purpose of this paper is to introduce and discuss the story The Old Chief Mshlanga by Doris Lessing. It deals with issues such as what kind of dominance is sought, to what degree victims collaborate in their own destruction, the views of the oppressed and the oppressor. It concludes by exploring the kind of future that this work seem to predict.
This short story is really an autobiographical work, discussing the author’s experiences while living in the white dominated society of Rhodesia, in southern Africa. The main characters of the tale are the Jordan family, who seek to take over native lands, because they need them for white colonization. The family, just like all the colonists, seeks to dominate, and eventually eliminate the natives from the area. They do not care where they go, just as long as they leave, and leave the colonists alone. Conflicts with the Jordan family perhaps incur and certainly expedite the re-settlement. A dispute over village goats that trample the Jordan’s farm ensues between Chief Mshlanga and Nkosikaas’ father after Mr. Jordan confiscates the goats (Hurley).

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