This novel is the first of many works of literature that takes the great Zulu leader, king, and emperor as its subject. The story is well-known, partly due to Mofolo but also to the works of literature by Badian, Senghor, and Mazisi Kunene. O.R. Dathorne has said, "The historical Chaka is only the impetus for Mofolo's psychological study of the nature of repudiation." Mofolo presents it as a study of human passion, of an uncontrolled and then uncontrollable ambition leading to the moral destruction of the character and the inevitable punishment.