Shaka Zulu was the first son of the chieftain Senzangakhona and Nandi, a daughter of Bhebhe, the past chief of the Elangeni tribe, born near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Shaka Zulu, London's largest South African restaurant, opened its doors in August 2010 with a special royal blessing from the Zulu King, HRH Goodwill Zwelithini. Certain aspects of traditional Zulu culture still revere the dead monarch, as the typical praise song below attests. Some older histories have doubted the military and social innovations customarily attributed to Shaka, denying them outright, or attributing them variously to European influences. [16] Different coloured shields distinguished different amabutho within Shaka's army. Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. July 1787 – 22 September 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu (Zulu pronunciation: [ˈʃaːɠa]), was the King of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. As he grew to manhood, Shaka began to discover new talents and faculties. Shaka's reign coincided with the start of the Mfecane ("Upheaval" or "Crushing"), a period of devastating warfare and chaos in southern Africa between 1815 and about 1840 that depopulated the region. Stuart's early 20th century work was continued by D. McK. This time Shaka wore out the invaders by pretending he was retreating and drawing Zwide's forces deep into his own territory; then, when he had successfully exhausted the invaders, he flung his own regiments on them and defeated them conclusively at the Mhlathuze river. "[16] The throwing spear was not discarded but used as an initial missile weapon before close contact with the enemy, when the shorter stabbing spear was used in hand-to-hand combat. The Zulu tribe soon developed a warrior outlook, which Shaka turned to his advantage.[9]. Shaka was born into the small South African clan of the Zulus in 1787. According to members of his family, Shaka's last words were: Hastily they buried his body in a grain-pit nearby. Chief Zwide, meanwhile, vowed revenge for his five lost sons and forged an alliance with the other tribes threatened by the meteoritic rise of the Zulu kingdom under the upstart Shaka. His wars were accompanied by great slaughter and caused many migrations. of his attempts to revise Western thinking about Shaka.[45]. The majority then submitted to Shaka. The survivors of the main Ndwandwe force settled for a time on the upper Pongola River. This ambiguity continues to lend the image of Shaka its continued power and influence, almost two centuries after his death.[31]. Militarism was thereafter to be a way of life for him, and one that he was to inflict on thousands of others. His mother was Nandi, the daughter of a Langeni chief. Shaka, however, suffered much from the bullying and teasing of the Mthethwa boys, too, who resented his claims to chiefly descent. He addressed this by allowing them to marry and set up homesteads (which was forbidden during Shaka's rule) and they also received cattle from Dingane. Zwide's general Soshangane (of the Shangaan) moved north towards what is now Mozambique to inflict further damage on less resistant foes and take advantage of slaving opportunities, obliging Portuguese traders to give tribute. [13], Dingane and Mhlangana, Shaka's half-brothers, appear to have made at least two attempts to assassinate Shaka before they succeeded, with perhaps support from Mpondo elements and some disaffected iziYendane people. After sifting through these sources and noting their strengths and weaknesses, Morris generally credits Shaka with a large number of military and social innovations, and this is the general consensus in the field. Shaka had made enough enemies among his own people to hasten his demise. The military indunas or captains, as trusted favourites of the king, received many cattle from him and were able to build up large personal followings. In 1826, in order to be closer and more accessible to the settlers at Port Natal, Shaka built a large military barracks at Dukuza, (‘the place where one gets lost'). Shaka Zulu was the illegitimate son of Senzangakona, King of the Zulus. Isaacs was aided in this by Henry Francis Fynn, whose diary (actually a rewritten collage of various papers) was edited by James Stuart only in 1950. Soga implied as much when he used genealogical evidence to argue that the Zulu were an upstart group inferior in dignity and distinction to established chiefdoms in their region, for example, the Hlubi, Ndwandwe, and Dlamini lines. Nevertheless, the concept of "light" forces is questionable. Although he preferred social and propagandistic political methods, he also engaged in a number of battles.[4]. SHAKA ZULU 1787 - 1828 Shaka was born in 1787 in unfortunate circumstances. Furthermore, it is believed that he taught his warriors how to use the shield's left side to hook the enemy's shield to the right, exposing the enemy's ribs for a fatal spear stab. Shaka was born almost certainly in 1787. [10] In this way a greater sense of cohesion was created, though it never became complete, as subsequent civil wars attest. In the mid-1820s Henry Francis Fynn provided medical treatment to the king after an assassination attempt by a rival tribe member hidden in a crowd (see account of Nathaniel Isaacs). Famine and chaos followed the wholesale extermination of populations and the destruction of herds and crops between the Limpopo and the Gariep River. The loyalties of his people were severely strained as the frequent cruelties of their great king increased steadily. This "imagining of Shaka" it is held, should be balanced by a sober view of the historical record, and allow greater scope for the contributions of indigenous African discourse. He supplemented this with a mixture of diplomacy and patronage, incorporating friendly chieftains, including Zihlandlo of the Mkhize, Jobe of the Sithole, and Mathubane of the Thuli. He named his great place KwaBulawayo (`at the place of the murder'). John Wright (history professor at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg), Julian Cobbing and Dan Wylie (Rhodes University, Grahamstown) are among a number of writers who have modified these stories. As the horns curved inward around the enemy, the main body would advance killing all those who could not break through the encompassing lines. Boys and girls aged six and over joined Shaka's force as apprentice warriors (udibi) and served as carriers of rations, supplies like cooking pots and sleeping mats, and extra weapons until they joined the main ranks. There is an anecdote that Shaka joked with one of his friends, Magaye, that he could not kill Magaye because he would be laughed at. Shaka's half-brother Dingane assumed power and embarked on an extensive purge of pro-Shaka elements and chieftains, running over several years, in order to secure his position. [7], In the initial years, Shaka had neither the influence nor reputation to compel any but the smallest of groups to join him, and upon Dingiswayo's death, Shaka moved southwards across the Thukela River, establishing his capital Bulawayo in Qwabe territory; he never did move back into the traditional Zulu heartland. Assassination by rivals to the throne is a constant in monarchies throughout history and around the world. Because they feared Shaka, leaders like Zwangendaba, Mzilikazi, and Shoshangane moved northwards far into the central African interior and in their turn sowed war and destruction before developing their own kingdoms. On the death of Shaka's father (c. 1816), Dingiswayo lent his young protégé the military support necessary to oust and assassinate his senior brother Sigujana, and make himself chieftain of the Zulu, although he remained a vassal of Dingiswayo. Historian John Laband dismisses these stories as myth, writing: "What are we to make, then, of [European trader Henry Francis] Fynn's statement that once the Zulu army reached hard and stony ground in 1826, Shaka ordered sandals of ox-hide to be made for himself? In Qwabe, Shaka may have intervened in an existing succession dispute to help his own choice, Nqetho, into power. Under Shaka's successors, Dingane, Mpande, and Cetshwayo the Zulu monarchy profoundly influenced the course of South African history. Old chiefdoms vanished and new ones were created. He thus retained his forces intact. They were organized in female equivalents of the male amabutho and took part in ceremonial dancing and displays. Numbers of the young women of the kingdom were assembled at the military settlements. He reformed the remnants of the Mthethwa and other regional tribes and later defeated Zwide in the Zulu Civil War of 1819–20. Each military settlement had a herd of royal cattle assigned to it, from which the young men were supplied with meat. Shaka kaSenzangakhona (1787 – 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu was the leader of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. credit Shaka with initial development of the famous "bull horn" formation. [citation needed], Shaka granted permission to Europeans to enter Zulu territory on rare occasions. He never married nor had any recognized children, which was highly unusual. By 1819 the newly forged Zulu nation was the largest and most populous ever seen in southeastern Africa. hold that popular depictions of Shaka as a suddenly appearing genius creating innovation are overstated, and that to the contrary, Shaka was a borrower and imitator of indigenous methods, customs and even ruler-lineages already in place. Shaka, however, dreaded producing a legitimate heir. By the time the first white traders arrived at Port Natal in 1824, Shaka was in control of a centralized monarchy, which spanned the entire eastern coastal belt from the Pongola River in the north to the lands beyond the Tugela in the south. The story that sandals were discarded to toughen the feet of Zulu warriors has been noted in various military accounts such as The Washing of the Spears, Like Lions They Fought, and Anatomy of the Zulu Army. This was meant to release sexual tension between young people, a… The earliest are two eyewitness accounts written by European adventurer-traders who met Shaka during the last four years of his reign. This left the royal kraal critically lacking in security. The hides of the cattle were used to provide the shields of the warriors and an attempt was made to select cattle with distinctive skin colouring for each amabutho. The formation most generally used was crescent-shaped. Zwide decided to smash his new rival. He was an unwanted child and this affected his approach to life throughout his entire life. Shaka was an illegitimate son of a minor chief, Senzangakhona, while his half-brother Dingane was legitimate. This produced a sense of common identity amongst them. Using his standard formula of eighteen years per reign, Bryant calculated that the Swazi, Ndwandwe, and Hlubi lines could be traced back to the beginning of the fifteenth century, while the eponymous chief Zulu had died at the beginning of the eighteenth century. KwaBulawayo. It came relatively quickly after the death of his mother Nandi in October 1827, and the devastation caused by Shaka's subsequent erratic behavior. [online] About.com [accessed 17 September 2009], Chaka by Thomas Mofolo and Daniel P. Kunene, Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia by Melvin E. Page, A Military History of South Africa From the Dutch-Khoi Wars to the End of Apartheid by Timothy J. Stapleton, Emperor Shaka the Great: A Zulu Epic by Mazisi Kunene, Amatikulu, a Nature Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Andries Pretorius Monument , Graaf Reniet. Phongola is near the present day border of KwaZulu-Natal, a province in South Africa. The climax came with the death of his mother Nandi in October 1827, huge numbers were put to death during the mourning ceremonies because they showed insufficient grief; and his armies were sent out to force the surrounding chiefdoms to grieve. Shaka's name is said to stem from Senzangakhona's claim that Nandi was not pregnant but was suffering from an intestinal condition caused by the iShaka beetle. In fact, European travellers to Shaka's kingdom demonstrated advanced technology such as firearms and writing, but the Zulu monarch was less than convinced. and he kept his impi on continuous military campaigns until he thought they had earned the right to wear the headring ( isicoco) of manhood. Part of the main Ndwandwe force under Shoshangane, together with the Jere under Zwangendaba, the Maseko under Ngwane, and the Msene led by Nxaba, fled northwards. The exact location is unknown. The assegai. He is the long-strided pursuer, son of Ndaba, Soga and Bryant related each of them to a larger grouping they called Mho. Shaka the Mighty is often compared with Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Attila the Hun, and Napoleon. His reforms of local society built on existing structures. In 1843, Though Shaka probably did not invent the iklwa, according to Zulu scholar John Laband, the leader did insist that his warriors train with the weapon, which gave them a "terrifying advantage over opponents who clung to the traditional practice of throwing their spears and avoiding hand-to-hand conflict. Sigidi kaSenzangakhona commonly knows as Shaka was a great Zulu king and conqueror. He was curious about their technological developments, was anxious to learn much more about warfare, and he was especially interested in the culture they represented. But, as Dingiswayo's favourite, he seems to have been granted an unusual amount of freedom to carve out a bigger principality for himself by conquering and assimilating his neighbours, including the Buthelezi clan and the Langeni of his boyhood days. [13] More modern researchers argue that such explanations fall short, and that the general Zulu culture, which included other tribes and clans, contained a number of practices that Shaka could have drawn on to fulfill his objectives, whether in raiding, conquest or hegemony. [citation needed]. Shaka kaSenzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu, was a great Zulu king and conqueror. The regimental system clearly built on existing tribal cultural elements that could be adapted and shaped to fit an expansionist agenda.[21]. His father, Senzangakhona, was a minor chief of one of the Zulu-speaking clans and his mother, Nandi, was daughter of … He is credited with creating a fighting force that devastated the entire region. He was born c. 1787. Shaka Zulu, a contemporary engraving from Wiki commons When Shaka Zulu was born, around the year 1787, Senzangakhona was the nominal chief of the Zulu, a small band of about 1500 members. South African historian Dan Wylie has expressed skepticism of the portrayal of Shaka as a pathological monster destroying everything within reach. Shaka is often said to have been dissatisfied with the long throwing assegai, and is credited with having introduced a new variant of the weapon: the iklwa, a short stabbing spear with a long, broad, and sword-like, spearhead. Using different informants and genealogical charts, A.T. Bryant arrived at similar conclusions. It is probable that, over time, the Zulu were able to hone and improve their encirclement tactics. [36], The theory of the Mfecane holds that the aggressive expansion of Shaka's armies caused a brutal chain reaction across the southern areas of the continent, as dispossessed tribe after tribe turned on their neighbours in a deadly cycle of fight and conquest. As an adult, Shaka was reputed for his driving ambition, his fierce determination, his iron will, and, in some accounts, for his outright cruelty. This combination has been compared to the standardisation implemented by the reorganised Roman legions under Marius. Each of these amabutho had its own name and was lodged at one of the royal households, which became military communities as well as retaining their traditional functions. In 1825, when Lieutenant James King paid him a visit, Shaka sent a goodwill delegation to Major J Cloete, Cape government representative at Port Elizabeth. His life is the subject of numerous colourful and exaggerated stories, many of which are debated by historians. According to the diary of Henry Francis Fynn, Dingiswayo's death (c.1818) was the result of Shaka's treachery, though firm testimony of this is lacking. He was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom. Each settlement contained a section of royal women headed by a formidable woman, usually one of Shaka's aunts. The military system thus helped develop a strong sense of identity in the kingdom as a whole. When the Mthethwa forces were defeated and scattered temporarily, the power vacuum was filled by Shaka. He lived in an area of South-East Africa, between the Drakensberg and the Indian Ocean, a region populated by many independent Nguni chiefdoms. 1824 European artist's impression of Shaka with a long throwing, A muster and dance of Zulu regiments at Shaka's kraal, as recorded by European visitors to his kingdom, c. 1827, Expansion of power and conflict with Zwide, Shakan methods versus European technology, sfn error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFOmer-Cooper1966 (, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, Newitt, Malyn D.D. By means of much drilling and discipline, Shaka built up his forces, which soon became the terror of the land. At some point, Zwide barely escaped Shaka, though the exact details are not known. Officially, they were wards of the king. Senzangakhona claimed that Nandis bloated belly was a symptom of iSh… There was no need to record messages, he held, since his messengers stood under penalty of death should they bear inaccurate tidings. "[16], Laband also dismissed the idea of a 50 miles (80 km) march in a single day as ridiculous. As for firearms, Shaka acknowledged their utility as missile weapons after seeing muzzle-loaders demonstrated, but he argued that in the time a gunman took to reload, he would be swamped by charging spear-wielding warriors. Despite carrying out this revenge, Shaka continued his pursuit of Zwide. Most popular accounts are based on E.A. Shaka Zulu (1787-1828) was one of the greatest heroes in Africa. With Qwabe, Hlubi and Mkhize support, Shaka was finally able to summon a force capable of resisting the Ndwandwe (of the Nxumalo clan). Facts about Shaka Zulu: Shaka Zulu was born in 1787. Isaacs was aided in this by Henry Francis Fynn, whose diary (actually a rewritten collage of various pap… South Africa Encyclopaedia: Prehistory to the year 2000, unpublished papers with SA History Online.|Who is Shaka Zulu? In 1787 Shaka was born to Senzangakhona who was a minor chief of one of the clans of Zulu tribe. The epic follows the life of Shaka Zulu. A number of historians[who?] Thus, the sense of identity of these subject chiefdoms was not entirely lost, but remained an important element in the later politics of the Zulu kingdom. Shaka chose a particularly gruesome revenge on her, locking her in a house and placing jackals or hyenas inside: they devoured her and, in the morning, Shaka burned the house to the ground. It argues that in many ways, the image of Shaka has been "invented" in the modern era according to whatever agenda persons hold. Shaka's wars between 1818 and 1828 contributed to a series of forced migrations known in various parts of southern Africa as the Mfecane, Difaqane, Lifaqane, or Fetcani. His outstanding deeds of courage attracted the attention of his overlord and, rising rapidly in Dingiswayo's army, he became one of his foremost commanders. Shaka Zulu established the Zulu Empire and revolutionized warfare in Southern Africa in the early 19th Century. It was 80 km further south of his previous royal residence kwaBulawayo, on the site of the present day town of Stanger. The young men were taken away to be enrolled alongside others from all sections of the kingdom in an appropriate amabutho, or age-regiment. At this time, Shaka was given the name Nodumehlezi (the one who when seated causes the earth to rumble). Shaka fought as a warrior under Jobe, and then under Jobe's successor, Dingiswayo, leader of … After a first expedition had been defeated by the superior control and strategies of the Zulu at Gqokoli Hill, Zwide, in April 1818, sent all his army into Zululand. Instead of hypothesizing that they all chose to imitate Shaka, it is easier to imagine that he modeled his state on theirs. Shaka was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year of 1787 near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Shaka's triumphs did not succeed in obliterating or diminishing the memories of his better-born rivals. During his brief reign, which lasted only ten years after his final defeat of the Ndwandwe, his regiments continuously went on campaign, steadily extending their assaults further afield as the areas near at hand were stripped of their cattle. The British-Zulu War begins as British troops under Lieutenant General Frederic Augustus invade Zululand from the southern African republic of Natal. His impis (warrior regiments) were rigorously disciplined: failure in battle meant death.[33]. It is claimed that Shaka was born into Senzangakhona's household but that the couple were not yet married according to traditional custom. The fast-moving Zulu raiding party, or "ibutho lempi," on a mission invariably travelled light, driving cattle as provisions on the hoof, and were not weighed down with heavy weapons and supply packs. Shaka, also spelled Chaka or Tshaka, (born c. 1787—died Sept. 22, 1828), Zulu chief (1816–28), founder of Southern Africa ’s Zulu Empire. Shaka was born in 1787. The second major clash was against the British during 1879. When chiefdom submitted, he left local administration in the hands of the reigning chief or another member of the traditional ruling family appointed by himself. When Shaka's mother Nandi died for example, the monarch ordered a massive outpouring of grief including mass executions, forbidding the planting of crops or the use of milk, and the killing of all pregnant women and their husbands. [16], The figure of Shaka still sparks interest among not only the contemporary Zulu but many worldwide who have encountered the tribe and its history. Betrayed Dingiswayo resounding defeat on their opponents Couper Street in the telling their encirclement tactics turn an. 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