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. When Zulu elders including Senzangakhona himself discovered that Nandi was pregnant, they tried to deny it. 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. Shaka almost certainly spent his childhood in his mother's settlements. Though much remains unknown about Shaka's personal appearance, sources tend to agree he had a strong, muscular body and was not fat. It was 80 km further south of his previous royal residence kwaBulawayo, on the site of the present day town of Stanger. He is the bird that preys on other birds, 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. Their major victory at the Battle of Isandlwana was the most prominent one, but they also forced back a British column at the Battle of Hlobane, by deploying fast-moving regiments over a wide area of rugged ravines and gullies, and attacking the British who were forced into a rapid disorderly fighting retreat, back to the town of Kambula.[23]. Shaka accorded the white traders most favoured treatment, ceded them land, and permitted them to build a settlement at Port Natal. Famine and chaos followed the wholesale extermination of populations and the destruction of herds and crops between the Limpopo and the Gariep River. Malcolm in 1950. 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. Under Shaka's successors, Dingane, Mpande, and Cetshwayo the Zulu monarchy profoundly influenced the course of South African history. The royal women. A diversion was created by Mbopa, and Dingane and Mhlangana struck the fatal blows. Supposedly if he killed Magaye, it would appear to be out of jealousy because Magaye was so handsome and "Shaka himself was ugly, with a protruding forehead". 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. According to members of his family, Shaka's last words were: Hastily they buried his body in a grain-pit nearby. These and other sources such as A.T. Bryant gives us a more Zulu-centred picture. 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. Many said that he spoke with a speech impediment. The current tendency appears to be to lionise him; popular film and other media have certainly contributed to his appeal. Despite carrying out this revenge, Shaka continued his pursuit of Zwide. The earliest are two eyewitness accounts written by European adventurer-traders who met Shaka during the last four years of his reign. Shaka, founder of the Zulu Kingdom of southern Africa, is murdered by his two half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, after Shaka’s mental illness threatened to destroy the Zulu tribe. 1787-1828) was an African warrior leader and creator of the Zulu military monarchy. 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. By means of much drilling and discipline, Shaka built up his forces, which soon became the terror of the land. Although he preferred social and propagandistic political methods, he also engaged in a number of battles.[4]. However, the cattle wealth of the whole community throughout the kingdom was greatly improved; even though most of the herds were owned by the king and his chiefs and indunas, all shared in the pride roused by the magnificence of the royal herds as well as the pride of belonging to the unequalled military power of Zulu. This produced a sense of common identity amongst them. [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. Historian Donald Morris states that Shaka's first major battle against Zwide, of the Ndwandwe, was the Battle of Gqokli Hill, on the Mfolozi river. Yet British fortune-seekers of the 1820s found Shaka's Zulus a dignified people whose martial qualities were tempered by generosity and hospitality. And their leader was Shaka - King of the Zulu. The assegai. 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. He reformed the remnants of the Mthethwa and other regional tribes and later defeated Zwide in the Zulu Civil War of 1819–20. The initial Zulu maneuvers were primarily defensive, as Shaka preferred to apply pressure diplomatically, with an occasional strategic assassination. Shaka fought as a warrior under Jobe, and then under Jobe's successor, Dingiswayo, leader of … His half-brothers assassinated him. Spurned as an illegitimate son, Shaka spent his childhood in his mother's settlements, where he was initiated into an ibutho lempi (fighting unit), serving as a warrior under Dingiswayo. In Shaka's time, these cowhide shields were supplied by the king, and they remained the king's property. 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. Some estimate that during his reign Shaka caused the death of more than a million people. There was no need to record messages, he held, since his messengers stood under penalty of death should they bear inaccurate tidings. Born Sigidi Kasenzangakhona in 1787, Shaka was a king who ruled the Zulu from 1816-1828. leader, Shaka – King of the Zulu, who changed Zulu and African history forever. 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 (1787-1828) was one of the greatest heroes in Africa. His mother Nandi was the daughter of the rival clan chief Mbhengi. 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. DVD, Learn how and when to remove these template messages, Learn how and when to remove this template message, personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay, "History of Shaka (Tshaka), King of the Zulu", "The Zulu are coming to Civilization 6 in the Rise and Fall expansion", "Notices of the Cape And Southern Africa, Since The Appointment, As Governor, Of Major-Gen. Sir Geo. Cementing the Realm Shaka set about consolidating his empire, building enormous military barracks in strategic locations and populating them with vast numbers of new recruits. With the impi in the iziCwe regiment, he had the companionship he had previously lacked, while the battlefield provided a stadium in which he could demonstrate his talents and courage. Shaka organised various grades into regiments, and quartered them in special military kraals, with regiments having their own distinctive names and insignia. At least 7,000 people who were deemed to be insufficiently grief-stricken were executed, although the killing was not restricted to humans: cows were slaughtered so that their calves would know what losing a mother felt like. Oral sources record that in this period of devastation, a singular Zulu, a man named Gala, eventually stood up to Shaka and objected to these measures, pointing out that Nandi was not the first person to die in Zululand. Shaka (ca. The earliest are two eyewitness accounts written by European adventurer-traders who met Shaka during the last four years of his reign. Transgressions were punished by death. Zwide later murdered Dingiswayo, and, when the leaderless Mthethwa state collapsed, Shaka immediately assumed leadership and began conquering surrounding chiefdoms himself, adding their forces to his own and building up a new kingdom. Shaka's troops maintained a strong position on the crest of the hill. When one of the male amabutho was given permission to marry, a female amabutho would be broken up and the women given out as brides to the warriors. His life is the subject of numerous colourful and exaggerated stories, many of which are debated by historians. 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. This combination has been compared to the standardisation implemented by the reorganised Roman legions under Marius. Shaka was born in 1787. He was responsible for protecting them from wild animals. By then, Shaka had no major rival in the area of present day KwaZulu/Natal. That so much youth was concentrated at the royal barracks resulted in a massive transfer of economic potential to a centralized state. These developments resulted in the evolution of powerful figures in later reigns with strong local power bases that they had been able to build up because of royal appointments and favours. 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. Groups of refugees from Shaka's assaults, first Hlubi and Ngwane clans, later followed by the Mantatees and the Matabele of Mzilikazi, crossed the Drakensberg to the west, smashing chiefdoms in their path. 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. Age grades were responsible for a variety of activities, from guarding the camp, to cattle herding, to certain rituals and ceremonies. William Rubinstein wrote that "Western guilt over colonialism, have also accounted for much of this distortion of what pre-literate societies actually were like, as does the wish to avoid anything which smacks of racism, even when this means distorting the actual and often appalling facts of life in many pre-literate societies". [42] Rubinstein also notes: One element in Shaka's destruction was to create a vast artificial desert around his domain... 'to make the destruction complete, organized bands of Zulu murderers regularly patrolled the waste, hunting for any stray men and running them down like wild pig'... An area 200 miles to the north of the center of the state, 300 miles to the west, and 500 miles to the south was ravaged and depopulated...[42]. Officially, they were wards of the king. 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). 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. A short biography on a man with incredible vision Shaka, Zulu King [online] Pagewise [accessed 17 September 2009]|Anglo-Zulu War 1879. During his lifetime, there were no conflicts between the whites and the Zulus, as Shaka did not want to precipitate clashes with the military forces of the Cape colonial government. 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. [12] (He died in mysterious circumstances soon afterwards.) The effects from Dutch pressure on the western African frontier by the end of the Microsoft Encarta Reference Library, 2005. His life is the subject of numerous colourful and exaggerated stories, many of which are debated by historians. [28], Their accounts may be balanced by the rich resource of oral histories collected around 1900 by the same James Stuart, now published in six volumes as The James Stuart Archive. In Qwabe, Shaka may have intervened in an existing succession dispute to help his own choice, Nqetho, into power. His father was the chief of the Zulus and his mother, Nandi, was the daughter of the chief of a nearby clan. [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. Assassination by rivals to the throne is a constant in monarchies throughout history and around the world. Shaka Zulu was a true rebel who had very little patience with certain aspects of culture which he deemed not particularly valuable. Shaka prohibited the wearing of sandals, toughened his warriors' feet by making them run barefoot over rough thorny ground and in so doing secured their greater mobility. His wars were accompanied by great slaughter and caused many migrations. The second major clash was against the British during 1879. 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 Zulu first learned to fight when he was a child. "[16] Furthermore, Zulus under Shaka sometimes advanced more slowly. His war cry was `Victory or death!' The military system thus helped develop a strong sense of identity in the kingdom as a whole. [15] Dingane ruled for some twelve years, during which time he fought, disastrously, against the Voortrekkers, and against another half-brother, Mpande, who, with Boer and British support, took over the Zulu leadership in 1840, ruling for some 30 years. When Senzangakhona (Shaka's father) died in 1816, Shaka's younger half-brother Sigujana assumed power as the legitimate heir to the Zulu chiefdom. This left the royal kraal critically lacking in security. Shaka then took them on 60-mile hikes, often at a fast trot, with any warrior failing to keep up being slain on the spot. 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. 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. By the time the first white traders arrived at Port … The settling of Mzilikazi's people, the AmaNdebele or Matabele, in the south of Zimbabwe with the concomitant driving of the AmaShona into the north caused a tribal conflict that still resonates today. Traditional Zulu praise song, English translation by Ezekiel Mphahlele, Other Zulu sources are sometimes critical of Shaka, and numerous negative images abound in Zulu oral history. At the time of his death, Shaka ruled over 250,000 people and could muster more than 50,000 warriors. [11], Another decisive fight eventually took place on the Mhlatuze river, at the confluence with the Mvuzane stream. Most historians[who?] The ripple effect caused by these mass migrations would become known (though only in the twentieth century) as the Mfecane (annihilation). Shaka kaSenzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu, was a great Zulu king and conqueror. He was ultimately assassinated by his half brothers Dingane and Mhlangana. He had a big nose, according to Baleka of the Qwabe, as told by her father. and he kept his impi on continuous military campaigns until he thought they had earned the right to wear the headring ( isicoco) of manhood. He is Shaka the unshakeable, The initial problem Dingane faced was maintaining the loyalty of the Zulu fighting regiments, or amabutho. 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. His 10-year-long kingship resulted in a massive number of deaths, mostly due to the disruptions the Zulu caused in neighbouring tribes, although the exact death toll is a matter of scholarly dispute. Each military settlement had a herd of royal cattle assigned to it, from which the young men were supplied with meat. [16] Several other historians of the Zulu, and the Zulu military system, however, affirm the mobility rate of up to 50 miles per day.[19][20]. At this time, Shaka was given the name Nodumehlezi (the one who when seated causes the earth to rumble). [citation needed], Shaka was able to form an alliance with the leaderless Mthethwa clan and was able to establish himself amongst the Qwabe, after Phakathwayo was overthrown with relative ease. Born in 1787, Shaka was the son of Senzangakhona, ruler of a small chiefdom, the Zulu. Even as a young boy of five or six years old, Shaka had the job of watching the sheep and cattle. He named his great place KwaBulawayo (`at the place of the murder'). A monument was built at one alleged site. If a chiefdom resisted, it was conquered and either destroyed or, like the Thembu and Chunu, driven off as landless refugees. Shaka Zulu was the illegitimate son of Senzangakona, King of the Zulus. In a two-day running battle, the Zulu inflicted a resounding defeat on their opponents. [14], The figure of Shaka thus remains an ambiguous one in African oral tradition, defying simplistic depictions of the Zulu king as a heroic, protean nation builder on one hand, or a depraved monster on the other. Morris nevertheless references a large number of sources, including Stuart, and A. T. Bryant's extensive but uneven "Olden Times in Zululand and Natal", which is based on four decades of exhaustive interviews of tribal sources. His teachings greatly influenced the social outlook of the Zulu people. 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. Effects of Shaka's wars. 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. The praise song is one of the most widely used poetic forms in Africa, applying not only to spirits but to men, animals, plants and even towns.[46]. A group of warriors who held on to their assegais instead of hurling them, and who moved right up to the enemy behind the shelter of a barrier of shields would have its opponents at its mercy and would be able to accomplish complete victory. His father Senzangakhona was a minor chief of the Zulu speaking clans, while his mother Nandi was the daughter of Chief Mbhengi of the rival Langeni clan. 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. 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. [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. He was an unwanted child and this affected his approach to life throughout his entire life. Shaka was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year of 1787 near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. As an adult, Shaka was reputed for his driving ambition, his fierce determination, his iron will, and, in some accounts, for his outright cruelty. One popular narrative is that Shakas conception was a mistake after his parents got carried away during uku-hlobonga, a ritual for unmarried couples involving sexual foreplay and no penetrative sex. Sigidi kaSenzangakhona commonly knows as Shaka was a great Zulu king and conqueror. Shaka was a son of Senzangakhona, ruler of an insignificant small chiefdom, the Zulu. 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. Shaka later had to contend again with Zwide's son Sikhunyane in 1826. Isaacs was aided in this by Henry Francis Fynn, whose diary (actually a rewritten collage of various pap… The Gaza Empire. He was able to recruit additional warriors from these sources and proceeded to train them in his own methods of close combat. He thus retained his forces intact. The white traders of Port Natal. Facts about Shaka Zulu: Shaka Zulu was born in 1787. Because of his background as a soldier, Shaka taught the Zulus that the most effective way of becoming powerful quickly was by conquering and controlling other tribes. Information about Shaka's early years is gleaned entirely from oral sources. Shaka, also spelled Chaka or Tshaka, (born c. 1787—died Sept. 22, 1828), Zulu chief (1816–28), founder of Southern Africa ’s Zulu Empire. His mother was Nandi, the daughter of a Langeni chief. As his kingdom grew, he built a far bigger KwaBulawayo, a royal household of about 1,400 huts, in the Mhlathuze valley, some 27 km from the present town of Eshowe. He was one of the most influential monarchs in the Zulu kingdom. Shaka was an illegitimate son of a minor chief, Senzangakhona, while his half-brother Dingane was legitimate. 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. The majority then submitted to Shaka. Her father also told Baleka that Shaka spoke as though "his tongue were too big for his mouth." Indeed, the core Zulu had to retreat before several Ndwandwe incursions; the Ndwandwe was clearly the most aggressive grouping in the sub-region. 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. In the king's absence, administrative authority was wielded jointly by the female ruler of the settlement and by an induna who was usually a favourite of the king. Shaka was born almost certainly in 1787. While in the Mthethwa army Shaka became engrossed in problems of strategy and battle tactics, and Dingiswayo contributed much toward Shaka's later accomplishments in war. His households were thus not dominated by wives but by stern senior women of the royal family. 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