He was responsible for protecting them from wild animals. His mother Nandi was the daughter of the rival clan chief Mbhengi. Their effects were felt even far north of the Zambezi River. King Shaka was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year of 1787 near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province, the son of the Zulu chief Senzangakhona. The Gaza Empire. 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. 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". [31], Military historians of the Zulu War must also be considered for their description of Zulu fighting methods and tactics, including authors like Ian Knight and Robert Edgerton. Shaka Zulu was a true rebel who had very little patience with certain aspects of culture which he deemed not particularly valuable. Shaka was born almost certainly in 1787. 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'). 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. Then they were formally dissolved and allowed to marry. When Senzangakhona (Shaka's father) died in 1816, Shaka's younger half-brother Sigujana assumed power as the legitimate heir to the Zulu chiefdom. His father was the chief of the Zulus and his mother, Nandi, was the daughter of the chief of a nearby clan. He further claims that even though these stories have been repeated by "astonished and admiring white commentators," the Zulu army covered "no more than 19 kilometres (12 mi) a day, and usually went only about 14 kilometres (8.7 mi). It referred to o… South African historian Dan Wylie has expressed skepticism of the portrayal of Shaka as a pathological monster destroying everything within reach. of his attempts to revise Western thinking about Shaka.[45]. Old chiefdoms vanished and new ones were created. His teachings greatly influenced the social outlook of the Zulu people. When Dingiswayo was murdered by Zwide, Shaka sought to avenge his death. 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. A frontal assault by their opponents failed to dislodge them, and Shaka sealed the victory by sending his reserve forces in a sweep around the hill to attack the enemy's rear. In Southern Africa at the beginning of the nineteenth (19th) century, Shaka Zulu set up Zulu Kingdom and completely changed its warfare. 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. By the time the first white traders arrived at Port … 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. Sigidi kaSenzangakhona commonly knows as Shaka was a great Zulu king and conqueror. Other notable figures to arise from the Mfecane include Soshangane, who expanded from the Zulu area into what is now Mozambique. A great part of Shaka's life and rule has been referenced in Henry Rider Haggard's fiction novel, Nada the Lily. 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. This ambiguity continues to lend the image of Shaka its continued power and influence, almost two centuries after his death.[31]. Shaka Zulu established the Zulu Empire and revolutionized warfare in Southern Africa in the early 19th Century. The regimental system clearly built on existing tribal cultural elements that could be adapted and shaped to fit an expansionist agenda.[21]. A diversion was created by Mbopa, and Dingane and Mhlangana struck the fatal blows. 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. His career was a transforming influence in the history of southern and central Africa. 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], 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. History has portrayed Shaka, founder of the Zulu nation, as a pitiless and savage conqueror. [11], Another decisive fight eventually took place on the Mhlatuze river, at the confluence with the Mvuzane stream. At some point, Zwide barely escaped Shaka, though the exact details are not known. Later, probably at the time of the Great Famine, known as the Madlantule (c.1802), Shaka was taken to the Mthethwa people, where shelter was found in the home of Nandi's aunt. [12] (He died in mysterious circumstances soon afterwards.) His half-brothers assassinated him. 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. It was not until around 1825 that the two military leaders met, near Phongola, in their final meeting. Michal Lesniewski has criticised Wylie for some[which?] Each military settlement had a herd of royal cattle assigned to it, from which the young men were supplied with meat. This was meant to release sexual tension between young people, a… Despite his attempts to deny paternity, Senzangakhona eventually installed Nandi as his third wife. Initial Zulu success rested on fast-moving surprise attacks and ambushes, but the Voortrekkers recovered and dealt the Zulu a severe defeat from their fortified wagon laager at the Battle of Blood River. Shaka's first capital was on the banks of the Mhodi, a small tributary of the Mkhumbane River in the Babanango district. The Zulu people got tired of his cruelty, and Shaka’s own brothers assassinated him in 1828, bringing his reign to an abrupt end. 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. Emperor Shaka the Great is an epic poem based on the Zulu oral tradition, compiled in Zulu then translated by South African Poet Mazisi Kunene. Outwardly, he was tall and powerfully built, and his skill and daring gave him a natural mastery over the youths in his age group; inwardly, he was developing a thirst for power. 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. 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]. 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. Some scholars contend that this theory must be treated with caution as it generally neglects several other factors such as the impact of European encroachment, slave trading and expansion in that area of Southern Africa around the same time. Shaka was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year of 1787 near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. He was able to recruit additional warriors from these sources and proceeded to train them in his own methods of close combat. By means of much drilling and discipline, Shaka built up his forces, which soon became the terror of the land. Until such time, however, sexual intercourse between members of the male and female age regiments was forbidden. 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 development of the military system caused major economic and social changes. In 1843, As he grew to manhood, Shaka began to discover new talents and faculties. "[26], Scholarship in recent years has revised views of the sources on Shaka's reign. Losses were high overall but the efficiency of the new Shakan innovations was proved. Thunderer-while-sitting, son of Menzi Even as a young boy of five or six years old, Shaka had the job of watching the sheep and cattle. Both his adult personality and his childhood experiences were unusual. His life is the subject of numerous colourful and exaggerated stories, many of which are debated by historians. 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]. Nathaniel Isaacs published his Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa in 1836, creating a picture of Shaka as a degenerate and pathological monster, which survives in modified forms to this day. The formation most generally used was crescent-shaped. When Zulu elders including Senzangakhona himself discovered that Nandi was pregnant, they tried to deny it. Shaka (ca. From a military standpoint, historian John Keegan notes exaggerations and myths that surround Shaka, but nevertheless maintains: Fanciful commentators called him Shaka, the Black Napoleon, and allowing for different societies and customs, the comparison is apt. [29], Various modern historians writing on Shaka and the Zulu point to the uncertain nature of Fynn and Isaac's accounts of Shaka's reign. Shaka fought as a warrior under Jobe, and then under Jobe's successor, Dingiswayo, leader of … He never married and women found pregnant by him were put to death. A number of writers focus on Shaka's military innovations such as the iklwa – the Zulu thrusting spear, and the "buffalo horns" formation. They were organized in female equivalents of the male amabutho and took part in ceremonial dancing and displays. Assassination by rivals to the throne is a constant in monarchies throughout history and around the world. Those seeking an explanation for Shaka’s brutality may begin with his childhood. This left the royal kraal critically lacking in security. The initial problem Dingane faced was maintaining the loyalty of the Zulu fighting regiments, or amabutho. These peoples were never defeated in battle by the Zulu; they did not have to be. He reformed the remnants of the Mthethwa and other regional tribes and later defeated Zwide in the Zulu Civil War of 1819–20. With Qwabe, Hlubi and Mkhize support, Shaka was finally able to summon a force capable of resisting the Ndwandwe (of the Nxumalo clan). The white traders of Port Natal. One visitor, Nathaniel Isaacs, wrote to Henry Fynn, a white adventurer, trader and quasi-local chieftain: Fynn, according to Wylie, complied with the request, and Wylie notes that he had an additional motive to distort Shaka's image— he applied for a huge grant of land— an area allegedly depopulated by Shaka's savagery. There is no evidence to suggest that Shaka betrayed Dingiswayo. In 1787 Shaka was born to Senzangakhona who was a minor chief of one of the clans of Zulu tribe. [5] Thus Shaka became Chief of the Zulu clan, although he remained a vassal of the Mthethwa empire[6] until Dingiswayo's death in battle a year later at the hands of Zwide, powerful chief of the Ndwandwe (Nxumalo) nation. Shaka and the Zulu Nation . [16] Different coloured shields distinguished different amabutho within Shaka's army. 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. Shaka Zulu first learned to fight when he was a child. Shaka observed several demonstrations of European technology and knowledge, but he held that the Zulu way was superior to that of the foreigners. Shaka, king of the Zulus, was born around 1787 to the Zulu chief Senzangakhona KaJama, and Nandi, of the neighboring Langeni clan. Shaka kaSenzangakhona also known as Shaka Zulu was the leader of the Zulu kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Sigujana's reign was short, however, as Dingiswayo, anxious to confirm his authority, lent Shaka a regiment so that he was able to put Sigujana to death, launching a relatively bloodless coup that was substantially accepted by the Zulu. This defeat shattered the Ndwandwe state. He had a big nose, according to Baleka of the Qwabe, as told by her father. Shaka was born in 1787. It is claimed that Shaka was born into Senzangakhona's household but that the couple were not yet married according to traditional custom. Shaka's hegemony was primarily based on military might, smashing rivals and incorporating scattered remnants into his own army. His impis (warrior regiments) were rigorously disciplined: failure in battle meant death.[33]. He was one of the most influential monarchs in the Zulu kingdom. 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. He argues that attempts to distort his life and image have been systematic— beginning with the first European visitors to his kingdom. The young men were taken away to be enrolled alongside others from all sections of the kingdom in an appropriate amabutho, or age-regiment. It seems much more likely that Shaka, seeking to build the power of a previously insignificant chiefdom, drew on an existing heritage of statecraft known to his immediate neighbors. Probably when he was about twenty-three years old, he was drafted into one of the Mthethwa regiments where he found a satisfaction he had never known before. The military system thus helped develop a strong sense of identity in the kingdom as a whole. [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. They also argue that Shaka's line was relatively short-lived and receives undue attention, compared to other, longer established lines and rulers in the region. 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