Large Statue Representing Shaka at Camden Market in London, England
Shaka the Zulu King and Military Genius
Life's Hard Knocks
One of the most fascinating leaders of early Africa was Shaka, born in 1786 and died in 1828. Some people have called him a conqueror and despot. His story was that of being brought-up the hard way. His mother Nandi, who was seduced by a chieftain called Senzangakhona, was broiled in scandal about their love affair. When the chief of Elangeni, closely related to the Zulu clan, died, he left one his children, a strong-willed Nandi orphaned, caught the eye of Senzangakhona.
They could not get married because Senzangakhona's mother was from the Elangani people, and he already had two wives. Nonetheless, as a chieftain, he had no qualms flirting and flaunting the rule of exogamy respected among the clans. Shaka's father and mother were blood relatives, and their relationship was frowned-upon by both clans. When Nandi became pregnant, the clan was feeling humiliated because they had expected that the chief would show better judgment.
When Shaka's mother asked the chief Senzangakhona to send for her, the elders sent back a word that this was not a case of pregnancy but that her child was an 'ishaka' (a convenient intestinal beetle on whom menstrual irregularities were usually blamed) The chief sent fro her and made her his third wife around 1787. The presence of Nandi created a lot of friction around the kraal.
As a growing-up herdboy, Shaka lost a pet goat of his father, and his father, because of the pressure from the clan, sent her packing along with Shaka and his sister, back to her Elangeni people. Their stay with her mother's people was very disastrous for all them. The eLangeni people felt disgraced by her and they were forced to return the chiefs dowry, and her stubborn personality did not help better their situation whilst living with them.
For the next ten years, Shaka looked after the cattle and was abused, taunted, beaten and tormented by his peers. They used to make fun of is crinkly ears and his short and stumpy phallus. He grew up alone, fatherless and very bitter. He was intelligent, and this was fueled by the abuse and meanness around him to make himself better. He was also conscious of his royal blood and the ordinariness of his tormentors. He retained a deadly hatred for the people of Elangeni until his death. They would later regret it very much, because Shaka never forgot about it.
He grew up to become a very hardened and unfeeling person. In the 1802 a heavy famine struck the area and they were thrown out of the people of Elangeni, and his mother too, was seen as quarrelsome, both were turned adrift, they went to live Shaka's grandfather, Gedeyana. He grew into puberty and was beginning to show signs of physical prowess, and both the Zulusand the eLangeni people vied for his return and services where, because of more family strife, they chased them out.
Finally, Shaka's father, asked a headman of the Mtetwa clan, Ngomane, to give them a home, which Ngomane did, and was very kind to Shaka and his mother and sister. Shaka never forgot that, and when he became the supreme ruler of the Zulu people, he made Ngomane his second in command.
It has been told that only two people mattered and were loved by Shaka, his mother and Ngomane. After seven years living with Ngomane, Shaka was put into the service of Dingiswayo, a famous Mtetwa chief, and when his father, Senzangakhona wanted him, and Shaka was due for his puberty ceremony, Shaka's arrogance and hostility caused them to have a very serious and horrible quarrel.
Shaka grew to six feet and three inches, and he earned his first cow for killing a leopard on a tree. He learned how to throw a light spear. He did not like the light throwing spear, so he redesigned it into an offensive weapon, with a sort handle and a broad blade. His shield was also made and offensive weapon of his shield, hooking with it left edge over the left edge of his opponents shield, spin his foe to the right with a powerful backhand sweep, Shaka's left was covered, and his opponent off balance and askew, could find no opening for his spear, hampered by his own shield which has been dragged across his front.
The shield dragged the left arm over with it and turned his left armpit to Shaka, who could sink his spear in it in a movement that was a natural continuation of the shield hooking. As the victim slid off the assegai blade, Shaka would shout, "Ngadla!(I have eaten)." He threw away his ox-hide sandals, he hardened his feet on rocks and thorns, which added to his speed and surety of his footing in battle. These were the techniques he developed earlier on, and he would later apply them to his Zulu Army.
The Zulu War Mean Machine
Under the Mtetwa clan, as a young soldier and leader, Shaka defeated and slew The Buthelezi Clan under Pungashe. He was awarded with a herd of cattle and was given charge of the Izicwe. He was also allowed to partake in the councils where they re-made the policy for military expeditions, and he taught his army ho to advance with their shields held at a proper angle at a proper angle. He created the Udibi , boys who were fifteen or sixteen, and they were used to herd the cattle.
One to every three warriors were assigned the role of carrying sleeping mats, cooking pots, extra assegai and small amounts of grain and water. Senzangakhona was summoned to the court of Dingiswayo and it was suggested to him to make Shaka the chief after his death, at that time Senzangakhona was old and fat. But his great wife, Mkabai, dissuaded him into appointing Shaka, and she suggested her eldest son to be chief-Senzangakhona agreed with her.
In the Council with Mtetwa, Shaka was now known as a ferocious warrior, but in the council knew him as a sage, giving sound and quiet advice which Dingiswayo, the Mtetwa chief approved-of. Shaka's concern was with the morale of his soldiers, a trait he learned from Dingiswayo and passed-on to his soldiers. When Senzangakhona died in 1816, Dingiswayo dispatched Shaka (who was now twenty-nine) to the Zulu kraals with a strong regiment of Izicwe .
When the Great Wife put her son on the throne, Shaka came, had him killed and took the reins of a clan that had not seen him since he was six(more or less a quarter century had passed) and he rebuild the nation into one of the most powerful nations on earth. It was at this time, Shaka's younger half brother, Dingane, came along to dispute the chieftainship. Shaka met him and did not kill him, which was one of the most fatal mistakes Shaka ever made.
Shaka built a new kraal which he called kwaBulawayo(at place of He Who Kills, or the Killing Place). He improved the material culture and social system of the Zulus. Shaka started building the Zulu Army from scratch. He formed Izicwe into a standard formation requiring four groups, and these four tactical groups could be formed into numerous subdivisions. Their strongest techiqqe/formation was the "chest," the one that closed in once onto the enemy and held it fast.
The other two were the "horns" that surrounded the enemy until their tips met The fourth group was the reserve and known as the "loins," and they were placed behind the chest and remained seated with their backs to the fight so as not to become excited. This all depended on several movements which were carried-out over broken ground at top speed, silently while maintaining perfect formation and alignment.
He then let the Izicwe to go back to the Mtetwas and proceeded to form the Amawombe, composed of old men with head rings and married. He allowed them to keep their wives but built them a new kraal (by then he had executed and persecuted all those who had treated him and his mother, and abused him in his childhood,and those who treated Nandi badly, and those that had called him an iShaka).
The thirty year olds with a headring but not yet married were banded together and called uJubingqwana (The of the Headring Ukase), made them shave and they were made boys again). The rest of the mature men were created into a regiment, and since they were not so many, were brigaded into the izimPohlo (Bachelor boys' Brigade).
Those who were left, were the herdboys who were fresh from the years tending cows and sheep, and the youngest of the bachelors, who had just come from being herdboys themselves, and he fashioned the uFasimba (The Haze and or Shaka's Own). These were the soldiers he trained in the methods of fighting he used earlier on in his career. He greatly relied on them and they became a prototyped for all the regiments he created thereafter.
Shaka drilled his men very hard, taught them movements until they could cover fifty miles in a day. He made his army discard the sandals from cow skin. It is reported that European soldiers could cover up to fifteen miles on a paved road in a day. Shaka always led by example, and his soldiers learned songs and war cries, made various ornaments fashioned from feathers and fur, thus creating their own uniforms. Shaka never married.
He started attacking the smaller clans and rounded up all the young men. Most of them submitted without a fight. He used many deceitful techniques like bunching his army, and made his men carry their shields which made the enemy think they were few in number until when the horns raced out, then the men turned their shields towards the enemy, and his army would seem to double in an instant.
His army would smash into the enemy, who when they ran into the women and children standing nearby to watch the fight, they would be butchered there too. By 1817, Shaka had grown and increased the Zulu population to four times its size. When he started, his army was made of 350 men.
Now he had 2,000 trained men and those in uFasimba numbered more than 800 men. He did not allow three of his regiments to marry and they were forced into celibacy. Shaka, by then, was able to form other regiments provided for by the captives his four regiments. The ranks of his army swelled, and they still retained their original names. As the newcomers were incorporated into the Zulu army, they were subjected to Zulu drill and discipline.
Shaka's Attempt to Create one Zulu Nation
As Shaka became more respected by his people, he was able to spread his ideas with greater ease. Because of is background as a soldier, Shaka taught the Zulus the most effective way of becoming powerful quickly was by conquering and controlling other clans. His teachings greatly influenced the social outlook of the Zulu people. The Zulu nation soon developed a "warrior mindset", which made it easier for Shaka to consolidate his armies.
Shaka's hegemony was primarily based on military might, smashing and incorporating scattered remnants into his own arm. He supplemented this with a mixture of diplomacy and patronage, incorporating friendly chieftains, including Zihandlo of the Mkize clan, Jobe of the Sithole clan and Mathubane of the Thuli clan. These people were never defeated in battle by the Zulus.
They did not have to be because Shaka won them over by subtler tactics of patronage and reward. The ruling Qwabe clan, for example, began re-inventing their genealogies to give the impression that Qwabe and Zulu were closely related in the past, and in this was a greater cohesion that was created, which, if one knows Zulu history, was not far from the truth, because each clan emerged, as far as Zulu lore goes, from 'isigodi' area, in accordance to the clan name.
After killing Sigujana, Shaka was accepted by the Zulus and still recognized Dingiswayo and his larger Mthetwa clan as overlord and Shaka returned to the Zulu clan. Some years later, Dingiswayo was ambushed by King Zwide of the Amandwandwe and killed. It has often been postulated that Shaka betrayed Dingiswayo, but this was not true because the Zulu core had many-a-times retreated from the Mthetwa incursions, and the Mthethwa were the most aggressive of the whole Zulu peoples, and the whole Sub-region of South Africa.
Shaka was able to form an alliance with the leaderless Mthetwa clan and was able to establish himself among the Qwabe, after Phakathwayo was overthrown with relative ease. With the Qwabe, Mkhize and Hlubi support, Shaka was finally able to summon a force capable of resisting the Ndwandwe(of the Nxumalo clan)/. He was able to destroy Zwide of the Ndwandwe clan at the Battle of Gqokli Hill, and it was where he was able to hone and improve their encirclement tactics.(Donald Morris)
Another decisive fight eventually took place on the Mhlatuze river, at the confluence with the Mvuzane stream. In a two-day running battle, the Zulus inflicted a resounding defeat on their opponents. Shaka then led a fresh reserve some seventy miles to the royal kraal of Zwide, ruler of the Ndwandwe clan, and destroyed it. Zwide escaped with a handful of followers before falling foul to Queen Mjanji, the ruler of the Ba-pedi clan. Zwide died mysteriously afterwards. Shaka's General, Soshangane (of the Shangaan) moved northwards to what is now Mozambique to inflict further damage on less resistant foes and took advantage of slaving opportunities, obliging the Portuguese traders to give tribute to him
Shaka moved on into the Hlubi(Xhosa clan) under Matiwane and after a week's long battle, the Hlubis, in 1823, were defeated and they broke-up into smaller bands. Manthatisi continued up north and kept on engaging the Basotho, who, under their leader, Moshoeshoe, who had gathered about 2,000 of his people onto the mountain top called Thaba Bosiu (Mountain of the Night), and this plateau had only three access trails and on top a 150 acre of pasture.
Moshoeshoe instructed his people to supply large boulders which he rolled down the mountain on the Manthatisi attackers, whom he finally defeated in 1852, under the leadership of Sikonyela, Manthatisi's son. Moshoeshoe also gave Matiwane, his enemy sanctuary after he was overrun by the British, the Boers and 18,000 Tembu soldiers. Finally, Matiwane got homesick and went back to Shaka, who in the end killed him. There was an African Queen or the Basothos(the baTlokwa stock) -- who fought the amaHlubi by lining up unarmed children and women, causing the amaHlubi to run.
Shaka went south up to the great Kei River and very close to British Kaffraria, where he nearly perilously close to British and Boer regulars. They had a close brush with the Griquas, who had clashes with Manthatisi and her people until she veered north into the African hinterland, where her power declined. These wars and movement of populations caused total chaos in the interior. Many clans crumbled and ran, mostly to the south of the country, where they came across the Xhosa people who were embroiled in wars with the Europeans in what was dubbed the Frontier Wars.
The whole region was in total chaos and was known as the "Difaqane" in Sotho language or in Zulu language "Mfecane"(Scattering or wanderings). This was a time of cannibalism and no one dared built kraals nor tilled the land. The whole landscape was strewn with rotten carcasses and bones, and there was general chaos and disorder everywhere.
Shaka was pursuing Dingiswayo's Grand Design: this was a dream of political union of the whole country. Shaka had this idea too, but he blindly struck out at the smaller clans or smaller nations throughout the country. He waged war for the sake of war and with Dingiswayo's idea in mind. The Zulus became rich form the hundred of thousand of cows his army brought back from the raids. He also waged war so that his army did not become idle.
In 1822 he invaded Natal. Because of this push, hundreds of thousands of refugees streamed and spread southwards and right up to the Tugela River. Shaka sent his General Mzilikazi to attack Moshoeshoe, who defeated him and Mzilikazi, then betrayed Shaka by creating his own Matabele nation and headed north(Today's Zimbabwe) where he got entangled with the Boers who ended defeating him in 1836.
By 1820, four years into his reign, and at age thirty-four, Shaka was ruling the land the size of France. His people were wealthy. His enemies had been subdued, and his people began fighting amongst themselves. He put thousands to death. Ngomane and his mother tries hard to dissuade him from slaughtering people. When his mother died, 7,000 people were put to death. Among the dead were those who did not cry or came to his royal city to mourn.
Henry Fynn writes about these period as follows:"After his mother passed away, Shaka went into his hut, and came out wearing his full war regalia. He was crying and he let out some frantic yells. The signal was enough. The chiefs and people, to the number of about fifteen thousand, commenced the most dismal and horrid lamentations. The people from the neighboring kraals, male and female, came pouring in, each body as they came in sight, at a distance of half a mile, joining to swell the terrible cry.
Through the whole night it continued, none daring to rest or refresh themselves with water; while at short intervals, fresh outbursts were heard as more distant regiments approached. The morning dawned without any relaxation, and before noon the number had increased to about sixty-thousand. The cries now became indescribably horrid. Hundreds were lying faint from excessive fatigue and want of nourishment; while the carcasses of forty oxen lay in a heap, which had been slaughtered as an offering to the guardian spirits of the clan.
At noon the whole force formed a circle with Shaka in the center, and sang a war song,which afforded them some relaxation during its continuance. At the close of it, Shaka ordered several men to be executed on the spot; and the cries became, if possible, more violent than ever. No further orders were needed; but, as if bent on convincing their King of their extreme grief, the multitude commenced a general massacre.
Many of them received the blow of death while inflicting it on others, each taking the opportunity of revenging his injuries, real or imaginary. Those who could no more force tears from their eyes- those who were found near the river panting water - were beaten to death by others who were mad with excitement. Towards the afternoon, It was calculated that no fewer than seven thousand people had fallen in this frightful indiscriminate massacre.
The adjacent stream to which many had fled exhausted to wet their parched tongues, became impassable from the number of dead corpses which lay on each side of it; while the kraal in which the scene took place, was flowing with blood." These were some of the cruel indiscretions Shaka indulged in to the consternation of his close cohorts, family and nation.
Shaka in Regalia
Flynn, in 1824, wrote: "On the following morning we were requested to mount our horses and ride to the King's kraal. On our arrival, we found him sitting under a tree, in the act of decorating himself. He was surrounded by about two hundred people, a servant standing at his side, and holding a shield over him to keep the glare of the sun from him. Round his forehead he wore a turban of otterskin, with a feather of a crane erect in front, full two feet long
. Earrings of dried sugar cane, carved round the edge, with white ends, and an inch in diameter, were let into the lobes of the ears, which had been cut to admit them. From shoulder to shoulder he wore bunches, three inches length, of skins of monkeys and genets, twisted like the tails of these animals, and hanging half down the body.
Round the ring of the head... were a dozen bunches of the red feathers of the loorie, tastefully tied to thorns which were stuck into the hair. Around is arms were white ox-tails, cut down the middle so as to allow the hairs to hang about the arm, to the number of four each. Round the waist, a petticoat, resembling the Highland plaid, made of skins of monkeys and genets, and twisted as before described, having small tassels round the top, the petticoat reaching to the knees, below which were white ox-tails to fit around the legs, so as to hang to the ankles. He had a white shield with a single black spot, and an assegai.
While he was dressing himself, the people proceeded as on the day before, to show up with droves of cattle, which were still flocking in, and repeatedly varying the scene by dancing and singing. Meanwhile, it became known to us that Shaka had ordered that a man standing near us should be put to death, for what crime, we could not learn: but we soon found it to be one of the common occurrences in the course of the day....
Nine years into his reign, his brother, Dingaan, and some of Shaka's domestic workers plotted on killing him. The Zulu people were growing restive, and Shaka had sent out his army to go further inland and destroy, capture women and youth and cattle, that some were beginning to run away from his kingdom. When Shaka had sent his army of more than 20,000 up north, his brothers Mhlanga and Dingaan feigned illness, and Mbopa, their cousin, was told to tell Shaka that the two were sick.
Shaka said nothing in response, and the two were able to plan their attack of Shaka. They crept into his hut and stabbed him as he sat net to the fire. John Stuart said about Shaka: "In his own unenviable carrier of unbridled ferocity, celerity and cunning, he stands alone and unrivaled; whilst among Africans, in strategy and tactics, and executive capacity he is again probably without a peer.
He, in short, seems to have turned a page, albeit a dark one, that no mortal, white, red, yellow, brown or black, has ever before managed quite to turn. In that sense he is, I should say, at the head of all other military geniuses. He shows what an able man in power can accomplish, once his passions and ambitions have free play and opportunity serves."
Shaka had a heart of a lion, and this, was devastating combined use of military skill of Caesar and Napoleon, the organizing genius of Alexander the Great, the Stern discipline of Lycurgus, the inflexibility of Bismarck, and the destructive power and force of Attila.
The story of Shaka has even more gory and horrible details of what he did coming from authors like Theal, Cory, Eric Walker, Arthur Keppel-Jones, Eileen Krige, Stow, De Kiewiet, James Stuart and many more, so that we are able to catch the glimpses of a ruler who was so great that he only lost one war, and ruled by fear and total war.
There is more about Shaka that needs to be written about, that it will be another historical aspect on one other upcoming part about Shaka and his rule. When Dingaan and his cabal had stabbed him and he lay dying, it's been reported that he said that, "Yes, I can see that you have betrayed me and are killing me; but, know this fact, I can see the one with 'White ears[White European people] made to shine by the sun, and they will be the ones who will rule this land."
He was right because Dingaan, although he defeated the British at the war of Isandlwane , he was finally defeated by the Boers at the battle of Blood River, so named because the blood of the dead Zulus made the river red.
Shaka has been credited with the initial develoopment of the famous "bufalo horns" formation. It was composed of three elements:
- The main force the "chest", closed with the enemy Impi(force) and pinned it in position.
- The "horns", while the enemy Impi(force) was pinned by the "chest". would flank the Impi from both sides and encircle it; in conjunction with the "chest" they would then destroy the trapped force.
- The "loins", a large reserve, was placed, seated, behind the "chest" with their back to the battle. The "loins" would be committed wherever the enemy Impi threaten to break out of the encirclement.
A number of historians have argued and correctly so, that Shaka changed the nature of warfare in southern Africa from a ritualized exchange of taunts with minimal loss of life in a true method of subjugation by wholesale slaughter of the opposition. By the time of his assassination in 1828, he had made the Zulu Kingdom the greatest power in Southern Africa and a force to be reckoned with , even against Britain's modern army in 1879, known as the Batlle of Isandlwana. Shaka was the greatest military commander to come out of Africa. At the time of his death, Shaka was a ruler of over 250,000 people and he could muster more than 50,000. He ruled for ten years before he was murdered.
Celebrity Kings of Mzantsi and some of their Warriors
Skaka/Chaka: This is The Story of, and By, And Also For The Africans of South Africa
The Hub above can be regarded as an introductiion to the real story of Shaka and his rule and exploits. There is also an oral traditional narrative that is told by the Zulus and the Basothos and all those that his marauders(Impis) killed in greater number than heretofore suspected or been talked about. The most seriously and well told story about Shaka, as I have indicated, is from the "oral Tradition of the Africans of Mzantsi, and it is from this story that the second part of the story of Chaka will be told in this Hub.
The problem with Hubs like this one is that there are many people who have a skimpy knowledge about the story of Chaka, so they decide to take it and think that this is their story of Chaka, and they seek to own it as if they wrote it. I, on the other hand, as a child of the Nguni people, have the story that has been handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, and that is the more serious and important story of Shaka.
There are still more details that pertain to the narrative of Shaka, and some of these details will remain with and be part of the peoples story of Shaka. What I am doing in this Hub, is to help and avail to the up and coming generations of African children of South Africa, that when they find this story of Shaka written in this Hub, they will have to go back to their African communities to find the 'rest' of the story of Chaka.
Before I write a bit more about Chaka, it is important to make note that in the viral era or the time of the Internet, everyone wants to be a writer of some sort, so some people resort to stealing stories(whole stories) and history of a people they have not met met, nor know and will never live with.
Because this is easy to do(taking some story of a people no one knows anything about), they show lack of respect to the people whose history and story it is, and they want to pretend that they are the ones that are telling the story. But, the story that they tell, is one they really do not know anything about, except what they have heard about the great leader known as Shaka, so they reckon they can take the story, as this one has been written above, and make-pretend that it is they who wrote the story.
I would like to write and add a disclaimer to this narrative:
"This History of Shaka, This Story of Shaka, is the story of and by the people of Mzantsi, the Children of the AmaNguni/Bakone, and the rights to this story is is owned and controlled and belongs to no one else but the People of African Descent in South africa, and anyone who take any debasing part or whole of this story, is violating the sanctity and covenant between the Ancestors of the Nguni/Bakone and the Present survivors of these people, the present-day Africans Of South Africa-No one else."
This is important because many people disrespect the history of other people, and think that it is their right to steal and take a story of a people, a history of people, about their cultures, customs, traditions and so forth, and be carelessly crass with stories of the African people, who have suffered so much for so many millenniums, two millenniums, to be more precise, and now that, we are beginning to put our history in the African perspective that we need it to be told, we still suffer from theft, abuse of our story, disrespect of our history and culture, by those who have no inkling as to what it has taken us to get to this point of being able to write about our African past.
There are many other stories about our Kings, who were greater than Shaka, which are still going to be written about. This is but one of the ones that is known world-wide because the colonists 'chose' to highlight it to the world-Also, we know that they did so because Shaka really never killed the White people, and therefore, they made him to be important. Yes, he was important, but he was not not necessarily the only greatest. There are many more that did their part, but because of the one-sidedness of the colonial presentation of a history of a people they had oppressed, many people know only of Shaka.
Yes, he was a very important figure in the history of Africans in South Africa, but he was not the only one that gave shape and propagated our history in South Africa, and, as I have already noted, there are many more important leaders that we, as the people of African ancestry in South Africa know of.
The thing that has made me write this small part in regards to the history of Shaka is that it is important for the reader of this story to begin to understand and respect whatever story is written by Africans of South Africa because it is the story of our African ancestors in South Africa, it is also our African history in South Africa, and it is a much more intimate and serious narrative about our customs, cultures, tradition in their formations, adjustment and so forth during an age that we are still recreating and telling to the world about.
With the disclaimer and all, this is a story of and about the Africans of South Africa(Mzantsi) as told by the people of African descent about their ancestor, and at least, some form of respect should be given to that fact alone. Over the years and up to the present, we have seen a lot of people disrespect us, abuse us, our languages, music, culture, customs, because they think and feel that they can.
One thing should be clear to these people who show no respect to the Africans of South Africa and everything that is theirs, their lands, their people, their culture, custom, cultures, traditions, languages, music, dresses, traditional practices and sacred rites, that, in time, as we are doing in writing these stories, we will reclaim them, if stolen or taken out of disrespect, and this will be in the very near future.
With the problems that are presently being faced by us under this decrepit and very corrupt government of ours led by the ANC(African National Congress), the people are beginning to see that the ANC that we knew is "Dead", and the present Zombified leaders are just that, Zombies of some interest that are creating a genocide against us. This too, we will overcome, as we did Apartheid, and still fighting it up to now; and, just like the stories of Shaka, we will come back and reclaim and own them because these are our stories, our histories and no one else's.
Therefore, having said all the above, the story of and about Shaka, from the Oral Traditional African centered History of Africans of Mzantsi will be carried on in this Hub. This then is the story of African people of Mzantsi and all are welcome to learn and read about as, it has thus far being told from an African-centered perspective of Mzantsi.
The Zulus - Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Zuma And His Quisling Ways...
The Culture of Quislings From Earlier Times To Today
As I have been onto this Hub above, some historical facts have come into the fore, and these are not the stuff that is usually written about the Zulus or some of the people of South Africa. We have to remember that when Shaka was trying to unite the Zulu people as one nation, that was one of the most difficult feats he was attempting to achieve, and that in so doing, he created many enemies for himself within the Zulu people he was trying to unite as one nation of the Zulus.
It is these enemies, who wanted to remain as separate clans that caused him and the future Zulu nation many problems which came to the fore up to the 21st century. It was not only the Zulus who were quislings to the notion of Shaka's notion and attempt towards national-building, you find the same with the Swazis, the Bipeds, too, and so forth. Betraying one's people is not a new thing nor will it be the last, but in this Hub, I will briefly touch upon a very less known or spoken about topic of quisling Africans South Africans who doomed us as a people as written by Dlamini below, who traces it, albeit briefly, from the late 1800s, to today's rule by Zuma.
This is what Jacob Dlamini wrote:
Jacob Dlamini wrote:
IN 1879, the British destroyed the Zulu kingdom, putting paid to one of the last major precolonial polities in southern Africa. To hear white supremacists and apologists for the British Empire tell it, the defeat of King Cetshwayo’s army marked the triumph of European enlightenment over African barbarism; to hear Zulu and African nationalists tell it, the destruction of the Zulu kingdom signaled not the end of Zulu political sovereignty but the beginning of a pan-African struggle against white rule.Both accounts present the overthrow of the kingdom in stark terms, as a struggle between African and European, black and white.
In fact, matters were messier than these accounts are willing to acknowledge. Sure, the British army was the most powerful military force at the time, with the hardware and training befitting its status as the defender of the world’s reigning superpower, and the Zulu warriors who went to battle for Cetshwayo were a rudimentary force with the most basic weapons (and some guns) at their disposal. In truth, the British needed far more than their sophisticated weapons and training to defeat the Zulus.
They needed collaborators — Zulu collaborators — and there were plenty of these to go around. For reasons to do mainly with the violent founding of the Zulu kingdom under Shaka in the early 19th century, there were many communities that harbored cultural and political resentments against centralised Zulu authority. So when the British came calling, looking for allies against Cetshwayo, they found more than enough Africans to help them defeat the Zulu kingdom. Among those who collaborated with the British against Cetshwayo were the ancestors of one Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.
Far from helping build and protect the Zulu kingdom, the Zumas helped the British destroy it. For their exertions, the Zumas, like many other Africans who collaborated with the British, were rewarded with land that had belonged to the Zulu kingdom until 1879. As the historian Meghan Healy-Clancy and anthropologist Jason Hickel say in their 2014 book Ekhaya: The politics of home in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Nkandla is actually the spoil of collaboration, given to the Zumas for their role in the defeat of the Zulu kingdom.
Healy-Clancy and Hickel point to the irony of Zuma using Nkandla to enact a certain idea of Zulu authenticity and to show his respect for his ancestors and their traditions when those ancestors were collaborators against the Zulu kingdom. Healy-Clancy and Hickel draw on the work of John Wright and Jeff Guy, eminent scholars of precolonial and colonial Zulu history, to make their case. In turn, Wright drew on the James Stuart Archive, the richest collection of material on precolonial Zulu history, for his argument.
Guy, who died last December, was working, among other topics, on Zuma’s collaborationist history when he died. Lest we be accused of singling out the Zumas and Nxamalalas (Zuma’s clan), we should point out that they were by no means unique in their collaboration. They were also not the only ones to be given land in return for their collaboration. In the same year in which the British defeated the Zulu kingdom, they also destroyed the Pedi kingdom.
Boer commandos and thousands of Swazi collaborators assisted the British in that campaign. It had been the same story in the wars between the British and the Xhosas. There, Mfengus helped the British destroy the Xhosa kingdom and were rewarded for their troubles with land confiscated from the defeated Xhosas. To ask why so many Africans collaborated in the destruction of African polities and, with them, African sovereignty is to ask a simplistic and patronising question.
It is to assume that African polities were somehow apolitical entities without differences and discord. These were complex societies riven with all sorts of fissures. As scholar Mbongiseni Buthelezi shows in his work on the Ndwandwe and historian Michael R Mahoney argues in his 2012 book, The other Zulus: The spread of Zulu ethnicity in colonial SA, there were many so-called Zulus who did not identify as Zulus in precolonial Zululand. There were many polities, like the Ndwandwes, who had been defeated by the Zulu kingdom and then forced to become Zulus.
Many of these people might have spoken the same language, shared a cuisine, intermarried and traded with one another, but they did not identify as Zulu. Many of them had to be forced to identify as Zulu. As Mahoney shows in his book, it is not until after the Bambatha rebellion of 1906 that one can speak somewhat convincingly about a Zulu nation covering every corner of what we today call the Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal.
Even this was more in response to the depredations of colonial rule than it was to people suddenly waking up one day in 1906 and deciding that they wanted to become Zulus.The process by which the "other Zulus" became Zulu was gradual and uneven. Understand this and you might understand some of the ructions under way in KwaZulu-Natal today, where the Ndwandwe, among others, are questioning why land that supposedly belongs to all the Zulus should be held in trust for them by a king, Goodwill Zwelithini, whose legitimacy and authority they have never accepted.
As Buthelezi points out in his work, the Ndwandwes are certainly not the only "Zulus" who are calling into question the idea of a unified Zulu kingdom with Zwelithini at the helm. Jonny Steinberg was certainly correct to write on these pages recently that, contrary to stereotype, Zuma is man with a vision — but that his vision excludes ordinary people. As Steinberg pointed out, Zuma’s vision, and one on which he has been acting for the past seven years, includes doling out a great deal of power to a small number of people (meaning chiefs) in the South African countryside.
Zuma is doing all of this in the name of tradition. He is, as Steinberg argues, trying to right old wrongs. He is a big man giving big men their due. But he is also the spawn of collaborators. Perhaps it is time South Africans gave him his due — and made his collaborationist ancestry a big part of the story about Nkandla.
Reccorecting The History And Story Of Africans In Mzantsi...
Now, this whole saga needs to be fleshed out a bit, and I will attempt to do so in this section. The author of the piece above, Dlamini, has some points which can be traced back into the history of the people we call the Zulus. These were clans, separate and not united as one nation under one clan, the Zulus. The Zulus were one small clan, which Shaka upgraded to form the Zulu nation, incorporating all the other clans, by sheer force and intimidation and total war.
Now, articles like the one above are premised upon one book written by two White authors and theses, too, are using data that they really do not understand very well. What I am saying is that, two White researchers, who really do not know much nor understand the culture of the Africans of Natal or South Africa. My arguments are also based on the articles I have penned here on HubPages, and the sources of these authors are from the Zulu people themselves.
There's a lot we can talk about where I am coming from, is that, if one were to casually glean upon or peruse the historical books written about Africans prior to Shaka's rule, and those stories that were written after the rule of Shaka, that, their story dovetails with those narratives of the culture of quislings that came in the murder of Shaka and the betrayal of Shaka from Mzilikazi, and now here we heare mention of Cetwayo and so forth. Of course, One has to know much more about the attempt of Shaka to unify the clans of Natal under the minority clan of the Zulus, in order to form a nation of South Africans, in the end.
This is where the devil is in the historical details. This was early on in the history of theZulu people, that we shall need to talk about the time period from 1879 to 1889. So then, the question I raise is that, what happened in the these 20 years to the Zulu people that they would end up collaborating with the British against their brethren? What led to this collaboration, of the Great Zulu warriors and their generals, to in the end, collaborate with the British, all the way to the beginning and during the Anglo Boer War-1899 to 1902?
Pre-Colonial Society Before the Anglo-Boer War In Natal, The Cape and the Early Transvaal
The history and story of African people of South Africa is going to be written much more precisely by African historians from an African-centered perspective and sensibility and sensitivity. This is key and very important, because some of us not only bring book-knowledge to our stories and histories, but we also bring our knowledge of our oral traditions that we grew up on and we also bring our knowledge and understanding of our cultures and customs, traditions and sacred rites and practices, as we have lived and experienced them today, and continue to know what they are all about-by living them and experiencing them, and not from research, but from lived and known experience.
Of course, book knowledge will augment that perspective, but we are not entirely and solely dependent on it, but it is a tangential part of our entire writing of our stories and histories from an African centered point of view. There are some facts that are true as pointed out in the article above, but it loses traction when it is more directed at one man, Zuma and the politics of Nkandla. But the historicity of the African people and what they had to deal with from the death of Shaka, particularly the Zulus, is somewhat lost to the authors… Because Zuma is not the history of African People.
Granted, they may have been a band of sell-outs in the service of the Europeans at the expense of the Zulu people; also, it may be true, if one were to look at the history of the Ndwandwe people, in Natal, there may have been some carryover grudges resulting from the days of Shaka. But, these are not the whole history of the Africans of South Africa, because some other people of South Africa were involved.
The most interesting point that needs to be really vetted-out, is the 20 year span from 1879 to 1899. This is a time period that I will try and pick up on, to show that the Zulus, were not necessarily the villains of African history, but many other groups or nations in South Africa were involved in being turncoats, and collaborating with the Boers or the British at one time during the 20 years.
Isandlwane Memorial: 1879
From 1879 - 1899: The Story And History Of The Zulus And the Africans Of South Africa
If one were to read up on the story and history of the Zulus and the other South African groups of South Africa before Shaka and during his rule, assassination and the rulers and the Zulus that followed afterwards, it is true that there remained a lot of animosity that was a carryover of that time-period, to the 20 years, leading up to the Anglo-Boer War.
Professor Clarke's lecture on the Zulus gives the Hub another historical perspectives and dimension. I think the reader should listen to it all. This is part of the of a broad approach and broaches the history of the Zulu people, post-Shaka's death, and tries to paint an empirical perspective about the events of the 20 years from 1879 to 1899, into some proper African-centered perspectives.
Shaka's Unification Of The Zulus In Retrospect
The people, then known as the Zulu people, were not such a big national phenomenon we know then=m as today. They were a small clan, under Senzangakhona, and were in constant battle with the Ndwandwe of Zwide, and finally they chases Matiwane of the ema-Ngwaneni who subsequently fled from Shaka and got entangled with the Amahlubi, south of the state of Natal, in the Eastern Cape. These also had a domino effect on the Basotho, Batlokwa and other nations in the regions, including the Xhosas, which created a massive sense of loss, revenge, and a very devastating social destruction that became known as as the Difaqane(Sotho) the Mfecane(Zulu) ~ (Scatterings)
People and other clans were scattered all over the land of south Africa, and large swaths of land were left desolate, stripped of food, and having scattered bones of the dead and cannibalized throughout the forays of Shaka's and Mizilakazi's armies. The Boers and the British added to this destruction in their own way, and had in their employ various clans of South Africa in their service.
The article above focuses on Zuma's plans, which it claims he is now trying to right the wrongs of Shaka's. At the same time, the realization of the unified Zulu nation came about because of Bambaata and it is at this time we begin to see some semblance of a unified Zulu Nation-but not totally unified, per se.
It might be true, that some of the clans of the people of Natal, today known as the Zulus, still have a gripe in being called Zulus, as one group, whilst they recognize themselves as different groups, as existed prior to Shaka's unification attempts, that, in as much as that would be true, it is also important that recognize that the majority of the African people of Natal still see themselves as Zulus, today.
What I have found in my researches are the facts that African people, in the colonization of South Africa, were not just passive participants in their being colonized. Beyond Isandlwane, the collaboration of africans, Zulus in this case, was to play itself out fully in the years beyond 1879 to beyond 1902. The 23 years of history of South Africa at this juncture has to be fully examined, and it is from here that we will see that the changes that were taking place within this time frame, were increasingly shaped and transformed(slowly) by the mining capital investments that were made into South Africa. America was at the lead, and few people even understand that part of the history of Africans in Mzantsi.
This then will mean that I am going to have to examine the story and history of theZulus during Shaka's reign, the events that took place between the formation of the Zulu nation, and the after effects of such an endeavor. Also, I am very skeptical of the article above for it tries to focus on Zuma, and to show his weaknesses and intentions, but by so doing, consciously averts and avoids stating or discussing the full version of accounts that have led to such betrayal by the clans of Zuma and others, and denies the reader or African people their true history.
I am cognizant of the story and history as it has been surmised above by Dlamini and his citations, but what they do inefficiently, is try to acknowledge that there were other and many cases of collaboration with the Boers and the British of the time by Africans of Mzantsi. What they do not do is not talk thoroughly and extensively as to what happened in that time period-to the Zulu collaborators and other African collaborators. Their main goal is to feed and pacify the present media consuming and social network dependent public a narrative that best suits their attack on Zuma.
Granted, the Nkandla affair has many criss-crossing points in and around it, but the historical narrative does not fit the contemporary reality which they are trying to suture in order to castigate Zuma. I am not a Zuma fan or follower nor believer-but am not going to negate African history because of my personal beliefs. I am not going to help distort Zulu history and what it could or must be. It would be much better if I really break it down below.
Painting Of The Mfengus In 1840 - Beginiing Of Difaqane/Mfecane(Scatterings)
The Early Beninnings Of The Scattering(Difaqane/Mfecane)
When I was composing and researching this Hub, I was then earlier on in my writing it, I was more interested in giving the account of the life of Shaka, and what he achieved and also, how the whole world came to view him. What I did not do was go into even much depth about the Zulu people and their stories of their history and what happened to them as a result of Shaka attempts to unify them.
One thing for sure, Shaka gave them a national structure/organization, as the Zulu people, and introduced a lot of characteristics that the Zulus are identified with today: military aggression and military warrior's fighting spirit. The Mthetwa were the fiercest of the different clans of the people of Natal that eventually came to be known as the Zulus. What I am non-plussed with about the Dlamini article and his White investigators, is like they are trying to reintroduce a division of the Zulu people, by throwing out memes of a perceived division, that has taken century to build amongst the Zulu people.
The attempt by Shaka to unite the different clans of the Zulu people under one clan-name, Zulus, didi not go well with the Ndwandwes. I guess, according to Dlamini and his sidekicks, the Zulus should be called the Ndwandwes, Dlaminis, Buthelezis, the Ngwanes, as they are postulating that is what Zuma is doing, today, parcelling out land to the past clans, to make up for their losses. Well,.. This is when I jump in-our history is told to us by some White people from harvard, in the States, and we must buy into it, just like that…
If one were to look at Soshangane, who went to today's Maputo, betrayed Shaka and worked with the slave owning nations of Europe, one can see that betrayal of the Zulu people, or Shaka, was rife during the times in which Shaka lived. Another well-known case is that of Mzilakazi who crossed and betrayed Shaka, and took the army and the spoils he had, all the way to Zimbabwe, today. Matiwane, too, went and instigated the ama-Hlubi on in his flight from Shaka, with the hope of getting a piece of their land.
The Amahlubi scattered and looked for cattle land amongst the Sothos, and we have to remember that Matiwane was running away from Zwide. Let's recall that Zwide and his Ndwandwes were Shaka's nemesis. Shaka, upon the death of Mbiya, his foster-father in the emDletsheni, after traveling 70 miles to pay him adieu, he went to Dingiswayo's kraal to confer with his then 'overlord.' Both Shaka and Dingiswayo decided on an expedition against Matiwane, whose powerful amaNgwaneni was nestled on the foothills of the Drakensberg Range.
So, Zwide, too, reckoned that Matiwane would be weakened, and that he too, Zwide, would be far removed from Dingiswayo and Shaka troops. Zwide and his Ndwandwes, in forcing out the emaNgwaneni out of their territory, however, unleashed a disastrous chain of events. The eastern Nguni were far more crowded than they realized. The check in the distant south had corked the coastal stream a generation before, and by now almost all the interstices between the clans had been filled. Despite the continual bickering the past century had consisted the Golden Age; the climate has benign, the country fruitful, and the clans and their cattle had been breeding at a terrific rate.
The area was approaching overpopulation problem for which there was no peaceful solution. The Boers blocked the South, and the West was blocked not only by the natural wall of the Drakensberg Range, but also by innumerable Basotho clans who had settled the inland plateau almost as thickly as the Nguni had settled the coastal strip. The way to the North was barred by the Tonga clans and a broad, swampy and fever-infested belt along the lower reaches of the Pongola River.
Zwide's attack on Matiwane raised a brand new problem. In the past Dingiswayo in victory might have taken a percentage of a clan's cattle, and Shaka might actually have exterminated a smaller clan, but Zwide had now for the first time deprived a sizable mass of people of all means of livelihood. Matiwane's choice was simple; he could let his people starve, or he could fall on the nearest source of cattle and land with a ferocity born of desperation. He chose to attack the amaHlubi, and massacred them and robbed their kraals of cattle, and he went further into a rampage against the Hlubi sub clans before they could organize some effective resistance.
The remnants of these clans cleared out in a body, and because there was no room for them on the coastal plain below, they crossed through the passes of the Drakensberg Range and descended on the Basotho Clans beyond. A deadly and dire domino effect took place throughout the South eastern part of early Mzantsi.
Now, as Matiwane abandoned most o their territory and settled his clan in a crowded patch of lower in the foothills.The amaHlubi had been mountain folk, and their kraals were dotted on hillsides far too steep for the liking of emaNgwaneni. tightly compressed in a vulnerable position, they had peace until 1822, by which time Dingiswayo and Zwide were both dead and Shaka ruled supreme between the mountains and the cost.
The Zulu armies were ranging farther and farther afield, and when they approached Matiwane that year, they were infinitely more powerful than the Mtwetwas army that had attacked them in 1817. So Matiwane knew that Shaka, unlike Dingiswayo, was not going to negotiate with him, so he fled with his clan over the Drakensberg and abandoned his land and cattle.
Matiwane was not able to settle his people in the vast central plateau beyond the mountains. His loss of the kraal economy and inability to plant crops, Matiwane opted for marauding and pillaging. He and the amaHulubi had been doing it now for the past five years, and they smashed into the Sotho clans, and scattered all the groups ahead of them who in turn, these scattered, went into the mode of marauding.
In 1823, Matiwane blundered against the main body of the amaHlubi who were trying to settle down, but Matiwane and his marauding clan fought with the amaHlubi for five days, whom they dislodged, and these were broken and only a tiny band of the survivors were able to escape the massacre that followed. The Mfecane/Difaqane(Scatterings) were now in full force…
Queen Manthatisi of the Batlokoa People
Queen Mathatisi Of the Batlokwa People
This is one history and story of the people of Mzantsi that is hard to tell and have an authentic version of. I have been trying to use and read Credo Mutwa's Oral account, on this matter, but it got to a point that it too, Mutwas narrative, went crazy and made no sense at all. I will try to sum up this horrible period of the Nguni/Bakone people in this part of the Hub as follows.
According to Morris, the record about the scattering from here, is very confused. What is known about the Nguni people of the eastern coast was because the Europeans had met with Shaka, and these were also missionary outposts, and writers and informers like Flynn who provided us with the history of those times, and nothing really about the interior of Mzantsi at that time period.
So that, what happened in the hinterland of Mzantsi at this point, was unknown then to the Coastal Nguni's and the White south of the Orange River, except the left-over wreckage of human remains in the open landscape that gave a hint of what was going on in the interior. But the wreckage of what Matiwane spawned can be traced in the names of the clans he dislodged and left in chaos. In the end, about Half a million or more people were stumbling and going.running back and forth, running away from something and in constant search for food and stability that was no more,
For scores of thousands of square miles, no people, kraals nor a single clan could be found , and none was in existence to absorb the maelstrom. Cannibalism became common, and it reached a point whereupon many clans began to depend on it due to scarcity of food and livestock; entire clans had nothing to feed themselves. It is at this point that chaos was reigning supreme.[Credo give a very lengthy account of this Canibalism time-gruesome-in his book, "Indaba My Children]
Nameless, formless mobs coalesced and began to move,acquiring strength form individuals who saw their only hope of safety and sustenance in numbers, and these mobs rolled across the blighted country and stripped it of everything edible. For many decades, their aimless tracks were marked by countless human bones strewn across many thousands of miles of the veld and terrains.
Queen Manthatisi(1781 - 1836)
As Queen regent of the Batlokoa during the Difaqane/Mefacane, Manthatisi settled her people west of the Caledon River. A Mosia by birth, Manthatisi married her cousin Mokotjo, King of the neighboring Batlokoa. With the birth of their daughter, she followed custom by exchanging her given name, Morale, for a married name lining her to her firstborn child, Manthatisi. The couple's firstborn son and heir, Sekonyela, followed. At Mokotjo's death in 1813, 'Manthatisi assumed the responsibility for the Batlokwa until her young son should reach maturity.
For approximately a decade, she exercised the traditional duties of King, consulting with advisors while exercising political and military authority and adjudicating disputes. Over these years, she earned the love and respect of the Batlokwa.
Manthatisi reigned during a time of scarcity and famine, searching with her people for food on the eastern Highveld. She led her people on raids forcible and grain, spawning a formidable reputation. Yet, she later protested her son's random forays against neighboring Basotho communities, and earned respect for her wisdom and cleverness. One story particularly illustrates her resourcefulness. Threatened by an Amahlubi raid when her soldiers were aways, 'Manthatisi prevented attack by ranging, on the ridge of a mountain, lines of women who wielded mats and hoes in simulation of warriors with shields and assegais.
The Batlokwa were among the first of the Sotho clans displaced by the amaHlubi, and the Batlokwa set of on a warring path form there onwards. Women Queens were a rarity, that is of the type of Manthatisi. She was just as adept and skilled just like Matiwane was in her generalismo. She overcame one threat that appeared by lining up her women and children in military formation when her army was off into some of their many forays, and the attackers fled. As the amaHlubi were running away, they met their final destruction at the hands of Matiwane
Mamthatisi's speciality was rapid travel, and she sopped up the clans she passed over like an enormous sponge. By 1823 she had worked her way fat to the South, traveling with an immense army of 50,000 men, and these totally uprooted and forced to move every day in order to feed the large herd of cattle penned in the center of the manageable group. Many of the people who were dying daily, managed to hook up with Manthatisi for food, water and security…
Manthatisi rolled down the North and eventually approached a Batlaping homestead settlement. This was also having some few white missionaries, who called for help from the Griquas who were under the rule of Waterboers and Kok. These had evolved from miscegenation between the early settlers and the Khoisan. By now,the Griquas were a distinct race evolving very fast; they farmed, owned horses and guns, and many of them were dressed in European fashions, but they lived in isolation. They rallied to help the missionaries and the Battling who had Manthatisi already upon them.
After several Forays into the interior, Manthatisi settled her people on the Marabeng Mountains.
Although portrayed as an evil woman by some contemporary Europeans, she was a strong, capable and popular leader, both in war and peace. Her popularity is clearly indicated by the fact that instead of her people being known as Tlôkwa, they became known as ‘Manthatisi’. Unlike other chiefs who fell victim to the Difaqane wars, she successfully kept her people together in the midst of frequent raids by Nguni groups to the South.
After Manthatisi's son Sekonyela reached maturity he took control of the baTlôkoa social structures and military.
Africans In Combat In The Anglo-Boer War: 1879 to 1899
The story and history of Shaka is an ongoing saga, fraught with many misconceptions, form the European historians of the time, and the bias reportage of the present day historians with their biases and private agenda. They distort history to suit their attack on Zuma, but as pointed out, leave out the historical accuracy of the story about the Zulus and Shaka in general.
Even though I have tried to capture the history of Shaka and what he spawned, Mfecane- Difaqane, he left a different Zulu nation. On this part of the Hub, I will attempt to delineate the story and history of Africans of South Africa leading up to the Anglo-Boer war, in which Africans played a very real and key role on both sides of the warring nations.
This is a seldomly discussed nor narrated part of the history of south Africa as to what really happened and took place during the war; i.e., what happened in the 20 years, form 1879 to 1899, to the Africans people, post Difaqane-Mfecane and the Zulu wars, after the death of Shaka.The nature of the colonial war in South Africa, an assessment will be taken in order to glean onto the role played and undertaken by the African people of South Africa in the military systems of the White communities leading to and during the war which started in 1899.
When Natal was annexed by Britain in 1843, the Zulu King, Mpande, was able toreassert his kingdom independence from the Voortrekers nort of the Tugela River. The Zulu state remained intact and independent within its frontiers until 1879.
In the region bounded to thenorth and south by the Limpopo and Orange Rivers, Tswana lands to the west and the Zule and Swazi states to the east, dispersed Boer communities were forced to compete with African societies for control of land, livestock and trading commodities such as ivory and hides.
The Boer States lacked the capacity to extend and stabilize their 'frontiers'. The Boers were confronted with by new pressures once the African societies recovered from the worst ravages of the "Difaqane/Mfecane wars, which had followed the rise of the Zulu kingdom in the 1820s and had paved way for the colonial penetration of the Tugela, and on the Highveld, and once these societies also began to acquire firearms in significant quantities.
The Boer Republic in Zoutpansberg, essentially a raiding and hunting community, hounded in the 1840s, could not sustain itself in the mid-1860s against a determined resistance from the Venda and other African groups of the region. On two occasions, in 1852 and 1876, the Boers tried to conquer the Bapedi. The overthrow of the Zulu State was beyond the Boers' resources.
The economic and political landscape of southern Africa was transformed dramatically by the mineral revolution during the final three decades of the nineteenth century. Diamond mining in Griqualand West, which had begun in 1867, developed rapidly during the 1870s. By the end of the decade there were 22,000 African workers on the diamond fields; by 1888 diamond production at Kimberley was controlled by a single company, Cecil Rhodes's De Beers Consolidated; and by the outbreak of the South African War, De Beers was responsible for half of the Cape Colony's exports.
The impact of the Witwatersrand gold discoveries in 1886 was even more profound. The economy of the Transvaal, and southern Africa as a whole, was revolutionized; and by 1899 Johannesburg and its neighborhood had attracted a mining workforce of almost 100,000 Africans and 12,000 Whites.
The mineral discoveries engendered rapid growth in all other sectors of the economy, creating a strong demand for labor in road, rail, harbor and building construction. Industrial naufacturing, at first closely related to mining to mining, began to develop, land values rose (in some districts spectacurlaly) and creation of new markets led to an increased demand for foodstuffs and therefore for locally-grown agricultural produce and (cheap/exploited) farm labor.
The Politcal Rancors Of Mzantsi In The 19 Years - 1879 to 1898
The political rancors and configurations of the subcontinent was transformed during these years by the colonial incorporation of the remaining independent African societies and states. Basotholand was annexed by Britain in 1868; it was governed by the Cape Colony until the Basotho succesfully resisted disarmament in the Gun War of 1880 and 1881, and was subsequently administered directly as a British possession. Griqualand West was annexed as a crown colony in 1871 and in 1880 incorporated into the Cape Colony.
The independnence of the Zulu state was destroyed first by the British arms in 1879 and later by the civil wars that followed in the wake of military defeat. Zulu land was annexed in 1887 and incorporated into Natal a decade later. The Pedi were conquered in 1879 during the period of British administration in the Transvaal, which had been inaugarated peacefully two years before and which ended two years later by Boer force of arms. Sekhukhune, the Pedi King, was imprisoned, and following his release, assassinated in 1882.
In 1884, Britain annexed the lands of the Tswana people as the Bechuanaland Protectorate and the Crown Colony of Behcuanaland, the latter being incorporated into the Cape Colony eleven years later. In 1878 the forced of Gcaleka- and Ngqika-Xholsa, had been crushed and in 1894 the last remaining portion of the Transkei, Pondoland, was annexed to the Cape. In the same year, Swaziland became, with British approval, 'political dependency' of the South African Republic.
In those regions administered directly by Britain colonial power and authority was largely developed in collaboration with African rulers who consolidated their wealth and influence within the framework of the new colonial order, such as the Bakoena Chiefs in Basotholand and the Ngwato ruler in Bechuanaland, Khama.
Other rulers in time came to accept collaboration with the colonial authorities, such as the Bakgatla Chief, Lentshwe. In thsese cases where the political independence of African societies had been brought to an end by miltiary force, it rested with a settler state, different patterns of relationhips developed.
For example, the structure of the Zulu state was undermined by encouraging fragmentation as a means of hastening political and economic dependence; support was given by the colonial authorities to the opponents of the Zulu royal house, Dinizulu, was exiled to St. Helena.
In the eastern Transvaal the power of the Pedi state was further weakened military defeat by land alienation and the demarcation of location, and by the undermining of the tole of the paramountcy in Pedi affairs. Sekhukhune's heir was a small child, and a successn of regents were appointed whose exercise of authority largelydependned upon th support of the Boer Officials.
Hisotrical Fasification Of African Origins and "Supposed" Migrations
Redirecting The Historical Truth Abouth Mzatnsi
I had wanted to cover the story and history of Shaka and the building of the Zulu Nation. At the same time, I was trying to give the history of the wars that he engaged in and the effects of what happened because of these wars. Also, I have tried to cover the time period post Shaka's death, the Difaqane/Mfecane, and what transpired, that is, the scattering of the different clans throughout Mzatnsi, what actually took place with the defeat of these defeat clans by the Boers and the British.
I had to trace the facts of the history of the Zulus of South Africa and what the wars begun by Shaka spawned. The Difaqane/Mfecane[Scattering], gave rise to the Generalismo of Queen Manthatisi,and is 50,000 strong army. I tried, in a thumb-nails fashion, to give the reader a sense of what Manthatisi did to survive ad preserve her legacy and the her people intact…
This then led to the article about Zuma being a collaborator with the Europeans, to date, that it is claimed that he was parcelling out land to the those clans that lost it during Shaka's rule. It is my contention that even if one were to concede that Zuma's clan were sell-outs along with other Zulu clans, this was not necessarily unique to them, but instead, it has been spread-out throughout South Africa, beginning with Mzilikazi and Soshangane.
I did not stop there, I proceeded to show that the process of stability achieved by Mpande, Cetshwayo and the rest of the Zulu monarchy, was a sell-out by the many of these people, that we cannot allow a contemporary historical bias throw us off our historical moorings. I have argued throughout my article that Dlamini and his American historians are telling a part of the historical truth by presenting an article about Zuma, but leaving out the details that are and were endemic of African South Africans.
The Africans of South Africa were mot mere passively enslaved lot, they fought, and in their losses, they still held on to and maintained their mid-set, and this can be borne out by checking the following posted piece below.
The Whites in South Africa have never trusted Africans being trained in use of firearms for they feared that these would be trained or pointed back at White people. There were of course those Africans that were coopted into the system of White rule, that they served as policemen, soldiers and civil servants and in many other roles. In many ways more than one, that Africans ended up assuming roles as arbiters of the European conflict, which can be seen in the way the ANC is ruling South Africa today.
In the final analysis, in a region ever more dominated by the demands of mining capital the patterns of social relations in the late 19th century South Africa determined that the participation of African people in White Wars was something to be avoided at all costs, if the process of social change and evolving structures of social control were not to be threatened.
That is why many africans, to date, were and are still pining to please the White people and assure them that they will never drive them back to the sea, and that in fact, they are willing to become, themselves, Africans, same as and like White people, if that's what it takes to convince Whites of the good intentions(Africans). But that did nothing to assuage the fears and racist feelings of Whites against African people.
Falsification of African South African Origins And History
I have written an original article or Hub, Published here and called "From Gondwanaland To Mzantsi," wherein I have dealt extensively with this 'lie' about our African origins and how the Europeans moved from the South, whilst we came from the north of Africa to occupy present-day South Africa. Also, there is this 'untruth' about the Khoi having migrated to South Africa.
Thus far, in this Hub, I have been dealing with the historical part about Shaka, to the exclusion of many African South Africans, who I hope I will publish a different Hub that deals with the history of the rest of the 10(Ten) nations that make up the people of South Africa. Now, what is of concern for me, in this particular Hub, is the consistent rendition of the history of South Africa, away from a European point of view, that, the Europeans came from the Cape and moved(Trekked) up into South Africa.
This means, as far as I can ascertain, the White historians who are perpertuating this myth and lie, came to the Cape around 1652, and with the Great Trek, as they called it, we were migrating from North Africa. The thing about this lie is that even the most Educmacated Africans believe this lie, and use it in their discourses about the History of South Africa. That is where I draw the line, and refute all these claims and denounce them as lies, and absolute historical fabrication.
Let's say I even give the date of the Europeans appearance in South Africa as the being in 1490, with the coming of Bartholomew Diaz, and 1492, with the landing of Vasco da Gama, still, that is late in the history of Africans of South Africans for us to have migrated from anywhere, within that given historical timeline.
My contention, in the Hub I have mentioned that I have already published, is that, We Africans of South Africa did not migrate from nowhere. I have used, int the aforementioned Hub, archeological, anthropological and all types of information to support my assertion that we did not migrate from north Africa… But we have always been here in South Africa form the beginning of time.[See my Hub published here on HubPages called, "From Gondwanaland To Mzantsi."
One can peruse or glean through the facts I have marshaled in the Hub I am talking about, and see the evidence I have provided to buttress my theses, and the whole picture of historical account provided for in the posted photo above, flies and buckles in the face and weight of the evidence I have provided in the Hub "From Gondwanaland to Mzantsi." This is important to point out here, because I will only use one of the many facts I have alluded to in the Hub I have already referred the reader to go and check out.
Okay, for the sake of brevity and just to put something straight here, we did not come from anywhere, and we have been here in South Africa ever since the creation or man being on planet earth. The oldest human remains ever found anywhere in the world are those in South Africa.
Also, there is this little unknown fact of the account provided by the ship-wrecked crew of the Stavinesse that readers need to check out. In fact, one can check out my Hub titled "History,Culture, Customs, Traditions and Practices of the Africans of south Africa: Deconstructing Historical Amnesia, where I have stated that the Sailors of the Stavinesse stated that they found that the Africans have been living in Natal and the Eastern long before the 11th century.
Now, that is just one point cited by the Dutch crew, and they stated that they could see that the Africans had a very steady, intelligent culture and society, that was very old. How can this be then, that Africans trekked from the north of Africa at the same time the Europeans 'trekked' from the Cape in the 15th Century, when in the 11th century, it was noted by the early Dutch sailors that Africans have been where they found them, with an old culture and showing that they have been living there for a very long time, dating back into antiquity. That is why I just wanted to clarify this matter.
Anyway, the story of Shaka will continue to be told over time, and I will attempt to write about it, to show what came before it, and during his and past his rule-in time.
Zulu Hut And Earthenware
Antiquated History Comes Alive In The 21st Century
There is one stellar account I have touched upon above that was givng an accout of the state of the African nation before the 18th century, witten about the surivvors of the wreck of Stavenisse on 1686. Elizabeth Eldridge tell us that this stranded crew was shipwrecked along the Eastern Cape coast. They reported that "in the beginning of this year  another party of nine Englishmen came to them, who had, a short time before, lost their ship, and all their property, at latitude 281/2. These Englishmen helped hem build a boat.
Eleven Dutch and Nine Englishmen then travelled less than 12 days in their boat from Terra De Natal to Cape, The Nord, which left Table Bay October 10, 1688 and arrived at Delegoa Bay on November 15 and left for Cape Town on December 29, 1688. They did not manage to rescue any survivors they found, but only a man who had lived in Natal for more than a year, and the vessel was itself wrecked, requiring another rescue vessel to be sent.
In their declaration the survivors reported about Natal:
"They found the country very fruitful and populous, and the Africans friendly, compassionate, obliging, strong, and ingenious, armed with only one assegaiobeient and complying with the King or chief; living in communities, in huts made of branches, wrought through with rushes and long grass, and rooted like hay stacks in Holland.
"In manners, dress, and behavior, they are much more orderly. The women attend to cultivation; the men herd and milk the cows. They do not eat poultry because they [the poultry] feed on filth; still less do they eat eggs, and it makes them sick to see Europeans eat them.
"For a copper arm ring, or a common neck-ring, of the thickness of a tobacco pipe, they sell a fat cow or ox of 600 lbs. weight, more or less; for a similar ring, they give as much corn as will fill unordinary meal tub, form which corn they make very well tasted and nourishing bread, and brew beer both small and strong, which is not unpleasant in taste, and which they keep in earthen vessels.
"They eat besides a certain bean, in size and tasste not unlike the european horse-bean; also, some roots (weaker) and worse favored than sweet potatoes; they too have tobacco and smoke it; its quality very good; of fruits, they have a kind of unknown prune, and cloloquintidas."
These sporadic shipwreck accounts, as few as they are, remain some of the most important written record about Africans of Mzantsi dated since the 11th century and provide a baseline of information with which oral traditions collcted centruies later compare very well with. They record the names sof the Kings and chiefs and the chiefdoms and kingdoms that provided for the social and political organization of the communities of Southeastern Africa from the 10th to the 18th centuries.
The information that can be correlated between the written and oral sources, however sparse, confirms the antiquity of these Kingdoms and chiefdoms as claimed by late generations in relating the lengthy genealogies of the families, socieities and ruling families. The political history of the region was remembered by later generations in relating to their lengthy genealogies and oral traditions, which were passed down to them as oral records of their historical heritage.
The infromation above is an aid to give the reader a peek at pre-colonial African polity and what it was before it was downgraded by the late 1652 Dutch settlers. The life of the people of Mzantsi was very normal and progressive, as opposed to the later accounts by the Van Riebeck crew and the Boers that cameand settled in the Cape beginning of the 17th century. The commnunities of African people were self-sufficient and thriving, contrary to the Apartheid historical view and propaganda.
© 2009 ixwa
ixwa (author) on July 20, 2015:
Hola! Bantu.. Thanks for reading the Hub abobe, and appreciate your response. But... You have to read carefully what I wrote concerning your querry which is this:
"Because of this push, hundreds of thousands of refugees streamed and spread southwards and right up to the Tugela River. Shaka sent his General Mzilikazi to attack Moshoeshoe, who defeated him and Mzilikazi, and then betrayed Shaka by creating his own Matebele nation and headed north where he got entangled with the Boers who ended defeating him in 1836."
Now, I do not know how you resd or understand this part:
"Shaka sent his General Mzilikazi to attack Moshoeshoe, who defeated him and Mzilikazi, and then betrayed Shaka by creating his own Matebele nation and headed north"..
"... to attack Moshoeshoe, who(Moshoeshoe) defeated him(Mzilikazi) ... and headed north.
As a writer, one avoids redundancy and repetition of what has already been stated and pointed out. I cannot read for you, but you picked up up on a picayune issue and tried to make a mountain out of it, whereas, careful reading of what I wrote, should have made you understand that I have not said what you implied, and what I have written, as cited above, stands.
There's a lot in this article that yo could have talked about.. reading is fundamental...
bantu on July 19, 2015:
U say Mzilikazi defeated moshoeshoe! But that's not true, Moshoeshoe soundly defeated Mzilikazi, thus Mzilikazi couldn't face Shaka so he ran north!
ixwa (author) on October 12, 2014:
Well, Iancey, I found in my researches and Oral History a lot of that bandied around. I chose to write a positive historical narrative that will inspire, given so many are doing just what you propose I do. It is the duty of latter-day historians to contribute positively the the very poisoned historical cesspool that is Mzantsi. In fact, I wanted it to do what you said above, to be helpful information about the life of Shaka.. If I managed to do just that bit.. I have no qualms with the fact that the negativity projected about Shaka is written by all and sundry.. Thank you...
lancey on October 11, 2014:
i believe this is very helpful information on Shaka's life but why cant you put the decline of Shaka it will be so helpful and powerful
ixwa (author) on August 08, 2014:
dark ages: Yes, What I call edumacation, lack of opportunities and the right to life living? ... are but the very issues that have not been addressed seriously and fully. The ANC that was operating on the back of Mandela, has long been bought and sold to the lowest and highest bidders in this worldFrom the local lore, traditional orature and tradition-Old stories which can be found in each and every African people of South Africa, has been consciously suppressed and to the point that, A new pedagogical paradigm shift is going to be required.. The Dumbing Down of the post Apartheid milieu in South Africa, is per instruction of the handlers of the NC rulers-and their ability to loot even more tun has been reported.
As for Shaka, I prefer to go to various sources about his story and history. I have found a lot books in various libraries; I am still carrying on today interviewing the old people as to what was it they knew about our story, history that we should at least capture and deal with/use as we move into the future.
There's a lot to the story, culture, customs, traditions and so forth in the Zulu Cultural Historical Historiography. You're observations are full of keen nuanced fusion of contemporary real-politik, along with a historical grasp, that is very poignant. You have posted a very interesting expose/thought, I might say, that, I am now having some ideas of synergizing these possibilities and see the outcome-based on your comments above.. I thank you for the gracious comments, and they have given me some ideas which I will use in the Upcoming Hubs.
The problem with our present vulture culture, is that it destroys on a much larger scale and plain. The are millions of deaths in our country for the past 20 years, that we have not yet even begun to see the end. I will take from ancient history, what works with the Y2K+ zeitgeist we are immersed in, in this present future.... It is just a pity the motley cabals that run the entire government still hold the upper-hand..
For me, that's the conundrum-the thugs, being reelected, seems like they have been given carte blanche to be arrogant and ruthless and more capriciously greedy. On the other hand, No one is standing up and defining a seriously visionary working future, because we have no one capable of that in the Babble that emanates from the ruling circles here ..This is what is not jiving for me... Anyway, Chaka, as history, is important to All of us, and that is what we are going to have to grapple with: How are we going to write, rework, resuscitate and reset our stories and history here in Mzantsi, without losing the African-centeredneess of our stories and history, in our endeavors. Thanks...
darkages on August 08, 2014:
And again comes the anniversary of his death. Again, the country is in danger. This time it is not only the unity of the people and the right to life. These today are democracy, education and the opportunity to be trimmed to Inform.
The ANC and Nelson Mandela once fought for it and can now be seduced by power.
Gone is not the protest against corruption and abuse. We can only hope that there are people who are not being led astray, the risk for the individual is too large. About the goals of Shaka can argue. He was betrayed by his environment.
Parallels to Mandela could give it, with the difference Shaka had less time to build something, as it was allowed Mandela.
ixwa (author) on March 26, 2013:
ambudzo: Welcome to the Hub above and I appreciate your comments. Although I cannot indulge in issues of "Sin" and the like, he was the greatest general ever and he innovated many things and his history ought to be written about the military 'reforms' as you have stated and observed above. He did a good job in trying to unite the different clans amongst the Zulus, and was not successful in bringing about national unity of the whole of South African clans and Africa as a whole.. Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful comments and I appreciate it very much...
dambudzo on March 26, 2013:
tshaka is one of great leaders in africa so we must appreciate what has been done by him as a way to build vast history in africa. he was an innovative man especially if we look at his military reforms. the power to amalgamate several states must be also appreciated.
dambudzo on March 26, 2013:
he was so cruel because we cant revenge a sin by a sin
ixwa (author) on November 01, 2012:
darkages: Thank you for visiting the Hub above and am very impressed with your kind answers and gentle comments. History is a very interesting subject and there's still so much to talk about in it. I only follow what the Master Teachers have to say, and hope to be of their stature when old age creeps in. It really takes time and energy to research some of the stuff, but I am uplifted if I can reach fellow historical soulmates who like it and making the effort no so tedious and hopeless. Thus, I am greatly indebted to readers like you who find some value in such Hubs. I appreciate all you have said and thanking you again
darkages on October 30, 2012:
Hello Ixwa. your comment, you wrote about two years ago: "Heitha nezputa ... You are not responding ...." I read with great interest.
Your explanations have really impressed me.
It is difficult to evaluate the history. Some words I try to always keep my eyes before:
History is not what happened. History is what was written down. Too often, what we know as history and accept, has been created by an author who has followed so concrete political goals.
(I hope this is translated correctly)
I bow to you, with the greatest respect for the work on this page. Your interest in history, for it is our foundation on which we build, from which we can learn the lessons.
ixwa (author) on April 19, 2012:
Jason: Welcome to the Hub above. Sure it is, and it is till going to be added on... By the way, I do not believe there is a story of a people that is too long or "one long story". anyway, thanks for the comment...
Jason on April 19, 2012:
This is one long story of Shaka Zulu.
ixwa (author) on March 29, 2012:
sunkissed: Welcome to the Hub above and am glad that you found it interesting and informative. No, the Zulus would say u-Shaka and the "Basothos" called him "Chaka". I will have to check with my Venda and Shangaan sources as to how they spell "Shaka". I appreciate humbly your kind accolade and encouragement. I hope to be adding some stuff I have found some sources and informants. Again, thank you...
sunkissed on March 29, 2012:
This was very informative and interesting. Thank you for posting this article. Is xhaka the zulu way of spelling his name?
ixwa (author) on January 03, 2012:
Rehana Stormme: Greetings of the New Year and thank you for the response to the follow-up on the discourse. Yeah, the Zulu Wars, when described in reality they were very brutal. It is still a story and History being told and expanded upon. I am feverishly working on concluding the up-coming Hubs and they are very long and involved. I hope you can go through them. I am glad to learn you'll be following me and that's an honor and am humbled. Thank you for the encouraging and motivating post and will do my best to deliver. Thank you, and happy 2012, again...
Rehana Stormme on January 02, 2012:
Hi ixwa, thank you for answering my question! You explained the name ixwa very well. Quite graphic...I don't think I'm ever going to forget that interesting tidbit of information. Thanks for the well wishes. I find many of your hubs very interesting and I have bookmarked them so I can read them later.
Looking forward to reading the hubs you're working on. Since I am following you, I'll get a notification when you publish your hub and I'll be right here to read it!
I should be thanking you for your efforts! Wishing you a prosperous and successful year too!
ixwa (author) on January 02, 2012:
Rehana Stormme: Welcome to he Hub and a very Good New Year I hope this will be for you. I appreciate you caring comments about The Story and History of Shaka The Zulu. I have been working on adding some oral history and will cull from books written by indigenous people on how they retell of his rule and other tit-bits which will broaden the story and History of Chaka. I am vey impressed that you have gone through the article and really come out with many things from it. I could not be the more happier and humbled.
Thank you for the quote which highlights and illuminates the article and all that is in it. I am forever thankful for the effort you have put into reading through the Hub.
The name "IXWA" was taken from Shaka himself. When he ordered that the spears be cut or shortened, he was envisioning a type of military warring which changed rules of engagement for the Nguni/Bakone. Close quarters was what he prescribed and implemented on the battlefield. When Shaka and his warriors were engaged in battle, they used their shields to parry and push their enemies hand, i.e., using the shield to push away the left arm of their foes, thus exposing the ribs and digging in with the shortened handle and elongated and broadened huge blade by ramming it into the exposed ribs and made a sound that went "Xwa". So, since then, Shaka called his personal Spear "Ixwa"- thus my nomdeguerre "Ixwa".
You have made my New Year and your efforts have given strength and courage to do even more researches in all areas I have written about and beyond. You and others who have already read most of my hubs ad commented on them, or just read them, I am forever indebted and grateful. There are some Hubs I have been working on now for over half a year and two of them will be published by the end of January. Check them out if you find it in your time do so. Thank you very much for reading and commenting on the Hub and am wishing you and everyone else on HubPages a prosperous and successful year. Thanks Rehana Stormme
Rehana Stormme on January 02, 2012:
This is an absolutely fascinating piece on Shaka Zulu. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this hub with my evening tea! :D It's better than a lot of the fiction novels I've been reading lately because it is based on historical truth!
Summarily, "Shaka had a heart of a lion, and this, was devastating combined use of military skill of Caesar and Napoleon, the organizing genius of Alexander the Great, the Stern discipline of Lycurgus, the inflexibility of Bismarck, and the destructive power and force of Attila."
Beautifully written...Thank you...
If I may ask, what does your name 'ixwa' mean?
ixwa (author) on January 22, 2011:
Wintermyst: Welcome to the the Hub above. I am very thankful for the graceful comments you have posted above.. I really looking forward to your checking some of the other articles I have written. I am thankful and grateful for the time you took to read some of my other articles and the one posted above. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank You, again!
Wintermyst on January 22, 2011:
This is a totally awesome piece on Shaka. I totally enjoyed reading it and look forward to checking out more of your hubs. Very well done and thank you for the interesting history lesson.
ixwa (author) on August 13, 2010:
tonymac04: Thank you, broer, for your comments. I hope I was able to set up the article so that it informs and elaborates a history well-known, that is, about Chaka, and what really took place to him and formation of the Zulu nation. I am very happy you think that I brought some 'interesting perspective' to the hub. Thank you very much and I appreciate your comments very much.
Tony McGregor from South Africa on August 13, 2010:
A very interesting perspective on this great man.
Thanks for writing this up.
Love and peace
ixwa (author) on November 17, 2009:
Heitha! nezputa... You are not responding to the article above, but you are posting a comment on what I was making a follow-up on what Dynamics alluded to in her comments above. I find it very disingenuous for you to write a comment that has got nothing to do with my article above, but with my comments on an earlier post. Nonetheless, since you have given yourself the duty to "explain to me that the Zulu people are "tribes", governed by "tribal" leaders and "chiefs", I will take you up on this point. You say that I am "harsh" when I "point out my personal distinction between "tribe" and "clan". You have also added that "you have been "exposed" to the "ways" of the Zulu "nation"(no more a "tribe", eh?!) Finally, you aver: "..to say referring them as tribe is belittling them is in fact an insult to the culture life and history of this mighty "nation..." is a sad error and uninformed comment on your part and analysis. You must realize by now that you are not an authority on Zulu Culture, Customs and traditions by any stretch of the imagination or historical understanding. The issue I am about to discuss with you is a matter of serious semantics and issues of power play and control. If you cannot comprehend the fact that the term, "tribe" is used o denote and inferiority of particular conquered races in South Africa and in the Diaspora and poor nation by their colonizers, then, your take on history is flawed. A Clan is " a group of people of common descent of common descent united by some common trait, characteristics or interests; or, a group group of people, society or social unit in which descent is reckoned exclusively in either paternal or maternal line and lastly, a group of people regarded a being descended from a common ancestor." A "Tribe" is any aggregate[a dense cluster but not cohering] of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders,etc.; or, a local division of an aboriginal[indigenous] people. Animals and plants are within the definitional paradigm of tribe. To the untutored eye this looks the same as clan. But usage of "Tribe" is used by conquerors upon those they have conquered. It would be interesting if one were to hear and read about the British Tribe, or the French Tribe, Afrikaner tribe, or for that matter, Chieftainess Elizabeth the I or II, or Chief George and so on. You should not cast aspersions on topics you do not understand clearly. Now, I am a free man in the 21st century who chooses to cast African History in a positive light. So I use "Clan" to unchain the years of reference of African people in South Africa as "tribes". I repeat what I said to DynamicS that "Tribe", No! "Clan" Yes!. You cannot have it both way by brusquely calling the Zulu people 'tribe' and in the same sentence and breadth call them a "nation". You have it all confused and mixed-up. South African History has a lot of examples as to why Africans in South Africa are referred to as "Tribes". This is what John Cecil Rhodes stated: "I will lay down my policy on this native question ... either you will received them on equal footing as citizens or call them a subject race.... I have made up my mind that there must be class(race) legislation.... The "Native" is to be treated as a child and denied franchise. We must adopt the system of despotism. ... These are my politics and these are the politics of south Africa" Dr Hendrik Verwoerd in a debate put it this way: "I just want to remind Hon. Members that if the "Native" in South Africa today in any kind of school in existence is being taught to expect that he will live his adult life under a policy of equal rights, he is making a big mistake... There is no place for him [the Bantu] in the European community above certain forms of labor. For that reason it is of no avail for him to receive a training which has as its aim absorption in the European Community. ... Until now, he has been subject to a school system which drew him away from his own community and misled him by showing him the green pastures of European society in which he is not allowed to graze." Piet Retief argued:"We Will take care that no one is brought into a condition of slavery, at the same time we will establish such regulations as may suppress crime and preserve "proper relations" between "Master and Servant... We complain of the severe losses which have been forced to sustain by the emancipation of our slaves, and the vexatious laws which have been enacted respecting them." The relations between Europeans and Africans in South Africa has been that of 'master and servant', and 'labeling the enslaved as it suited the master'. Africans in South africa have been called "Kaffirs, "Natives", Bantus(not as it means "people", but in a derogatory way] ,"Darkies", "Swaartgevaar", "Plurals" and so forth. To call them 'tribes' is done in the same vein and spirit: to put them down and belittle their humanity. That is why they built the Homelands to separate the Nguni or Bakone people into disparate, divided and incoherent 'tribes'. No sir, you should be wary of what you say, how you say it and to whom you are saying it. Africans in South Africa have not yet said who they are, and all those who do not understand them, purport to, have no inkling what it means to be called a 'tribal' person by a conquerer. You are not a Zulu person, and saying that you "were exposed to the ways of the Zulu "Nation"?! does not make you an authority about the people of Zululand.
Uyabona mfowethu, ubo qaphela ukhuti ukhulama nobani lapha emqhaleni. Thina, abanye bethu, ngeke sivume sibizwa nga magama aneziswane. Qaphela, mfo. Some of us will challenge those diminutive references cast our way by those who are not cognizant of African history, and will always carry-out the "Public Good" in putting African Historiography and History into perspective and a seriously new light. The article above was about the history of Shaka and the formation of the Zulu Nation, from a clan community to a Nation. You should not be brash about defending issues which you have paltry understanding of. I strongly suggest that you read my hub "South African Apartheid: SOWETO: So Where To?" As to Zulu Culture, Custom, Traditions, music, language and "Izithakezelo", you are more than welcome to discuss these in their entirety with me, if you so wish, including the History, Culture, customs traditions and languages and their origins of the Basothos, Batswana, Bapedi, Maswati, Ama-Xhosa, Shangaans, Vendas, and Mandebele. I hope that you read the hub I have written above and comment on it. Thank you. Hola Mthakathi!
Kusho mina u-Ixwa!
nezputa from South Africa on November 17, 2009:
Thanks for your insight but it does seem a little bit harsh when you point out your personal distiction between tribe and clan. So let me explain to you that they are tribes, governed by tribal leaders and chiefs. Having spent a vast amount of my early years growing up in Natal i have been exposed to the ways of the Zulu nation and have come to appreciate their pride, traditions and history, so to say refering to them as tribes is belittleing them is infact an insult to the culture life and history of this mighty nation.
ixwa (author) on September 24, 2009:
I do not know what you mean by 'legend', but this is a true story that happened as the dates I have posted point out. Also, if you have noticed, I did not use the term 'Tribe' but "Clan" to try and not belittle or negatively write a story and history of a people using terms that belittles their narrative and history. Yes, Shaka, if you happen to go and visit the Province of Natal in South Africa, you can go to his grave and also see his statue. His story is as true as that of Olaudah Equiano(1745-1797), Phillis Wheatley(1753-1784), Nat Turner(1800-1831) Frederick Douglass(1818-1895), Harriet Tubman(1820-1913) and the list goes on. I do not regard these people as a story of legend, but true historical figures of African American lineage and historiography. Lastly, there are different clans in South Africa, nine of them. Xhosas, Zulus, Pedis, Tswanas, Shangaans, Vendas, Swazis, Batswanas, Sothos, and all of them are clans, or belong to the Nguni or Bakone Stock. So, 'Tribes', No! Clans, Yes! Thank you for responding to the hubs I write. I will one day send you a reading list of books, some are rare and I hope you'll find them. Thank you again and I appreciate your passing bye and posting some thoughtful comments. Thanks again.
Sandria Green-Stewart from Toronto, Canada on September 24, 2009:
Very interesting! It reminds me of a reggae song about Shaka Zulu. Is this a South African legend? If I'mnot mistaken, I believe that the Zulus are still a fairly dominant tribe in south Africa?