Shaka

Portrait
Born: 1787? AD
Died: 1828 AD.

Nationality: African
Categories: Chief, Founder


1787 - Shaka was the son of Senzangakona, chieftain of the Zulu, and Nandi, an orphaned princess of the neighboring Langeni clan.

1802 - The Langeni drove Nandi out, and she finally found shelter with the Dletsheni, a sub-clan of the powerful Mtetwa.

1810 - When Shaka was 23, Dingiswayo, the Mtetwa paramount chieftain, called up Shaka's Dletsheni age group for military service. For the next six years, he served with brilliance as a warrior of the Mtetwa Empire.

1816-1828 - The founder of southern Africa's Zulu Empire, who created a fighting force that devastated the entire region. Shaka ruled with an iron hand from the outset, meting out instant death for the slightest opposition.

         - Senzangakona died and Dingiswayo released Shaka from service and sent him to take over the Zulu, which, at this time, probably numbered fewer than 1,500, occupying an area on the White Umfolozi River.

         - Nandi died, and with his mother's death Shaka became openly psychotic. About 7,000 Zulus were killed in the initial paroxysm of his grief, and for a year no crops were planted, nor could milk—the basis of the Zulu diet staple—be used. All women found pregnant were slain with their husbands, as were thousands of milch cows, so that even the calves might know what it was to lose a mother.

         - Shaka sent the impi south in a raid that carried the warriors clear to the borders of the Cape Colony. They had no sooner returned, expecting the usual season's rest, than he sent them off to raid far in the north. It was too much for his associates, and two of his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, together with an induna named Mbopa, murdered him in September 23rd of that year.
Page last updated: 6:44pm, 07th Apr '07
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