Zulu Culture
Early Zulu history - Senzangakhona and Shaka
Early Zulu History
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Early History

Zulu culture by Warthog Website DesignThe Nguni peoples (the Zulus, Xhosa, Matabele, Swazis) had been gradually moving southwards with their herds for over one thousand years, eventually reaching the region of the White Umfolozi River.

While some Nguni pushed further South to form the Xhosa nation, we are interested in a small clan headed by a chief called Malandela that settled in the Umfolozi River area.

Malandela's wife was called Nozinja and they had two sons, Quabe, then Zulu (heaven). After Malandela's death, Quabe eyed the small herd of the clan so Nozinja, Zulu and a servant moved a short distance away to found a new home.

Shaka's Father - Senzangakhona

Eventually, Zulu married and his lineage, all bearing the name Zulu, was Punga, Mageba, Ndaba, Jama and, at the end of the 18th century, Senzangakhona. The Zulu clan was still very small and occupied only an area of a few square kilometres.

Senzangakhona had a flirtation with Nandi the daughter of a neighbouring chief of the Elangeni clan. The result of this liaison was a boy, named Shaka, born in 1787. His name comes from uShaka, a beetle said to inhabit the stomach and give rise to a bloated abdomen - as Nandi's pregnancy progressed.