Zulu Culture
Zulu Culture, Religion and Traditions from Zululand
Zulu History - Cetshwayo and Mpande
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MpandeSome months later, Mpande, Dingane's half brother (who had somehow escaped murder by his brother) defected to the Trekkers.

His general, Nongalaza defeated Dingane at the battle of Magongo Hills, Mkuze, forcing him to flee to Swaziland where he was killed by his own people.

Mpande was installed as the king of the Zulus and reigned for more than thirty years. However, long before his death, a power struggle arose between two of his sons - Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi - that was settled when the former defeated the latter at the bloody battle of Ndondakusuka in 1856 in which 23,000 Zulu warriors perished.


cetshwayoAfter Mpande's death in 1872, Cetshwayo revived and reconstructed the Zulu army. However, he had perpetual border disputes with the Boers in the west and the English in the South.

Matters came to a head in 1878 when the discovery of diamonds elsewhere in South Africa forced the British to take a new look at the independent African nations. An ultimatum - that could never be fulfilled and was really an excuse for war - was shamefully handed to the Zulus in December 1878. A month later, three columns of British troops invaded Zululand.

Within a month, the British were soundly defeated at both Isandlwana and Hlobane and the eastern column was besieged at Eshowe. However, reinforcements and superior weaponry wrought dreadful carnage amongst the Zulu forces, no matter how brave and courageous, at Kambula and Ulundi where the Zulus finally were broken. The battlefield is marked today by four cairns of whitewashed stone marking the corners of the British square.

Cetshwayo was captured and sent firstly to Cape Town and eventually to London, where he met Queen Victoria. He was restored to his throne that was one of thirteen chiefdoms established by the British. He died in 1882.

Dinizulu succeeded Cetshwayo and ruled until 1913 when he was succeeded by Soloman and then by Cyprian in 1948. The current King of the Zulus is King Goodwill Zwelethini.

The Zulus were also involved in the Boer War of 1899-1902. Although not officially using black people, both sides employed them as transport riders and trench diggers. The British eventually incorporated many into their armed forces.