While the story of Dingiswayo’s life alone is compelling, any story of Shaka would be incomplete without understanding the central role Dingiswayo played in Shaka’s life. In many senses Dingiswayo was the father figure that Senzangakhona refused to be. Dingiswayo’s death, at the hands of Zwide kaLanga of the amaNdwandwe, would culminate in the battle of Mhlatuze River, and the defeat of Zwide kaLanga, Soshangaan kaNxumalo and Zwangendaba kaJele by the Mthethwa under Shaka, supported by Zwide’s grandson Mzilikazi kaMashobane. Following the battle, Zwide escaped to northern eSwatini and Mpumalanga, while the amaShangaan and Ngoni nations were established under Soshangaan and Zwangendaba respectively.
Africa’s oral tradition
A dozen boys and girls aged between twelve and fourteen, smart in their school uniform, stand around a large, but unremarkable, boulder embedded in the ground. The “umfundisikazi”, their schoolmistress, clears her throat, then speaks.
“Children, over the past three days we have travelled backwards in time, from re-imagining the Anglo-Zulu War of January 1879 at Isandhlwana and Rorke’s Drift near Dundee. We then visited Emakhosini Heritage site, the burial place of early Zulu kings. Our next stop was Gqokli Hill, where Shaka defeated Ndwandwe chief Zwide, around 1818.