Shaka 1: From Outcast to King
In the first of five books, we find out how the young Shaka accompanied his mother, Nandi, in search of a place they could call home. As people with little status, Shaka was ridiculed and teased by other boys. Nandi was a volatile woman and made herself so unpopular that she was banished from the home of Shaka’s father, Senzangakhona, and found refuge with the Mthethwa clan under Dingiswayo.
A problem child
Almost all of what we know about Shaka comes from the stories of a man called Sigananda Cube. Chief Cube was born in 1810, 23 years after Shaka. While only a boy, he served as on of the King’s ‘udibi’ (mat-carrier and body servant). This made him a witness to the deeds and stories of Shaka’s amazing career. From his own father he heard about Shaka’s childhood. In his turn, Sigananda recited stories of Shaka to Njengabantu Ema-Bomvini, who was about 20 years his junior. Njengebantu had already heard many of the same tales from his own father, Mahola, who was one of Shaka’s fellow-soldiers in Dingiswayo’s isiChwe regiment. Njengabantu went on to serve as a court orderly under Captain CLA Ritter, the Native Commissioner.