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Brief history of the Ndwandwe

I will now give you an instalment of the Ndwandwe clan’s history which links to amaShangane and amaJere. The Ndwandwes are a subgroup of the Nguni people who populate sections of Southern Africa. King Zwide was the chief of the Ndwandwe clan from about 1805 to around 1820 and he was the son of Langa, a Ndwandwe Chieftain (that is why the Nxumalos’ praisename is Zwide kaLanga or Mkhatshwa). He was ambitious in expanding Ndwandwe supremacy and was a prominent rival chieftain to Chief Dingiswayo of the Mtetwa as mentioned before.

Dingiswayo’s famous general and protege, King Shaka of the Zulu Kingdom was also his great rival. Around the time Zwide became Chief, the Ndwandwe were growing in military power. Legend has it that Zwide’s mother, the Great She Elephant Queen Ntombazi was an Isangoma (witchdoctor). Zwide, like Shaka sought to expand his borders, and in 1818 he had destroyed the power of the Mthethwa Kingdom and overran the neighbouring Khumalo Kingdom and executing their King Mashobana KaMangethe his son-in-law. However MaShobana’s son and heir Mzilikazi escaped from the Ndwandwe and sought refuge with Shaka.

Remember that Shaka had also reformed the remnant Mthethwa clan under his rule. Zwide knowing this, planned to destroy the Zulu Kingdom in order to secure Ndwandwe domination of Zululand. However in 1820/5, he led his army into battle against the Zulu at the Battle of the Mhlathuze River. Unfortunately for Zwide his forces were crossing halfway across the Mhlathuze River when the Zulu forces attacked, the Ndwandwe army was scattered but Zwide wasn’t killed in that battle. Shaka and his impi then set out to go and kill Zwide before news had broken out that his (Zwide’s) army had been defeated. When they approached the gate they were chanting Zwide, Zwide, Zwide making them think it was their army aproaching the gate. and thus gained access. When they entered Zwide’s homestead they outnumbered his royal guard and killed Zwide. After King Zwide’s death, the Zulus marched to the Ndwandwe capital attacking it and taking the Ndwandwe by surprise.

The Zulu victory was the beginning of the Mfecane or the scattering. Zwide’s generals fled North establishing their own Kingdoms, such as the Gaza Kingdom formed by General Soshangane. Soshangane is the redoubtable chieftain who broke away from the hegemony of Zulu King Shaka and carved out a Nguni empire of conquest (Gasa or Gaza) in what is now modern-day Mozambique. Allied with the remnants of the Ndwandwe tribe in 1819, Soshangane fled after defeat by Shaka. He moved north into Mozambique, absorbing or conquering numerous followers. His army overran the Portuguese settlements at Delagoa Bay, Inhambane and Sena, and he extracted tribute from the Europeans. A punitive expedition sent by Shaka to liquidate his former rival was seen off in 1828, and Soshagane consolidated his empire. After the death of Soshangane around 1856, Soshagane’s empire was embroiled in succession disputes.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gungunhana_e_companheiros_1899.jpg

The final ruler Ngungunyane, was defeated by the once tributary Portuguese in 1895, and the Nguni Gazan empire collapsed. Soshagane, it must be said, is one of a number of outstanding figures that rose to prominence during the Mfecane.

The other military commander of the Ndwandwe army was Zwangendaba kaHlatshwayo, (c1780-1848), head of the Jere or Gumbi a Ngoni clan, which itself formed part of the larger emaNcwangeni alliance in what is now north-east KwaZulu-Natal. As mentioned above, in 1819 the Ndwandwe alliance was defeated by the Zulu army under Shaka at Battle of Umhlatuze River, near Nkandla. Many of the Ndwandwe fled, and over a period of about 20 years Zwangendaba led a small group of his followers north through Mozambique and Zimbabwe to the region around the Fipa Plateau, between what is now Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. That is why we also have amaShangane in Giyani which are now about 1.5 million but this group is called amaJere. In this region he established a state, using Zulu warfare techniques to conquer and integrate local peoples. Following Zwangendaba’s death in 1848, succession disputes split the Nguni people into five groups, some of whom moved to new territories. In Malawi, there are the following Nguni groups: Jere Ngoni of Mchinji under paramount chief Mpenzeni (whose actual residence is close to Chipata in Zambia) Jere Ngoni of Mzimba under paramount chief M’Mbelwa Maseko Ngoni of Dedza under paramount chief Kachindamoto and Kachere Maseko Ngoni of Ncheu under paramount chief Gomani Maseko Ngoni of Cholo under paramount chief Vumbwe It is interesting too that this breakaway after the defeat by Shaka led to the formation of the Swazi people whose clan name is Dlamini. That is why the Swazi people dont use the letter “Z” in their language unless they absolutely have to. The Mfengu who do not consider themselves Xhosa albeit they speak isiXhosa also came out of this break away as so does the AmaHlubi whose language is semi Xhosa-Zulu.

Authored by Musa Xulu
Edited by Tim Nxumalo

Zwide kaLanga!
Mkhatshwa! Ndwandwe!
Somaphunga
Nkabanhle
Sidinana samaphisi
… Mthondowethusi
Othunda kuthole
Abafokazane
Nkabayenkosi
Bathi bekhatshwa ngezinde,
Wena ubukhatshwa
Ngezimagqukumezana.
NdwandweWaseGudunkomo!
Nina bakwaNkokhel’abantu,
Behlatshwa
Njengezinkomo.
Nina bakwaMnene!
Nina bakwaMashesh’afike
KuMashobana,
UNozinyanga engakafiki.
Nina bakaNobhongoza!
Mnguni ongafi ngomkhonto,
Nogwaza bengahlonyulwa!
Sandla sivik’umkhonto
Njengehawu,
Kukhal’indoda
Namadojeyana.
Kade ungigwaza Ndwandwe
Sengifile!
Gudunkomo!
Langa!

Ake sikhe na la!

Ndwandwe,zwide kaLanga,Mkhatshwa,Okhabangezinde nezimaqhukubezana,Nkabanhle,Wena wase Gudunkomo,Wena owasezikhotheni ezingakhothi ngamlomo ezikhotha ngomkhonto kaZulu,Nkomo ayihlatshwa uyothi ungayihlaba yophe amasi njengo mbhelebhele,Sandla sivikumkhonto ngehawu,Hlubi,Sandla simnene,Somaphunga,Nkokhel abantu behlatshwa njenge zinkomo!

Swati version
Vovovo ongadliwa zinyoni nezithi zimudla zibe zimcokozeyeya lakhanya lijaha lakhanyisa kwenhlavu yeyanga maphondomakhuyu kuzayizinja zenkosi conco kasakazi umnguni lomuhle yedwa yongadli inhlanzi ngobe yabuyaya Ngungunyane wena yongadli inkukhu ngobe uthi siphandamazaya wena lothumba bantu njengezinkomo jaha lelabona impi yemshada yazisuzeya bakhaya bososhangane bathi bayeka mnguni nansi mpi i ingena wabengathi bakuthintile engani wahlaba emadoda abhodlisa kwezinkomo wena lonuka bunandi kupheya nxumalo..

Ake ngikukhothise ezinkambeni zamakhosi noma ungumfokazane nje.

Wena wase gudu, wena wase gudu nkomo, ngoba wagud inkom ingena thoka, Umlindwa,mlindwa wezindaba onga hlulwa, duna lika ndaba nduna lona elahlaba amampondo asavela, mzukwana ka ndiziya mahohlo, inkaka eyakhala emini kwalo baba, nkaba ye nkosi, sitja soku bunjwa, zingana le ndlovu, Ulisongo elikhala lodwa, kodwa laba fokazana alila emabili,sdina dinana esa dina ababelethi wanyanyu UZulu, Mkhatswa onga khathwa ngo nyawulunye nezinde zinfushane,bakudli gazi lakho bayo bola amathumbu,

UmNguni onga bhekani nelanga athi angalibheka licime, duna lika Soshangane elinga lohlokolozwa, lithi linga hlokolozeka alibayeki liba guduza amathumbu. Ndwandwe angikwazi ukuk qeda, ngithi mangiku bhekile, bese ngiya thuthumela, kanti Uyingani eya phume zinguyini zami.ikhwezi elimnyama emhlohlweni ukuzo bukeya abazingeli bezindlovu,kodwa nabo bayakulibona bayoli hlokoyoza, mhaye sengwane ngokwenza kwezinduna ngo kwenzakeye, ngoba inkosi cha! sekuphangiwe ngayo izolo eshayimithi,lapho uspenenyana waphuma wa phangazeka akhumbuya mzukwana kanyafoko, ukhoyanyana naye sambona esezoyazoya phezulu, kwama kayinge wadla amadoda kwakufanyana wanyamayaya, babane duna lika Soshangane masinda ngokuthubeya, bayethe! wena Somaphunga, bayethe!

Somankulumana, bayethe! wena mashesha ukufika kwamaShobana uNozibuko engakafiki, bayethe! wena Soshangana,bathi uSoshangane ngoba wa shang imizana yabantu, bayethe! wena Ngungunyana okade angungunya abafazi namadoda umganu owahlume mini kwamandlakazi kuthi mantambama uyahohloka, mnandi ndaba wase mantanganini, nyama mnyama kwaba uthuli sitja salolanga sabunjwa.Ndwandwe!

Bathi umNguni ongabhekani nelanga, athi angalibheka licime ngoba ( u Zwangendaba wawela iZambezi ngo 1825 kwabamnyama ezweni (Total eclipse of the sun in 1825) ebhembhuluka njengomlilo ebhele Tanzania kusha kwasani endleleni yabo.

Sengiyani yeka mina
Sdlubula dlwedlwe sebhubesi esdabul ikokela zabathakathi,
Umkhonto kawuqedwa kungafafi maqhawe.

uZwide wehlulwa ngoba thina sasingakazalwa!!

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Comments on: "The forgotten tribes of Langa kaXaba, the Ndwandwe." (4)

  1. Msawenkosi Nxumalo said:

    Siyabonga kakhulu ngolwazi enisika lona !! kwande !!

  2. this absolutely brilliant! do you have it jus here?

  3. Sihlisizwe said:

    BoZwide!
    I just want to comment on a few things concerning the above history:
    In first battle between uZwide neLembe the commander in chief of all the Ndwandwe army was Nomhlanjana KaZwide. After this battle in which the Ndwandwe were defeated, those Zulu regiments sent by iLembe to kill Zwide in his royal kraal never found him as he escaped with two of his sons (Sikhunyana& Somaphunga). He then gathered remnants of his clan and his son and heir uSikhunyana went back to claim his ancestral territory from iLembe in 1826. The 2nd and final battle between Ndwandwe and Zulu took place in a place called eziNdololwaneni around Phongolo area. In this battle the commander in chief was Soshangane (of the junior royal house of the Ndwandwe), another notable general was Zwangendaba kaHlatshwayo (of the Jele/Jere clan). It is only after this battle that the war against the Ndwandwe was won by uNodumehlezi.
    The Swazis were there before the disturbances caused by the war. The Dlaminis, led by Ngwane III crossed the Lebombo mountains around 1750. Their language has always been without Z. This is not an exception since other Nguni dialects didn’t have certain alphabets,eg, the Qwabe never used to use L but instead used Y (ilanga became iyanga). Even uShaka spoke a dialect different from the ‘pure’ Zulu dialect as he grew up in Mthethwaland.
    Of those Ngunis who went up north some were descendants of Ngwana Maseko who left Zululand before the final battle in 1826.
    Thought I should put things in perspective.

    • The Zulu Civil War or Ndwandwe–Zulu War of 1817–1819 was a war fought between the expanding Zulu Kingdom and the Ndwandwe tribe in South Africa.

      The Zulus were originally a close-knit ethnic group community that had migrated to the eastern plateau of present-day South Africa; they became a strong tribal nation largely due to the efforts of an ambitious chieftain named Shaka (reigned c. 1787–1828). A rebellious young man, Shaka was estranged from his father, who was a Zulu chief named Senzangakhona, and became a warrior with the Mthethwa people. The Mthethwa paramount chieftain Dingiswayo helped Shaka become recognized as head of the Zulus after Senzangakhona died in 1816. The two chieftains were close friends, and their warriors fought together against common enemies, such as the Ndwandwe headed by King Zwide. After Dingiswayo was murdered by Zwide, the Mthethwa people placed themselves under Shaka and took the Zulu name. Shaka revolutionized traditional ways of fighting by introducing the assegai, a short stabbing spear, as a weapon and by organizing warriors into disciplined units that fought in close formation behind large cowhide shields. In the Battle of Gqokli Hill in 1817, his troops and tactics prevailed over the superior numbers of the Ndwandwe people, who failed to destroy the Zulus in their first encounter.

      The Ndwandwe and the Zulus met again in combat at the Battle of Mhlatuze River in 1819. By this time the Ndwandwe had adopted Zulu battle tactics and weapons so Shaka wore the invaders down with guerrilla tactics before launching his major attack when the Ndwandwe army was divided during the crossing of the Mhlatuze River.[1] Zulu warriors arrived at Zwide’s headquarters near present-day Nongoma before news of the defeat, and approached the camp singing Ndwandwe victory songs to gain entry. Zwide was killed, and most of the Ndwandwe abandoned their lands and migrated north establishing Zulu-like (named Ngoni after the ethno-linguistic name “Nguni”) kingdoms in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. This was the final phase of the Mfecane, a catastrophic, bloody civil war and eventual migration of many different tribes in the area, initially (ca. 1802) caused by famine but ultimately as a result of escaping from the Zulus.[2] The Ngoni groups caused their own havoc by using Zulu tactics in war. They established stronger political units in other countries and thus posed a threat to European colonisation, for example during the Maji-Maji Rebellion in German East Africa (1905-7).[3] Shaka was the ultimate victor, and his people still live today throughout Zululand, with customs and a way of life that can be easily traced to Shaka’s day

      Thank you for your comment, however your analysis of the history of Zwide is inacurate and false. There are only two battles recorded in the history of Zululand Zwide vs Shaka the first one being Gqoki Hill and the last one is the Battle of Umhlatuze these are documented battles and today are heritage sites. The Ezindololwaneni battle is new to my ears and is found nowhere either in the history of Shaka or Soshangane.

      If you read my blog carefully you will see that the reference to Swaziland didn’t say they started the Kingdom it says established, Swaziland strenght was weak unti it took under its wings the Sons of Zwide as Chiefs infact it was called Kwa Ngwane until this time then became a proper kingdom after attaining these Zwide Chiefs.

      I appreciate your comment please don’t hesitate to comment if you need futher clarity.

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