Saturday 15 June 2024


The Zulus were a part of federation under Dingiswayo, known as the Mthethwa Empire. "Mthethwa" means "the one who rules". It consisted of roughly 30 Nguni chiefdoms, lineages, and clans. Unlike its successor, the Zulu Kingdom, the Mthethwa Paramountcy was a confederation. The Zulu chiefdom was a vassal of the Mthethwa Paramountcy. The Mthethwas also had an alliance with the Tsonga people. 

According to Muzi Mthethwa (1995), the Mthethwas are descended from the Nguni tribes of northern Natal and the Lubombo Mountains, whose modern identity dates back some 700 years. They are among the first Nguni-Tsonga groups who left the Great Lakes in Central Africa between 200 AD and 1200 AD. On arrival in Southern Africa, they settled around modern-day Swaziland, mainly on the Lubombo Mountains, before leaving in the 17th century to settle in modern-day KwaZulu-Natal, in the Nkandla region.

In the Mthethwa Empire, which was a federation of Nguni communities, military training was required for initiation into manhood at age 15. Shaka first distinguished himself as a good soldier. 

He was elevated to the commander of his age set. When Dingiswayo died, Shaka Zulu became the leader. The Zulu kingdom therefore is actually just a continuation of the Mthethwa commonwealth, which dates back to centuries earlier. #Africa

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