- Bulawayo - the throne of Southern Africa -
The road to the first Bulawayo : Tshaka’s footsteps
Hatred can be the driving force in a person’s life, but it is a  two – edged sword that can lead to the greatest determination in a person or it can also lead to a person’s downfall.

For Tshaka, the great Zulu King, hatred for his father became the driving force to succeed against all odds. His young life was marred by criticism , hostility and rejection. His father Senzangakhona, a chief of the Zulu clan met Tshaka’s mother Nandi while she was bathing. He boldly asked for amahlay’ endlela, a Zulu tradition where sexual tension was released among the unmarried without any conception resulting. Though for Nandi this was not the case. She found herself pregnant, out of wedlock and rejected with the unborn child by Senzangakhona.

Initially Senzangakhona refused that the child was his (the first rejection), and consequently when the child was born it was called, Shaka (also called Tshaka). The first six years of Tshaka’s life were in a kraal where his unhappy mother was the third wife. When Tshaka had been careless and let a kid get eaten whilst out herding goats, Senzangakhona sent him and Nandi away from the kraal (the second rejection). Thus Shaka's views on life were formed and strengthened at an early age.
At Elangeni his mother's homestead Tshaka became the laughing stock of his peers due to his mother's estrangement, his little ears and small genital organ. This ridicule from his peers taught Tshaka to fight and drove him to excel in every field he took part in, especially physical sports e.g. stick fighting. It is said that Tshaka was a head taller than boys his age, maybe due to the fact that royalty can not be suppressed irrespective of a situation.                                         

Nandi was a source of encouragement and praise, she believed that her son would one day be a great chief and thus from her Tshaka learnt to be confident and to appreciate all those who had been kind to him and his mother. He grew up to be a tough unrelenting man in his opinions and yet also an emotional man who was moved by his mother's tears.

As part of Dingiswayo's regiment, Tshaka outshone all his peers:

¨      He designed a new shorter spear compared to the one that was being used and hence it was lighter and easy to carry

¨      He introduced close proximity man to man fighting and

¨      The bull and its horns formation of fighting, such was Tshaka's intelligence.

With the introduction of man to man fighting Tshaka also excelled here and came to be known as Nodumehlezi. Dingiswayo and Tshaka's principles concerning war were as day and night ( e.g. in the case of Zwide king of the Ndwandwe tribe, Dingiswayo would defeat him, capture him and his tribe, then try to befriend Zwide and his tribe to teach them a lesson or two, and then release them. Tshaka thought this a sign of weakness and believed  that Zwide had to be killed and his tribe, then the women,  children and cattle incorporated into Dingiswayo's tribe whilst the men would join the regiments thus building a stronger regiment). In the end Dingiswayo prevailed, though later he had to  eat his words  because Zwide mobilized other tribes to try to over throw him.
I love Bulawayo baseball cap
I am kind of big deal in BULAWAYO
Because of Tshaka's wish to succeed his father as the next Zulu King, he decided not to get married and have children to avoid the power wrangles and divisions that could arise due to the urge of being in the driver's seat. This greatly moved Nandi to tears who had anticipated being a grandmother and already favored Pampata as the would be daughter-in-law. Pampata was a nobody, though she had believed in Tshaka, stood by him and also shared Nandi’s foresight that one day he would be great (Which African woman doesn't believe that one day her man will be great? I wonder!). She was one of the important women in Tshaka's life viz Nandi, Pampata and Nomcoba (Tshaka’s sister), in that order.
Dingiswayo greatly favored Tshaka as the next Zulu king and acquired charms to enforce this wish. He wanted to be friends with the next Zulu king whose intellectual and physical prowess he had witnessed. When Senzangakhona died , Sigujana  Tshaka's younger half - brother, became the next Zulu king. This did not go down well with Tshaka who was the eldest and hence the appropriate heir to the throne. Sigujana was killed and Tshaka was made the new and rightful Zulu king. Still thinking of the wrongs that he suffered at childhood, Tshaka named his new capital kwa Bulawayo ( the place of the killing /slaughter) and one should stop think whose slaughter Tshaka was premeditating except of those who had once crossed him and his mother, and truly his capital became the place of slaughter and all people bore the brunt of Tshaka's anger to all the past wrongs done to him and his mother. It is at this stage that Bulawayo became the capital of Southern Africa as Shaka reigned over the region. The first Bulawayo has some historic resemblance to Lobengula's Bulawayo
Related Articles:
Shaka (Tshaka): King of the Zulu
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