The Zulu People
Of all the sub-Saharan Bantu people, the Zulus are the most well known. They arose in the late 18th century from the hundreds of small clans occupying the northern regions of kwaZulu-Natal on the eastern seaboard of South Africa. There was always a struggle between the clans for grazing rights and conflict was commonplace but took the form of shouted insults and some assegai throwing.
This changed with Shaka, an illegitimate son of a local chief, evicted, with his mother from his own clan. Shaka was born in 1787 and grew to be strong and fearless. He changed tactics and developed the short stabbing spear. Conflicts now assumed a deadly nature and Shaka swept all before him. He was contemporaneous with Napoleon and finally conquered a far greater area. The Zulus then came in to contact with the white man and suffered reverses at his hands, firstly with the Voortrekkers and some thrty years later, against the British. At each engagement, their warriors proved to be brave soldiers.
The nation was then broken up and some Zulus assisted both the Boers and the English during the Boer War of 1899 – 1902. Promises of emancipation made to them by the British were not honoured and a growing resentment grew during the years between union (1910) and the advent of the Afrikaner Nationalists in 1948. After secession from the Commonwealth in 1960, the Zulus joined with other black groups in the struggle against apartheid until the first democratic elections in 1994. This short treatise is designed as a short introduction to these exciting people.