Thursday, August 8, 2019


Last Battle of the AmaNdwandwe with the Help of Zwangendaba's Ngoni

  • Thursday, August 8, 2019
  • Samuel Albert
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  • Source : The South-Eastern Bantu, Abe-Nguni, Aba-mbo, Ama-Lala by John Henderson soga

    Dingiswayo, for whom Tshaka professed great affection, was killed in a war with the AmaNdwandwe of Zwide. This tribe had often fought with Tshaka and had frequently beaten him. It was the most powerful of all the tribes that refused to become tributary to the ImiThethwa. 

    Tshaka, the unconquerable, had in the death of his chief found a pretext for another trial of strength with his great rival. He spoke disrepectfully of Zwide,  of Ntombazi, Zwide's mother, and of Langa, Zwide's father, expecting that his expressions of contempt would be carried to the Ndwandwe chief, and his expectations were realised. 

    Two men of importance in Tshaka's service, Ngqwangube and Nikizwayo, were under sentence of death, and fled to Zwide. These men reported Tshaka's words to the Ndwandwe chief who sent back the following message, "Son of my old friend, why do you revile me so? Fix your spears in their shafts. I am coming."

    The Ndwandwe army took the field shortly after this warning. Its immediate objective was the headquarters of Tshaka at the Gqori hills, where Tshaka had two depots of  troops, namely Mbelembele and Sirebe. 

    The Ndwandwe warriors were commanded by Noluju, Zwide's general. When he came in sight of the Gqori, Noluju arranged his warriors in two divisions. One division he sent against the Mbelembele, and the other against the Sirebe. The Zulus were likewise formed up in two divisions, each defending its own headquarters.

    Ngqengelele, son of Vulana was commander-in-chief of Tshaka's forces. As Zwide's warriors came on to the attack, Tshaka surrounded by his bodyguard, all bearing black shields, took up a position to view the battle. 

    Fighting against the Mbelembele, Zwide drove in the right wing of Tshaka's force, while at the same time Zwide's right wing was driven back by the Zulus. Exactly the same thing happened at Sirebeni. 

    When Tshaka observed that his army was in danger of being cut to pieces, he grew restive and demanded that his shield, black and white in colour, should be handed to him by his bearer, intending personally  to lead his men. 

    The regiments forming his bodyguard he divided and sent one body in support of his right wing at Mbelembele which was badly shaken, the other he sent against the left wing of Zwide's warriors who were threatening to break through his right wing at Sirebeni. 

    These arrived just in time to avert disaster and, taking advantage of the check imposed on Zwide's forces, succeeded in carrying out an encircling  movement, and thus at both points had the enemy at a  great disadvantage. 

    Desperate fighting followed, and for a long time the issue hung in the balance, but in the end, after a sanguinary contest , the Ndwandwes broke through the encircling Zulus, but only to retreat. 

    The victory was so decisive that Zwide with the whole Ndwandwe tribe made preparations to evacuate their old country. This decision they carried out and moved right up to the Wakkenstroom district from the sea-board near St Lucia lake. 

    Part of Zwide's army was composed of Zwangendaba's AbeNguni, who later separated from Zwide and went north. These are the AbeNguni or AbaNgoni, of Nyasaland, and are, as has been stated at the end of the part of this book dealing with the AmaXhosa, to be of the same stock as the latter.

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