Showing posts with label Mtwalo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mtwalo. Show all posts

Friday, June 24, 2011


Cullen Young, Yesaya Chibambo and The Ngoni

  • Friday, June 24, 2011
  • Samuel Albert
  • By Dr Peter G. Forster

    The Revd T. Cullen Young is well known as the authority on the history, speech and customs of the Tumbuka. He has also made broader statements on the pattern of African culture2.In his discussion of the conquest situation in northern Malawi, Young is constantly concerned to defend the Tumbuka against the Ngoni intrusion: this comes through particularly in his discussion of Tumbuka chieftainship. Young wrote on the history of northern Malawi in 1923, revising his account in 1932. Even in his revised work, he says nothing of the Ngoni viewpoint of the situation. None the less, in 1942 he helped the Revd Yesaya Chibambo to produce his own account of the events from a Ngoni viewpoint.3

    The issue of bias is particularly important in oral history, and both Young and Chibambo relied mainly upon oral testimony. It is therefore useful to examine the contributions of these two writers, in relation to their sources and to the interest they both had in making their findings public. The authors' own probable biases will be presented, and after comparing and contrasting their work, their historical findings will be placed along side those of their critics.

    Cullen Young was born in 1880. A son of the Manse, he soon developed an interest in Scottish mission fields, especially those in Africa. He originally trained as an accountant, and while studying become involved in the 'Student Volunteer' movement, which aimed at evangelising the world in one generation. On completing his accountancy training he decided to enter the mission service, first embarking on theological studies. His destination was to be Livingstonia, where he arrived in 1904. His particular tasks were to put the mission accounts on a professional basis, and also to teach a course in Commercial Studies. While on furlough from the mission field, he attended further courses in theology, and was eventually ordained in 1914. His vocation was thus in full accord with the ideal of 'Legitimate Commerce and Christianity' that Livingstone had expounded. This will be seen to be significant for his historical studies.

    A further relevant consideration is his attitude to military activities. In common with many other missionaries, Cullen Young was called up in the German East African Campaign, where he could put his knowledge of African languages to good use. He seems to have accepted the military exigencies of the situation at the time: and the war made a deep impression on him4. But in the 1930's, after his retirement from the mission field, he began to attend Quaker meetings regularly. It is not certain how pacifistic he was before or after such involvement. The only recorded evidence is in a magazine article in 1940, where he discussed the problem of Christian duty in a period of compulsory military service. He commented here that it was a sign of progress that there were now two answers to this question: no doubt quite a controversial opinion for the time. The same article also hints indirectly that he had experienced conflict with his brother (the Revd William Paulin Young) on this matter. William Young had a distinguished record in the First World War, and nearly decided to remain in the armed forces afterwards5. The Ngoni were a warrior people till the turn of the century, and Young's attitudes to them could have been affected by this. The matter is not however conclusive, especially since Young's historical and anthropological writings on northern Malawi were largely complete by 1931, when he left the mission field. But it seems safe to say that while Young probably never became a complete pacifist, he was certainly hostile to militarism.

    Young kept a low profile in his early years at Livingstonia. He was deferential to age, experience, and seniority, and did not wish to be seen to speak out of turn. This is a relevant consideration since senior missionary opinion tended to prefer the culture and political system of the Ngoni to that of the Tumbuka. Walter Angus Elmslie had in 1899 published a full-length study Among the Wild Ngoni. This was highly critical of their customs, and at times even sensational. Yet at the same time, Elmslie admired the Ngoni authoritarian, centralised state system: he saw it as the most appropriate kind for uncivilised peoples6. He clearly had a higher regard for the Ngoni conquerors than for theTumbuka and Tonga, though it was the subject peoples that had welcomed the protection of the mission. Such a standpoint is also evident in the work of Donald Fraser. In 1901, Fraser delivered an address on 'The Zulu of Nyasaland' before the Philosophical Society of Glasgow, which was subsequently published in its Proceedings. This dealt with the march northwards to Malawi of the Ngoni, extolling their aristocratic and military virtues in contradistinction to the 'degradation' of the Tumbuka. A similar theme is continued in his longer study Winning a Primitive People, which appeared in 1914.7

    Young's own writings, however, were clearly pro - Tumbuka and depicted the Ngoni as unwelcome imperialists. His first source of inspiration forthis standpoint was undoubtedly an anonymous manuscript that he received in the post in 1909. This contained a history of the Tumbuka, and was particularly concerned to press the claims of the Tumbuka chiefs against those of the Ngoni invaders. The author turned out to be Saulos Nyirenda, a former teacher who had left the North to work for the African Trans-Continental Telegraph Company. In 1931 Young had the manuscript published in Bantu Studies, as a parallel text in English and Tumbulca.8

    Young's subsequent exposition of Tumbuka-Ngoni relations follows Nyirenda very closely, and he nowhere contradicts Nyirenda on any important matter. Nyirenda is concerned to stress the relatively peaceful existence enjoyed by the Tumbuka before Ngoni intrusion; thus he comments:

    before the Ngoni came while our chiefs were still (over) the land here, Chungu (sic), Chikuramayembe, Kanyenda and his father Karonga, we do not hear that people fought at random. There were the poison ordeals and small village quarrels; in the morning they would be friendly in the very place where they had wounded each other, there was no carrying the matter on.9

    Young notes that there were some military engagements before the Ngoni, but likewise stresses that these were not on a par with post-Ngoni disturbances:
    ....they were, if ancient tales regarding communal strife are true, much more of the nature of public tests of strength than what we would understand as battles. The death of one or more invariably brought the proceedings to an end and the following day usually saw some sort of payments made to square losses.10

    Young found that Nyirenda supported the impression obtained by comparing Livingstone's accounts of the area with those of previous writers, especially Bocarro. Thus Young commented:
    The more investigation is pushed it will the more probably be found that it is upon this period (i.e. relatively recent times] rather than upon any prehistoric African tendency to empire, rapine, and organised strife, that we must look as the origin of these ills that have been too loosely held to be natural in early human development. We may couple with the Arab period that of the great military despotisms in South Africa as being jointly responsible for the rise of fighting tribes and the lust of conquest; for the spread of the slave trade and the creation of that state of fear and suspicion as between man and man, which is so marked a characteristic of Central Africa even today.11

    Thus Young sees firstly the Arab slave traders and secondly the Ngoni invaders as responsible for devastation. The implication is that indigenous Tumbuka society was basically ordered and peaceful when left to itself.

    It was not however true that the indigenous Tumbuka had been left to themselves before the arrival of the Arabs and the Ngoni. An important episode in Nyirenda's account, which is followed closely by Cullen Young, is the arrival in about 1780 of the Balowoka, or those who crossed the Lake. They introduced the Tumbuka to external trade: especially in ivory, which had not previously been considered by them as valuable. The commercial expertise of the Balowoka led to the designation of their leader, Mlowoka, as paramount chief over most of Tumbuka territory. The seat of power was known as Nkhamanga, and lay between the Dwangwa river and the Rukuru valley; and the dynasty became known as Chilculamayembe. Mlowoka was able to divide the various districts of Tumbuka territory among his followers; he alsonominated various headmen as chiefs, and strengthed his political influence by making strategic marriages.

    This was a disturbance of the original condition of the Tumbuka; but the invasion had been peaceful. Cullen Young clearly admired Mlowoka. He saw him as showing in his personal qualities the 'African beau ideal'. He is reported to have been kindly, skilful in hunting, and generous at all times. He was in no way connected with slaving, but built up Nkhamanga as a successful trading centre, known over a wide area. Young appears to have seen Mlowoka as a precursor to the idea of legtimate commerce' that Livingstone was later to advocate. He therefore did not oppose disturbance of the aboriginal Tumbuka in principle. He was hardly in a position to object, since Livingstonia Mission, and all other missionaries' activities, were external agencies committed to change. But for Young the Balowoka were acceptable because they came peacefully and their influence was progressive. They were seen as having converted the Tumbuka to patrilineal descent and virilocal marriage, a development which Young also saw as progress.

    The situation was quite different when the Ngoni arrived. They succeeded in deposing the Chikulamayembe, and left considerable disruption. The only development brought by the Ngoni which Young saw as progressive was the introduction of bridewealth payments in marriage. This innovation became general when insisted upon by a British magistrate who was familiar with it from his previous work among the Zulu.12

    Nyirenda's account, which was the starting-point of Young's historical investigations, was openly partisan in purpose. It expressed appreciation of the British for having restored the Chikulamayembe dynasty (in 1907). There is detailed discussion of succession in this dynasty; Young follows Nyirenda closely here, while also relying on other informants. The account goes on to show how the Ngoni had passed through Nkhamanga but had then moved on to Tanzania. They had engaged in cattle raiding among the Tumbuka, who were relieved at their departure. But after the death of their leader, Zwangendaba, fisson had occurred;Tumbuka territory was remembered favourably, and two of his sons, M'mbelwa and Mtwalo, went back there; a third son, Mperembe, was later to join them. They were met with resistance, but succeeded in conquering the pre - existing Tumbuka authorities and installing their own chiefs.

    Nyirenda goes on to relate how in the unfamiliar, settled situation, the Ngoni found their traditional policy of assimilation of alien elements difficult to sustain: they did however follow such a policy in the case of the young. This was sometimes counter-productive; certain young Tumbuka men, notably Kanyoli, Mwendera Wadokota, and Kambondoma, learnt Ngoni military methods so successfully that they were eventually to use them against their former masters. Rebellious tendencies among the subject peoples gradually gained ground; but the principle that the young but not the old could be trusted was reaffirmed. A plan to massacre the old was devised; a meeting was called at Mtwalo's kraal, the ostensible purpose being to administer war medicine. A surprise attack was to be launched, but the plan was foiled because a sympathetic Ngoni had warned of the plot. Rebellious tendencies continued, and the Ngoni were in the end able to quell such movements only by virtue of their alliance with the Chewa chief Mwase Kasungu, who had acquired firearms from Arab sources. This led to flight northwards by the Tumbuka of the Henga valley, who subsequently had military engagements with the Nyakyusa. By the mid-1880's, the situation in the far north was complicated by the presence of two non- African elements, the Europeans and the Arabs. After further fighting, the Europeans became the dominant force and in 1889 Sir Harry Johnston arrived as the first British Governor.

    Although Cullen Young was again heavily dependent on Nyirenda's account for the post-Ngoni period, he did have other written sources to draw upon. Elmslie and Fraser have already been mentioned. Other European commentators included Archdeacon Johnson of the UMCA, Sir Harry Johnston, Frederick (later Lord) Lugard, Low Monteith Fotheringham, and Frederic Moir13. Also, and particularly important,the Ngoni period was sufficiently recent for Young to be able to draw upon eye-witness accounts. His general perspective follows Nyirenda's portrayal of Ngoni interference with a stable, viable, and on the whole peaceful polity. Some of his material of Henga rebellion is practically a verbatim quotation of Nyirenda's account. Young notes that some initial military successes against the Ngoni would only have been temporary had it not been for the arrival of the Europeans.

    Of particular interest is the greater detail supplied by Young about the succession disputes following the death of Zwangendaba. Nyirenda mentions only the return to Malawi of Zwangendaba's three sons, but Young provides much more detail. He notes that in about 1830, Zwangendaba's chief wife, Munene, gave birth to M'mbelwa. Before his death in Tanzania, in Fipa country, Zwangedaba had indicated the house of Munene as the one from which his successor would be drawn. But M'mbelwa was not yet of age; and Zwangendaba's brother, Ntabeni, secured the nomination of Mpezeni, from a different house. He was influenced in this choice by the fact that he had quarrelled with Munene. This move was opposed by Gwaza Jere as Chief Councillor. He was of the royal family but not in line ofsuccession. GwazaJere's views carried weight, but his opposition was unsuccessful. Ntabeni made himselfvery unpopular by overruling Zwangendaba's choice. He punished his enemies further on his death, by leaving instructions that he should be buried in secret.

    Quarrels did indeed result from exclusion from the burial, and eventually precipitated the division of the Ngoni into five different sections. One section, that ofM'mbelwa, came to settle in northern Malawi: the Ngoni presence was thus established, in about 1845. The elders supported M'mbelwa as the legitimate heir, though Mtwalo (from another house) was his rival.

    Cullen Young's exercises in historical study, after their publication in 1923, found a ready audience among many northern Malawians who were now literate in English. His findings provoked considerable controversy and, fascinated by the debates which he had provoked,Young produced a revised edition of his historical work in 1932. The issues were of political as well as personal significance to their authors; Indirect Rule was now being implemented by the British in Malawi, and the time was evidently ripe to press claims for succession. In the new text, the general account is revised, and there are also three totally new chapters. Two of these press Ngonde claims, while the third puts the view of the Tonga. In all cases the concern is to criticise exaggerated claims made by Young for Nkhamanga sovereignty. Conspicuous in its absence is any representation of the Ngoni viewpoint. Although he lists a few Ngoni collaborators, they are heavily outnumbered by the non-Ngoni. Many Ngoni would no doubt have wished to take issue with a number of claims made by Young, but his pro-Tumbuka stance is unchallenged.

    In the main body of the 1932 text, there is more detail on the post-Ngoni situation. There is a fuller description of the movement northwards, but this is to be expected as more had been published on this topic. There are some important corrections of dates. He had previously stated the date of the Ngoni crossing of the Zambezi as having been in 1825, coinciding with an eclipse of the sun. But information from the Cape Town Observatory enabled this to be corrected to 1835. Young had fixed the date of the Ngoni return to Malawi in relation to this, and it was accordingly corrected to 1845.

    Young changed the name ofthe people about whom he was writing from Tumbuka-Henga to Tumbuka-Kamanga for the 1932 edition. He stated that this was more accurate and that the source of the confusion had lain with the Ngon i. The Henga were the Tumbuka-speakers first encountered by the British; and they had been the first to rebel against the Ngoni. But by 1932, Young wanted to stress that Nkhamanga was an important seat of power, having been only temporary obliterated by the Ngoni.

    Finally, it is noteworthy that Young closes the main text by deploring the tendency of some Tumbuka to `Ngoni-ise' themselves. He comments:

    It is to be hoped that the mistaken policy of the old Tumbuka families, who hide their true race in the foolish dream of being taken for `Ngoni',may not long delay the appearance among them of a reliable historian.15

    This was not, however, the end of the matter. After leaving Malawi, Young had succeeded in obtaining employment with the Religious Tract Society (which in 1935 became the United Society for Christian Literature). He performed a wide range of administrative duties, but was particularly involved with the supply of literature to Africa and the administration of the Africa Fund. His duties included the encouragement of African authors, and one of those whose work appeared under the imprint of the United Society for Christian Literature was the Revd Yesaya Mloneyi Chibambo. His book, translated as My Ngoni of Nyasaland, was published in 1942 with some footnotes by Cullen Young.

    Chibambo was the son of one of the original Ngoni families who had travelled north. His father had held the position of mouthpiece for the view of big chiefs; and his father's elder brothers had been famous warriors. Chibambo's impeccable aristocratic connections were combined with a modernising out look. He thus became a Christian and entered mission employment. In 1920 he received the Honours Diploma for Schoolteachers, awarded by Livingstonia. In 1921 he complained to the Livingstonia Mission council, regarding inferior conditions of service for African employees of the mission; he received a courteous reply, but almost nothing was conceded. He did however remain in the mission, and in 1929 he was ordained. He worked for many years at Ekwendeni with Revd Charles Stuart, who translated the text of his History. Chibambo developed a strong historical consciousness, and was very systematic in his investigations. He wrote on both customs and history, and his Tumbuka-language account Midauko16
    became recognised as authoritative throughout Ngoniland. Only the historical part of this appeared in Stuart's translation. Chibambo performed the task of systematising Ngoni history, just as Young had done for the Tumbuka. But the Ngoni had the advantage that their exploits were more immediate in living memory; and it was easier to draw a picture of a glorious tradition from the events in Ngoni history than was the case with the Tumbuka.17

    Chibambo was systematic but far from impartial. His concern was to defend the value-system of the Ngoni, against potential critics both African and European. He realised that some Europeans would deny any value in Ngoni tradition, simply because it was African. Chibambo was rather concerned to expound the view that a certain amount of eclecticism would be appropriate in European attitudes to African culture. He resented the tendency of some Europeans to lump all Africans together as savages. He himself was conscious of a feeling ofNgoni superiority, and as has already been seen, some of Young's missionary colleagues (though not Young himself) shared this view. The Ngoni had shown themselves to be relatively resistant to absorption of European values, especially in respect of material culture. At the same time, they had welcomed the religious and educational insights that had been provided by the mission. It is significant that the Mombera Native Association, founded in 1919 by the new educated Ngoni elite, made one of its first tasks the restoration of the old powerful Ngoni chieftainship.

    Chibambo's historical account advocates the Ngoni view of events in northern Malawi. He rejects Saulos Nyirenda's argument, which Young supported, to the effect that the Ngoni had 'spoiled the land'. He also provides information on many events in much more detail than is found in Young. In some cases there is a different interpretation, in a manner more favourable to the Ngoni. But more often Chibambo provides information on matters which Young hardly touched upon. He begins by outlining the quarrels in South Africa, the subsequent move north, and the Zambezi crossing. He shows that one split had already occurred before the crossing was made, the fissiparous group eventually settling in Dedza area of Malawi. But much of this information was by now already widely known from other accounts. On other questions Chibambo is more original. There is useful discussion of the northward journey; of the problems surrounding the paramountcy, and the dynastic disputes which followed the death of Zwangendaba; and of eventual settlement in northern Malawi, with its attendant rebellion. Finally Chibambo considered the impact of foreigners, both Arab and European, paying particular attention to the consequences of arrival of missionaries.Chibambo shows how, after crossing the Zambezi, the route taken was through the Luangwa valley until Chewa country was reached at Kasungu. He notes that captives were easily taken from both the Chewa and the Tumbuka: but that as movement northward continued, the passage became less smooth. Thus at Mawiri Zwangendaba fell ill, and at this point the tight discipline characteristic of Ngoni political organisation began to show signs of collapse. Chibambo reports that this was particularly true of the Thonga section, which had been formed south of the Zambezi. The Tumbuka and Chewa captives now began to accuse their Thonga masters of witchcraft, maintaining that this was the cause of Zwangendaba's illness. As a consequence many older Thonga were killed at Mawiri. But Zwangendaba insisted on pressing on northwards; Nkhamanga country was bypassed on the way, and the Ngoni eventually arrived at Mapupo in Fipa country. Here Zwangendaba died peacefully, in 1848.

    Zwangendaba's death precipitated the succession crisis and subsequent dispersal. Nyirenda recognised this, but did not provide a detailed account. Young had more information available, as noted earlier. But the wealth of detail provided by Chibambo on sucession following Zwangendaba's death adds considerably to our understanding of the events. A simplified version of the set-up shortly before the division is shown in the diagram. Only those relevant to the dispute have been included; Zwangendaba had, for instance, numerous wives, but only a few of them are significant in this particular context.


    Chibambo's account goes on to relate how, when Zwangendaba became paramount chief, he set up his own chief-place, known as Emveyeyeni. This was separate from Elangeni, the village of his father Hlatchwayo. In Emveyeyeni he placed his head wife, Lompetu, together with her sister, Soseya (who was also one of his wives). However Zwangendaba became suspicious of the people of Emveyeyeni, since one day he discover a hair in some beer that they had prepared for him. He saw this as a sign that they wanted to bewitch him, and therefore ordered the destruction of Emveyeyeni. Soldiers were sent there; they were led by Gwaza Jere, the principal headman of Elangeni. Zwangendaba's instructions were carried out, except that Gwaza Jere decided to spare Soseya, since she was in childbirth.

    Soseya gave birth to a son, Mpezeni. The mother and son remained in hiding for a long period. But when Mpezeni was fairly well grown, he and his mother were shown to Zwangendaba. The paramount chief's anger had now gone, and he received them well. He did not, however, give them a village of their own, preferring to keep them in his father's village, Elangeni. This was a way of showing that he did not wish Mpezeni to inherit his own position. Since Lompetu had been killed, his head wife was now Munene, in Ekwendeni. Her son was M' mbelwa, but he was not automatically indicated as successor. Zwangendaba's own choice was, according to Chibambo, Ngodoyi (not mentioned by Young). Ngodoyi was the son of Zwangendaba's younger brother Ntabeni. Zwangendaba indicated this choice before his death: Ntabeni followed Zwangendaba as regent, and it was expected that Ngodoyi's succession would be confirmed. He was intelligent and well-grown, and would have appeared suitable. But the men of Elangeni, together with Gwaza Jere, argued that Mpezeni was the real heir even though Zwangendaba had not nominated him. Surprisingly, Ntabeni agreed that his own son should be passed over in favour of Mpezeni. Ntabeni also suggested that Mtwalo, son of Qutu, should be second in succession. Whereas he liked Mtwalo, Ntabeni made no mention of Mmbelwa, son of Munene. He had frequently been rude to Ntabeni and had cursed him and was now punished as a consequence. Thus secession returned to thehouse of the original head wife. Munene was turned out of Ekwendeni empty-handed. These decisions did not receive universal assent: some felt especially that M'mbelwa should have succeeded, since Munene had become the head wife after Soseya was killed. But frustration was kept in check while Ntabeni was still alive.

    These details differ from those reported by Young in one very important respect. Young states clearly that Zwangendaba nominated his successor from the house of Munene, and makes no mention of Ngodoyi. But Chibambo confirmed Young's account on the matter of Ntabeni's wish to provoke confrontation after his own death, by insistence on a secret burial. Chibambo relates that after this event, several wives and children of Ntabeni's younger brother Mgayi were killed.

    Following such incidents, partition occurred. Ngodoyi and his supporters went northwards, while the rest left to settle at Malindika, near Isoka (Fife) in Zambia. Mpezeni was among them but was not of age, so the regency continued. Gwaza Jere was now a cripple but he accompanied Mpezeni. A further division occurred: after raiding from Malindika, those originally from Ekwendeni returned there; but those from Elangeni settled at Makukwe, near Tulcuya in Tanzania. Mpezeni was among the later, but when there was famine in Makukwe he was brought back by the Ekwendeni section. He had by now been made paramount chief, by Gwaza Jere. Those who had settled at Malindika subsequently moved to Luanda. This place became renamed Chidhlodhlo (head-ring) because of the assumption of this decoration by Mpezeni and the regiments.

    Chibambo goes on to recount further divisions. One rebellion was led by Zulu Gama, whose supporters went to the east of Lake Malawi. After his death, his sons Gwazeya and Mharule continued the leadership. They encountered some other Ngoni east of the Lake: these were the Maseko Ngoni, who had broken away before the crossing of the Zambezi on the march northwards. Fighting occurred with them, and Gwazeya returned westwards with some of his followers. But Mharule remained; he continued the dispute with the Maseko Ngoni, who had insisted on keeping cattle captured on joint raids for themselves. This time, theMaseko Ngoni were defeated, and were forced to flee to the west side of the Shire river.

    Another secession from Chidhlodhlo was led by Chiwere Ndhlovu. He was of Senga origin, but took with him many Ngoni, and eventually settled near Dowa. But more relevant for the present account are the details of the split of Mpezeni from Mtwalo and M'mbelwa. Mpezeni began to revive the old enmities; he was repeatedly rude to M'mbelwa, though remained on good terms with Mtwalo. Mpezeni also disliked Gwaza Jere, and blamed him for the secession by Chiwere Ndhlovu. But Gwaza Jere now obtained sufficient support for a rebellion, and he left Chidhlodhlo for Matako, with M ' mbelwa, Mtwalo and their supporters. Mtwalo and M'mbelwa were still under age, so the leadership went to Gwaza Jere. But on reaching Elangeni, he called a meeting to propose Mtwalo as paramount chief of the Ngoni. But Mtwalo insisted that the title should go to M'mbelwa; his decision was praised, and he thus attracted a large following.

    Mpezeni decided to leave Chidhlodhlo at this point, and set out westwards. He was accompanied by Mperembe, another son of Zwangendaba, who was still too young for political office. But after arrival in Bisa country, Mperembe's section split off, and turned towards Ekwandeni again. They attempted to settle in Bemba country, Mperembe was treated there like a chief and received royal salutation, Bayete. But he and his people soon fled and returned to live among M'mbelwa's Ngoni, the royal salutation for Mperembe now being dropped. Mpezeni and his people continued, eventually settling in Chipata (Fort Jameson) in Zambia. They remained in this area, and subsequently became the subject of Barnes's anthropological studies.

    In Malawi, M'mbelwa and Mtwalo left Matako; they crossed the Rukuru and reached the Henga valley. Here M'mbelwa was made paramount chief officially. There was nearly another split at this point, between him and Mtwalo: but Gwaza Jere succeeded in persuading the people to stay together. Mtwalo and M'mbelwa did however build separate villages and cross the river in different places. Mtwalo's people settled southeastof Mount Chima, while M'mbelwa's people settled at the place known today as Ekwendeni.

    In summary so far, it can be maintained that Chibambo's account of the succession and division following Zwangendaba's death tends to amplify rather than to contradict Young, and that it is based on more information. There are however important differences on the matter of Gwaza Jere's attitude to Mpezeni as the choice for Zwangedaba's heir: and on Zwangendaba's actual indiction of an heir.

    In Chibambo's subsequent discussion of settlement and conquest, the account differs from that of Young mainly because the two authors support different sides: factual discrepancies are not the main issue, but Young supports the Tumbuka, Chibambo the Ngoni. Chibambo argues that the tribes into which the Ngoni penetrated were subdued with very little difficulty. He supports the contention that the indigenous tribes were scattered and lacking in centralised authority. His version would imply that Young's claims for the extent ofauthority of Chilculamayembes were exaggerated, though Chibambo also exaggerates Ngoni authority by claiming that they conquered the Ngonde.

    Chibambo draws an explicit comparison between Ngoni methods of government over their subjects, and the British policy of Indirect Rule. He also discusses the policy ofassimilation ofyoung people from among their subjects. He maintains that one effect of the policy was that some of those so assimilated began to perceive the limits of Ngoni power. He suggests that, especially after some of their success in battle, many ofthe young Nkhamanga men began to get out of hand and to belittle the Ngoni. Chibambo maintains that it was in accordance with this development that a review of fighting men took place at Ekwendeni; but he denies that there was any intention to massacre the old, since large numbers of women were also present in the village and the cattle kraal. Rather he insists that the sole purpose of the exercise was to administer war medicine. He goes on to report the breakaway of the Tumbuka subjects, which was completed by 1879, making the comment that not all chose to leave. He shows that the Chewa under Mwase gaveimportant military assistance to the Ngoni. Most of the remaining rebellious activities are reported in similar terms to those of Young. Chibambo also notes the continuation of operations in the Siska country after the Henga had fled, leading to eventual Siska surrender. However, he maintains, with the end of the rising there was peace; and this had all taken place before the arrival of the missionaries, who were only just beginning to build, at Bandawe. The clear suggestion is that the Ngoni rather than the missionaries had secured the pacification of the area.

    Arabs as well as Europeans were encountered by the Ngoni, but Chibambo argues that the Ngoni engaged in very few dealings in slaves; rather, their main commodity was ivory. By contrast, he maintains, the chiefs of the Tonga, Siska, Nkhamanga and Chewa all engaged in extensive slave trading. Since the Ngoni did not support the Arabs, he maintains that the cause of the Europeans and that of the Ngoni was the same; it was merely unfortunate that they knew little about one another. This leads Chibambo to his main propaganda piece on behalf of his own people. He notes that there had been the prophets of Israel; he sees God as having been slowly revealing himself in every nation, even among the backward and despised. He states that Ngoniland also had its seers (izanuzi) who foretold of something great coming from the water, and who advised that the new foreigners be received courteously. He suggests that this prepared the way for the reception of missionaries, and that the chiefs in particular showed themselves to be friendly. At first, he admits, theNgoni wanted the Tonga to be left alone by the missionaries so that they could be raided; but eventually schools were permitted after Christian prayers appeared to be successful in producing rainfall. He also comments that though the Gospel eventually succeeded in shaking the power of the Ngoni, this did not take place immediately, and that raiding did not cease completely until 1893. He notes that M'mbelwa's children did not attend school, but Mtwalo's did so; also that British annexation of Ngoniland in 1904 took place without bloodshed.

    Chibambo's contention, then, is that there was another side to the story that the Ngoni brought no good by settling in northern Malawi. In the first place, he sees the Ngoni as having unconsciously prepared the wayfor the Gospel. In the second place he argues that the Ngoni showed betters ways of government, law and discipline: he deplores the few instances where Ngoni adopted customs of their subjects. He argues further that the missions had been a civilising influence: Mtwalo died in 1890, and M'mbelwa a year later, but there was no dynastic strife since people knew the Gospel. He suggests that the missions also helped the Ngoni and the British government to come together in friendship.

    It is difficult to speculate as to how Cullen Young evaluated this account. He provided footnotes to Chibambo's text, but these merely explain points of detail and do not dispute his claims. But previously he had always taken a pro-Tumbuka stand, and had not given the Ngoni viewpoint a hearing in the revised edition of his History. Three factors seem however to have some relevance. In the first place, Young was often concerned to have all points of view properly represented. In the case of the Ngonde and the Tonga he had done this in his 1932 text, but merely presented the versions side by side without attempting serious evaluation. Yet he might well in 1942 have seen Chibambos account as a useful corrective to any bias that might have perpetrated. In the second place, he would certainly have approved of Chibambo's comments about the activities of the Ngoni seers in preparing the way for the Gospel, and of the comparison with ancient Israel. One of his favourite themes was that of the Christian message of 'completion'. He was concerned to stress that there was something of Jesus among those who did not yet know him, and he quoted with approval Jesus's words, 'I have come not to destroy, but to fulfill'08). In the third place, political conditions were now different. The Chikulamayembeship had been recognised by the British government, and there was no longer any danger of Ngoni interference with this claim.

    Chibambo's work was highly influential. The Ngoni themselves responded very favourably to his support for their belief in their own superiority. Midauko became widely used in schools. Ngoni aristocratic consciousness persisted, and became strengthened by labour migration to South Africa and Zimbabwe: this enabled them to meet linguistically and culturally similar peoples, thereby lending support to their ethnicpride. On a more academic level, their distinctiveness was stressed also in the work of the anthropologist/educationist Margaret Read. Chibambo served as Read's guide in her field studies, and had an important influence. Read noted that Chibambo was recognised throughout Ngoniland as an authority on tradition; and it was clearthat he encouraged Read to think well of his own people. Read emphasised Ngoni aristocratic distinctiveness, and maintained that her ethnographic material justified such a stand point. She studied Ngoni methods of socialisation, which served to preserve Ngoni identity through songs, folktales, and the development of a strong historical consciousness.19

    It appears that, while Cullen Young was pleased to enable Ngoni claims to be heard through Chibambo and later through Read, he remained personally sceptical of them. He seems to have regarded Read as having been over-influenced by key informants. There is evidence of direct contact between them on the subject, and Young seems to have felt that he had been treated in a patronising fashion. In his correspondence with W.H.J. Rangeley, he remarks ofRead's `Malinowske smile ofsuperiority when referring to such controversy.20

    Rangeley was an administrator in Malawi who had risen to the position of Provincial Commissioner. He wrote numerous historical articles, in one of which is to be found a continuation of the discussion of Ngoni succession. This is his contribution `Mtwalo', to the Nyasaland Journal21. Rangeley's article is more sophisticated than many earlier writings on the subject, and relies mainly on the testimony of living informants. A greater attempt at objectivity is evident, though Rangeley did confess a strong admiration for the then incumbent of the Ngoni paramountcy (Mtwalo II). His main focus of attention is on the interregnum, the succession disputes after the death of Zwangendaba, and the subsequent dispersal and settlement pattern.

    Rangeley does not directly suggest, with Young, that M'mbelwa was nominated by his father as heir, nor with Chibambo that Ngodoyi was chosen. Rather he comments that the choice was made implicitly: when Zwangendaba died, his body was carried to Ekwendeni, and M'mbelwa'ssister Lomangazi stood by the grave. There was tension; warriors were present and ready to fight, but in the events there was no direct challenge. Rangeley examines in detail the dispute between Munene and Ntabeni, and notes that Ntabeni had attempted unsuccessfully to claim the Edwendeni wives in levirate: but they all opted for Mgayi, the son of Ntabeni's brother Mafu. This incident exacerbated the conflict surrounding the secret funeral of Ntabeni.

    Rangeley's discussion of the settlement pattern follows similar lines to that of Young and Chibambo, but is more detailed and less partisan. This fissiparity is shown to have ended with the public recognition of M'mbelwa as chiefby Mtwalo. Some more recent events are noted, such as the movement of the site of Ekwendeni until it was established at its present location in 1891. M'mbelwa died in that year, and Mtwalo a year later; there was much raiding to avenge the death of M'mbelwa, and this continued till 1897 (not 1893 as Chibambo had suggested), though this activity was steadily undermined by missionary and other European influence. In 1895 Chimtunga was confirmed as paramount chief, and in the following year Mtwalo's son Muhawi was appointed chief of Ekwendeni. He became a Christian, and worked as a teacher using the name Amon. He became Mtwalo II in 1944, and was still alive when Rangeley wrote on him.

    Rangeley notes that his findings do not differ from those of Cullen Young to any marked degree. He also sees his conclusions as supporting those of E.H. Lane Poole, who had been a provincial commissioner in Zambia, and who also published some historical findings about the Eastern Province of what was then Northern Rhodesia("). He relied mainly upon oral tradition, though he had been influenced also by Cullen Young. Unfortunately he did not consult the 1932 revised History and failed to take account of some amendments such as the date of Ngoni crossing of the Zambezi. On the whole, Lane Poole sees Young as the best authority on the northward movement of Ngoni, and most of his critical comments are on points of detail. Unlike Young (and later Rangeley) he maintains that Mgayi was a brother of Zwangendaba, not the son of Mafu. He then maintains that Ntabeni and Mgayi both claimedthe paramountcy when Zwangendaba died. He is aware that adelphic succession does not accord with Ngoni custom, but speculates that the situation might have changed since age and experience would be important for the paramount in a situation of war. Other possibilities that Lane Poole considers are that the brothers merely claimed guardianship; that they were thinking in terms of military rather than political leadership; or that, in Ntabeni's case, his claim had been on behalf of his son. He indicates that eventually Ntabeni and Mgayi both led separate sections northwards, leaving the dispute between Mpzeni, Mtwalo and M'mbelwa. When M'mbelwa was appointed, there were further splits initiated by those who disapproved of this choice.

    Some recent commentary by historians is also relevant. Thus Rennie23 is concerned to stress that the Ngoni were in no way beginning to lose their grip on their subjects by the time that the Europeans arrived; on the contrary, they were consolidating their power. Only the European arrival altered the balance of power, especially when backed up by the force of the colonial government and its superior weapons. Rennie makes no reference to Young, and does not dwell on the complexities of the succession dispute. He does howevercomment that though Chibambo maintained that Ngoni rule was enlightened and beneficial, this view was not shared by their subjects in particular, they suffered greatly through land alienation. Rennie also observes, however, that missionary writers such as Elmslie exaggerated the picture of Ngoni cruelty so to ensure pacification of the area and to stress the need for the mission.

    Drawing partly on Rennie's account, the historian Thompson24 supports the idea that Ngoni power was not declining before the Europeans arrived. Rather he suggests that this was true only in relative terms, since neighbouring peoples were beginning to improve their defence. Thompson also maintains that the movement north was a gradual process, only partly due to defeat in war. On the question of the succession dispute after the death of Zwangendaba, Thompson sees the various alternative versions as little more than attempts to justify the claims of the various disputants. He sees segmentation and eventual fragmentation as endemic to the dynamics of Ngoni political structure.Here he draws upon the analysis of another investigator of Ngoni history, the anthropologist Barnes25. Barnes had noted that the various versions reflect the place from which they had been collected: a matter of which Read was also aware.

    Barnes did field work among the Ngoni, but relied also on historical material, including that of Young, Chibambo, Rangeley and Lane Poole. Barnes notes numerous differences in detail in the accounts of his predecessors. His own research led him to depart from all previous accounts in one important respect. Earlier accounts had suggested that Zwangendaba had rebuilt Emveyeyeni on discovering that Mpezeni and his mother survived. Barnes could not find a village of that name during his field work. He suggested rather that Emveyeyeni itself had certainly been destroyed, but that three constituent inferior segments (Emcisweni, Ekwendeni, and Emsizini) had survived the destruction of the superior agnatic lineage section.

    Barnes also raised a point of interest regarding Mgayi. He doubts Rangeley's suggestion that Mgayi was Zwangendaba's brother's son, maintaining rather that he would have been Zwangendaba's patrilateral parallel cousin. He points out that adelphic succession was not a Ngoni practice, and suggests rather that Ntabeni and Mgayi acted as regents in turn, on behalf of the younger sons of Zwangendaba. This is broadly in accordance with Cullen Young's version, and bears similarity to some of Lane Pole's speculations. Barnes also notes some difficulties arising from Chibambo's account. He comments that Chibambo does not explain why Ntabeni supported claims of Mpezeni against his own son, or why Ntabeni was passed over.

    Barnes has stated in more general terms that there is a specific problem when there is no written history, and only oral evidence can be taken. In such a situation, only legend is available though legend also occurs in literate societies. Ngoni legend is clearly concerned with praise of their past.26

    The same, of course, is true of all legend. Both Nyirenda and Chibambo clearly wrote with a partisan purpose, and neither claimed to be doing Cullen Young, Yesaya Chibambo and and neither claimed to be doing other-wise. Young sponsored the work of both, and it appears that his main concern was to encourage African writers to put pen to paper; accuracy was only a secondary consideration. He realised that there were distortions and particular axes to grind, but lacked an overall perspective. This is hardly surprising, because the techniques of collection of oral testimony have only recently been developed. Young's anthropological writings were somewhat more sophisticated since by the early thirties Malinowski was beginning to provide the appropriate model for presentation of field data.

    Bias, however, is not the same as deliberate falsification, there were no doubt some inaccuracies, and information varied according to its source: but Nyirenda (and Young following him) and Chibambo do not directly contradict each other on important matters of fact. Indeed, where the issue was irrelevant to the relative merits of Ngoni and Tumbuka claims, there was a surprising amount ofunanimity considering that reliable data was so hard to come by. This is seen clearly in the discussion of the succession disputes after the death of Zwangendaba.

    1. This article contains a more detailed discussion of the Ngoni than I was able to include in my T Cullen Young:missionary and anthropologist (1989).
    2. His main Tumbuka studies are: Notes of Speech and History of the Tumbuka-Henga People (1923); Notes on the Customs and Folklore of the Tumbuka-Kamanga Peoples (1931); Notes on the History of the Tumbuka-Kamanga Peoples (1932); and Notes on the Speech of the Tumbuka-Kamanga Peoples (1932). His chief broader discussions of `African culture' areAfri can Ways and Wisdom (1937); and Contemporary Ancestors (1940). See also T.C. Young and H.K. Banda (trans. and eds.), Our African Way of Life (1946). For a complete list of Young's publications seem my T. Cullen Young, 204-12.

    3. Y.M. Chibambo, My Ngoni of Nyasaland (1942).4. Young wrote two articles on his war experiences: `Zovu', Nyasaland Journal 6 (1953) 53-9; and 'The Battle of Karonga', Nyasaland Journal 8 (1956) 27-30. There is also unpublished typescript by Young entitled Nyasaland Operations during the World War, 1914-18', in the Society of Malawi Library, Blantyre, Malawi

    5. My informant for Cullen Young's Quaker activities is his daughter, Margot Moffett. The article in question is 'The Padre's Talk: what do you think?, Boy's Own Annual No. 62 (1939-40) p.73. He comments that opposite choices could divide families, but that Jesus had come to do this. W.P. Young had written a book on his First World War experiences, entitled A Soldier to the Church, in which he expressed regret that the churches had not spoken with a corporate voice in support of the war.

    6. W.A. Elmslie, Among The Wild Ngoni (1899).

    7. D. Fraser, 'The Zulu ofNyasaland', Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow 32 (1900-01) 60-75; Winning a Primitive People (1914). European respect for authoritarian rule in Africa was quite common; cf H.A.C. Cairns, Prelude to Imperialism (1965) 107-8.

    8. S. Nyirenda, 'History of the Tumbuka-Henga People', trans. and ed. by T.C. Young, Bantu Studies 5 (1931) 1-75.

    9. Ibid., p. 74.

    10. Notes on Speech and History, p.83; Notes on History, p. 100 (slightly different wording).

    11. Ibid., 147-8 (earlier ed.); 22-3 revised ed. (slightly different wording).

    12. T.C. Young, 'Tribal Intermixture in Northern Nyasaland', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 63 (1933) 1 - 18 at p.12.

    13. W.P. Johnson, Nyasa, the Great Water (1922); H.H. Johnston, British Central Africa (1897) F.D. Lugard, The Rise of our East African Empire Vol. 1 (1893); L.M. Fortheringham, Adventures in Nyasaland (1891); F.L Moir, After Livingstone (1923).

    14. Notes on History, p. 9.

    15. Ibid., p. 136. This is not the only occasion on which Cullen Young

    Complained of `Ngoni-isation' of the Tumbuka. See also his letter to the Mzimba DC, 13 Mar. 1931 (In Mzimba District Book, 1907, Malawi National Archives, Zomba); also D. Fraser's letter to Young, 19 Nov. 1929 (National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, MS 7690 no. 284).

    16. Y.M. Chibambo, Midauko (1946).

    17. For Chibambo see J. McCracken, Politics and Christianity in Malawi. 1875-1940 (1977) 246, 251, 263-4; L. Vail and L. White, `Tribalism in the Political History of Malawi', in L. Vail (ed.), The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (1989) 151-92 at 160-2 and 182; T.J. Thompson, 'Fraser and the Ngoni' (Edinburgh University Ph.D, 1980).

    18. See, for instance: 'The New African', Other Lands 7 (19270 47-50 at p. 48; The Christian Message of Completion (pamphlet, 12pp.; 1939); `Understanding the Old', International Review of Mission 40 (1951) 450-5 at p. 454: 'I can never forget the illuminating experience of a colleague down among his Lakeshore fold he was told "Sir, don't

    think that the things you are telling us contradict what we used to believe, no, but they complete what the old folk taught us".

    19. For Read's bias towards the Ngoni see L. Vail, 'The Making of the "Dead North": a study of the Ngoni rule in northern Malawi, c. 18551907 'in J. Peires (ed.), Before and after Shaka; papers in Ngoni history' (1981) 230-267 at 231-2. Read's principal writings were; The Ngoni of Nyasaland (1956); Children of their Fathers (1959); 'Songs of the Ngoni People', Bantu Studies 11 (1937) 1-35; 'The Moral Code of the Ngoni and their Former Warrior State', Africa 11 (1938) 1-24; 'The Nguni and Western Education' in V.W.Turner (ed.), Colonialism in Africa 1870-1960 Vol. 3 (1971) 346-92.

    20. T.C. Young, letter to W.H.J. Rangely, 11 May 1952 (Rangeley Papers, Society of Malawi Library, Blantyre, Malawi).

    21. W.H.J. Rangeley, `Mtwalo', Nyasaland Journal 6 (1952) 55 - 70.

    22. E.H. Lane Poole, The Native Tribes of the Eastern Province of Northern Rhodesia (1949)23. J.K. Rennie, 'The Ngoni States and European Intrusion' in E. Stokes and R. Brown (eds.), The Zambezian Past (1966). Johnston, H.H., British Central Africa (London;. Methuen, 1897).

    24. T.J. Thompson, 'Fraser and the Ngoni'; and 'The Origins, Migration and Settlement of the Northern Ngoni', Society of Malawi Journal, 38 (1985) 6-35. Lugard, F.D., The Rise of our East African Empire. 2 vols (Edinburgh; Blackwood, 1893).

    25. J.A. Barnes, Politics in a Changing Society (1954) McCracken, J., Politics and Christianity in Malawi, 1875-1940: the Impact ofthe Livingstonia Mission in the Northern Province (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1977).

    26. J.A. Barnes, 'History in a Changing Society'. Rhodes-Livingstone Journal 1 1 (1951) 1-9. Moir, F.L., After Livingstone; an African trade romance (London; Hodder and Stoughton, 1923).

    Nyirenda, S., 'History of the Tumbuka-Henga People' trans. and ed. by T.C. Young, Bantu Studies 5 (1931) 1-75.

    Pieres, J., (ed.), Before and after Shakes; papers in Ngoni history' (Grahamstown; Rhodes University Press, 1981).

    Poole, E.H., Lane, The Native Tribes of the Eastern Province of Northern Rhodesia (Lusaka; Government Printer, 1949).

    Rangeley, W.H.J., `Mtwalo', Nyasaland Journal 5 (1952) 55-70. Read, M.H., Children of their Fathers (London; Methuen, 1959).

    Read, M.H., 'The Moral Code of the Ngoni and their Former Military State', Africa, 11 (1938) 1-24.

    Read, M.H., 'The Ngoni and Western Education', in V.W. Turner (ed.) Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960 vol.3 (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1971) 346-92. 1980)

    Thompson, T.J., 'The Origins, Migration and Settlement oftheNorthern Ngoni', Society of Malawi Journal, 38 (1985) 6-35.

    Vail, L., (ed.) The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa (London; Currey, 1989).

    Vail, L., 'The Making of the Dead North; a study of the Ngoni rule in northern Malawi', in J. Peires (ed.), Before and after Shaka, 230-67.

    Vail, L., and White, L., 'Tribalism in the Political History of Malawi', in L. Vail (ed.), The Creation of Tribalism in Southern Africa 151-92.

    Young, T.C., African Ways and Wisdom (London, United Society for Christian Literature, 1937).

    Young, T.C., 'The Battle of Karonga', Nyasaland Journal 8 (1955) 27- 38.

    Young, T.C., The Christian Message ofCompletion (London; Universities Mission to Central Africa, 1939).

    Young, T.C., ContemporaryAncestor (London; Religious Tract Society, 1940).

    Young, T.C., 'The New African', Other Lands 7 (1927) 47-50.

    Young, T.C., Notes on the Customs and Folklore of the TumbukaKamanga Peoples (Livingstonia; Mission Press, 1931).

    Young, T.C., Notes on the History of the Tumbuka-Kamanga Peoples in the Northern Province of Nyasaland (London; Religious Tract Society, 1932.

    Young, T.C., Notes on the speech of the Tumbuka-Kamanga Peoples in the Northern Province of Nyasaland (London; Religious Tract Society, 1932).

    Young, T.C., Notes on the Speech and History of the Tumbuka-Henga Peoples (Livingstonia; Mission Press, 1923)>

    Young, T.C., 'The Padre's Talk; what do you think?', Boy's Own Annual 62 (1939-40) 73.

    Young, T.C., 'Tribal Intermithe Royal Anthropological Institute 63 (1933) 1-18.

    Young, T.C., 'Understanding the old', International Review ofMissions 40 (1951) 450-5.

    Young, T.C., `Zovu', Nyasaland Journal 6 (1953) 53-9.

    Young, T.C., and Banda, H.K. (eds), Our African Way of Life (London; Lutterworth, 1946).

    Young, W.P., A Soldier to the Church (London; SCM, 1919). Archival Sources

    Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland: United Free Church of Scotland, MSS 7556-7980

    Blantyre (Malawi), Society ofMa lawi Library: T.C. Young, ' Nyasaland Operations during the World War 1914-18' (typescript: n.d.) Rangeley Papers.

    Zomba, Malawi National Archives: Mzimba District Books, 1928-32
    Read, M.H., The Ngoni of Nyasaland (London; Oxford University Press, 1956.

    Read, M.H., 'Songs of the Ngoni People', Bantu Studies, 11 (1937) 1- 35.

    Rennie, J.K., 'The Ngoni States and European Intrusion', in E. Stokes and R. Brown, (eds), The Zambezian Past, 302-21.

    Stokes, E., and Brown, R., (eds.), The Zambezian Past: studies in Central African history, (Manchester; Manchester University Press, 1966).

    Thompson, T.J., 'Fraser and the Ngoni' (Edinburgh University Ph.D.,


    Barnes, J.A., 'History in a Changing society', RhodesLivingstoneJournal, 11 (1951) 1-9.

    Barnes, J.A., Politics in a Changing Society (Cape Town; Oxford University Press, 1954).

    Cairns, H.A.C., Prelude to Imperialism (London; Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965.

    Chibambo, Y.M., Midauko (Livingstonia; Mission Press, 1946). Chibambo Y.M., My Ngoni of Nyasaland.

    Elmslie, W.A., Among the Wild Ngoni (Edinburgh; Oliphand and Ferrier, 1899).

    Forester, P.G., T. Cullen Young; missionary and anthropologist (Hull; Hull University Press, 1989).

    Fotheringham, L.M., Adventures in Nyassaland (London; Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1891.

    Fraser, D., Winning a Primitive People (London; Seeley Service, 1914).

    Fraser, D., 'The Zulu of Nyasaland; their manners and customs', Proceedings of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow 32 (1900-1) 60- 75.

    Johnson. W.P., Nyasa, the Great Water (London; Milford, 1922)

    Friday, September 17, 2010



  • Friday, September 17, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author(s): Margaret Read
    Source: Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 9, No. 4 (Oct., 1936), pp.453-484 Published by: Edinburgh University Press

    Before I made my first camp in an Ngoni village, many Europeans had said to me, 'There are practically no Ngoni left today. They are all hopelessly mixed with other tribes. None of them keep to the Ngoni customs any longer. Their chiefs are no good.' From the doorway of my hut I saw people coming all day long to the Paramount Chief, behaving towards him with profound respect, bringing him presents, working for him. His children formed a special group in the village, easily recognizable by their bearing and their manners. Old indunas came to instruct me, as they had instructed chiefs in their day, on the duties of a ruler, and the code of Ngoni laws. Old warriors in war dress came and danced by the cattle kraal and sang praise songs. Courts were held with scrupulous regard for order and justice. Other chiefs came visiting from distant parts with their retinues, and were received ceremonially. It soon became apparent that here was the centre of a political state, whose head was invested with prestige and authority over a wide area, and where behaviour to the Paramount and to every one else was strictly regulated by custom, and as strictly observed. These were Ngoni, and they and their fellow Ngoni in other areas1 for the next ten months introduced me to the Ngoni people. The European assertion, that they no longer existed as a people, they laughed at, and proceeded to demonstrate that the contrary was true.

    The Ngoni are found to-day scattered over four East African territories. The largest groups are in Nyasaland in the districts of Mzimba, Dowa, Fort Manning, Dedza, and Ncheu. In Northern Rhodesia they are in the Fort Jameson and Lundazi districts bordering on Nyasaland. Another section is in Portuguese East Africa on the South-West border of Nyasaland. Under other names there are Ngoni settlements in Tanganyika Territory. The present divisions of the Ngoni are due partly to European frontiers, partly to the fact that more than one party of them came up from the south, and partly to divisions among the Ngoni during the period of settlement.


    Thursday, August 19, 2010


    Ngoni Politics and Diplomacy 1848 - 1904 (part 2)

  • Thursday, August 19, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • B. Pachai, Professor of History, University of Malawi, 1970

    In the period covered in this article there were six different rulers and regents functioning at different times with varying degrees of success in the political life of the main Ngoni hosts in the north and south.28 After 1875 those in office had to contend in their external relations with three important influences, viz., indigenous and neighbouring peoples, missionaries, and the advent of British administration. Of these the first powerful impact came from the Scottish missionary factor represented in the work of the Livingstonia and Blantyre missionaries. In 1878 Dr Laws and Mr James Stewart visited Chikusi where they were kept waiting for four days before Chikusi would see them, an experience which Dr Stewart was to live through when he visited Mbelwa the following year. The British Consul, Hawes, on the other hand,lead a pleasant experience at Kujipore when he called on Chikusi in 1886. The Ngoni chiefs kept strict protocol in their dealing with Europeans. Where this was not respected by the visitors, as it happened in the case of the Chiwere Ndlovu Ngoni of Dowa district, the consequences were very serious. Dr Laws, who was kept waiting for days by Chikusi, was surprised when Jumbe came out of his village to meet him half-way at Nkhota Kota in 1879;29 but this is understandable when we consider that Jumbe was saddled with internal disaffection led by his headman, Chiwaura, and external threats from the Yao. The Ngoni were in no hurry to seek political alliances with Europeans.


    Wednesday, August 18, 2010


    Ngoni Politics and Diplomacy 1848 - 19041 (Part 1)

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • B. Pachai, Professor of History, University of Malawi, 1970


    By 1904 the Ngoni of Malawi were widely distributed through a large part of the country with main and subsidiary settlements of both the Jere and Maseko communities or tribal clusters. These settlements had a number of common characteristics. The chiefs (with few exceptions) could all claim linear political descent from those who had led them through most of the way to the chosen land; they were now under British protectorate rule ; each main settlement had an administrative system with central authority, executive authority, military and judicial authority, all of which were subsequently modified to suit the protectorate government from time to time; each had started off with little more than a simple kinship organization with leadership provided by a determined individual of a well-known clan fleeing for safety and security with a hard core of kinsmen; each tribal cluster had to work out its own immediate political salvation during the period of dispersion or at the point of permanent settlement. The difference between these Ngoni and those of the Northern and Southern Nguni was that political evolution in the case of the former was based on trial and error tempered by a transference of 'home' patterns of government far removed in both space and time. Things not only happened quickly; they happened very far from `home'; they happened, too, without precedents at first. Before political patterns and social adjustments could evolve, external intrusions brought about compelling side-effects. In the end a political system emerged. Hammond—Tooke has defined a political system broadly 'as the system of power-distribution in a society'.2 In looking at this power-distribution in the Ngoni society of Malawi a number of propositions constitute a good starting point.


    Tuesday, June 22, 2010


    Pictures and Artist Impressions of Life among the Ngoni and other Ngunis in the early 19th Century

  • Tuesday, June 22, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • The following are pictures and artist impressions of life among the Ngoni and fellow Nguni (i.e. the Zulus, Swazis, Xhosa, Ndebeles and ngoni) that I have collected and continue to collect. This will help the study of the similarities and differences between us the Ngoni and our brothers and sisters down south.
    Artist Impression of the headrings (isicoco) of the Nguni family based on Keith Montagu explorations in 1880s. Isicoco used to be a badge for married Nguni men.
    From Some of the Earliest Pictures Of The Ngoni
    Zulu men in the 1880s mending the isicoco (headring made with wax) of his fellow. Isicoco was a badge for a matured, married man.
    From Zulu Photos


    Wednesday, April 7, 2010


    Inkosi Mtwalo of Northern Ngoniland in Nyasaland

  • Wednesday, April 7, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By W. H. J. Rangeley

    This article is based entirely on information given to the author by numerous Africans, with the following exceptions:

    (1) The site of the battle between Zwide and Shaka is no longer remembered by the Ngoni and is quoted from "Olden Times in Zululand and Natal" by A. T. Bryant. Bryant says that Nxawa was one of the Mbekwane clan. The Ngoni say he was Nqumayo. Bryant is more likely to be correct. So also quoted is the route east of the Lubombo hills. The Ngoni merely record that they went north to the lower reaches of the Limpopo river. Bryant states (chapter 44) that Zwangendawa was "but a commonplace squire at home". The Ngoni agree that he was of humble birth but insist that he rose to be General of Zwide's army. The fact that Zwide gave him two daughters in marriage would indicate that Zwangendawa was a man of importance. Bryant states that Zwangendawa clashed in battle with Soshangane (chapter 44) With heavy losses on both sides. The Ngoni admit heavy losses in battle against Nxawa, and the names of many who died are remembered to this day, but they deny any clash with Soshangane. There is, however, evidence that there was a minor clash with Soshangane, according to Ngoni now dead.


    Tuesday, August 25, 2009


    History of Angoni or Ngoni people

  • Tuesday, August 25, 2009
  • Samuel Albert
  • By W.H.J Rangeley

    THE earliest records of the people- we now call ngoni people appear in scattered Portuguese records from the sixteenth century onwards.

    In 1606, Dos Santos described a fierce, warlike people whom he described as Mumbos and Zimbas on the north bank of the Zambezi River opposite Sena and Tete. There are other records which show that these same people were on the Zambezi River in 1570, 1575, 1589 and 1592, and some authorities believe that they had been resident in the country between Lake Malawi and the lower Shire River Valley near Lake Cilwa until about 1550, when they started to move south. The Mumbo, or as we now know them, the abaMbo or aMbo or uMbo lived according to this account on the west, and the amaZimba or aZimba immediately on their east. They were closely allied divisions of one tribe. We have now no record of why they moved, but we can assume that one thing only, war, moved them, and the only people who could possibly have moved them was the horde of the aMaravi moving at about that time down the valley of the Shire River and the hills and streams between Lake Malawi and the valley of the Luangwa River. The aMaravi have considerable tradition of meeting not only pygmy aKafula on entering what is now Malawi, but also a tall, cattle-owning people whom they called the baKatanga. The aMaravi pushed both these peoples before them and eventually across the Zambezi River, with the exception of remnants of the baKatanga who are to this day found in Portuguese East Africa and Zambia under names such as baPule, aZimba, etc.

    According to Soga, these amaZimba and abaMbo were, at the time that they reached the Zarnbezi River, a patrilineal people with a system of a great house and a right-hand house, as is universal among the abeNguni, amaLala and abaMbo in South Africa to this day. The amaZimba and abaMbo attacked the Portuguese stations on the Zambezi River in 1570 and nearly annihilated them, and the Portuguese recorded that a large part of the. host crossed the Zambezi River in 1575. although there is no doubt at all that there were many crossings by portions of these people before that. The portion which crossed the river in 1575 consisted almost entirely of abaMbo with only a small proportion of amaZimba. In 1585, the advance guard of the main amaZimba host still left north of the Zambezi River crossed the river and fought a pitched battle with the Portuguese, and was severely defeated, owing to their foolish occupation of a defensive position in a thorn bush stockade which offered no protection against the Portuguese guns. The remnants of this advance guard recrossed the river to the north bank and rejoined their fellow tribesmen there. They combined forces and moved eastwards down the Zambezi valley seeking vengeance against any Portuguese they might find. They invested Mozambique which was situated on an island, and destroyed all works connected with the Portuguese which they could find on the mainland. Failing to capture Mozambique, which they could not reach, they then moved north-wards up the coast towards Kilwa, which was then a Portuguese settlement, and on reaching Kilwa destroyed it and annihilated the garrison there. They then moved on up the coast towards Mombasa and on arrival there attacked the Portuguese, but were unable to capture their forts, and so moved on towards Malindi, where they were signally defeated by a combination of the Portuguese with a large band of the local inhabitants of the surrounding country. The amaZimba were now greatly reduced in numbers through frequent fighting, and turned back and retraced their steps southwards through the country they had already devastated, and eventually reached the Zambezi valley and settled down and eventually disintegrated there. Their present-day descendants, the aZimba, are noted as brave and skilful elephant hunters.

    In 1616, Gaspar Bocarro travelled from the Zambezi River overland to Kilwa, and on approaching the coast south or Kilwa reported the country as "devastated" by the Zimba.

    When the amaZimba first settled on the Zambezi River on their return from the north, they set about consistantly attacking any allies of the Portuguese near Quelimane, making it almost impossible for the Portuguese to obtain any food. In order to drive off the amaZimba, the Portuguese sent reinforcements from Tete. In the subsequent engagement, the Portuguese were severely defeated by the amaZimba led by their chief Ntondo, and as it result of this defeat agreed not to interfere with the amaZimba in any way in their activities against the other African tribes, and the amaZimba in return agreed not to molest the Portuguese. Until the 18th Century, the Portuguese held their stations in the vicinity of the amaZimba only on sufferance by that tribe, and their authority did not extend more than a few miles from their trading posts.

    As a tribe, the amaZimba has now largely disappeared. It is probable that with slack living and the taking of numerous slaves, the tribe slowly disintegrated as such. At the present day, the aZimba elephant hunters live in small family groups here and there among other tribes, and there are small groups of them in the southern part of Malawi descendants of wandering elephant hunters who settled there between 1850 and 1870 in order to escape the exactions of the Portuguese slave raider known as Matakenya.

    At the end of the 16th Century, the Portuguese record showed the "Bassonga" as living opposite Tete on the north bank of the Zambezi River. Some authorities have identified the Bassonga with the Nsenga, who are a division of the aMaravi tribe, but it is probable that the aNsenga did not take that name until much later. However, whoever the Bassonga may have been, it is likely that they were a part of the host which drove the amaZimba and aBambo down and across the Zambezi River.

    When Bocarro travelled through Malawi in 1616, he named streams and places which are known to this day, and he referred (in their wrong context) to "Nyanja" and "Mang'anja", thus clearly demonstrating that the present inhabitants of Malawi were then in occupation of the country. Some fifty years later, Kalonga and Lundu, two of the greatest chiefs of the aMaravi were actually named in a Portuguese document and the tribe described as Maravi, and there can be little doubt that it was the aMaravi who drove out the amaZimba and abaMbo from what is now Malawi.

    The abaMbo, as already stated, crossed the Zambezi River in 1575 and on other occasions at about that time, together with a part of the amaZimba tribe. Most of these amaZimba stayed on the south bank of the Zambezi River until defeated by the Portuguese, when the survivors returned to the north bank of the river. The abaMbo, however, did not delay at the Zambezi River. Having crossed the river, accompanied by a portion of the amaZimba tribe, they moved up into the higher country to the south, and settled for a few years under an abaMbo chief named Souza between the Sabi and Limpopo Rivers in order to grow crops. Finding themselves too near the powerful maKaranga kingdom of Munumutapa, and the soils of the area where they settled too poor and the rainfall too erratic, they moved on again and by 1620 had reached Natal.

    Meanwhile, other groups of amaZimba and abaMbo had moved direct through the country occupied by the baTonga and had probably already reached and settled along the seaboard of Natal which they found then occupied by the pygmy baTwa and the click-speaking Bushmen. While in the country of the maKaranga, the host of Sonza incorporated large numbers of amaKaranga into the abaMbo tribe, and also annexed maKaranga cattle. Perhaps it was here that they began to absorb the Bushman click in their language through incorporation of the Bushmen peoples they first met south of the Zambezi River. Once settled in Natal, the amaZimba and AbaMbo rapidly incorporated the pygmy and Bushmen peoples they found there and in doing so incorporated the three clicks that today occur in their language. The aZimba who remained north of the Zambezi River have no click in their language.

    In 1589, Manoel de Faria e Sousa described a tribe he called the Virangune as inhabiting the country inland from Delagoa Bay. These were part of the amaZimba host who did not tarry at the Zambezi River nor accompany Sonza, but had moved direct through the baTonga country to Natal, and were probably at that time still moving south, but they may equally well have been the amaZimba division of the abaMbo host of Sonza which had already separated under their chief Nguni, as the name Virangune or amaNguni would appear to make the more likely.

    In about 1620 the abaMbo arrived in what is now the Wakkerstroom district of Natal. The abakwaXhosa or amaXhosa are said to have settled on the Dedesi stream, a tributary of the Mzimvubu River, at that time. In about 1650, the abaMbo moved down the Mzimvubu River to its mouth, where Port St. Johns now stands. It is said that the amaXhosa were being called by that name at the time they settled at the Dedesi stream, and that Xhosa was the grandson of Nguni, the Nguni to whom Manoel de Faria e Sousa referred in 1589 when he referred to the Virangune-the people of Nguni. From that time the abeNguni of the amaZimba tribe became known as amaXhosa after the chief Xhosa, who is remembered to this day as the greatest of their chiefs, since it was under Xhosa that the tribe finally settled and expanded into a well-knit tribal unit after the years of wandering. It is unlikely that the name was originally Xhosa. The click was probably incorporated later and the name altered to suit the new pronunciation.

    The amaKaranga incorporated into the abaMbo tribe of Sonza and his amaZimba satellites during their stay in the maKaranga country have given rise to the present-day amaLala, and many of the clan names of the amaLala are those of the amaKaranga.

    In 1686, the survivors of a wrecked ship named the Stavenisse travelled along the coast until they reached European settlements. They found the chief of the amaXhosa people to be Togu, and using this as a date to fix Xhosa genealogy, there are some who ascribe the chieftainship of Xhosa to be about 1535 and that of Nguni to 1510. African unwritten genealogies are notoriously inaccurate, and it is more probable that this Nguni was the amaZimba leader with the abaMbo migration, and that Xhosa was born after the crossing of the Zambezi River. Nguni is traditionally the first chief of what is now the abeNguni division of the Zulu-Xhosa peoples, and there is no doubt that it was Xhosa who led them when they settled on the Dedesi stream.

    Under pressure from the abaMbo and what are now the amaLala peoples, that is, the maKaranga peoples incorporated by the abaMbo in their journey south, the majority of the amaXhosa peoples as they at that time called themselves move south out of Natal. A few stayed behind and became allied or kin to the abaMbo and amaLala peoples. The people who were welded early in the 19th Century into the amaZulu nation by Shaka were amaLala, but in the area of the people now known as amaZulu there were also a people called abeNguni. These were the descendants of the amaZimba of Sonza who had not moved with the amaXhosa, and retained the original name of abeNguni. Perhaps, from the fact that they used the name abeNguni and not amaXhosa, there was already a division in the tribe before the amaXhosa moved off out of Natal. The abeNguni retained the isibuliso or isikahlelo of the amaXhosa peoples and did not adopt the isithakazelo of the amaLala and abaMbo peoples. It is said that this Royal Salutation is often the key to tribal affinities among the tribes who use it, whereas the isibongo or clan name is not so reliable. According to their isithakazelo, the present-day amaZulu are amaLala in origin, and the present-day tribes of Natal other than the amaZulu are amaZimba in origin. The abeNguni use the isithakazelo Mnguni, following amaLala custom which they adopted at some time after their separation from the amaXhosa, but the amaXhosa use the isibuliso naming the reigning chief.

    When the abaMbo and amaLala settled in Natal, they were a reasonably unified people, as any people recently coming through a mass migration would be. Soon after they settled in Natal, the tribes began to break up into separate chiefdoms, as did also the amaXhosa who had moved further south, until, at the beginning of the 19th century, there were many tribes or divisions of each great tribe, each warring against one another and owing no allegiance to any common leader, yet one people in blood and language and customs.

    In about 1785, or according to other accounts perhaps as late as 1793, there was born near the Tugela River in Natal a child whose origin was reputedly miraculous. His father was Senzangakona, and his mother Mnandi (the pleasant one.) His mother, fearing for the life of her child because Senzangakona had decreed the death of all male heirs, fled with her child to the protection of a more powerful chief named Dingiswayo, chief of the amaMtetwa, and a relative of her family. Here, under the shadow of Dingiswayo, grew up the boy who was to be given the name of Shaka (the intestinal parasite). He was received and cared for as a son of Dingiswayo, and his mother Mnandi stayed with him. At that time, Dingiswayo was the most powerful chief between Natal and Delagoa Bay (the modern Lourenco 'Marques). On gaining the chieftainship of his tribe, Dingiswayo had organised his tribe into regiments, which in turn were organised into companies, platoons and sections on the European model, and he divided his regiments, the terrible impi, into regiments of young men and regiments of seasoned warriors. When he grew up, Shaka wall given command of an impi, and soon gained great prestige as a warrior.

    The only known contemporary portrait of Shaka Zulu. Scholars however dispute the length of the shield and spear. Zulu spears were much shorter this time due to Shaka's innovations.
    From Zulu Photos

    There are two stories to account for the rise to power of Shaka. One account is that on the death of Senzangakona, the father of Shaka, Shaka claimed the chieftainship, but was not supported by his patron Dingiswayo who supported the legitimate heir, Mfagazi, the eldest son of the chief wife of Senzangakona, and a half brother of Shaka. Shaka never forgot this, and a few years later when Dingiswayo was engaged in war with Zwide, Nqumayo or Nxumalo of the abakwaNdwande tribe and abakwaNxumalo clan, Shaka deserted with his regiments to Zwide, and together with Zwide, Shaka fell upon Dingiswayo and in the ensuing battle in 1818, Dingiswayo was defeated and died shortly afterwards.

    The other and more likely story is as follows. Dingiswayo had for some years measured his strength with Zwide in a series of inconclusive battles, although in the majority of these engagements, Zwide had come off worst. In 1818, however, Zwide made a surprise raid on Dingiswayo's village and captured Dingiswayo himself and carried him off to his village where Dingswayo died a few days later. Shaka, racing with his regiments to the support of his patron Dingiswayo, arrived too late to save him, but just in time to take command of the now fully mustered but leaderless regiments of the amaMtetwa of Dingiswayo. The combined forces now fell on the amaNdwande of Zwide and after a bitter battle defeated Zwide but not sufficiently conclusively to crush him. After a series of engagements, lasting over a period of several years, Shaka gradually mastered Zwide and piece by piece drove out his followers from Natal.

    Whatever the true story, Shaka seized the chieftainship of the amaMtetwa, although he had no traditional tribal claim or title to it, and through sheer personality and the loyalty of his own regiments, he consolidated himself in this position.

    Under Dingiswayo, Shaka had ample opportunity of studying the art of war as developed by the amaMtetwa. He now set out to improve on it. Shaka believed that to spare human life was fatal to success. He believed that utter extermination of an enemy was the only method to ensure that that enemy did not rise again. He believed that the only way to ensure that extermination was to ensure close combat. To this end, he introduced the use of the large shield and the stabbing spear, and to ensure unquestioned obedience to his orders, he gave out the most stringent commands against cowardice or disobedience. When Shaka took over command of the amaMtetwa, they were well organised militarily, but they were armed in the traditional way with throwing spears. In order to prove to his warriors the superiority of the broad-bladed stabbing spear over the throwing spear with its long narrow blade and long light shaft, it is said that Shaka called out one hundred of his best warriors, and, arming half that number with the ordinary implements of war as used in those times, he armed the other half of that number with one throwing spear each, but broken in half in the shaft, and a shield of ox hide. The opposing parties were placed about one hundred yards apart, the range of a skillfully-thrown spear, and he gave the order that fighting should continue until every man on one side was killed. The men armed with throwing spears, from four to six spears each, threw them at their enemy who parried the spears on their shields, quite forgetting that they would have none to gather, because none were thrown at them, and they could not rearm themselves as was the usual custom. The result was that they were soon unarmed, and the men of the stabbing spear rushed in and killed everyone of them.
    Zulu warriors before the Anglo Zulu War in 1879.
    From Zulu Photos
    Zulu warrior in 1879.
    From Zulu Photos

    With Shaka, the history of the Angoni of today begins. As he gathered strength, Shaka attacked and defeated tribe after tribe, reserving to the last his most powerful enemy and neighbour Zwide. Meanwhile Zwide, seeing the military development of the amaZulu, as Shaka called his people, had adopted the same armament.Eventually Shaka and Zwide met in final battle. Zwide had under him several friendly tribes, among whom were the abeNguni, of one-time Xhosa stock as already described, led by uZwangendaba whose name means "hear by report". In this battle in 1821 or 1822, Zwide was utterly defeated and he and his son Sikunyana were killed, owing partly to the last-minute defection of a part of his forces under a traitor named Noloja. uZwangendaba, son of Mbekwane, of the Kumalo division of the abakwaNxumalo clan, and Shongonane, son of Gasa, of the abakwaNdwandwe clan, together with other lesser chiefs, deciding that the situation "would not rear them any calves", marshalled their people, and fleeing from the terrible vengeance of Shaka which they knew would follow, determined to get as far way from Shaka as possible. They cut their way through the amaNgwane and other tribes in their path and fled to the north.

    Zwangendaba had been an ally rather than a vassal of Zwide, and shortly before Shaka fell upon Zwide, Zwide was in fact about to attack and destroy Zwangendaba, and tradition still records how Mtombozi, the mother of Zwide, disrobed in front of the warriors, and, standing naked before them, admonished Zwide with the words "would you destroy the abeNguni who succoured you before?". This unusual act, savouring perhaps of witchcraft, forced Zwide to desist from attacking his ally. This incident is widely quoted to show that at that time the people of Zwangendaba were known as abeNguni.

    Fleeing northward and taking with him as many women, children and cattle as he could muster, Zwangendaba strove to get away from reach of Shaka. Shongonane, also known as Sochangane, and nicknamed Manukuza by which name he was known to the Portuguese, fled side by side with him. The people through whom they passed called them vaTwa, the people of the clicking tongue, after the name their forefathers had applied to the Bushmen, and long before that to the pygmies. Shongonane was a nephew of Zwide and his following was a mixed following of amaNdwande and also amaMtetwa and other fugitives from Shaka.

    Zwangendaba halted first on the Pongola River, and then pushed on again to get away from Shaka, falling upon the amaTonga in his path and cleaving a way through them on his way to the north where he reached the sea at Lourenco Marques. In 1826 or 1827, Zwangendaba and Shongonane jointly defeated the Portuguese at Lourenco Marques and then moved on again to the north. They crossed the Nkomati River near where there is now a station of the Basel Mission, and at this place Nqaba Nqumayo, sent by Shaka, caught up with them. The force of Nqaba had just about reached its limit through fever and hunger, and Zwangendaba was able to beat off the attack. Not daring to rest as long as Shaka could reach him, Zwangendaba decided to move on again, and turned to go west to join Mzilikazi.

    Mzilikazi, son of Machobane or Matshobana, of the house of Kumalo of the abakwaNxumalo clan, was born in Zululand in about 1798, and in due course he had become an important and trusted general of Shaka. Following a successful marauding expedition in about 1820, in which he gathered large numbers of cattle, and having in recent years become increasingly afraid of Shaka decided to desert with the loot. Accompanied by large numbers of followers, Mzilikazi fled west into the Drakensberg Mountains. Here the revenging regiments of Shaka caught up with Mzilikazi and soundly defeated him, capturing most of the cattle. Moving further west into the mountain passes, Mzilikazi beat, off further Zulu attacks and pressed on into Basutoland where Moshesh reigned at Thaba Bosigo. Defeated by Moshesh, Mzilikazi withdrew into the "inyoka" country of Basutoland and settled there for a while. While Mzi1ikazi was here, the name amaNdebele, derived from the word tebele meaning "a foreigner" was applied to his people by the baSuto and adopted by them. Finding himself not yet secure from Shaka's regiments, Mzilikazi moved on again and settled in the Marico Valley, not far from the modern. city of Pretoria.

    Zwangendaba had not been happy in the fever-ridden low country of the Limpopo valley, and when he decided to move west to join Mzilikazi, it was in order to get into the hills as well as to escape from Shaka. Shongonane refused to accompany Zwangendaba to the west, but Mhlaba wished to accompany Zwangendaba. Mhlaba and Shongonane were sons of Gasa, youngest son of Langa, son of Ndwande. Gasa was a younger brother of Zwide, and Mhlaba and Shongonane were thus therefore both amaNdwande and not abeNguni. The following of Zwangendaba had first contacted the amaTonga in 1823, and during the few years that they resided among and conquered the surrounding amaTonga, they incorporated large numbers of this vassal tribe into their regiments, and their women into their families. The force that had fled from Shaka numbered perhaps only a few thousand men, with a small proportion of women and children. As more men and women were added from among the amaTonga and other tribes through which they passed, the number of the abeNguni, as they called themselves, grew considerably. This already polyglot horde of Zwangendaba turned up into the hills to the west towards Mzilikazi, with whom Zwangendaba hoped to join forces. He did not meet with the reception he desired. Perhaps Zwangendaba attacked Mzilikazi or perhaps Mzilikazi, jealous of the threatened competition, attacked the approaching Zwangendaba. We do not know. In any event, Mzilikazi and Zwangendaba clashed, regardless of their relationship, and Zwangendaba was defeated, and decided to move north of the country dominated by Mzilikazi.

    Crossing the Limpopo River, Zwangendaba found himself in the country of the baNyai. Attacking the great chief or Mambo of the baNyai, named Rupengo or Sabanga, also known as Chirisamuru, in his stone-built fortress at Dhlodhlo on Thaba-si-ka-Mambo, Zwangendaba hemmed in the baNyai in the ancient stone fortress which they had occupied, and defeated them with great slaughter, capturing Rupengo alive and a few days later having him skinned alive. This was in about 183l. Zwangendaba then settled down in the country which he had conquered.

    Meanwhile, Shongonane had also moved. A large expedition had been sent against him in 1828 by Shaka, and although this expedition reached no further north than Inhambane where it was forced to turn back because of hunger and fever, Shongonane now decided to move further out of range of Shaka's regiments, and turned west up the Sabi River. In 1833, Shongonane had sacked Inhambane, and his move into the interior must have been in that year or in 1834. As Shongonane moved up the Sabi River, he approached more and more closely to Zwangendaba, who became uneasy at his approach, remembering his clash a short while before with Mzilikazi, until, at the headwaters of the Buzi River, the two forces met and immediately joined in battle. Zwangendaba was defeated and immediately moved out towards the north.Entering what is now called Mashonaland, Zwangendaba clove a broad path through the maKaranga until he found himself once more among the amaTonga and kindred tribes in the valley of the Zambezi River. To the Portuguese, Shongonane was known as Manukosi or Manukuza. On his death, he was succeeded by Umzila, who in turn was succeeded by Gungunyana who was deposed by the Portuguese in 1896. To Africans, the following of Shongonani are known as abaGasa, but to Europeans they are more popularly known as Shangaans.

    Late in 1835, Zwangendaba reached the Zambezi River somewhere between Sena and Tete and commenced preparations for crossing the river. On 20th November, 1835, in the season of chiganyane, when the Zambezi River was at its lowest at the height of the dry season, Zwangendaba crossed the Zambezi River, at a place selected by the Gama clan. Mhlaba, or as he is sometimes known, Nqaba, decided not to cross the Zambezi River, and remained on the south bank, soon to raid the Portuguese and remind them of the terror of the name of the amaZimba of two and a half centuries earlier. Moving downstream past Tete, Mhlaba settled between Sena and the mouth of the Zambezi River, and set about subjugating the• baTonga of that neighbourhood. They then attacked and sacked Sena, driving the Portuguese survivors onto an island in the Zambezi River after 54 of their number had been slain in Sena. They then permitted the Portuguese to return to Sena on condition that they paid annual tribute to them, and to this the Portuguese were forced to agree. As late as 1863, Sena and the Portuguese prazos on the lower Zambezi River paid regular annual tribute to the successors of Mhlaba whom they styled Landeens or Zulus. Mhlaba became known as Mhlabawabaduka from the fact that he separated from Zwangendaba.

    There are many picturesque stories of the crossing of the Zambezi River. Tradition records that Zwangendaba struck the waters with a stick and that they parted and he crossed over dry shod. This is a common legend from perhaps before Biblical times to describe the crossing of water in a canoe or boat by people unaccustomed to and afraid of water, as the aNgoni are to this day. Zwangendaba himself and some of his closest relatives were ferried across the Zambezi River by Kanyimbwa, an Nsenga headmen, who was willing to ferry him across somewhere to the west of the main army crossing. Twenty five years later, Dr. Livingstone found Kanyimbwa still resident at the same site. The main host crossed by the following means. The warriors waded into the stream with linked arms until the living chain had reached to the further bank. Nowhere was the water deeper than waist deep. The women and children then crossed above the chain, being supported by it. Most of the host had crossed the river when the chain broke, due, it is said, to the mass of water which piled up against the human barrier. With the breaking of the chain, many of the men were swept away and drowned, for none of the aNgoni could swim. Mputa Maseka had been detailed to form the rear guard at the crossing, and to bring over the cattle, donkeys and goats of the aNgoni. When the chain broke, he feared to cross, and those men, women and children who had not yet crossed were forced to join his rearguard. Zwangendaba could not wait at the river for Mputa, neither could be compel him to cross, or even to punish him for disobedience. Zwangendaba was therefore forced to move off to the north without his livestock, all of which were left on the south bank of the Zambezi River with Mputa.

    The exact date of the crossing of the Zambezi is known, for while the crossing was in progress, there occurred a total eclipse of the sun, a fact variously interpreted by the tribal soothsayers to mean either disaster or great fortune to follow.

    Having crossed the Zambezi River, and moved on to the north, Zwangendaba now found himself among the peacable Nsenga peoples of the Luangwa Valley, a branch of the aMaravi tribe. There are some authorities who estimate that when Zwangendaba fled from Shaka, he fled with no more than perhaps two thousand warriors and but few women, and that, through incorporation of conquered tribes On the way, he reached the Zambezi River with a host that numbered not less than twenty thousand spearmen and perhaps a total of one hundred thousand persons of all ages and sexes. We have now no knowledge of the strength of the tribe when it crossed the Zambezi River, but it must have been considerable as its subsequent history shows and as the proportion of clan names of conquered and assimilated tribes indicates.

    Mputa, finding himself alone on the south bank of the Zambezi River, probably in 1836, abandoned the livestock, which in any event was probably dying from animal trypanosomiasis, and crossed the Zambezi River by means not now recorded, and struck out towards the north up the valley of the Revubue River, somewhat to the east of the line taken by Zwangendaba. Arriving on the high upland plateau of the treeless grasslands round Domwe Mountain, west of the modern Dedza Boma, Mputa decided to settle and raid the surrounding aMtunda, a section of the aMaravi tribe. However, he had no sooner settled down than he heard that Zwangendaba was settled only a few days march to the north west, and fearing the reprisals that Zwangendaba was sure to deal out to him for failure to rejoin the main host and for failure to bring the livestock, Mputa decamped hastily to the east, taking with him what persons he had captured and also the cattle he had collected round Domwe. Finding his further progress barred by Lake Malawi, he turned south along its shores and eventually reached the Shire River at the point where the village of Chief Mponda now stands at Kaya. Here he found the reigning Kalonga of the aMaravi, named Sosola or nicknamed Kalimapadzuwa, in control of all means of crossing the deep and unfordable Shire River. Bribing Kalonga Sosola with all the cattle he had with him, Mputa crossed the Shire River in canoes paddled by the men of Kalonga. Striking straight up east into the hills fringing the eastern side of the Shire River, Mputa then turned north and travelled up the high country along the divide between waters flowing to Lake Malawi and those flowing into the Rovuma River. Crossing the Rovuma River among its headwaters, Mputa found himself in the cool uplands of the cattle-owning and peacable aMatengo tribe, east of the north end of Lake Malawi, near where the modern station of Songea stands, and here Mputa decided to settle and raid the surrounding countryside and make good his deficiencies in cattle. Mputa was known also by the nick-name of Mungwala, and his people soon became known as amaMungwala, later corrupted by the tribes they raided to amaMangwara and Mangwangwara.

    It is seen how Zwangendaba had turned from each contact with the fierce Zulu-trained peoples with whom he clashed, each time seeking an opening to a peaceful land where he could raise cattle and live the traditional life of the Zulu-Xhosa peoples, as a despot and owing allegiance to none, where his young men could "wash their spears in blood", and where the thunder of the royal "Bayete" and the drumming of the spears on the shields of massed regiments would swell the chiefly heart. While Zwangendaba fought with Shaka or Shongonane or Mzilikazi, he fought with equals or betters in the art of Zulu war. It was the spirit, training and discipline of the Zulu armies which counted. The regiments containing the manhood of the peaceful amaTonga, baRozvi, amaKaranga and other tribes were no match for the purer and better disciplined Zulu tribes. The regiments of Zwangendaba were trained and fought in the Zulu ways of war. The traditional attack was the crescent in a form like the head of a bull, with the right horn and the left horn to envelop the enemy while the broad weight of the forehead carried the weight of the main attack. The traditional time for an attack was at the very first light of morning, "when the horns of the cattle rise out of the mist". The regiments were trained to go on long forays without any baggage at all, driving with them herds of cattle and later, when they reached their raiding grounds, subsisting on the meat of the cattle they captured. As Shaka had said, so also Mzilikazi and Zwangendaba said "a man can not be cold when his belly is full of meat".

    A child was born to a regiment. As soon as he was old enough to herd cattle, he spent all day in the bush with the cattle and in the evenings squatted on the outskirts of the men taking their meal at the gates of the cattle kraal, listening to their talk of war and the stories of prowess of the regiments. As he grew older, he was drafted into his regiment and was taught the parry with the large ox-hide shield, the upward thrust of the stabbing spear, how to throw the one throwing spear-the mcowa-that was allowed him, how to throw a throwing stick with the underarm throw that would hit with unerring accuracy a target forty yards away. At the age of about seventeen or eighteen years, he was circumcised, and forced to go through the rites which taught absolute obedience and self reliance. He was now fit to join his regiment when it went to war, as a member of a well-knit and well led fighting machine. His regiment carried distinctive shields for no two regiments carried shields of the same colour or colour pattern. His regiment was a regiment of majaha, the young unmarried men. After some years, perhaps not until he was thirty years of age, he received the right to wear isidhlodhlo, the head ring, but only after he had proved himself in war. With the right to wear the head ring, he was allowed to marry and was granted cattle from the royal herds. He now joined one of the regiments of amadoda, the old men, known as ankehla, the ringed men.

    When Zwangendaba entered the country of the amaTonga, baRozvi and amaKaranga, he met a people who fought with the throwing spear and the bow and arrow, who had no compact military organisation, and who could not swing great armies into battle at a few days notice. He incorporated large numbers of these alien matrilineal people into his tribe, and by the time he reached the Zambezi River, already his regiments were getting "soft" and the Zulu discipline declining. Even so, the absolute superiority of the shield and stabbing spear was still to cleave a wide path among the peoples who to this day talk of a "war" as an action which lasted perhaps several days, between people sniping at one another from behind trees with their bows and arrows, and who counted a single death among the enemy as a great event.

    Until he crossed the Zambezi River, Zwangendaba was moving away from the other people of the stabbing spear. Now the urge to move was the urge to find cattle and a cattle country, where "they could rear calves" in more ways than one and the young men could "wash their spears" in blood.

    At the time that Zwangendaba crossed the Zambezi River, the ruling house consisted of Zwangendaba and his younger brother Ntabeni, representing the house of Hlachwayo, and the right-hand house consisted of Mgayi, son of' Mafu, and Mhalure, representing Mafu (that is, another son although fathered in levirate by Ntengo of the Nkosi clan).

    While settled in the baRozvi country near Thaba-si-ka-Mambo in about 1833, there was born to Zwangendaba by a wife named Soseya, a son called Ntutu, who was carried across the Zambezi river on the back of his mother. Ntutu was the eldest son of Zwangendaba, but not the son of the great wife.

    On entering the Nsenga country north of the Zambezi river, Zwangendaba settled near the village of Mkoko, the ancestor of the present chief Matonje, near the headwaters of the Nyimba Stream which enters the Luangwa River and which is now in the Petauke District of Zambia. Here he rested about five years, and here were born many of the chiefs who were later to become great names among the aNgoni peoples. From the aNsenga Zwangendaba learnt the use of the poison ordeal with the use of muabvi, the poisonous bark of the tree Erythrophloem guineense, used as a test of guilt or innocence. Into the tribe also were incorporated the aNsenga singanga or "witch- doctors". The aNgoni custom and discipline were altering. Already the young men were getting completely out of hand. In the aNsenga country the custom of circumcision died out, for the young men were cohabiting with aNsenga women before the time for their initiation and the age for circumcision. Far to the south, the custom of circumcision had already, by 1833 as reported by Gardiner in that year, died out as the result of refusal by Shaka himself to be circumcised.

    In the country of the aNsenga, Zwangendaba began to replace his losses in cattle, capturing the small hump-backed cattle of the aMaravi tribes, of which the aNsenga are one. He incorporated also large numbers of aNsenga men and women into the aNgoni tribe, and one such captive, Chiwere by name, risen to high position in the regiments of the aNgoni and granted the right to adopt the baSuto clan name of Ndhlovu, was later to break away from the aNgoni and carry war, as a leader of Nsenga-born regiments to their kin in Malawi. Mundikula, the first aNsenga chief to hold the title of Kalindawalu, was chief of the aNsenga at the time that Zwangendaba was settled at Mkoko.

    In 1840 or 1841, leaving Mkoko, Zwangendaba moved on again, travelling north along the eastern side of the Luangwa River watershed, until he reached the country of the aChewa chief Culu who was then living on the banks of the Rukuru River, near where the road from Mzimba to Lundazi now crosses the Rukuru River, just north of the Lundazi River and the Chimaliro Hills. Here, in the country the aNgoni called Maculu, the aNgoni settled among the aTumbuka and their aChewa overlords. The aTumbuka were a disorganised and scattered people who acknowledged no central chiefs, and who lived in small and scattered villages of little more than family groups. The aChewa of Culu, a branch of the aMaravi tribe, had settled among and dominated these aTumbuka without difficulty. These people were no match for the aNgoni, and they submitted tamely and laboured in their fields to supply the needs of their a Ngoni conquerers. Kanigna, Mwase Kasungu V, was at this period the reigning Mwase of Kasungu. From Maculu, the regiments of Zwangendaba, led by the nduna Makonjo, Mjeru, Mkomwiso and others devastated the countries of the aChewa chiefs Culu to the south and Gebisa to the west on the Luangwa River, and raided far into the Kasungu country.

    Here at Maculu, at the place called Mawiri where there are pools in the Rukuru River, was born to the head wife, Mnene, of Zwangendaba, a son named M’mbelwa. At about the same time, another wife of Zwangendaba, Chibenya, gave birth to a son Mabilabo.

    While settled at Mawiri, Zwangendaba began to feel old age approaching, and he suffered from rheumatism, and it was then it was said of him "let us get on to the country where there are red cattle, and you will have these for meat at my death". Before moving, he decided to do away with the aNsenga sing'anga who had accompanied him from Mkoko, and whose pretensions and falsehoods were annoying him, and he ordered them all to be put to death.

    Leaving Mawiri in about 1842 or 1843, the Angoni moved fast past Sorora Hill on the lower Mzimba River, past Tumba Hill north of the Luvevya Stream, then west over the Rukuru River, and then north again up the Ruwewe Valley and thus to the Vwaza Marsh, that is, along the line of the hills on the watershed between Lake Malawi and the Luangwa River, and passing west of Nkhamanga. They moved straight on without halting until they reached the high country east of the south end of Lake Tanganyika, and here, at a place they named Mapupu-the dreams-they settled among the waSukuma tribe near Fipa.

    At Mapupu, the aNgoni settled down happily to raid round both sides of Lake Tanganyika and south east to the country of the aNkonde, aNyakyusa, waSafwa and the many other tribes inhabiting the high mountains round the north end of Lake Malawi. It is said to have been west of Lake Tanganyika that the aNgoni found the long-horned cattle which were later to be known as "M’mbelwa's cattle" and which formed the royal herd of M’mbelwa, the punishment for possession of such cattle by other than M’mbelwa being death. These cattle have now interbred with the short-horned aMaravi cattle and the long-horned breed as such no longer exists.

    At Mapupu, at some date between 1845 and 1848, Zwangendaba died. Before his death he is said to have prophesied that his successors would see the coming of white men and the wane of the aNgoni power.

    The clan name of Zwangendaba was Jere. It is not an amaLala or abeNguni clan name, neither Zulu, Swazi nor Xhosa nor that of any of the conquered tribes. It is unlikely that the name Jere was used before the Zambezi crossing. Some authorities believe that the Maseko family of Mputa which was left behind on the south bank of the Zambezi River and crossed later and moved round the east side of Lake Nyasa, used the clan name of Jere, although they do not use it now, and the name is not known in the present-day division of the aNgoni of Ngomane, the descendant of Mputa. Zwangendaba was originally of the Nxumalo clan. How or why he assumed the clan name of Jele is not known. Some authorities believe it is derived from "kwa jele"-the great place. Others believe it is a corruption of thole-a calf. Yet others attribute it to the expression said to have been used by Zwangendaba as he watched his host fording the Zambezi River, "ningu jele, ningu jele"-we are many, we are many.

    Originally the clan name was Jele, for the Zulu peoples do not use the letter R, but it has been corrupted through the aNgoni adoption of the aTumbuka speech to Jere.

    The amaZulu trace ten generations from Malandila, the first chief, to Shaka. The aNgoni trace eight generations as follows:-


    The mother of Zwangendaba was Mbekwane and his father Hlachwayo. There are seven recorded wives of Zwangendaba and the names of these wives, their villages, and their first-born sons are as follows:-

    Mnene, the great wife of Zwangendaba, of Ekwendeni Village, gave birth to M’mbelwa at Mawiri in about 1841.
    Soseya, of Loangweni Village, gave birth to Ntutu (later called Mpezeni) at Thaba-si-ka-Mambo in about 1833.
    Chutu, of Ekwendeni Village, gave birth to Mtwalo at Mkoko in about 1838.
    Mkumhlane, of Emcisweni Village, gave birth to Mpherembe at Mkoko between 1836 and 1840.
    Chiwambati, of Emanyareni Village, gave birth to Ndawasake at Mkoko between 1836 and 1838.
    Chibenya, of Elangeni Village, gave birth to Mabilabo at Mawiri in about 1841.
    Mambiti, of Embangweni Village, had no sons during the lifetime of Zwangendaba, but after his death she was married in levirate to Mahruli Nkosi, who took over all the wives of Zwangendaba, and by him she bore a son Mzukuzuku, known as Majelemafu.

    The isithakazelo of Zwangendaba was Pakati, the same as that of Zwide of the amaNdwande.

    Before his death, Zwangendaba named the house which was to succeed him, and he named Lomagazi Jele, the daughter of Mnene and sister of M’mbelwa, and thereby named M’mbelwa to succeed him. None of Zwangendaba's sons had reached manhood, and Ntabeni Jele, a brother of Zwangendaba, attempted to assume overall command of the army, but so also did Mgayi Jele, the eldest son of Mafu, and a full cousin of Zwangendaba. The warriors would support the move of neither, since it in fact meant an attempt to seize the chieftainship. Ntabeni had quarrelled seriously with Mnene, the great wife of Zwangendaba, and as much to spite her as for any other reason, he then nominated Ntutu, who was the eldest son of Zwangendaba and then aged about fourteen or fifteen years of age, for the chieftainship. He was so far successful that Ntutu was actually recognised as chief, for he had just reached puberty, whereas the other sons were still no more than children. The widows of Zwangendaba, who had been inherited in levirate by Ntabeni, were furious that Zwangendaba's instructions should be so ignored, and they deserted in a body to Mgayi Jele. This could lead to only one result-a complete break-up of the tribe. Gwaza, the chief councillor of the tribe and a Jele not in the line- of succession, threw all his influence against Ntabeni and his nominee Ntutu, and thereby united the opposition under Mgayi, and prevented a further breakup, and for a time there was a sullen truce. Shortly after this, Ntabeni fell ill, and, feeling he was dying, gave orders that no word of his illness was to be sent to Mgayi and that, should he die, only after his burial was Mgayi to be told of his death. Such a mortal insult could have only one result, and could only be wiped out in blood. Ntabeni died and his orders were carried out, and, as Ntabeni had predicted, Mgayi set his regiments in motion to wipe out the insult. The result was the first great split in the tribe. The bulk of Ntabeni's forces did not wait for Mgayi but fled to the south west where they fell upon the waNyamwezi and raided round the south west Mtwalo then assumed the chieftainship, and held together by the old and influential nduna Siwelewele, son of Ndhlovu, in an uneasy confederation the brothers moved off towards the south cast.

    Mpezeni refused to accompany them, and moving off accompanied by their half brother Mpherembe, he travelled down towards the south west. Mtwalo with his brothers M’mbelwa, Ndawasake, and Mabilabo all moved south east together, away from a famine that was then ravaging Ufipa. At about this time, Mzukuzuku was born, son of Mahruli Nkosi who had taken over the wives of Zwangendaba after the death of Ntabeni.
    Travelling south east the brothers settled at a place they called Cidhlodhlo, somewhere north of Lake Malawi. Ahead of them had fled an nduna named Zulu Gama, who had quarrelled with M’mbelwa and had fled away from his anger. Zulu Gama had travelled the same route as the brothers later followed but went further until he met the aNgoni of Mputa Maseko who were settled round Songea and who had broken away from Zwangendaba at the Zambezi crossing, after they had failed to cross with Zwangendaba. Zulu Gama allied himself with Mputa Maseko and settled down among his aNgoni. The brothers had been but a short while at Cidhlodhlo when they clashed with the amaMungwala of Mputa Maseka, who were aided by the regiments of Zulu Gama, and, at Lumbira, near the north east end of Lake Malawi, were signally defeated by them and immediately retreated. They knew the country to the north and west. They remembered the timid aTumbuka peoples to the south, and the wide and fertile pastures of the Kasitu Valley which their foraging bands had raided while they were at Mawiri, and so they moved south.

    Zulu Gama was a commander of regiments with considerable personality and ambition. To repeat again the Zulu saying, he had found "he could rear no calves" with the sons of Zwangendaba, and had accordingly attached himself to the semi-aNgoni of Mungwala or Mputa, the maKaranga or baRozvi leader of the lost Zambezi rearguard which was largely composed of tribes incorporated into the aNgoni tribe. Soon after the defeat of the brothers, Mputa died and was succeeded by his son Chidyaonga. This was the chance for Zulu Gama, who immediately revolted and set about dealing with the amaMungwala, and in short order defeated and drove side of Lake Tanganyika. They took the name of Ntutu whom they had supported and calling themselves amaMtutu, soon corrupted to waTutu, they settled about fifty miles south of the south end of Lake Tanganyika, where Dr. Livingstone recorded their presence in 1867 as an already decaying tribe. Others fled to the north and penetrated as far as the southern shores of Lake Victoria Nyanza where Stanley found them in 1871 known to the surrounding tribes as maViti-the terrible ones. He wrote of them "no traveller has yet become acquainted with a wilder race in Equatorial Africa than that of the Maviti or Watuta, for their hands are against every man's and every man's hand appears to be against them". In 1879, Mr. Stewart heard of these waTuta or ma Viti in the same locality.

    But not all of them fled. As Ntabeni had arranged, a small and select band of warriors waited in hiding for Mgayi to move. Mgayi, with his massed regiments raced after the fleeing amaTutu, and, waiting until Mgayi was well out of the way, the band in hiding fell upon the defenceless villages of Mgayi, looting and ravaging the unguarded settlements, and killing or capturing most of Mgayi's wives and children, and then they also fled to rejoin their companions. Messengers called back Mgayi with the news to Emankechezeni, his looted village, and returning without meeting the fleeing amaTutu, Mgayi found that of all his children, only one small son, Mtenji, was still alive, for he had been out in the bush with his mother when the raid occurred.

    Shortly after this, Mgayi died, and having no grown sons or brothers to succeed him, power passed to the sons of Zwangendaba. These sons were all youths or children. There was no senior member of the family to unite them. The brothers asked Mtutu, the eldest and the first to reach puberty, to lead them to a better land. They did not offer him the chiefdom. He claimed chiefdom over all of them because he was the eldest. M’mbelwa contested this on the grounds that he was the nominated heir. Mtwalo also claimed the chieftainship on the grounds that he was older than M’mbelwa. In this atmosphere of jealousy, intrigue and suspicion, Mtutu, or, as he was now known, Mpezeni, assumed the chieftainship and moved off to the south west, and was immediately met with revolt and was deposed.

    them out, and established himself as chief in the neighbourhood of Songea in what is now Tanzania. Chidyaonga fled to the south down along the high country west of Lake Malawi. By some accounts, he turned first east and reached to near the Indian Ocean and then turned back again to the south west. Eventually he settled to the east of Mlanje Mountain in what is now Portuguese East Africa, and in about 1868 or 1869, crossed the Shire River and moved up to Domwe Mountain where he had in about 1836 rested for a while, and here he settled.

    Meanwhile, Mpezeni and Mpherembe had moved to the west, but they soon met the aBemba or a Wemba, a people not panic stricken at the name and sight of the aNgoni and moreover armed with guns they had traded from the coast, and in about 1856 they were repulsed and swung south along the borders of the aBemba country. At this time, the aNgoni brothers under the doubtful leadership of Mtwalo were also moving south, but further to the east and the other side of the Luangwa Valley. Mpherembe had an uneasy partnership with Mpezeni and decided to stay awhile in the country of the aMambwe on the fringe of the aBemba country. Here, Mpherembe was friendly with Mwamba, but after a few years during which there were a series of small disagreements culminating eventually in fighting, Mpherembe was worsted and was forced to leave. Turning east, he decided to rejoin his brothers, and in due course reached M’mbelwa just after he had left Choma Mountain and had settled at Enchisweni. This sojourn of Mpherembe among the aMambwe was reflected in some of the arts and customs of Mpherembe's people for some time thereafter, and until the time of his death, Mpherembe retained friendly relations with Mwamba, notwithstanding their former disagreements, but with Chitimukulu, chief of the aBemba, Mpherembe remained at bitter enmity.

    Meanwhile, Mpezeni alone, moving south, attacked the baBisa and a Lala as far as Lake Bangweolu, but pressed by the aBemba on the north west and the baNyeke on the west, be moved away to the south east, and after settling for a few years on the Muchinga escarpment west of the Luangwa Valley, he crossed the Luangwa River and attacked the aChewa chief Mbang'ombe and drove him into the hills where he invested him for some five years before Mbang'ombe capitulated. This was in 1865. Mpezeni then moved again then moved again and settled on the Matambazi Stream below Mpinduka Hill, and here, in the Nsenga country, the aNgoni of Mpezcni adopted the Nsenga language. It was while he settled here that Dr. David Livingstone passed through the Luangwa valley late in 1866 and found abundant evidence of the raids of Mpezeni both sides of the Luangwa River. Moving again son after 1870, Mpezeni settled on the headwaters of the Lutembwe and Msipazi Streams, from which he raided Mkanda, an aChewa chief, and placed his headmen in part of that country.

    In 1855, the band of brothers reached Nkhamanga in Malawi. Mtwalo had not proved a success as a chief. He was weak and pusillanimous, and his puberty had been greatly delayed. He had by custom many wives but he was impotent and could not please them. In 1855 he resigned his claims to the chieftainship, and in that year, at Ng’onga in Henga Valley, M’mbelwa was elected chief of aNgoni, and, before his people, straddled a captured leopard as a symbol of his power.

    As Zwangendaba had predicted, all his sons were to see white men and the decline of the aNgoni power. Mtwalo died in 1891. In 1882 Dr. Laws described him as a handsome, intelligent man.
    M’mbelwa, described as a short corpulent man with shrewd face, died in 1891.
    Mzukuzuku died on 15th June, 1908.
    Mpherembe died on 1st September, 1909.
    Ndawasake died at a date unknown but before 1890.
    Mpezeni died in 1900.
    Mabilabo died in 1906.
    Hoahoa who had been nduna of M’mbelwa died in June, 1908.
    Ng’onomo, M’mbelwa’s chief fighting captain, died in September, 1907.
    Mtwalo, M’mbelwa and Ndawasake were not destined to see European Government in their country, but they were to live long enough to meet and respect the Scots missionaries led by Dr. Robert Laws.

    Far to the south, Mzilikazi, chief of the amaNdebele, had fled north from Transvaal and settled in what is now known as Matabeleland. On his death in 1858, he was succeeded as chief by Lobengula after he had overcome the supporters of the rightful heir in pitched battle. At the time when missionary pioneers were entering Malawi in increasing numbers, so also missionaries, hunters, explorers, prospectors and concession hunters in increasing numbers were entering the country of Lobengula. He was finding it harder and harder to keep his young regiments in check, and remembering Mzilikazi's bitter lessons at the hands of the Boer horsemen, he realised that his impatient regiments were no match for armed horsemen, and that a single injudicious attack by his regiments or another trek by the Boers might well precipitate another day as terrible as that day in late 1837 when Boer horsemen hunted the amaNdebele all day like game, and he decided to move north and follow Zwangendaba. In the late 1880's he set about securing sufficient canoes for the crossing of the Zambezi River, and was on the brink of making final preparations for the exodus, when the entry in 1890 of the Pioneer Column into what is now known as Mashonaland, cut off his path to the north. Three years later, in 1893, in what is called the Matabele War, the defeated Lobengula fled north with a small bodyguard. It is generally accepted that he died on the way, after travelling only a short distance, in Matabeleland, but it is worth remark that the aNgoni have a tradition that Lobengula did reach and cross the Zambezi River with his wagons, and reached the hills in the vicinity of Sanjika, between Fort Manning and Fort Jameson, where he died and was buried in great secrecy and all evidence of his presence destroyed; lest Europeans come after his followers.