Showing posts with label Songea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Songea. Show all posts

Sunday, September 19, 2010



  • Sunday, September 19, 2010
  • Samuel Albert

    Translated and edited by Ian Linden

    1 January 1891. The king issues a general warning that the Mangoni are in the vicinity, so it is dangerous to work in the gardens. Prima and Pedro, who were put up to it by Dominique, come and say "Happy New Year, father." May the coming year enable us to instruct them fully in our holy religion. At 8 p.m. we hear three rifle shots outside the mission and run out to see what is happening. A leopard had been killed. Chungwarungwaru and Chikusi are supposed to be in the neighbor-hood. We wonder if this time it is really war.

    3 January 1891. As far as the "war" is concerned, it is the usual story. Matavere has sent us three chickens and asked for a little sugar in exchange-dispatched. A nice roast of lamb comes from the king for us. He has some very good ideas.


    Monday, September 6, 2010


    Ngoni Wars and Regiments

  • Monday, September 6, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Organization and  Tactics

    The Ngoni inherited a very strong military tradition from their origins as a migrating army. In the words of their historian YM.Cibambo, ‘To the Ngoni war was like work and his heart rejoiced to think of it.' At least some groups seem to have retained the Zulu system of organizing their warriors into regiments based on age, although most units were based on territorial divisions, and warriors tended to live in their villages  rather than in separate kraals as they did in the Zulu army. In Nyasaland, young men were often formed en masse into a new regiment known as a libandla, of which each large village or prominent chief might have several. Each libandla was divided into companies called libuto, which varied in strength up to 100 men or more, and would be allocated to one of the two maior divisions of the army - the younger men, or amajaha and the veteran amadoda. Each regiment and company was led by an officer known as an induna, who was responsible to the overall leader or 'war induna', appointed by the nkosi or chief.


    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.


    Monday, August 9, 2010


    Tentative Chronology of The Ngoni, Genealogy of Their chiefs and Notes

  • Monday, August 9, 2010
  • Samuel Albert


    THESE tentative notes relating to the Ngoni are the result of many years of research amongst the natives in the Eastern Province of N. Rhodesia, with whom I have been in constant contact, firstly as a Government official and secondly as a friend. I have received the greatest assistance and courtesy from the Paramount Chief, Mpezeni Jere II, and I am further indebted to A. K. Jere, a son of old Chief Kapatamoyo Jere, without whose knowledge, assistance and tactful handling of the old indunas these notes and genealogy would never have been completed.


    (1) Zongendaba (Zwangendaba, Uzwangendaba) Kumalo, son of Hlatshwayo of theNgoni tribe and his wife, Mquamache Nzima, was born near St. Lucia Bay in 1780 circa.

    Zongendaba, when a young man, appears to have shown great promise as a military leader. Hlatshwayo, his father, and Ziwide, uncle of his wife, Loziwawa Nqumayo, appear to have been close neighbours and friends, and with other local clans for some time resisted Tshaka. The date of Hlatshwayo’s death is not known, but Zongendaba broke away from the district or tribal area with a large following, after the second attack by Tshaka on the Ndwandwe Tribe, whom the Ngoni were assisting. Mzilikazi, a younger member of the Kumalo, after this defeat served Tshaka as an Induna for approximately two years, during which time his bravery and leadership, under the eye of Tshaka, brought him promotion. Zongendaba and Gwaza Tole broke away with a followingin the year 1823 ; Mzilikazi followed towards the end of the year 1825.


    Sunday, August 8, 2010


    Interesting Oral History of The Maseko Ngoni Under Mputa

  • Sunday, August 8, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By William Perceval Johnson, Archdeacon of the Universities Mission to Central Africa

    Note from The moderator: I am of the opinion that the Zulu in paragraph 5 onwards was not the successor of Zwangendaba but rather broke away from the Zwangendaba's ngoni after his death. There are also other areas besides this where the author differs from the position of other historians. I guess it is all because all these are oral histories, It is therefore difficult to tell who is right or wrong.

    The Angoni were the first aggressors. They came up from the south with another clan, allied or akin, which was under a famous chief called Mputa, i.e. the Smiter, and the two parties separated near what is now Bulawayo. Mputa crossed the Zambesi low down — this is the Angoni account of him — and wandered about, going up to Mtonya and on to the Rovuma river and finally to the north end of the Lake, where he seems to have settled not far from Songea.

    As he went he brought desolation to the Lake side. The old men in various villages can remember this time of terror, and bring before us how the news flew from village to village that the Smiter was coming and how each village waited its turn in trembling. 'At Chilowelo,' said one man, ' we were well out of the way; not many of his people came down here.' An old man of Losefa said : ' When Mputa came we had heard that the Angoni cannot bear water and that if you are in the water,even up to your knees, they will not touch you. This was true, for we went in and Mputa passed us in the water ; but he burnt our village.' A headman of Mtengula told us : 'He took my mother as a slave, but I was a mere child.'

    Where there were no stockades built, the people could only escape to the reed-beds or to the rocks in the Lake. The village of Msumba, which had reeds and a marsh at the back, made a good stand. Mputa stayed some time near it, this gave the Nyasas time to gather, and after a battle or so he moved away. An old Ngoo man, still alive, is proud of having killed an Angoni on this occasion, and tells how he took his shield, his feathers, and his name, and Maendaenda of Pachia has the scar of a wound as a memento of the fight.

    It is certain that Mputa brought a rude awakening to the villages in the hills as well as to those on the Lake. Several old men tell of the good old days in the hills before he came to afflict them : 'We lived in our own villages quietly; each had its own burial ground and its own place for burning witches,' — and now their security was gone. Mputa, terrible as he was, did not stay long; he passed through the land like a comet. In judging of the resistance that the people of the Lake made to him, we must remember that they had no weapons but bows, while the Smiter had spears. Their archery was good — witness the fact that a man at Msumba had the reputation of having killed three Angoni with one arrow in the old days — but they were outmatched in arms.1

    Meanwhile the party of Angoni with whom Mputa had started on his travels had been going up the west side of the Lake and round the north end. On the west side their chief died and was succeeded by another called Zulu. Their progress was marked by destruction. 'We came by Waya to Sukuma, where we found people whom they call the Wa-Mapangwa continually playing the bamboo vilumbo (a musical instrument), said our Angoni authority. The Angoni soon put an end to this peaceful playing of the vilumbo.

    They settled near Mputa, at a place afterwards called Songea or Songela on the bend of the Rovuma river; the place chosen later on by the Germans for their headquarters and now occupied by our Government. The hill Ngolo'olo, where the Adonde (or Adendauli) seem to have lived before their coming, figures in any account they give of their country. Finding themselves near Mputa, they submitted to him.

    These Angoni were akin to Mputa, as we have said, but they were not of the same family. It is a custom among the Angoni to cry out some family name after sneezing or when they are excited, after drinking for instance. Zulu's people at such times shouted the name Gama (and the women Zinjama); Mputa's shouted Jere, both names of ancestors.2

    Mputa treated the Angoni with great severity and feeling against him grew. Nevertheless they went to raid with him near the river Lihuhu, by the place which is now called Wiethaven. The inhabitants drove them back and Mputa was killed.

    His funeral seems to have been the last united act of his people and the Angoni. It must have been impressive. They blocked the water of the upper Lihuhu with stones, put the body of the chief in the skin of a newly killed bull, and burnt it in the dry bed of the river. The Angoni stood in crowds on the banks, all silent till the heat of the fire made the bones of the corpse crack ; then together they beat their shields with their spears.

    A new chief was chosen. The candidate, apparently Mputa's next of kin, had to go through the ordeal of standing on one leg with his spear poised over his head from sunrise till the sun went down. (This is the only instance in which I have heard of this ordeal.) But the patience of Zulu's people was exhausted and they drove Mputa's people south to the hill Ngango, near the Rovuma river.

    There had been a little respite by the Lake, but now the raiders returned, driven south by the Angoni, Their leader was again named Mputa, and the Lake people believed him to be the same Mputa as before and assumed that he had met with a reverse, which was indeed the case.

    With this second Smiter, or following close behind, came Kaindi and other headmen. Kaindi made himself a name. He seems to have crossed the Lujenda river and to have attacked the clans on the river Meto, nearer the coast ; these Meto people had probably got gun-powder up from the coast,and Kaindi came back from the Meto with the name of 'Powder Eater'. He did not go away after raiding as the first Mputa did ; he lingered in the hills by the Lake, now here, now there, and everywhere he raided. 'We were after the time of Mputa,' said a man at Mbamba, 'but Kaindi caught me when I was keeping the herds, and killed my mother.' 'He meets, he kills,' it was said of him. At last he settled at Chisindo, the hill straight inland from Msumba, and made the Lakeside people pay tribute to him to escape being murdered by his men as they worked in their fields. The present chief at Chiwanga remembers carrying up food to him.


    1. The archery deteriorated; it was very feeble when we came to the Lake.

    2. The custom has spread to other tribes who have come under Angoni influence and extends south into Msumba and other villages where men from the north have married. It varies in different places, all who come from the west by the north using, apparently, only one name, while others say : 'Son of so and so, grandson of so and so'. Sometimes, as above, the name of one ancestor is uttered (the Chiongwe or Chiongo), sometimes the family name of the father or the maternal grandfather (the Chilawa). The natives from the south and east, who trace through the female line, lay most stress on a man's maternal male relatives. There is not infrequently one Chilawa for the men of a family and another for the women.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010


    Maseko Ngoni At Domwe 1870 to 19001

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By Dr. Ian Linden, Professor of Biology, University of Malawi1

    When the Maseko Ngoni settled in Domwe c.1870 their society had already been shaped by almost fifty years of warfare and migrations. The army, organized on an age-set principle, brought together 'captives from the march' with different tribal backgrounds. To avoid bids-for power by close relatives of the paramount alumuzana and izinduna, who occupied the positions of political power within the state, were chosen not from the royal family but from members of the aristocratic Swazi clans.


    Sunday, July 11, 2010


    Maji Maji in Ungoni: A Reappraisal of Existing Historiography

  • Sunday, July 11, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author(s): Patrick M. Redmond, 1975.

    The Maji Maji rebellion of 1905-19061 was Tanzania's most spectacular manifestation of the rejection of colonial rule. It joined numerous peoples of very diverse political, economic, and social backgrounds in a struggle to oust the German power which had recently subjugated them. Of those who participated, the Ngoni of Songea district were among the most determined, some continuing the fight till mid-1906, and most suffering heavily from massive reprisals at German hands.

    While the largely independent nature of the Songea rebellion has been acknowledged elsewhere,2 in general scholars have held that the Ngoni had the same reason for participating as had others who fought: the belief that the maji (Swahili, water) which their prophets were dispensing would protect their warriors from bullets, enabling them to throw off cruel and repressive German rule and regain their independence.3 The reappraisal of this interpretation which follows is based onthe supposition that the attitudes of different groups among the Ngoni toward both the Germans and the advantages of independence were variable. Not all felt either severely oppressed under German dominance or looked forward to a better life without them. Moreover, where possible this variabilityd eterminedc ommitment to rebellion. The Maji Maji among the Ngoni was not a united struggle against a hated enemy,but a conflict fomented by those whom its successful outcome stood to benefit.


    Tuesday, July 6, 2010



  • Tuesday, July 6, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author: P. H. Gulliver, 1974
    wangoni of Tanganyika

    Before he became a professional linguist, Wilfred Whiteley was employed in anthropological research by the then Government of Tanganyika in the Southern Province of that Territory (1948-51). In 1949 he was requested to investigate the customary law on chiefly succession in the Njelu Ngoni chiefdom of Songea District, where dispute had arisen over the appointment of a new chief. In 1952-3 I was asked to continue and to widen those inquiries, both as part of a general anthropological survey and because a succession dispute had developed in the other Ngoni chiefdom in the same District. Whiteley had left a brief memorandum and a few notes which I was able to use as a starting- point. Some of the resulting data have been published elsewhere (Gulliver, 1954, 1955, and 1971). It is fitting, however, to return to those materials in memory of my old friend and colleague, and as a reminder of his sustained interest in social anthropology.



  • Samuel Albert
  • By G. W. Hatchell, (May 1935)

    Tanganyika Wangoni warrior 1905
    There exist in Tanganyika Territory two groups of people known as Angoni. They reside the one in the Kahama District of the Tabora Province, and the other in the South. western area of the Territory, at and around Songea. Since the Angoni are popularly supposed to be of Zulu origin, it is of interest to consider how these people have come to be settled in places so far distant from Zululand.

    The writer first became interested in this question in 1920, and during the succeeding ten years had opportunity to make enquiries in various parts of the Territory, with the object of discoveringsomething about the wanderings of the Angoi. The following account has been compiled from information obtained from native sources. Of necessity, much of the true story has been lost in the passage of years, but it is thought that the information now placed on record is, in the main, correct.

    The Angoni were known to Livingstone and his contemporaries as the Mazitu and Watuta, and they have frequently been described as Zulus. This description, however, appears to be incorrect since they were not, it is thought, Zulu, but Abe-nguni who had been resident in Natal as far back as 1620. They continued there until towards the end of the reign of the Zulu King, Chaka, with whom they became embroiled, with the result that they migrated northward under the leadership of Zwangandaba and crossed the Zambesi in November 1835. Continuing their journey northward and to the east of Lake Nyasa, they finally reached what is now known as Tanganyika Territory, somewhere between Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika.

    They were exceedingly able warriors and had, it is believed, adopted the Zulu methods of attack. Throughout their joumey north they raided and subdued the people along their route: amongst these were the Swazi. Tonga and Kalanga. On reaching the country to the west of Domira Bay on Lake Nyasa they rested, and Zwangandaba establshed a headquarters or base from which he made an expedition to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika with the object, it is stated, of advancig along its western shores. In this he was frustrated by the poor nature of the country and by tsetse fly. Nevertheless, the expedition produced repercussions farther north, to which reference will be made later.

    Zwangandaba retumed to his base, and having rested and reorganzed, agai set out northward, but this time his object was the country on the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika: through Ufipa and beyond. The chief of Ufipa, Nsokolo, hearing of the threatened invasion, succeeded in coming to terms with the enemy, thus saving his people from the terrors of an Angoni raid.

    Zwangandaba was accompanied on the expedition by his brother Ntabeni, and by his two wives, the senior of whom had borne him a son, named Mpenzi, while the junior, whose name was Qutu, had borne him a son named Mombera. Both these lads were with the expedition.

    Shortly after reaching Ufipa, Zwangandaba died and was buried at Chapota, where his grave, marked by a grove of trees, can still be seen. On his death, Ntabeni, who had quarrelled with the successor. Considerable friction and internal strife resulted in a general break-up of the force. Mom- bera and Mpezeni returned south into Nyasaland, but two sections of Zwangandaba's following remained in Tanganyika Territory, and it is with the subsequent wanderings of these that we are now concerned.

    No further information regarding Ntabeni seems to be obtainable and his fate is obscure, but much is heard of the activities of his sons Mtambalika and Mtambarara, and Mbonambi, the wife of the former, who were the leaders of one of the two sections. They are first heard of at Mpimbue, at the north end of the Rukwa valley; only some fifty miles north of Chapota. They raided and subdued the Wa-pimbue and appear to have settled in that country for some time, for it is known that from there they raided into Ukonongo and as far as Ukabende, near Cape Kungwe on Lake Tanganyika. The inhabitants of Ukabende were the Baholoholo, who had but recently crossed the Lake, having been driven to do so by pressure from the south, which had its origin in Zwangandaba's abortive expedition to the western shores of Lake Tanganyika.

    The Baholoholo were brave and capable warriors, and under their chief, Swima, actually took the war into the enemy's country and attacked the Angoni at Mpimbue. They were beaten off and Swima lost his life, but they seem to have put up a sufficiently stout resistance to persuade the Angoni that there was nothing to be gained by attacking them again, for, when Mtamballka resumed his journey, he avoided Ukabende and, passing to the east of it, struck the Malagarasi valley somewhere about Uvinza. He then launched a series of raids westward towards Kigoma and attacked the Arab town of Ujiji. Here he suffered a reverse and so turned north-east through Uhaa and reached the Runzewe country, north-west of Tabora, where he settled down and established a base from which he raided as far north as the southern end of Smith Sound on Lake Victoria.

    At this time, about 1870, the notorious Mirambo was busily occupied with raids into Unanyembe (Tabora) and against the Arabs of that place. He and Mtambalika joined forces and the Arabs, who had organized an expedition against them, were defeated at Issasa Magazi. It was in this expedition that Stanley took part. Mirambo and his ally were defeated eventually and Mtambalika retired to Runzewe.

    He had two wives: Mbonambi and Nwasi. The former bore him one son, who died in childhood, but Nwasi bore four sons: Mpangarara, Mvumba, Mini and Muvi. The first of these succeeded his father and was in tum succeeded by his son Mtambalika, the present chief.

    Mtambalika died at Mgomba and was buried there, while Mbonambi died at Kungene, where her grave is still treated with respect and reverence. In spite of her ill-success in the production of children, she seems to have been as famous as her husband, and her name is remembered to this day from the Rukwa to Runzewe.

    The descendants of Mtambalika's followers are now considerably inter-bred with the people of Runzewe, and it is stated that they are beginning to lose their Angoni identity.

    The wanderings of the second section of Zwangandaba's following which remained in Tanganyika Territory are of no less interest. The leaders were Mboanani and Zuru of the Gamma clan. It is pos- sible, however, that the latter was of the Njere clan, for some informants have stated that his ' grand- father' was Njere or Njeru.

    On the break up of Zwangandaba's force consequent on the election of Mombera, Zuru and Mboanani led their followers south-eastward through Usafwa and into Ukinga and Upangwa in the Livingstone Mountains, raiding as they went. They finally reached the plains, in the neighbourhood of the place where the town of Songea now stands, and proceeded to establish themselves. They were not, however, the first Angoni to reach the Songea area, for they found there another party of Angoni under the leadership of Mputa, sometimes called the Smiter. Mputa was a Swazi of the Mseko clan who had been a member of Zwangandaba's original force and who had apparently broken away from it, after it had crossed the Zambesi. He came north up the east side of Lake Nyasa, and crossing the Ruvuma River, settled at the hill of Mbunga, about forty miles north-east of Songea, where he settled down and absorbed the unwarlike Wa-ndendahaulh, whom he found there. From Mbunga he carried out many successful raids northward and into the Kilwa hinterland. It is stated that he even raided as far north as the Digo country, a few miles south of Mombasa.

    Zuru and Mboanani seem to have entered into some kind of agreement with Mputa and to have lived at peace with him until he treacherously murdered Mboanani and attacked and defeated Zuru and his followers. Shortly afterwards he proceeded on an expedition against the Yao, south of the Ruvuma, and suffered a reverse. In the subsequent rout he was captured by a party of Mboanani's followers who hanged him out of hand on the roadside. It is related that his body was taken to his 'great place' at Mbunga and there burnt, but another account states that his followers dammed the Ruhuhu River, wrapped the body in an ox-skin, burnt it in the bed of the river and allowed the waters to flow over the remains. There seems to be little doubt that Mputa's body was cremated, but whether at Mbunga or in the bed of the Ruhuhu needs further confirmation. At this late stage it seems doubtful if reliable information on the point can be obtained.

    On the death of Mputa the Zuru party reorganized, and delivered a successful attack against Mbunga. Mputa's followers were heavily defeated and fled in all directions. The pure-blooded Swazi fled south across the Ruvuma, while the half-bred Swazi-Wa-ndendahauli fled north into Mahenge, where they founded the tribe now known as Wa-mbunga. The Wa-ndendahauli serfs fled east into Tunduru, where they still cherish their acquired Angoni status.

    Mboanani was succeeded by his son Chipeta, and he and Zuru established a dual control over the country lying between the Pitu and Ruvuma rivers. They raided in Ukinga and Upangwa and on the shores of Lake Nyasa, where Zuru's third son, Muharule, is well remembered. At Kipingo, a few miles north of Manda on the lake shore, may be seen the remains of a pile village, which the Wakissi of those parts state was built by their fathers as a refuge from the Angoni, who were reputed to be averse from entering or crossing water if they could avoid doing so. Muharule also raided into Uwungu on the eastern shores of Lake Rukwa. He succeeded Zuru on his death, and was himself succeeded by his nephew, Chabruma, who was later deposed and replaced by Usangila, the son of Muharule.

    On the death of Chipeta, a dispute regarding the inheritance arose between his sons Mpepo and Chabrunia. In this Mpepo was defeated and retired with his followers to Mkasu, near Mahenge, where he founded an independent stub-division of the Angotni. Chabruma was an energetic and successfuil warrior and brigand, and with his brother Palango raided into the Kilwa area, whence he retuined with many Wa-ngindo slaves and much loot. He has sometimes been referred to as the 'killer by night.'

    In 1890, with the advent of the German administration, the Angoni of Songea were under the leadership of Chabruma and MuLharule. The next event of importance in the history of these Songea Angoni seems to have been the Maji-maji rebellion of 1905-6. They' drank the water with disastrous results, for, although they were successful against a small expedition sent out against them from Songea, they were eventually scattered with heavy loss by a force sent down from Iringa. The severest punitive measures were then adopted by the Governnment, and it is affirmed that many more Angoni lost their lives as a result of these than in the rebellion itself. Tlleir fighting spirit, however, was not extin- guished, for they fought bravely both for the British aiid for the Germans in the Great War. An Angoni company raised by the Germans and known as the 'W' Company was regarded as being in the category of ' storm troops.'

    After the rebellion a number of minor chiefs came into being in Songea. They were for the most part sons of the Zuru and Mboanani families, and although in the course of time they became semi-independent,the administration of the tribe remained largely in the hands of the alien native Akidas, appointed by the Government as its agents in the outlving districts. Among these minor chiefs or sultans, as they came to be called, was one who was not a member of the old ruling families. He was Songea, an Mkaranga Nduna of Muharule, and it was from hini that the town of Songea took its name.

    Since the war a policy of indirect rule has been inaugurated and the internal struicture of the tribe has been, to some extent, reorganized, giving the direct descendants of Zuru and Mboanani that recognition to which they are entitled, while the exact status of the minor chiefs has been defined.

    The Angoni continue to be wanderers, and large numbers of them leave the Songea and Kahama districts every year, making their way to the Tanga district, where they obtain employment on the sisal estates and where they are regarded as first-class labour. Many of them settle down and never return home, or only do so after a lapse of years. They retain, however, a marked pride of race and have no doubts whatever regarding the inferiority of other tribes in the Territory.

    Saturday, May 29, 2010



  • Saturday, May 29, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Below is an eye witness account of the installation of Inkosi yamakhosi Gomani III in 1966. Another important piece of history that we dare not forget. Enjoy

    Author(s): G.T NURSE

    Only two persons in Malawi are entitled to be saluted, Bayete! On cold geographical grounds it is surprising that there should be so many. The eldest traditions of the Bantu speak of slow movements of people from north to south, west to east, less commonly east to west; only in comparatively recent and rare instances, from south to north. The sudden northward irruption in the second quarter of the last century, of Kalolo into the headwaters of the Zambesi, and that subsequent and lesser extension of theirs in the company of David Livingstone which ended in the assumption of a handful of minor chieftaincies in the Shire valley, were remarkable enough; but the convulsion which sent whole brave regiments of Zulu and Swazi warriors to extinguish what remained of the empire of Monomotapa, to establish a hegemony over the Tumbuka, to halt the Yao, to cleave the Marabvi in two and to set up outposts as far from their starting point as central Tanganyika, may not unworthily be compared with certain of the volkerwanderungen, so pregnant with consequences, of the dark ages of Europe.


    Monday, March 29, 2010


    Some Oral Traditions From The Maseko Ngoni

  • Monday, March 29, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Ian Linden

    University of Malawi

    THE MIGRATIONS that resulted from the conquests of Shaka Zulu and the disintegration of the Ndandwe Empire in the early 19th century have been subjected to extensive historical analysis. But where a study of the Maseko Ngoni of the Dedza district of Malawi might be expected there is a surprising gap. The tendency to treat Ngoni states as a whole, with each paramountcy an expression of the "Ngoni social system", has meant that in the past smaller groups, like the Maseko, have been simply assumed to illustrate principles of organization more impressively displayed by larger groups, like the Northern Ngoni. Now that the importance of differences between Ngoni states in their relationships with subject tribes, fission of segments, proximity to missions and trade routes, communications between paramounts and local indunas, is emphasised by historians no single state can be taken as paradigm. Rather than seeing Ngoni states in the context of the unfolding of general principles derived from the idea of the "martial society", increasing attention is being given to the unique circumstances in which the different refugee bands of the Mfecane found themselves. As a result the myth of the all-conquering Ngoni, dear to the hearts of the first Europeans in Malawi, has become increasingly suspect.

    In the sense that the northwards migration of the Ngoni from South Africa is attested to in Portuguese documents of the time, the Maseko cannot be said to have a pre-colonial history. However the problem of tracking this migration is similar to that of a physicist following electrons through a cloud-chamber; only when they collide with some other body can their position and direction be inferred. The Maseko did come into collision with a number of Portuguese settlements, but, as the settlers, fighting for their lives, rarely took any interest in the genealogy of their assailants, and as there were many different hands of refugees, this evidence is not very helpful. In large measure the early history of the Maseko 1825-1870 can only be reconstructed by a critical assessment of oral traditions.

    In this first article it is proposed to present what little oral history there has been collected from the Maseko and to show how much information can be sifted from these sources. The two available sources are interviews conducted by the anthropologist, Margaret Read, with Ishmael Mwale, treasurer to Inkosi Gomani II, between 1935-1939,1 and interviews conducted by a planter, Mr. Manser-Bartlett, who lived in the Ntakataka area between 1920-1969, with Nyathei, regentess for Abraham Kachindamoto, between 1898-1911, and with her husband Kautsiri.2

    The value of these testimonies above any that could be collected today lies not simply in their dating from the 1930's, but in their being collected before written histories of Malawi became available to the public: the informants are unlikely to be incorporating material of a secondary nature taken, for example from Ntara or Chibambo.3 The two branches of the Maseko, at Ntakataka and Dedza have, moreover, been separated since the climax of the civil war between Chikusi and Chifisi in 1891-1894. Testimonies from the two regions provide a useful cross-check on the influence of local factors on distortions and embellishments of the narrative.

    1. Ishmael Mwale. Treasurer to Gomani II recorded by M. Read.

    "Nqaba, son of Mbekani. made war on Shaka, but was defeated and retreated to Swaziland. Then Ngwana said 'If you run away from Shaka. he will trouble us, so I am going to leave' . . . . In the middle of the darkness Ngwana left together with Nqaba. They came to the country of Nancekwani at Mauwa and fought with the people. They defeated the four chiefs there and conquered the country. Ngwana went straight to Ulozi to the village of Mamba, father of Lewanika. He destroyed the land of the Lozi and died there . . . . When Magadlela left Ulozi he went to the country of Ndunduwali and from there to Nyika. He arrived at Cidima Mbirasweswe and there Zwangendabaa found them. There was fighting between Magadlela and Zwangendabaa and many people were killed and they did not know who they were because it was night. When Magadlela ran away he made for Golongozi where Nqaba was, and explained to him about the war. They mobilized the army to follow Zwangendaba. When they found him they destroyed many of his men. Somfuya and other brothers of Zwangendaba were killed. When they returned front the war they went to Cikwanda. There they found Gaza and fought with him and were defeated. Magadlela and Nqaba ran away. Nqaba took a friendly farewell because there was hunger .... Magadlela allowed him to leave and went straight to the country of the Makombe. They conquered it and came to Nyungwi and conquered them too. When they wanted to cross the Zambesi they made medicine and beat the water with a stick and separated it. All the army crossed and reached Kalumbi. They fought there and Mgoola took care of the chieftainship. Mgoola came with all the army to Ntumba and caught many Ntumba people. In Ntumba country Mputa entered the chieftainship."

    la. Praise poem to Ngwana, son of Goqweni, collected by M. Read.

    The last verses:

    "You who separated from the people of Shaka. Shaka of the Mbelebele kraal

    You who separated from the people of Nyathi, the son of Mashobane; it thundered, it was cloudy

    Thou resemblest cattle that were finished by wolves.

    You who originated with the people of Mzilikazi,

    You who originated with the people of Mpakana, son of Lidonga

    You who originated with the people of Ndandwe.'

    2.Nyathei and Kautsiri, regentess and her husband 1898-1911. notes of interviews recorded by Manser-Bartlett c. 1930.

    "Gassa chief. N'gawa chief (Transvaal) made war. People got tired of Ngawa (click) because he kept calling them out to dance ligubu and refused to allow them to marry. They went to see Par. Chief Gassa and asked him if they might go away to find war elsewhere and gain experience but had secretly made up mind to clear out to get land and wives for themselves. Chose Ngwana (Maseko) as their chief (son of N'gabe) -came to a river which they called Sawe when N'gwana died (land of Avenda) -all together at this time and fought and conquered the Avenda. Came to the country of the Maungwe, conquered them -who shall be the better? -quarrelled and parted- Jere to the West, Angoni East. Kafalamazani- Chuoko pa Nyambewo to Zambesi. Zambesi was in flood. Witch doctor took medicine, put it on stick and struck the water. River divided and the people passed. This side of the river conquered the Amalabvi, came to where the Nkondosi joins the Shire to the country of Mboola (Achikunda chief) and Kanyinda (Achikunda). By the time they had reached Maungwe country Chidiaonga was old enough to take over from his elder sister who acted as regent on N'gwana's death. Turned North to the country of the Antumba at Neno and settled. While there Sosala, son of Nankumba (Malawi) came to Chidiaonga at Muira (P.E.A.) and asked for his friendship. Here the people got tired of Chidiaonga because he made them shave the forward lock of hair and was cruel to them—so they deposed him and put Mputa in his place although he was still very young. Sosala offered to lead them up the East side of the lake to a country where there was cattle. The Angoni had none at the time--trekked to Ncheu. Banda; find only a few villages, Samara, Mpingangila (at that time there was no Mponda—he had not left Mataka's). Made a treaty of friendship with Mpingangila and crossed Shire on his canoes; crossed at Makandanji's to Chindamba's (present Malunda) and along the side of the lake to Makanjila's. Fought and conquered him and seized his cattle. Went to the country of the Matengo where we staved--gave Sosala some cattle and he came back. Stayed some time fighting the Matengo and built a village near a mountain called Ntapa-tapa--this was North of Songea. Then a fighting party looking for new country came from Nzongendaba. Agreement was reached about the division of country and there was no war. Mputa started a war with the Abena and during the fighting was killed. Chidiaonga was appointed chief but decided to leave because he did not want to stay where his brother had been killed. Mputa was cremated on the bed of the Rovuma. Mputa had seized cattle from the Ajere and Matengo and when they heard that Chidiaonga was going to move they got together in the early hours and raided him. He ran away as he was surprised and unprepared-fled to the East through the Yao country to the coast-Haruba, Mwanjira, Koloke to Liuli where they were told by the local natives not to sleep on the beach as the tide was coming in all the Angoni were surprised at this phenomenon. They returned through Yao, Makua and Anguru chiefs, Maonda, Mabaka, Nkanjila, Mzozozera - proceeded to Blantyre chasing out the Yao and a general war took place covering the country as far as Namwera. Chidiaonga made his headquarters at Chinamvu while his warriors swept through Kawinga's and fought with Jaliasi. During the war Mkata was the big chief at Mangoche. When the war was finished they moved to Domwe."

    2a. Anonymous story in Manser-Bartlett notebooks.

    "Chaka kept this particular tribe purely as warriors refusing to allow them to marry—refused to allow them even to kill cattle for themselves. So they agreed amongst themselves to send an nduna to Chaka to ask permission to make a raid and having obtained this permission not to return. The first to leave were the Jere under Nzongendaba and then some months after left the Maseko under Magazilla but became suspicious and sent an impi after them and a battle took place at Sojevana. An Ngoni killed Chaka's nduna. They travelled through the country of the Avenda and Makalanga and so came to the country of the Maswina. Then they went into the country of the Makombe and from there to the country of the Nyungwe and Achikunda. After taking the Makalanga they came up with the Ajere near Bulawayo and fought and parted. The Ajere proceeded North and the Angoni to Salisbury and so to the country of the Aswina. They crossed the Zambesi to the country of the Akapako and followed the Mawe river to another stream, the Nkondosi, rising near Sangano. Then they followed the Livelanji river to the country called Tambo (people Ambo)--crossed the Nkame river to Nyape and went to the country of the Ntumba, Ncheu. Stay for two years. Sosala appeared with buffalo droppings to make them believe there were good cattle and they go North — cross the Shire at Mpingangila and skirt the foothills around Malindi—move on to Kalanje where they fight the Yao (Chief Gwaza is from Kalanje). Continue to Mbamba Bay in the country of the Matengo and settle at Ntapa-tapa hill. Heavy fighting with a scouting party from Ajere (Zule Kanchenche-pfungo Gama). Zulu remains a vassal of Mputa. Soon after Mputa decides to fight the Abena and he was killed in this raid and burnt on the Rovuma at Lichiningo—the people stayed to make beer and dance ligubu. Then the Ajere rebelled and attacked during the night. The Maseko fled following the Rovuma to the sea at Liuli- arrived back at Chilwa and fought Nkanjila and Kawinga -to Chiradzulo. Then moved on to Njowe near Matope and went to Domwe."

    3 Genealogies from M. Read and Manser-Bartlett notebooks.

    An evaluation of these stories requires some knowledge of the probable bias of informants. Perhaps the most predictable is a tendency to convey an impression of unity and homogeneity where none in fact existed. There can be little doubt that from their origin the group of people now called the Maseko Ngoni were extremely heterogeneous in composition. Throughout their migrations the assimilation of captives formed the basis of their society. The presentation of Maseko history as a unified history of a clan is therefore artificial.

    It is instructive that an analysis of these stories does reveal a number of confused strands of tradition, products of the diversity within Ngoni society of incorporated groups. More particularly the two branches of the Maseko may be expected to use oral history to bolster their claims in relation to their subject peoples and to each other. So it is important to bear in mind that the Ntakataka branch is the product of a break-away movement by followers of the son of a former regent, while the Dedza branch can truthfully claim continuity with a line of paramounts going back as far as, and perhaps beyond, Mputa.

    Praise poems and songs provide a useful yardstick for the measuring the reliability of non-formal genealogies. In Ngoni society, with its migrations and assimilation of alien groups, popular stories can become distorted in a short space of time. Praise poems are more trustworthy; as a formal tradition relying on rhyme and rhythm for effect, entrusted to "Umbongi", official praisers of the paramount, the likelihood of major distortions over a period of less than one hundred years is remote. As far as accidental distortion is concerned the poem for Ngwana son of Goqweni provides the most reliable evidence for the origin of the Maseko, but, as a piece of functional history, belonging to the paramount, it may quite intentionally purvey a spurious impression of continuity and nobility of ancestry to the listener.

    There has clearly been some conflation of Ndebele, Shangaan and even Makololo traditions in the non-formal accounts. The reason for this conflation may either be that elements from all these groups became associated with the Maseko on their travels, so bringing their own traditions into the common pool, or that the Maseko merely met members of these groups early in their migrations and incorporated parts of their traditions into their history. It would be impossible to say with any accuracy when these contacts were made or when a particular group joined the Maseko. Temporary alliances were made between different parties and many battles fought between 1825 -1835. At any time a given band might be in alliance with any other around a camp fire, or victoriously incorporating fresh batch of captives: in every case there would be an opportunity for additions to he made to what ould be increasingly a common pool of stories.

    The origin of the Maseko during Mzilikazi's secession from Shaka after 1822 finds confirmation both from the poem and Ntakataka accounts. The tradition of a secret decision not to return to Shaka made as a result of his prohibition of marriage and personal assimilation of cattle, is the classic story of the secession of Mzilikazi's regiment. Ngwana would be a member of Mzilikazi's regiment who left with his fellow clansmen c. 1825. It would be difficult to disprove the contention, though, that Ngwana merely took with him fellow members of his age-set who later came to justify their position in relation to captives in terms of kinship, forming a spurious "royal clan". Mzilikazi's followers only amounted to about 300 people so Ngwana's hand must have been very small indeed and might possibly have been a few related families.1

    From references to "N'gawa" and "Nqaba" in all stories -both attempts at rendering the Zulu click in Nxaba- Nxaba and Ngwana appear to have met and formed a temporary alliance. Documentary sources would suggest that this alliance was formed in the area of Delagoa Bay where Shoshangane, Nxaba and Zwangendaba were raiding and forming alliances of convenience.5 Bryant refers to a battle between Mzilikazi and Nxaba c. 1825 after which Nxaba moved eastwards, so it may have been during this period that the alliance between Nxaba and Ngwana was struck.6 By way of support for the idea that the hand under Ngwana moved east, Elmslie mentions another battle between the Maseko and Zwangendaba in the Delagoa Bay area.7

    From the clan names to be found around Dedza (the Ndau in particular) it can be concluded that the Nxaba/Ngwana band captured Venda people and moved north from the Transvaal. From the fact that Ngwana and Nxaba then crop up in widely separated areas it must be assumed that the alliance broke up; Ngwana raided in the Zimbabwe area While Nxaba was further to the east. Raids by a "Musese Nyana" possibly Ngwana arc still remembered in the Zimbabwe area.8 The accounts of Ngwana's death on the "Sawe" (Sabi river) and, from the Dedza account, on the "Ulozi" are not as contradictory as might first appear. "Ulozi" is a plausible corruption of "Urozwi", a name that would be given to the major riser in the Rozwi area of Zimbabwe. i.e. the Sabi river."

    "Maswina" being a derogatory name for the Shona people, both accounts are in agreement that the Maseko moved north-east into Mashonaland; the "Nyika" of Mwale's story should then be read as "Manica". This movement might easily have been caused by a disastrous encounter with Zwangendaba's rearguard. Between 1831-1833 Vila Manica was attacked a number of times; this gives a probable date for Nxaba's and the Maseko's stay in Manicaland." Finally if "Golongosi" is taken to be "Gorongosa" in the Barwe district of Mozambique there seems no reason to question Mwale that the Maseko met Nxaba again after they had attacked Vila in successive years.

    The alliance between Nxaba and Ngwana was renewed in order to eliminate threat posed by Zwangendaba. Both bands moved west to locate their common enemy. By this time the Maseko party was led by "Magadlela" (Mwale), "Magazilla" (Nyathei) -- both attempts at rendering the click in Mgidla whom Bryant gives, interestingly enough, as a relative of Nxaba.11 The attack on Zwangendaba's Jere and the death of Somfuya are corroborated in Chibambo's vivid account of the same battle from Jere oral traditions. As a result Zwangendaba withdrew to the safety of the north-bank of the Zambezi south of Zumbo on November 19th, 1835, a date that can be fixed accurately owing to the occurrence of a solar eclipse.12

    Further proof for the presence of both Nxaba and Mgidla in this area is given in a diary entry made by Livingstone from Zumbo itself: "Zumbo. January 16th, 1856. The last of the population withdrew suddenly on learning of the approach of the Caffres under Changamara, Ngabe and Mpakana".13 It will be recalled that "Mpakana" was a name found in Ngwana's ancestry in the praise poem; Bryant also tantalisingly gives an "Mbekane" as father of Nxaba.14 It seems reasonable to suppose that Mgidla might have used this title.

    With the Jere put to flight the Maseko appear to have moved back again eastwards to the area of north Barwe where they might have had a settlement on the Mvira river (Muira in the Ntakataka accounts). On their return they passed through Chioco (Nyathei's "Chuoko") and reached NYUNGWE, a name used both for the town of Tete and the tribe in the area. Between 1836-1838 there is documentary evidence of Ngoni raids on the prazos around Sena; Mgidla and Nxaba would be the only groups in the area.15 In about 1838 Shangaan traditions record a battle between Nxaba and Shoshangane.16 This pressure from the south by Shoshangane's raiding parties provides an explanation why the Maseko moved north across the Zambezi the following year.

    Much of the confusion in both narratives surrounding the person of "Gaza" or "Gassa"---both, of course, Shoshangane ---might be explained by supposing that, as a result of attacks by Shoshangane, Nxaba was put to flight and his band dispersed, some going to the Shangaan, others going to the Maseko. Liesegang has recorded a story of a group defecting from Nxaba to the Shangaan almost identical to the Ntakataka accounts of a group leaving Nxaba. The Ntakataka accounts would thus represent a strand of tradition brought in by defectors from Nxaba. this would also provide an explanation for the genealogy giving Nxaba as the father of Ngwana; Ngwana's sonship would merely have been an expression of the relative importance of the two leaders. Ngwana might in fact have been , at the beginning, little more than an important induna under Nxaba.

    The fate of Nxaba is equally confused. According to Bryant he reached Barotseland only to die in a trap set by the Makololo.17 This is supported by a reference in Livingstone to an "Ndebele" raid on the Makololo led by "Mpakana".18 Mwale's account also brings in the Lozi area in his obviously misplaced reference to Lewanika. The only equivalent to be found in Kautsiri's story is a strange reference to the Angoni being warned about the tide at "Liuli". Now the Angoni were well acquainted with the sea and tidal movements in the Indian Ocean are not impressive. It is remotely possible that this "Luili" is a corruption of "Lealui" and the sea, the flood plain in Barotseland, where a large area is covered with water during the rainy season. The Maseko are known to have had some contact with Livingstone's Makololo porters, during the Trans-Shire raids of the 1880s from whom they might have got these stories. It is hard to think of any other way for such traditions to cover the immense distance between Dedza and Barotseland.

    Whatever the details, the origins of the Maseko are placed in the Ntakataka traditions from Nyathei, in the context of an event connected with Shoshangane, while in the Mwale and anonymous accounts their beginnings are linked with Mzilikazi or Shaka. Each tradition gives an aspect of the truth, for after their encounter with Shoshangane the Maseko crossed the Zambezi at the Lupata Gorge, south of Tete, to begin a new chapter in their history distinct from Nxaba. There are two clues to dating their crossing as 1839: firstly a statement by Nyathei recorded by Manser-Bartlett, that the Maseko were only a few months behind the Jere when they finally- moved north. It is known that the Jere stayed in Nsenga country on the north bank of the Zambezi for about four years, so their departure date would be late 1839.19 Secondly there are Portuguese records which mention "landeens- crossing the Zambezi in 1839.20

    Mgidla died shortly after this date and the regency was taken over by an elder sister, Mgoola, until Mputa was old enough to rule. The route north can be followed from the list of tribes conquered: Achikunda, the vassals of the Portuguese along the Zambezi, Ambo, further to the north and, around Ncheu, the Ntumba. Predictably the Ntakataka source tries to squeeze in Chidiaonga, the father of Chifisi, as paramount for a period in order to give credence to the Kachindamoto-Chifisi line over the Gomani-Chikusi line. The narrator is then faced with the difficulty of disposing of Chidiaonga to make way for the traditions associated with Mputa at Songea.21 The discrepancy between the genealogies Nxaba/Ngwana versus Goqweni/Ngwana might equally represent an attempt by the Ntakataka branch to play down the importance of the house of Mputa by supporting a popular genealogy against the "royal" one.22

    The movement of the Maseko from Ncheu to Songea is picked up in Chewa traditions collected by Ntara.23 The Maseko and Chewa versions are virtually identical: Sosala, the Kalonga, lured the Maseko across the Shire at Mpingangila near Fort Johnston c. 1846. Mputa trekked north along the east side of the lake in search of the promised rich cattle country. Both traditions further agree that Sosala and his Maravi accompanied the Ngoni to Songea to return later with a present of some cattle. It must therefore be assumed that their relationship was an alliance rather than that of a subject tribe.

    Apart from minor details, explicable in terms of a Maseko attempt to present their years at Songea in the noblest light, the Maseko stories for this period co-incide well with oral traditions collected from the Ngoni in Tanzania. Shortly after their settlement near Songea in 1850 two Jere segments led by Zulu Gama and Mbonani appeared around the north end of the lake. Mputa successfully attacked them and Zulu was roasted to death as a punishment, while Mbonani died shortly afterwards. After an interval two sons of Zulu, Hawai and Chipeta, roused the neighbouring Nindi, Bena, Pangwa and Ndendeuli tribes to revolt.24 The Maseko were defeated and Mputa killed. According to custom he was cremated where the Lichiningo river enters the Rovuma and Chidiaonga took over as regent for Chikusi.

    The movements of the Maseko after this are dificult to determine. Without field work in Mozambique it would be impossible to say whether the Maseko did move eastwards towards the sea and then swung round in an arch, or, what is more probable, retraced their steps and fled back south into Malawi.

    On reaching the Shire Highlands in the 1860s the Maseko come into Yao oral history.25 Settlements were made near Mulanje and Matope before they were finally lured by Sosala again into the crossing the Shire from where they moved north to settle on Domwe mountain c. 1870.

    It would be tempting to analyse these migrations in terms of some internal nnecessity of the Ngoni martial way of life. But it is too obvious that these great treks of the Maseko were not some northwards goldrush for cattle and captives, far less the triumphal march of a victorious army. Almost all the movements of the Maseko can be correlated with external threats. From 1825 onwards it is possible to give a list of threats with their consequences:

    (1) Fear of Shaka's army-move north-east into the Delagoa Bay area.

    (2) Presence of powerful bands under Zwangendaba and Shoshangane-form an alliance with Nxaba and trek northwards.

    (3) Make contact with Zwangendaba's rearguard--flee north-east to Manica and form a second alliance with Nxaba.

    (4) Successful battle against Zwangendaba c. 1834-return to the Barwe area and continue raiding. possibly from a settlement on the Mvira river.

    (5) Shoshangane's raiding parties defeat Nxabe --cross the Zambezi in 1839.

    (6) Find the Ncheu area already devastated by Zwangendaba and the route north blocked. Promise of rich cattle country to the north-form alliance with Maravi and move round to the east side of the lake and proceed north.

    (7) Settlement at Songea threatened attack Zulu and Mbonani and win.

    (8) Attacked by subject tribes under leadership of Hawai--- flee south again.

    (9) Settlements in the Shire Highlands but Yao presence gets stronger-move to Matope.

    (10) Yao chieftains still a threat-- move and settle at Domwe, at the extremity of Mpezeni's raiding territory and in good cattle country.

    This bald cause-and-effect catalogue exaggerates, of course, the passivity of the Ngoni. It does, however, emphasise the important point that their failure to form any permanent settlement before 1870 was not entirely a choice of their own making. Neither were the early relations of the Ngoni the blitzkrieg affair sometimes portrayed. According to the relative strengths of forces around them they went in for alliances quite as much as assimilation. A suitable alliance of 'subject' tribes against them, as occured at Songea was, moreover, enough to defeat them.

    In the next article the forces ranged against the Maseko during their permanent settlement at Domwe will be examined. An attempt will be made to show that the colonial period from 1870-1900, as well as their early history, found the Ngoni as much the victims of circumstance as the mighty warriors of missionary mythology.
    Wife of a Mozambican Ngoni chieftain in 1936

    References and notes

    1. Read M., The Ngoni of Nyasaland, Oxford University Press, 1956.

    2. Papers presented to the library of Chancellor College, 1969.

    3. Ntara S. J., Mbiri ya Achewa, Limbe, Malawi Publications, 1965 and Chibambo Y. M., My Ngoni of Nyasaland, 1942, London, United Society for Christian Literature.

    4. Lye W. L., "The Ndebele Kingdom South of the Limpopo River", J. Afr. History, Vol. X, No. 1, 1969.

    5. Warhurst P. R.. "The Scramble and African Politics in Gazaland", Zambesian Past, p. 47, ed. Stokes E. & Brown R., Manchester University Press, 1965.

    6. Bryant A. T., Olden Times in Zululand and Natal. Longmans, 1929. p. 424.

    7. Elmslie W. A., Among the Ngoni, Edinburgh, Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier. 1899, p. 19.

    8. This and subsecuent references were supplied to me by Dr. G. Liesegang of Kola University to whom I am deeply indebted for details of Portuguese records.

    10. Warhurst, The Scramble, p. 48.

    11. Bryant. Olden Times, p. 280.

    12. Lancaster G. D.. "Tentative chronology of the Ngoni", J. Royal Anth. Soc., 1937, XVII. p. 78.

    13. Schapera I.. Livingstone's African Journal: 1853-1856, Chatto & Windus, 1963, p. 375.

    14. Bryant, Olden Times, p. 424.

    16. ibid.

    17. Bryant. Olden Times, p. 424.

    18. Scharer-a L. Livingstone's Private Journals, Chatto & Windus, 1960, p. 20.

    19. Lane-Poole E.H.The Native Tribes of the Eastern Province of Northern Rhodesia, Lusaka. 1949. p.6 and Fraser D., Wining a Primitive People, London, 1922, p. 312.

    21. Mputa's death and cremation on the Lichiningo River is a fixed point for all narratives.

    22. It is interesting that today the Kachindamoto's area go so far as to say that Chikusi and Chifisi were brothers with the same father.

    23. Mara. Mbiri ya Achewa. p. 30.


    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.