KING SHAKA`S SON – Fact or Fiction?

shaka_300Nandi`s kraal, the New Emkindini, was about five km from Bulawayo and two from Em-Tandeni*(13)and Shaka frequently visited Nandi. Apparently Nandi often raised the question of marriage and grandchildren but  Shaka brushed this aside and wanted no legitimate heir as he thought his children would be potential rivals. He did have a large harem, but these were mostly girls he used as trade and gifts for other chiefs. He never married and women found pregnant by him were put to death. (It seems in actual fact that such women were sent away and their children never recognised as being of royal blood). His households therefore were not dominated by wives but by stern older women of the royal family. In his absence the adminitrative authority was carried jointly by the female elder of the settlement and by the induna.

Despite all Shaka`s great precautions a Cele girl by the name of Mbuzikazi became pregnant by Shaka and after the third month she and the royal matron in charge of the Em-Tandeni kraal made a secret report to Nandi. Not prepared to take any chances, Nandi sent the girl to live with her daughter, Nomcoba at the old Emkindini kraal about 12 km from Melmoth. When the boy was born a wet nurse named Nomagwebu was installed to look after the child and Mbuzikazi was sent back to Em-Tandeni to prevent Shaka from becoming suspicious. Between Mbuzikazi, Nandi and Nomcuba the child grew up with love and attention at the old Emkindini kraal and to all intent and purposes the child belonged to Nomagwebu.

When Shaka moved his royal residence to Dukuza it seems Nandi seized the oppurtunity to bring the child to her own kraal, the new Emkindini, where she could raise him.

In time it seems Shaka became aware of the child and confronted Nandi. In Fynn`s book he writes that Shaka decided not to kill the boy as the child gave such pleasure to Nandi. Nandi decided to send the child Mbuzikazi and Nomagwebu to Tembeland (Swaziland) to ensure the childs safety – not only from Shaka but also from Shaka`s half-brothers.

There is no verification as to the truth whether Shaka had a son, if his life was spared or even if the boy spent the rest of his life in obscurity in Tembeland. (Swaziland)


*(13) Em-Tandeni(place of love) was a kraal near Bulawayo that was Shaka`s relaxation and pleasure kraal where he kept his specially chosen women.


The death of Nandi is filled with contradictory statements and there are various views on how she actually died. It is difficult to seperate fact from fiction as most information is by oral representation or from the diary of Henry Francis Fynn which for the most part is a memoir.

In the spring of the 11th year of Shaka`s rule in October 1827, while hunting 130km away from Nandi`s Emkindini kraal, Shaka received news that Nandi the Ndlovukazi (The Female Elephant) was gravely ill. He walked to her kraal between the late afternoon and noon the next day. Henry Francis Fynn, who accompanied Shaka on the hunt was asked to attend to Nandi.

Fynn descibed Nandi`s hut being filled with mourning women and smoke and he had to ventilate the hut to be able to breathe. Nandi was already in a coma and Fynn reported to Shaka that he did not expect her to live through the day. Soon Shaka was given news that Nandi was dead.

Fynn attributed her death to `dysentary` but persistant Zulu tradition has it that Shaka killed her. There is also the possiblilty however that Mkabayi, Shaka`s aunt spread the rumor of Shaka killing Nandi in order to turn people against him and that she had been the one to order his assassination.

According to Zulu belief, Shaka was said to have put to death women within his isigodlo(harem) who he had made pregnant, in order to prevent the birth of rivals to his throne. Shaka upon finding out that his mother had not told him that she had permitted a Cele woman (Mbuzikazi) to leave the isigodlo with her son, was enraged and stabbed Nandi, `with the sharp shank of a spear through her leather skirt and up her anus, as she stooped to feed the fire`*(14)

Whether this is true or not, Shaka was overcome with remorse at the death of Nandi and in a public show of unrestrained grief people tried to outdo each other in their show of mourning as proof of their innocence of any complicity in Nandi`s daeath.

Two days after her death, Nandi was buried. Various personal attendents, were killed and buried with her as according to custom a person of her rank could not die alone, but must have servants to cook and serve her below. Nandi was to be shown all the funeral honors of a Nguni chief. In the book `A Zulu King Speaks- Statements made by Cetshwayo`, he states that beyond what he had been told he did not know what happened at Nandi`s death but that the same ceremony was observed at the burying of a great person as observed in burying a common person. The only difference is that the grave of a great person was made into a nicer shape, a wooden fence erected around the grave and that every year when the grass is burnt, there are men to see that the grass on or near the grave was not burnt.

*(14) The Rope of Sand – The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Kingdom – John Laband

After Nandi`s death Shaka and his people where thrown into general hysteria. Thousands of people and cattle were  killed and there was a enforced one year of mourning.

Lineage of Zulu Kings

  • Inggonyama JAMA kaNdaba 1763/1781, married (amongst others) Mthaniya Sibiya and had issue. He died c1781.
    • Phalo kaJama, died c1759.
    • Mkabayi kaJama (f), born c1760.
    • Mmama kaJama (f), born c1760.
    • Inggonyama SENZANGAKHONA kaJama (by Mthaniya)(qv)
    • Mawa kaJama (f), married Mkatshwa Nxumalo
    • Nobongoza kaJama, had issue.
      • Mqundane [Maqhoboza] kaNobongoza fl.1840, had issue.
        • Magwala kaMqundane
        • Nozishada kaMqundane
        • Nkabanina kaMqundane
        • Ntabata kaMqundane
        • Ngcongcwana kaMqundane, had issue.
          • Gilbert kaNgcongcwana fl.1883
    • Keke kaJama
    • Magunuza kaJama
    • Vubukulwana kaJama
    • Nomaphikela kaJama (f)
    • Sizile kaJama (f)
    • Nomahawu kaJama (f)
    • Mfolozi kaJama, had issue.
      • Manqe kaMfolozi
    • Zivalele kaJama, had issue.
      • Makhasana kaZivalele, had issue.
        • Madokodo kaMakhasana
        • Sfile kaMakhasana
        • Ndukwana kaMakhasana
        • Lusinga kaMakhasana
    • Sojiyiza kaJama, had issue.
      • Thokothoko kaSojiyiza, had issue.
        • Ndabezimbi kaThokothoko, had issue.
          • Mahu kaNdabezimbi, had issue.
            • Mahayihayi kaMahu, married Inggonyama Dinizulu (see below)
      • Ndombana kaSojiyiza
      • Maphitha [Nomdidwa] kaSojiyiza, Chief of the Mandlakazi -/1872, had issue. He died 1872.
        • Hayiyana kaMaphitha, born 1834, died 21st July 1883 at Ulundi.
        • Hlomuza kaMaphitha
        • Qethuka kaMaphitha
        • Mcwasimbana kaMaphitha
        • Xukwana kaMaphitha
        • Ndlovu kaMaphitha
        • Phuzukumila kaMaphitha
        • Siwana kaMaphitha
        • Fokothi kaMaphitha, died 5th January 1880 (1884?).
        • Makhoba kaMaphitha, present at Ulundi 1883
        • Zibebhu kaMaphitha (by Khundlase), Chief of the Mandlakazi 1872/1904, born 1841 in Nongoma, had issue, over 200 children. He died 27th August 1904 in Nongoma.
          • Msenteli kaZibebhu, Chief of one section of the Mandlakazi 1904/aft 1917.
          • Bhokwe kaZibebhu, Chief of another section of the Mandlakazi 1904/aft 1917.
          • Mchitheki kaZibebhu
          • Konela kaZibebhu
  • Inggonyama SENZANGAKHONA kaJama 1781/1816, born c1762, married at least 16 wives, including, (1) Mkabi kaSodubo Nzuza, died 1879, (2) Umfudukazi, (3) Nandi kaBebe eLangeni, born c1766, died 10th October 1827, (4) Langazana Gubeshe Sibiya, keeper of the inkatha ye-yezwe, died 1884, (5) OkaSondaba Buthelezi, (6) Mpikase kaMlilela Ngobese, (8) Bhibhi kaSompisi Ntuli, born c1780, died January 1840, (9) Songiya kaNgotsha Hlabisa, (10) Ncaka Qwabe, (11) Magulana Nene, (12) Mzondwase, (13) Zishungu kaMudli, (14) Mehlana kaNtopho Ntshangase and had issue, 14 known sons and several daughters. He died 1816.

Inggonyama SHAKA kaSenzangakhona 1816/1828, born 1787, died sp 24th September 1828 at Dukuza