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Most of the article was highly opinionated, and was removed due to wikipidia policies.

It's still terribly opinionated and written like two people editing back and forth to argue their points. Way, way too many "However,"s and "Nevertheless,"es. Absolutely ridiculous to read. This article needs some serious editing. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree. "...continues to cast a long shadow over the history of southern Africa." is not suitable language for an encyclopedic article. I'm reading a description of a military dictator using methods no different to any other dictator black or white so there's no point in moralising. The same goes for his imperial conquests and the consequent death and destruction. The Brisih Army was doing exactly the same thing. There is no moral superiority on either side so such implications should not appear in a modern encyclopedia. This is, after all, the period of the slave trade and the conquest of Africa by (mostly) Europeans who were as bloodthirsty, ruthless and murderous as any Shaka when resistance was encountered. My comments would of course be suitable as comment, not as part of this article. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


Everywhere else it seems that the assegai is the short spear that is called Iklwa here. It would be nice to know where the name Ilkwa came from, and whether the assegai was the short or the long one. Hornblower 02:54, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I seem to remember "assegai" from reading abridged biographies as a kid. But I was in West Africa, and the story was from accross the continent.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 07:04, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)
I never heard of a word like "Iklwa", can't even pronounce it. I will ask around maybe for you. As far as I know "assegai" is "umkhonto" or spear.--Jcw69 08:38, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"Iklwa" was the sound the assegai made as it was withdrawn from the enemy's body. -- 23:47, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Has it ever struck anybody else as ironical that the (purported?) picture that we have of Shaka as illustration shows him with an abnormally long spear, almost a lance? Not that there is a better picture (as far as I know), but still ... Elf-friend 07:03, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

I don't know if "Iklwa" is how you spell it, but the short stabbing spear was definitely named for the sound it makes when you pull it out of the body. Look this up.

This picture, albeit a famous one, has been identified by Zulus themselves as being wrong for 3 reasons. One, already mentioned, is the size of the assegai (too long). Another is the size of the shield which is also bigger than those used by the Zulu. Lastly, the dress is not correct - Zulus did not (and still don't) wear long-ish grass skirts and go bare-chested. The long feather in the headdress is also not something that Zulus wear.

Shaka did indeed wear an ostrich feather as a sort of rank badge. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:55, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Just to add to the confusion, I've also seen iklwa spelled with an x instead of a k--unfortunately, Zulu words don't easily fit into the Latin alphabet. I couldn't tell you what the generally agreed on spelling is, but the different spellings could be part of the problem. (Darn it, Shaka should have learned the Latin alphabet specifically for my convenience in this matter! Or is that just me?)

The Zulu warriors main weapon was the assegai. There were however 2 forms: 1st the light throwing assegai (around 6 feet in length) and the short stabbing assegai which was heavier and with a broader blade. It is the latter which was introduced by Shaka for close quarter fighting. It was this spear which was also known as the iKlwa. This was the sucking sound it made as it was withdrawn from the victims body. The warrior was also known to shout "Ngadia!" (I have eaten) when the blade was withdrawn. The Washing of the Spears, Donald R Morris. 4th September 2007 --Preceding unsigned comment added by Wallsey 30 (talk o contribs) 13:43, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

A bit of duplication

One section talks about buffalo formations, and another about a charging bull tactic. Is this one and the same? Even if it isn't, shouldn't both be in the section about military reforms rather than in the historic overview? --Joy [shallot] 10:24, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes they are the same. The Zulus refer to it as a Bull formation. I will take a shot at tidying it up. Wizzy 11:53, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)


This is some of the best information I have found on Shaka. I especially value the critical evaluation of the historical accounts and evidence. Unfortunately the article does not name any of the books etc. from which this information was taken. It would be helpful to know where to look for further information of this type on the topic. Can anybody help me out? Kiwiki 08:43, August 7, 2005 (UTC)

Based on this article, I picked up Morris' work and am thoroughly entertained. The Shaka's innovations section seems to come from The Washing of the Spears, but I'm not sure how to Wikicite it. Vdrj2 16:55, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Senzangakona vs. Senzangakhona

It's me again. I just noticed that both of the above mentioned spellings of Shaka's father's name feature in the text and I would suggest in terms of consistency to decide for one of the versions. From what I know about Zulu orthography I would go for the one with the 'h', even though the main article on Senzangak(h)ona uses the version without. At least a redirect should be added so both spellings produce a link to the main article. Anybody have an opinion on this? Kiwiki 12:11, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

Being a black Xhosa man, who grew up speaking isiXhosa which is very similar to isiZulu, i know the correct spelling is undoubtedly the version with the h. The other version of the spelling is also acceptable, but they sound differently. loyiso 1:55, February 01, (UTC) --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

An effort to discredit Shaka Zulu?

Is it just me, or does this whole article read as if it were written solely to discredit Shaka Zulu? I realize the man may be an overblown hero, but isn't it a bit over the top in point of view? Can we factor out the discussion of "Shaka in history" vs "Shaka in popular myth"? --


Some revisionists have doubted the military and social innovations customarily attributed to Shaka, denying them outright, or attributing them variously to European influences. But both explanations fall short. In fact the Zulu culture which included other tribes and clans contained a number of practices that Shaka could have drawn on to fulfill his objectives- whether in raiding, conquest or hegemony. Some of these practices are shown below.

So if the "revisionists" are wrong then perhapses he was "smarter than than the average bear". The whole tone of this article implies that as he was not European, he must have copied ideas from other sources because he could never have had an original thought. The genius of the man is not that he took ideas from other places, but that he combined ideas with novel innovations, in such a way that he created a successful method of warfare which has left a legacy of a large nation. One of the things which impressed me about the depth of the chage which Shaka iniciated was reading about abolition of circumcision rituals among the Zulu, because it took boys away from military training. That was a profound revolution for which there are few comparisons recorded anywhere else in history. --Philip Baird Shearer 04:58, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

New additions

I've pulled some substantial new additions from the article as being tenditious and lacking citations, though I have to say that this article has big citation problems in general. An eight section article and not one reference?

Unfortunately this region isn't my strong point, even for a figure as famous as Shaka; I'd suggest somebody get in here with a few texts at hand and start weeding through these claims.

Here's the diff for the new stuff I pulled: [1]

What do y'all think? --Dvyost 08:10, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I liked most of it. I will go with the sandal edits, and the rest, while a bit wordy, seems plausible. The Sources section I think is very valuable, and I think these additions should probably be edited into the Sources section. I am not a historian. Wizzy 08:21, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Lack of sources and uncertain assertions

I have made some small changes to the original Shaka article. The main difficulty is that the original article fails to list any sources, contains several factual errors and advances an assertion denying Shaka any of the innovations tradtionally credited to him. The article bases this denial on new scholarship by Wright, Wylie, et al. yet fails to clearly document those assertions or their basis. In addition, the original article also asserts "Zulu sources" as showing no record of various Shakan innovations, yet again, fails to provide any detail on exactly what these Zulu sources are. Examples are shown below:

1) The article casts doubt on such stories as elimination of sandals in the Zulu regiments, but several military accounts on Zulu warfare note the bare feet of many Zulu. See Donald Morris (The Washing of The Spears) and Ian Knight (Anatomy of the Zulu Army).

2) On the matter of logistic support for the Zulu formations by herdboys carrying cattle, and other supplies, the original article asserts that such support was only used with "light" forces. But no evidence is provided to support this claim, and the concept of "light" forces seems to be misleading in the Zulu context. The entire Zulu war machine was light infantry, and it is clear that the herdboy logistic support marched with both big and small impi formations. Again, see Morris and Knight.

3) The famous "buffalo horns" formation composed of fast moving flanking units (the horns), a central main force (the chest) and a reserve group (the loins) seem to be dismissed out of hand as not originating with Shaka. This is fine if such dismissal can be supported by solid evidence. However, none is offered. The revision shows that use of separate maneuver elements was well known among tribal peoples worldwide, and indeed, some Xhosa groups of Southern Africa used separate elements including an advance guard. See Noel Mostert's history of Southern Africa "Frontiers". The positioning of reserve forces with their backs to the battle is another indication of linkages to ritualized tribal warfare, whatever its actual efficacy or application as a fast moving raid was in progress. In short, the buffalo horn formation was well within the cultural tooklit and precedent available to Shaka. He only had to systematize and extend those cultural elements already in place.

4) The original article makes doubtful assertions for example: "There is only one instance in the evidence that the so-called 'horns and chest', or 'bull's head' formation was used (in 1826 against the Ndwandwe), in which event the two 'horns' accidentally ended up stabbing each other!." But this claim from the original article is not supported by the published work of historian Donald Morris in his "Washing of the Spears". To the contrary, Shaka won the battle when he unleashed the flanking regiments around a hill to surround and smash the Ndwandwe into retreat. (Morris, page 62.)

5) The original article asserts that: "At this point Shaka was so under-resourced that he was forced to flee southwards across the Thukela River, establishing his capital Bulawayo in Qwabe territory, with Qwabe help." But the published work of historian Morris flatly contradicts this, showing that Shaka and the Qwabe were at enmity when the new capital of KwaBulawayo was established. See Morris, page 61.

6) As another example of dubious accuracy the original article asserts: "In Qwabe, Shaka was able to intervene in an existing succession dispute, and help his own choice, Nqetho, into power; Nqetho then ruled as a proxy chieftain for Shaka. This was the pattern, so that the bulk of the so-called Zulu kingdom at this time was ruled by almost entirely independent but friendly chieftains." But this claim too is again contradicted by historian Morris who shows that the bulkof Shaka's reign was established heavily by military action, smashing rivals and incorporating the remnants into his own army. The claim as to Nquetho is also questionable. Morris shows him as a chief of the Qwabe, but says nothing to support the claim that Shaka installed him.

In short, the original article is riddled with both factual errors and faulty claims, and provides no detailed citations to establish is reliability. I stand to be corrected on any corrections made above, but in addition to questionable accuracy, the original article provided little credible evidence to merely dismiss the general consensus of historians on the innovations credited to Shaka.

I have provided supporting documentation for my changes in the form of Donald Morris ("The Washing of The Spears") and Ian Knight ("Anatomy of the Zulu Army"), Robert Edgerton ("Like Lions They Fought") and Noel Mostert ("Frontiers") and am listing these citations at the bottom of the article in the interests of accuracy. Enriquecardova 04:53, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I would like to see the Sources section put back, and Ritter's fanciful ideas listed as such. Wizzy 18:11, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
As the article says Morris generally credits Shaka with a large number of military and social innovations, and this is the general consensus in the field. (Morris 617-620). and this should be the tone of this article should take with examples given of any revisionist theories. At the moment I think this article reads as if the Revisionist POV is the correct one and that Morris's view is now near to discredited. As an example
One Encyclopaedia Brittanica article (Macropaedia Article "Shaka" 1974 ed) asserts that he was something of a military genius for his reforms and innovations. Other writers take a more limited view.
This statement implies that only one article has ever implied that Shaka was a military genius and that all other writers have taken a more limited view. While I think that if Morris work is taken as a whole, that Shaka in his own setting, compares with that near contemporary military innovator in Europe, Napoleon, who is often called a military genius. Now that is clearly a POV and does not need to be included, but the current phrasing of much of the article is in my opinion pushing a revisionist (belittling) POV which the edits made by Enriquecardova and others have partially fixed but not fundamentally altered. I think the way to improve the article is to put in citations for all the arguments given and remove those which do not have a citation. This is Resource: Verifiability policy:
Information on resource must be reliable. Facts, viewpoints, theories, and arguments may only be included in articles if they have already been published by reliable and reputable sources. Articles should cite these sources whenever possible. Any unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
If this policy is followed, then the statement "[all] other writers take a more limited view." will have to go, (or be reworded to something like "XYZ disagrees and has stated that Shaka's military victories were nothing but minor incremental changes to the local military methods employed at that time.ref XYZ page 123") because it is very difficult to find a reliable citationfor such a generalised statement as "other writers" and replacing it as specific cited argument that takes a contary view is more balanced and within the resource WP:NPOV policy--Philip Baird Shearer 11:21, 23 May 2006 (UTC)


Some of these things are confusing, could someone clarify them?

What's a royal kraal?

"but some years later Dingiswayo was ambushed by Zwide's amaNdwandwe and killed" what's amaNdwandwe? another name for the Ndwandwe tribe, or a person, or what?

"Shaka's general Soshangane (of the Shangaan) moved off north towards what is now Mozambique, to inflict further damage on less resistant foes and avail himself of slaving opportunities, putting Portuguese traders to tribute." "avail himself" should be clarified, and what does the last part mean? giving tribute to Portuguese, or getting tribute?

"It came relatively quickly after the devastation caused by the Nandi mourning." - what's the Nandi mourning?

The "Shaka's social and military revolution" and "Shakan methods versus European technology" sections sound like original research and aren't very encyclopedic in tone.

--Awiseman 17:26, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

A royal kraal is basically a traditional Zulu royal compound. Shaka's mother was called Nandi, and when she died, his behaviour became extremely erratic. As part of mourning, he ordered that no crops should be planted during the following year, no milk (the basis of the Zulu diet at the time) was to be used, any woman who became pregnant would be killed along with her husband. Massacres were carried out of those deemed insufficiently grief stricken (though it wasn't restricted to them) and cows were slaughtered so that their calves would know what losing a mother felt like. Zwide was ruler of the Ndwandwe and a rival of Shaka's until he was defeated in 1819. Soshangane fled Shaka and carved out his own kingdom in Mozambique, he extracted tribute from the Portuguese after destroying a number of their settlements. I should say all this info came out of my old copy of The Washing Of The Spears.

Doc Meroe 02:02, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Ok, well can you clarify that stuff then in the article? --Awiseman 18:08, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

Citecheck template removed

Per the above posts on this talk page, it appears that the wrong template was added to this article. Citecheck is not intended for articles that lack citations, but for articles that misrepresent citations. Please check Resource: Cleanup resources if some other template is needed. Durova 02:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Cultural depictions of Shaka

I've started an approach that may apply to Wikipedia's Core Biography articles: creating a branching list page based on in popular culture information. I started that last year while I raised Joan of Arc to featured article when I created Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc, which has become a featured list. Recently I also created Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great out of material that had been deleted from the biography article. Since cultural references sometimes get deleted without discussion, I'd like to suggest this approach as a model for the editors here. Regards, Durova 17:10, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

Strange... The link is a red one right now, and there is an empty deletion log... where did it go? FWIW, don't forget to add Shaka, the king of the Zulu in the Civilization (computer game). --BACbKA 17:41, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Shaka in Western Culture

I think we should add this to the article, there are movies and shows. And he has been featured in Sid Meirs Civ III. --The preceding unsigned comment was added by Chn3141 (talk o contribs) 00:24, 22 January 2007 (UTC).

Racist article indeed

This article is written in a cleverly concealed racist tone. It's quite unfortunate that the webmasters are unable to detect concealed racism in their articles. Phrases such as 'the Zulus failed to learn their lesson' are unacceptable and violate Wikipedia's neutral stance. The 'Zulu vs European' subtopic itself is instigation. It appears that there is a tendency for white spammers to demote any man/woman of African descent that has made a permanent mark in history to the level of 'controversial figure'. We'll see how long it takes for the conservative-aligned 'administrators' to tag this page. --The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:45, 16 February 2007 (UTC).

I have deleted the passage "Nevertheless, the Zulu failed to learn from their earlier defeats and persisted in "human wave" attacks against well defended, static European positions where massed firepower decimated their ranks. It is questionable whether Shaka might have done things differently. Certainly his operations during his rise to power showed both imagination and flexibility. His successors could argue that they had faithfully followed his classical template which had advanced the Zulu from a small, obscure tribe to a strong regional power, but it is also clear that those following Shaka lacked his tactical vision and acumen" because even in the context of this weakly-documented article, this passage is more editorial than informative. The author HAS to show his or her sources of this opinion. Overall, the article lacks sufficient citation of sources; a list of references at the end is not enough----for evey point that is not common knowledge, the author is obliged to cite his or her sources, which is barely done in this article. Kemet 02:15, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
The problem with this deletion is that it IS in fact common knowlege that "Zulus failed to learn from their earlier defeats and persisted in "human wave" attacks against well defended, static European positions where massed firepower decimated their ranks". That is exactly how the Zulu were eventually defeated as a major political entity. The prime example of this is the Battle of Blood River. Just because the objective facts (small group of whites wiped out thousands of Zulu warriors in a single action) are not to your liking (politically correct) does not give you the right to delete the statement of those facts. This is simple revisionism. Roger 21:25, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
What is your definition of "politically correct"? Do you mean to use it for "something I don't agree with"? I'm puzzled. (talk) 01:26, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps we can agree that mistakes made by the Zulus in the fifty years after Shakas dead can safely be let out of an article on his life. ASchudak (talk) 12:36, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
(You're responding to a comment that was made almost 9 years ago, you might want to ping the editor if you want a response) - Aoidh (talk) 12:56, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
That was more to add the opinion to the debate - for the sake of the next one who thinks that racism is in play and the article needs change on something that happened a good fifty years after the actual event. You can delete this response. ASchudak (talk) 12:44, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Power and Hegemony

I think the author should rethink how he or she uses "power" (the ability to influence or force the behavior of others regardless of the others' wishes) and "hegemony" (the monopoly of group or individual worldviews over others in a social formation)---these are not the same thing. The deadly use of spears and shields (or muskets and cannons for that matter) does not necessarily result in power or hegemony. Kemet 02:25, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Quit censoring resource by sacrificing it to the altar of political correctness any time a non white historical figure has any negative comments made about them. I'm sick of that crap. If Shaka Zulu was such a great warrior why was he defeated by Europeans? Again, quit sniffing the butts of all non whites and try to think objectively. You're blinded by political correctness hysteria. --The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:44, August 20, 2007 (UTC)

Shaka was not "defeated by Europeans", he was assasinated by Dingane. Dingane in turn WAS defeated by a group of Voortrekkers at the Battle of Blood River. Shaka's contact with "Europeans" was quite minimal - no major battles between white groups and the Zulu occured during Shaka's reign. Get your own facts straight before you start complaining about others. Roger 21:12, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

2 million deaths

I know this might fall under OR but does anyone know where the primary source data (not the history net article) is for the 2 million killed? That seems like a lot for an army of 50,000 in the early 19th century. (talk) 06:01, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

It comes from J. D. Omer-Cooper's "The Zulu Aftermath", which, for good reason has been largely discredited in the literature in recent years. I think it should be deleted for two reasons. One: Omer-Cooper's discredited status. And two: the simple implausibility of the idea that Shaka Zulu was himself personally responsible for the deaths of two million, which is more people than died in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994 (whose perpetrators had access to AK47s).Louboi (talk) 09:39, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

An empire with a population one eighth the number killed does seem rather outlandish. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:59, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

Clearly no one really knows. The hard data isn't there. A million deaths however is not an impossible number for an army of 50,000 over ten years of war - it's only two killings per year per warrior. In the absence of any records one should however be sceptical. We can only be certain that an awful lot of people must have died. Cassandra. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Cassandrathesceptic (talk o contribs) 11:38, 30 December 2015 (UTC) Apparently someone thought it was two million, not one million deaths. However, the suggested 2 killings per year per warrior assuming even just one million deaths is decidedly high. If we assume a starting (and stable) population of 250,000, which is highly unlikely, that means the population was 150,000 after the first year. Allowing for a birth rate of a few thousand a year, by the end of the second year there would be slightly more than 50,000 left. End of the Zulus. Two million, and even one million deaths in a population of 250,000 is clearly statistically impossible. It should be noted that this figure has been quoted among South African right-wingers to justify apartheid-era atrocities or at least make favorable comparisons.Ruben Mitchell (talk) 07:54, 6 March 2016 (UTC)Ruben

Was the 2 million number not used for the Mfecane (or part of it)? These include largely people dying by being dislocated and thus without access to food and/or water. Or is there a reference making Shaka directly (instead of indirectly) responsible for these death toll? If its the Mfecane, the reaons are manifold and under debate, though Shaka plays its role. Imho the controverse is covered in the article, so I see no need for change. ASchudak (talk) 12:49, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Muzzle Loading Weapons

The article claims:

The expanding Zulu power inevitably clashed with European hegemony in the decades after Shaka's death. Indeed, European travelers to Shaka's kingdom demonstrated advanced technology such as firearms and writing, but the Zulu monarch was less than convinced. There was no need to record messages he held, since his messengers stood under penalty of death should they bear inaccurate tidings. As for firearms, Shaka was impressed, but after seeing muzzleloaders demonstrated, he argued that in the time the gunmen took to reload, the gunmen would be swamped by charging spear-wielding warriors. Ironically, this latter boast was to be put to the test against European opponents when the Zulu were defeated.

The irony is that the later Zulu were defeated by Martini-Henry rifles which were breach loading cartridge rifles, and not muzzleloaders - so to me there is no truth to the claim that the boast was put to the test, because the Zulu were facing something else entirely. (talk) 06:48, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Definitely. One critic of the Battle of Waterloo claimed that the English (even though winning) would have been better off using long bows (!) than single shot muzzle loaders. From the writer's prospective it was a matter of accuracy and rapidity of fire (forgetting noise, which can be useful, I would think). Student7 (talk) 18:43, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

POV tag

I think the POV tag can be removed. The article has developed a lot since it was tagged. It has even been graded B-class, which wouldn't happen if it was blatantly POV. Roger (talk) 06:58, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Zulu battlefield tactics

  1. the "horns" or flanking right- and left-wing elements to encircle and pin the enemy. Generally the "horns" were made up of younger, less experienced but quicker-moving troops.
  2. the "chest" or central main force which charged into the enemy centre and delivered the coup de grâce. The prime fighters made up the composition of the main force.
  3. the "loins" or reserves used to exploit success or reinforce where needed. Often these were older veterans.

This appears to be incorrect. According to Morris the chest pinned the enemy while the horns encircled the opposing impi - all three forces (the two horns and chest) then destroyed the trapped impi.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 03:14, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Move proposal

To Shaka kaSenzangakhona (the redirect there would have to be deleted by an admin).

Though he may be popularly known as Shaka, or even the nonsensical "Shaka Zulu", I propose that this article be moved to his full name, his traditional name, and the name which firmly establishes his lineage.

In the era before Western-style surnames, a Southern African was distinguished from other people with the same surname by indicating their father's name. His name literally means "Shaka of Senzangakhona". This is especially important in praise poetry to denote a succession of male ancestors.

This is also to make it consistent with the other articles on amaZulu and amaXhosa royalty. Admittedly a few of those articles were moved by me to their binominal forms, but it was merely to bring consistency and make the lives of researchers easier. It is obvious merely by looking at the names, that Shaka kaSenzangakhona was the brother of Dingane kaSenzangakhona; that their father Senzangakhona kaJama was the offspring of Jama kaNdaba; that Magogo kaDinuzulu was the daughter of King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo, and sibling to King Solomon kaDinuzulu; etc.

Tebello TheWHAT!! 19:28, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

If one was to search for the word Shaka (or type it in and hit the go button) would one still get to this new page being proposed? If so I agree with the proposal.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 22:23, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes. If Shaka kaSenzangakhona is deleted, and Shaka gets moved there, then Shaka would automatically become a redirect to the fuller title. A few hours later robots would change all redirects to the old title to point to the new one. This happens hundreds of times a day and is all automated. Tebello TheWHAT!! 05:01, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Coolio, Support.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 13:40, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Support without any reservations. I've now learned something about Zulu naming conventions I knew nothing about. Roger (talk) 11:36, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Since it seems as though everyone agrees, I've asked an admin to delete the redirect, and I'll move the article as soon as they do so. Tebello TheWHAT!! 08:48, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Oppose. User:Pfainuk asked me to remove the history at Shaka kaSenzangakhona so that a move could be made. I am disinclined to do so because I think a move to Shaka kaSenzangakhona would be contrary to the naming conventions "use the most easily recognized name" and WP:COMMONNAME. If you think I am wrong, then I suggest you post a request to WP:RM, present you arguments on this page and see if the closing administrator disagrees with me and move the page for you. --PBS (talk) 10:32, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Do I understand you correctly that you are saying that "use the most easily recognised name" must be adhered to even when that name is wrong/incomplete? It wouldn't be acceptable to name the article about the current US president just "Barack" so why do we have to accept it here? Roger (talk) 12:29, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

That's my main problem with the scourge that is WP:COMMONNAME and other guidelines based on common sense/opinion. The mundane knowledge of the minority of people who are close to/experts in the subject is all too often disregarded in favour of ill-guided popular opinion.

On another point, I'm really not sure how ethical it is for administrators to use their powers to veto consensus on issues they have no vested interest in.

Tebello TheWHAT!! 14:54, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

user:Dodger67 as the link makes clear it is not the most popular name, but the name used in reliable English language sources. If reliable English language sources use "Shaka kaSenzangakhona" the it should be moved to that name but if the majority do not then it should not. As WP:CONSENSUS makes clear "Consensus among a limited group of editors, at one place and time, cannot override community consensus on a wider scale." The Naming Conventions are an indicator of the "community consensus on a wider scale".
No one has vetoed anything, you are free to put the move up for further discussion by following the instructions at WP:RM. A to having no vested interest, I do have an interest in the names of articles in general, and as it happens if you look higher up this page you will see that this is not the second comment I have placed on this talk page! --PBS (talk) 18:46, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

COMMONNAME may be a policy, but there are several examples of exceptions to it. Puff Daddy, Crying Indian, and Unabomber all redirect to less common names (and, with the latter 2 examples, names which the vast majority of people would not recognise).

Yes, each article has various reasons why it uses a less common name. Combs keeps changing his alias, Cody was a professional actor who stared in many films -- not just the dumb American advert about environmental conservation, and I guess it's nice to know the true name of a notorious criminal once he's been positively identified, but these decisions were made on a per-article basis without appealing to policies to make sweeping generalisations.

Besides, we're not trying to move the article to a totally different title, we merely wish to add the guy's surname. He may be popularly known as Shaka, or even Shaka Zulu, and I'm sure many "reliable English sources" may call him such (that term sounds disturbing to me; it seems to be contrary to Jimbo's dream of a free collection of world knowledge; but that's the subject of another debate altogether), but Shaka kaSenzangakhona is his full name.

Don't you believe that to be true? On the case of this issue in particular, though I'm not sure if any "reliable English sources" use his full name, there is enough precedent with Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, Solomon kaDinuzulu, and several other articles on amaZulu monarchy that show that this naming convention actually really exists and has been used by "reliable English sources". If I recall correctly, I did not move those two articles to their present titles.

So, extrapolating on the set precedent, we can use Shaka's full proper name. It is not drastically different from the shorter "Shaka", and people might actually learn something new like Dodger did (which, I believe, is the whole purpose of an encyclopedia; people generally don't come here to reinforce their prejudices and opinions).

Tebello TheWHAT!! 20:21, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Also, take a look at template: Zulu Monarchs. Note the precedent that's been set. One of my main motivations for this and other moves is to bring consistency in the names of these articles. Tebello TheWHAT!! 20:29, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

If we have a source and know for certain that this is the mans surname then i believe it should be used in the title for example look at other historical figures who have there full name presented as the page title, why should Shaka be different?
To provide a few examples, personally, one would search for Warwick the Kingmaker however the page itself is called: Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, When one does a search for the first term it redirects to the latter. Likewise there is a Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein page as opposed to a "Monty" page.
If a person searches for Shaka and it redirects to Shaka kaSenzangakhona i dont see why it be a problem in light of the above. As a further example Shaka's brother? and successor Dingane has his full name as the title of the page: Dingane kaSenzangakhona. I don't believe naming conventions should get in the way of accuracy.--EnigmaMcmxc (talk) 20:38, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Um, for the record, I moved the article to Dingane kaSenzangakhona after another editor moved it from Dingane to Dingaan. All common names, but the binominal is more consistent and meaningful, and most articles already used the binominal before I set out to extend and practice the precedent.

When a foreign party keeps changing the exonym it uses for an entity, then I think that sticking to the endonym is simpler than juggling volatile fashions. Tebello TheWHAT!! 21:34, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

As a general rule one article name does not set a president for another. You have not tried to suggest that the name you want to move the article too is the most common, it may be for the other article you have mentioned but if it is not then unless there is a need to include a longer name because the common short name is ambiguous and a longer name is needed for disambiguation purposes, (and even then it would probably be with a bracket extension eg Shaka (Zulu), (see (WP:NC (precision)). Also I am not going to do anything about the names of other articles that do not comply with the naming standards in this area (in the long term they will work themselves out), but I suggest that you read " Resource: Don't stuff beans up your nose". --PBS (talk) 08:44, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Circular Article

The battle with Zwide is described 3 different times in 3 different sections of the article. There needs to be some serious editing done to cut out redundancies and streamline this article.--The Cap'n (talk) 17:22, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Origin of Shaka's Name

As the illegitimate and despised son of a Zulu Chieftain, his adopted father named him after a species of "Parasitic Beetle." --Arima (talk) 22:10, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Another legend has it that, since his mother was embarrassed to be pregnant and unwed, she lied to people who enquired about her swollen stomach and told them she was infected with said beetle, and not pregnant. Tebello TheWHAT!! 01:19, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
It seems there are a bunch of theories, though that one seems the most popular.[1] I'm a bit busy atm unfortunately but if anyone wants to add a short section go ahead. - ReconditeRodent « talk · contribs » 01:33, 26 January 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries (1 January 2005). Lessons on Leadership by Terror: Finding Shaka Zulu in the Attic. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-84542-347-6.


I couldn't help but notice the use of "impi" is used to describe both rival and friendly armies. Impis aren't an average band of tribesmen they are or were Shaka's most highly trained and powerful soldiers who more than often were lead directly under him. They were also highly skilled in maneuvers though in particularly favorable like all other soldiers of Shaka in using The Buffalo Horns. They also participated in many notable battles with notable generals even after Shaka's death. They are praticaly to me Shaka's imperial guards cuz they also did guard on and off the battlefield and for kicks just think of them as a black version of Persia's Immortals(though they pretty much black too), Ceazer's Legions or the Hitler SS stormtroopers(without the racist fanatical crap) of their time.-- (talk) 00:49, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Your delusions are of no consequence, only verifiable facts matter. Roger (talk) 12:35, 7 June 2010 (UTC)

Delusion? I think it was just a suggestion. Don't bite the "newbies".75* 21:14, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Shaka's improvements

The following was correctly chopped out of the Anglo-Zulu War. Some of it is already in this article, but I am not sure how much at a glance. Sorry for the length. Most not referenced. Don't know where it came from (not mine!). Didn't want to "lose" it. At one time, I thought this all (including the stuff in the current article) should be placed into "Zulu infantry tactics" so they can be easily referenced by other articles.

Military reforms of Shaka

Warfare among the Zulu clans was ritualistic and ceremonial until the ascent of the ruthless chieftain Shaka, who adapted a number of practices that transformed the Zulu from a small, obscure clan to a regional power in eastern South Africa. Many of the innovations of Shaka were not simply created out of thin air, nor can they be dubiously credited to the influence of British troops drilling several hundred miles to the south, nor can they merely be dismissed as the product of vague environmental forces like drought or overpopulation. Shaka's predecessor, Dingiswayo, had begun a number of expansionist changes and was responsible for the initial rise of the legendary Zulu monarch. Shaka continued this expansion, albeit in a much more direct and violent manner.

It is also likely that he had help in designing his military reforms. Elderly clan leaders in whose localities troops were mustered retained a measure of influence on a regional basis and were entitled to sit on the ibandla, a sort of national advisory council. Redoubtable izinduna like Mdlaka, captain of the last expedition north while Shaka was assassinated and the presence of several elderly, experienced warriors like Mnyamana and Tshingwayo, both of whom outlived Shaka and who accompanied the victorious Isandlwana impi (Tshingwayo sharing partial command) also suggests more than the sole genius of Shaka at work in shaping the dread host. Nevertheless the standard view sees Shaka as initiating the most important changes. The practical problems of military command throughout the ages no doubt played a part in organisation of the Zulu fighting machine.

Shaka's conception of warfare was far from ritualistic. He sought to bring combat to a swift and bloody decision, as opposed to duels of individual champions, scattered raids or skirmishes where casualties were comparatively light. While his mentor and overlord Dingiswayo lived, Shakan methods were not so extreme but the removal of this check gave the Zulu chieftain much broader scope. It was under his reign that a much more rigorous mode of tribal warfare came into being. Such a brutal focus demanded changes in weapons, organisation and tactics.


Shaka is credited with introducing a new variant of the traditional weapon, discarding the long, spindly throwing weapon and instituting a heavy, shorter stabbing spear. He is also said to have introduced a larger, heavier cowhide shield and trained his forces to thus close with the enemy in more effective hand-to-hand combat. The throwing spear was not discarded but standardised like the stabbing implement and carried as a missile weapon, typically discharged before close contact. These weapons changes integrated with and facilitated an aggressive mobility and tactical organisation. Alongside these traditional weapons the Zulus used firearms, bought in small numbers from European traders. Although Shaka's introductions achieved comparative success in the earlier stages of the war, they were to be technically outclassed later on by more modern British firearms such as the Martini-Henry rifle.


The fast-moving host, like all military formations, needed supplies. These were provided by young boys, who were attached to a force and carried rations, cooking pots, sleeping mats, extra weapons and other material. Cattle were sometimes driven on the hoof as a movable larder. Again, such arrangements in the local context were probably nothing unusual. What was different was the system and organisation, a pattern yielding major benefits when the Zulu were dispatched on military expeditions.

Age-grade regimental system

Age groupings of various sorts were common in Bantu society and indeed are still important in much of Africa. Age grades were responsible for a variety of activities, guarding the camp, cattle herding, certain rituals and ceremonies. It was customary in Zulu culture for young men to provide limited service to their local chiefs until they were married and recognised as official householders. Shaka manipulated this system, transferring the customary service period from the regional clan leaders to him, strengthening his hegemony. Such groupings on the basis of age, did not constitute a permanent, paid military in the modern sense, nevertheless they did provide a stable basis for armed mobilisation, much more so than ad hoc levies or war parties.

Shaka organised the various age grades, impis, into regiments and quartered them in special military kraals, with each regiment having distinctive names and insignia. Some historians argue that the large military establishment was a drain on the Zulu economy and necessitated continual raiding and expansion. This may be true since large numbers of the society's men were isolated from normal occupations but whatever the resource impact, the regimental system clearly built on existing cultural elements that could be adapted to fit an expansionist agenda.

Mobility and training

Shaka discarded sandals to enable his warriors to run faster. Initially the move was unpopular but those who objected were killed, a practice that quickly concentrated minds. Shaka drilled his troops frequently, implementing forced marches covering more than fifty miles a day. He also drilled the troops to carry out encirclement tactics (see below). Such mobility gave the Zulu a significant impact in their region and beyond. Upkeep of the regimental system and training seems to have continued after Shaka's death, although Zulu defeats by the Boers and growing encroachment by British colonialists sharply curtailed raiding operations prior to the war of 1879. Morris records one such mission under Mpande to give green warriors of the uThulwana regiment experience, a raid into Swaziland, dubbed "Fund' uThulwana" by the Zulu, or "Teach the uThulwana". It may have done some good for some years later, the uThulwana made their mark as one of the leading regiments that helped liquidate the British camp at Isandlwana.


The buffalo horns formation of the Zulu army

The Zulu typically took the offensive, deploying in the well-known "buffalo horns" formation. It was composed of three elements:

  1. the "horns", or flanking right and left wing elements, to encircle and pin the enemy. Generally the "horns" were made up of younger, inexperienced troops.
  2. the "chest" or central main force which delivered the coup de grace. The prime fighters made up the composition of the main force.
  3. the "loins" or reserves used to exploit success or reinforce elsewhere. Often these were older veterans. Sometimes these were positioned with their backs to the battle so as not to get unduly excited. The tactic was called the beast's horns by the Zulu and was called "impondo zekomo" in the native Zulu tongue.

Development of encirclement tactics

Encirclement tactics are nothing new in warfare and historians note that attempts to surround an enemy were not unknown even in the ritualised battles. The use of separate manoeuvre elements to support a stronger central group is also well known in pre-modern warfare as is the use of reserve echelons farther back. What was unique about the Zulu was the degree of organisation, consistency with which they used these tactics and the speed at which they executed them. Developments and refinements may have taken place after Shaka's death, as witnessed by the use of larger groupings of regiments by the Zulu against the British in 1879. Missions, manpower and enemies varied but whether facing native spear or European bullet, the impis generally fought in and adhered to the "classical" buffalo horns pattern.

Organisation and leadership of the Zulu forces

Regiments and corps

The Zulu forces were generally grouped into three levels: regiments, corps of several regiments and "armies" or bigger formations, although the Zulu did not use these terms in the modern sense. Although size distinctions were taken account of, any grouping of men on a mission could collectively be called an impi, whether a raiding party of 100 or host of 10,000. Numbers were not uniform but dependent on a variety of factors, including assignments by the king or the manpower mustered by various clan chiefs or localities. A regiment might be 400 or 4000 men. These were grouped into corps that took their name from the military kraals where they were mustered or sometimes the dominant regiment of that locality.

Higher command and unit leadership

Leadership was not a complicated affair. An inDuna guided each regiment, and he in turn answered to senior izinduna who controlled the corps grouping. Overall guidance of the host was furnished by elder izinduna usually with many years of experience. One or more of these elder chiefs might accompany a big force on an important mission, but there was no single "field marshal" in supreme command of all Zulu forces.

Regimental izinduna, like the non-coms of today's army, and yesterday's Roman centurions, were extremely important to morale and discipline. This was shown during the battle of Isandhlwana. Blanketed by a hail of British bullets, rockets and artillery, the advance of the Zulu faltered. Echoing from the mountain, however, were the shouted cadences and fiery exhortations of their regimental izinduna, who reminded the warriors that their king did not send them to run away. Thus encouraged, the encircling regiments remained in place, maintaining continual pressure, until weakened British dispositions enabled the host to make a final surge forward. (See Morris ref below—"The Washing of the Spears")." Student7 (talk) 20:42, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Footnote for LeBand

Probably messed up what may have been page numbers in a book written by LeBand. Mistook them for footnotes. At least I hope they weren't footnotes! Someone needs to turn these into semi-understandable citations. Student7 (talk) 21:36, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Physical Appearance of King Shaka

There is a tendence of describing King Shaka as an ugly person. The discription is sometimes exaggerated. The following is said about Shaka. "He had protruding forehead"; "His tongue was big, which made him unable to speak properly"; "Was not circumcised" and many more. All these allegations are not holding water-there are made to degrade his success. To begin the talk, it is a fact that the kings or chiefs have power to choose beautiful girls. Therefore, it could not be easy to find an ugly child from a royal house-hold as discribed in the Physical Appearance of Shaka in Shaka article. Now, I want to be more direct: Senzangakhona was a most handsome young prince. He was so handsome that Nandi seduced him. Turning to Nandi's appearance, she was a beautiful girl that attracted Senzangakhona (they met because of this reason). These two persons were not having prominent or protruding foreheads. They could not have gave birth to an ugly child Shaka. Infact, Shaka was handsome young man. However, his early hardships could have made him brave and mean, but not ugly. Shaka was selected to lead regiment at Mthethwa because he had all qualities of become a leader. One of the prominent qualities of being a leader is to spaek clearly and accurately. The ability to be understood by the followers. It is with this reason that Shaka was successful from Mthethwas and later on from the Zulus. King Shaka was a great orator of all times who could motivate his followers before and during the battle. He personally gave orders during the war and after war. The story of that Shaka was having a big tongue is completely unfounded and said by people who just hate him for no reason at all. Shaka could talk fluently and cleverly for a duration of time. It is said that Shaka could call his subjects just to engage in debates and talks. It was during these time when he became ironic as the article quoted him saying "Magaye was handsome and he was ugly". Infact he meant the opposite. On the point of "circumcision", King Shaka stopped the practice merely for preparing for wars. The Zulus were practising the circumcision. As a young boy, he could have gone to the practice because it was the practice done by everyone. The article about Shaka contains completely incorrect information based on medical and wisdom facts ¬¬¬¬ 22/06/2011 -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Pmholdings (talk o contribs) 14:16, 22 June 2011 (UTC)

Who was Tabile Raziya?

In the "Early life" section there is a sentence: "Some accounts state that he was disowned by his father (Tabile Raziya) and chased into exile." It is well established that his father was Senzangakhona so please will someone explain who Tabile Raziya was. Roger (talk) 12:31, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I deleted it. Editor owes the rest of us a good citation for reinsertion. We'll see if it's forthcoming. Thanks for pointing out the problem. Student7 (talk) 01:22, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Born out of wedlock?

How was he born out of wedlock? Many cultures have their own systems of marriage.----cherubicnerd -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Cherubicnerd (talk o contribs) 16:10, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

This isn't a European designation. His father was a prince from an adjacent tribe which Shaka eventually took over. His mother was from a nearby tribe. Their tribes each had formal marriage ceremonies. Shaka and his mother took a lot of grief over his illegitimacy. This drove his life and eventually may have driven him crazy. Student7 (talk) 18:38, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Possible copyright violation

This edit (12 February 2011) may be a copyright violation. What makes me suspicious is the inclusion of "(37)" which is the type of thing that happens when a cut and past copy is made from another source (The next edit to the article was by the same editor who gave a source for the quote at the end of the sentence as Laband, John (1997) "The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation" -- but this is probably not the source for the preceding words in that sentence).

Can someone please look into this and rewrite the sentence if needed so that it is definitely copyright free. -- PBS (talk) 13:12, 13 December 2012 (UTC)


The idea that Shaka/the Zulu's actions were responsible for the Mfecane is a good 20 years out of date, yet this is what the start of this article asserts (before going on a bit of a ramble through various arguments but never really clearly saying this first point isn't true). I think this section needs to be rewritten, and shortened/cleaned up, to just say that Shaka's actions in creating an armed Zulu (though his impact on this is also debated) were once considered the main cause of the Mfecane, but are now considered to be only one of a number of events which led to the dramatic movement of African peoples across the region. We don't need some rather select arguments written out in full, giving a rather confusing picture, and making this section far longer than it needs to be. I'm aware of the basic historeography but I don't really know enough detail to do a whole re-write, hence I haven't gone ahead and made any changes so far. (talk) 09:45, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

most of the African history is orally told, we can't be sure of what really took place and the years hence i see a rigorous argument on what really took place, i hope this fact is taken into consideration somehow by the editors of this article.Bobbyshabangu talk , 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Shaka's Son - Fact or Fiction?

I think this needs to be added on the article somehow, I mean if we can add something about his discription which of course is not factual how about finding a neutral stand point of putting this ?

Nandi's kraal, the New Emkindini, was about five km from Bulawayo and two from Em-Tandeni (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) 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 recognized 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 administrative 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)[1]-- Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobbyshabangu (talk o contribs) 05:50, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

Article badly needs tidying

Article is poorly costructed as a biography. It's notable that this talk page seems (IMHO) slightly guilty of failing to see the wood for the trees. Lots of discussion/argument about "horns of the buffalo" etc, and long/short title debates etc, but hardly any pleas to rationalise the page structure better. As a biography I found it confusing and frustrating to read. So I've moved several misplaced paras (e.g. "Shaka began to further refine the ibutho system..." belongs in sect:"Early Life" as describing pre-1816/17 not 1820s, and "Shaka granted permission to Europeans..." belongs in sect:"Expansion of Power" as describing mid-1820s not pre-1816/17! It seems to me that one or two past contributors have added extra sentences and paras without thinking about where they should go chronologically, so that the deaths of Sigujana and Dingiswayo were mentioned two or three times each, scattered across several sections, destroying any good sense of chronological order. A root problem is also maybe the section "Expansion of power and conflict with Zwide" coming after "Successor to Senzangakhona". Shaka had some limited initial growth of influence in his 10 years under Dingiswayo, so it might be better to split those two sections into more - maybe 1)Initial growth of power, 2)Succession to Senzangakhona, 3)Zulu conflict with Zwide, 4)Greater expansion of power. Hard to describe exactly how best to improve the article, but it needs some kind of restructure so that it makes better chronological sense. I've tidied a little, but I'm no Zulu expert - others can do it better than me. I simply say: Don't forget it's meant to be primarily a BOIGRAPHY article, not primarily a SHAKA'S FIGHTING METHODS article. Should be a chrolonology of his growth and influence, followed by sections on (eg.) the reliability of historical accounts, and his legacy today, etc. A lot of people have tried improving various bits, and done well, but someone needs to look at the overall effect and impose a better structure to the whole. Cheers - Pete Hobbs (talk) 05:08, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Hi Pete Hobbs - I agree with your assessment that this article needs a lot of work. If you post at WikiProject South Africa you might be able to recruit a few interested editors who would work with you to tidy it up. Perhaps such an effort could get it into shape for a Good Article Review. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 08:44, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Flag for lack of neutrality?

This article contains what appears to be personal opinion not in direct quotation, and more than once uses "white" to refer to individuals, regardless of ethnicity, who seem to fall under this somewhat odd racial categorization that does not seem to be emphasized in the source material it refers to. Adding to this it appears more opinionated editors argue against what could be perceived as the formerly mentioned opinionated editor, which doesn't exactly make things better.

Some quotes from the article are: "Age-grade groupings of various sorts were common in the Bantu culture of the day, and indeed are still important in much of Africa. Age grades were responsible for a variety of activities, from guarding the camp, to cattle herding, to certain rituals and ceremonies. Shaka organised various grades into regiments, and quartered them in special military kraals, with regiments having their own distinctive names and insignia. The regimental system clearly built on existing tribal cultural elements that could be adapted and shaped to fit an expansionist agenda. There was no need to look for European inspiration hundreds of miles away."

"Most historians credit Shaka with initial development of the famous "bull horn" formation".[19] It was composed of three elements: 1. The main force, the "chest", closed with the enemy Impi and pinned it in position. The warriors who comprised the "chest" were senior veterans.[19] 2. The "horns", while the enemy Impi was pinned by the "chest", would flank the Impi from both sides and encircle it; in conjunction with the "chest" they would then destroy the trapped force. The warriors who comprised the "horns" were young and fast juniors.[19] 3. The "loins", a large reserve, was placed, seated, behind the "chest" with their backs to the battle. The "loins" would be committed wherever the enemy Impi threaten to break out of the encirclement.[19] Coordination was supplied by regimental "izinduna" (chiefs or leaders) who used hand signals and messengers. The scheme was elegant in its simplicity, and well understood by the warriors assigned to each echelon."

Both of these quotes are from the same alleged book source, the same three pages even (the second part of the second post, describing the scheme as 'elegant', completely lacks source reference).

Further, only in the small part of this article that I cared to read, there is a clear attempt to blame "whites", the actual term used, for defaming Shaka; "Scholarship in recent years has revised views of the sources on Shaka's reign. The earliest are two eyewitness accounts written by white adventurer-traders who met Shaka during the last four years of his reign. Nathaniel Isaacs published his Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa in 1836, creating a picture of Shaka as a degenerate and pathological monster, which survives in modified forms to this day. Isaacs was aided in this by Henry Francis Fynn, whose diary (actually a rewritten collage of various papers) was edited by James Stuart only in 1950."

Finally, and it should be noted that this is but citations from a small portion of the article as I have not investigated the rest, there is even an opinionated headline that reads "Well-organised logistic support by youth formations" without any relation or reference. --2001:2002:D543:722F:3596:5C6A:9036:56B8 (talk) 00:28, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Tired to respond to some of these.
I replaced "white" with "European" where possible. One was within a quote. I don't know how crucial the quote is. I left "black(s)" if someone else wants to replace that/those.
I deleted final line which read "no need to look for European use of impi-like structure" or whatever it said. Sentence extra and not needed. Was there some other problem?
Yes. "elegant" needs citation. I've flagged it.
My suggestion is to {{cn}} material that seems pov and needs citation.
If you've commented here about something you don't like, rm it, I guess. We have had spirited edits at time. Shaka was not a European (or maybe South African) favorite either until the series "Shaka" was released in the latter part of the 20th century. I would be surprised if there was much objective commentary on him at all until then, from European sources. That doesn't mean that the commentary can't be used. Just that it may need careful handling by editors to reflect current tastes, I suppose. If we throw out all biased contemporary sources for Shaka there might not be much left! Student7 (talk) 21:34, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Criticism of Fynn

It seems to me that the criticism of Fynn, which is needed, goes a bit far. It appears that Shaka did have people killed after Nandi died. This statement is not refuted, but is even supported by "oral history". Nor does it seem the action of someone who is acting perfectly rational. Yes, Fynn/Isaacs had an ax to grind and exaggerated as Europeans often did in "interpreting" foreigners for home consumption. But Shaka was not perfect either!

And yes, Fynn was wrong about Shaka starting the Mfecane. But this could be a mistake easily made by a recent observer to any culture who did not have the "big picture." He was an amateur historian. I think we are using Wylie too much. The problem is that we are presenting two contrasting views of Shaka by being overly critical of Fynn. Fynn's weaknesses and errors should be summarized, but maybe not magnified by using too much Wylie. Student7 (talk) 21:10, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

Tried, with mediocre success, to refute Wylie.
The problem, here is that we now know (don't we?) that Fynn's assumptions about who started the Mfecane were wrong. Someone has turned the section about Disruptions of the Mfecane into an attack on Fynn, generally. This is definitely misplaced in this subsection and should be severely edited IMO. Whether Fynn's non-Mfecane contributions are criticised elsewhere is a separate matter. Student7 (talk) 21:50, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
It appears this hasn't been fixed since you posted this, I'll try to clean it up76.184.220.115 (talk) 15:15, 30 September 2018 (UTC)

Assessment comment

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Shaka/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

needs better lead; needs better referencing plange 05:55, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 05:55, 30 July 2006 (UTC). Substituted at 05:52, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Article rewrite

I think this article needs a roots and branch rewrite. At present it comes across as a well written essay by someone passionate about and clearly an admirer of Shaka, however it frequently makes assertions without sources, and often appeals to the authority of unsourced "some scholars" etc to undercut negative but sourced criticism. So the whole tone is just wrong for an encyclopedia

I think it needs someone with time, to go through it line by line, redraft and add sources and generally put into a more neutral encyclopedic style. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:DA42:200:1DBA:943B:7321:3911 (talk) 09:58, 3 September 2017 (UTC)

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Birth and early life

Details about his illegitimacy and early life are scant. It doesn't even mention his mother's name. Surely there's some info out there. Clarityfiend (talk) 20:33, 20 February 2020 (UTC)

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes