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Historical Role of King Shaka Zulu: Analytical Essay

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As mentioned Shaka Zulu and his mother were very close and Shaka looked up too and praised his mother greatly, claiming her at the Great She Elephant. The death of Shaka’s mother, Queen Nandi, caused by dysentery on October 10th, 1827 – the news was not taken very well by Shaka in which he created a longer than a year mourning period which was to be practiced by all citizens of the Zulu kingdom all in honor of the passing of his mother. This was known as the Zulu kingdoms mourning period in honor of Queen Nandi but also known as the beginning of the mass murders (the massacre) of the Zulu kingdom.

The actions that took place during the mourning period over Queen Nandi affected the people of the Zulu kingdom both indirectly and directly. The actions were: that no crops were to planted causing starvation between animals, most specifically cows, and humans, no milk was to be used which could have caused a calcium defect in the bones of the people in the Zulu Nation. Shaka Zulu stated that he does not want a weak army but then, later on, deprived his army of an important mineral needed to make the boys/men who participated in warfare stronger. Hypocalcemia and osteoporosis could have been a common unknown disease due to the low calcium levels in the bones of the people of the Zulu nation.

All cows who had recently given birth were also killed so that their calves could experience the feeling of what it was like to lose a mother. The effects of this practice possibly would have led to starvation between the Kingdom due to a food source decreasing in numbers and also an economic decline as cows were known as the capital of the Zulu kingdom and were also a symbol of wealth. The fewer cows you had the less wealthy you were.

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An impregnated woman was killed along with their husband and lastly, people who did not look sad enough were too killed by the orders of Shaka. The mass killings of the people who belonged in the Zulu Kingdom and singular families and friends would lead to a depression and a hatred towards King Shaka shared amongst the whole Zulu Kingdom. Shaka also ordered that all his rivals were too be executed.

The long-term events and/or actions that took place during the mourning period resulted in a vast depopulation in the Zulu Kingdom and a bad reputation for King Shaka Zulu. Shaka Zulu was seen as insecure which played the role in his bad reputation which all resulted in the assignation of Shaka Zulu, planned by his fearful half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangane but was carried out by Dingane who later succeeded as a ruler of the Zulu Kingdom. Shaka Zulu had died on the 22nd of September, 1828.

Shaka Zulu made the Zulu Kingdom the most powerful and strongest Kingdoms known in history and currently although he did try to destroy his own powerfully raised Kingdoms unknowingly. One main reason why we study King Shaka is so that we as South Africans are aware and are knowledgeable about our own countries history and eventful actions that took place in history. Many people have different opinions toward my research topic regarding whether Shaka Zulu is a mass murderer or in fact a military genius. The people who had lived during the Zulu Kingdom massacre may also agree with my topic due to all the deaths Shaka Zulu had caused to friends and family of those times.

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Historical Role of King Shaka Zulu: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
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