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SHAKA ZULU AND ZIMBABWE TODAY I am just back from a trip of about 1 200 kilometres around Zimbabwe Everywhere I went I saw the empty skulls of a people driven off their land Farm homes without windows windows without curtains gardens overgrown and dying staff quarters empty and lifeless Croplands idle and overgrown with weeds Farm equipment rusting in the broken down sheds hungry cattle without water vultures having a feast day It reminded me of the mfecane of the Transvaal Highveld in the early part of the 19th century in South Africa The greatest Zulu leader in history Shaka often termed the Napoleon of African history was responsible Out of a tiny minority of only 2 000 people he crafted the Zulu nation crushing and absorbing into the ranks of his impis the youth of the tribes to the north and south of his home and completely destroying the tribal peoples of the interior Only three groups the Tswana of what is now Botswana the Sotho of what is now Lesotho and the Dhlamini clan in what is now known as Swaziland halted him in his ambitions His genius lay in a few simple military rules when a boy reached the age of 15 he joined a regiment or impi Experienced and successful warriors who passed on to their young wards the knowledge they had accumulated in numerous raids on other tribes led the impi Their reward was that they kept most of what they took by force and although all cattle belonged to Shaka they were allowed to use the cattle for their own ends When Shaka felt they had proved their manhood they were given the right to choose girls to marry and establish their own homes They were given land and the use of cattle to enable them to become established Their bondage to Shaka was life long They were utterly ruthless and
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