Last Saturday marked 200 years since King Shaka kaSenzangakhona brought together the different African clans to form the Zulu kingdom. Shaka presided as king for twelve years before being assassinated by his half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, with Dingane taking the throne in Shaka’s absence. Since the rule of Shaka, there have been another six Zulu kings, with the current monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, assuming power in 1968. King Zwelithini, the longest serving Zulu king, has put great emphasis on Zulu customs and rituals, such as the annual reed dance and male circumcision, rites of passage that were in danger of being lost.
Many people in KwaZulu-Natal and beyond subscribe to the idea of being part of a Zulu nation. However, in recent years, there has been much debate about the size and power of the Zulu Kingdom and an upsurge of clans claiming their pre-Shakan histories, languages and identities.
Click here to watch A Brief History of the Zulu Nation 200 Years On, broadcasted by the SABC in anticipation of the celebrations that took place at Moses Mabhida last weekend.