From 1816 to 1828, Shaka kaSenzangakhona (c. July 1787 – 22 September 1828), also known as Shaka Zulu and Sigidi kaSenzangakhona, was the founder of the Zulu Kingdom. He was one of the Zulu's most powerful rulers, credited with reorganizing the Zulu military into a formidable force through a series of far-reaching and impactful reforms.
Shaka, the son of the Zulu chief Senzangakhona, was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year 1787 near present-day Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Shaka was raised in his mother's villages as an illegitimate son, where he was initiated into an ibutho lempi (fighting unit) and served as a warrior under Dingiswayo.
Shaka improved the ibutho military system and, with the backing of the Mthethwa empire, formed alliances with his smaller neighbors to offset the growing threat of Ndwandwe attacks from the north during the following several years. Therefore, the earliest Zulu actions were mostly defensive. His local social reforms were based on existing systems. He fought in a number of conflicts, while preferring social and propagandistic political approaches.
Shaka was able to communicate his views more easily as he gained more respect from his people. Shaka taught the Zulus that the most effective method to become strong rapidly was to invade and govern other tribes because of his military training. His teachings had a significant impact on the Zulus' societal attitude. The Zulu tribe quickly acquired a martial mentality, which Shaka exploited.
Shaka's image continues to pique the imagination of many people around the world who have come into contact with the Zulu tribe and its history. The present trend appears to be to glorify him; popular films and other forms of media have undoubtedly aided his appeal. As evidenced by the traditional Zulu praise song below, several components of traditional Zulu culture still venerate the deceased monarch. Praise song is one of Africa's most popular lyrical forms, and it can be applied to spirits, persons, animals, plants, and even communities.
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