VOLUME ONE, ZULU KINGS: WITH ASSEGAI AND SHIELD by Penny Howcroft

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRINTED BOOK:

160 x 240mm. 352 pp. Maps and Photographs. Paperback, 1SBN 978-620-46869-5.

 

Behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story of Zulu kings who influenced the future of Africa. It is the story of three brothers. The resolute Shaka forges the kingdom of the Zulu into the most powerful black state in Africa. He thrives on a reputation for inhumanity and bases his power on fear, strangling any offspring at birth and conquering all who oppose him in a reign of terror.

And yet he protects the first white men who come to hunt and trade in Zululand. Fynn, Farewell and King become his friends, his only friends. Willy-nilly these young adventurers adapt to life in Shaka’s court and they record the Zulu empire at its height.

Dingane, watching jealously from the sidelines, assassinates Shaka and usurps the Zulu kingship. Then he kills his brothers. Curiously, he spares Mpande. Fearing the encroaching whites, Dingane sends his regiments against the Boer trekkers and then turns against the Port Natal traders. The results are harrowing.

With the help of the trekkers, Mpande attacks Dingane who flees north to his terrible death. The trekkers confirm Mpande’s kingship and Zululand settles down to an uneasy peace. Mpande’s eldest son Cetshwayo is anxious to prove that he has the right to be the heir, but Mpande favours another son, Mbuyazi. In 1856, the rivals battle it out and Cetshwayo wins an undisputed victory. But the succession dispute is immediately replaced by the land dispute with the Boers. Hemmed in by white expansion on all sides, Cetshwayo finds it difficult to re-establish a powerful monarchy in Zululand.

Based on well-researched facts, the author powerfully evokes the mood of the times. 

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