Shaka was born the son of Senzakhona, the Zulu chief, and the Langeni princess Nandi. Senzakhona had unintentionally impregnated Nandi, but was obligated to take her as his third wife her in spite of the fact that she was from the lowly regarded Langeni clan. Due to this, she and her son were treated as outcasts and were unhappy. When an incident caused Senzakhona to banish Nandi and her children, they had to return to her people. Because an expelled woman was looked upon as being a diminished woman, Nandi and her children were even more unhappy with the Langeni. They were humiliated and Shaka was bullied by the other boys, helping form Shaka's personality and ambition. He became isolated, showing affection only to his mother.
Shaka lived with the Langeni until about the age of fifteen, when he met his father for the first time since his banishment and they quarreled, causing Nandi to send Shaka to live with her aunt for fear for his safety. Nandi's aunt lived with the Mthethwa, a very powerful group. Here he learned many of the skills that later made him a successful warrior.
That was also where he came under the guidance of Dingiswayo, an important factor in the shaping of his thinking. Dingiswayo introduced age regiments where young men were called up to serve for a part of every year, men from the same households and villages were put in different regiments, their allegiance primarily to the ruler of the chiefdom, Dingiswayo, and secondarily to their local chiefs. In his early twenties, Shaka was conscripted into the Mthethwa army, as he was a skilled warrior, he ascended the ranks to command his own regiment. This put him in a position to introduce some ideas that he had. The traditional throwing spear, the assegai, was no good for hand-to-hand combat, and left the warrior defenceless after he threw it, so Shaka introduced the short stabbing spear. His warriors used their shields to deflect the initial rain of assegais, then advanced on a nearly...
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