African Military Leader. Shaka "King of the Zulus" was a strong influential African leader and military innovator, born in southern Africa in 1787. He was sucessful in uniting all the ethnic groups in southern Africa against the despicable vestiges of colonialism. He was the illegimate son of the Zulu chief Senzangakhona and the young girl, Nandi, a member of the Langeni clan. As a young man Shaka joined the army of Dingiswayo and soon became its highest commander. With the support of Dingiswayo he gained supremacy over the Zulu clan. Under Shaka (1819-1828), the Zulu territory expanded phenomenally. At the begining of the 19th century, Shaka had created the most powerful kingdom on the southern part of the continent of Afica. He built the Zulu's into a nation of over a million strong with an army more than forty thousand warriors occupying territory of about 2 million square miles, from Cape Colony in the south to Tanzania in the north. An estimated two million of Shaka's enimies died during his decade of power. Shaka's troops earned such a reputation that many enimies would flee at the sight of him. Shaka is also noted for revolutionizing 19th century Bantu warfare by first grouping regiments by age, and training his men to use standardized weapons and special tactics. Towards the end of his reign, Shaka used his power even more destuctively. He chased his arm from one battle to the next, and the cruelties against his enemies became more outrageous. Eventually, Shaka was assassinated by his half-brothers Dingane and Minianagana on Sept. 23, 1828. Shaka , forty-one, reportedly died a death without dignity, begging his attackers for mercy. His killers buried him in an unmarked grave near a village in the country of South Africa.
Bio by: Curtis Jackson