Dabulamanzi kaMpande

Dabulamanzi kaMpande (1839 – September 22, 1886) was a Zulu commander for the Zulu kingdom in the Anglo-Zulu War. He is most noted for having commanded the Zulus at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. He was a half-brother of the Zulu king Cetshwayo kaMpande.

Dabulamanzi kaMpande
Depiction of Dabulamanzi from the Illustrated London News
DiedSeptember 22, 1886 (aged 46–47)
AllegianceZulu Kingdom
RankCommander of the Undi corps
Battles/warsAnglo-Zulu War

After the defeat of the Zulus, and the deposition of Cetshwayo, Dabulamanzi campaigned for the return of his brother to power. When Cetshwayo was restored in 1883, Dabulamanzi fought on his behalf to maintain the unity of the Zulu kingdom. Dabulamanzi means, the ‘the one who conquers the waters’.[1]


His father was the previous Zulu King Mpande, which made him a half-nephew of the famous and legendary Shaka and younger half-brother of the ruler Cetshwayo kaMpande.[2][3][4] His mother was Sanguza, one of Mpande's many wives.

Anglo-Zulu warEdit

Dabulamnzi was present at the Battle of Isandlwana, where he led the Undi Corps resevers, but did not see much participation.[5][6] He took the reserve forces and led the Zulu at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, despite his older brother specifically instructing him not to attack the British outside Zulu territory.[7][8] Dabulamanzi's tactics were ineffective, allowing the small British force at Rorke's Drift to repel the Zulus.[9]

Dabulamanzi subsequently organized the Siege of Eshowe, alongside Mavumengwana kaNdlela Ntuli, forming a blockade at Fort Eshowe which isolated British troops, under the command of Charles Pearson for two months.[10] When Lord Chelmsford arrived with a relief force, Dabulamanzi led the right wing of the Zulu army at the Battle of Gingindlovu; the Zulus were defeated.[2][6]

Later careerEdit

Dabulamanzi became the focal figure of anti-British sentiment in the aftermath of the war, and was a vocal opponent of Theophilus Shepstone and John Robert Dunn, Cetshwayo's former adviser who sided with the British and acquired large landholdings after the British victory.[11] Dabulamanzi was keen to ensure his brother's return to power in Zululand. Conflicts between rival factions prompted the British to re-establish Cetshwayo as king in an attempt to restore order, but the conflicts continued.

Dabulamanzi led the fight against Cetshwayo's principal enemy Zibhebhu kaMaphitha, who was supported by Boer mercenaries. In 1883, Dabulamanzi was defeated by Zibhebhu in the Battle of Msebe and at oNdini. After Cetshwayo's death he supported the king's son Dinuzulu, negotiating an alliance with Boer mercenaries in 1884. The exorbitant demands for land by the mercenaries led to further conflicts. On 22 September 1886, he was shot dead during a scuffle with a group of Boers.[4][6]


  1. ^ FitzPatrick, James Percy (1907). Jock of the Bushveld. Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 22.
  2. ^ a b Castle, Ian; Knight, Ian (1994). Fearful Hard Times: The Siege of and Relief of Eshowe, 1879. Greenhill Books. ISBN 978-1-85367-180-7.
  3. ^ Beckett, Ian Frederick William (2003). Isandlwana. Brassey's. ISBN 978-1-85753-328-6.
  4. ^ a b Rattray, David (2013-02-18). David Rattray's Guidebook to the Anglo-Zulu War Battlefields. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-1-4738-1187-4.
  5. ^ Newark, Tim (2001). In Heroes' Footsteps: A Walker's Guide to the Battlefields of the World. Barron's. ISBN 978-0-7641-5248-1.
  6. ^ a b c John Laband, Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars, Scarecrow Press, 2009, p.59.
  7. ^ Ian Knight, The Zulu War 1879, Osprey, 2003, ISBN 1-84176-612-7, p. 33.
  8. ^ Duminy, Andrew; Guest, Bill (1989). Natal and Zululand from Earliest Times to 1910: A New History. University of Natal Press. ISBN 978-0-86980-695-1.
  9. ^ Hanson, Victor Davis (2007-12-18). Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-42518-8.
  10. ^ Knight, Ian; Greaves, Adrian (2007). The Who's who of the Anglo-Zulu War: The Colonials and the Zulus. Barnsley, England: Pen & Sword Military. p. 167. ISBN 978-1-84415-526-2.
  11. ^ Frederick Hale, Norwegian Missionaries in Natal and Zululand: Selected Correspondence 1844-1900, Van Riebeeck Society, The, 1996, p.114.

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