King Senzangakhona kaJama (c. 1762 – 1816) was the king of the Zulu Kingdom, and primarily notable as the father of three Zulu kings who ruled during the period when the Zulus achieved prominence, led by his oldest son King Shaka.[2]

King Senzangakhona kaJama
Bornc. 1762
Died1816 (1817)
OccupationKing of the Zulu
  • Mpikase kaMlilela Ngobese,
  • Songiya kaNgotsha Hlabisa,
  • Nandi[1]
  • Bhibhi kaSompisi
ChildrenShaka kaSenzangakhona
Sigujana kaSenzangakhona
Dingane kaSenzangakhona
Mpande kaSenzangakhona
Mhlangana kaSenzangakhona
  • Mkabayi kaJama (sister)
  • Mawa kaJama (sister)
  • Mmama kaJama
  • Phalo kaJama
  • Nobhongoza kaJama
  • Keke kaJama
  • Mangunuza kaJama
  • Vubukulwane kaJama
  • Nomaphikela kaJama
  • Sizile kaJama
  • Nomahawu kaJama
  • Mfolozi kaJama
  • Zivalele kaJama
  • Sojiyisa kaJama

Biography edit

His father was chief Jama kaNdaba and his mother was Mthaniya Sibiya. He succeeded on his father's death. During the chieftaincy of Senzangakhona, the Zulus were a small clan in the Mthethwa confederation which was ruled by Dingiswayo.

Senzangakhona’s name is derived from the Zulu word meaning "he who acts with a good reason".

Although the Zulus practised ritual circumcision, the practice was slowly dying out. Senzangakhona and Shaka were not circumcised, marking this trend in Zulu culture.[3]

Wives and children edit

Shaka, son of Senzangakhona

Senzangakhona married at least sixteen women by which he had fourteen known sons. His daughters were not recorded.

Nandi kaBhebhe eLangeni (Nandi, daughter of Bhebhe, from eLangeni district), bore him his first son Shaka, said to have been conceived during an act of ukuhlobonga, a form of coitus interruptus without penetration allowed to unmarried couples at a time known as "the fun of the roads" (amahlaya endlela), but the lovers became carried away.[4] Nandi and Shaka were initially accepted into Senzangakhona's kraal, and she was treated as a lesser wife.[4] As she was not his Great Wife, Shaka was not the heir. Senzangakhona was unwilling to acknowledge Nandi as his chief consort, an important status symbol among the AmaZulu. He did have another child with her, Shaka's sister Nomcuba.[4] Mkabi, the Great Wife, did, however, treat Nandi well. Nevertheless, Nandi's relationship with Senzangakhona eventually deteriorated, so she and Shaka were forced to leave the kraal.[4] Bhibhi kaSompisi Ntuli was one of Senzangakhona's wives.

Senzangakhona's official heir was his son Sigujana. Sigujana took over after the death of his father in 1816. However, Sigujana's reign was short as Shaka, with the help of his ally Dingiswayo and his half brother Ngwadi, had Sigujana assassinated. Shaka then raised the chieftaincy into a kingdom and became its first king.

Senzangakhona' sixth wife, Mpikase kaMlilela Ngobese, bore Dingane, who took over the Zulu kingdom after assassinating his half-brother Shaka in 1828 at present-day Stanger. The official name for this place is KwaDukuza.

Senzangakhona's ninth wife, Songiya kaNgotsha Hlabisa, bore Mpande, who became king when he overthrew Dingane in 1840. Mpande was the only son to bear him grandchildren. Mpande’s son, Cetshwayo kaMpande, was in some aspects the last great king of the Zulus before the British Empire invaded their territory.

In culture edit

Senzangakhona is played by Conrad Magwaza in the TV miniseries Shaka Zulu and In the mini TV miniseries Shaka Ilembe, he is played by Senzo Radebe.

Notes edit

  1. ^ Salmonson, Jessica Amanda.(1991) The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. page 192. ISBN 1-55778-420-5
  2. ^ Omer-Cooper, J. D. (1965) "The Zulu Aftermath," London: Longman
  3. ^ Glyn Charles Hewson. 1970. Shaka's kingship and the rise of the Zulu state, 1795-1828, page 67. University of Wisconsin--Madison.
  4. ^ a b c d E. A. Ritter, Shaka Zulu: The Rise of the Zulu Empire, Longmans Green, London, 1955, pp.11-14.
Preceded by Zulu King
Succeeded by