(Redirected from Senzangakhona kaJama)

Senzangakhona kaJama (c. 1762 – 1816) was a chief of the Zulu clan, 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 Shaka.[2]

Senzangakhona kaJama
Bornc. 1762
Died1816 (1817)
Mpikase kaMlilela Ngobese
Songiya kaNgotsha Hlabisa
Bhibhi kaSompisi Ntuli
ChildrenShaka kaSenzangakhona
Sigujana kaSenzangakhona
Dingane kaSenzangakhona
Mpande kaSenzangakhona
Parent(s)Jama kaNdaba
Mthaniya Sibiya


His father was King Jama kaNdaba and his mother was Queen 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 childrenEdit

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" (ama hlay 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 Nomcoba.[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]

His official heir was his son Sigujana. Bhibhi kaSompisi Ntuli was one of Senzangakhona's wives. However, Sigujana's reign was short as Shaka with the help of his ally Dingiswayo and his half brother Ngwadi had Sigujana assassinated.

His 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.

His 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 was in all aspects the last great king of the Zulus.

In cultureEdit

Senzangakhona is played by Conrad Magwaza in the TV miniseries Shaka Zulu.

Preceded by
Jama kaNdaba
Zulu King
Succeeded by
Sigujana kaSenzangakhona


  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.