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Mfecane

The "crushing". The events in southern Africa following the rise to power of Shaka the Zulu. He organized a military state by drilling his Zulu clan into a new military force.

Perhaps he is comparable, on a smaller scale, with such figures as Genghis Khan (see Psychopaths.) He overthrew the traditional kingdom and way of life and spread his power and influence over a large part of southern Africa. Probably his main effect was the opening of the Transvaal and Natal to European settlement. In the disruption many people fled from their lands. The Afrikaners claimed they were therefore empty and set up European farms on them. The kingdoms of Swaziland and Lesotho are another legacy as these were set up to escape his power.

Zulus and other click language speakers were dispersed through Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and southern Tanzania. The political effects reached as far as Tabora in Tanzania and the resistance to the German colonizers.

Underlying causes: Causes of Mfecane

Interestingly, a possible cause was the arrival of new crops affecting the population density.

Last revised 14/10/11


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