Episode 82 – Shaka outfoxes Zwide at the Mhlathuze River

This is episode 82 and we’re picking up the story from where we left off last Episode the Ndwandwe were chasing the AmaZulu down the Mhlathuze Valley, just north of the modern town of Eshowe, just south of Melmoth. And for those geopolitical folks, that’s just down the drag from Nkhandla.
Most historians believe this battle took place in 1819, but some also think it may have been a year later. But the exact year is not as important than what this battle would herald.
Zwide’s Ndwandwe were on the rampage, he’d sent his warriors from his main umuzi Ndweneni and they’d overrun the Zulu Centres of Mbelebeleni and esiKlebheni, and then driven the Zulu before them. The established Ndwandwe leader was sick and tired of this young upstart called Shaka of the little clan called the Zulu and was trying to teach him a lesson.
Shaka had ample warning about this attack and moved his people before the NDwandwe arrived, then led his enemy on a wild goose chase to the south. The storytellers say that he ordered his warriors to create the impression that his main force was where it wasn’t – so to speak.
There are stories that Shaka created the chest and horns attacking formation, but we know that Dingiswayo and even Senzangakhona used the direct attack followed by an outflanking technique. While much has been written and many many scribes have fallen over themselves talking about this chest and horns genius, Shaka only really used this horns and chest double flanking manoevre once in his entire history of battles and fights – and that was in 1826 in the Sikhunyane battle, which ended without a clear victor anyway. Once again, the real story is much more interesting and much more complex.