Lead: In the late 1870s faced with a British imperial ultimatum to disband their military system, the Zulu clans of Northeastern South Africa prepared for a war their leader was certain they would lose.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The ancient tribal homeland of the Zulu lies north of the Tugela River in the northeastern part of South Africa’s Natal Province. The Zulu are a Bantu-speaking people, part of the Nguni ethnic grouping and were a relatively unimportant clan until the early decades of the 1800s. At that time there came to the throne one of the significant military thinkers in world history. Shaka (Chaka) subdued his family rivals and united the Zulu clans under his leadership. He then began to re-organize the Zulu war apparatus. He modified the traditional tribal weapon, the assegai, creating a new short iron sword designed for close in combat, he shaped his army into regiments, housed them in barracks for most of the year, refused to allow them to wear shoes so as to toughen their feet, thus increasing their speed, and then developed new unified flanking tactics directed by hand signals which when perfected overwhelmed his African enemies and gave the Zulu preeminence in the region.