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Nandi (mother of Shaka)

From Academic Kids

Nandi (c. 1760-1827) was a daughter of BiBi, a past chief of the Langeni tribe and the mother of the legendary Shaka, King of the Zulus.

Shaka's father was Senzangakona, chieftain of the Zulu clan, which was small and insignificant at the time. After giving birth to her illegitimate son, Nandi spent many hard years being shuffled back and forth between the Zulus and her own tribe. During that time she also had to protect her son from famine, assassination attempts, and his own destructive temper.

Despite the hard times they endured together, or perhaps because of them, Shaka loved his mother almost to the point of worship. When Nandi died of dysentery on October 10, 1827, Shaka put on his war regalia and proceeded to scream his anguish. The entire tribe of 15,000 Zulus erupted into wailing and shrieking. On Shaka’s orders, several people were executed on the spot, and a general massacre broke out. Tradition held that upon the death of someone of Nandi’s stature, several servants and attendants would be wounded or killed, but in this case, the event became a cover for many people to settle old scores. No fewer than 7,000 people died in the massacre.

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