By the 1850s, interest in African exploration had become an international race. Explorers like David Livingstone, Henry M. Stanley, and Heinrich Barth became national heroes, and the stakes were high. A public debate between Richard Burton and John H. Speke over the source of the Nile led to the suspected suicide of Speke, who was later proven correct. Explorers’ travels also helped pave the way for European conquest, but the explorers themselves had little to no power in Africa for much of the century. They were deeply dependent on the African men they hired and the assistance of African kings and rulers, who were often interested in acquiring new allies and new markets.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Ngoni Warrior Regiment

These prime fighters would often form up as part of the "chest" when the 
Ngoni adopted the "buffalo horns" attack formation. 
These warriors of the "chest" were expected to deliver the coup de grace. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ngoni Senior Regiment

The Ngoni military machine was based on the formation of national regiments comprising of different age-sets from the various clans. The age-set system with it's general division of cattle herders (pre-warrior age), warriors and senior men (post-warrior age) is a common feature of Bantu social organisations.  
Ref: Elmslie, W.A.L.  (2013) Among the Wild Ngoni

South African Boer Wagon and Driver

Perry Miniatures 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Military Commander of the Ndwandwe Army, Zwangendaba Gumbi

The rise of the Zulu nation to dominance in southern Africa in the early nineteenth century (1815–1840) disrupted many traditional alliances. Around 1817, the Mthethwa alliance, which included the Zulu clan, came into conflict with the Ndwandwe alliance, which included the Nguni people from the kwaZulu-Natal. One of the military commanders of the Ndwandwe army, Zwangendaba Gumbi (c1780–1848), was the head of the Jele or Gumbi clan, which itself formed part of the larger emaNcwangeni alliance in what is now north-east kwaZulu-Natal. In 1819, the Zulu army under Shaka defeated the Ndwandwe alliance at a battle on the Umhlatuze River, near Nkandla. The battle resulted in the diaspora of many indigenous groups in southern Africa.

Ref: Thompson, T. Jack (1995) Christianity in Northern Malaŵi: Donald Fraser's Missionary Methods and Ngoni Culture

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Ngoni Background

Ngoni, also called Angoni, Abangoni, Mangoni, and Wangoni, approximately 12 groups of people of the Nguni branch of Bantu-speaking peoples that are scattered throughout eastern Africa. Their dispersal was due to the rise of the Zulu empire early in the 19th century, during which many refugee bands moved away from Zululand. One Ngoni chief, Zwangendaba, led his party to Lake Tanganyika; the descendants of his group, the Ngoni cluster proper, are located in northern Malaŵi, in Zambia, and in southern Tanzania. Another group found its way to Mozambique. 

Each Ngoni group formed a small independent state with a central administration based on patrilineal succession. It raided its weaker neighbours, and when the fertility of its own cultivated area was exhausted, the group moved elsewhere.

The superior Ngoni military organization, based, like that of the Zulu, on universal conscription into age-set regiments, enabled them to capture many of the people whose lands they seized or pillaged. Some captives were sold as slaves to Arabs, but many were assimilated into the tribe, some achieving high rank in the army and administration. Despite losses from warfare, the population increased greatly, leading eventually to splits in the state and the dispersal of rival segments. 

Internally, each state, at least among Zwangendaba’s people, was divided into several such segments, many of which were under the nominal leadership of queens. The settlement pattern was characterized by large, compact villages surrounding a central cattle pen. Villages were built quite close to one another and might contain 2,000 or 3,000 inhabitants. A belt of empty land surrounded the settled area, separating it from the territories of the tribes raided by the Ngoni.

At the end of the 19th century, Portuguese, British, and German forces invaded the areas in which the Ngoni had been unchallenged for 50 years, and by 1910 all Ngoni had come under colonial control.

Information source: Encyclopedia Britannica