Mfecane was the period of widespreading warfare plundening disturbances
Mfecane was the period of widespreading warfare plundening disturbances, destruction andmigrations in zulu land and in some other parts of south africa. The word MFECANEoriginated from zulu world which means ‘crushing’. This was in the high area which liesbetween the Drakensberg mountains, Kalahari desert and the limpopo river. Sometimes thiscan be called the wars of wondering or the disturbances which are accompanied the rise of thezulu. The war was happened between 1816 and 1856, the first half of the 19th century. Thesotho word for Mfecane was Difagane.There were causes of this movement, so the following are the causes of Mfecane war:-Geographical barries: there was feature such as the Drakensburg mountains and the indianocean made is is impossible for people to expand to the west east respectively. Thiscontributed to population increase resulting in wars to secure land. So the populationincreased pressure of ownership of land and warfare had became more friguest and severe.Shortage of land: many people migrated into the area because it was generally good forfarming due to fertility of the land. So the population pressure was as the result of thepopulation growth during the 18th c evidenced the process of tribal expanding and formationof units. The process was taking place among all bantu speaking people.Rise of long distance trade: the trade had developed along the east coast of Africa with theportugues at Delagoe bay. Because of the desire to control trade some Nguni tribes began toattack others in order to control and acquire more tribute. In that case the portuguese wantedto trade with organised groups under powerful leaders. This trade was during 16th c, theBritish and Dutch traders were all competing in selling beads and brash wire in exchange forivory.The rise of the zulu nation: this lead to the intensification of the Mfecane by Shaka.However the Mfecane started even before Shaka. However the mfecane started even beforeshaka become cheif of the zulu. This means that mfecane was to take place with shaka. Hiscoming into power increased the rate of the mfecane as he was interested in wars and hencedefeated other tribes.Expansion of cape whites. this also caused the mfecane war towards the end of the 1stcentury there was the great desire by whites at the capes to expand in the eastern direction inorder to acquire more land. So the expansion of whites in cape led to the contribution ofworsening of the shortage of land.
Shortage of land. This was due to population increase which caused by fertile soil for cropproduction and high quality pasture. So people could no longer fit on the land was that wasavailable. In order to get land, people started to fight for it. The defeated ones had to migrateto other places.Struggle for some three powerful groups. That groups rise up at that time and startedfighting to each other. Those groups were Sobhuza’s Ngwane, Zwide and Ndwandwe andDingiswayo’s Mtethwa. Zwide and Sobhuza were the first one to start fighting over land onthe Pongola river about 1816.The following are the effects of the mfecane war:-Formation of the new states. This mfecane war cause the information of the different statessuch as the Kalolo in Barotseland and Soshangane and his powerful Gaza were formed.Defensive states were formed in places where it was easy to defend it incase of war. Exampleformation of Moshesh’s Basuto nation on the mountain of the Thaba Bosiu.Political re-organisation. Mfecane war also cause the political re-organisation meant thatsome traditionally smal clan states joined together to form large multi-clan states whichbecome extreamly strong in order to protect themselves. The conquered people wereincorparated into an expanded tribe.Military organisation. Many states copied the fighting example Ngoni, Kololo and Ndebelecopied the method of fighting from shaka and zulu. The nguni become the home of newmillitary weapons and tactics. A new weapon like spear was introduced and used with greaterefficiency. Also the cow-horn shape method of surrounding the enemy became besst tactic ofconquiring the weak states.Depopulation of many communities and societies. Many people died during the mfecanewar. Violance and starvation were occured because the livestock were stolen and people couldnot stay long enough in one place to cultivate crops. Most of the people lost their lives. Manydistrict were left empty due to the wars.Economic and social disruption. Agricultural activities were abandoned as life becameinsecure for everybody. As many people were killed and others forced into exile. Familieswere broken down and the population demographics of people affected. The beutifully areasof Natal were devastated as communities broke down and fled to secure their lives.
Decline of many central and east african kingdom. Those kingdom which were declinedwere previous strong and prosperous. They could not with stand the military strength of thetribes from the south, who had already copies Shaka’s style of fighying. Example of thosekingdoms that were destroyed partly due to Nguni invasions were the Lozi, Rozwi andTumbu.Families, traditions and customs broke up. Mfecane wars cause the family traditions andcustoms to broke up example circumcision was stopped, stealing become the order of the dayand some people practiced cannibalism to get food.Many refugues fled in all directions. Thousands of refugees fled as shaka expanded histerritory ad power through wars. This caused a chain reaction of plundering and chaos as therefugees entered the land of other tribes. The rise of shake thus contributed to the mfecane.Many herds of livestock and supplies of grain were destroyed. During mfecane war manyherds of livestock were destroyed so this led to the hardship and suffering of cattle. Otherpeople were forced into exile and others were killed so this led to cattle’s to remain withoutany care which cause livestock to be destroyed.Weakness of african resistances. This led to the European penetration. The Boer penetrationto the interial due to the news that there were existing of an extensive fertile and workuninhibited land in Natal. When they reached there they were met with no serious resistancebecause Mfecane had poisoned interstate relationship and no African unity.Famine and hunger. This was because many people died during war period and agriculturalactivities were destroyed and people do not stay long enough in one place to cultivate crops.So this led famine and hunger which cause most of the people lost their livs.By conclusive. The mfecane war brought various changes in south, central and East africa.Mfecane invironments had cause the impacts on culture, political and economic to the peopleof africa. Even though those impact are in negative and positive.
References: 1. Davies N.E (2003) A history of sourthen Africa England. Longman Group UK Limited. 2. Denoon D. (1973) Southern Africa since 1800 published in the United states of America praeger publishers new york Washington. 3. Mwijage J.F.K. “Major Events in Sfrica history”. 4. www.google.com
ST. JOHN’S UNIVERSITY OF TANZANIA ST.MARK’S CENTRE FACULT OF EDUCATION AND HUMANITIESCOURSE NAME: SOUTH AFRICACOURSE CODE: H1:202COURSE INSTRUCTOR: MADAM WINFRIDASTUDENT NAME:REG NO: 2010/41134TYPE OF WORK: INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENTDATE OF SUBMISSION:23/12/2011Question;Discus the courses and effects of Mfecane war.