As a youth, Shaka was the butt of many jokes because of his illegitimacy, however, such taunting turned the boy into a fearless, aggressive man.
When Shaka’s father died, Shaka assumed control of the Zulu clan, its 1,500 people and 150 sq.kms of territory. Shaka determined to gain hegemony over the local clans and the ritual skirmishing that had been the traditional manner of settling disputes was to change.
Shaka developed the short, large bladed stabbing spear and a means of employing it lethally and he also developed the ‘chest and horns’ tactic of surrounding enemy forces and annihilating them.
Within eleven years, he had accumulated and trained an army of fifty thousand warriors, defeated all the local clans and was master of most of the eastern seaboard and interior of what is now South Africa.
However, he did not colonize the conquered territories but laid them waste, destroying crops, burning the kraals, driving off the cattle, killing or absorbing the men and carrying off the women and children.