NGONI MIGRATIONS AND SETTLEMENT IN EAST AFRICA
were the Ngoni?
The Ngoni were Bantu-Nguni speaking people of Northern Zululand in South East
Africa. They were originally Ndwandwe people under Zwides leadership. But when
Shaka defeated Zwide, one part of his group, the Ngoni moved to East Africa under
origin, the Ngoni, were close relatives of the Zulu. They were full- time warriors
and cattle plunderers hence disliked by other tribes, so they forced them away.
They were pushed further north and eventually reached southern Tanzania.
were forced out of South Africa by the “Mfecane”
wars led by Shaka the Zulu. They came to be known as the Ngoni having absorbed
the Thonga, Shona and Cewa on their way to East Africa.
Ngoni migration began among the Bantu peoples of South Africa, who entered into
E. Africa in the 1840’s. They were the last Bantu migrants to come to East
Africa. They migrated into two largest groups of the Maseko and Tuta Ngoni.
Ngoni broke the Monomotapa Kingdom, settling respectively on the eastern side
of Lake Nyasa (Malawi) at Songea, and on Ufipa plateau.
They moved to Tanzania from Natal and Swaziland between 1820 and 1840 due to the
Mfecane (time of trouble). They are direct descendants of the Zulu.
They are currently settled in South West Tanzania around Songea town.
Ngoni invasion illustrates the influence of external forces on the lives of the
indigenous people. The Ngoni brought innovation and changes such as
military techniques, skill and weapons. A study of the Ngoni would enable
students appreciate the current settlement patterns and way of the life of the
people of Southern Tanzania.
The end of the topic students should be able to:
Describe who the Ngoni
were and identify the area where they came from
the reasons why they migrated
the course of their movement and settlement
why they were able to defeat the inhabitant of Southern Tanzania
Explain the effects of their
migration on the people of East Africa.
for the Ngoni migration
It was due to fear of being
absorbed into the empire of tyrant Shaka.
The Ngoni migrated
due to the tyrannical and dictatorial rule of Shaka, the Zulu ruler who was everything
in his kingdom. His cruelty was shown when he lost his mother, and put people
under severe signs of mourning. Those who refused to cry for his mother’s
death were killed,so they decided to seek refuge by migrating to other areas.
They moved because
of external pressure from the British and the Boers in the South who were moving
northwards occupying their land.
It was due to over
population, which was caused by the fertility of soils and reliability of rainfall
between Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean.
Due to overpopulation
there was land shortage hence land disputes, which led to forcing them to migrate
to other areas.
Some owned large herds of
cattle hence moved northwards looking for pasture and water for their animals.
So, they wanted to look for more fertile land for grazing their cattle.
It was also due to
epidemic diseases such as smallpox and sleeping sickness that affected them.
They could have moved
because of famine and drought that led to lack of food and water.
It was because of influence
of men like Zwangendaba, Maputo and Zulugama who provided good leadership. This
encouraged them to move on wards.
They migrated because
of the spirit for Adventure.(Need to see what was beyond them).
The leaders wanted
to take over power in the areas they defeated, which was not acceptable to Shaka
forcing some groups to migrate to other areas.
They were fed up with
the old traditional political system, which encouraged dictatorship and therefore
wanted change, which could be achieved through migration.
It could also have
been due to overstocking of their animals. They migrated due to their spirit of
cattle rustling, i.e they had great desire to steal other people’s cattle.
For example, they went on driving away and confiscating other people’s cattle
during their conquest and expansionist wars.
They migrated due to
the increased knowledge of military tactics by the age regiments. These were powerful
military forces and dedicated to professional war, which was their livelihood.
They believed that they could other territories through migration.
Introduction to migration
Ngoni and the Zulu
and the Mfecane
N.T.Nwaezeigwe (1997) "Ngoni", Rosen