Shangana Cultural Village

King Shaka of the Zulus sent Soshangana (Manukosi) to conquer the Tsonga people in the area of present-day Mozambique. Soshangana found a fertile place inhabited by scattered communities of peace-loving people, and he decided to make it his home rather than return to Shaka.

He imposed Shaka's military system of dominion and taught the people the Zulu ways of fighting, and made them wear skins and ostrich feathers on their heads. He did not change the style of architecture, the round huts with their patterned thatch roofs, because they were beautiful.

Soshangana gave his name to the Shangaan people. During the Evening Festival, the song "Ndwandwe" refers to his colloquial name and pays homage to him.

Life however was not all peaceful for the new nation. Shaka was angry and sent troops to attack Soshangana, but they too did not return. Internal quarrels led to Shangaan people dispersing far north as Congo. Soshangana fought the Portuguese in 1833 and 1834. When he died in 1858 no-one was told about his death for a year, and when word got out there was a great struggle for power between his two sons. This became a six year war, and eventually Muzila defeated his brother on the Sabi River in 1862.
By this stage, there was much trade with the Portuguese colonialists and many had opened shops in the interior. Shangaan men went to work on the gold mines of Johannesburg to earn money. They maintained their traditions and their high standard of dancing made them famous on the reef.

Muzila's son, Nghunghunyana, took over when he died in 1884, and is remembered by present-day Shangaans as their best-loved leader and their last true chief. He fought against the Portuguese colonialists, and was taken capture. He arranged for his family to be freed, but he remained hostage and died.

Today, the Shangaans live in areas mainly between the Kruger National Park and the Drakensberg mountains, in South Africa's Mpumalanga and Northern Province. Their sister tribe, the Tsongas, inhabit most of southern Mozambique. Shangana Cultural Village celebrates the cultural heritage of all these peoples.

The Shangana Cultural Village offer daytime tours as well as an Evening Festival when the history of the Shangaans is presented by a huge cast of choristers and dancers before dinner is served inside the huts.

When touring the village, the guide explains different facets of the Shangaan way of life, including their history and customs, initiation ceremonies, the practice of polygamy, the outfits and weapons of masocho (warriors), the construction of homes, ornate beadwork clothing, and the preparation of food.

Guests are encouraged to touch, feel and participate in what is happening in the village, and the guide will explain the necessary etiquette to ensure the privacy of the family is not disturbed.

Guests have the opportunity to visit the mystical kraal of the Sangoma (traditional healer). The Sangoma explains his different mutis (medicines) and may throw his bones on request.

Shaka Zulu - Warrior King

Shaka, “Great Zulu Warrior” , “The Black Napoleon”, “Absolute ruler and tyrant.” these were some of the titles and characteristics used when describing Shaka. He was a strong leader and military innovator, and is noted for revolutionizing l9th Century Bantu warfare. He was a man with great power and the heart of a tiger. The Zulu had no rifles, and different from Napoleon, used hand-to-hand war tactics.

Shaka was born in 1786, the son of Senzangakona, Zulu Chief and his mother Nandi. His parents were blood relatives which was a crime punishable by death. However, as Shaka’s father was Chief, punsihment escaped him. As a young boy, Shaka was a very difficult child, having confrontations with people in his village, as a result he was the victim of some terrible cruelties. One time, hot porridge was poured over his hands, and burning hot meat forced down his throat. Those who inflicted evil on Shaka would one day live to regret it.

When Shaka was twenty-six, his father died and left the throne to a son, Sijuana.

Shaka ambushed and killed Sijuana, taking leadership of the Zulus. He came to power around 1820, revolutionizing military tactics. He chose the most superior and graceful soldiers, and was the first to group regiments by age, and to train his men in the use of modern weapons and special tactics. He developed a short stabbing spear, known as an assagai. He marched his regiments in tight formation using large shields to fend off the enemy.

Shaka built the Zulu people into a powerful nation of more than one million, and united all peoples in South Africa against colonial. His troops became feared by all enemies, whom would mostly flee at the sight of them. Shaka caused over two million people to die. Shaka’s motto was “Death or Victory.”



















For more information please feel free to contact us at we can facilitate your arrangements, and take you on Guided Tour of Mpumalanga, the Blyde River Canyon and The Shangana Cultural Village

Transfers to and from your B & B, Guesthouse, Lodge or Hotel, should you not be staying with us at "Ebubeleni", can be arranged.


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