Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mpande (1798 - 1872) was king of the Zulu nation from 1840 to 1872, making him the longest reigning Zulu king. He was a half-brother of Shaka and Dingane, who both preceded him as kings of the Zulu. He was born in Babanango, Zululand.
He was considered a weak man in comparison to his contemporaries, and while other half-brothers were removed he was allowed to live. When Dingane instructed his chief induna Ndlela kaSompisi to assassinate him, Ndlela repeatedly delayed, as he realised that Mpande was the only son to have had any children, and Ndlela considered the continuation of the blood line crucial to the stability of the Zulu nation. Ndlela was tortured to death by Dingane for his inaction.
Rules of succession in the Zulu monarchy were sketchy at best, but tradition had it that the first son of the Great wife be successor. Unfortunately, the king could pick which of his wives was the Great wife, and even change his mind - which Mpande did.
Succession was eventually settled by a battle between rivals Cetshwayo and Mbulazi, who was supported by John Dunn, on the banks of the Tugela River. Cetshwayo won, and though Mpande did not relinquish power for over a year, Cetshwayo was effectively in control.
All subsequent Zulu monarchs can trace Mpande as an ancestor.
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