<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

c) Do you think misunderstandings like this can be avoided? How?

d) Why are oral sources not always reliable? Source A.

e) What are the similarities between the sources?

f) Sketch two examples of misunderstandings that occur in our country. Write captions for your sketches.

In 1830 the interior of South Africa appeared as follows. Subsequently we are going to look at how the empires came into being.

2. what caused the mfecane?

When there are few documents and little evidence it is very difficult to reconstruct historical events and even more difficult to understand and explain them. Historians have therefore different views, sometimes called theories or explanations for such events.

As you have now discovered, it is difficult to describe the Mfecane. Some historians see the Mfecane as caused by events, mainly:

  • as struggle for power, especially in KwaZulu-Natal;
  • competition for trade;
  • the influence of the environment.

Therefore, we are going to investigate what reliable information does exist about the Mfecane to support this explanation.

  1. The struggle for power in kwaZulu-Natal

The constant warfare and changes that occurred in the last half of the eighteenth century led to the rise of new, powerful chiefdoms. In the area north of the Thukela, three kingdoms began to emerge.

In the south the Qwabe had taken control over a large area by 1813.

To the north the Ndwande became the most powerful group under the leadership of Zwide.

Activity 2:

To be aware of the different views of the causes of the mfecane

[lo 2.3]

Read the accompanying article, and explain why the Sotho people compulsory referred the events as Defaquane - relocation.


The Mthethwa occupied the central position between these two powerful kingdoms.

Each of these kingdoms swallowed its smaller neighbours to increase its own power.

The Mthwethwa under Dingiswayo began to expand politically and commercially, which enabled them to control the entire coastal lowlands and the trade with Delagoa Bay. Dingiswayo also spread his power inland, up the White Mfolozi River, between the Qwabe in the south and the Ndwandwe to the north. Chiefdoms such as the Zulu of Senzangakhona and the Buthelezi and Khumalo were conquered. Turning northwards, Dingiswayo defeated the Ngwane. The only remaining power that did not submit to Dingiswayo was Zwide and his Ndwandwe. The rulers who were conquered were left in control of their chiefdoms but were subject to the Mthethwa kingdom.

Eventually war between the Mthethwa and the Ndwande broken out in 1817. The attacking Mthethwa army was driven south after Dingiswayo was captured and put to death. The confusion among the Mthethwa opened the way for a new and even more powerful leader – Shaka.

Shaka joined the tribe of Dingiswayo as a young man. He quickly became well known because of this abilities as a natural leader and his bravery. Out of gratitude for his services, Dingiswayo made him chief of the Zulu tribe, although Shaka would not normally have become a chief.

Dingiswayo’s death provided Shaka with the opportunity to seize power. There were, however, two serious threats to this power: the possibility that the Mthethwa would disintegrate, and the military power and confidence of Zwide.

Shaka showed exceptional political skills in getting the support of the Mthetwha royal family and went on to defeat and replace those in the royal families and chiefdoms who opposed to his rule. He took control of all the people north of the Thukela. Only Ndwande remained independent.

Thousands of refugees fled as Shaka expanded his territory and power through wars – this caused a chain reaction of plundering and chaos as the refugees entered the land of other tribes. The rise of Shaka thus contributed to the Mfecane.

B. competition for trade

Financial considerations probably caused the forced removal that took place. Here are four examples:

(a) The British government needed labourers, especially after the arrival of the British settlers in 1829.

(b) In the area beyond the Orange River, groups like the Griquas and the Taung were guilty of slave trading.

(c) The Portuguese government in Delagoa Bay also traded in slaves. Black people had to leave their homes and flee to avoid being captured as slaves. This brought about unrest, conflict and destruction amongst them.

(d) There was also great competition for the trade in ivory, where stronger groups attacked smaller groups in order to get the most ivory.Trading nations in competition for slaves

Thousands of people move to our cities each year. Why?

C. influence of the environment

Another possible cause of the Mfecane was, of course, the influence which the environment had on people and events. Good rains result in good crops.

During droughts, only a little rain fell, crops were poor and many people moved to areas where there was better rainfall.

Sometimes, farmers fought each other in order to obtain the best fertile lands for their crops.

Study the rainfall map and choose the correct answer between brackets:

a) Cattle farmers found the (western; eastern; northern) part of the country agreeable because of the high rainfall and the good grasslands.

b) In the dry areas, they usually farmed (crops; cattle; sheep and goats) due to a shortage of water.

Activity 2:

To present the causes and the consequences of the mfecane

[lo 2.2]

The latest RESEARCH proves that Mfecane was a complicated “puzzle” of INTERWOVEN causes and consequences:

  • The first part of the puzzle indicates two causes of the Mfecane. What were the results of this?
  • What is your definition of the Mfecane?


LEARNING OUTCOME 2: HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING – The learner will be able to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding
2.1 Understand chronology and time
2.2 Supply reasons why an historical event took place (causes, effects)
2.3 Differentiate between different periods (similarities, differences)

Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, History grade 7. OpenStax CNX. Sep 09, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11023/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'History grade 7' conversation and receive update notifications?