The Voortrekkers
A history of the Voortrekkers Great Trek 1835 - 1845
King Mpande
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Mpande Defects to the Voortrekkers

Natal South Africa 2010Dingane`s half brother Mpande defected to the Boers with 17,000 supporters and his general, Nongalaza and was duly installed as the Reigning Prince of the Emigrant Zulus. Mpande, like his half brother, carried excessive weight but unlike his half brother, was engaging and charming.

That he had not been killed already was a measure of either his timidity or cunning depending on who was asked. He, himself also knew that Dingane had him in his sights.

As Dingane was clearly tardy in repaying the Boers the 40,000 head of cattle, Pretorius and Mpande mounted a commando - the beestekommando (cattle commando) - to recover it. Nongalaza with a force was to pursue a parallel course.

Dingane Asks for More Time

On reaching the battlefield of Blood River, the commando was met by Dingane's second top general, Dambuza with an offer of 250 head of cattle and a request for more time. Pretorius regarded the man as a spy and had him promptly shot.

Dambuza met the inevitable sentence of death with the dignified remark that he had but one master and his duty was to remain faithful to the last and in such case, the Master on high could not fail to approve of his actions.

Dingane's Demise

News then reached the camp that Nongalaza had met the Zulu army in a particularly bloody battle near Mkuze. Between six and nine thousand had been killed but the Zulu army was in retreat, along with Dingane, northwards to the Swazi border where he himself was killed by local chiefs and his own indunas. Carolus Tregardt, on his way to Durban from his travels in East Africa claims to have seen Dingane`s body just after he had been killed.

On 10th February 1840, Mpande was duly installed as King of the Zulus. The Boers however claimed all the territory up to the Black Umfolozi river and he had to repay 41,000 head of cattle which were duly driven back to Pietermaritzburg.

As usual, the division of the cattle resulted in claims of greed, selfishness and treachery. Some were given to friendly tribes across the Drakensberg.

Next . . . The British arrive in Durban.