Mzilikazi was a fearless warrior and king who left Zululand in the early 19th century, leading his people, the Ndebele, on a long and arduous journey to establish a new kingdom. His decision to leave his homeland was shaped by a series of events and conflicts that threatened his sovereignty and the well-being of his people.

Mzilikazi’s Early Life and Rise to Power

Mzilikazi was born around 1790 to Matshobana, the chief of the Khumalo clan, a prominent group within the Zulu Kingdom. As a young man, he displayed remarkable courage and military prowess, quickly rising through the ranks and becoming a trusted advisor to King Shaka, the founder of the Zulu Kingdom.

Conflict with King Shaka and the Departure from Zululand

However, tensions between Mzilikazi and King Shaka grew over time. Mzilikazi's ambition and military successes aroused Shaka's suspicion and jealousy. In addition, Mzilikazi's refusal to participate in some of Shaka's brutal campaigns further strained their relationship.

In 1823, a series of conflicts erupted between Mzilikazi and King Shaka, culminating in a battle that resulted in Mzilikazi's defeat. Rather than submit to Shaka's authority, Mzilikazi made the difficult decision to leave Zululand, taking with him a large group of followers who remained loyal to him.

The Long and Perilous Journey North

Mzilikazi and his followers embarked on a long and dangerous journey northward, seeking a new land where they could establish their own kingdom. They encountered numerous challenges along the way, including hostile tribes, lack of resources, and the harsh terrain.

During their journey, Mzilikazi demonstrated his leadership and resilience, inspiring his people to persevere through adversity. He also displayed his military prowess, successfully defending his people against attacks from rival tribes.

The Founding of the Ndebele Kingdom

After years of wandering, Mzilikazi and his followers finally reached the region that is now known as Zimbabwe. Here, they settled and established the Ndebele Kingdom, with Mzilikazi as their king.

The Ndebele Kingdom quickly grew in power and influence, becoming one of the most powerful states in southern Africa. Mzilikazi's military prowess and strategic alliances with neighboring tribes helped consolidate his power and establish the kingdom's dominance.

The Legacy of Mzilikazi

Mzilikazi's legacy is complex and multifaceted. He was a fierce warrior and a skilled military strategist who led his people to victory in numerous battles. He was also a wise and just ruler who established a strong and prosperous kingdom.

However, his reign was also marked by violence and conflict, as he sought to expand his territory and consolidate his power. Despite this, Mzilikazi remains a revered figure in Zimbabwean history, remembered for his courage, leadership, and determination.


Mzilikazi's decision to leave Zululand was a defining moment in his life and in the history of southern Africa. His journey and the establishment of the Ndebele Kingdom shaped the political and cultural landscape of the region.


  1. What were the main reasons why Mzilikazi left Zululand?

    • Conflict with King Shaka and fear of persecution
    • Desire to establish his own independent kingdom
    • Refusal to participate in Shaka's brutal campaigns
  2. How did Mzilikazi's journey to the north impact his people?

    • They faced numerous challenges and hardships along the way
    • They demonstrated resilience and determination in overcoming adversity
    • They eventually established a new kingdom and thrived
  3. What were Mzilikazi's key leadership qualities?

    • Courage and military prowess
    • Strategic thinking and adaptability
    • Wisdom and justice in ruling his people
    • Ability to inspire loyalty and devotion
  4. What was the legacy of Mzilikazi's reign?

    • He established a powerful and prosperous kingdom
    • He was a skilled military leader and strategist
    • He is remembered as a revered figure in Zimbabwean history
    • His reign was marked by both violence and conflict
  5. What are some of the challenges that Mzilikazi faced during his journey?

    • Hostile tribes and lack of resources
    • Harsh terrain and unfamiliar territory
    • Constant threat of attack from rival tribes



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