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History Gr. 10 T3 W6: Revision - The Rise of the Zulu Kingdom and the Legacies of Shaka

Revision: The Rise of the Zulu Kingdom and the Legacies of Shaka

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Shaka Zulu Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Zulu , Politics , Military , Tribe , Nation , History , Services papers , Region

Words: 1700

Published: 03/31/2021


Introduction to Shaka Zulu Essay

In this paper, I shall discuss the impact of Shaka King Zulu’s reign in Southern Africa. Specifically taking into account how Shaka was able to use his military genius and political acumen to establish the Zulu Kingdom and stabilize his reign. The purpose of this paper is to discover as to how Shaka struggled to give a name for himself before he became ruler, and how he used his power to usher the creation of the Zulu nation. Other topics this paper would discuss is the military background of Shaka under the Mtetwa, how he rose to power, and how he was killed. This paper will also examine how Shaka became a symbol of nationalism and how his name became a myth and source of debate for many.

Early Years of King Shaka

Shaka Zulu is considered a myth to African history considering that no one is aware of his origins or early career. According to Hodge (2008), he was seen by historians as an illegitimate son of a chief, who had been cast-off from the tribe and paid service to another tribe leader . Others suggest that this record is true as Osei (2001) stated that Shaka was born in 1786 to King Senzangakona, who ruled the tribe living close to the Umvolosi and Umlatusi rivers. His mother was only known as Nandi, the first great woman to ever hold honor and influence in Zulu. Despite the fame of his parents, Shaka was scorned by his tribesmen was some believed him to be an illegitimate child of their chieftain. Once his treatment got so bad, his grandmother took Shaka away and stayed in Mtetwa where he met his future second-in-command Ngomane.

Under Service to Dingiswayo

After seven years of training and staying at the Mtetwa, Shaka entered into the service of Dingiswayo, who was the tribe’s chief at the period. Many commended Shaka’s fighting prowess and his successes were known throughout the tribe. Dingiswayo at that time had only began his reign in 1795 and managed to conquer neighboring tribes like the Quadi, Qwabe, Langeni, Ntshali and many others. However, he was unable to defeat King Zwide of the Ndwande, who was also a military genius in his own right. Shaka had entered into Dingiswayo’s army at that point and immediately became the tribe chief’s favorite as he made a name for himself in many conquests. Some even called him the Sigidi (thousand) after defeating thousands of enemy tribesmen. Shaka easily rose through the ranks in Dingiswayo’s army and became the Commander in Chief of the Izicwe Regiment. Under Dingiswayo, Shaka was able to learn not just military combat, but also governance. He took every detail and analyzed which areas of the tribe’s leadership would be a threat, such as Dingiswayo’s generosity. For Shaka, aggression can be prevented by ensuring that the conquered would no longer be able to retaliate once they are defeated. While earning praises in Mtetwa, Shaka remained in touch with the happenings in his old tribe. Rise of King Shaka

As Shaka slowly honed his political policies, his father had been reported to have passed away in 1810. Dingiswayo, upon hearing the news, knew that Shaka was most trustworthy than his brothers and had asked the Zulu to see him as their king. However, one of Shaka’s half-brothers took the throne, prompting Shaka to execute a conniving scheme to remove his brother from the throne. He had sent one of his half-brothers who went with him to Mtetwa, Ngwadi, and announce to their tribe that he was killed by Dingiswayo and he had barely escaped. Ngwadi had been able to sway their tribesmen and their reigning relatives, getting the chance he needs to assassinate the king. Ngwadi was able to commit the act when the King took a bath one morning, striking him with two spears from behind. Once the act was done and reported to Shaka, Dingiswayo gave his favorite general with an imposing staff and a select group of warriors as a farewell gift. Upon arriving in the tribe, Shaka was accepted immediately and was crowned the eleventh king of the Zulu. Dingiswayo became an ally to Shaka and both of them engaged in various campaigns around the region. However, Shaka knew this would be dangerous in the long run due to the plots by their previous targets. Dingiswayo had been taken out in one of their skirmishes, prompting Shaka to unite both the Mtetwas and Zulus to defeat this alliance and become their king . Leadership and Military under King Shaka

Many historians considered Shaka to be a revolutionary in terms of reorganizing the entire kingdom. According to Knight (1995), the kingdom remained as a conglomerate of various tribes: either defeated by Shaka in the past or those who allied with him. Each of these clans retained their autonomy from one another and they are represented by regional chiefs or the izikhulu (isikhulu for singular) in the national council. It would be difficult to for Shaka or his successors to argue against these chiefs as they may end up indoctrinating the tribes handled by these chiefs and risk being killed. However, Shaka had showcased that he can balance these chiefs by centralizing power to himself and staving these chiefs away from full control and revert the system back to its previous state before his reign.

Shaka had also reorganized the nation’s military and political system as he permitted young men from other tribes to enter service directly to the king rather than going to the local chiefs. This ensured that Shaka had full control over the military and the economy, binding the clans under his rule. He also established guilds called the amabutho (ibutho), which recruited members based on their age or capacity. Usually, members of the amabutho would need to serve the king for 15 to 20 years. Once their term is finished, they can marry and move around; however, these men can still be called into service in emergencies. Shaka also exerted a tight grip over his constituents since at that time, only his political system existed to unite them . It was said that the first clear contact and record about Shaka was written at this point through the diary of a British medic, Henry Francis Fynn. Fynn was in Durban as the medic of the British ivory traders in 1824. Under his leadership, according to these records, Zulu managed to claim the area now known today as Natal and reached even to the Eastern Cape. His conquests even triggered the movement of many Africans towards southeast Africa or the mfecane. This left many areas in the region underpopulated and undeveloped .

Death of Shaka King and Legacy

Shaka was killed in 1828 by his followers and his half-brother Dingane, who eventually succeeded the throne as the new king. According to Falola (2002), although Shaka had made Zulu a formidable nation, the fact he left the nation without a legitimate heir caused the nation to crumble. Many were also against Shaka’s rule because he had alienated many of his relatives and allies. He was also never married despite having the choice of concubines and royal women to become his bride, killing those found pregnant of his progeny in the fear this heir would claim his position. He was also quite notorious for killing tribesmen who made a single mistake such as in 1827 when he killed several people because they were not morning properly for the death of his mother. However, Shaka’s successor had triggered the downfall of the kingdom as he did not have the same military and political acumen as Shaka. Dingane even directed his attention towards the Boers of South Africa, whom he perceived as rivals to his kingdom . Britain was even requested to intercede to stop the fighting; but, it led to the Zulu War of 1879. Although the British army failed to win in the Battle of Isandhiwana, it had slowly broken the Zulu nation break apart due to the impact of the war .

Regardless of the destruction of the empire he had built, Shaka remained an icon for many ethnic groups, especially for the nationalists. According to Wright (2006), the King’s life became a myth for both whites and blacks alike from 1880 to the 1920s, seeing him as the revolutionary in the region. Historians argued that many of Shaka’s allies may have manipulated the records deliberately to ensure that Shaka would be seen in a negative light by the future generation. Admittedly, he had been the cause of major uprooting and migrations of many tribes due to his violent conquests. However, some viewed him as a prime mover or a revolutionary as he was able to establish a somewhat stable government despite the lack of example. As the years progressed, Shaka was viewed as the face of African nationalism as nationalists used him as an example for South Africans to emulate to regain control of their ‘nation’ which the British government took from them .

While history remains uncertain as to the actual account of King Shaka’s life, it could be argued that Shaka was a revolutionary in his own right. He had used his military and political genius to establish a united nation with its very own political system unlike anything seen in the region. He understood where the existing political regimes were weak and exploited it to gain his throne. He had been the one who raised a revolution around the region to unite tribes into one group. Shaka also showed ruthlessness that earned him enemies, but it had enabled him to secure his throne and nation without putting them into chaos.

Falola, T. (2002). Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide. Westport: Greenwood Publishing. Hodge, C. C. (2008). Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800-1914. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group. Knight, I. (1995). Zulu, 1816-1906. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. Osei, G. K. (2001). Shaka the Great. Baltimore: Black Classic Press. Wright, J. (2006). Reconstituting Shaka Zulu for the twenty-first century. Southern African Humanities, 18(3), 139-153.


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History Grade 10 Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020

History Grade 10 Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020

History Grade 10 Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020: This page contains a collection of History Grade 10 source-based questions and answers for the year 2020. The questions were asked during real exams and control tests written in Term 1, Term 2, Term 3, and Term 4.

How to answer Source-based questions and answers

  • The key question provides the focus of the content in the sources.
  • It will also be asked as the paragraph question.
  • Make brief notes about each source you could include in the paragraph.
  • The source will be labelled e.g. Source 1C
  • The source will be contextualised – it will indicate what the source is about, why it was written, who wrote (owner of) the source, when it was written and where the event took place.
  • Read the source with understanding.
  • Highlight concepts / terms. In this source e.g., communism/amnesty

Table of Contents

History Grade 10 Shaka Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020

How did shaka, a warrior, consolidate the powerful zulu kingdom.

Study Source 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D and answer the questions that follow 

1.1. Refer to Source 1A.

1.1.1. Who according to the source, was Shaka’s mother? (1 x 1) (1)

1.1.2. Explain what is meant by, ‘growing up as a fatherless child’. (1 x 2) (2)

1.1.3. Name the chiefs of the following Nguni groups:

(a) Mthethwa

(b) Ndwandwe (2 x 1)

1.1.4. Use the information in the source and your own knowledge and explain how Shaka developed into a warrior. (2 x 2) (4)

1.1.5. Explain how Dingiswayo contributed towards Shaka’s accomplishments.

1.2. Read Source 1B.

1.2.1. What according to the source, was the name of Shaka’s capital? (1 x 1)

1.2.2. Give another meaning of the word ‘KwaBulawayo’. (1 x 1)

1.2.3. Explain the term ‘Mfecane’, in the context of Shaka’s wars during his reign. (1 x 2)

1.2.4. Provide THREE names of chiefs or leaders that moved northwards due to fear of Shaka. (3 x 1) (3)

1.2.5. How, according to the source, did the development of the military system cause major economic and social changes in the Zulu kingdom?(3 x 1)

1.2.6. Using the information in the source and your own knowledge, explain the consequences of Shaka’s wars. (2 x 2)

Consult Source 1C.

1.3.1 Name TWO white traders that visited Shaka in 1824. (2 x 1)

1.3.2. According to the source, what was the reasons for Shaka to welcome the white traders? (3 x 1)

1.3.3. Provide evidence from the source that suggest that Shaka had a kind and friendly character. (2 x 1)

1.3.4. According to the source, how was Shaka perceived? (2 x 1)

1.3.5. Explain, what do you think the traders’ ulterior (hidden) motives for visiting Shaka was? (1 x 2)

1.4. Read Source 1D.

shaka zulu history essay grade 10

1.4.1. What message does the picture portray about Shaka? Use the visual clues from the source to support your answer. (1 x 2)

1.4.2. Compare Source 1A and Source 1D. Explain, how the information in Source 1A support the evidence in Source 1D with regards to Shaka consolidating the Zulu kingdom? (2 x 2)

1.5. Using the information in the relevant sources and your own knowledge, write a paragraph of about SIX lines (about 60 words) explaining how Shaka a warrior, consolidated a powerful Zulu kingdom.

History Grade 10 Colonial Expansion Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020

Question 2: how did british colonialism impact on the lives  of the people of the cape colony.

Study sources 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D and answer the questions that follow.

2.1. Refer to Source 2A.

2.1.1. Define the term colonialism in your own words. (1 x 2)

2.1.2. Who, according to the source, appeared to Nongqawuse? (1 x 1)

2.1.3. What, according to the source, were the instructions of the two strange spirits to Nongqawuse about the Xhosa nation? (2 x 1)

2.1.4. Extract evidence from the source, that Nongqawuse used to justify the failure of the prophecy. (1 x

2.1.5. Use your own knowledge to explain the effects of the cattle killing on the Xhosa nation. (2 x 2)

2.2. Consult Source 2B.

2.2.1. Who, according to the source, were the indigenous people of the Cape in 1652? (1 x 1)

2.2.2. Provide evidence from the source, which indicates the positive changes made by the missionaries on their arrival in the Cape Colony. (2 x 1)

2.2.3. Comment on the consequences (end results) of the Ordinance 50 on the Boers. (2 x 2)

2.3. Study Source 2C.

2.3.1. Extract evidence from the source, which suggests the expectations of the Boers when they moved from the Cape to the interior. (3 x 1)

2.3.2. What, according to the source, was the Boers reaction to Anglicisation?

2.3.3. Use the source and identify the Boers dissatisfaction with the missionaries which led to the Great Trek.

2.3.4. Explain why the Boers were interested in getting more land. (2 x 2)

2.3.5. Comment on the Boers attitude towards the Blacks in the Cape Colony.

History Grade 10 South African War Source-Based Questions and Answers for 2020

Question 3: how did the south african war affect the lives of both the boers and the black south africans during the years 1899 to 1902 .

Study Sources 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D and answer the questions that follow.

Refer to Source 3A.

3.1.1.Identify TWO Boer Republics that were involved in the South African War. (2 x 1)

3.1.2. When, according to the source, did the South African War break out? (1 x 1)

3.1.3. Name the black population groups which were also affected by this war. (4 x 1)

3.1.4. Use your knowledge and explain why the war was known as a the ‘white man’s war’. (1 x 2)

3.1.5. Comment on why the black population groups regarded the South African War as their advantage.

3.2. Read Source 3B.

3.2.1. Explain what is meant by the ‘Scorched Earth Policy’. (1 x 2)

3.2.2. What, according to the source, were the reasons for the escalating number of deaths in the Black concentration camps? (3 x 1)

3.2.3. Use your own knowledge to explain why the treatment of Blacks and Whites in the camps was not the same. (1 x 2)

3.2.4. Comment on the significance of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging. (2 x 2)

3.3. Consult Source 3C.

3.3.1. Identify TWO conditions that shows Lizzie was in need of good care.

3.3.2. Why, according to the source, was Lizzie’s mother regarded as an ‘undesirable’? (2 x 1)

3.3.3. Provide evidence from the source which indicates the reasons for the high fatality rate in the concentration camps. (4 x 1)

3.3.4. Using your own knowledge, explain the relationship between the Boers and the British. (2 x 2)

Answers (Memo)

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Home — Essay Samples — History — Historical Figures — Shaka Zulu

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Essays on Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu was a powerful and influential leader of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa during the early 19th century. His military prowess and strategic innovations reshaped the political landscape of the region, and his legacy continues to be studied and debated by historians and scholars. Writing an essay on Shaka Zulu provides an opportunity to delve into the complex history of this iconic figure and explore the impact of his rule on African society and beyond.

The Importance of the Topic

The study of Shaka Zulu is significant for a number of reasons. First and foremost, his leadership and military strategies had a profound impact on the Zulu Kingdom and its neighboring regions. By examining his life and legacy, we can gain insight into the social, political, and military dynamics of the time. Additionally, Shaka Zulu's influence has reverberated throughout history, shaping the perceptions of African leadership and the broader narrative of colonialism and imperialism. By exploring this topic, students and scholars can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of African history and the enduring legacy of colonialism.

Advice on Choosing a Topic

When selecting a topic for an essay on Shaka Zulu, it's important to consider the various aspects of his life and legacy. Some potential topics include:

  • The rise of Shaka Zulu: Explore the early life and ascent to power of Shaka Zulu, including his relationships with other leaders and his military campaigns.
  • Shaka Zulu's military strategies: Analyze the innovative military tactics employed by Shaka Zulu and their impact on the Zulu Kingdom and beyond.
  • The impact of Shaka Zulu's rule: Examine the social and political changes that occurred under Shaka Zulu's leadership and their lasting effects on African society.
  • Shaka Zulu's legacy: Discuss the ways in which Shaka Zulu's influence has been remembered and interpreted in the centuries since his rule, including his portrayal in popular culture and historical narratives.

These are just a few examples of the many possible essay topics related to Shaka Zulu. When choosing a topic, consider your own interests and the specific aspects of Shaka Zulu's life and legacy that you find most compelling.

Writing an essay on Shaka Zulu offers a valuable opportunity to explore the complex history and enduring legacy of this influential leader. By delving into the social, political, and military dynamics of his rule, students and scholars can gain a deeper understanding of African history and the impact of colonialism. Whether examining his military strategies, his impact on the Zulu Kingdom, or his lasting legacy, there are many compelling topics to explore within the study of Shaka Zulu. Ultimately, writing about Shaka Zulu allows for a deeper understanding of African history and the enduring legacy of colonialism and imperialism.

Shaka Zulu; His Life, Times and Legacy

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A Comparison of The Development of States in Africa and America

c. July 1787

22 September 1828 (age 41)

1816 – 1828

Shaka kaSenzangakhona, Sigidi kaSenzangakhona

Shaka was born in the lunar month of uNtulikazi (July) in the year of 1787 near Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Shaka was the son of Senzangakona, chieftain of the Zulu, and Nandi, an orphaned princess of the neighbouring Langeni clan. When he was 23, Dingiswayo called up Shaka’s Dletsheni age group for military service.

Senzangakona died in 1816, and Shaka was sent to take over the Zulu. He was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu. His first act was to reorganize the army. His reign coincided with the start of the Mfecane/Difaqane, a period of devastating warfare southern Africa between 1815 and 1840.

Shaka's half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, together with an induna named Mbopa, murdered him in September 1828.

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shaka zulu history essay grade 10

Britain takes control of the Cape

Read the following notes and do the attached activity.

Britain takes control of the Cape  

The arrival of the British at the Cape changed the lives of the people that were already living there. Initially British control was aimed to protect the trade route to the East, however, the British soon realised the potential to develop the Cape for their own needs.

Indigenous population

With colonialism, which began in South Africa in 1652, came the Slavery and Forced Labour Model.   This was the original model of colonialism brought by the Dutch in 1652, and subsequently exported from the Western Cape to the Afrikaner Republics of the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Many South Africans are the descendents of slaves brought to the Cape Colony from 1653 until 1822.

The changes wrought on African societies by the imposition of European colonial rule occurred in quick succession. In fact, it was the speed with which change occurred that set the colonial era apart from earlier periods in South Africa. Of course, not all societies were equally transformed. Some resisted the forces of colonial intrusion, slavery and forced labour for extended periods. Others, however, such as the Khoikhoi communities of the south-western Cape, disintegrated within a matter of decades.

Initially, a colonial contact was a two-way process. However, Africans were far from helpless victims in the initial encounter. Colonial contact was not simply a matter of Europeans imposing themselves upon African societies. For their part, African rulers saw many benefits to be had from maintaining relations with Europeans, and for a considerable period of time they engaged with Europeans voluntarily and on their own terms.

Most importantly, trade with Europeans gave African rulers access to a crucial aspect of European technology, namely firearms. More than anything else, those who had ownership and control over firearms were able to gather around themselves larger and larger groups of people. In short, the ownership of firearms turned into a status symbol and a means to gain political power.

Sadly, the article of trade in which Europeans showed the greatest interest, and which Africans were prepared to sacrifice, were slaves. The Atlantic slave trade stands at the centre of a long history of European contact with Africa. This was the era of the African Diaspora, an all embracing term historians have used to describe the consequences of the slave trade. Estimates of the number of slaves transported from their African homes to European colonial possession in the Americas range from 9 to 15 million people. Although a great deal of violence accompanied the trade in slaves, the sheer scale of operations involved a high degree of organisation, on the part of both Europeans and Africans. In other words, the Atlantic slave trade could not have taken place without the cooperation, or complicity, of many Africans.

As the number of transported salves increased, African societies could not avoid transformation, and 400 years of slave trading took their toll. Of course, not all African societies were equally affected, but countries such as Angola and Senegal suffered heavily.

The most important consequences of the Atlantic slave trade were demographic, economic, and political. There can be no doubt that the Atlantic slave trade greatly retarded African demographic development, a fact that was to have lasting consequences for the history of the continent. At best, African populations remained stagnant. The export of the most economically active men and women led to the disintegration of entire societies. The trade in slaves also led to new political formations. In some cases, as people sought protection from the violence and warfare that went with the slave trade, large centralised states came into being.

1820 Settlers

After the Napoleonic wars, Britain experienced a serious unemployment problem. Therefore, encouraged by the British government to immigrate to the Cape colony, the first 1820 settlers arrived in Table Bay on board the Nautilus and the Chapman on 17 March 1820. From the Cape colony, the settlers were sent to Algoa Bay, known today as Port Elizabeth.

Lord Somerset, the British governor in South Africa, encouraged the immigrants to settle in the frontier area of what is now the Eastern Cape. This was in order to consolidate and defend the eastern frontier against the neighbouring Xhosa people, and to provide a boost to the English-speaking population.

This period saw one of the largest stages of British settlement in Africa, and approximately 4,000 Settlers arrived in the Cape, in around 60 different parties, between April and June 1820. The settlers were granted farms near the village of Bathurst, and supplied equipment and food against their deposits. A combination of factors caused many of the settlers to leave these farms for the surrounding towns.

Firstly, many of the settlers were artisans with no interest in rural life, and lacked agricultural experience. In addition, life on the border was harsh and they suffered problems such as drought, rust conditions that affected crops, and a lack of transport.   Therefore many settlers left the eastern border in search of a better life in towns such as Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London. The eastern border therefore never became as densely populated as Somerset had hoped.

The settlers who did remain as farmers made a significant contribution to agriculture, by planting maize, rye and barley. They also began wool farming which later became a very lucrative trade. Some of the settlers, who were traders by profession, also made a significant contribution to business and the economy. New towns such as Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth therefore grew rapidly.

Slave ‘sale’ in Africa in 1829 is advertised on the same poster as the sale of rice, books, muslins etc. Source:

Changing Labour Patterns: the slave trade and it abolition

Slavery affected the economy of the Cape, as well as the lives of almost everyone living there. Its influence also lasted long after the abolition of slavery in 1838.

In South Africa under Dutch settlement, there was a shortage of labour, especially on the wheat and wine farms. But the VOC did not want to spend its money on the expensive wages that European labourers demanded. Nor could the VOC use the Khoi people as slaves. The Khoi traded with the Dutch, providing cattle for fresh meat. The Khoi also resisted any attempts to make them change their pastoralist way of life.

The Dutch were already involved in the Atlantic slave trade and had experience in buying and controlling slaves. They thus imported slaves as the cheapest labour option. Slaves were imported from a variety of places, including the east coast of Africa (Mozambique and Madagascar), but the majority came from East Africa and Asia, especially the Indonesian Islands, which were controlled by the Dutch at the time. This explains, for instance, why there are a relatively large number of people of Malaysian descent in the Cape (the so-called Cape Malays).

Initially, all slaves were owned by the VOC, but later farmers themselves could own slaves too. Slaves were used in every sector of the economy. Some of the functions of the slaves included working in the warehouses, workshops and stores of the VOC, as well as in the hospital, in administration, and on farms or as domestic servants in private homes. Some slaves were craftsmen, bringing skills from their home countries to the Cape, while others   were fishermen, hawkers and even auxiliary police. The economy of the Cape depended heavily on slave labour.

The lives of the slaves were harsh, as they worked very long hours under poor conditions. They were often not given enough healthy food and lived in overcrowded and dirty conditions. Slaves had no freedom at all ”” they were locked up at night, and had to have a pass to leave their place of employment. As they were regarded as possessions, they were unable to marry, and if they had children, the children belonged to the slave’s owner and were also slaves. They also had little chance of education. Women slaves were at risk of being raped by their masters and other slaves.

A traveller, Otto Mentzel, observed that:   "It is not an easy matter to keep the slaves under proper order and control. The condition of slavery has soured their tempers. Most slaves are a sulky, savage and disagreeable crowd ”¦ It would be dangerous to give them the slightest latitude; a tight hold must always be kept on the reins; the taskmaster’s lash is the main stimulus for getting any work out of them." - Source: Mentzel, A Geographical and Topographical Description of the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, 1921

While there were many laws inhibiting the lives and movements of slaves, there were also rules to protect them, for example, female slaves could not be beaten. In theory, slave owners would be punished for treating their slaves badly ”” for example, if they went so far as to beat them to death ”” but the laws were often ignored.

The Abolition of Slavery Act ended slavery in the Cape officially in 1834. The more than 35 000 slaves that had been imported into South Africa from India, Ceylon, Malaysia and elsewhere were officially freed, although they were still bonded to their old masters for four years through a feudal system of "apprenticeship". For many years wages rose only slightly above the former cost of slave subsistence.

The abolition of slavery and the emancipation of slaves caused a lot of resentment and opposition from the Cape colonials towards the anti-slavery lobby, as embodied in the

London Missionary Society that had put pressure on the British government to take this decision. Even before emancipation, the publicised cases of missionary intervention on behalf of mistreated black workers on farms, sometimes even winning convictions against farmers, made them enemies of the largely Afrikaner farming community in the Cape. Reverends John

Philip, Johannes van der Kemp and John Read were the most hated missionaries because of their fight for the rights of oppressed black Cape residents.

In fact, one of the reasons for the Great Trek, which would lead to the migration of many white, Dutch-speaking farmers away from the Cape after 1833, was the abolition of slavery by the British government. The farmers complained that they could not replace the labour of their slaves without losing a great deal of money. Importantly, the abolition of slavery did not change the colonial–feudal "slave–master" relations between black and white. Instead, these slave–master relations imprinted themselves on South Africa’s political, social and economic structures for years to come. Black people were "enslaved" by the oppressive laws of industrialisation, pass regulations, and labour ordinances such as the Masters and Servants Act of 1841, which made it a criminal offence for a worker to break a labour contract. It was only after 1994, and the dawning of democracy in South Africa, that all South Africans were truly emancipated from slavery.

Expanding frontiers and trade

Boer responses

By the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Cape settlers were expanding their territory northeast.   The Trek Boers seeking fresh grazing for their cattle, primarily, led this expansion.   These cattle farmers had no fixed dwelling places and many led a semi-nomadic existence, moving ceaselessly between summer and winter pastures. As most trek farmers had large families, the system encouraged swift expansion.   The Cape Government had done nothing to hinder expansion inland since it provided a source of cheap meat.

As the trekkers’ expansion increased, they inevitably came into conflict with, first, the Khoikhoi and later the Xhosa people into whose land they were encroaching.   This marked the beginning of the subjugation of the Tembu, Pondo, Fingo and Xhosa in the Transkei.   The Xhosa in particular fought nine wars spanning a century, which gradually deprived them of their independence and subjugated them to British colonial rule.

In the towns, tension was also increasing between settlers and the Dutch authorities, with the former becoming increasingly resentful at what they perceived as administrative interference.   Soon the districts of Swellendam and Graaff-Reinette pronounced themselves independent Republics, though this was short-lived - in 1795 Britain annexed the Cape Colony.

This development and, in particular, the emancipation of slaves in 1834, had dramatic effects on the colony, precipitating the Great Trek, an emigration North and Northeast of about 12 000 discontented Afrikaner farmers, or Boers.   These people were determined to live independently of colonial rule and what they saw as unacceptable racial egalitarianism.

The early decades of the century had seen another event of huge significance - the rise to power of the great Zulu King, Shaka.   His wars of conquest and those of Mzilikazi - a general who broke away from Shaka on a northern path of conquest - caused a calamitous disruption of the interior known to Sotho-speakers as the difaqane (forced migration); while Zulu-speakers call it the mfecane (crushing).

Shaka set out on a massive programme of expansion, killing or enslaving those who resisted in the territories he conquered.   Peoples in the path of Shaka's armies moved out of his way, becoming in their turn aggressors against their neighbours.   This wave of displacement spread throughout Southern Africa and beyond.   It also accelerated the formation of several states, notably those of the Sotho (present-day Lesotho) and of the Swazi (now Swaziland).

This denuded much of the area into which the Trekkers now moved, enabling them to settle there in the belief that they were occupying vacant territory.   Of these Voortrekkers, about five thousand settled in the area that later became known as the Orange Free State (present day Free State).   The rest headed for Natal (present day KwaZulu-Natal) where they appointed a delegation, under the leadership of Piet Retief to negotiate with the Zulu King, Dingaan (Shaka's successor), for land.   Initially, Dingaan granted them a large area of land in the central and southern part of his territory but Retief and his party were later murdered at the kraal of Dingane.

The newly elected Voortrekker leader, Andries Pretorius, prepared the group for a retaliatory attack and the Zulu were subsequently defeated at the famous Battle of Blood River, 16 December 1838, leading to the founding of the first Boer Republic in Natal.

Xhosa response

Europeans who came to stay in South Africa first settled in and around Cape Town. As the years passed, they sought to expand their territory. This expansion was first at the expense of the Khoikhoi and San, but later Xhosa land was occupied as well. During the later half the 16th century, the Xhosa encountered eastward-moving White pioneers or Trek Boers in the region of the Fish River. The ensuing struggle was not so much a contest between Black and White races as a struggle for water, grazing and living space between two groups of farmers.

The first frontier war broke out in 1780 and marked the beginning of the Xhosa struggle to preserve their land, customs and way of life.   It was a struggle that was to increase in intensity when the 1820 British settlers arrived on the scene.

This embittered struggle involved some of the greatest War Veterans in South Africa's history e.g. renowned warrior Maqoma (the father of Guerilla Warfare), Sir Harry Smith (military legend and England's favorite General), Chief Hintsa (martyr) and Adriaan van Jaarsveld (known as the ruthless 'red captain' among the Xhosa). It was also during these wars that the Trek-Boers developed the technique of the Laager as a way of defending themselves against a large enemy force.

Laager: A type of 'military camp', with 5-or more heavy wagons in a circle, and thorn trees thrust between the openings. In the middle were four wagons in a square, roofed over with planks and raw hides to serve as protection for women, children and the elderly. Here the farmers could defend themselves until reinforcements arrived or the enemy decided to retreat.

Source: .   date accessed 12/07/20:

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History Grade 10 - Topic 2 Essay Questions

Impact of Slave Trade and Colonisation on Indigenous Societies at the Cape

Based on the 2012 Grade 10 NSC Exemplar Paper:

Grade 10 Past Exam Paper

Grade 10 Source Addendum

Grade 10 Past Exam Memo

shaka zulu history essay grade 10

"The slave trade had a huge impact on the indigenous people living in the Cape in the 18th Century."  Do you agree with this statement? Substantiate your answer by using relevant examples. 

In 1602 The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was established to trade spices, silks and calico with the East Indies. [1] These voyages took months and as a result the Dutch established a refreshment post at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. Initially, the Dutch did not plan to colonize the Cape, but rather wanted to trade goods, such as alcohol and tabacco with the Khoikhoi for sheep and cattle. [2] However, after the refreshment post was established employees of the company became settlers who farmed with vegetables and bought livestock from the Khoikhoi, which they would trade to passing ships. By the start of the eighteenth century the expanding settlers experienced a shortage in labour and by 1717 slave labour, which was already prevalent in the Cape, was declared as the main form of labour. [3] Therefore, one could argue that colonisation process and the slave trade had a major impact on the indigenous societies at the Cape as they fought for freedom, land and their lives.

Firstly, the growing Dutch settlement and the increasing need for agricultural labourers resulted in the use of slave labour as the main form of labour at the Cape. Wine and wheat farmers started to buy imported slaves from Madagascar, Mozambique and Indonesia from the VOC. [4] The slave trade and colonization of the Cape created a racial hierarchy where Europeans viewed themselves as superior to the Khoikhoi, San, imported slaves and Africans. [5] Black people were viewed as suitable slaves and these ideas remained prevalent in South Africa after the colonization process had ended and the slave trade was abolished. These slaves were subjected to Dutch laws, customs and were exposed to racist ideologies where they were treated as inferior to Europeans based on their skin colour and slave status. [6] These racist ideologies, which justified slavery, enabled Europeans to abuse their slaves. Slaves were exposed to sexual and physical abuse, forced to live in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions while working for long hours. Slaves were also regarded as possessions, who had no rights to marry and whose children were also born as possessions of the slave owners. [7] The slaves also became assimilated into Western societies and became culturally disintegrated as their African identity and traditions were torn away. The Cape became characterized by the Dutch culture which was enforced upon the slaves. Slaves, however, were not often baptized as the Dutch believed that a fellow Christian could not be enslaved. Slaves and Khoikhoi were not encouraged to become Christians as the Dutch wanted to enforce inequality amongst them with the indigenous societies and their slaves. [8] The Khoikhoi were also treated unequal to a Dutch settler in the court of law based on a racial hierarchy which promoted the white man as superior due to his race. [9]

Secondly, the establishment of a refreshment post resulted in more Europeans becoming settlers at the Cape who expanded agricultural production and obtained livestock for herding. This led to indigenous societies, such as the Khoikhoi losing their land and cattle as the European settlements grew. [10] This loss of land and cattle led to conflict between the indigenous societies and the Dutch settlers. Chief Gonnema of the Cochoqua refused to trade with the Dutch. This resulted in the Dutch using rival Khoikhoi clans to raid the Cochoqua herds between 1673 and 1677. This was the second Khoi-Khoi Dutch War which sprout out of the colonisation process at the Cape. [11] The nomadic Khoikhoi, who moved around the Cape according to the different seasons and in search of good grazing ground, often came into conflict with settlers the more they moved inland. Settlers would take the Khoikhoi’s livestock by force or if they did trade with the Khoikhoi they would pay far less than what the items were valued. [12] The Khoikhoi retaliated by poising the water holes of the Dutch and entered two wars with the Dutch settlers. By the eighteenth century the Khoikhoi living within the borders of the Cape Colony were forced to become servants of the Dutch settlers. [13]

Thirdly, the colonisation process at the Cape exposed indigenous societies to European diseases, which they were not accustomed to. In 1713 the Khoikhoi and San were exposed to the smallpox after a Dutch ship infected with the disease landed at the Cape. [14] This wiped out nearly 90% of the indigenous populations as they had not yet encountered this disease. [15]

In conclusion, the colonization process and slave trade at the Cape had a vast impact on the indigenous societies. Colonization led to the loss of land and livestock of indigenous societies, while exposure to diseases cost the lives of 90% of the indigenous population. Colonization and the use of slave labour also reinforced the idea of a racial hierarchy at the Cape Colony, which resulted in the unequal treatment amongst different races. Slaves were also exposed to abuse as they were viewed as inferior to Dutch settlers. Finally, colonization also entailed the loss of the indigenous societies and slaves’ cultural identity as they became assimilated into a Western culture.

Tips & Notes:

  • Check out our Essay Writing Skills  for more tips on writing essays.
  • Remember, this is just an example essay.  You still need to use the work provided by your teacher or learned in class.
  • It is important to check in with your teacher and make sure this meets his/her requirements.  For example, they might prefer that you do not use headings in your essay.

This content was originally produced for the SAHO classroom by Ilse Brookes, Amber Fox-Martin & Simone van der Colff

[1] Author Unknown, “Africa, Portugal”, South African History Online, (Uploaded: 9 November 2011), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[5] The Department of Basic Education South Africa, “National Senior Certificate: Grade 10 History Exemplar 2012 Memorandum”, (Uploaded: November 2012), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[6] Author Unknown, “Africa, Portugal”, South African History Online, (Uploaded: 9 November 2011), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[9] The Department of Basic Education South Africa, “National Senior Certificate: Grade 10 History Exemplar 2012 Memorandum”, (Uploaded: November 2012), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[10] Author Unknown, “Africa, Portugal”, South African History Online, (Uploaded: 9 November 2011), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[12] The Department of Basic Education South Africa, “National Senior Certificate: Grade 10 History Exemplar 2012 Memorandum”, (Uploaded: November 2012), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

[13] The Department of Basic Education South Africa, “National Senior Certificate: Grade 10 History Exemplar 2012 Memorandum”, (Uploaded: November 2012), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

  • Author Unknown, “Africa, Portugal”, South African History Online, (Uploaded: 9 November 2011), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:
  • The Department of Basic Education South Africa, “National Senior Certificate: Grade 10 History Exemplar 2012 Memorandum”, (Uploaded: November 2012), (Accessed: 31 July 2020), Available at:

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