How did Sobhuza build the Swazi state?

How did Sobhuza build the Swazi state?

  • The Swazi state was founded by Sobhuza chief of the Ngwane.
  • The nation come as a result of Mfecane wars hence a defensive kingdom

  • The Ngwane were the Nguni speaking people in Natal area and contemporaries of the Ndwedwe under Zwide and the Mthethwa under Dingiswayo.
  • The Ngwane belonged to the Nkosi – Dlamini; one of the Nguni speaking clans in South Africa.
  • The Ngwane tribe was later renamed the Swazi state by Mswati; Sobhuza’s successor
  • At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Sobhuza and his people Ngwane were defeated by the Zwide of the Ndwandwe and forced to flee their home near the upper RiverPongola in central Zulu land to present-day Natal.
  • On their way north, the Ngwane attacked the Masiko- Nguni speaking people in the great Usutu valley.
  • They finally settled in present-day central Swaziland in the upper Nkomati valley
  • There, Sobhuzafound small communities of Sothoand Nguni speakers which he conquered and assimilated into the Swazi state.

  • Sobhuza was later joined by more eight clans that were escaping Shaka’s hash rule.
  • The Nguni and the Shangane were migrating northwards from the rule of Shaka also joined the state
  • The state was organized on the military system copied from the Ngwane and the Zulu states.
  • Sobhuza organized his army and equipped it with fire arm acquired from the European traders at the coast to supplement on the local spears and arrows.
  • Sobhuza provided security and hope to the peoples whose communities had been shuttered by Mfecane through peace, justice and care. This won him automatic loyalty from many peoples.
  • Sobhuza also attracted tribes which were less able to protect themselves into his state. The youth of such tribes were incorporated into his.
  • Refugees fleeing the Zulu regiments were also attracted to Swazi state by the security and peace and were too incorporated in the state.

  • Sobhuza forced the Nguni culture and language unto to conquered people to promote unity.
  • He set his capital on Lebombo Mountains hence giving him protection against his enemies.
  • Sobhuza promoted peace and diplomacy with his neighbours and avoided war with them as much as possible. For example he married Thanditile Zwide’s daughter and gave his daughters to Shaka for marriage.
  • Sobhuza died in 1840 and was succeeded by his Son Mswati.


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