What was the Mfecane?

What was the Mfecane?

Mfecane is the Nguni word referring to the period which was characterized by warfare, crisis, forced migrations, misery and great suffering




The Sotho called it “Defecane” to mean the same period. It was also called “Lifecane” by other peoples of South Africa.

It took place among the eastern Bantu tribe such as the
Ndwandwe, the Mthethwa, the Zulu, and Ndebele.

It was mainly caused by the changes of the nation builders like Zwide, Dingiswayo, and later Shaka.

It took place between 1800 and 1830s but it reached its highest levels during the rule of Shaka.




Mfecane involved the collapse of old empires and creation of new stronger empires.

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