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THE CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF NGONI MIGRATION

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THE CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF NGONI MIGRATION CENTRALIZED STATES IN CENTRAL AFRICA SOCIAL AND POLITICAL SYSTEM IN PRE COLONIAL AFRICA FACTORS FOR STATE FORMATION IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

THE CAUSES AND IMPACTS OF NGONI MIGRATION

Ngoni people originated in Kwazulu land and Natal region in the sent by the public of South Africa. Ngoni are the one who speak Nguni language in the 19th century

Zulu kingdom got new king called Tshaka. Tshaka through frequent war campaigns succeeded to expand his empire. The tribe defeated by Tshaka was recruited into his military service.

Through this contradiction many other tribes fled northward to Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. Due to contradictions and political ambition Tshaka was assassinated by his brother Dingane in 1828.

Basically, the Ngoni speaking people were predominantly agriculturalist and pastoralists. They were the last largest Bantu group to migrate into Central and East Africa in 1830s. Nguni migration came under several groups, the major and well known were two groups namely:-

The first group was led by Zwangendaba, these people fled in 1823 and 1824; and they crossed river Zambezi in 1835 and reached Ufipa.

After the death of Zwangendaba in 1845, the group was divided into smaller groups such as – Tuta group under Mpangalala who migrated northward to Uholoholo, Ukimbu, Unyamwezi and – Zulu Mbonani led another group who moved to Unyakyusa, Usafwa, Ubena and settled at Upangwa where he met Mputa Maseko.

They fought and some group moved back across river Ruvuma and another moved to Morogoro where they were known as Mbunga.

The second group was led by Mputa Maseko; they moved to eastern side of Lake Nyasa and settled at Mgongoma now days Songea where they intermarried with local people especially the Yao.

CAUSES OF THE NGONI MIGRATIONS

I. The Mfecane war. 

This was the period of political instability and upheavals in South Africa which led to the creation of political alliances among the displaced communities. It covered the period 1820 – 1834 which referred as war of crushing the people.

This was the war of wondering or crushing among the Bantu people in South Africa in early 19thC.  It was set in motion by Shaka (born in 1787 died in 1828), who ruled in Zulu Kingdom.

In addition to these major groups, which clashed with one another at various times on their wanderings, setting off ripple effects in all directions, the Afrikaners, or Boers, were on their Great Trek during the same period.  By 1840, the Mfecane was for the most part over.

CAUSES OF THE MFECANE

1. Land shortage, the increasing number of people as a result of Dutch and British settlers, Indians, and in South Africa led to clear shortage of land.

2. Competition for trade at Delagoa Bay.

3. Rise of Shaka Zulu (1787 – 1828), a powerful military leader

4. Boer expansion into the interior

IMPACTS OF THE MFECANE

1. Loss of life, thousands of people died during the war

2. Emergence of new kingdoms, including Zulu, Swazi, Swana and Sotho Kingdoms

3. Loss of properties, famine and hunger

4. Spread of Nguni culture in most parties of South, Central and East Africa.

5. Cultural intermingling

6. Boers occupied more land

7. Collapse of weaker states like Rozwi kingdom

8. The Nguni (Ngoni) migration into East Africa (Nguni Migration)

Centralized States In Central Africa Social And Political System In Pre Colonial Africa Factors For State Formation In Southern Africa

II. Boer expansion. 

Since the Ngoni’s economy depend much on land they wanted to expand southwards but due to presence of Boers it become difficult to them as they could not extend to west because Kens rub mountain or to East because of Indian Ocean hence they involved north wards.

The Ngoni migrated due to the tyrannical and dictatorial rule of Shaka: The Zulu ruler was cruel in nature as he severely tortured people and those who failed to respond to his order were killed. Due to this some people decided to seek refuge by migrating to other areas.

III. Overpopulation

Thiswas caused by the fertility of soils and the reliability of rainfall between Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean.

IV. Pastoralism reason

Some Ngoni people owned large herds of cattle and northwards looking for pasture and water for their animals.

So they wanted to look for more fertile land for their cattle. They also experienced famine and drought that led to lack of food and water.

The influence of their leaders: Men like Zwangendaba, Maputo and Zulugama provided good leadership. This encouraged them to move onwards.

V. Overstocking

It could also have been due to overstocking of their animals as they were having spirit of cattle rustling, i.e. they had great desire to steal other people’s cattle.

For example they went on driving away and confiscating other people’s cattle during their conquest and expansionist wars.

VI. Increased knowledge of military tactics by the age regiments

These were powerful military forces and dedicated to professional war, which was their livelihood. They believed that they could have other territories through migration.

EFFECTS OF NGONI INVASION OR MIGRATION IN EAST AFRICA

A: Positive effects

1. The Ngoni invasion led to the rise on outstanding leaders to prominence. These included Mirambo, Nyungu ya Mawe and Mkwawa, who used the Ngoni military tactics to build their states.

2. Unification of small states; Many small Ntemi chiefdoms came together (united) and formed large political units under strong leaders to fight the Ngoni for example Sangu and Hehe (re-organisation)

3. There was formation of new societies/tribe like the Mbunga.

4. There was spread of Ngoni customs and culture for example initiation ceremonies where girls were taught sex educations and circumcision.

5. It led to formation of a large Ngoni society in East Africa as they absorbed many people.

6. It led to the formation of some societies by those who used Ngoni tactics for example Nyamwezi under Mirambo.

7. It led to the introduction of new weapons e.g. Assegai, cowhides and shields.

8. From the Ngoni invasion people learned how to become organised from smaller disorganised society to well organised bigger political systems. These were to be under the control and leadership of organised, strong and efficient rulers such as the Sangu chief, Hehe etc.

9. There were intermarriages between Ngoni and Nyamwezi which subsequently led to improved relationships between the invaders and indigenous people and an increased population.

B: Negative effects

1. They caused the loss of lives leading to depopulation in some areas where they got warriors this was especially in southern Tanzania. This was due to the killing of people in the expansionist wars e.g. the Mariti remnants of Rugarugas killed so many people.

2. They introduced military organisation and tactics to such an extent that the Ngoni lost their superiority. E.g. Holoholo were able to defeat the Tuta Ngoni when they’re attacked them.

3. Their movement led to wider spread of devastation, depopulation and displacement of people.

4. They destroyed the economy of the people of southern Tanzania when they grabbed their cattle (the Ngoni were cattle plunderers). The Ngoni invasion led to poverty, i.e. it led to the creation of the class of poor people as their property continued to be destroyed and persistently looted during the wars

5. The Ngoni led to emergence of refugees who lived by plundering and killing i.e. the Mariti and Rugaruga who were later used by ambitious men like Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe to form their empires.

6. The Tuta Ngoni on their movement northwards, disrupted the trade particularly between Tabora and Ujiji.

7. There was loss of peoples’ language, culture and customs (detribalization of people) i.e. the raids caused many people to become homeless and tribe less. This led to people losing their identity. In addition, such groups became terrorists who lived by war, plunder and hunting for ivory. They included the “Rugaruga” who began hiring their services as mercenaries to any chief willing to pay them.

8. Ngoni disturbances disrupted normal cultivation leading to famine. There was widespread famine due to the scotched-earth policy of fighting circumstances, crop could neither be planted nor harvested, and people were forced to abandon farming.

9. They led to insecurity since the new weapons and military tactics increased warfare and aggression in East Africa.

10. The Ngoni intensified slave trade in East Africa, this was because they displaced people from their homes and so making it easy for slave raiders to catch and sell them.

11. It led to increased warfare among the African societies, including those areas that had been peaceful before.

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