Dabulamanzi kaMpande

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Dabulamanzi kaMpande
Depiction of Dabulamanzi from the Illustrated London News
DiedSeptember 22, 1886 (aged 46–47)
AllegianceZulu kingdom
RankCommander of the Undi corps
Battles/warsAnglo-Zulu War

Dabulamanzi kaMpande (1839 – September 22, 1886) was a Zulu commander in the Anglo-Zulu War, most noted for commanding the Zulus at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. He was a half-brother of the Zulu king Cetshwayo kaMpande.

After the defeat of the Zulus, and the deposition of Cetshwayo, Dabulamanzi campaigned for the return of his brother to power. When Cetshwayo was restored in 1883 Dabulamanzi fought on his behalf to maintain the unity of the Zulu kingdom.


His father was Mpande, the previous Zulu King, which made him a half-nephew of the famous and legendary Shaka. His mother was Sanguza, one of Mpande's many wives.

Anglo-Zulu war[edit]

He took part in the Battle of Isandlwana, where he led the Undi Corps.[1] He then led the Zulu force at the Battle of Rorke's Drift. Dabulamanzi had been specifically instructed by his brother not to attack the British outside Zulu territory, but ignored him.[2] Dabulamanzi's tactics were ineffective, allowing the small British force at Rorke's Drift to repel the Zulus.

Dabulamanzi subsequently organised the Siege of Eshowe, a blockade at Fort Eshowe which isolated British troops for two months. When Lord Chelmsford arrived with a relief force, Dabulamanzi led the right wing of the Zulu army. At the Battle of Gingindlovu, the Zulus were defeated.[1]

Later career[edit]

Dabulamanzi became the focal figure of anti-British sentiment in the aftermath of the war, and was a vocal opponent of Theophilus Shepstone and John Robert Dunn, Cetshwayo's former adviser who sided with the British and acquired large landholdings after the British victory.[3] Dabulamanzi was keen to ensure his brother's return to power in Zululand. Conflicts between rival factions prompted the British to re-establish Cetshwayo as king in an attempt to restore order, but the conflicts continued.

Dabulamanzi led the fight against Cetshwayo's principal enemy Zibhebhu kaMaphitha, who was supported by Boer mercenaries. Dabulamanzi was defeated by Zibhebhu in battle at Msebe and oNdini. After Cetshwayo's death he supported the king's son Dinuzulu, negotiating an alliance with Boer mercenaries in 1884. The exorbitant demands for land by the mercenaries led to further conflicts. In 1886, he was shot dead during a scuffle with a group of Boers.[1]


  1. ^ a b c John Laband, Historical Dictionary of the Zulu Wars, Scarecrow Press, 2009, p.59.
  2. ^ Ian Knight, The Zulu War 1879, Osprey, 2003, ISBN 1-84176-612-7, p. 33.
  3. ^ Frederick Hale, Norwegian Missionaries in Natal and Zululand: Selected Correspondence 1844-1900, Van Riebeeck Society, The, 1996, p.114.

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