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Mzila kaSoshangane, Umzila, Muzila, or Nyamende was the son of Soshangane kaZwide, the founder of the Gaza empire, which at the height of its power stretched from southern Mozambique to the Limpopo River. He defeated his brother Mawewe kaSoshangane in 1861 with the help of Boer mercenaries to ascend to the Gazan throne which he ruled from 1861 to 1885. He was father of Mdungazwe who was deposed by the invading Portuguese Empire.

He ruled Gazaland which was named after his great-grandfather Gasa. During his reign he ruled with strict military strategies pioneered by Shaka. He was married to 3 wives, Ma-Ndiweni as the first wife mother of Mdungazwe "Ngungunyane" who was also from royal house, one of the wives was from the Skosana family and unfortunately she never had any children with king Mzila and that prompted her to be less respected in the family. Lastly the third wife was from the Northern King (Mambo) in present-day Zimbabwe whom he married to secure alliance with, which later became helpful as the king fled North when fighting the Portuguese, where he later died in August 1884. His passing was not revealed for another two months and he was not buried until December of that year.[1] He was buried in Msapa. To date the location of Mzila's tomb is not known. When in the North he sought refuge under his father-in-law Mambo and changed his surname to Mlilo for safety reasons and disguise, all his children born in the North adopted the Mlilo surname.

Mzila's daughter Xwalile married Lobengula, king of the Ndebele people, along with seven other Gaza royal women in 1879.[2]


  1. ^ Azevedo, Mario; Emmanuel Nnadozie; Tomé Mbuia-João (2003). Historical dictionary of Mozambique (2nd ed.). Lanham, Md. [u.a.]: Scarecrow Press. p. 124. ISBN 0810837927.
  2. ^ Kathleen E. Sheldon (2005). Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5331-7.