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Posts : 7077 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
Subject: Cowards Tree. Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:43 pm
Pre- Zulu War 1879
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Where King Shaka tested warriors who were not aggressive in a particular battle.
Doe's anyone have any knowledge of the Cowards Tree, and how warriors were tested ?.
Posts : 10262 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: cowards bush Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:17 pm
hi littlehand. The following is from THE GLAMOUR AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE ZULU WAR by W.H. CLEMENTS.
" When passing a particular spot the ex-king expressed a wish that the ambulance would stop , as he desired to show them " The Coward"s Bush ". The officer in charge said it was impossible to comply with his request , but they noted the bush and hoped on arrival at that nights destination he would tell them all about it . So when evening came and " squareface " was produced ( gin ? ). Cetswayo announced if all were silent , he would tell them the story of " Cowards Bush ", so called since his uncles time , the great Shaka. King Shaka used to sit under the bush , while in front of him were ranged row after row of warriors , while still nearer and between shaka and his soldiers were those men who had been accused of cowardice. Beginning with the men on his left hand , the same ceremony was gone through for each case , the accused being obliged to step forward while his accusers gave evidence as to when , where and how he had disgraced himself. As soon as guilt was established , shaka would give the command , " let him die the cowards death ", which was performed in the following manner. The culprit was obliged to hold his left arm above his head , when an assegai was slowly , quite slowly , pressed with downward motion from his armpit towards his heart , death , of course , ensuing immediatley the heart was pierced. The only thing these men could do would be to bear with what fortitude they were able thier terrible punishment . Of course , those who could not stand the torture were held in the necessary position by force. Asked if he followed his uncles example in this respect the ex-king replied in the negative . He could not see that it made a coward any better by killing him " Ouch , in reply to numbers there were most likely many and the zulus wouldnt have kept a record. cheers 90th.
Subject: Re: Cowards Tree. Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:54 pm
Cowardice was not tolerated under any circumstances; the consequence being torture and death. Impalement, was the just penalty for a coward, Shaka might personally carry out a trial by assessment. He would order the accused to elevate his left arm and would jab his side with an assegai. Every time the victim flinched or howl out in pain Shaka would exclaim “He is indeed a coward”, as he cannot tolerate pain', and would ultimately drive the assegai home. The corpse was then fed to the vultures.
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Cowards Tree. Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:57 pm
I wonder how many passed the so called trial by assessment.
Posts : 1857 Join date : 2009-03-25
Subject: Re: Cowards Tree. Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:19 pm
Not a nice guy.!! At all.
He was one of the most remarkable men that ever filled a throne since the days of the Pharaohs. The invincible armies of this African Attila had swept north and south, east and west, and slaughtered more than a million human beings. Wherever his warriors went, the blood of men, women, and children was poured out without stay or stint. Indeed he reigned like a visible Death, the presiding genius of a saturnalia of slaughter.
Some historians call him "The Black Napoleon"--but this is as absurd as calling Napoleon "The White Shaka." It is true that Shaka began to rule the year after Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, but the men used different tactics, fought with different weapons, and in entirely different spheres. Napoleon won his victories by cannon; Shaka by hand-to-hand conflict. Shaka had no rifles at his disposal; physically Shaka could have crushed "The Little Corporal" as a python would a lamb.While Napoleon was beaten several times, Shaka suffered but one minor defeat. Napoleon was finally overcome by a combination of enemies; Shaka so thoroughly annihilated his foes that none was left to attack him.
Shaka was born in I786. His father was Senzangakona, Zulu chieftain, his mother was named Nandi. His parents were blood relatives, and it was lucky for Senzangakona that he was a chief for otherwise this union with kindred was punishable with death. Shaka was wild, wayward, and headstrong as a boy. He quarreled with everyone save his mother. The children of the Langeni, his mother's tribe, used to tease him about his crinkly ear and his short and stumpy phallus. Sometimes they poured hot porridge into his hand and forced hot collops down his throat. Later they were to regret it very much, for Shaka never forgot. When Shaka was old enough to wear a loincloth he was put in his father's charge, but before long the two were quarreling. The cup was full when Shaka set his dog on his father's fat-tailed sheep, and consequently was expelled from the tribe and sent back to his mother. Nandi, quarrelsome and masculine herself, took him to his grandfather, and stayed too. In the course of more family strife, both were turned adrift. Ngendeyana, chief of the Ndedwini, by whom Nandi also had a child, took them both in, only to put them out in short order.
At the request of Shaka's father, a head man of the Mtetwas gave them a home. At last their wanderings were over. Their host, Ngomane, was kind to them. Shaka never forgot this, and when he became a mighty ruler, he showed his gratitude by appointing Ngomane second in command. It is said that the only persons Shaka ever loved were his mother and Ngomane. Seven years after making his home with Ngomane Shaka was taken into the service of Dingiswayo, a famous Mtetwa chieftain. He was the tallest man in the army, standing well over six feet. The ugly duckling had become a swan. He was broad-shouldered, slim-waisted, and his frame was svelte and elegantly knit. In strength and daring he had no equal. In combats of wrestling and other matches he was wont to take on two of the strongest rivals at a time and down them both. He was also the best and most graceful dancer. Excelling in all that primitive men admired, he became the idol of his people.
One of Shaka's most talked-about exploits at this time was a combat with a huge madman who was terrorizing the district. He had robbed and killed a number of people, and when several soldiers were sent to take him in custody, he beat them off. Shaka attacked him singlehanded and in a terrific fight killed him. Even his father, who had once cast him off, became one of his greatest admirers. The latter, on a visit to Dingiswayo, was honored by a tribal dance, and seeing one of the warriors whose fire and grace excelled all the others asked who he was. When told that it was his own son he was so delighted that he called him over and named him his heir despite the fact that he was not born of a union with one of his own wives.
Shaka was twenty-six when his father died. Another son, Sijuana, took his father's place, but Shaka ambushed and killed him while he was bathing. When another half-brother, Dingaan, came by, Shaka merely laughed at him and told him to go on his way. Later Dingaan was to become a powerful chief, and Shaka was to regret that he had only laughed. But now that he was chief, he felt secure. When Shaka took over that chieftainship the Zulus were an insignificant tribe owning less than 100 square miles of land. His secret ambition was to make himself ruler of all blacks. He started out with the material at hand. His first step was to segregate all married men between the ages of thirty and forty. He built a separate kraal for them, which he called "Belebele," meaning Everlasting Plague. Shaka hated married men. Next he segregated the youths between seventeen and twenty, informing them that they were to remain bachelors. He subjected them to Spartan discipline. To inspire them with an example of bravery, he once sat down on a hornets' nest, scooped out the angry insects and beat them off without rising. He wanted strong men only. N. Isaacs, an English traveler who knew Shaka well, said of these youths, "Their figures are the noblest that my eye has ever gazed upon; their movements the most graceful; and their attitude the proudest--standing like forms of monumental bronze." Hailing their chief with a kind of fascist salute, they would say, "You mountain, you lion, you elephant, you that are black."
Shaka next revolutiofiized military tactics. It is claimed that he took his ideas from the whites. This may be true, but it seems more likely that they were the product of his own resourceful courage. At that time it was the custom for an African warrior in battle to throw his spear and immediately advance or retreat according to the action of the enemy. Shaka considered this ineffective, if not cowardly. He ordered the spears that had hitherto been used to be scrapped, and had his blacksmiths forge long swords with short hafts. This type of weapon could not be thrown; it could be used only at close quarters. For protection he equipped each soldier with a shield of toughened cowhide his own height. He also changed the attack formation, modeling it after the shape of a bull's horns. In the center were the main body and the reinforcements, while two forward flanks curved out to enclose the enemy. Shaka was not ready for action. But before he commenced, he took several precautions. Certain that some of his relatives would try to usurp his place while he was gone, he caught as many of his half-brothers, uncles, aunts, and other relatives as he could lay hands on and killed them. Then he set out to settle old scores with the Langeni, who had been cruel to him when he was a boy. Invading their lands, he called the whole tribe together, and picking out those against whom he bore a grudge, had them all impaled on sharp stakes, set the stakes on fire, and left them to die in slow agony. His next objective was Pangashe, chief of the Butelizi. When the two forces met, the Butelizi, confident in their old way of victory, threw their spears. But to their amazement Shaka's warriors caught the weapons on their shields, flung the same back, and charged down on them with blood curdling yells. Soon the Butelizi were in headlong flight. Shaka took all their cattle and gave the young captive warriors the option of joining his army or death. His men then slaughtered the rest, except the young wives and virgins.
As to Pangashe, he left him to die a slow death sitting upright on a sharp stake. After wiping out several other smaller tribes, Shaka set out against Matwane, chief of the Ngwanemi, who was held to be invincible. To stimulate his courage, this ferocious chief had the habit of drinking the gall from the livers of the chiefs he had slain. When Matwane learned of Shaka's plans, he marched off to ally himself with Zwide, King of the Ndwande, whose territory lay beyond the Drakenberg Mountains. After Dingiswayo, Zwide was the most powerful king in South Africa, and he, too, thirsted for supreme power. He welcomed Matwane and the two hatched a plan to eliminate Dingiswayo. Instead of attacking him openly, they enticed him into a hut and chopped off his head. Taking out his heart, liver, and other vital organs, Zwide boiled them and drained off the fat for a charm.
Shaka was beside himself over the death of his old master, and to make sure of its support, he annexed the whole tribe after killing the chief who had succeeded Dingiswayo. Zwide, now ready, marched to meet Shaka. Fearing that the powerful Ngwanes might join Zwide's forces, Shaka attacked them, massacring some 30,000 of them. While in the vicinity, he annihilated the Tembas for good measure. Zwide, on the march, induced many other chiefs to join him, but this did not help. The two finally met on the banks of the Mhlatuze River and a battle fought until the river ran red with blood and corpses were piled deep. It was Zwide who withdrew. In the course of these campaigns Shaka had not neglected the organization of his army and kingdom. On the theory that the standard of physical fitness he desired could be attained only by curbing promiscuity between the sexes, he placed all the young unmarried girls in enclosures ten feet high, where they were reared under the strictest supervision. Any male caught within the stockades was killed. Boys were drafted into the army at the age of thirteen. At seventeen, after rigorous disciplining and training, they were assigned to a regiment. None of these youths was allowed to speak to a girl. Their business, Shaka told them, was war, not love. Men of a given class or age were compelled to marry mates picked out for them.
Only warriors of extraordinary distinction were permitted to select their wives. Divorces were forbidden. Adulterers were thrown headlong from a cliff into the Umvelosi River to be devoured by.crocodiles. Circumcision was forbidden. The interests of the nation came first, Shaka preached. Shaka's reforms even affected cooking. He saw to it that his warriors were fed only the best, and the quality of the beer was ordered improved. He imposed hard rules upon himself and lived up to them. He was practically abstinent sexually and never took a wife. He wanted no children, and once, when one of his few concubines presented a son to him saying that it was his, he killed the child with one blow of his fist and sent the mother to her death. When his white friend, Isaacs, told him of George III's advanced age and that the English king had but one wife, Shaka said to his people, "You see, King George is like me. He does not indulge in promiscuous intercourse with women. That accounts for his long life." Shaka's whole being was concentrated on supremacy.
Iron himself, he imposed his hardness on others. The warrior who showed the slightest fear was as good as dead. After each battle Shaka held a review, and as the warriors marched by he called out those of whom he had not had a good report. These were stabbed to death on the spot. It was certain death for a beaten regiment to return. Shaka's motto was literally "Death or Victory." There was but one way for a Zulu soldier to march, he told his men, and that was forward. The families of disgraced soldiers were put to death with them. On occasion he would let a lion loose and expect his soldiers to kill him with their bare hands. He would have been an ideal god of war for the Greeks.
In the course of his conquests he defeated Pakatwaye, a chief who had called him a "silly jackass" in earlier days. Storming the mountain fortress of King Mshida of Pepetaland, he tossed the king and his men to death on the crags below.Zwide, with a strengthened army, headed once again for Zululand. On the march to meet him, Shaka laid waste all the land over which Zwide would pass, and then withdrew. Zwide, who had left his base with only a day's rations in the expectation that he could forage cattle and food on the way, found himself without food. After four days, when Zwide's men were worn out from hunger, Shaka sent out his young bloods to attack them, and there was great slaughter and another victory.
The last obstacle in the way of his goal of achieving supremacy in South Africa was the still unsubjected territory of Zwide's people, the Ndwande. With an army of 30,000 he set out for Ndwandeland. As he approached, Zwide's people, some 40,000 men, women, and children, sought refuge in the mountains. With Shaka in hot pursuit, they made a stand on the plateau of a snow covered mountain. The Zulus, coming to within a few feet of the Ndwandes, halted. A dramatic silence ensued while each warrior steeled himself for the coming conflict. Then Shaka gave the signal and the carnage commenced. When it was over, every single Ndwande had been tossed from the cliffs. Shaka's nearest enemy was at least 600 miles distant now. Some tribes, fearing him, had fled further yet, thus coming into conflict with others. Hunger and cannibalism stalked in his wake. Some historians say that, directly and indirectly, he caused the death of over 2,000,000 persons. In 1820, four years after he started out on his first campaign, and at the age of thirty-four, he had conquered a territory larger than France. A ring of desert land and devastated area protected it from invasion. His people had become immensely wealthy.
The young men, the wives, the lands, the cattle of their victims were theirs. As for the handful of whites in South Africa at that time, they thought it best to be on friendly terms with Shaka. " King George and I," Shaka would say to his white visitors, "are brothers. I have conquered all the blacks, and he has conquered all the whites." When he strode onto the parade field, a Herculean figure, his warriors would salute him, "Bayede!" the equivalent of "Hail Caesar!" Then to the clashing of swords they would chant.
Thou has scattered all the nations; What remains now for thy forces to fight? Oh, what remains now for thy forces to fight?
Indeed, this was Shaka'’s most troublesome problem. He had a magnificent army of 100,000 strong, restless for battle, but no one to fight! To get rid of the surplus, he would incite one regiment to attack another. With no outside enemies on which to fix their hate, his people began fighting among themselves. Foes among his own people sprang up like mushrooms. To preserve order he kept executioners by his side, and had people impaled or their hands chopped off for no reason but to create fear. Defiance increased, however. His enemies grew bolder. Once, while he was dancing, someone struck at his heart with a dagger but succeeded only in wounding his arm. Thousands were put to death in retaliation. Even his pet monkey filled people with dread. Ngomane, his old friend and counsellor, and his mother sought in vain to stem the slaughter.
When his mother died some 7000 persons were put to death. Shaka wept, and all whose eyes were dry, or who did not come to the royal city to mourn, were executed. Nine years of this unbridled tyranny filled the people with desperation and they longed for his death. Dingaan, his half-brother, resolved to kill him at all costs. Plotting together with one of Shaka's domestics named Satam, Dingaan and his brother Mahlangana crept into Shaka's hut and stabbed him as he sat before the fire. They plunged the dagger into him again and again. Before he died, Shaka said, "What have I done to you! Oh, children of my father." Shaka's body was flung into a corn pit where it was left to the vultures.