Some of it is true!
"* Knight 1995 p100
"Shields were used in almost every aspect of Zulu life; there was a small shield, about nine inches by nine inches (umgabelomunye) for dancing, carried by youths when courting, and a sturdier shield, ihawu, about twenty-four inches by twelve inches, used for everyday purposes of protection, including fighting. All these shields were made for an individual from the hides of his own cattle, and were his personal property. The true war-shield, however, belonged to no one but the king himself. It was kept with the amakhanda, and only issued to the amabutho when they were in the king's service. The king's shield, therefore, was not carried lightly, and any man bearing it carried with him a portion of the king's majesty. Indeed, a man who bore the king's shield -- as most of the male population of Zululand did at one time or another -- was entitled to respect as someone who accepted his place under the king's protection, and the obligations that were placed in him in return.
"The war-shield All Zulu shields were oval in shape; the regimental war-shield was known as isihlangu (pl. izihlangu), from a verb meaning 'to brush aside'. ... The largest of them measure fifty-four inches tall by thirty inches across, although a smaller variant, about forty-eight inches by twenty-seven inches, is common. No examples appear to have survived from the reigns of the early kings, but the accounts of early white travellers suggest that the larger type was more popular in Shaka's time. ... The later preference for a smaller variant probably had much to do with the changes in fighting techniques over the kingdom's history. In King Shaka's time, fighting was conducted hand-to-hand, usually against a foe armed with similar stabbing weapons, and a tall, wide shield offered the very real prospect of protection. From 1838, however, the Zulu army increasingly faced Europeans armed with firearms, against which a shield was of more limited use. A small reduction in size was probably more than compensated by increased manoeuvrability and a lighter weight in the field."