Shaka Zulu

Season 1 Episode 2

Part 2

Aired Unknown Nov 03, 1987 on

Episode Recap

Now the year 1824 at Shaka's kraal, the contingent observes as Shaka's praise-singers precede him to his throne and then recount all of his deeds. Finn watches and as narrator makes note of Shaka's miltary might and also his half-brother who is there. He also notes the three most important women that he has discovered in Shaka's life - Nandi, Shaka's mother, who is the most powerful of the three, along with his aunt, and the chief witchdoctor who foretold his prophesy and who takes responsibility to see that it was fulfilled.

Flashing back to 1786 in SE Africa, a group of women from the Elangeni Kingdom are in a small creek gathering water and the Prince of the Zulu Kingdom, Senzangakona happens by and makes eye contact with one of the Elangeni women - Nandi. Nandi notices him as well and as one of her friends teases her about the Prince, Senzangakona suddenly breaks out into a courtship dance, which Nandi tries to ignore. When Nandi returns home, she discovers that her father has promised her to a man from another kingdom for the bride price of 10 cattle that he will give him for taking Nandi as his wife. Nandi is outraged and storms out of the dwelling, with her eyes set on winning the Zulu Prince instead.

Senzangakona has returned home to his father Jama's kraal and makes preparations for his own marriage. He speaks with his sister to ask about his bride and she dodges the question and teases him about his physical manhood being the only reason why he would be the King one day. However Senzangakona decides to see Nandi privately whenever he could.

On the wedding day, many from the neighboring kingdoms are in attendance including Nandi. As Nandi and Senzangakona continually exchange flirting glances, Senzangakona's sister and father notice and give him disapproving glances. As part of the ceremony, a bull must be subdued and this one is not docile. After several men position it on its rope, Senzangakona gets cocky with the effort and is gored. But he finally gets serious and finishes the task. He saunters off to get patched up and when he returns, he goes over to where Nandi is seated and orders her to bring him some beer. When she refuses, he publicly chastises her and forces her physically to dip the cup and bring it to his mouth to drink, and this display infuriates his father.

Later Senzangakona's father speaks with him privately and admonishes him for his behavior on his wedding day, particularly since he felt that Nandi's public refusal was an insult and he warns him that his son's spies were his own as well, which was how he found out that Senzangakona was secretly seeing Nandi.

Some months later, Senzangakona's wife and Nandi are both pregnant, however the witchdoctor has now become involved and Senzangakona's wife is destined to have a problem with her pregnancy. Meanwhile Nandi's pregnancy goes forward unhindered. At some point, Nandi's Elangeni Kingdom sends a messenger to the Zulu Kingdom on behalf of Nandi's father to demand that Senzangakona own up to his child. When the messenger arrives, Senzangakona's father Jama, who has grown very ill, insists that they tell the messenger that Nandi and the baby are disowned. Jama then plots with his adviser to have Nandi killed by sending one of his spies to her to arrange a fictitious meeting between Nandi and Senzangakona, and when she arrived at the meeting place, the spy would kill her. After he hatches the plan, Jama dies and when Nandi goes to the meeting place and is about to be attacked, the witchdoctor commands her hyenas to attack the attacker. Horrified at this turn of events, Nandi is approached by the witchdoctor who tells her that she will bear the child who would become the king, but one who would shed much blood. Later, Senzangakona participates in his father's funeral ceremony, afterwhich he is crowned King of the Zulus.

It is now 1787 and after the witchdoctors consort to implement a spell, Senzangakona's first and primary wife gives birth during a difficult pregnancy, but the baby dies. Meanwhile Nandi also gives birth, but to a healthy baby boy - one out of wedlock who would be named after the word for such - Shaka.

Not long after, the Elangenis travel with Nandi to the Zulu Kingdom to demand that her son be recognized as the son of a King and then Nandi proceeds to negotiate her own bride price publicly in front of members of both Kingdoms, given that her son Shaka was Senzangakona's only male heir to the throne at that time. Her offer of 55 cattle to be given to her father is summarily refused, but then after thinking about it, Senzangakona finally accepts.

Nine years pass and Nandi has borne another child - a girl - and the growing family watches angrily as Senzangakona takes his 9th wife in an elaborate wedding ceremony. After the ceremony, now very drunk, Senzangakona once again orders Nandi to bring him something to drink and then once again forces her to do as she is told while her son Shaka looks on in rage. Senzangakona then publicly mocks Nandi and calls Shaka his bastard son and this prompts Shaka to come at him with a spear and threaten that if he hurt his mother again, he would kill Senzangakona. After this outrage, Senzangakona's adviser warns him that he must kill Shaka per the prophesy but Senzangakona also realizes that none of his wives have bore him any children and his only heir is Shaka.

Seeking to prove the prophesies about Shaka, Senzangakona has diviners come in and perform a ritual where blood is forcibly drawn from Shaka and mixed into a drink that the diviner would consume in order to determine whether Shaka really possessed any powers. But unbeknownst to them, the witchdoctor continues to intervene and when the diviner drinks the mixture, he gags and falls to the ground dead. This was all that was needed as an answer. But that evening, one of Senzangakona's friends Gazi, goes to Nandi and her children and hustles them away so that Shaka would not be killed. However Senzangakona's watches his friend do this and in a panic, kills Gazi, although he had wanted Shaka to get away but didn't want that fact to be known.

Nandi and her children make a painful trip back to her home Kingdom of the Elangeni and as they arrive, they discover that her father has died and the funeral ceremony is in-progress. Meanwhile Senzangakona discusses his quandry with his adviser and his sister, who have different takes on what is happening. Senzangakona believes that if he doesn't go to war against the Elangeni to get Shaka back, then Shaka would be considered a child without a clan, which in their culture was worse than death. Senzangakona's adviser believes that forcing Nandi into exile was probably for the best because the child was wrought from evil. However Senzangakona's sister believes that it was not evil occurring but a new way for the Kingdom of the future.

The King of the Elangenis speaks with Nandi telling her that he planned to send a messenger to the Zulus letting them know that she was there. She tells the King to also offer that she would return to the Zulus but without the children. However the reply back from the Zulus was that they had no recollection of either her or her children. And with that, the King of Elangenis informed her that in light of this, his Kingdom would not be able to assist her either, and that she should be aware that the men may be hostile to her. And so it comes to pass as Nandi and her children, now staying with her mother, are harrassed continually by the boys and young men of the kraal. This results in many fisticuffs between Shaka and them as he tries to defend his mother. But one day, while they were constructing a new dwelling on the outskirts of the kraal, a group of boys set fire to it. This prompts Shaka to go raging after them with his grandmother hot on his heels. When he arrives to where they usually gathered, he proceeds to beat each and every one up. When the father of the lead taunter demands what was happening, Shaka's grandmother explains and the father eventually confirms the misdeed. He then offers Shaka's grandmother 5 cattle in return for the damage to the dwelling.

Later, the boys decide to get revenge and they finally corner both Shaka and his sister, and while holding her back, they beat Shaka until he's unconscious. With Shaka' sister crying out in dispair, Nandi carries her barely conscious son through the kraal and speaking to anyone who would listen, threatens that never again would her son leave anything behind. The family, including Nandi's mother, packs up their few belongings, and they head out of the Elangeni kraal. After a long and arduous trek, where Nandi's mother dies enroute, Nandi and her children finally arrive at the Qwabes Kingdom, where the man who was once promised to Nandi resided. She meets with him and he takes pity on her and welcomes her family to the kingdom, offering to raise Shaka as if he were his own son. Meanwhile, back in the Zulu Kingdom, Senzangakona's sister decides to encourage her brother to request that Shaka be returned to claim his birthright before they regret allowing him to live, as she expects that he will be vengeful in the future.

It is now 1802 and a messenger from the Zulus is sent to the Qwabes requesting the return of Shaka, but without his mother. Shaka, now almost a man, agrees to go. When he arrives, he is immediately included in the ritual manhood training, but during the final ceremony, Shaka publicly berates his father the King, for treating him and his mother so poorly, and he demands that he make his mother an official royal wife. This infuriates Senzangakona's advsier Musi, who demands that Shaka leave immediately and warns him that if their warriors catch him, he is as good as dead. But as fate and the chief witchdoctor would allow, as Shaka makes his way away from the Zulus, he stumbles upon an ambush of fugitives, and as he walks past the dead and dying, he stops at one man who is still alive but with a spear in his back. He decides to remove the spear and care for the man. When the man is well enough to return back to his village, the two part ways as fast friends. Shaka then returns to the Qwabes and remains with them for some years.

Meanwhile back at the Zulu Kingdom, Musi informs Senzangakona that Shaka has been bad-mouthing and discrediting him and the Kingdom and that he must be stopped. He suggests that he be brought before them for treason and executed. Senzagakona again finds himself in a quandry as he believes that this would illicit a vicious circle of revenge. Senzangakona's sister decides to play both sides against the middle by postulating that perhaps it wasn't Shaka but his mother Nandi who was the fault and she suggests that Nandi be brought in and executed for treason. With this conflicting advice, Senzangakona decides to send out his best warriors to hunt down Shaka and bring him back alive.

With all the bad dealings going on, Nandi and her family are asked to leave and as they journey on in search of a place to reside, the Zulu posse finds them, and Shaka sends his mother and sister off to hide while he runs in another direction. Shaka is then hit with a spear in the thigh and falls off a cliff into a pool of water. He struggles ashore, removes the spear, and them stumbles along the water, growing weaker and weaker until he finally collapses near a group of women who are gathering water to bring back to their kraal. One of the women spots his barely conscious body in the water and she signals to the others to help her carry him back home. As they start to move him, the Zulu posse arrives and threatens them. However men from their kraal arrive hearing the commotion and in a showdown of force that greatly outnumbers the Zulus, they bring Shaka back with them and take the Zulus as temporary prisoners.

And as fate would allow, Shaka is brought to the Mtetwa Paramountcy and Dingiswayo's kraal. They provide Shaka with medicine and with the help of the witchdoctor, Shaka is back on his feet again. When he is brought into the royal chambers, he is in shock at his good fortune as he is greeted heartily by the man who he had saved and nursed back to health several years earlier. And when members of the Zulu posse demand the return of Shaka, the Zulus are told that Shaka was the "guest" of the Mtetwas and it was in their best interest to leave immediately. When the Zulus return to Senzangakona, he exclaims in frustration that Shaka continually found powerful friends who save him and who manipulate his own thrown from afar. At this point, Senzangakona decides it is time to go to war - and this time it would be against the mighty Mtetwas, who outnumber the Zulus 10 to 1. Eventually Shaka's mother Nandi and sister are brought to live with the Mtetwas in relative safety.

Meanwhile Shaka is sent to military training under the regiment of the Mtetwa's General Bhuza. Right away, Shaka shows his impatience and independent spirit and begins to clash with his superior officer. Eventually during a practice battle, Shaka begins to make suggestions about how the shields should be enlarged and the spears shortened, and insists that they move closer. The General angrily disagrees noting that the way he was being taught to fight was how it was always done. And when it came to the Mtetwa's real battle with a neighboring tribe, where both sides of the military stood 50 paces apart and brought family in as spectators who basically helped with the taunting that was their "battle", with the loser only being so by capitulation and numbers, Shaka explodes at the ridiculousness of it all, and storms off to train alone. At that point, he takes his long spear and breaks it in half, and begins practicing thrusting moves that will eventually be his trademark.