AND SETTLEMENT OF THE NGONI INTO EAST AFRICA
began their movement from South – East Africa in Northern Zululand under
the leadership of Zwangendaba in 1820.
Ngoni migration took place in the 19th century, and was the last major movement
of Bantu people into East Africa.
were 3 groups of the Ngoni in East Africa i.e. the
Ngoni Tuta, the
Ngoni Gwangara and the
then crossed River Zambezi and River Limpopo and moved northwards in search of
in 1835, they divided into two groups. One group under the leadership of Zwangendaba
passed west of Lake Malawi and settled at UFIPA
in 1840. They were attracted to this area here because of the many herds of cattle
led the biggest Ngoni group that entered East Africa. They crossed the Zambezi
River, moved through Malawi and Zambia until they reached the Fipa plateau in
around 1840’s. Zwagendaba died here in about 1845, and his followers
splint up into five sections. Three sections returned south to Zambia and Malawi,
while the other two, i.e , the Tuta and Gwangara sections remained at Ufipa.
Another group under the
leadership of Induna Maputo (Maseko Ngoni) passed East of Lake Malawi and settled
at Songea. When Zwangendaba died around 1845, the Ufipa ngoni disagreed
and plit in to five groups.
groups remained in East Africa,i.e Tuta and Gwangara Ngoni
Three groups moved out of
East Africa that is to say, one group moved to Malawi and the two moved back to
Tuta Ngoni, the smallest group left Ufipa, moved northwards fighting and clashing
with the Holoholo near Lake Tanganyika. They disrupted the trade route between
Tabora and Ujiji.In the 1850s they invaded the Nyamwezi capturing many and incorporating
them in their ranks. They finally settled at Kahama South of Lake Victoria.
The Gwangara Ngoni under
the leadership of Zulugama moved eastwards to
they met the Maseko Ngoni. The two groups fought and the
Maseko Ngoni were
defeated and pushed out of Songea in 1860s.
of the Maseko moved back to Mozambique while others moved to Kilombero valley
where they became known as the Mbunga.
splinter group moved to Newala, Masasi and Tunduru.
Songea the Ngoni raided widely, finally settling in Southern Tanzania among the
Bena, Hehe and Sangu. The Ngoni migration, which started around 1820’s,
had ended by the year 1860s.
SHOWING NGONI MOVEMENTS
WERE THE NGONI SUCCESSFUL IN DEFEATING / CONQUERING THE PEOPLE OF EAST AFRICA.
The Ngoni came in big
numbers and were strong. On their way they absorbed or fought off the people they
encountered, capturing young men for warriors and young women for wives.
They had good military organization
with age-regiments called “impis”. (strong army)
The Ngoni had a large, well-trained
and disciplined army. They were grouped in age-regiments which were maintained
for long periods. The Ngoni did not cultivate but rather lived by plundering from
others. This enabled them to have a standing army always ready for battle.
They had superior weapons such as the short stabbing spear (Assegai) and big cowhide
shields, which only left a soldier’s face exposed to the enemy, protected
the warriors. Instead of the long-throwing spears which had to be thrown one by
one, the Ngoni adopted short-stabbing spears
and clubs known as Assegai,
copied from Shaka the Zulu.
On the other hand their enemies used long
–throwing spear. They used these for close hand to hand
combat, and the warriors could be protected by large cow-hide shields which left
only a warrior’s face exposed to the enemy.
had superior military tactics such as the cow horn method (semi-circle), which
was unfamiliar in E. Africa. They fought in organized age-regiments and could
attack their enemies using the cow-horn formation. They also chose clear open
spaces for fighting and liked attacking their enemies by night.
met small and fragmented societies, which were unable to challenge their military
organization. Slave trade had undermined most of the communities of Southern Tanzania.
Ngoni were successful due to their determination. They were determined to conquer
and obtain places for settlement. This was due to the fact that they were already
being chased away from their homeland, and their only alternative was to get determined
and fight any people they came across.
East African people were caught unaware and therefore did not offer much résistance.
The Ngoni were successful because the local people whom they were fighting with
were so weak and lived in small groups, which could not resist/challenge the sudden
and unexpected Ngoni invasions.
among the East African people living in isolated societies, made it easy for the
Ngoni to defeat them. The inhabitants were living in isolated societies which
made it easy for the Ngoni to defeat them.
Ngoni were fully united under their commanders. They were successful because of
their unity and solidarity. They mixed freely with the non-Ngoni speaking people.
had strong military leaders e.g. Zwangendaba, Induna and Maputo who were able
to unite and command the Ngoni.
the scorched earth policy hence taking people unaware. They burnt and destroyed
used assimilation policy, i.e. they absorbed the people they defeated. They would
force the captured men from other tribes to join them and become Ngoni warriors.
also made themselves fearful to their enemies by wearing the skeletons of their
NGONI MILITARY ORGANISATION
Ngoni were a small group of people but were able to make their presence and authority
fell by the local people because of their leadership, outstanding military efficiency
and their capacity to absorb conquered people into their armies.
the Ngoni were organized in large standing armies and age regiments; People of
the same age trained together, which brought unity and efficiency.
used the short- stabbing spears called assegai
rather than the long- throwing spears which meant that the warriors could attack
more effectively at a close range.
used large cowhide shields, which could not be easily penetrated by spears.
used the cow horn method of surrounding an enemy and attacking from all sides
giving the enemy little chance to escape.
often fought on their feet and in open areas for easy movement.
moved in large numbers which helped them to outnumber their enemies who were often
used to absorb and assimilate all conquered people.
OF NGONI INVASIONS IN E. AFRICA
Ngoni invasion led to the rise of outstanding leaders to prominence. These included
Mirambo, Nyungu ya Mawe and Mkwawa, who used the Ngoni military tactics to build
small Ntemi chiefdoms came together (united) and formed larger political units
under strong leaders to fight the Ngoni e.g. Sangu and Hehe. (re-organization)
formation of new societies (tribes) like the Mbunga.
under Mkwawa were able to resist the Germans.
was spread of Ngoni customs and culture. e.g Initiation ceremonies where girls
were taught sex education and circumcision.
led to formation of a larger Ngoni society in E.Africa as they absorbed many people.
It led to
formation of some societies by those who used Ngoni tactics e.g. Nyamwezi under
led to introduction of new weapons e.g. Assegai, cowhides and shields.
Ngoni invasion, people learnt how to get organized from smaller disorganized societies,
to well organized bigger political systems. These were to be under the control
and leadership of organized, strong and efficient rulers such as the Sangu chief,
the Hehe, e.t.c.
were intermarriages between the Ngoni and Nyamwezi,which subsequently led to improved
relationships between the invaders and indigenous peoples, and an increase in
caused wide spread loss of lives leading to depopulation in some areas where they
got warriors this was especially in southern Tanzania. This was due to the killing
of people in the expansionist wars, e.g., the Mariti remnants of Rugarugas killed
so many people.
introduced military organization and tactics to such an extent that the Ngoni
lost their superiority e.g. Holoholo were able to defeat the Tuta Ngoni when they
re- attacked them.
movement led to widespread devastation, depopulation and displacement of people.
They destroyed the economy
of the people of southern Tanzania when they grabbed their cattle. (The Ngoni
were cattle plunderers). The Ngoni invasion led to poverty, i.e., it led to the
creation of a class of poor people as their property continued to be destroyed
and persistently looted during the wars.
Ngoni led to formation of refugees who lived by plundering and killing i.e. the
Mariti and Rugaruga who were later used by ambitious men like Mirambo, Nyunguyamawe
to make their empires.
Tuta Ngoni, on their movement northwards, disrupted the trade particularly between
Tabora and Ujiji.
was loss of peoples’ language, culture and customs (Detribalisation of people).
i.e., The raids caused many people to become homeless and tribe less. This led
to people losing their identity. In addition, such groups became terrorists who
lived by war, plunder, and hunting for ivory. They included the “ Ruga-ruga”
who began hiring their services as mercenaries to any chief willing to pay them.
Ngoni disturbance disrupted
normal cultivation leading to famine. There was widespread famine due to the scotched-earth
policy of fighting. This included destroying crops and houses by burning. Under
such circumstances, crops could neither be planted nor harvested, and people were
forced to abandon farming.
led to insecurity since the new weapons and military tactics increased warfare
and aggression in East Africa.
Ngoni intensified slave trade in East Africa, this was because they displaced
people from their homes and so making it easy for slave raiders to get them and
led to increased war-fare among the African societies, including those areas that
had been peaceful before.
the end of the 19th century, Germany colonised Tanganyika. The Ngoni were one
of the groups that fought hard against the Germans. But in 1907
all the Ngoni chiefs were hanged for fighting. Today the Ngoni have married into
the tribes they conquered. It is now difficult to know who is Ngoni and who is
not. But their traditions and way of life continue.
are the Ngoni?
did they leave their cradle land?
a) Describe the Ngoni movement and settlement in East Africa
Why were the Ngoni able to defeat the inhabitants of East Africa
What were the effects of the Ngoni settlement on the people of East Africa
Introduction to migration
Ngoni and the Zulu
and the Mfecane
N.T.Nwaezeigwe (1997) "Ngoni", Rosen