Shaka

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Founder of the Zulu nation. In the early 19th century, Shaka, the illegitimate son of a local chieftain, seized power over the then-insignificant Zulu clan and changed it's traditional fighting methods and equipment. The increased military efficiency led to more and more clans being incorporated into Shaka's Zulu empire, while other tribes moved away to be out of range of Shaka's impis. The ripple effect caused by these mass migrations, known as the difanqane, had effects as far away as present-day Zimbabwe.

Although Shaka made preliminary contacts with Europeans from the British Empire, he was killed by his brother Dingane before he could test his strategic brilliance against an army equipped with flintlock muskets. His successors got plenty such opportunities, both against the Voortrekkers and against British forces.