Ngoni migration (1820—1860)

Ngoni migration (1820—1860). The Ngoni were close relatives of the Zulu and Ndwandwe people from South Africa.

  • They were Bantu who belonged to the negroid race.
  • They originally lived in Natal province in the south East of the Drakensburg Mountains.
  • The Ngoni were Nguni speaking people.
  • They are believed to have left South Africa around 1820.
  • They left South Africa because of Shaka Zulu’s expansionist wars.
  • This was during the Mfecane period where there was a lot of war and suffering in South Africa.
  • The Ngoni were forced to flee and moved northwards.
  • They left South Africa under different leaders e.g. Zwangendaba, Maputo and Zulugama.
  • They moved through central Africa and finally settled in East Africa (southern Tanganyika).

Causes of Ngoni migrations

  • Shaka created a period of wars (Mfecane) that forced many people to migrate including the Ngoni.
  • Population pressure in their cradle land also led to the Ngoni migration into East Africa.
  • Internal conflicts e.g. land and clan conflicts also led to the Ngoni migration.
  • The Ngoni were farmers and therefore migrated in search of new lands that were fertile to support agriculture for example Ufipa plateau.
  • The influence of good leaders e.g. Zulugama, Zwangendaba, Maputo etc also led to the migration of the Ngoni into East Africa.
  • Love for adventure also forced the Ngoni to migrate especially the youth who wanted to explore new   areas North of River Limpopo.
  • Misfortunes and natural calamities e.g. diseases, floods, e.t.c also led to the Ngoni Migration.
  • The ruthless army training of Shaka Zulu also forced some of the Ngoni fighters to escape to East Africa.
  • The Boer invasion of South Eastern Africa from the cape made the Ngoni lose their land which forced them to move to East Africa.
  • The need to export their culture also led to Ngoni migration into East Africa especially by the youth.
  • Band Wagon effect i.e. some of the Ngoni Migrants moved into East Africa after seeing their relatives and friends moving.
  • Search for water and pasture since the Ngoni kept animals they migrated into East Africa in search of fresh pastures and water for their animals.