King Lobengula was the second king of the Ndebele people who are believed to have migrated from Transvaal during the Mfecane upheavals which were instigated by Tshaka around the 1830s. He was the first son of King Mzilikazi. He signed a hoard of treaties with the British concession seekers and has been blamed for necessitating the inception of colonial rule in 1890 through these treaties.

Background

Lobengula's date of birth is shrouded in ambiguity. It is, however, believed that he was born sometime in 1834 as Lobengula Khumalo. His father was MzilikaZi Khumalo who was the first king of the Ndebele people. His mother was the daughter of King Malindela, who was a Swazi king. It is believed that Lobengula together with mother was sentenced to death, but the Chief who was mandated to kill them released them and they were forced to hid in as a way of escaping the wrath of King Mzilikazi. King Mzilikazi however discovered that he was duped, nonetheless he ordered that his son was reprimanded from entering his courtyard. Lobengula was thus taken care of by a certain Ndebele Chief.

Military Prowess

It is believed that Lobengula was an outstanding warrior more or less like his father. Contrary to this, it was also reported that he was a weaker version of his father. Lobengula received military training as an imBovana. In 1845, he was inducted into Zwangendaba's regiment which was trained and under the control of Mzilikazi. In 1847, he is said to have led the Zwangendaba regiment against Hendrik Potgieter expedition which had crossed the Limpopo River. Notwithstanding this, it was also believed that Lobengula was part of the Amashlogoshlogo regiment which was also under the control of Mzilikazi.

In 1863, he Lobengula took part in a campaign directed against the Bamangwato. It was suggested that Lobengula was shot in the neck and scarred for life, although, not debilitated or seriously injured. It was believed that in Matebeleland it was reported that Lobengula was not shot in but had accidentally injured himself as a means of preserving his reputation as a true and undefeated Ndebele warrior.

As the Ndebele King

Lobengula was crowned as the Ndebele king in September 1968 after the death of his father. It was reported that disputes arose over his legitimacy to be the Ndebele king considering that his mother was a Swazi Princess.