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Nandi (Zulu)
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    (1760-October 10, 1827)
    Nandi kaBhebhe eLangeni
    Daughter of Langheni chief Bhebhe
    Mother of Shaka, King of the Zulus (1787–1828)
    Conceived Shaka out of wedlock, with Zulu King, Senzangakhona kaJama
    Went into voluntary exile to the Mtlatuze Valley with her young son due to interclan conflict
    Returned to Babanango to live as Queen Mother after her son's ascension to the throne, in 1816
    Famously exercised considerable influence over her son's reign, at times acting as de facto ruler
    Portrayed by Dudu Mkhize in the acclaimed SABC miniseries 'Shaka Zulu' (1986)
    Death (likely from a form of dysentery) was followed by the 'Isililo SikaNandi,' or 'the mourning of death of Queen Nandi' a declaration of the extended mourning within the Zulu Kingdom
    Her name is a Hindu word for a sacred bull/calf.
    She named her son 'Shaka' which means 'bastard.'
    Her son went on a killing spree to mourn her death.
    Her son abolished the use of milk (a Zulu nation dietary staple) during the period of 'mourning.'
    Her son also ordered that no crops should be planted (famine inevitably resulted).
    Her son ordered that any woman who even got pregnant be sentenced to death, along with her husband.
    The death toll numbered as high as 7,000 'insufficiently grief-stricken' mourners.
    But, this stat excludes the number of dead animals that resulted (like cows slaughtered so that calves would know the pain of losing a mother).
    She conceived her son during the uku-hlobonga (a coitus interruptus for unmarried couples). But the two reportedly got 'carried away.'
    She got into a fight with Shaka's father after a sheep the boy was supposed to be watching was killed by a wild dog.
    The heated argument between the two resulted in their being ordered to leave Bulawayo and return to her own clan (which had to return their dowry of cattle).
    Their return to her own tribe resulted in her son being bullied by local children as weak and a fatherless bastard.
    She is memorialized in a very cool tribute song 'Nandi (My Name is Nandi).'
    She is known almost exclusively for the brutal massacre following her death, and not for any of her own achievements.
    She has attained a growing and deeply personal popularity within the broader 'Black consciousness' movement circles.
    Her son quite literally worshiped her (and is believed to have lost his will to live and rule after she died).
    Tribal elders initially refused to believe she was pregnant, insisting that she was merely suffering from a form of nausea.
    When she brought her newborn son to the Zulu capital, she was greeted without any ceremonial festivities (which indicated that the community was shaming her).
    When Shaka's father eventually did marry her, she held the menial position of 'third wife.' Because she was from another tribal clan, this rendered her even more vulnerable.
    She was her son's sole source of nurturing and love as a child (she regularly made the unlikely prediction that her son would one day be king, despite being an illegitimate child/outcast).
    As Queen Mother, she was said to have been a source of moderation for her son during some of his more temperamental moments.
    She was resilient; protecting her son from starvation during times of famine, and later from various assassination attempts.
    She would have been instrumental to the Zulu Kingdom's growth over a twelve year period under her son's rule.
    She was put in charge of military kraals, along with the women of her son's harem, and was given power to govern while he was away on campaigns of war.
    There's a surreal line in the popular 'Shaka Zulu' movie when Shaka turns to the English doctor treating his dying mother and demands that he bring her back to life like Christ. 'He was the King of Kings!' 'She is the Queen of all Queens.' (Damn!)

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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