Chief of the Nguni confederation
Dingiswayo was the last chief of the Nguni confederation of southern Africa before Europeans colonized the area. According to legend, Dingiswayo became chief by killing his brother because he believed that his brother was not the rightful ruler. After assuming power, Dingiswayo combined several related kingdoms into a unified confederation. He then appointed subchiefs from those kingdoms to help him oversee the union.
Dingiswayo also introduced a military system in which young men preparing to be warriors spent a great deal of time together before their initiation. His goal was to develop a sense of fraternity among the warriors that would make them trustworthy companions in military campaigns. One of those brought up under this system was Shaka, the son of the ZULU chief. After the chief died, Dingiswayo sent Shaka to claim the Zulu throne. In 1816 Dingiswayo was killed by a follower of one of the subchiefs, and the confederacy began to fall apart. Shaka later took over as chief and reunited the confederacy under his own leadership. (See also Shaka Zulu, Southern Africa, History.)