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Customer Review

on January 12, 2007
When Nandi and her unborn child are saved by the ancient witch doctor, he proclaims: "A force has been generated that in time will rock the foundation of the African sub-continent."

Indeed the prophecy shaped the event and Shaka was the ruthless founder of southern Africa's Zulu Empire... In less than a decade, the paramount chieftain of the Zulu clan revolutionized the techniques of tribal warfare and fashioned an efficient and terrifying fighting force that devastated the entire region...

Set against the emergence of British power in Africa during the early 19th Century, the film provides some valuable insights into comparative cultures...

Shaka (Henry Cele) is a man of considerable height, thin, with athletic body and white teeth who can read and write... He is a great warrior, tactically, strategically and physically... He rearms his army with a long-bladed, short-shafted stabbing spear, which forced them to fight at close quarters... He goes for extermination, incorporating the remnants of the clans he smashed into the Zulu, making it increase with numbers and power..

The Mini-Series begins with a letter to the British king (George IV) regarding the Zulus' potential threat to the Cape Colony... In an attempt to intimidate Shaka into an alliance with the British empire, the Secretary of War sends a delegation to inner African to meet with the fearful warrior...

We see :

- The meeting of Nandi, an orphaned princess of the neighboring Langeni clan and Senzangakona, the chief of the then small Zulu tribe... They are instantly attracted to each other... Nandi becomes pregnant, at the same time as Kona's wife, but the marriage did not last... Their marriage violated Zulu custom, and the stigma of this extended to the child...

- The couple separated when Shaka was six, and Nandi took her son back to the Langeni, where he passed a fatherless boyhood among a people who despised his mother and made him the butt of endless cruel pranks... He grew up to be bitter and angry, hating his tormentors... The Langeni drove Nandi out, and she finally found shelter with the Dletsheni, a subclan of the powerful Mtetwa...

- Shaka ruled with an iron hand from the beginning, distributing instant death for the slightest opposition...

- While en route to Shaka's capital, the crew's doctor saves a girl who is in a coma and nearly buried alive by her tribe... Impressed by both the deed and their horses, Shaka agrees to meet with the crew... And so begins the clash of two cultures, two different worlds...

- Shaka, seriously wounded for saving an unknown warrior (King Dingiswayo), is nursed to health by a beautiful Mtwetwa girl...

- Shaka, believing in total annihilation, joins the Mtwetwa army and creates a dangerous weapon for the African warfare...

- Shaka grants Port Natal, with its ivory rights, to the British crew after he is saved by the crew's doctor from an assassination attempt...

- Shaka's mighty army saving the British delegation in a battle against thousands of Ndwandwe warriors... To test the alliance and allegiance of the British delegation, Shaka orders them into battle alone against the Ndwandwe warriors...

- With his mother's death Shaka becomes openly psychotic... Thousands are killed in the initial paroxysm of his grief...

- Shaka rules by the sheer force of his personality, building, by scores of daily executions, a fear so profound that he could afford to ignore it...

Set against the spectacular panorama of the Zulu tribal homelands, and with graphic violence and frequent nudity, "Shaka Zulu" is a tremendous epic Mini-Series, chronicling the rise and fall of one of the most famous South Africans who has already passed into legend...
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