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All weekend long cable viewers will be able to watch the Shaka Zulu marathon on BET’s Centric in remembrance of his legacy to African American and South African history and to militia groups worldwide.

According to, Shaka, founder of the Zulu Kingdom of southern Africa, was murdered on September 22nd, 1828 by his two half-brothers, Dingane and Mhlangana, after Shaka’s mental illness threatened to destroy the Zulu tribe.

But what Shaka was most known for, as seen on television and film, was his keen skill and innovative strategies in defense and weaponry. As chief of the Zulus, Shaka’s tribe was only 1,500 but under his leadership and command he trained his warriors to fight smarter and is credited with inventing a long bladed, sharp weapon we know now as the spear. Shaka was also credited as the inventor of a heavier shield made from cowhide in which the left side of the shield was used to hook the enemy’s shield to the right, exposing them to succumb to a deadly stab to the rib. Coined as a “military genius” Shaka was also known for his reforms and defense innovations yet condemned for the brutality of his reign, according to wikipedia.

The Zulu tribe’s victories reshaped the face of African warfare. Shaka’s brilliance led to him to overtaking majority of the tribes in Southern Africa and recruiting their survivors into his army.

His reign took a terrible turn after his mother Nandi died. Historians say he became enraged and turned on his own tribe killing pregnant women and men and  prohibited the growing of crops. The ingestion of milk was also banned and his militia were sent out on excessive military assignments that had no purpose. His brother’s assassinated Shaka and took authority over the kingdom.

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Shaka Zulu was depicted on film by actor Henry Cele (pictured above) who played Zulu so well, sources say it was “chilling”. Cele went on to land other major roles in South Africa and was also in US movies, the Last Samurai and Point of Impact.

Ironically Cele also died an angry man. According to Cele was admitted to the hospital for a chest infection but because of his violent and unpredictable behavior, he remained chained to his hospital bed and drugged.

He was only 58.