Anonymous Imbega & Isitorsi, Two of Lobengula's Wives
Medium Printing-out Paper
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1890s Print Date 1890s
Dimensions 8-3/16 x 5-7/8 in. (208 x 149 mm)
Photo Country Zimbabwa
Photographer Country United Kingdom (UK)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Lobengula (sometimes Lobhengula) Khumalo (1845–1894), was the second and last king of the Ndebele people (historically called Matabele in English). Both names, in the isiNdebele language, mean "the men of the long shields", a reference to the Matabele warriors' use of the Zulu shield and spear. No white man knew where or how King Lobengula of the Matabele had met his end. A bull elephant of a man, 6 ft. 2, and burdened with 200 wives, Lobengula was the last of the Zulu chieftains to make a stand for black independence. He vanished 50 years ago after a disastrous clash between his fierce native warriors and the colonists of Cecil Rhodes. The battle secured Rhodesia for the white men, blasted the last barrier to their march across Africa. Lobengula's story is the tragedy of an African ruler who had neither the technology nor the cunning to prevent the forces of colonialism from destroying him and his nation. The deceit and treachery exercised by Cecil Rhodes and his collaborators were to be long remembered, and formed much of the moral justification for rebellion that led to the creation of modern Zimbabwe.
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