In a continent the size of the US, China, India, Europe and Japan combined and with a history stretching to the dawn of humankind, there have been hundreds of influential leaders.
In the late 16th century, Tiger’s Eye was more precious than gold. It was so rare and strikingly beautiful that only tribal leaders and their immediate family possessed it for their ceremonial or wardresses.
As with most of the globe at this time, civilization after civilization capitulated to colonization. However, one dynamic, fierce and innovative tribe managed to fight off the invaders for nearly half a century.
All masterminded by the man some people dubbed ‘The Black Napoleon’.
Strength, Bravery and Intellect
Shaka came into the world in an unconventional manner. The illegitimate child of a lower chieftain that nobody believed existed. He spent much of his youth in exile with his mother, until they were taken in by the Mthethwa tribe.
At the age of sixteen, he was recognized by the king as strong and courageous after killing a leopard with his bare hands. King Dingiswayo had managed to unite over 50 tribes in the region during his reign, and Shaka was now by his side.
After the upbringing Shaka had endured, he enjoyed this new social status. He went from strength to strength becoming a powerful and cunning military general.
When his father died, he fought to take over the Zulu tribe from his brother and two years later when King Dingiswayo died, he inherited all of his land, tribes, concubines and treasure as well.
Now Shaka was the most powerful leader in the region’s history and continued to capitalize on his dominance. He was very tall for the time, extremely knowledgeable and was known for his magnificent wardress.
His headdresses, neck pieces and bracelets contained beads of bone, shells, precious stones and ivory. Tiger’s Eye was more valuable than gold at this time as there was very little in existence and with the eternal sunshine of Southern Africa, it looked like nothing else.
We can only imagine what this giant Zulu warrior, covered in luxurious jewelry and animal skins must have looked like on the battlefield. But in his lifetime he took the Zulu tribe from 1500 people to a civilization of over 250,000, with 50,000 soldiers.
His intelligence lead him to modify his army’s weapons, helping them in short range combat. He is also credited with the ‘Buffalo Horns’ attack formation, which was used to repeatedly defeat the British colonists and their far superior army.
Born the outcast of a small tribe, died the most powerful and magnificent ruler in Southern Africa. With our Tiger’s Eye bracelet we remember Shaka and his strength, bravery and intellect.