Senzangakhona kaJama's main claim to fame is that he was the father of Shaka Zulu; father of two other Zulu kings, Dingane and Mpande; and grandfather to Cetshwayo.
Date of birth: c. 1762
Date of death: 1816
Senzangakhona kaJama was chief of the small clan called Zulu, part of the Mthethwa confederation under the paramount king Dinginswayo. (A second kingdom existed to the north under a paramount king called Zwide.) Senzangakhona 's father, Jama kaNdaba, had been chief of the clan before him. Senzangakona means "he who acts with good reason".
Shaka was born to Senzangakhona's third wife (of at least sixteen), Nandi ka Bhebhe before marriage. There was controversy because both Nandi and Senzangakhona's mother came from the same small clan, the Langeni, and thus Nandi and Senzangakhona could have been too closely related. It stopped Nandi being recognized as First Wife. The shame of fathering Shaka (named for the ishaka, the zulu word for intestinal parasite) eventually caused Senzangakhona to send Nandi and her son away. They were given shelter by the Mthethwa, where Shaka grew up and eventually took the throne.
Senzangakhona's sixth wife was the mother of Dingane, who would assassinate Shaka in 1828 and take the throne.
Senzangakhona's ninth wife was the mother of Mpande, who succeeded Dingane in 1840. Mpande was the only of Senzangakhona's sons to produce grandsons.