The Ngoni were Bantu-Nguni speaking people of Northern Zululand in South East Africa. They were originally Ndwandwe people under Zwide’s leadership. But when Shaka defeated Zwide, one part of his group in 1840s moved to East Africa into two groups of the Maseko and Tuta under Zwangendaba. They moved to Tanzania from Natal and Swaziland between 1840s due to “Mfecane” (time of trouble). They are currently settled in south west Tanzania around Songea town. The following are the reasons for the Ngoni migration:-
1. The Ngoni migrated due to the tyrannical and dictatorial rule of Shaka: The Zulu ruler was cruel in nature as he severely tortured people and those who failed to respond to his order were killed. Due to this some people decided to seek refuge by migrating to other areas.
2. External pressure from the British and Boers: They moved because of external pressure from the British and Boers in the South who were moving Northwards occupying their land.
3. It was due to overpopulation: Thiswas caused by the fertility of soils and the reliability of rainfall between Drakensberg Mountains and the Indian Ocean.
4. Pastoralism reason: Some Ngoni people owned large herds of cattle and northwards looking for pasture and water for their animals. So they wanted to look for more fertile land for their cattle. They also experienced famine and drought that led to lack of food and water.
5. The influence of their leaders: Men like Zwangendaba, Maputo and Zulugama provided good leadership. This encouraged them to move onwards.
6. Overstocking: It could also have been due to overstocking of their animals as they were having spirit of cattle rustling, i.e. they had great desire to steal other people’s cattle. For example they went on driving away and confiscating other people’s cattle during their conquest and expansionist wars.
7. Increased knowledge of military tactics by the age regiments:These were powerful military forces and dedicated to professional war, which was their livelihood. They believed that they could have other territories through migration.