The hill named Ndondakasuka is easy to identify as one travels north across the Thukela River. This small hill was the site of the bloodiest battle in Zulu history (and some suggest it is the bloodiest battle on African soil).


King Mpande did not nominate a successor to the throne and this fuelled the rivalry between two of his sons, Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi. Cetshwayo had distinguished himself during campaigns against the Hlubis and Swazis and on returning home was allowed to establish his own residence, which he built at Ondini.


Mbuyazi brought the rivalry to a head when he began raiding his brother’s cattle and despite a royal command, refused to return the animals. Cetshwayo prepared for battle and massed his army on Ndondakasuka Hill. On 2 December 1856 the brother’s armies clashed and in just a few hours Mbuyazi’s army was annihilated and many women and children driven into the Thukela River. Amongst the 23000 killed on the day were Mbuyazi himself, five other sons of Mpande and Dingane’s only son.


For many years the hill was littered with the bones of the dead and the stream that flows down the hill was called Mtambo – the Stream of Bones.