The Great Legend Mbilini

By Zulumathabo Zulu © 2015

To arise like a small fry
Royal chromosomes semidry
A resource constraints theorist
A disruptive strategist!
To prevail at Zululand
Despite a rough patch
The exile school of strategy
To rephrase pages of history
The great legend Mbilini
A tribute to Dlamini

Despite Mbilini ancestor
Self-interest a new arrestor
The 1994 Freedom attained
More than a century passed
Yet the land they still colonize
To arrest birth of new sunrise
Mbilini energizes the cosmos
To honour Idlozi le Langa
To take a page from Mbilini
Unblemished by self-interest
Despite harsh scars of history
A pinnacle sanctuary awaits us
To subdue cravings brutally
To master our destiny totally

Contextual Commentary

Directed by the sacred sun in the cosmos and instructed by the glorious appearing of the bright star Tosamasiu of the Basotho traditions in the beautiful African night sky, General Mbilini Dlamini ka Mswati strategized about the Northern Column regiments of the highly experienced Field Marshall Evelyn Wood who served under the English General Lord Chelmsford. The Field Marshall Wood was an imperialist who stopped at nothing to bring about the demise of Abaqulusi, Ntombela and Kubheka regiments along with their celebrated General Mbilini and their respective leaders Manyonyoba, Mabamba and Ndabankulu. The formidable leaders had been drilled in the flawless execution of meticulous guerrilla warfare by the great teacher General Mbilini.

The legendary Mbilini simulated the tactical sequences of the battle and theorized about the permutations of the bottleneck opening opportunities that allowed him to exact a fatal blow to the English army while ensuring the survival of his war materials and his men. He trusted and adhered to the rules of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) that it was possible to increase the rate of change with respect to the fluid flow without changing the design architecture of the restricted access. The analogical reasoning of the restricted access pertained to the resource constraints he experienced as an inventive guerrilla war strategist. He sought to generate a vortex-like flow that facilitated a dynamic interchange with the natural environment while reducing the inefficiencies of vacuum space and increasing the rate of output.

The reverse engineering team of General Mbilini and his regiments of the African natives had already identified a technological resource constraint in the new Martini-Henry superguns of the well equipped colonial army of England. During a battery of stringent simulated tests by the African natives directed by their fearsome General, the Martini-Henry overheated after firing for a certain duration of time and then began to jam or misfire. The rifle also emitted excessive smoke in front of a shooter and specifically relied on black gunpowder. From a relativistic point of view, the Martini-Henry rifle was very much affected by the African curvature of spacetime. The brilliant Mbilini used this serendipity as a vortex-like opportunity to punch through the cover of the English army under the watch of the celebrated Field Marshall Evelyn Wood. Field Marshall Wood would later document this fact in his journal.

After staging a brazen pre-dawn attack on the English army on March 28, 1879 in accordance with the cosmos, General Mbilini and his men returned to the inaccessible sacred mountains of Zululand directed by the heavens of their sacred ancestors. They took with them the loot of war leaving behind the traumatizing trails of destruction. Thus, General Mbilini and his men resisted the chains of colonial subjugation in order to become masters of their own destiny by defeating the most trusted and well resourced imperialist army of Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli. Bayede Mtungwa! Dlamini! Ngwane! Ludonga! Ngubeni! Mlangeni! Nkosi! Dlangamandla!

About the Author

I am a software engineer with an experience of more than 20 years in North America, a published author of more than eight books and scholarly articles and creator of technological innovations. Moreover, I have a trove of hundreds of unpublished manuscripts written over a period of 30 years which includes a manuscript about Mbilini inspired by this contextual poetry. I was motivated to write about this African legend and inventor of guerilla war strategy because of the congruence of my childhood experience with his; namely two things (1) my underdog experience and (2) the underdog experience of Mbilini.

My Underdog Experience

In my family history, I grew up as an underdog and a black sheep. While many of my brothers and sisters enjoyed presumptive innocence, I was always the one who took the flag for what went wrong and the only one at whom the rule book was thrown. Others were treated with kid gloves as far as the rule book was concerned. This turns out to have been an instructive experience that produced an egalitarian, positivist, truth-seeker and knowledge producer.

Some of the great projects I worked on as a software engineer included designing and reverse engineering of graphics engines and malicious software. This included reversing an engine of an encrypted malware. Reverse engineering was definitely the most exhilarating intellectual challenge. When you are endowed with a wealth of an underdog experience you develop this amazing numerical logic and superior analytical skill of reversal which turns out to be a critical prerequisite for an inventive engineering mind. If you are like me and you were also treated as an underdog and a black sheep, count yourself lucky because you have a golden opportunity to reinvent yourself and develop the undying determination for success in life and the sensitivity to contribute to the well-being of others. The underdog experience is not an end by itself but rather a stepping stone towards a retrofit mindset that allows you to transmute the raw materials of adversity into a positive energy. In my book The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence I expand on this philosophy of transcending adversity so that you are not defined by it. Through a positive mindset you become the master of your own destiny. In my other books Sesotho Dictionary of Mathematics and The African Origin of Mathematics I provide specific examples of numerical logic. Numerical logic is very important in the African paradigm case of strategic thinking.

Mbilini’s Underdog Experience

Mbilini was the son of King Mswati II and a rightful heir to the throne. However, he was not the favourite member of the royal house and as a result he grew up as an underdog and a black sheep. The harsh rule book was always thrown at him while his brothers and sisters were treated with kid gloves. When his father King Mswati II (a brilliant military strategist in his own right) died in 1868, Mbilini was denied the kingship an experience that spelt a death knell to his dreams of kingship. As if that was not bad enough, Mbili survived many assassination attempts which eventually forced him into exile in Zululand. Nonetheless, it is this underdog experience that caused him to reinvent himself and thus emerge as one of the most brilliant military commanders in the Zulu army under the great King Cetshwayo ka Mpande. It is my view that had the Zulu monarchy adopted the strategy of Mbilini, the English army would never have reached Ulundi and Zululand would have preserved its autonomy just like the Kingdom of Lesotho under the brilliant strategy of King Moshoeshoe.

I invite your comments and feel free to share your views and sentiments.


12 thoughts on “The Great Legend Mbilini

  1. This is so educational,I couldn’t have come across it at a better time of introspection….Our ancestors truly guide us to the truth.


    1. Thokoza Makhosi! Siyakubongela nje ngoba ufikele lamakhase wa bokhokho na bakhulu! Siyakuwamukela ngezandla zonke. May the sacred pages of the ancestors continue to be a flawless guide to their eternal wisdom, strategic thinking and cosmic knowledge. Saze sa jabulela igama lakho elihle. You are the descendant of these great legends who have gone before us. Thokoza Makhosi! Makubenjalo kuze kube naphakade. Siyabadinga abafana nawe ukuze bafeze imisebenzi yezinkalakatha ezinkulu.

      Thokozani makhosi!


  2. Wow! Thanks for writing about Mbilini kaMswati. His brother Bhabha Dlamini who accompanied Mbilini , together with Mbombowendlovu Dlamini ,is my 2nd great grand father.


    1. Dear Thulani,

      Mtungwa! sa bonga ka khulu ngokusibhalela nokuncoma imisebenzi yethu. Mbombowendlovu! Izinkalakatha ezinkulu. Siyabahlonipha labo bantu. Bakhulu labo bantu.

      Let’s stay in touch. Last year I was at Nquthu and got to speak to the people who said there were lots of Abaqulusi in the area. It is my goal to write more about the great legend Mbilini.



    2. I am a descendant too, through Mbombowendluvu, who is my great grandfather, on my mom’s side.


      1. Dear Erudite Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala,

        Siyathokoza Makhosi! Visiting these sacred pages of the ancestors and sharing your positive impressions is appreciated! Gracing us with your presence to recharge the African spiritual batteries of Imbeleko/Thari/Melanin is venerated. This explains your strategic prowess and your unconquerable spirit. You gracefully transcended many adverse conditions like the highly disciplined and formidable desert flower Mponeng of the great Kgalagadi (Kalahari) who remains undefined by the adverse conditions. You need to get this book The Sacred Knowledge of the Desert: African Philosophical Transcendence which was inspired by the antagonistic desert conditions during my exile in Northern Botswana. Some of the lines read thus:

        “The flower waits underground until, when the rains fall, it springs to life knowing that the rain will soon be gone”.

        We shared a stage together (organised by the great scholar Dr. Nokuthula Hlabangane) at the University of South Africa a few years ago wherein I delivered this lecture:

        Africography: Metaphysics, Historiography and Decolonisation

        You were on fire that day! You ignited the entire lecture hall of Theo Van Wyk. Your philosophical transcendence peaked beyond the troposphere! A formidable warrior that blends beauty and brains as a rare combination like the unbought and the unsold architect of destiny, the tenacious legend Umkhuzi Wamabutho, Mbilini Dlamini. Makuande Makhosi amahle! Ezamathongo! Tsamaroko! Mocholoko, Zulumathabo Zulu.


      2. Ngiyathokoza baba. You are a gift to Afrika, I would love to connect.
        I just finished my first book: On Precolonial Afrikan Gender Systems, called Ubulungisa in Precolonial Afrikan Gender Systems, proving that patriarchy and power relations in gender is unAfrikan. We were the most equal and equitable people.
        I need a publisher.


      3. Siyathokoza Makhosi amahle! I will be in touch soon. Congratulations are in order in writing such a powerful book! We have observed this absence of patriarchy in indigenous African societies such as the Basothos including Bapedi, Batswana and the Ngunis. We have a lot in common on this topic of the African matrilineal systems. My article on Organic Roots of the African Matrilineal Society was translated into Dutch in Netherlands.

        I share an SAFM Radio interview with the indefatigable DJ, Phemelo Motene as follows:

        Thokoza Makhosi amahle!


  3. Siyabonga ukuphakamisa iNkosana uMbilini, my great great grandfather, ukhokho ngamake wami, LaDlamini.
    Mkaphumule Dlamini, kodvwana achubeke abe liDloti lelihle. UMlangeni, Longayidli Imvu Lemnyama, Wesaba Emafinyela! UNkosi, Dlamini, Lowecedza Libombo Ngekuhlehletela!


  4. Wow what a genius wooow super duper my gosh interesting…wow do you have pictures? This black sheep thing is is not fair ….but umveli Nguyen o balayo!NAMI NGI Bonga ka khulu Wena we Zulu mmmh you have pumped up my respect for my surname I was raise by sothos and pedis so I didn’t even know about Swaziland or Dlaminis are Royal beings mmmh anyway even the sithakazeli I just learn maduze in my 20s is this how other Dlaminis ended up being Zulu or there are still Zulu Dlaminis cause I’m not sure if I’m Zulu or Swati…my dad is not a live so no one to ask I’m even using a pedi surname .so thanks I was Bible person but yoh my surname is worthy of biblical last absolute mornach…and freed Swaziland before South Africa I mean what else have these guys done? Can’t wait to get your books you’re such a fine scribe the best carrat thus.


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