Following King Cetshwayo’s arrest and ‘exile’ to Cape Town, Sir Garnet Wolseley set about dividing Zululand into thirteen chieftains effectively deposing the King.
With little knowledge of the politics and rivalries between the many clans his appointment of "chiefs" and allocation of land was a recipe for disaster. Soon fighting broke out and chaos reigned.
In the meantime King Cetshwayo had met with Queen Victoria and was allowed to return to Zululand, something that had never been foreseen. Many of the newly appointed chiefs had only accepted the British conditions on the word of Sir Wolseley who assured them that the king would never return.
King Cetshwayo built his new home at Ondini, but his control did not extend beyond the immediate area. His uSuthu faction began attacking other clans to redress some of the wrongs dealt out under the British agreement.
In particular Zibhebhu, of the Mandlakazi faction, was a target, as he had aggressively extended his control during the King’s absence. His homestead was attacked, but as he fled his men turned and attacked and defeated the following uSuthu . Following this success, Zibhebhu marched on Ulundi and attacked Ondini. While A large number of the Usuthu leadership was killed, Cetshwayo managed to escape and sought refuge with Inkosi Sigananda Shezi.
Eventually the king was taken to Eshowe where he could be protected. He died there on 8 February 1884. His body was returned to the Nkandla forest where it was buried. To this day the Shezi clan tends the King’s grave.