Shaka was a son of Senzangakhona, ruler of an insignificant small chiefdom, the Zulu.
His mother was Nandi, the daughter of a Langeni chief.
Here, growing up as a fatherless child, Shaka seems to have been the victim of humiliation and cruel treatment by the Langeni boys.
At that time there were two strong rival Nguni groups, the Mthethwa led by the paramount chief Dingiswayo, and the Ndwandwe under the ferocious Zwide.
The relationship of Senzangakhona and Nandi seems to have been unhappy and ended in the chieftain driving Nandi from his court.