As one looks eastwards towards Mkhuze, there are two prominent feature which
can be seen rising out of the Ubombo mountain range. On the left is Gaza, and to
the right Tshaneni, also known as Ghost mountain. Through the years numerous
strange lights and flickering fires have been seen among the cliffs and
mountainous terrain near the summit, as well as various strange noises and calls
also being heard.
A portion of the Ndwande tribe, headed by the Gaza family used to occupy the area beneath the mountain until they were conquered by Shaka in 1819, and fled towards Mozambique under the leadership of Soshongane who founded the Shangaan tribe.
A custom dating back many hundreds of years states that chiefs should be buried on Ghost Mountain, and high on the slopes of the mountain, there is a taboo cave, used as a tomb by generations of the Gaza family. Although Soshangane and his descendants lived very far from the site, they were carried back there from Mozambique when they died. The mummified bodies were wrapped in black bull skins, and transported by night to avoid making contact with the Zulus who had previously expelled them from the area. After the Anglo-Zulu war ended in 1879, the British decided to rule Zululand, by dividing it into thirteen separate states, each governed by its own ruler, which brought on a period of chaotic rivalry, feuding and fighting.
Two of the main rivals were the son of overthrown Zulu King Cetshwayo, Prince Dinuzulu who commanded a force of Usuthu warriors, and Zibhebhu who was the head of the powerful Mandlakazi section of the Zulu nation. In a series of violent and bloody battles Zibhebhu gained the advantage over Dinuzulu. Dinuzulu, in a desperate attempt to reclaim victory enlisted a force of six hundred boer and germans, which was led by Louis Botha, who would go on to become the first Prime minister of the Union of South Africa. Dinuzulu made promises of land for these men to farm, in exchange for their help.
In June 1884 Dinuzulu's mixed army of Zulus and Europeans launched their invasion into Zibhebhu's territory. Although Zibhebhu was a determined leader, and his Mandlakazi section consisted of the finest Zulu warriors it was thought that he never stood a good chance against his enemy. Zibhebhu had also gained support of a handful of boers which included the well known frontiersman Johan Colenbrander. Under heavy fire from Dinuzulu, Zibhebhu made a fighting retreat towards the Mkhuze river pass, fleeing through the Lebombo mountains. On the fifth of June 1184, the vicious struggle known as the Battle of Tshaneni took place in the rugged gorge below Ghost Mountain.
The Mandlakazi fought persistently but heavy fire from Dinuzulu's army forced them to back down, and resulted in them fleeing in to the densely forested Tongaland region in north-eastern Zululand. As reward for their assistance, the Boers were given a large portion of northen Zululand by Dinuzulu, which included access to the sea at St Lucia. The battlefield was literally scattered with thousands of bodies, and in a book called "trekking On", by the late Colonel Reits, he claims that in the early 1920's when he made his way through the area, skeletons were still strewn about on the slopes of the Ghost Mountain.
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