A historical account on the life of the Zulu King Shaka.
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Series cast summary:
Edward Fox ...  Lt. Francis Farewell 10 episodes, 1986
Robert Powell ...  Dr. Henry Fynn 10 episodes, 1986
Trevor Howard ...  Lord Charles Somerset 10 episodes, 1986
Fiona Fullerton ...  Elizabeth Farewell 10 episodes, 1986
Christopher Lee ...  Lord Bathurst 10 episodes, 1986
Henry Cele Henry Cele ...  Shaka 10 episodes, 1986
Dudu Mkhize Dudu Mkhize ...  Nandi 10 episodes, 1986
Roy Dotrice ...  George IV 10 episodes, 1986
Gordon Jackson ...  Prof. Bramston 10 episodes, 1986
Kenneth Griffith Kenneth Griffith ...  Zacharias Abrahams 10 episodes, 1986
Conrad Magwaza Conrad Magwaza ...  Senzagakona 5 episodes, 1986
Patrick Ndlovu Patrick Ndlovu ...  Mudli 5 episodes, 1986
Roland Mqwebu Roland Mqwebu ...  Ngomane 5 episodes, 1986
Gugu Nxumalo Gugu Nxumalo ...  Mkabayi 5 episodes, 1986
Tu Nokwe Tu Nokwe ...  Pampata 5 episodes, 1986
Vuyisile Bojana Vuyisile Bojana ...  Mgobozi 5 episodes, 1986
Bingo Mbonjeni Bingo Mbonjeni ...  Bhuza 5 episodes, 1986
Simon Sabela Simon Sabela ...  Dingiswayo 5 episodes, 1986
Sam Williams Sam Williams ...  Jama 5 episodes, 1986
Alex Heyns Alex Heyns ...  Vegte 5 episodes, 1986
Graham Armitage ...  Wilkins 5 episodes, 1986
Geoff Albert Geoff Albert ...  Thomson 5 episodes, 1986
Sonke Buthelezi Sonke Buthelezi ...  Nqoboka 5 episodes, 1986
John Carson ...  Lord Kimberley 5 episodes, 1986
Khumbulani Cele Khumbulani Cele ...  Shaka (6-11) 5 episodes, 1986
Dabula Ciliza Dabula Ciliza ...  Ghubela 5 episodes, 1986
Bill Curry Bill Curry ...  Popham 5 episodes, 1986
Terence Dlamini Terence Dlamini ...  Gazi 5 episodes, 1986
Thembinkosi Dlamini Thembinkosi Dlamini ...  Mevana 5 episodes, 1986
Glen Gabela Glen Gabela ...  Shaka (15-19) 5 episodes, 1986
King Beaters Gabelah King Beaters Gabelah ...  Musi 5 episodes, 1986
Winston Gama Winston Gama ...  Mzilikazi 5 episodes, 1986
P.W.M. Gardner P.W.M. Gardner ...  Aithison 5 episodes, 1986
Keith Grenville Keith Grenville ...  Shepstone 5 episodes, 1986
Zipathe Gumede Zipathe Gumede ...  Nkalakata 5 episodes, 1986
Daphney Hlomuka Daphney Hlomuka ...  Queen Ntombazi 5 episodes, 1986
Eugene Hlomuka Eugene Hlomuka ...  Dilikana 5 episodes, 1986
James Irwin James Irwin ...  Gen. Chelmsford 5 episodes, 1986
Ian Jali Ian Jali ...  Sigiyana 5 episodes, 1986
Kerry Jordan Kerry Jordan ...  Rev. Bellow 5 episodes, 1986
Benedict Khambula Benedict Khambula ...  Witchdoctor 5 episodes, 1986
Charles Kinsman Charles Kinsman ...  Cane 5 episodes, 1986
Sokesimbone Kubheka Sokesimbone Kubheka ...  Cetshwayo 5 episodes, 1986
Bruno Luthuli Bruno Luthuli ...  Pungashe 5 episodes, 1986
Khulekani Magubane Khulekani Magubane ...  Zwide 5 episodes, 1986
Victor Majavu Victor Majavu ...  King Makedama 5 episodes, 1986
Phillip Majola Phillip Majola ...  Ngwadi (9 yrs old) 5 episodes, 1986
Humphrey Makhoba Humphrey Makhoba ...  Dingane 5 episodes, 1986
Obed Makubane Obed Makubane ...  Messenger 5 episodes, 1986
Africa Manqele Africa Manqele ...  Ngazana 5 episodes, 1986
Sonto Mazibuko Sonto Mazibuko ...  Bibi 5 episodes, 1986
Grissel Mboni Grissel Mboni ...  Mfunda 5 episodes, 1986
Peter Mgaga Peter Mgaga ...  Nzobo 5 episodes, 1986
Eric Mcanyana Eric Mcanyana ...  Godongwana 5 episodes, 1986
Dingeni Mhlongo Dingeni Mhlongo ...  Nomcoba (child) 5 episodes, 1986
Precious Mkhize Precious Mkhize ...  Njani 5 episodes, 1986
Raymond Mkhize Raymond Mkhize ...  Soshangane 5 episodes, 1986
Amos Mkhonza Amos Mkhonza ...  King Kondlo 5 episodes, 1986
Louis Mtetwa Louis Mtetwa ...  Ufasimba 5 episodes, 1986
Sally Mthembu Sally Mthembu ...  Majola 5 episodes, 1986
Lucky Mtshali Lucky Mtshali ...  Nondumo 5 episodes, 1986
Sabelo Ndebele Sabelo Ndebele ...  Ngwadi 5 episodes, 1986
Daniel Ndlovu Daniel Ndlovu ...  Dlaba 5 episodes, 1986
Isabelle Ndlovu Isabelle Ndlovu ...  Noliwa 5 episodes, 1986
Michael Nene Michael Nene ...  Mbopha 5 episodes, 1986
Shadrack Ngema Shadrack Ngema ...  Joko 5 episodes, 1986
Elliot Ngubane Elliot Ngubane ...  Mphepha 5 episodes, 1986
Peter Nkwanyana Peter Nkwanyana ...  Ufasimba 5 episodes, 1986
Alfred D. Nokwe Alfred D. Nokwe ...  Kuta 5 episodes, 1986
Emily Nompumelelo Emily Nompumelelo ...  Mahlana 5 episodes, 1986
Adalbero Ntsele Adalbero Ntsele ...  Luthuli 5 episodes, 1986
Samuel Ntsini Samuel Ntsini ...  The Nameless One 5 episodes, 1986
Horatius Ntuli Horatius Ntuli ...  Njanis Father 5 episodes, 1986
Artwell Nyembe Artwell Nyembe ...  Ufasimba Leader 5 episodes, 1986
Aletta Rabotapi Aletta Rabotapi ...  Maidservant 5 episodes, 1986
Michael Richard Michael Richard ...  Mordechai Abrahams 5 episodes, 1986
Erica Rogers ...  Queen Victoria 5 episodes, 1986
Hugh Rouse Hugh Rouse ...  Worthing 5 episodes, 1986
Cynthia Shange Cynthia Shange ...  Mkabi 5 episodes, 1986
Sibusiso Shange Sibusiso Shange ...  Phakathwayo 5 episodes, 1986
David Sherwood David Sherwood ...  Captain Blair 5 episodes, 1986
Yule Simone Yule Simone ...  Gendeyana 5 episodes, 1986
Leonard Sithole Leonard Sithole ...  Mbuya 5 episodes, 1986
Washington Xisolo Washington Xisolo ...  Bhebhe 5 episodes, 1986
Ron Smerczak Ron Smerczak ...  Ogle 5 episodes, 1986
Sibongile Sokhulu Sibongile Sokhulu ...  Nomcoba 5 episodes, 1986
Daniel Stewart Daniel Stewart ...  Tonino 5 episodes, 1986
Oliver Stole Oliver Stole ...  Mbenghi 5 episodes, 1986
Sean Taylor Sean Taylor ...  The Prince Of Wales 5 episodes, 1986
Reginald Tsokolibane Reginald Tsokolibane ...  The Lion Man 5 episodes, 1986
Sean Weir Sean Weir ...  Hockley 5 episodes, 1986
Robert Whitehead Robert Whitehead ...  Simpson 5 episodes, 1986
Ganza Zama Ganza Zama ...  Mtonga 5 episodes, 1986
Vincent Zulu Vincent Zulu ...  Pakatwayo 5 episodes, 1986
V.E.M. Zulu V.E.M. Zulu ...  King Sodubo 5 episodes, 1986
Patrick Zungu Patrick Zungu ...  Igazi 5 episodes, 1986
Nomsa Xaba Nomsa Xaba ...  Sitayi 4 episodes, 1986


Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall. Written by Renee Ann Byrd <byrdie@wyrdbyrd.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Savage Warrior of All Time!


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Parents Guide:

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English | Zulu

Release Date:

24 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shaka Zulú See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa


Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This has been the most repeatedly screened mini-series ever shown on television in the U.S. By 1992, over three hundred fifty million viewers had seen it. This mini-series dislodged The Hunters (1957) and The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) and its sequels as the prime shaper of American perceptions of "tribal" history in southern Africa. The series even achieved cult status. The U.K. actors and actresses who worked on the project were nearly blacklisted by the U.N. See more »


Dr. Henry Fynn: [to Shaka] A man with Christ in his heart is stronger than all the regiments on earth.
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Alternate Versions

Also released on video in an edited, 'feature length' version. See more »


Referenced in Tosh.0: We Buy Golf (2014) See more »


(uncredited) (music box)
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User Reviews

Zulu History carefully reconstructed!!
22 June 2007 | by njmolloSee all my reviews

"Shaka Zulu" the ten part mini-series is an interesting mix of good film-making and bad film-making. Certain scenes are beautifully done and perfectly paced while others seem to be the work of a bored and untalented film student.

The late William C. Faure's talent as a director really starts to shine when the story is told from the Zulu point of view. For instance, the love scene between Nandi and Senzagakona at the river is beautifully played and executed. The scenes with the young Shaka are generally over played and poorly directed. All the scenes with the British are of a poor standard especially the pontificating and condescending opening scene with the Zulu King and Queen Victoria. The best British scenes are the ones involving Christopher Lee.

The acting is generally of a very high standard. Edward Fox is as good as always. He plays his part with dash and honesty rarely seen nowadays. Robert Powell is his usual studied and self-conscious self. The beautiful Dudu Kkhize portrays Nandi and for the most part she is very good.

The most remarkable performance has to be that of Henry Cele as Shaka. It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine anyone else in the part of Shaka. He is simply perfect in every aspect and is a surprisingly good actor. It is possible to empathize with Shaka, even understand him and this is because of the towering performance given by Henry Cele. He lets you inside the mind of this despot and translates his pain, confusion and arrogance. This has to be one of the best pieces of casting in cinema history. Conrad Magwaza gives a great performance as Shaka's father, Senzagakona. He plays the part with confidence, comedy and charm.

The production design and costumes for the Zulu sequences are first class. Also a remarkable amount of historically accurate material finds itself within the script and this has to be commended. The death of Shaka is open to interpretation but it is generally believed that a relative poisoned him.

The contrasting styles of film-making that abound in this production are a shame. An inept scene usually follows an excellent one and visa versa. I am sure this was partly due to the tight scheduling and production constraints.

The musical score is dated and histrionic. A low quality keyboard orchestra pervades scenes that need no accompaniment and destroys certain well-crafted moments. The songs are pretty cheesy as well. With the wealth of extraordinary Zulu music that exists, it is a shame that the score could not have utilized its rhythms and instruments to a more satisfying degree.

Having so little African history on film, this mini series has to be classed as a classic. The whole experience is rewarding, exciting and surprisingly refreshing.

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