Shaka Zulu's Iklwa


Shaka Zulu


Iklwa Spear


Imbues holder with animal savagery


Loses sense of reason



Collected by


Date of Collection

4th July, 1879



Shaka kaSenzangakhona, also known as Shaka Zulu, was one of the most influential monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom. Shaka served as a Mthethwa warrior for perhaps as long as ten years, and distinguished himself with his courage and his adept skill as a close combat warrior.

A number of historians argue that Shaka 'changed the nature of warfare in Southern Africa' from 'a ritualized exchange of taunts with minimal loss of life into a true method of subjugation by wholesale slaughter'. Shaka is often said to have been dissatisfied with the long throwing "assegai", and credited with introducing a new variant of the weapon: the "iklwa", a short stabbing spear with a long, sword-like spearhead.

Though Shaka probably did not invent the iklwa the leader did insist that his warriors train with the weapon, which gave them a terrifying advantage over opponents who clung to the traditional practice of throwing their spears and avoiding hand-to-hand conflict. The throwing spear was not discarded but used as an initial missile weapon before close contact with the enemy, when the shorter stabbing spear was used in hand-to-hand combat.


When held, the iklwa imbues the wielder with the strength of the Savannah, granting them access to the abilities of the local wildlife. The will become faster, stronger and more savage, like the big cats of the region, able to withstand damage like a rhinoceros and salivate a powerful venom like many species of snake.

The more the wielder engages in combat, the less humanity will be left in them, reverting them to a primal and aggressive beast-like mentality.


This was collected by Warehouse 12 agents in Africa following the defeat of the Zulu peoples by the British in 1879. Previously used by Shaka and perhaps owing to his own violent and later insane ruling, it was taken and implemented by his brother Dingane after his death and then again by Mpande when he took over.

Inconstant records indicate that Mpande never made use of the iklwa, but one Cetshwayo's soldiers did during the battle of Ulundi where it was finally retrieved.

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