The battle of Ndondakusuka was fought between two half-brothers over who was the heir to their father Mpande’s throne – Cetshwayo or Mbuyazi.
Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi’s impis met at Ndondakusuka Kraal in 1856 to battle over the chieftainship of the Zulu nation. Cetshwayo’s army of 20,000 men was far larger than that of Mbuyazi. It subsequently surrounded the routed Mbuyasi’s army. The fiercest fighting took place on the banks Mathambo River (place of the bones) and the Tugela River. This resulted in hundreds of corpses being carried downstream into the sea.
Six of Mpande’s sons, including Mbuyazi, were killed that day. John Dunn, who had sided with Mbuyazi, escaped by swimming across the Tugela River.
This established Cetshwayo’s position as the dominant personality in Zululand and heir to the throne.