Cetshwayo, whose name meant 'the slandered one', fought his brothers over the rights of succession to the Zulu throne.

On 2 December 1856, at Ndondakusuka, he defeated his principal rival, his half brother Mbulazi, who was supported by five other sons of the Zulu king, Mpane. Cetshwayo killed them all and from then was regarded as the undisputed heir to the throne.

To commemorate his victory, Cetshwayo built a military stronghold 17 kilometers from the Ndondakusuka battlefield. This stronghold was called Gingindlovu, meaning 'the swallower of the elephant'.