In 1887 the administrative centre of Nongoma was established high in the hills of north-western Zululand. The site of this place had been known to the Zulus as KwaNgongoma ('place of the deviner') from a well known witchdoctor who resided there.

Nongoma lay between the two great rival factions of the Zulus, Usuthu and the Mandlakazi, and the Goverment hoped that the establishment of the centre would put an end to the interminable fights and outrages of the period.

In June 1888 Nongoma was destroyed by the uSuthu, but later rebuilt.

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