Shaka had high standards for his followers and was harsh in his demands. He made his warriors go barefoot, at all times, and trained them in the use of a heavy, short-bladed spear and a bulky, large shield suited to close-in combat. Long, cross-country training runs of 50 to 60 miles per day were common. If any man complained or fell off the pace, Shaka had him executed on the spot. It is no wonder his troops became the fiercest and most feared of all the sub-Saharan Savanna tribes and that he amassed many faithful followers.
He was savage in combat and took no quarter on the field of battle. He led his troops to the fight bedecked in bright blue monkey fur and became so feared that many tribes surrendered to his army on sight. It was either death, or become a Zulu. Most became Zulus; Shaka’s men killed the rest. Although his rule lasted only about 10 years, his ancestors preserved the Zulu Empire for over 50 years beyond his death and his influence as a military commander and strategist will always be remembered.
You don’t have to be a bloodthirsty leader of a conquering army to show similar resolve, no matter how modest your beginnings. Live a great life and perhaps your name will become a part of legend, too.
From September 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com