Large African Tribal Chess Set - Zulu / Ndebele

  • $297.90
Remember Africa and celebrate its proud history with this large, premium, tribal chess set that is manufactured in South Africa. Sculpted with incredibly fine detail and finished off with a smooth rich finish, the stunning hand-painted chess pieces accurately reflect the authentic Zulu and Ndebele cultures. Own this exceptional piece of African art and be the envy of friends and family alike. 

The themed tribal chess pieces consist of the following with a dark and light base for opposing sides:

Chess piece Tribal piece cm inches
King Zulu Chief 11.3 4.45
Queen Zulu Matron 11 4.33
Bishop Zulu Sangoma 9.5 3.74
Knight Lioness 6.5 2.56
Rook Zulu Hut 4.3 1.69
Pawn Zulu Warrior 6.3 2.48
King Ndebele Chief 11 4.33
Queen Ndebele Matron 10.7 4.21
Bishop Ndebele Witchdoctor 9.9 3.90
Knight Cheetah 6.7 2.64
Rook Ndebele Hut 5.6 2.20
Pawn Ndebele Warior 6.4 2.52
Chess piece base (diameter) n/a 3.2 1.26
Chess playing squares n/a 4x4 1.57 x 1.57
Packed size n/a 47x47x10 18.5 x 158.5 x 3.9

Amazing Africa Gifts crafting and material details

Both the set’s chess pieces and board frame are cast by hand in polystone (a unique mixture of crushed stone and resin) and painted by hand in incredible detail by our exceptionally talented team of South African artists using high-quality Winsor and Newton oil paints. The wooden chess board itself is also carved by hand, as are the molds that are used for the chess pieces. The molds for the pieces in the small set are exactly the same design as in the larger set and are made to scale using 3D printing. The pieces in the smaller set are also cast and painted by hand.

The board squares are hand carved from koto and cherry wood, and then treated in accordance with international import standards and requirements. The board is then set in its polystone frame which boasts a stunning African design.

Each set (board, pieces and frame) takes approximately nine (9) hours to be crafted from start to finish by our extremely skilled and talented artisans and craftspeople, with some time allocated during the process for the paint to dry.


We take the utmost care in packing our gorgeous chess sets, such that they are delivered to you safely and in their entirety after the shipping process.

Every individual chess piece is set in their own box-dye cut foam holder, accompanied by extra foam top and bottom covers for the set as a whole. Additionally, the wooden board is wrapped in bubble wrap so that it can absorb any shock while in transit, without sustaining any damage.

The complete set is placed in a sturdy double-walled cardboard box which contains polystyrene packing peanuts which further protect the chess set during shipping. While we take the greatest care to ensure that the set gets to you in one piece, we know that accidents do happen – so, if any pieces arrived damaged, we will replace them entirely at no cost to you.


Relive the struggle of two great and powerful ethnic groups battling it out for supremacy. Our chess set will immerse you in the titanic struggle for supremacy between the Zulu and Ndebele tribes that shaped the future of our country. This impressive, larger than normal chess set, helps you see the equally powerful Zulu and Ndebele tribes as they were, in a defining moment in their history;

In the early 19th Century. Two warriors, both of royal bloodline, engaged in a feud that would eventually split the Zulu empire. On the one side you had Shaka Zulu (the Zulu King), who had had his half-brother Sigujana assassinated. On the other side you had Mzilikazi Khumalo, the son of one of Shaka's greatest lieutenants.

Admired by many and feared by all, Shaka swore loyalty to all those who could benefit his tribe while eliminating any rebellion that came his way. Considered a great military tactician in his day, Shaka built his empire on conquest and intimidation. With Shaka, there was only one way, which was his way.

One of these alliances Shaka had struck, was with the Khumalo Clan Chief; Matshobana. Matshobana became an essential part of Shaka’s inner circle and was asked to attack a rouge clan. In the battle, Matshobana was killed, but instead of Shaka repatriating Matshoban’ body back to his tribe for proper burial, he left Matshobana’s body behind. This act of betrayal and dishonor incensed Matshobana’s son Mzilikazi.

Even though Mzilikazi was deeply offended by the insult to his clan and his family, he sought power more than anything and joined the Zulu army. He started moving up in the Zulu ranks to the point where he became a trusted advisor to Shaka. The problem was that Shaka was more famous for ruling with an iron fist than for his generosity and Mzilikazi soon realized that the Zulu king would never give him the honor and status that he felt he deserved.

After coming to the realization that his faith was misplaced in Shaka, Mzilikazi planned to betray the fiercest and most feared African leader of all times.

The plan was simple. Mzilikazi knew that he would be sent out to war with disobedient clans in the future, but instead of him claiming victory in the name of Shaka, he decided to claim the spoils of war for himself. And so events unfolded just as Mzilikazi predicted. Shaka incensed by the disobedience of yet another clan, appointed Mzilikazi to make an example of them and dispatched Mzilikazi and his troops. Mzilikazi fought the battle and won, but instead of paying homage to Shaka, claimed victory for himself and declared himself king of a new tribe that he called the Ndebele.

Outraged by the news Shaka demanded the ritual execution of Mzilikazi and the destruction of the Ndebele tribe. The Zulu’s gathered their forces and marched to the Ndebele’s, hell bent on revenge. But Mzilikazi, was a clever warrior that had intimate knowledge of Zulu battle strategy. When the Zulu’s came for the Ndebele’s, Mzilikazi and his troops were ready for them and defeated the Zulu horde.

The battle however took its toll on Mzilikazi and he realized that Shaka would keep sending more troops until the Ndebeles were wiped out. In order to protect his tribe, he decided that retreat was the only option that would ensure the safety of his people.

So, Mzilikazi fled from Kwazulu Natal. That started a long journey for the Ndebele people who eventually relocated to what is today called Matabeleland (near Bulawayo in Zimbabwe).


We offer free shipping for USA customers for order over $50. Please note that for customers in other countries shipping will be calculated on checkout. Please refer to our shipping policies page for further details.


Please note the above price excludes sales tax, VAT or customs or import duties. United States customers will have sales tax added upon checkout where required, and South African clients will have VAT added. For the rest of the world you may incur import duties that are for your account.

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