The technique of using the afogai or assogai by enslaved Africans in Peru, the famous weapon invented by Zulu King Shaka, appears to be fading in South American culture. In the twentieth century, only three families in Peru made it an obligation to groom their young males in the tradition of using afogai. This is due to the weapon’s command of its own military combat style.
According to Medium, the enslaved in Peru saved 24 basic spear techniques from the Zulu kingdom and passed them down to their descendants.
Though they were not used in any communal strife, these abilities served as a good defensive shield against any attacks launched at them while going about their daily activities. The afogai can be used for farming activities as well as battles as needed.
People see it as more than just a farming tool or a weapon, but as a link between the enslaved Africans’ past and their new environment in Peru.
It represents the traditions, customs, and African ancestry of Peru’s enslaved people.
Traditionally, the afogai is a battle weapon. It was intended to be a short-throwing spear used to incapacitate an opponent. It is described as having a spearhead wrapped around a short stick. When it mattered most, and there were no wars to fight, the enslaved people turned it into a farm tool for digging planting holes. A traditional plough is used on farmlands to test the rigidity of the land.
Because of the civil strife they occasionally had with neighboring communities of the land, the Quijano youth made it their primary farm implement. After a day of intensive farming, the afogai returns to its traditional role as a weapon.
The absence of war, however, does not imply that it is confined to the background. The inhabitants demonstrate their skills with the short spear in traditional games such as Cocobale and Calinda.
The afogai, like a stick, can be used in battle to deflect an opponent’s weapon while launching an attack. In a real duel, however, the iron-tipped point allowed for equally lethal strikes with the non-dominant hand. The weapon can also be used alone while concealing a knife beneath it to deliver a lethal blow to an enemy during a battle.
According to oral history, it was invented by Shaka Zulu, the powerful Zulu king of the nineteenth century. According to Ertribal, when he introduced it into his military regiment, he taught them the combat style that came with it to make them appear invincible in battle.
This fighting style demanded greater agility and aggressiveness in order to outwit the opponent. This war strategy was used by the Zulu kingdom to defeat many of its neighboring tribes and territories.
It is considered impolite for anyone of Zulu descent to throw his afogai or iklwa even if he is near death. Without this traditional spear, a Zulu warrior is expected to desert any battle. It is the Zulu Kingdom’s heart and soul.