The Zulus were the most dominant.
In his book, Zulu Warriors: The Battle for the South African Frontier, John Laband explains that, at the time of the Battle of Isandlwana, the Zulu Kingdom, under the leadership of King Cetshwayo, was perhaps the most dominant state of the southern region of Africa. This dominative power reached its peak in the 19th century with the creation of the Zulu Kingdom, a powerful centralized territory of warriors and kings. Laband states that, as a result, the British deemed it necessary to “neuter [their] military capacities.” They also wished to “break their political power.”
It was one of the most famous battles of African resistance to colonization.
Kennedy Hickman, a museum professional and military history expert, declares the Battle of Isandlwana as “worst defeat ever suffered by British forces against native opposition.” According to Hickman, a total of 1,329 British troops died in a single day, including 417 of their African troops. Only 55 British soldiers were able to retreat and survive the battlefield.