The acting-president had in his absence been granted leave by the volksraad to carry out various measures opposed to the public welfare; native lands had been indiscriminately allotted to adventurers, and a war with Sikukuni (Secocoeni), a native chief on the eastern borders of the country, was imminent.
After the " settlement " of the Zulu question, Sir Garnet Wolseley proceeded to Pretoria and immediately organized an expedition against Sikukuni, who throughout the Zulu campaign had been acting under the advice of Cetywayo.
As far as possible Cetywayo he revived the military methods of his uncle Chaka, king, and even succeeded in equipping his regiments with firearms. It is believed that he instigated the Kaffirs in the Transkei to revolt, and he aided Sikukuni in his struggle with the Transvaal.
Not only were numbers of his own people wantonly slain (Cetywayo returning defiant messages to the governor of Natal when remonstrated with), and the military system of Chaka and Dingaan strengthened, but he had a feud with the Transvaal Boers as to the possession of the territory between the Buffalo and Pongola rivers, and encouraged the chief Sikukuni (Secocoeni) in his struggle against the Boers.
In 1879 they joined the British in the attack on the Bapedi chief Sikukuni, whom they looked upon as an ally of the Zulus.
They captured from Sikukuni certain "rain medicine," the possession of which has since greatly increased the prestige of the paramount chief of the Swazis among the Kaffirs of South Africa.
War broke out between the Transvaal Republic and one of the most powerful of these native chieftains, Sikukuni; and the Transvaal was worsted in the struggle.