With the. The large-scale dispersal of groups of northern Nguni people during the early 19th century to the south, north, and west of Zululand, in the present-day KwaZulu-Natal province, which led to the displacement or impoverishment of neighbouring people. Also: the conflicts resulting from this; the period during which the dispersal took place.
For historical interpretations of the Mfecane, see Dict. S. Afr. Eng. on Historical Princ. (1996) at that entry.
1920s. From Xhosa iimfecane marauders (singular imfecane), perhaps from Sotho difaqane migratory troop of warriors, period of disaster caused by war.