An assegai or assagai (Latin hasta, cf Arabic az-zaġāyah, Berberzaġāya "spear", Old Frenchazagaie, Spanishazagaya, Italian zagaglia, Chaucerlancegay) is a pole weapon used for throwing, usually a light spear or javelin made of wood and pointed with iron or fire-hardened tip.
Area of use
The use of various types of the assegai was widespread all over Africa and it was the most common weapon used before the introduction of firearms. The Zulu and additional Nguni tribes of South Africa were renowned for their use of the assegai.
Shaka of the Zulu invented a shorter-style spear with a two-foot shaft and which had a larger, broader blade one foot long. This weapon is otherwise known as the iklwa or ixwa, after the sound that was heard as it was withdrawn from the victim's wound. It was used as a stabbing weapon throughout mêlée attacks. The traditional spear wasn't discarded but was used for a softening range attack on enemy formations before closing in for close quarters battle with the iklwa. This tactical combination originated throughout Shaka's military reforms.