By way of backstory, these ships belong to the shaZulu Alliance ("sha" meaning simply "new" in the native language known as isiZulu). After the discovery of diamonds on their lands in 1867, the Zulu and Xhosa tribes set about conquering their neighbors, then began to gird themselves for battle against the encroachment of the European powers. The shaZulu hired a Polish inventor who had been unsuccessful in selling his designs in Europe to direct the building of their new fleet.
shaZulu ships are designed for speed and firepower; consequently, their weakness is in their thin armor. The shaZulu doctrine of aeronaval combat is to strike quickly and then withdraw, repeating as necessary until the enemy is defeated. A favorite tactic is to lure an enemy ship out of formation with a seemingly-helpless frigate, then pounce on it with destroyers and battlecruisers.
Design notes: The shape of the ships is actually inspired by the shape of the traditional Zulu cowhide shields, known as isihlangu, rather than a standard boat shape. I kept the VSF-looking round turrets, funnels, and torpedo tubes in order to keep the ships from looking too futuristic against other 'Nefs.
An example of a Zulu shield:
Ithayiga ("Tiger")-Class Frigate
Umdumo ("Thunder")-Class Bombard Frigate
Gwaza ("Slaughter")-Class Destroyer
Ingwe ("Leopard")-Class Light Cruiser
Inkemba ("Sword")-Class Heavy Cruiser
Isijula ("Javelin")-Class Battlecruiser
Siyonqoba ("Conqueror")-Class Battleship
Ukhozi ("Eagle")-Class Fighter Carrier