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DateOriginal Topic
21st January 2005Dinizulu's entourage in exile.
By Peter Ewart
I wonder if anyone can help me on this one, please? I seem to recall there were at least a couple of contributors to the forum who were more than usually well acquainted with the genealogy of the Zulu royal house when I had a previous query about Mkhungu's and Sikhotha's mothers.

I've been going through some letters which haven't seen the light of day for over a century. One of the mission clergy serving at St Helena in 1895 wrote of his impressions of the baptism ceremonies involving Dinizulu's sons David & Solomon in 1894. They are a colourful addition to the account already provided by M.M. Fuze in his "The Black People."

The only member of Dinizulu's retinue he mentions besides the boys is "the old Granny" who was also baptised, "supposed to be over 100 years old." She was named Heliotrope - perhaps after the Greek beauty(!) but more likely after the flower which famously decorated the island's slopes.

He adds "although I endeavoured to make it as solemn as I could, it was a most ludicrous sight to see the old lady arrayed in a neat cotton print dress, with a tall beaver hat, which they considered quite the correct thing as she was the Granny."

Who was she? Laband (Rope of Sand) is quite specific on the identities of the exiled party & no-one remotely matches her. Fuze does say (p134 of the UNP version edited by Cope) that "after a time an old woman, Mbhodiya, was brought there to serve as the children's nurse and as a midwife." Could it be her?

A quick check of Guy (Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom & The Heretic) Binns (Last Zulu King) Cowley (Queen Mkabi's story) & Roberts (The Zulu Kings) & a few of the more likely missionary & church sources has drawn a blank as none provides remotely as much detail as Fuze did.

I'm delighted to have this new material on the exiled party but can anyone tell me who the old lady was please? A relative? If so, who? Or just an (unrelated?) nurse/midwife? Or point me in the right direction?