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9th February 2005King Cetshwayo's grave
By Peter Ewart

In Appendix F of his biography of Cetshwayo, Binns provides a very charming account of his visit to the King's grave in September 1961 and he mentions that he was later told that he'd been the first white man to see the grave for nearly 40 years.

Then, in Vol 2 No 4 (Dec 1972) of the JSAMHS, Ken Gillings relates how he and a small party (including "SB" Bourquin) eventually managed to make the journey to the same site.

I was wondering: have any of the contributors to this forum ever made the journey? Is it still as remote? Is it still looked after (guarded, if you like) in the same way? Indeed, is the Nkhandla still relatively remote or have modern roads or other development begun to encroach these last 30 years or so?

9th February 2005Keith Smith


I visited the grave last year, after a hairy drive over appalling dirt roads through the Nkhandla forest. The distance is not great from Melmoth but the quality of the road makes it about a 90 minute trip. I also used the occasion, with the assistance of my guide, to (finally) locate the site of Fort Evelyn.

The site is open to the public and as soon as one arrives, a gentleman appears to assist. He did not ask for money, merely a signature in a book. The gravesite is therefore accessible by car to within 50 metres.

I would warn anyone making the trip to go accompanied by a guide because there are a number of junctions which could take you anywhere. The grave site is unsigned, and is in a small grove of trees. The wagon used to transport the body, placed over the grave at the time of the burial, has long since disappeared. Instead, there is a grand marble grave stone with inscriptions in isiZulu and English. It is very similar in form to that on Mpande's grave at Nodwengu.
10th February 2005Peter Ewart

Many thanks for your description. I should have known you'd managed it!

I've been in the vicinity of Melmoth but that's about all. Binns and the 1972 party made their journey from the former Natal side of the Thukela and presumably had a longer and more convoluted approach, although part of their trip may have covered the same ground. All descriptions of the Nkhandla sound beautiful. One or two old missions in which I'm interested were also established in the (very) approximate area.

Not surprised to learn that the remaining pieces of wagon have finally gone, as the last few bits were described forty years ago as rusting away. Perhaps they were finally removed when the stone was positioned.

10th February 2005Melvin Hunt
In 2002 I saw metal remains of what are supposed to be parts of the wagon at the Ulundi Zulu museum.
Could you send me contact details for your guide please?