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4th May 2005Anglo-Zulu War 1879 books by Zulu Authors ?
By Coll
Have there been many books written about the AZW by authors who are themselves Zulus ?

This has probably been mentioned before, but I was just wondering, maybe they were covering the whole campaign from the Zulu perspective, the main participants on their own side during the conflict, the battles, etc.

I'm only asking out of curiosity.

4th May 2005mark
im not sure about books but a while back they interviewed an old man whose grandfather was at the battle

being a south african im used to revisionist history (evil whites etc) but i was amazed at the verbal tale !

the old man related how the battle had ended and the looting was in progress when suddenly there was a shot (and a zulu fell dead) , and another shot (and another dead zulu) , and another shot (his descriptions etc were amazing) , they finally identified where he was (the last soldier in the cave) and tried to kill him (but he killed 8 in quick succession) , after a long time they gather many rifles and finished him off with a volley

but they were so impressed by this brave warrior that he was not mutilated or disembowlled

a really good story, nice to hear one about bravery on both sides
4th May 2005tom
That's very interesting.
I thought disembowlling was carried out to release
the spirit from the body,regardless of whether they are brave or not.
A bit of contradiction here.
4th May 2005Chris John
Hey All

I believed that it was thought that they made more of a mutilation of the body if the person was brave. The Prince Imperials body for example, was left in such a state that they would not let his mother see the body, and made the excuse that it had 'started decomposing' on the trip back.
Anyone else heard this one?

CJ 289
4th May 2005Coll

I always feel it is a shame that we don't know the name of that particular soldier.


I think there could have been one or two dead british soldiers who escaped the Zulu custom, whether it was because they were brave or just overlooked in the heat of battle and the looting afterwards, I'm not sure.

I could be wrong, but Col. Durnford's body wasn't badly mutilated, so the suggestion of respect for certain individuals, I guess, still exists.


The Prince Imperial's body did have several stab wounds, possibly after death, but one actually badly damaged his face at the left eye (I think) which you wouldn't really want his mother to see.

As for decomposing, the hot weather in Africa would surely accelerate this process.

5th May 2005Glenn Wade
Morning Gentlemen,
CJ, you are right about Louis, he was quite badly mutilated when discovered and a detailed description of his body can be found in 'Zulu' by Ian Knight. I do believe that Crealock's sketch of his face only shows the Prince's left side as the right, as Coll has mentioned, was hideously disfigured by a wound to the eye socket

All the best,

5th May 2005Julian Whybra
Where did you read or see this interview?
5th May 2005Glenn Wade
I too would like to know where you saw this interview. The only story I know of is the famous description of the 'Last of the 24th' by the unamed warrior of the uVe

All the best

6th May 2005mark

oddly enough there is a local kiddies show on saturday mornings called Yo-TV .

the kids had a competition whereby they had to make a stretcher ,then carry a wounded "soldier" to the cave.

on arrival at the cave there was an elderly zulu who narrated the event

definetly not a mainstream interview unfortunately, but well worth the watch/
6th May 2005Coll
I remember a documentary (I think) where there was a modern Zulu poet/song writer, who, although maybe not all the time, wore the traditional Zulu costume.

I am unsure whether he wrote poems/songs on modern subjects dealing with the Zulus and their culture, or he wrote about the times of the Zulu Nation in the 19th Century.

However, this individual could have been an author, but I missed most of the programme, so I don't know for definite.

I'm aware there will be many such poets, etc., that are Zulus, but I wondered if anyone had seen this particular programme, which was on television a while ago, maybe on an AZW - related programme, that I don't have on video/dvd.

It is just out of curiosity, as I don't know if the Zulu featured was actually 'famous' in his own country, because of his work.

11th May 2005Derek C
The story of the lone soldier in the cave is mentioned in David Rattray's D.O.T.D.M. While there may not be source documents, for obvious reasons, Rattray's Dad and George Bunting interviewed many Zulus who took part in the battle, and learnt of this incident.
22nd May 2005Coll
Further to the above.

Last year I managed to obtain the book 'Like Lions They Fought' by R.B. Edgerton, but have not read it yet.

However, at the front there is a small section of a poem called 'The Screams' by Mazisi Kunene.

I had a quick look on the internet for information on this author, and apparently he is indeed well-known, he also has a poem titled 'Emperor Shaka The Great' which was inspired by the rise of the Zulu empire, as well as other works.

Does anyone know this author and his works, or read the full poems of 'The Screams' or 'Emperor Shaka The Great' ?

Additionally, any views on the above mentioned book by R.B. Edgerton ?

22nd May 2005Peter Ewart

Well, it has been around for 15 years but is not often cited as ground-breaking, perhaps because his material appears to have been almost entirely secondary. You'll see in his acknowledgments that he had first had the idea in the early 1960s, but Morris beat him to it & he therefore set the project aside.

LLTF is a later attempt from an interestingly new angle. I'm not sure what it offers as I find it puzzling in some ways. In his "Brave Men's Blood", Ian Knight makes clear he did not regard it highly, but then he described Morris's work, despite the usual caveats, as "a superb work of scholarship" - a description which he would perhaps (or perhaps not) qualify if repeating it today.

At least Edgerton, an American, picked up on Montague's note of the "pair of cricket leg pads" (although accurate, only an American might describe them thus?) found abandoned on the battlefield of Isandlwana.

Come to think of it, I'd always thought Montague had only mentioned one pad and I'd often wondered which Zulu had commandeerdd the other, but may be wrong - I've just checked and Edgerton definitely mentions a pair & I haven't got a copy of Montague yet. Either way it has led me to wonder for many years about their owner and his plans for the campaign (tour?)

Having identified many of the 24th officers who were dab hands at the game, as well as considering the cricketing Edendale Wesleyans under Durnford and the former captaincy of Newcastle (Natal) CC under Bradstreet, plus Sikhota and Mkhungo, the King's brothers, who appear to have impressed at cricket at Ekukanyeni 23 years earlier, one must also consider the fact that several (at least) of the Natal Carbineers had been photographed in cricket teams at college in Martizburg, so the field is certainy wide.

One day ...


22nd May 2005Peter Ewart
I have no problem typing Durnford but "Martizburg" comes up now & again. (I'll stick to PMB in future).

23rd May 2005Coll

Thanks for your reply.