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DateOriginal Topic
14th May 2005Spears in Zulu and Zulu Dawn
By Rob D
It seems to me that the spears used by the "Zulus" in theses films are both smaller-bladed and flimsier than, for example, the one pictured on p.45 of "Hill of the Sphinx".

Is this just more artistic licence, or was there another reason? I seem to recall a rumour that the SA government of the time were not keen on "real" (or at least realistic) stabbing spears being widely available. Does anyone know if any such restrictions affected the look of the spears in the films?

15th May 2005Michael Boyle

I've been confused not only by the spears shown in the films but by those in real life as well. It does seem that the filmakers tended to confuse the difference between Zulu stabbing and throwing spears as both seem represented in the stabbing role.

I'm not sure if there was an official government policy concerning real spears but if I were an actor or extra (I know "extras" are actors too) I sure would have felt less than fuzzy with a bunch of real spears being bandied about! I also tend to think that rubber representations probably don't look too authentic because of the differences in materials and manufacture.

I have also found a wide range of variation in real spears based on photographs,illustrations, existing artefacts and reproductions due to the wide range of original and subsequent makers.(No equivalant to Wilkinson Sword in Zululand!)


17th May 2005Sheldon Hall
Under the apartheid laws of the time, the Zulus were officially demilitarised and not permitted to carry real weapons. Hence the spears shown in ZULU were made of rubber (and can be seen wobbling in some close shots).
19th May 2005Rob D
I guess uniformity of design and quality control would have been more strictly enforced under Shaka than Cetshwayo.

Thanks for clarifying that - doesn't explain why they didn't make the rubber replicas look more sturdy, though, does it?

19th May 2005Sheldon Hall
True! Though they always looked pretty fearsome to me - esp. in the close-up of the soldier being stabbed. The bayonets were also made of rubber, and I have an out-take shot of one of them bending upwards as it 'penetrates' a Zulu torso.