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DateOriginal Topic
17th May 2005Battlefields
By Michael Kent
After speaking with Mehlokazulu's direct descendant, Dalton, at Isandlwana Lodge it is his very real belief that Zulu culture, history and memorials may become a thing of the past now that the ANC control the province. I don't begin to understand the delicate politics that control this region but Dalton, who is quite outspoken thinks there is a very real danger that the battlefields as we now know them may cease to exist in a few years time and there really is nothing we can do about it.
17th May 2005Phil Pearce J.P
It would be dreadful if they were ' done away with ' but given the money that they generate through tourism I doubt that this would be the case.
What changes ( realistic rather than political inflamatory ones ) are expected may I ask ?
17th May 2005Michael Boyle
Given the enmity between the ANC and Inkatha and the AIDS epidemic there, nothing would suprise me. The question is: what can we can do to help them?
18th May 2005markw

As a staunchly anti-anc member i would normally bad mouth them in any way possible .

BUT the anc are actually very proud of our entire history , for example a fleet of ships (corvettes) have just been named SAS Spionkop and SAS Isandlwana .

Isandlawana has appeared in two "Proudly South African" adverts , and is symbolic of african nationalism and opposition to foreign imperialism

So i highly doubt they will change the battlefields , not intentionally anyway.

And you have no idea how much money is generated by tourists .

My worthless input !
18th May 2005Mike McCabe
These are indeed 'delicate matters'. The immense strength of the Zulu cultural and ethnic identity has been severely challenged by social forces for decades, and very much more so by the upheavals of (say) the last 20 years. In many ways it is remarkable that so much of it has survived so far. For a very loose historical parallel, consider the effects of change on the Irish and Scottish highlands clans and septs in the 18th and 19th centuries, but as if those changes were impacting instead in the 20th and 21st.

The message above is a very interesting one, and draws attention to recent developments that might (reasonably) have been thought impossible 5-10 years ago. Though nobody has publicly used the words yet, Isandlwana is in one sense a kind of Zulu 'Bannockburn' and symbolic of the zenith of Zulu culture and power under the late King. As such, one might expect it to be cherished for its longer term significance to a greater extent. However, the world simply cannot stand still and the population of the Rorke's Drift-Isandlwana-Nqutu area is uderstandably blossoming now that the link up by 'all weather' roads has contributed to generating more economic activity and social mobility. But, the general area is not booming economically, and such income as is generated locally by toutism does not fall into many local hands - just handfulls of the more successful operators. Fortunately, the leading lights of this group have always done what they could to support local causes and to stimulate local political and administrative structures to play their part in doing the same.

It's still a very difficult problem, especially as provincial administrative structures in PMB/Ulundi (which developed at different stages and in different political cultures and traditions in Natal and Kwa Zulu) have a long way to go - for many complex reasons - before they can truly harmonise. Also, there is enormous pressure on provincial budgets, with many social projects and needs having recognisably higher importance than these 'battle' sites. Only frequent and recent visitors will realise how very few sites are now being actively conserved. It is not alarmist to predict that most of the Zulu War minor outlying sites will have become overgrown, or difficult to envisage in context, within the next 5-10 years. Isandlwana itself - although fenced off as a preserved heritage site - is increasingly encroached upon by new building, and is rapidly losing its atmosphere as the open approaches to the site decome developed. The 'Zulu' side of the Fugitives Trail is now almost entirely obscured by regenerated bush, except where erosion prevents it.

Though it's a contentious view, it would be interesting to find out whether KZN might be willing to re-integrate entirely within the overarching structure of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA, evolved but with a much broader remit from the old National Monuments Council), by relinquishing its statutory position. Currently KZN is the only province that took the option of managing its heritage independently. Perhaps time for a re-think.
I could, but won't, go on further.

18th May 2005Mike McCabe
I did, of course, mean 'tourism' and not 'toutism'. Some other typos too, I regret!

18th May 2005Phil Pearce
Given some of the above comments perhaps ' Tout-ism ' is more appropriate than tourism. IE ticket tout .