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DateOriginal Topic
30th May 2005New Moon
By Michael Boyle
According to the U.S, Naval Observatory web site the New Moon on 22 Jan. 1879 was 1151 Zulu. Now by current reckoning that would make it 0851 local Zululand (though on the cusp). I realize that there were no time zones then, relatively few time pieces (by contemporary standards) and seemingly much latitude taken in the setting of those time pieces that did exist and the Zulus didn't seem to use them anyway.

I further realize that the Zulu (like my younger self) found little use for mathmatics (or even arithmetic) so perhaps didn't define the exact time of the new moon.

However their religious stipulation about not attacking until after the new moon could be seen as anytime after 0851 and could perhaps support the contention that they were in fact deploying that morning for a pre-concieved attack without jeopardizing their spiritual beliefs.

I realize that this is a long shot but I was wondering if it could to any degree be possible?


30th May 2005Phil Pearce
having had her hand painfully shook very firmlly by enthusiasts , who showed little respect for the fact that they held held the hand of a woman in her 70's but more concerned with meeting a grand daughter of a RDVC awardee, I think it is about time that some people started to get lives. Before long some of you followers wil be asking what colour sparrow shit on what type of leaf at what hour that could affect the battle.. Some of you need to stand back & ask how wired you may be acting
30th May 2005Michael Boyle
As an addendum to the above is there any source evidence that the Zulu were aware of the impending partial eclipse or any religious injunctions associated with it?
30th May 2005Bill Cainan

I’ve just returned home after spending a few days at Brecon. The weekend event, “Supreme Courage”, put on by the SWB Museum was undoubtedly a great success, with maybe 7-800 people attending over both days. Much credit should go to Martin Everett and all his staff for their efforts

Over the course of the weekend, I had the opportunity to speak to many AZW enthusiasts and I was struck by the diversity of interest in the subject, which I found very positive. Indeed the Museum did much to cater to these varied interests – the collection of medals; the display of weapons; lectures on Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, {from both a battlefield guide’s point of view and also from a more strictly historical perspective}; traders dealing in rare books; traders selling model figures; etc

I doubt it is right to dismiss people just because their point of interest in the AZW differs from your own. Some may be interested in the tactics of the Zulu Army and others just in the colour of the wagon wheels – surely there is room for both ? I’m not exactly sure of the point you’ve made alluding to some form of electrical connection.

However, the example you gave involving sparrow excrement, leaves and battles could be more relevant than you might have realised ! Those with an interest in Chemical and Biological Warfare may well recall the long debate on bees, yellow rain and the Vietnam War !

Iechyd Da

30th May 2005Phil Pearce
Bill ,
Are you aware that the tour guide from south africa who shook mums hand actually hurt her quite a lot. Mum was wearing her wedding , engagement & eternity rings which were squeezed into her hand ,she also has arthritis.What is more he actually managed to leave a bruise on the hand of her 39 yr old son ie me!!
Also ther is a broad line between healthy interest & fixation.
By the way wired is a term in the U.K. which pertains to the conection of the mind as well as the electrics.
30th May 2005Bill Cainan

I was sorry to hear about your Mother’s injury and I trust she is well on the road to recovery ? I’m sure that no harm was meant to either your mother or to yourself. I wish I had known of this at the time, as I (or a member of the Museum staff) would have offered immediate First Aid assistance to both your mother and yourself.

However, my point was not made on that issue, but rather on the apparently narrow viewpoint you seemed to express on some of those with an interest in the AZW. It did seem to me to be somewhat intolerant ! I may of course have misunderstood your original comments and was seeking clarification. I’m sure you are right in one respect, that there are indeed many, myself included, with a “fixation” on the AZW, though I would like to think this could be viewed as a positive characteristic and not just as a negative one. Regular readers of this site will have witnessed recently, a number of negative “outbursts”, where contributors have suffered personal abuse and even threats. I note from a previous strand that you mentioned you are a JP and I am therefore assuming from that, that you would agree that this form of behaviour is not acceptable? Should we not be accepting the fact that opposing viewpoints can exist even if we don’t necessarily agree with them – as witnessed by the recent excellent debate entitled “Col Pulleine’s experience” ?

Finally, although I do live in the UK, albeit in Wales, I must admit that I have NEVER heard the expression of anyone acting “wired”, so I must bow to your better grasp of the English language.

30th May 2005Mike McCabe
Rob Caskie would simply be mortified to hear that he had caused any kind of discomfort to your Mother - and especially in the circumstances.
He is contactable at Fugitives Drift Lodge, having flown back there overnight tonight. If anything might be put right by a message from him, then I would suggest that you acquaint him with the circumstances. Gentle giants with big hands do not always know their own strength.
31st May 2005Martin Everett
Dear Phil,

Your two recent postings on this site prompt me to respond.

Firstly, your thanks about the VC display in the museum were much appreciated, but you then spoil things by 'having a go' at Rob Caskie and at the quality of the museum posters etc.

This is not the only time you have harshly criticised someone who is in all good faith remembering the soldiers who fought and displayed outstanding gallantry during the Anglo-Zulu campaign, particularly at Rorke's Drift.

Not a day goes by when we remember the gallantry of your great grandfather. He is certainly not forgotten. Several times during the year I pass through Peterchurch and always stop to visit his grave - and pause for a few moments. For the past 10 years I have paid for the annual upkeep of his grave - a task that is really not my responsibility - it is still your family's duty.

So kindly keep this in mind in future (before you jump into the deep end with one of your barbed comments) we are very much on your side and we do understand the special contribution your great grandfather made during in the immortal defence of Rorke's Drift. If you have a criticism in the way that we do things then contact me direct rather than airing your gripe in public.
5th June 2005Peter Ewart
Michael (Boyle)

It is my understanding that the Zulu had no advance knowledge of the eclipse itself and I'm unaware of any spiritual significance they attached to it. However, Keith Smith points out in his paper on the eclipse that Schermbrucker wrote to Wood on the 23rd (before either were aware of the disaster at Isandlwana) saying the locals saw it as a sign of Mbelini's power, "who is reported to have particular power over that luminary." It is not clear whether the "natives" he referred to were Swazi or Zulu, but I suspect they were local Zulu in the Luneberg area and that they in turn were referring to Mbelini's Swazis.