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1st July 2005200th Anniversary of Isandlwana / Rorke's Drift ?
By Coll
After watching the fantastic fireworks display and seeing the tall ships in celebration of the victory at Trafalgar, I wondered about what sort of celebration would be held, many years from now, to remember the 200th Anniversary of Isandlwana / Rorke's Drift.

I'm hoping that interest in the AZW campaign is as strong then as it is now, the young enthusiasts of today, who will manage to witness such an event, alongside the future generations who still appreciate the significance of these famous battles and the campaign as a whole.


PS. I know I'm 74 years too early, but hey, I'll be long gone before then, which is a pity. That would be quite an anniversary to celebrate, don't you think ?
1st July 2005Peter Ewart

In British history these battles are no more than a part of one of many minor 19th century campaigns - "Queen Victoria's little wars," although politically inconvenient at the time. To the S African people - or many of them - it may hold considerable significance in the long run, so perhaps the SA Gov't will mark the bi-centenary somehow.

Notwithstanding the considerable bloodshed and the undoubted courage of the participants, the whole conflict - memorable though it was in many ways - was but a pinprick compared with the Crimea, which in turn was tiny when set alongside the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, itself nothing like as important for the history of the world as the Napoleonic Wars (especially Trafalgar) which have been completely eclipsed in importance and scope since by the Great War and the 2nd World War.

Still, no doubt a few students of the AZW will mark the occasion & some of Ian Knight's books, rare by then, will be republished in facsimile editions!

2nd July 2005Michael Boyle

I tend to agree with Peter, the AZW was little more than a blip on the Imperial radar. (How's that for an anachronism!). The entire campaign may have recieved less press than Wolseley's Ashanti campaign (which Chelmsford seemed to be hoping to emulate) if not for Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift. Most attention then was on the North West Frontier and the 'Great Game', which held a compelling strategic consideration, and the dramatic events of 22/23 Jan. 1879 are all that gave the story "legs", and at that for a limited time as history was moving rather rapidly then.

I've often wondered where AZW interest would stand now if not for "Zulu" and 'T.W.O.T.S.' As it is most of the world (i.e.- China, India, Latin America and Africa) tend not to dwell too much on Victorian era intrigues, for obvious reasons, and odds are that 74 years from now one or more of them will be in the 'cat bird's seat'.

That said I do hope events will transpire to afford the opportunity of those following our niche interest to be able to mark the occasion in some meaningful way.

(Of course the centennial didn't exactly bring down the house.)


2nd July 2005Coll
Peter and Michael

Thanks for your replies.

Yes. I don't imagine any celebration would be as spectacular as the current displays in memory of the battle at Trafalgar.

I think I mean more to do with the AZW community itself, events, etc., as the 200th Anniversary definitely couldn't pass without some kind of celebration.

There does seem to have been a surge in books about the AZW since the 1990s, encouraging more people to take an interest in the whole campaign.

I was just hoping that interest in the AZW would still be strong, I mean, can you imagine how many more books, etc., will appear in years to come ?

I'm sure new authors, unknown at present, will continue to supply the AZW community with informative and very detailed publications, between now and 2079 !

2nd July 2005Edward Bear
Hopefully, by 2179 nobody will remember - or refer to - the film 'Zulu', and this war will be thought and spoken of by anybody still interested in it as if something other than an amusement.
2nd July 2005Steve Moore
Hi Thread, some one eat your porridge?
Cheers Steve Moore
3rd July 2005Paul Cubbin
I think it is entirely natural and just part of human nature that, after the passage of time, military operations are viewed more dispassionately and without some of the horror and personal tragedy that more recent conflicts engender.
Having said that, I do think that the AZW has managed to keep a very human interest (compared to others of the time) due to the attention it receives from 'Zulu' and others who view it as an 'amusement'. Without the attention of historians, writers and enthusiasts - and, yes, movie fans - many of the people involved would be lost to misty obscurity by the passing years.
We cannot, and probably should not, hold as acute a sense of loss for generations who are strangers to us now. Otherwise, where would it end - memorial services for victims of Caesars Invasion of Britain? I myself enjoy collecting and painting Napoleonic toy soldiers; should I feel guilty for not showing proper respect to the thousands of men who lost their lives so prematurely and violently? I think we have to be rational and accept that death happens and will continue to happen through war - it is, unfortunately, a definitive part of humanity that we fight. We shouldn't forget the suffering of the past, but to wallow in it is unhealthy and I for one see no problem with taking an interest in history for the sake of curiosity and amusement.