The Rorke's Drift VC
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|25th July 2005||RD memorial to Zulu fallen|
By Peter Quantrill
AMAFA have erected a memorial to those Zulus who fell at Rorke's Drift, close to the existing British cemetry. .It comprises 50 bronze shields guarded by a sculpured life size leopard. .Nearby a cattle byre has been built to symbolise a traditional burial. The shields evoke how the dead were covered by their comrades on the battlefield.
The two mass graves of the Zulus have been identified by AMAFA, and the monument will be officially opened by the KwaZulu premier later this year.
This now compliments the Zulu memorial erected at Isandlwana.
|25th July 2005||AMB|
Thank you for the update. Do you have any photos to post on this site, so we can see?
|26th July 2005||Keith Smith|
I mentioned in another thread here that I had had a sneak preview of the memorial back in April, which I deliberately omitted to describe. The shields did not overlap at the centre of the dome they formed, leaving a gap about a foot or so in diameter. The intention, I believe, was that a tree was to be planted which would grow through the hole. Is that what has been done?
|26th July 2005||Peter Quantrill|
You are correct that a gap exists at the centre of the dome.
When the spring rains start in September, AMAFA intend to plant a Buffalo thorn tree. (Ziziphus Mucronata) or in Zulu, an Umlahlankosi tree. The branches from the tree are frequently used in Zulu burial services and considered a medium for spirits to move between this world and the next.
At Rorke's Drift the Umlahlankosi will, in Zulu culture, enable the spirits of the fallen to return home and rest in peace.
Andrew: Regrettably I do not have a photo but will take one when next at RD.
|26th July 2005||Mike McCabe|
It would appear from what you say that this is primarily a memorial to the many Zulu dead and, so, consistent with the unspoken contract of not raising purely military memorials at the RD site.
The three Zulu grave markers unveiled in 1979 are widely dispersed, and the casual visitor usually only sees the most obvious one just forward of the stone cattle kraal. I think it's also fair to say that there is not complete conviction over the accurate siting of these three markers - though every effort was made at the time to consider the available information.
The 24th Foot memorial obelisk is in a similar vein, commemorating by name the British military dead buried there up to the point of its consrtruction. These are from several units, not just 24th, the 24th simply had the majority of those buried, and had erected the memorial.
Good, if possible, to continue to maintain the RD battle site as a quiet place of thoughtful remembrance and commemoration, staying consistant with the atmosphere that the Lutheran Church have always tried to create and maintain.
It would be unhealthy were the site to become garnished with even more memorials to meet modern ideas of memorialisation. The RD story tells itself and, surely, needs no further tactlessly triumphalist memorials after this new Zulu one.
|5th August 2005||Alan Critchley|
There is a picture of the memorial in the 'News' section, information kindly provided by Mike McCabe.
|6th August 2005||Mike McCabe|
Photograph, and most information, kindly provided by contacts in South Africa.