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DateOriginal Topic
4th April 2002Spelling confusion
By Alan Critchley
There seems to be a lot of 'interest' in the Forum over the spelling of certain words connected to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, bordering sometimes on turning into the 2nd. Anglo-Zulu War.
Is it Helpmekaar or Helpmakaar? The Natal Press Reports of 1879 use the 'a' , as does Donald Morris. A modern road atlas uses the 'e' version.
Khambula or Kambula (The Natal Press Reports of 1879 as well as a couple of books published at the end of that century, and Donald Morris use 'Kambula').
Cetshwayo or Cetywayo (the latter I believe is as a copy of his signature at Fugitives' Drift Lodge). Donald Morris uses 'Cetshwayo'.
Isandlwana or Isandhlwana? Donald Morris uses the 'h' version, but many visitors to the Discussion Forum use the version without the 'h'.
Kafir or Kaffir? I've seen both.
There are others.
It's all a bit confusing. It would be helpful to arrive at a definitive version for the correct way of spelling various words. Who would be able to tell us once and for all?

4th April 2002Martin Everett
Dear Alan,
The spelling of place names and people over the years has always been a problem particularly concerning the AZ campaign of 1879. We seem today more sensitive to getting right - I suppose its the vast number of forms we fill in, almost every day, which are processed by computers, particularly tax forms, where we have got to get it right otherwise all the data is rejected! The Victorians didn't seem to worry about spelling. For todays military historians - do you use the contemporary (old) spelling or do you use the modern spelling. Most authors tend to explain the convention they have adopted in their foreword of their book. Helpmakaar is the spelling used throughout the records of the 24th at the time. The modern map of the area shows Helpmekaar. I don't think it matters as long as you are consistent throughout your publication - you may have to quote from contemporary accounts using the old spelling. The Regiment uses the spelling - Isandhlwana - I tend to stick with this form - Ian Knight suggest that we are probably correct. Even though local sign posts in KZN show Isandlwana. It is an easy matter to criticise (or criticize!) authors on this aspect - remember they have actually put in the hard work, done the research often without payment, found the money to have the book published. Well done them!! I would however always recommend a good proof reader.
4th April 2002david truesdale
Dr. Johnston said that a man who can only spell a word one way was a bore to behold and a bore to be with!
Authors should stick to their gnus!
5th April 2002Julian Whybra
I reply to this from an academic standpoint in my response to Mr Weston's criticisms of Mr Stevenson's book (entry: 3rd April).