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27th May 2003Zulu Event,RE Museum
By David Glynne Fox
Hi all,
Just thought I would share an experience I had at the above function last Saturday. It was a fantastic day, not least because it gave me the opportunity to meet and speak to HRH Prince Velekhaya Shange and HRH Prince Joseph, both members of the Zulu Royal House. It was a privilege and a great pleasure to meet these two gentlemen and the highlight of the day for me personally since despite being a Zulu buff since 1964, I had not until last Saturday, ever met a living Zulu, let alone two Princes!! They looked magnificent in their traditional attire. Unfortunately, they had discarded this when I photographed them later in the day.
A separate room containing a mass of Zulu related artifacts was extremely well laid out and very informative together with another area with items for sale, yes, I spent a few bob!!! The film Zulu was showing in another lecture room with large screen, very impressive and an excellent backdrop to a conversation I was having with the Princes. The Diehards were also present, I know because my ears are still ringing to the sound of Martini Henry fire.
Lt. Col. Mike McCabe was also present and very informative, he has a vast fund of South African knowledge and imparts it freely, thank you Mike, it was much appreciated. Keith Reeves and Kevin Taylor each had very interesting stalls with a lot of memorabilia from Zulu and Zulu Dawn. Our webmaster Alan Critchley was also present with his stall and it was great to meet him and put a face to the name after all this time, thanks Alan, I'm using the Prince Dabulamanzi mouse mat as I write this. You were right too, the Isandlwana battlefield video is great, I've almost worn it out. And if all this wasn't enough, there were many other displays in this fantastic museum. If you have never been, you don't know what you are missing. It took me four hours driving to get to Chatham from Nottingham but it was worth every minute. They even have some Zulu stuff, such as a marble bust of Lt. J.R.M.Chard VC, a bullet found in Colonel Durnford's body, another bullet given to Mike McCabe by an old Zulu who found it on Isandlwana battlefield, several items collected by Colonel Durnford including a Zulu necklace, several shields, including one collected by Lt. Chard at Ulundi etc. Even without the Zulu artefacts, the RE Museum is a mindblowing experience in itself. I came away on cloud nine and couldn't sleep properly on Saturday night because I was on such a "high,"
If there was one disappointment it was this, too few visitors, and i believe the same was true for Sunday. What a great shame. HOWEVER!! it is still on until June 1st. If you have the time, please go and see it, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Show the Zulu Royal Princes their history has a great following in this country. A lot of effort went into this event and it would be nice to see it well attended and no, I had absolutely no part in any of it, more's the pity. I was just a normal visitor with the interest and enthusiasm to see anything Zulu.
27th May 2003Ron Lock
I can't vouch for the condition of the dongas close by Isandlwana camp one hundred and twenty years ago, however I imagine that conditions have changed little up to the present time when, even in the dry winter months, there is always a trickle of running water - still the only cource for scattered, outlying communities. During the wet summer of 1879, I would guess that most dongas would have been at least ankle to calf deep.
27th May 2003Peter Ewart
Thanks for your advice, Ron, which appears to have popped up on this topic instead of the other. I'm responding under the other title.

On the topic of the RE Museum exhibition, thank you David for an excellent preview. Am going there tomorrow with my young sons & looking forward to it very much. Looks as if there is plenty to see. Hope the visiting numbers improve for the sake of those who've organised it. I must admit I've only seen the note about it on the "events" section of this site, plus a brief mention on the RE Museum site (where I was hoping to find fuller info on it) and the "Kent on Sunday" free paper mentioned it at the end of a double-page spread on Col Sgt Bourne last week. No doubt there has been some hype at some time but I must have missed it, or perhaps publicity has been concentrated locally in the Medway Towns?

If I enjoy it half as much as you did I'll be delighted!

28th May 2003David Glynne Fox
You are welcome Peter. Sorry it came up three times. I don't know what happened there.David