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|27th May 2003||Zulu Event,RE Museum|
By David Glynne Fox
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.