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5th November 2003Zulu after-battle mutilation of slain British soldiers.
By Miguel

Sparkled in many different topics we can find brief accounts of what the Zulus did to the corpses of the slain enemies

Can any of the learned regulars here write down an exact description of the mutilations commited by the Zulus on the British dead, and more importantly, its significance?

Despite what you might think, I don't ask this for the (unavoidable) morbosity of such a description, but to view with a different light what to ignorant eyes would be savage atrocities. I was amazed to discover that the reasons why the Zulus did many of the things they did, actually bore a (strange) sense of honour and admiration for the dead enemies.

For instance, somebody wrote somewhere a very good explanation of why the bodies were disemboweled, mentioning the effects of African heat on a corpse and the spirit fighting to get out of the body.

So if someone can write a complete list of those mutilations explaining their purpose, I would appreciate it.


7th November 2003Clive Dickens
7th November 2003Clive Dickens
I do not know what happened there
Miguel, If you can get hold of a copy of Ian Knights book "Zulu" published by Windrow & Green there you will find a chapter "The Butchers Bill" this discribes the injuries to the body of the Prince Imperial, as far as I know there where no published medical discriptions of the injuries to the bodies of troops killed at Isandlwana.
10th November 2003l.j.knight
i find it strange that some of our more learned
forum followers have not endeaverd to answer your question, i have read in different accounts the following...the bodies of the slain were subject to many indignities including
disembowelment, each corpse was sodamized,decapitation, lower jaws disarticulated{for the beards} drummer boys fearfully used and mutilated, each corpse stabbed by repeatedly after the Zulu custom.
11th November 2003Miguel
Thanks I.J.
Even more important is an explanation of why such atrocities were commited, the purpose behind every mutilation.
11th November 2003Miguel
For instance:
Disembowelment: done to allow the slain's spirit to leave the body (otherwise it would hunt the killer?)
Sodomy: I think it hasn't been proved there was any at all.
Lower jaws: Trophy?
Corpse stabbing: 'washing of the spears', sharing the glory for the killing of a brave enemy.

I'd love confirmation and a complete list of mutilations and their meaning.
20th May 2004steve
drummer boys were supposed to be hanged,
one was seen on a meat hook,throat cut,
testicles removed.
parts of forearms were removed,penis,ears and tongues.
liver and hearts for medicinal use,
some also had top lip removed,again hair.
some zulu indunas berated their men for such atrocities,particularly the wearing of lower jaws on the head.
their is a report that on chelmsfords return to camp,someone who looked about came across a wagon wheel with severed heads
arranged neatly around the spokes.
later louis the prince imperial s body was found containing many spear thrusts,one to the eye socket that pierced the brain
certainly fatal in itself.
grim reading,and probably even worse was
not recorded.