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11th March 2004Zulu Regimental Shield Colours
By Dewi Evans
Could anyone please recommend a publication that provides the most accurate info regarding the Zulu regiments, and in particular shield colours, at the time of the Anglo Zulu War of 1879.
Many thanks,
11th March 2004Chris Tapster
"Anatomy of the Zulu Army" by Ian Knight is a good source.


11th March 2004Dewi Evans
Thank you Chris,

12th March 2004John Young

In one of his books, John Laband states that by 1879 the uniformity, as regards to shield colours and markings had ceased to be.

John Y.
13th March 2004Dewi Evans

Do you have the title of John Laband's book?


13th March 2004John Young

I'm pretty certain it is in 'Rope of Sand', a.k.a. 'The Rise & Fall of the Zulu Nation', but in his joint works with P.S. Thompson the statement appears on the following pages of the these works:- 'A Field Guide to the War in Zululand 1879', 1979 edition - page 4; 'Field Guide to the War in Zululand & the Defence of Natal 1879', 1983 edition - page 4 & 'The Illustrated Guide to the Anglo-Zulu War', 2000 -page 14.

I know these are just variations on the original work, but I hope that you've got one of these editions.

John Y.
13th March 2004Peter Ewart
JY is right in that Prof Laband points out in Rope of Sand the changes in the design and appearance of the shields over the years, which had apparently changed considerably by the middle of the century, both in size (down by a third from Shaka's reign) and variety of colours.

Pages 35-37 in RoS are very good in decribing the costume, regalia and weapons which differed between amabutho, and the changes resulting from shortages of some species due to hunting.

You'll probably find it as "The Rise & Fall..." in the UK although in my copy each page is headed up "Rope of Sand." A terrific work, 500-odd pages covering the same period as Morris does in WOTS but adding the strife of the 1880s - and, of course, a scholarly approach which did not skimp on the footnotes! Superb bibliography probably worth the price alone in the long run. For some reason it goes for a song all over the world in good condition & is somehow still less well known than it should be.

13th March 2004Dewi Evans
John & Peter,

Thanks very much gentlemen, great stuff.