Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand

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Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand

Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand – On the 22 January 1879, eleven days after the British forces crossed the Buffalo River into Zululand, some 20, 000 Zulu warriors convincingly defeated part of the main invasion column at the Battle of Isandlwana.

2019 will commemorate the 140-year anniversary of the first battle of the Anglo-Zulu War and a great Zulu victory.

Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand – Where

The isolated hill of Isandlwana stands a few kilometres south east of Rorke’s Drift, 170 kilometres north of Durban, close to Nqutu and Dundee. Today it is an eerie sight, with white-washed stoned cairns (mass graves) and monuments at its grassed base.

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Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand – Background and some Facts

  • The Zulu army (impis) was the product of a warrior culture, but essentially a militia force to be called out in time of need. As it happened at that time, 24 000 warriors had assembled at Ulundi for the lunar First Fruit Ceremony of Umkhosi Wokweshwama, known today as Umkhosi WoSelwa.
  • The Zulu warriors were armed primarily with assegai thrusting spears (iklwa) clubs (knobkierrie) some throwing spears and shields made of Nguni cattle hide.
  • The British comprised of 1,800 regular soldiers, colonial and native troops and perhaps 400 civilians, 400 000 rounds of ammunition, more than 1 000 draught animals and 130 wagons. These troops were armed with the state-of-the-art Martini-Henry breech-loading rifles and two 7 pounder artillery pieces as well as a rocket battery.
  • By all accounts the British completely underestimated the Zulu forces under Dabulamanzi kaMpande. The British army traveled at a sluggish speed of only 1.6 km a day in comparison to the Zulu impi’s 12 kms.
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Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand – Background and some Facts (Continued)

  • The British pitched camp at Isandlwana in Zululand on January 20th but failed to follow standing orders to entrench because they underestimated the Zulus’ mobility. The failure to secure an effective defensive position and the poor intelligence on the location of the main Zulu army.
  • The Zulu attack developed in the traditional horns and chest of the buffalo with the aim of encircling the British position. The well-disciplined Zulu warriors performed this manoeuvre at a quick pace.
  • Over 1,300 British were killed. The Zulu victory came at a devastating price as their casualties ran into several thousands. King Cetshwayo was heard to say “An assegai has been thrust into the belly of the nation”.
  • Many people worldwide are aware of the Battle of Isandlwana through the epic film Zulu Dawn.
  • A solar eclipse occurred during the battle at about 2:29 p.m – The day the sun turned black.
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Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand – Dedication

This article is dedicated to the late historian and raconteur, good friend and great conversationist, Mr Rob Gerrard – FELLOW OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.  Thank you for bringing history alive and for the wonderful times spent chatting at Isandlwana Lodge.

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Zulu Victorious Battle of Isandlwana 1879 Zululand

The WEB WRITER is certified with S.A.Tourism as a “South African Specialist”. This means they are experts in South African Travel and entitled to use the term and associated logo when giving advise.

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