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 Zulu assegai or not

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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Zulu assegai or not   Zulu assegai or not EmptyFri Mar 06, 2020 5:06 pm

I have what I believe is a Zulu assegai but I am not sure.  It is 130cm long.  The spear point is 11cm and the visible tang 27cm long. There is binding but this has been repaired in the past.  Any views as to whether this is Zulu and from the Zulu War period?  Photos attached.

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barry

barry

Posts : 918
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

Zulu assegai or not Empty
PostSubject: Assegai, provenance   Zulu assegai or not EmptySat Mar 07, 2020 6:00 am

Hi Magnus,
Probably of Zulu origin but there is no way the exact age can be assessed without carbon dating etc. Looks a little too well made/decorated for the war. The haft looks good.
Probably made for the large curio trade post the turn of the century.

regards

Barry
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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu assegai or not   Zulu assegai or not EmptySat Mar 07, 2020 5:47 pm

Thanks Barry, I was half expecting your answer.  It was nice to wake up this morning and see your comments.  It's good to get the opinion of others.  It was purchased as 1 of 2 in an antique shop many years ago.  The other one that I purchased at the same time is almost definitely - I hope - from the Zulu War period.
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barry

barry

Posts : 918
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Algoa Bay

Zulu assegai or not Empty
PostSubject: Zulu assegai   Zulu assegai or not EmptySat Mar 07, 2020 6:44 pm

Hi Magnus,

Periodically, post the1879 war the authorities, ie the NMP, at the behest of the Natal Colonial Government were tasked with disarming the Zulu nation. They were also seeking out the lost MH's from Isandlwana along with 500k rounds of .577/ ,450 ammunition too. So,  on these disarming campaigns literally thousand of assegais from Zululand were brought in and destroyed. If they were oversize, confiscation also included the Zulu iwisa's ie knobbed sticks. During the course of all of this some of the captured MH's and ammunition was recovered too.
Thus, it is unlikely that many Zulu weapons actually used in the AZW will have survived and  been freely available.
However, the curio trade picked up on the interest by tourists for  'genuine' AZW assegais and they, being very entrepreneural went into production, swearing by everything holy,  that their weapons were the real Maccoy.
One such enterprise can be found today in Zululand in the Dukuduku forest at St Lucia. (near Mtubatuba). Here, an elderly kehla, one Mkize, who still smelts the metal in his home built forge and carves the hafts from hardwood harvested from the surrounding forrest, using traditional methods. He sells his product, the completed assegai, or mKonto in the curio stalls in Mackenzie street, St Lucia. This interesting old fellow will also tell a war story or two while squatting at his forge and taking his daily snuff.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:43 am; edited 2 times in total
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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu assegai or not   Zulu assegai or not EmptySun Mar 08, 2020 4:28 pm

Thanks, much appreciated Barry.  I'm learning more each day and more about my very small collection of Zulu weapons (3 assegais and 2 knobkerries).  Have you seen my query about kit bags under British colonial uniforms and weapons?  This perhaps explains why an assegai and knobkerrie that I have were both cut short at 27 inches.  Below are photos of my other assegai.  Unlike the one that I posted above, it looks to be more likely from the Zulu War period.  The blade length is 13 inches and the overall length is 51 inches, but as you say it would need to be carbon dated to be sure.  It could be the work of Mkize!! I have been to Isandlwana twice - once many years ago and again last year.  Each each time I wonder why the present day Zulus at Isandlwana aren't more enterprising considering the number of visitors that they get on their doorstep.[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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