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Brev. Lt-Col. R.H. Buller, VC, Staff: 2/60th KRRC-Zungwini,Hlobane, Khambula, Ulundi
A Zulu Boy's Recollections of  the Zulu War  INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER BullerBrev.[Mac and Shad] (Isandula Collection)
Anglo-Zulu war: Walking the battlefield of Kambula
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 A Zulu Boy's Recollections of the Zulu War INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER

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The Zulu boy at home.-An unscrupulous trader.-A disagreeable Surprise.-The biter bit.

I was born at Isandhlwana. the people called my name Umsweanto (the
beggar). I lived on there till I grew up. I herded the calves together with
the other boys. They bullied me. On one occasion we went out to steal
something to eat. sweet cane (1). We feasted continuously. I and Umdeni
and the big boys. On another occasion we reported this, I and Umdeni.
We reported it at home. The big boys thrashed us at the watercourse. They
said we were never to 'sneak' again. We, I can tell you, let it alone; we
never reported it any more. Thus we robbed the gardens of the people.
After a time I ceased to herd the calves; I herded very many sheep and
goats. Once, as we were sitting by the watercourse, early in the afternoon,
it became quite dark; it grew light, however, again very soon. We cried, I
and Umdeni. As soon as it grew light we went home, and stayed there.
I herded the sheep at all times, and Umdeni herded the cattle. The sheep
gave me much trouble; I cried heartily. Thus I herded them, some being
killed and others remaining (with these cattle were bought), until it was
said that the white men were coming. Our people said, CO! what do the
little bits of a rag(2) think to do? We shall do for it utterly!'
I went [one day] to the sheep; we saw a wagon outspanned by the road
side; we sat there. Forthwith the white man seized me, and, mounting
into the wagon, bound me with the whip. I wriggled out, however, and
ran away. Next he seized our brother. Our brother (his name is Ungwemu)
seized him, and just scratched his hands till they were red. He was a low
fellow that white man. He was confounded; he lamented a little. Presently
his people [lit. the people of their father] cooked their food-it was porridge,
poor stuff, too; they ate and the white man ate with them-he grabbed
like fun. [Our people] all laughed at him, crying, 'Just look at this low
fellow, eating with his Kafirs!'(3) I fled for my part. He gave chase to me.
I distanced him. I abused him to the utmost of my power. Then I turned
homewards; I went to get something to eat. I got home. I just ate. I
remained at home. We stayed there; we slept.
At early dawn Umdeni and I went out with the cattle. We went out
also to them at midday. But the sheep ate up a garden. We collected a lot
of stones. We said, 'These are our cattle.' We just herded them, rejoicing.
All of a sudden appeared Matuta, Umdeni's father, armed with a stick. We


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
fled at top speed. I yelled when he was yet a long way off. I cried, 'Maye babo!'
there being no one to warn a fellow and sing out, 'You're dead!' He chased
Umdeni. I ran, for my part, as hard as I could pelt. He came up with
Umdeni; he thrashed him. Umdeni howled heartily. He shouted after me
did Matuta, crying, 'I say, you little barrel-headed rascal! (4) Come and
have a look at me!' I left him in the rear, and fled on continually.
At another time we played with the water belonging to an old woman.
The old woman drove us away. We said, 'O! You are not swift enough
to overtake us!' We frisked about, kicking up our heels; we waggled our
heads; we made various noises with our mouths. We said, 'Run! Let's see
you!' Said the old woman, 'Eventide will gather ye together, children of
my child! Look you!' That was because I had my meals there. I returned
in the afternoon. The girls called to me, saying, 'Come and eat, Umsweanto!'
I sat down. I ate, I ate. I then took the kids, and tied them up. Then I ate
the flesh of other kids that had been killed (Umdeni being in his mother's
hut). I was satisfied; I was completely filled. The old woman was just
there in her hut, and I, not considering that a while ago I had troubled
her, entered, together with Umdeni. We sat down; we just played in her
hut. Suddenly the old woman seized me. Umdeni bolted and fled. She
pinched me continuously. The girls laughed. I besought her. I besought
her, saying, 'Never will I do it any more!' I made a solemn promise. She
let me go. But the next day, early in the morning, many boys arrived.
I was stimulated by them. We played at home. We took the old woman's
dry mud(5) [for cooking]. She was furious. She said, 'I'll lay it into you!'
We said, 'O! So you're possessed of speed, are you?' Said the old woman,
'You shall see me (6) with your eyes - you, I mean, who carry those little
ears of yours so bravely!' We ran away. We returned in the afternoon.
I went again to the hut of the old woman, carrying a kid. I put it down
and tied it up. I entered into her hut. At once the old woman seized me,
Tno longer thinking any more about the matter. I yelled with a loud voice,
I cried, 'Maye babb!' I then betook me to laughing a little before she laid
into me. She then closed the doorway. She took a blanket. She made me
'the wild beast of the blanket.'(7) She put my head into the blanket. She
bit my head [all over]. I besought her; I besought her. She let me go, and
gave me some food. I laughed at her. She hunted me out saying, 'Off
with you! Go home!' I went out. I went home, and stayed there. I gave
it over; never again did I trouble her any more. I was very civil to her,
and she for her part was very civil to me. The matter of the old woman
is now ended.

Invasion of Zululand.-AfJair with Sihayo's people.-Flight of
Zulu women and children from Isandhlwana.-A Zulu regiment
on the march.-Defeat of Matshana's people.
The news came [one day] that the white men had already arrived. It was
then said that they were at Mr Fynn's. (8) Our people were somewhat
alarmed. They said, 'Let the youngsters run away and go to Emahlabatini:1
The white men reached the Buffalo River. It was said that they had come
to fight with the Zulus.



A Zulu Boy's Recollections
Soon they fought with the people of Sihayo, who were few in number.
These were all killed; some however survived. They for their part killed
a few white men and [black] men toO.2
O! We scampered away, [we young ones]. We went to Malagata." It was
next said that the white men were coming to Malagata. Some said, 'It is
good that homage be paid to the white men.' Said our father, 'Whosoever
desires to do homage, it is good that he be off, and go and do homage [to
them].' Our father went away with his men. Others deserted him and did
homage. We pushed on, [we children and women]. We came to Esipezi
and halted there.4
We stayed there for a few days. Then went forth the
spies and Mtembu with them, having seen some soldiers in our neighbour
hood. We made off as fast as we could. We rested for a short time, we boys.
Umali was lost. O! We lamented, we boys. We said, 'Perhaps we shall be
killed [i.e. thrashed] because we have left him behind!' All of a sudden
he was found. We pushed on continually. We reached the Umhlatusi river.
It was rumoured that the Usutus(9) were coming up, and [sure enough] in
the afternoon there appeared through the fog the Bongoza regiment. j
They
saw the many sheep belonging to our father and other people. Up came
the 'horned'(lO) Usutus and said, 'A bit of food for us, this, master!' They
stabbed some of the sheep; they drained our calabashes; they took the [dead]
sheep away with them. Suddenly one of the warriors espied an exceedingly
fine kid. He seized it. Our father [uncle] seized it, and the warrior seized
it too. The next moment up came the indunas [officers] and scolded the
regiment. The men ran off and continued their march. We went on. We
came to a kraal and stayed there. We happened upon five warriors. They
were just starting off in the early morning, it being very cold indeed. One
of them was chilled with the cold; he had no longer any power to get along
.quickly. [When] he arrived at the kraal he was exceedingly cold. He
warmed himself at the fire. The others derided him. They said, 'It is not(1)
a young man of any worth. It is just cold for no reason at all!' With that
they killed many sheep. We started early in the morning; we removed from
thence and came to a[nother] kraal. We stayed there one day. We left at
dawn, and went on to Equdeni.6
All the warriors had by that time gone off to the army. We came to a
kraal; we stayed there a long time. We heard it said that the people of
Matshana, the son of Mondisa, had just been slaughtered, every one of
them. 7


The eclipse of January 22, 1879.-The commencement of the
battle of Isandhlwana.-Colonel Dum/ord's natives stir up the
Zulu army.-Usikota, a refugee brother of Cetshwayo and his
tribe, allies of the English.-The English camp rushed.-Indivi
dual acts of heroism on the British side.
After a few days it came to pass that the sun was darkened; there was
silence-an utter silence-throughout the land. Nevertheless the army was
fighting at Isandhlwana. Then, after a day or so, there arrived some of our



A Zulu Boy's Recollections
people who had come out from the host, being sent by our father to fetch
away the cattle and the folk that they might return home. They said, 'There
have died many white men and Iziqosa [Natal Zulus] also. 8
They told us that the army had been encamped on the Ingqutu range,
the moon being dead and they not wishing to fight. (When the moon is
dead, it is called a black day, there is no fighting.) Up came the Amangwana
[Durnford's natives];" and opened fire upon the host, stirring them up. At
once they [i.e. Durnford's natives] found themselves in the close embrace
of the Kandempemvu [a Zulu regiment)1° even as tobacco [is united] with
aloes (12). The Zulu generals forbad [an advance], seeking to help the
white men. But the regimental officers simply mutinied. They marched
forward; they went into the battle. They [i.e. the combatants] were rolled
along together towards Isandhlwana. They [i.e. the Zulus] killed some
[of Durnford's natives]; the rest fled. Yes indeed, and the soldiers too were
alarmed; they endeavoured to concert some plan, but they were unable to
do anything to any purpose, being now in a state of nervous apprehension,
and powerless to know what they should do. They lay down upon the
ground. They fired terribly. They fired terribly, until they were weary.
The Zulus lay down for a little time, then started up [and ran forward],
lying down again according to their custom. Then shouted Undhlaka from
the Amatutshane hil1(13) and cried, 'Never did his Majesty the King give
you this command, to wit, "Lie down upon the ground!'" His words were:
'Go! and toss them into Maritzburg!' Up started the warriors, but again
they lay down, being endangered by the bullets. The soldiers hoped and
said, 'Perhaps we have now killed them all.' But again the warriors arose,
seeking to approach closely to the wagons. (The cannon were useless in
their fire upon an enemy that was now close at hand.)
There fought also the Iziqosa tribe-long ago the lziqosa were van
quished(1 4). There was present too Usikota,l1 brother of Cetshwayo(15);
he saw the Zulu army coming up and cried, CO! Not for me! I'm off!
I know those fellows over there. It is just "Coming, come' with them. They
are not to be turned aside by any man, and here are we sitting still for all
the world like a lot of turkeys!' Then he called to his brother, 'Away! let's
away, Ungabangaye, let's make a run for it!' Said Ungabangaye, 'Oh stop
a moment just till I see them tackled by the white men!' 'O!' cried Usikota,
'A pleasant stay to you!' He seized his horse and bolted. He escaped
through the 'neck,' before the 'impi' encircled the [campV2 Up came the
Zulu army and made an end of Ungabangaye. And the soldiers themselves
were overpowered.
Some seized their rifles and smashing them upon the rocks hurled them
[at their foes]. They helped one another too; they stabbed with the bayonet
those who sought to kill their comrades. Some covered their faces with their
hands [lit. closed their eyes], not wishing to see death. Some ran away.
Some entered into the tents. Others were indignant; although badly wounded
they died where they stood, at their post.
We were told also that there was a soldier at lsandhlwana who carried a
flag. He just waved it backwards and forwards. He fought not; he feared
not (perhaps he put his trust in other soldiers). They killed him. We were
told also that there was present a son of Somseu(16). He fought very
bravely. He killed [some of] our people. The others feared to approach


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
him. Suddenly there dashed in our brother Umtweni before he could load,
and killed him.13 But that young fellow died at Hlobane. Our father too
fought at Isandhlwana, carrying a black and white shield (17). They shot
at him; they hit it. He cast it away from him; he just fought on with
assegais and rifle only.


The return of Lord Chelmsford to the camp.-An unseen spec
tator.-Bivouac of the troops on the battlefield.-An unexpected
rencontre in the morning with a detachment of the Zulu army.
The fight at Rorke's Ddft.-Zulu opinions of the action.-Why
the Zulus did not invade N ata/.
By occasion of the battle our father obtained some sheep at Isandhlwana.
He killed them; he cooked for his mother at home, for his kraal was close
at hand. Forthwith he climbed up a hill: he saw some white men, greatly
dejected, marching towards Isandhlwana. They were silent, utterly silent.
They were marching in line.
Presently they fired in the direction of Isandhlwana (father being just
hidden you see, close to them). They fired, they fired-all was still. They
drew near to lsandhlwana. They saw a large flag beneath the hill: it just
stood there, hanging from its staff. They shouted aloud. They said 'Hurrah!'
They took it away. They lay there at Isandhlwana for the night; but they
did not lie asleep. 14
At dawn, rising very early, they encountered a band of Zulus, just a few
in number. Forthwith the [people] who served the white men shouted to
them (the soldiers uttering not a word) saying, 'Where do you come from?'
They replied, 'We come from the other side of the river there-away.' 'You
are telling lies!'(18) said the others. The black men wanted to fight with
them-those Zulus; but the commander of the troops forbad it. So they
just went on their way. 15

On the day of the fight at Isandhlwana the sun was darkened until it
declined. The Zulus thought much of the soldiers who fought at Isan
dhlwana: they fought bravely; they did not burrow to enter within and hide.
As for the Mbozankomo regiment16 they merely remained at the Ingwebini
river(19). They danced, they just ate meat merrily. Presently they said,
'O! Let's go and have a fight at Jim's!'(20) The white men had by this time
made their preparations; they were quite ready. The Zulus arrived at Jim's
house. They fought, they yelled, they shouted, 'It dies at the entrance! (21)
It dies in the doorway! It dies at the entrance! It dies in the doorway!' They
stabbed the sacks; they dug with their assegais. They were struck; they
died. They set fire to the house. It was no longer fighting: they were now
exchanging salutations merely. (We were told this by Umunyu who was
present.)
The Mbozankomo regiment was finished up at Jim's-shocking cowards
they were too. Our people laughed at them, some said, 'You! You're no
men! You're just women, seeing that you ran away for no reason at all.
Hke the wind!' Others jeered and said, 'You marched off. You went to dig



A Zulu Boy's Recollections
little bits with your assegais out of the house of Jim, that had never done
you any harm!'
The Zulus had no desire to go to Maritzburg. They said, 'There are
strongholds there.' They thought that they should perish and come utterly
to an end if they went there.


The author, in company with other Zulu boys, visits the field of
Isandhlwana four days after the battle.-The captured cannon
are removed from the field.-Drawn battle between Sihayo's
army and General Wood's column at Ezungeni.-Surprise of the
Prince Imperial and his party.-The affair at the Hlobane moun
tain.-Defeat of the English.-The battle of Hlobane (Kam
bula).-The trooper Grandier in the hands of the Zulus.-Cetsh
wayo asks a hard question.
We started; we returned to Isandhlwana. We arrived early in the morning.
We saw the soil that it was red, the sun shining very brightly. We walked
out after a short time. We went to see the dead people at Isandhlwana.
We saw a single warrior dead, staring in our direction, with his war shield
in his hand. We ran away. We came back again. We saw countless things
dead. Dead was the horse, dead too, the mule, dead was the dog, dead was
the monkey, dead were the wagons, dead were the tents, dead were the
boxes, dead was everything, even to the very metals. We took some thread
for sewing and a black pocket-book; we played with the boxes; we took
the tent ropes and played with them. We thought to return home. As for
Umdeni he took some biscuit, but I and my brother declined. We said, 'We
don't like them.' We went off, they carrying them. We moved out of sight
of the place where they(22) were. We asked for some. Said Umdeni, CO! we
don't choose, for you said you didn't like them.' We retorted, CO! sit there,
!if you please, with your little bits of bread smelling of people's blood!'
This we said, being with envy. We then returned home.
At daylight we came back again. We saw some boys who had died in a
tree, [lying] underneath it. They were dressed in black clothes. We saw
white men dead (they had taken off their boots, all of them), and the people
also who had served them, and fought with them, and some Zulus, but not
many. We saw Mtembu's wagon, laden with the cannon, going to the kraal
of his father, Klass. We went home again.
Once more we returned, I and my brother, the two of us. I took some
boots for my part, and a satchel. I put on the black boots. Our brother also
took some boots. He sat in a wagon and put them on. But no sooner had
we put on the boots, than the people shouted from home and cried, 'You're
dead! Look at the army there away!' We undid the boots; they refused.
We burst them. We flung away our satchels. Our brother threw his [boots]
away in a moment. I-I was a long time in taking mine off; he forsook me.
I got mine off after a short time. I tore along with the utmost speed; I
overtook our brother, and leaving him behind in my turn, arrived first at
home. The people said, 'There is no army.' I took a new pair of brown


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
trousers; I went away with them. We set off; we fled on without stopping.
The men, however, remained at home. Once some white men arrived at
Isandhlwana. The men shouted out, seeing people at Isandhlwana, saying,
'You will be trodden under foot! '(23) The white men fled. There were four
of them. We went on to the Umhlatusi.
The white men tried very hard to cross [the Buffalo] near Jim's house,
but the people of Sihayo would not have it, and prevented them. Hereupon
the white men crossed higher up at Encome. It was now decided that the
army of Sihayo should fight at EzungenU8 So the Ubisi tribe fought.l~
It fought for a long time, but it was beaten, and the white men were beaten
too. The armies just looked at one another. A few white men died; there
died of the Zulus a few also.20
Now, as we were told it, the story goes that while some Zulus were lying
in ambush in the long grass near Ezungeni (they were but few) some white
men arrived at the kraal, there being no one there. They put their guns
down under [the wall of] the cattle kraal. Some of them went into a hut,
the sun being scorchingly hot; others sat in the doorway. One went off to
water the horses. The officer sat in the doorway armed with a long sword.
Suddenly the Zulus sprang into view. The white men sung out, 'Good
day, (24) young fellow!' but the Zulus took not the least notice of that. The
white men made a rush, seeking to get hold of their guns, but their strength
failed them. They were killed. There escaped only one, the one who was
with the horses. The horses galloped away. They followed the man who
was mounted. He saved his life. Our people took the officer's sword and
carried it to Cetshwayo. They said, 'A beautiful sword, indeed.'
We remained at the Umhlatusi river until the fighting(25) at Ezungeni
came to an end and a march was made to Hlobane. A very large [Zulu]
army was lying in the vicinity of Hlobane. The white men climbed to the
top of Hlobane in the afternoon during the rain. 22
Then came one of
Umzila's(26) men by night to the army,23 and cried, 'To arms! The white
men have even now climbed up to the summit of Hlobane!' Then Usihayo,
too, called out, 'To arms!' With that he went off to speak with the great
captains, Untshingwayo and Umnyamana.
They, seeking to assist the
white men, said, 'O! Not a bit of it! The army shall fight to-morrow.'
Accordingly orders were given that the Abaqulusi25 (i.e. Umzila's army) be
told to sit still, the [great] captains being unwilling.
But the Abaqulusi mutinied, and uniting with the Kandempevu regiment
(the hail-catchers), surrounded the mountain. They got at a few white men;
the rest ran away and escaped.
The white men captured many cattle and sent them off immediately into
Natal. The warriors were on the point of putting Umnyamana to death,
because he helped the white men and did not love Cetshwayo. But almost
immediately the Zulus were defeated. Thus they let Umnyamana alone.
The next day a battle was fought at the stronghold!6 A good number of
white men died, but the Zulus were beaten; great numbers of them perished.
So the Zulus marched away and returned to Emahlabatini. They say that
the [English] soldiers were greatly assisted by two monkeys at Hlobane;
they [i.e. the monkeys] shot down numbers of people.
It is said that a white man was taken prisoner at Hlobane at the time of
the engagement and carried off to Cetshwayo. Sihayo spoke with him in the


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
white men's tongue, for Sihayo was slightly acquainted with the white men's
tongue.
Said Cetshwayo, 'What am I just being destroyed for?' The white man
replied, 'I don't know.' Cetshwayo said, 'Don't let them kill him.' He had
mercy on him. It was then ordered that he should be taken to Umzila,
who was as clever as Sihayo.72


The guerilla chief Umbelini.-British reverse at Intombi
River(?)-Umbelini and two companions engage a party of
British troops.-Death of Umbelini.-Dabulamanzi attacks a
patrol at the White Umfolosi.-The Zulu generals Umnyamana
and Untshingwayo play into the hands of the English.-The
battle of Ulundi.-A Zulu hero.-The hedge of steel.
Now a son of Sihayo dwelt with Umzila (Umbokode was his name). They
worried the white men; they worried terribly the soldiers who spied out
the army. On one occasion Umzila went out with his army and worried the
soldiers by night. He chased away some of them; he killed them; he took
away their cattle.
His people went on ahead, driving the cattle [homewards]. The whole
army went on ahead of him. Himself remained behind together with a son
of Sihayo and one of the officers of his household. They thought to return
home. They caught sight of some soldiers (there were a good many of
them) lying down, holding their horses [i.e. bridles] with their arms, for
they had by this time learned a device of the Zulu people, viz., to lie down
at the time of fighting. Umzila tried a shot; he fired. He hit a white man,
and the white men they too opened a hot fire. Thus, it was said, he kept
hitting the white men. He out with [a bullet] and in with it into the flesh;
out with [a bullet] and in with it into the flesh-always.
But after a time the white men slew the son of Sihayo. Umzila fought
on alone with his steward. They hit Umzila too. He fled, he and his
steward mounting their horses. He went away home did Umzila, being
badly wounded. He arrived. He died at home. His steward-he was
uninjured. 28
We moved away for our part. We went to Emahlabatini. the troops being
now at Emtonjaneni.29 Some of the soldiers went forth. They went to
scout. They reached the Umfolosi. They went [down] and began just to
bathe in the river. Suddenly Dabulamanzi appeared and fired at them.30
Those who had their clothes on drove him away. He fled. He left them in
the rear, because his horse was fleeter than the horses of the soldiers. The
soldiers were foiled because their horses do not understand how to travel
among stones.
Now it came to pass after a short time, that the Zulus sought to surround
the soldiers at Emtonjaneni. The great captains [however] forbad it. those.
that is, of the highest rank, to wit. Umnyamana. and Untshingwayo the
son of Maholi, the generals at Ondini, desiring above all things to help the
white men.31 Orders were given that the warriors should just sit still, they
[i.e. the great captains] saying, 'Let the spirits of our ancestors bring it [i.e.


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
the English army] here to us at home; they will be comfortably killed, the
wretched creatures!'
So after a few days the soldiers arrived at Nodwengu very early in the
morning with their cannon.32 They fired, and the Zulus too fought, and
fired with might and main. The battle raged for a long time. But at the
time of the climbing up of the sun the Zulu army fled. 33
Our father-they shot at him. He entered into a hole. He stayed there
a little time. He arose and fled. Our brother too was present. He was an
officer. He carried a breech-loading rifle that he had taken at Isandhlwana
from his [rivals]. The Zulu army fled. He got tired of running away. He
was a man too who understood well how to shoot. He shouted, 'Back again!'
He turned and fired. He struck a horse; it fell among the stones and the
white man with it. All the white men turned upon him. They fired at him.
They killed him.
Report says (27) that there was metal-iron sheeting-which protected
the white men. The Zulus hit it. It resounded with a sharp clang. The
white soldiers kept continually just overflowing [from behind it] till they
drew near and swept away with it [i.e. the Zulu army),3"
Also another brother of ours told me that they saw a white man (on foot)
vanish into a water course. They ran; they pursued him, seeking to kill him.
The white man however thought to keep to the water course. He stuck
to the sandy bed, following its downward course. Soon they saw that it was
now all up with him by reason of the bands of men that were below him.
These presently began to shout, 'Aha! Our numbers! Now we have done
for him!' They killed him. Some of the [beaten] Zulus entered into the
water. The white men fired at them but failed to hit them, because they
dived.


Flight of Zulu women and children to lnhlazatshe.-Zulu boys
playing at war in eamest.-English overtures of peace to the
Zulus.-Termination of hostilities.-Cetshwayo taken prisoner.
-Causes which led to his fall.-Amehlo kaZulu, son of Sihayo,
gives himself up.-The author returns home with his people to
I sandhlwana.
Soon we saw a very great smoke.35 01 We flung away the clothes which we
had taken at Isandhlwana. We thought, perhaps we shall be put in prison
by the white men on account of the clothes which we are wearing! We
went to Inhlazatshe.36 We stayed there awhile. The people hated us because
we dwelt with Sihayo,37 that ferocious man; for once upon a certain occasion
he destroyed them. They hated us cordially. They thought to kill us. But
since we had a few warriors with us who guarded our cattle, they feared,
saying, 'We are not able to destroy the people of Sihayo, for they will kill
us every one!' They said we had better be off and go clean away. We
departed. They captured some sheep belonging to certain of our people,
but just the boys alone went for them, and taking them away returned with
them. I was there too and the other small boys, all of us being armed with
big stones. We went on. We reached the bush at Isihlungu, we entered


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
into a huge hyena's cave in the face of the rock; the kraals of our people
were near.38 Our party obtained food from thence. Now it came to pass
after a few days that our boys fought with the boys of another place. They
quarrelled with respect to water, for as one of our boys went to fetch some
water, the [aforesaid] boys caught sight of him, and seizing him soused
him with water. All our fellows were furious, but the other boys despised
us, saying, 'O! [you're] only babies!' Our fellows marched up from the
forest, but the big boys [of our party] were but three, together with us little
fellows. They on the other hand were all biggish boys and many in number.
Yes, and the young men of our place turned out. They said it was fitting
that we should give them a tremendous thrashing. The young men too
belonging to those boys came to behold, and the girls from those boys' place
attended also to look on. We sat down we boys, our big fellows taking
position on our flanks in order to repel the 'horns' [of the enemy's army].
Presently up they came, desiring to lay into us; but we for our parts had
devised a stratagem, to wit that the little boys should raise a hullaballoo
crying, 'Huzu! Huzu! Kweza yona! Kweza yona!' [Here it comes! Here it
comes!] They arrived. We sprang to our feet simultaneously, and yelled,
'Huzu! Huzu! Kweza yona!' We kicked up a terrific row; they fled. They
returned again, and we fought. But as for a certain boy whose name was
Usanyongo, we got him into our midst. We thrashed him terribly, the small
boys simply taking their fill of him and crying, 'Take that! And that! Here's
into you!' He sang out, 'O! Are you just thrashing me, I being all alone,
our fellows having already run away?' He broke away by a violent effort
and fled. We drove them along [like cattle] by a single path. Their sisters
wailed. There was present one of our boys, an exceedingly ferocious fellow.
We called him 'He-that-bellows-and-all-fight, the little bull of Nomatukume
zana.' O! We worried them finely! We went forward-our young men
headed us back. We sang a triumph song proper to boys, to wit, 'We boys!
We boys! Ah! just look out for us! We boys! We boys! Ah! just look out
for us!' and, 'We are the Thrashers-till-their-sisters-cry!' We detested them
heartily. On another occasion we sat down by the river from which they
drew their water. We hindered them exceedingly. They feared to approach.
And look you, from that day to this they have never begun with us. At
another time we chased them like deer.
Now after a few days some white men arrived. They came to entreat
the people kindly. They offered a letter to them, showing it while remaining
some distance off. But our brother, arming himself with a huge assegai
(Uzimvu, his name, is a mad-cap fellow of the Kandempevu regiment) just
went to them carrying the assegai. O! but the white men didn't bargain
for that. They retreated a little on seeing the assegai. They ran the finger(28)
round and round the head, saying 'Come man!' Our people refused-the
soldiers retreated and departed. Our people followed them till they reached
the tents. There they talked with the officer in command of the troops
(The Bearded One' they called him). He gave them papers, telling them to
go to their homes and live there peaceably.
We went home. Our father went to Isandhlwana and all his people. He
returned again, our father did, to his kraal at the Umhlatusi. I and Umali
and another of our brothers stayed there for a long time together with our
father and the two girls who cooked our food.


A Zulu Boy's Recollections
We heard it said that they had just captured Cetshwayo, he having been
betrayed by the people."" By this time the people were sick of war. And
he too, Cetshwayo, having put numbers of them to death, they had no
longer any appetite for him; [on the contrary] they were now regarding
him with a dangerous [lit. red] eye.40 He perished, remembering the saying
of a young man of Sihayo's tribe-Umtwalo by name. Long ago he killed
him. He was dancing, and Cetshwayo ordered them to leave off. But he-he
went on dancing. Said the king, 'Let him be seized.' He was seized; his
arms were twisted and bound behind his back. The order was given, 'Let
him go away and be killed.' Then said he, 'Notwithstanding that you kill
me, you shall see the white men-they will come.' And in very truth they
came. And look you; now they have it all their own way. They marched
away with Cetshwayo.
Next they proceeded to hunt Amehlo kaZulu (29), but Amehlo kaZulu
delivered himself into their hands, carrying his gun. They sought to kill
him, but they feared. The order was given, 'Let him be taken to Maritz
burg to have his case tried.' They bound him, he being mounted on
horseback. They arrived. They were beaten by Amehlo kaZulu's case.
The order was given, 'Let him return and go to live at home with his own
people.' So he lived happily.
We returned, we and our father to Isandhlwana. I returned first,
travelling together with our brothers. I went with the many cattle of our
people. Our father came up from the Umhlatusi. Umali was weary and
our other brother too. They got home; both our brothers were tired out.
Umali recovered. Our other brother was ill for a long time; after a while
he died.

NOTES
1. 'sweet cane', a plant ('imfe') the stalk of which resembles that of Indian corn
(mealies), and contains a sweet juice; the natives are very fond of chewing it.
2. "little bits of a rag", a playful allusion to the clothing of the white people.
3. 'Kafirs', a contemptuous term applied by the Zulus to the Natal natives.
4. 'barrel-headed'. The word translated here as 'barrel' really means 'a little milking
vessel', which is shaped like an elongated barrel.
5. 'dry mud', i.e. dry manure, used for heating the earthen vessel in which the native
beer ('utshwala') is brewed. This operation is always conducted out of doors. Hine
illae lachrymae! for the heap of convenient missiles is irresistible.
6. 'you shall see me', &c., a common Zulu threat.
7. 'tIhe wild beast of the blanket', apparently a 'slang' phrase. Whether it means
that the narrator was like a lion in the toils, or else that the blanket was in loco
leonis to him, is not clear to the translator.
8. 'Mr Fynn's' then the magistrate at Umsinga in Natal, some twenty-five miles from
Rorke's Drift by the waggon road.
9. 'The Usutus.' Generic name of the people of Cetshwayo. Hence the Zulu war cry
'Usutu!'
10. 'horned', referring to the 'horns' or wings of the Zulu army.
11. 'It is not,' &c. The impersonal pronoun expressing the greatest contempt.
12. ·even as tobacco,' &c. The Zulus mix burnt aloes ('umhlaba') with their snuff
('ugwai') to make it more pungent. Hence the similitude.
13. 'the Amatutshane hill', a conical hill standing alone in the plain, facing the English
camp, and about a mile from Isandhlwana hill.
14. 'long ago,' &c. 'Iziqoza' is the tribal name of the people of Umkungo and
Umbulazwi, Cetshwayo's brothers. The tribe was decimated in battle and driven
out of Zululand by Cetshwayo, Umbulazwi being slain. This was 'long ago,' i.e.
during the lifetime of Umpande, Cetshwayo's father.

Page 14
A Zulu Boy's Recollections
19
15. 'Usikota.' This incident was related to Uzibana, father of the narrator, by Usikota
himself, after the conclusion of the war.
16. 'Somseu', the name given by the Zulus to Sir T. Shepstone.
17. 'carrying a black and white shield.' Only certain privileged persons were allowed
to carry shields of this colour.
18. 'you are telling lies", lit. 'you are with lies'.
19. 'the Ingwebini river,' close by Isandhlwana, on the Ingqutu range.
20. at 'Jim's'. The house at Rorke's Drift is called by the Zulus 'Kwa Jim' (at Jim's,
after the original settler, 'Jim Rorke'.
21. 'it dies at the entrance', 'it', i.e. the regiment; at the entrance 'iguma', 'little spot
fenced in with reeds before the entrance of a hut' (Colenso's Dict.).
22. they, i.e. the dead.
23. 'you will be trodden', lit. 'you have been trodden', &c.
24. 'Good day', the literal Zulu is 'We have seen you'.
25. 'the fighting', lit. 'the army'.
26. 'Umzila', better known, I think, to English readers as the 'robber-chief' Umbelini.
27. 'Report says', possibly referring to the 'hedge of steel'.
28. 'They ran the finger', &c., i.e. to signify that they wanted to speak with a 'head-ring'
man, a grown-up warrior.
29. 'Amehlo kaZulu', a son of Sihayo, whose lawless conduct is said in a great
measure to have brought on the war.
SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES
1 Emahlabatini (emaHlabathini), on the middle reaches of the White umFolozi, was.
where many of the principal royal homesteads and military settlements were estab
lished.
2 Sihayo kaXongo, Qungebeni chief and one of Cetshwayo's principal izinduna, lived
close to the Buffalo (umZinyathi) river near Rorke's Drift. A raid by certain of his
sons to capture women who had fled into Natal was one of the 'incidents' for which
the British High Commissioner, Sir Bartle Frere, demanded reparation in the
ultimatum presented to the Zulu on 11 December 1878. The fight at Sihayo's took
place on 12 January 1879, and was the first engagement in which Chelmsford's
centre column was involved after the commencement of hostilities on 11 January.
About 30 of Sihayo's men were killed, and a large number of cattle seized by the
invaders. Chelmsford lost three men of the Natal Native Contingent. (See: Sir
Reginald Coupland, Zulu Battle Piece, London 1948, pp. 60-1)
3 Ma1agata (Malakatha) mountain lies south of Isandhlwana (isAndlwana), between
the confluence of the emaNgeni and umZinyathi rivers.
4 Esipezi (isiPhezi) mountain lies to the east of isAndlwana.
5 This is the only known reference to the 'Bongoza' regiment. Thc name may be a
corruption by Swinny of an expression referring to a contingent of armed men of
the Mpungose people, who Jived just to the south of the upper reaches of the
umHlatuze river, i.e. in the locality to which the informant and Ihis companions had
moved.
6 The Equdeni (eQudeni) hills lie in the angle formed by the confluence of the
umZinyathi and Thukela rivers.
7 Matshana (Matyana) kaMondise, Sithole chief, lived near umSinga on the Natal side
of the umZinyathi until 1858, when he fled to the Zulu kingdom after resisting arrest
by a force under J. W. Shepstone. In 1879 he was Jiving in the emaNgeni valley
south-east of isAndlwana. On January 21. the day before the battle of isAndlwana,
Chelmsford gave orders for a reconnaissance in Matshana'.s territol1:, and a skirmis!J
followed in which some 80 of Matshana's men were kIlled. It IS probably thIS
incident that is here referred to. (See: Donald R. Morris, The Washing of the Spears,
London 1966, p. 340)
8 Iziqosa {iziGqoza) was the name used to identify the supporters of Mbuyazi,
Cetshwayo's half-brother and rival in the succession dispute that came to a head
at the battle of enDondakusuka, fought near the Thukela mouth in 1856. The
triumph of Cetshwayo's uSuthu forces in that stru&g~e resulted in large numb~rs
of iziGqoza fleeing to Natal. Thereafter, the name IZlGqoza tended to be applied
to any Zulu who had 'gone over' to the white people or had settled in Natal.
9 Amangwana may be a reference to the Natal Native mounted levy rais~d by the
ernaNgwaneni chief, Zikhali. Colonel A. W. Durnford of the Royal Engmeers was
given command of the 1st Regiment of the Natal Native Contingent, which included
Zikhali's Native Horse.
10 The Kandempemvu (uKhandempemvu) was formed c. 1868 of men born c. 1848.
11 Usikota (Sikhotha) kaMpande, a half-brother of Cetshwayo and a full brother of
the latter's rival, Mbuyazi, was one of the Tzigqoza who fled to Natal after the
battle of enDondakusuka.

Page 15
20
A Zulu Boy's Recollections
12 The 'neck' refers to the col between isAndlwana and the stony hill to its south.
13 Capt. George Shepstone, fourth son of Sir T. Shepstone, was killed while trying to
keep open a line of retreat for the troops surrounded at isAndlwana. (See: R. E.
Gordon, Shepstone, Cape Town 1968,p. 279)
14 The incident here described is the return to isAndhlwana in the late evening of January
22 of Chelmsford and the troops who had been deployed to the south while the
battle was being fought. (Cf. the descriptions of this incident in Coupland,. op. cit.,
pp. 99-100, and in A. F. Hattersley, Later Annals of Natal, London 1938, pp. 148-9)
1.5 Cf. Coupland, op. cif., pp. 100-01 and 111, and Hattersley, op. cit., p. 149.
16 Mbozankomo appears to be a cognomen for the uThulwana or amaMboza regiment
(formed c. 1854 of men born c. 1834) which was part of the uNdi corps at
isAndlwana. The main body of the uNdi lagged behind the other Zulu regiments
when the battle began. During the course of the fighting, they circled around isAndl
wana and moved on to Rorke's Drift. (See: Morris, op. cif., pp. 363 and 399-400)
17 The Encome (iNcome) river was crossed on 10 January 1879 by the left flanking
column under Brig. Gen. H. EvelYll Wood.
18 Ezungeni (eZungeni) is the most westerly of a chain of three prominent flat-topped
mountains in north-western Zululand.
10 Ubisi may be a cognomen for the amaQungebe, whose name, according to A. T.
Bryant, derived 'from the trick amongst their men of making their amaSi (sour
curds) out of other people's milk'. (See: A. T. Bryant, Olden Times in Zulu/and and
Natal, London 1929, p. 130). uBisi is the Zulu word for milk.
20 The action here referred to was probably the skirmishing of the left flanking column
under Wood, which, after encamping at Nkambule hill some 25 kilometres south
west of Zungeru at the end of January 1879, spent much of its time harassing the
Zulu in the neighbourhood.
21 Hlobane is one of the Zungeni chain of flat-topped hills. The 'march to Hlobane'
probably refers to the advance of a large Zulu impi which Cetshwayo despatched
against Wood's column towards the end of March 1879.
22 A force under the command of Major Redvers Buller 'ascended Hlobane on the
night of 27-28 March. During the ascent there was a thunderstorm.
2:l Umzila (Mbilini) kaMswati, a Swazi prince, had settled south of the Phongolo in
the reign of Mpande. From this position he raided his Boer and Swazi neighbours.
One of Frere's demands in the ultimatum of 11 December 1879 was that Mbilini
should be surrendered for trial by the British authorities. When the war commenced,
Mbilini was joined by the sons of Sihayo, whose surrender had also been demanded
in the ultimatum. On the night of 27-28 March, the Zulu army was encamped to
the south-east of Hlobane, which was one of Mbilini's strongholds.
"I Untshingwayo (Ntshingwayo) kaMahole, Khoza chief, was one of Cetshwayo's
principal izinduna; Umnyamana (Mnyamana) kaNgqengelele, Buthelezi chief, was
Cctshwayo's premier induna.
eo During the reign of Shaka the lands in the vicinity of Hlobane had been placed
under the authority of Shaka's Junt, Mnkabayi, whose homestead was named
ebaQulusini. Thereafter, it was customary to refer to the people of the locality as
the abaQulusi.
26 The action here referred to was the battle fought at Wood's camp at Nkambule on
29 March 1879.
27 Cf. the brief account of Trooper Henri Grandier's experiences in D. Morris, op. cit.,
pp. 504-5.
"8 The narrative in the preceding paragraphs seems to be based on a conflation of two
separate incidents. The first occurred in the early hours of the morning of 12 March
1879, when a small British force encamped at Myer's Drift was attacked by Mbilini
and suffered heavy losses. The second incident occurred four weeks later, on 5 April,
when Mbilini and his men were surprised while raiding cattle near Luneberg. In the
ensuing skirmish Mbilini was fatally wounded. According to C. Vijn, the son of
Sihayo who was killed while fighting with Mhilini was Nkumbikazulu, but this is
disputed by I. W. Colenso. (See: C. Vijn, Cetshwayo's Dutchman, London 1880,
pp. 40 and 124)
29 The Emtonjaneni (emThonjaneni) ridge lies to the south of the middle reaches of
the White urnFolozi. It was occupied by Chelmsford's 2nd Division on 28 June 1879.
30 Dabulamanzi kaMpande was Cetshwayo's ful! brother.
3 [ Ondini (uluNdi), on the emaHlabathini plain north of the middle reaches of the
White umFolozi, was Cetshwayo's principal residence.
32
Nodwengu, situated on the emaHlabathini plain about 5 kilometres from uluNdi,
was one of Cetshwayo's major military settlements.
33 The battle of uluNdi commenced at approximately 8.45 a.m. on 4 July 1879. By
10.00 a.m. the Zulu lines had broken, and a series of running battles were in
pror,ress in which the retreating Zulu were harried by Chelmsford's forces. By midday,
the fighting was over.

Page 16
21
A Zulu Boy's Recollections
34 The legend that the British fought at uluNdi behind a fortress of sheet iron spread
widely through Zululand after the war. It may derive from stories about the 'band
of steel' that appeared to encircle the British lines after the order to fix bayonets
had been given.
35 uluNdi and the other principal royal homesteads and military settlements on the
emaHlabathini plain were burnt by the British after the battle.
36 Inhlazatshe (iNhlazatshe) mountain lies to the west of the emaHlabathini plain.
37 i.e. had their homes at isAndlwana in Sihayo's area of jurisdiction.
38 Isihlungu (isiHlungu) lies to the south-west of iNhlazatshe near the upper reaches of
the umHlathuze river, and is within a day's walking distance of isAndlwana, where
the informant's home was situated.
39 Cetshwayo was captured in the eNgome forest on 28 August 1879.
40 For a different assessment see J. Y. Gibson, The Story of the Zulus, Pietermaritzhurg

Source: Natal Society Foundation 2010
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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A Zulu Boy's Recollections of  the Zulu War  INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER Empty
PostSubject: Re: A Zulu Boy's Recollections of the Zulu War INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER   A Zulu Boy's Recollections of  the Zulu War  INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER EmptySun Mar 28, 2010 11:00 am

Very enjoyable 24th thanks for the post. Idea
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A Zulu Boy's Recollections of the Zulu War INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER
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