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 Master's Dissertation

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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:25 pm

Hello, I am currently studying for a Masters at the University of Liverpool. My masters dissertation (in it's very early stages at the moment) will be comparing the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of the Somme in popular memory and how they came to be remembered differently. I will most likely be posting questions and other such things up on this forum from time to time and asking for help and tips on where to find good resources. I would be most grateful for your help and support, I'm so happy to find a forum on the internet that is just as interested in the Anglo-Zulu War as I am.

Thanks and hope to chat more to all of you further down the line.

Sam
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barry

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PostSubject: Welcome aboard   Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:35 pm


Hi Sam,

You have chosen the right website for help and information required to complete your dissertation.
The team who contribute to it are very erudite and perhaps the most informed group ,in the world, on this subject.
They are also very helpful and some may even offer to write part of your dessertation for you (joke).
They are located globally, from Taiwan to to Texas and everywhere inbetween ; and between them, have in their personal libraries every book ever published on the subject. Some specialise in various aspects of this war, ie medals, tactics, equipment and regiments .
Often, posing a question on the forum attracts a response at the speed of a returned email.

welcome aboard,
barry


Last edited by barry on Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:51 pm

Ask away Sam. Idea Welcome to the forum..
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90th

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PostSubject: Master's dissertation   Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:27 pm

Hi Sam .
Welcome aboard , we are all only to happy to help if we can . Idea
cheers 90th .
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:33 pm

Again, welcome aboard.

There is a thread on here you may find of interest and amusement Sam:-

Subject: Which was the biggest blunder. Wed 26 Jan - 15:25

Do enjoy the forum!
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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Thanks   Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:35 pm

Thanks very much everyone. At the moment I am trying to get together some good resources and some good general reading together on the subject of the Battle of Isandlwana. Is there any good reading you can suggest about the battle and perhaps about how it was perceived, most especially back in the UK.

Thanks for the tip 'tasker224', I found it very interesting and useful.
Thanks for the welcome barry I am very happy to know I have found a website rich in experts.

Thank You 'Saul David 1879', I have to ask, are you actually Saul David? (that may be a ridiculously silly question but if you are I can't describe how excited I am to chat haha!)

Thanks 90th, you being from Australia raises a question with me which is, how do you view the Battle of Isandlwana? Is it a great heroic battle of the British Empire? And how does the Battle of the Somme compare? Perhaps even how does the Battle of Isandlwana compare so a battle such as the Gallipoli campaign?

Just a general question just to gain some general feelings towards the battle is that, where does the overall interest in the battle come from? Is your overall thoughts of the Battle of Isandlwana one of bravery and heroism and less to do with a british defeat and more to do with British heroics? And most importantly what do you think the popular image of the Zulu War is now?

These are general questions but I need to know some answers just to head some initial thoughts and ideas as to how to carry on the dissertation. Help much appreciated :)
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barry

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PostSubject: Some AZW background   Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:53 pm

Hi Sam,
I would suggest that you start reading up the background to this epic battle.
One publication which will serve that purpose and is easy to obtain is "Zulu Victory" by Lock and Quantrill . ISBN 1 86842 214 3. Published by Jonathan Ball in 2002
These two authors have thoroughly researched their subject and have kicked over the traces and shot the holy cows.
There are many other AZW books which will need to be read, remembering that not every author uses the same prime source material and view points and opinions will certainly differ as a result.
I am sure others on this forum will now respond and give their views too.

barry
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90th

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PostSubject: Master's dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:17 am

Hi Sam .
The best way to answer your questions will be that when I saw ' Zulu ' the movie many years ago Suspect, It had an impact on me .
I saw Donald Morris's book washing of the Spears and had to buy it . A couple of years later I saw Alan Lloyd's book ' The Zulu War ' it has Fripp's famous painting of the Battle of Isandlwana on the cover , instantly I was hooked and had to buy it as well . :lol!: . I didnt really have much to do with the zulu war for many years later until we decided to buy a computer . So I'm only talking about the last 7 yrs or so when the interest has turned into an obsession as the missus would say !. Suspect Then various
web sites took over like Ebay , RDVC Forum , Medal Sites & Militaria shops etc etc . I do view Isandlwana as an Heroic action but as time and my accumulations expanded there is much more to the full story . Many mistakes on all levels of command , complacency
etc etc . Heroic action on both sides , would take a lot of guts to charge into so much firepower . Looking at the 'Somme ' I think it's
in a similar vein , as usual many mistakes emanating from the '' Top '' all the way down . Difficult to see how you can justify 60 ,000
Casualties in the first day , it seems nothing was learnt as from previous mistakes , but to be fair I'm no expert on the ' Battle Of The
Somme ' so I may be generalising . Gallipoli was also mistake riddled , but it was doomed from the outset when the Australian forces
landed away from their intended site / sites . As you may be aware they were supposed to land on a much easier terrain with little
or no mountainous obsticles in their path , but we all know what they were confronted with when they got ashore . In regard to my thoughts of Isandlwana I still go back to Charles Fripp's epic painting , I have it hanging on a wall and you always seem to find something you hadnt seen before tucked away in the picture , also the facial expressions of those who know they are about to die
seem to strike a cord with me and I would think many others as well . I would think the popular view of the Zulu War today is of
a Romantic notion , British Redcoats heavily outnumbered fighting to the last etc , Granted that was the case on several occasions
but to me that his how the war has been portrayed and not shown in the true light in regard to those in command who took it upon themselves to launch a preemptive attack on the Zulu nation , and quite frankly had no idea of what they were getting themselves into. Hope this has been of some help Sam , sorry to those who may have found it boring and long winded . :lol!: .
cheers 90th. Idea

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90th

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PostSubject: Master's dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:27 am

Hi Sam .
Forgot to mention , you most certainly must read Ian Knight's ' Zulu Rising ' ( Isandlwana & Rorke's Drift ) . If you wish to read about the 1st Column ( Eshowe ) a must read is ' Fearful Hard Times ' by Knight & Castle . The Narrative Of The Field Operations Connected
With The Zulu War Of 1879 prepared by the Intelligence Branch Of The War Office is also a must read . Along with Blood On The
Painted Mountain ( Hlobane & Khambula ) by Ron Lock. There are many others but these 4 will give you a good insight on the war.
cheers 90th. Idea
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:25 am

Hi Sam and welcome
A word of advice.

Any question you pose will have at least 5 different answers.

Have fun.

Regards
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:09 pm

Hi Sam
i would second 90th's assertion that you should read Ian Knight's Zulu Rising.
i would also echo 90th's feelings and thoughts on iSandlwana pretty much word for word. (as the old saying goes, lions lead by donkeys).
however, i would disagree over his comparison with the Somme offensive. i would challenge him, you or anyone else to suggest even with hindsight, how else one could have gone about shifting a few million Germans eastwards out of their entrenched positions, using the standard military tactics and assets of the time. my grandfather's brother was killed on 1st july 1916, and as such i have taken a keen interest in the Somme offensive. i started out thinking it was going to be like "Blackadder goes Forth" but have ended up wondering how else we could have broken through.
iSandlwana was avoidable, the Somme offensive was a deliberate assault that had to happen and the plans were approved at the highest levels. the casualties were awful obviously, but that was the price that we had to pay. the alternative was to let the Germans keep what they were in possession of, and if we had, the map of Europe would have looked very different on Armistice Day.
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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:22 pm

Thank you all very much for responses, it is your opinions and insights that are going to help me gauge the general feelings of comparison between these two battles. I too saw 'Zulu' and was instantly hooked upon the Zulu War and the 'noble' image of it that it seems to portray. Empire Magazine's 'Essay' on Zulu shows just how fantastic a piece of cinema the film is, (http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=132755).

You have given me much to think about and widen my thoughts to what I need to be thinking about in my dissertation. Also, thank you very much for the book suggestions, looks like i'll be asking for these for christmas haha!

Writing essays for different modules at the moment but I was wondering whether anyone knew of any good archives or resources where I could find reaction from the Battles of the Zulu War in Britain. Or even from the Battle of the Somme if you know of any. I would look at these after I have finished off my essay on Edward Said's 'Orientalism'.

Thanks so much for your help so far! Much appreciated!
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:24 pm

I think Zulu Victory would be one to get Idea





Cheers
DB14
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:31 pm

I'm not sure it is possible to compare Isandhlwana to The Somme, as it was fought entirely different, against a different enemy, with more advanced weaponry. However, I will say that Isandhlwana, to me, was on a personal level, as in, you could see your enemy and fought hand-to-hand, and at least stood a chance somewhat of surviving the engagement. The Somme, as with many battles then, was tragic, in that, soldiers fought in mostly deep mud and waterlogged trenches, advancing, in many cases walking, as best as possible considering the terrain, against machineguns and barbed wire, many never getting to see the enemy, either being shot, gassed or blown-up before getting very far. I find it hard to watch documentaries about WW1, as these brave men go 'over the top', perhaps as a second wave, knowing the first was annihilated just minutes before them. Isandhlwana has been compared mainly with the Little Bighorn 1876, but I think a reasonably good comparison would be Maiwand 1880. Additionally, I saw a great deal of similarity, in some areas not all, between Isandhlwana and Pearl Harbour, where a large enemy force was known to be in the area, but due to lack of reconnaissance aircraft, could not be found, ending with the U.S. Pacific fleet being attacked, with hardly any protective measures to defend themselves. The two senior commanders were also held to account for the disaster, albeit they survived the engagement, unlike Durnford and Pulliene who were killed at Isandhlwana. These are just my opinions though.
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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:43 pm

To Colin J., I am not comparing how the battles where fought per se but more how they are remembered, Somme as tragic and Isandlwana as heroic, for example, (this isn't to say that insights into how the battle's where fought similarly or differently aren't appreciated, on the contrary they are very much so).

What I am aiming for in the dissertation is to see how the narrative of the battles was made, how the focus of the Somme wasn't, as you say, the people charging over the top to their deaths but rather the overall death and destruction. Whereas the battle of Isandlwana has more accounts of individual bravery and heroism, perhaps because it was a better theatre to display them rather than just running out to be shot. I very much like the other battles Isandlwana can be compared to, Pearl Harbour is most interesting.

Thanks :)
Sam
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:09 pm

Sam, I think this goes back in time to one battle in particular in my mind, which was known as one of the most famous last stands - King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae against the Persians. The former, with a smaller force marched out to confront a massive army, hoping to hold them back at a pass. This ended in Leonidas and all his men, with other allies, being killed. This sort of heroism entered the human psyche then and still. Same as the Alamo 1836, where 100+ men held an old mission against a mexican army of several thousand, or at Camerone 1863, where 60+ French Legionnaires defended a farmhouse against 1,000+ mexicans. Other battles that happened during these campaigns tended to take a 'back seat', even though they may have been of larger scale and losses, due again to the 'public psyche' of military heroism. Later battles of WW1 were of such a massive scale, with so many casualties, that it sometimes seemed to lose the 'personal aspect' being the men involved, instead all being about 'numbers' and 'ground taken'. I've never pursued WW1 in any detail, but the sheer vastness of the subject and men participating, I found very difficult to comprehend.
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:06 pm

"Whereas the battle of Isandlwana has more accounts of individual bravery and heroism."

This is where you will need to be very careful, Sam!
The propagandist machine sprung into action after the humiliation of iSandlwana, and the military, war office and government of the day were far more keen for the British general public to read about the 11VCs won at the defence of RD, look at the heroic drawings and reports of Melville and Coghill gallantly riding to their deaths in an attempt to save their beloved Queen's colours from falling into the hands of the Zulu savages. (There is of course, one or two completely different theories as to why M and C left the battle field. One is, they had horses, were shjt scared, failed to rally the men under their command and fled).
With good research you may find comtemporary press reports of heroism and bravery and this is what the public would have swallowed up back in 1879, and quite probably, they would have felt pretty proud to be Brirish because of it.
If you want more informed, realistic, human thought on the events at iSandlwana and RD, you may want to read about Sir Garnet Wolseley's thoughts on the matter.
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Eric



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:36 am

Why don't you ask some Zulus how they remember the Battle of Islandwana. That would be interesting.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:40 am

Quote :
Why don't you ask some Zulus how they remember the Battle of Islandwana. That would be interesting

If only we could. They are the only ones that really know what happened once they got into the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:55 pm

Eric wrote:
Why don't you ask some Zulus how they remember the Battle of Islandwana. That would be interesting.

The Zulu accounts were dismissed as unreliable at the time, so why ask now?
To me, there seems to be a definite hierarchy of how reliable witness evidence was/is.

1. British officers - (the more senior, the more reliable).
2. Colonial officers.
3. British ncos and other ranks
4. Colonial ncos and other ranks
5. Native combatants
6. Zulu warriors
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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Zulu Accounts   Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:05 pm

This is an interesting idea that I had thought about impi, I would like to get my hands on some Zulu accounts but havn't the foggiest about hwere I could get them, from. Does anyone have any ideas??

Even if they aren't strictly reliable I'm sure they are still an important source that I'd need to look at in my dissertation. Also, if the Zulu accounts aren't reliable can I ask exactly why that is?

Thanks,

Sam :)
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:17 pm

Hi Sam

Get the book

Through the Zulu Country: Its Battlefields and People by Bertram Mitford

He travles Zululand in the 1880s and interviews a number of them Idea



Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:27 pm

Sam, Why aren't Zulu accounts reliable ? Imperial arrogance and mentality. They didn't even believe the Colonials most, if not, all of the time, not even accepting good advice, as per Isandhlwana. Zulu accounts, unless written down by authors of the time, were usually passed down orally through the generations, as with much of their history. However, I'll give you a better shocker, but will not mention names, but I've read it be argued by some in recent times, that present day info getting presented positively on behalf of the Zulu mindset/strategy during the war of 1879, is suggested as being 'played upon' to make their part in the campaign even more courageous and well thought out, rather than the critics of this info accepting that the Zulus had the ability to think in advance (strategy) and do for themselves (followed by unwavering action). How's that for modern day Imperial mentality ! Shocked


Last edited by Colin J. on Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:35 pm

[quote="Mastersstudent"]To Colin J., I am not comparing how the battles where fought per se but more how they are remembered, Somme as tragic and Isandlwana as heroic, for example,

hI MASTERSSTUDENT,

On the subject of the war in the british popular culture, you can read "Warrior Nation:images of war in british popular culture 1850-2000" by Michael Paris (2000) ed.Reaktion Books

Cheers.

Ymob
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:59 pm

Even if they aren't strictly reliable I'm sure they are still an important source that I'd need to look at in my dissertation. Also, if the Zulu accounts aren't reliable can I ask exactly why that is?

Thanks,

Sam :)[/quote]

Hi Sam,
i should have worded my post better.
i didn't mean Zulu posts ARE less reliable, i should have said they are CONSIDERED less reliable by authors, scholars and many people on this forum.
Tasker
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Mastersstudent



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:10 am

you guys are a goldmine! thank you!! :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:35 am

tasker224 wrote:
Eric wrote:
Why don't you ask some Zulus how they remember the Battle of Islandwana. That would be interesting.

The Zulu accounts were dismissed as unreliable at the time, so why ask now?
To me, there seems to be a definite hierarchy of how reliable witness evidence was/is.

1. British officers - (the more senior, the more reliable).
2. Colonial officers.
3. British ncos and other ranks
4. Colonial ncos and other ranks
5. Native combatants
6. Zulu warriors

He is after the idea of how the war is remembered in popular contemporary culture.
Not what the eye witness reports said. That is what we argue about here endlessly.
How we remember the AZW is well covered on all these forums where people like us ( mostly milldle aged people of Anglo Saxon extraction) post all the time. WHy does he not enquire about how the war is remembered in contemporary Zulu society. That is an important question. The Zulu warrior myth was manipulated by the apartheid regime to support tribalism and that is still a problem. Why do you not read what MAster student posted before embarking on a well worn but essentially tangential path.
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:49 am

Essential reading would be

Rope of Sand by Prof Laband
Fight us in the open by Prof Laband
Indaba my Children by Creda Mutwa.

Regards
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:31 pm

He is after the idea of how the war is remembered in popular contemporary culture.
Not what the eye witness reports said. That is what we argue about here endlessly.
How we remember the AZW is well covered on all these forums where people like us ( mostly milldle aged people of Anglo Saxon extraction) post all the time. WHy does he not enquire about how the war is remembered in contemporary Zulu society. That is an important question. The Zulu warrior myth was manipulated by the apartheid regime to support tribalism and that is still a problem. Why do you not read what MAster student posted before embarking on a well worn but essentially tangential path.[/quote]

Eric,
"He" knows what "He is after".
"He" doesn't require you to research and write his thesis for him.
"He" has joined this forum to learn, one would assume, and to bounce ideas around and off the members on here.
I am sure "He" is quite capable of filtering, sifting, taking and leaving whatever members wish to post up on here, in an attempt to help him out with his research.
On the subject of reading posts, it is obvious that you have read mine, but you have completely missed the point of it, or completely misunderstood it.
I totally agree that contemporary Zulu thoughts and writings would be a valuable part of MS's thesis, but i thought it worth pointing out to him how these have been viewed dismissively in the past, and are still are by Anglo Saxon men of a certain class.
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Eric



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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:44 pm

I think I understand your post quite well.
I also understand the post by Masters Student.
He is after how the battles are remembered not the actual details of what happened.
Just as the Americans remember the Alamo and Little Big Horn etc through the prism of Hollywood so many of us 'remeber" the AZW through the prism of the movie Zulu.
I re-iterate that the way it is remembered by the Zulus will be different.
There is quite a bit about the impact of the movie ZUlu not much on how the AZW is remembered in Zulu culture. I would think that is more interesting all round.
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PostSubject: Re: Master's Dissertation   Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:48 pm

Eric. Must say your on form tonight. Idea
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