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Lt. (Captain) J.B. Carey, 98th, Ityotozi River--
(Isandula Collection)
Military Odyssey 2016 - Zulu War Era British Encampment

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 What Wood.

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PostSubject: What Wood.   Mon May 07, 2012 11:09 pm

What wood do the Zulus use to make the shafts for their spears.
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PostSubject: Re: What Wood.   Tue May 08, 2012 10:05 am

Hope this helps;


Cheers ,

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PostSubject: Re: What Wood.   Tue May 08, 2012 11:16 am


Short Range:

Imbemba and Shield: The Imbemba axe’s blade was crescent shaped. A tang on the inside of the curve attached the blade to the handle. Some Zulu axes had an upper edge that extended beyond the end of the haft.

Unlockable Weapon: Knobkerrie (club) and Shield: The knobkerrie was a club with a large ball on top, carved from the trunk of a small tree. They are usually the length of a walking stick and were used for both hunting and warfare.

Mid Range:

Iklwa: The iklwa was the spear developed by Shaka to replace the throwing spear. Named for the sound it made when being pulled from a body, it was used more like a sword than a spear.

Unlockable Weapon: Assegai: The assegai was a long spear with a shaft made from the wood of the assegai tree. The blade was extremely sharp and the whole spear was effective at 50 yards or more.

Long Range:

Iwisa (throwing club): The iwisa was a wood club designed for war. It was carved from the densest wood available- ironwood if available. Iwisa were used whatever way would be most effective– as a club or a thrown weapon.

Unlockable Weapon: Umkhonto (throwing spear): The umkhonto was a throwing spear, originally used for hunting. The tang of the spear’s head was mounted in a medium-length hardwood shaft. It was effective up to 30 yards.


Traditional Hunting Gear: Zulu hunting gear was simple. A strip of hide was wrapped around the waist, cowhide covered the rear and common furs (monkey, civet) covered the front. Coverings above the waist were rare.

Royal War Gear: Conquistador Armor: Zulu chiefs were permitted to wear the skin of the leopard, and would wear a necklace of the leopard’s teeth. Royals would also wear beaded necklaces and bracelets to show their wealth.

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PostSubject: What wood   Tue May 08, 2012 1:41 pm

Hi Dave,

The short answer is whatever they could get their hands on, this depending on the eco zone where the Zulu's were living. But, there were two that were much favoured, ie;

1) uMzimbeet ( Milletia grandis) ;
This tree was light grey/green barked with longish dark green leaves and fairly thin spreading branches was generally to be found in the dune forests and ravines in the coastal zone, ie <1000m . This wood was yellow with a black heart and was very prone to blunting axes very quickly. The wood was extremely hard and the canopies in mature trees stood at 10-15m, but spread widely. It bears purple flowers and long dark brown seed pods, which could be heard popping loudly when fully devloped. This tree is grown ornamentally quite extensively in many Natal coastal gardens.

2) Tambotie ( Spirostachys africana):
The dark brown/red textured and oily wood was also hard, but not as much so as (1). The wood could not however be used on cooking fires as the smoke is poisonous, as is the latex. This tree was also found in the lower lying parts of Zululand, generally the bushveld areas, ie <1000m. The tree had rough, fissured grey/brown bark and had quite large trunks. Canopies stood at 6- 9m in mature trees. This wood is used oranamenatlly as well and works quite well on machines.



Last edited by barry on Fri May 25, 2012 6:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: What Wood.   Wed May 09, 2012 9:07 pm

Thanks Barry. You learn something new everyday. Salute
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