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 Zulu War Artifacts

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barry

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Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Port Elizabeth, Z.A.

PostSubject: Zulu War Artifacts   Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:49 am

Hi All,
I see there is much interest by forum members in acquiring Zulu war artifacts.
The main interest appears to be Zulu assegais and shields.
I am very dubious that any obtained in this day and age are the originals, and any claims by "experts" of authenticity should be treated with utter circumspection. The dearth of real artifacts is to be expected with the passage of 130+ years  taking its toll.
However for those interested in obtaining a replica which is very similar to the original, there is a solution.
There is an old Zulu  kehla named Mkize who lives deep in the controversial Dukuduku forest 25kms east of Mtubatuba ( on the St Lucia road) who is a weaponsmith practicing the age old Zulu art of  smelting down iron and reforging it in the shapes of the original Zulu weaponry. His forge is ringed with iron stone taken from the hills and his bellows a makeshift but effective  contraption made of cowhide which is pumped by an umfaan whilst work is being done. Fuel for the fire is of course carefully prepared charcoal , made from the hardwoods of the forest.
One can place orders with him for requirements and when doing so he will even enquire what you would like the haft of your chosen assegai made of  , ie usually Tamboekie or Umzimbeet  wood  ( ]Spirostachys Africana or Millettia Grandis ), the latter being very hard  wood and the former a little brittle but beautifully striated in its dark brown grain. He also offers a whole range of knobkerries (iWisa) as well.
So, for those doing the tourist thing, leave the N2 north into Zululand at Mtubatuba and travel 28kms east to the coastal hamlet of St Lucia. Mkize and his wares will be found amongst the fruit and curio sellers on the southern end of Mackenzie street in that  town.
On the way down, do not, venture into the Dukuduku forest.

regards
barry


Last edited by barry on Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:20 pm; edited 3 times in total
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90th

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PostSubject: Zulu War Artifacts    Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:25 pm

Hi Barry.
Original artifacts are still around although they are in the absolute minority , I know an expert on shields who I think knows his stuff , unfortunately for me they cost an absolute packet !  No  , Spears are harder to identify , often the blade is from the similar era , but the shafts are newer , if that makes sense ?  Very Happy   Very Happy . It's a case of looking before you buy if anyone is keen to do so .  Joker 
Cheers mate , 90th
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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Artifacts   Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:57 am

I agree with Barry that "authenticated" Zulu War assegais should be treated with circumspection. In the first half of the 20th Century huge numbers of Zulu weapons were confiscated and destroyed by the police and military, firstly after the 1906 Rebellion, and later mainly in order to reduce the bloodshed in tribal faction fights. After the mid-1950's, firearms became the weapons of choice in hunting, faction fights and in the commission of crimes, and the South African Police had a special squad tasked with the recovery and destruction of illegal firearms and other weapons in Natal and Zululand.

In the latter decades of the 20th Century, there must have been few, if any "traditional weapons" in the hands of rural Zulus that had lineages that could be traced back to the 19th Century. Even re-hafted assegai blades may not have been of great age.

I was interested to read of the Dukuduku blacksmith, because I have a set of assegais made by a Zulu blacksmith using traditional methods, but this one worked in the Bushman's River valley and my set was made in the mid-1950's.

Regards
Brett
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barry

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PostSubject: Auhentic Zulu War weapons   Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:11 am

Hi Brett,
Indeed.
That  Police weapons task force even set about measuring the size of the knob on the kerrie and if it fitted in to the possesors mouth, they were allowed to keep it. However , the faction fighters realised that there was a very quick solution to these Police curbs on their iWisa's, ie a 60mm steel nut used on railway track fishplates was even better than a 90mm wooden knob. So railway track fishplate nuts were screwed onto hardwood hafts.  
Thus evolved the super -Iwisa. These weapons were called ngwenya's ( crocodile) by the Zulus.The resulting headwounds were almost always fatal.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Artifacts   Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:17 am

I say leave them alone, if they don't have providence. There are plenty of cheap sets on eBay, that you can add to a collection.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Artifacts   Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:20 am

Barry "That  Police weapons task force even set about measuring the size of the knob on the kerrie"

Which end?
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barry

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PostSubject: Authenticity of AZW weapons   Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:30 am

The business end, that part which meets with the enemy's cranium.

regards

barry
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