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Major-General Sir William Penn Symons
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  Isandlwana cultural centre

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:45 pm

Although I think it illustrates part of the problem we have. They just cannot resist sticking in a picture of Michael Caine and Stanley Baker into a serious subject. It is then very easy for those who wish to pursue their own agenda to question the motivations of the protestors.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:01 pm

Since I put on a little weight around the middle my granddaughter has started calling me SirCumference.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:04 pm

Ah! Ive been told to apologise for referring to The Times as 'a local rag'. No offence intended to the 'Thunderer'
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:46 pm

Just an update, I had a meeting this week with a senior member of the Zulu Royal House and Gugu from KwaCulture.

During the course of the meeting it was confirmed that the Cultural/Affirmation Centre will not be completed in time for the 140th anniversary event. However, it is hoped that the area around the discovered graves can be solemnised and an appropriate memorial respecting all sides of the battle be erected.

To that end I have been asked in identifying all of the British and Colonial units which fought in the battle, in order that they receive due recognition.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:57 pm

Bonsoir John,
Only the units or also the rank, surname and first name of all the men of the British force who were killed at Isandhlwana?
Cheers
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:14 am

Frederic,

Only the Regiments, Corps, Departments and Ship of the British & Colonial force.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:07 am

John,
Thank you very much for your answer.
Frédéric
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:30 pm

A step in the right direction at least John - well done. The point is going to come when it is wiser to join with them in the planning so that, if it does ever come to fruition, it might at least be fit for purpose. Indignant protest is only going to alienate now, whatever we might think.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:43 pm

Steve,

If the centre does come to fruition I have already run some suggestions by the Zulu Royal House and KwaCulture.  I feel that bilateral approach would be a good move, in which the visitor chooses the path to the battle they take.  I have seen it used to good effect at a few other museums over recent years.

Hopefully that suggestion meets with the approval of the forum, I am obviously open to suggestions.

As to a possible marker for the garden of remembrance the two visitors I had with me this week were quite taken by the Afghanistan & Iraq Memorial outside of the MOD on The Embankment.  If you take a look at that, then you might see something in it that the three of us saw which would encapsulate the Battle of iSandlwana.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:34 pm

Having spent my entire working life in and around that location it's not somewhere I go very frequently anymore. So I have not seen the Iraq Afghanistan memorial in the flesh, but looking on line it is striking and I see how it might lend itself to commemorating Isandhlwana. It perhaps echoes the mountain, the cairns and two opposing forces. I can imagine the Zulu regiments listed on one side and the Imperial/Colonial on the other. Good thought.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:23 am

I got back from the battlefields last night so as at yesterday afternoon work has virtually ground to a halt. Most of the foundation digging for phase 1 has taken place but there its stopped waiting for funding. Interestingly walking around the diggings was the very obvious reasons behind the lack of trenching by the forces in January 1879. I will post some photos late of the ground conditions. less than 200 mm down its massive shale beds. Even the JCB on site has been suffering trying to get through it.
Sitting there yesterday the thought did strike me that the encroachment of the iSandlwana village along the boundaries is really an ugly site. Most of these small homes are owner built with varieties of materials used resulting in aa bit of a hodge podge. If the development carries on it would present more of a 'clean finish and view from the battlefield. I would have a concern therefore that if the development is halted the opportunity would be taken by the less formal buildings to be continued along the boundary. So the area in question will be built up, its only a question of how, and what would we prefer to see. possibly therefore a situation of the lessor of two evils.
Im pretty sure that this isn't going to win me to many friends but its an honest observation.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:38 am

Frank,

Can I ask what care and consideration has been taken regarding the unearthed graves?

As you know from our recent e-mails I was only recently made privy to the archaeological survey report.  Which I found to somewhat lacking in archaeological information, there is no mention regarding any artefacts or the ethnicity of those buried.  I have actually asked KwaCulture to provide further information, as yet my request remains unanswered.  In my opinion the report is padded out by historical scene setting which is not without error.

My concerns have been picked up by other interested parties that have been invited to iSandlwana in January 2019.  So much so that a group with a vested interest in the battle are requesting that the Cultural/Affirmation Centre be relocated before further work progresses at the current site.

With that in mind I would be most interested to see your photographs.

Regards,

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:04 am

Morning John
Ive asked Steve to post a few photos.
In terms of the known graves, the area is at present 'fenced' or rather there is a token effort, not sufficient to stop the livestock grazing on the area but that's been going on for a considerable time. The area for the first phase itself is fenced and has blue plastic attached to the fence. Security is non existent as I walked around at will.
The work done is not at a point that it couldn't be undone BUT with the top 300 mm of virtually the whole area removed there has been no attempt to see if there are any artefacts contained in that overburden. I spent some time playing around in the stockpiles without any success.
There is no archaeological representation in the area and nobody to keep a watching brief over the dig. I would regard it as unsupervised.
The point Ive made above however is that IF the development is stopped there needs to be something to replace it to stop the urban encroachment. Below the rocky ridge development has been rampant. There are quite a number of new houses since my last visit 3 months ago. That will continue if the 'palace' is stopped unless there is a fairly solid barrier, wire fencing is useless. The wire disappears rather quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:15 am

Frank's photos.

"Ive attached  few photos taken at the battlefield. The first two show the diggings and the type of ‘soil’ they are having to dig through. The third is a view showing the village encroachment and its less  ‘Pretty’ side. The last is a rather different view of the mountain. This is the area that I believe was the approach of the left wing into the camp and also over the side of the Koppie to cut of the Fugitives."
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:23 am

Yet again, thanks Steve. Salute
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Cultural Centre    Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:47 am

Thanks Frank and Steve , JY do you seriously think you'll get a reply ? , might be time to have a chat to the Major's Date !
90th Very Happy Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:59 am

Had lunch with Ros and Shane on Sunday Gary. Both send regards.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Cultural Centre    Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:30 am

Hi Frank
Thanks Mate , they are wonderful people , I have a lot of time for them .
90th Salute Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:03 pm

Frank,

Could you please annotate what the photographs are actually of, and would you mind if I shared them at all?

Gary,

I have addressed this to the Major’s (although he tells a different story) dinner date. I was told that the archaeologist concerned must have been misled by those he had consulted over historical fact. Not the first case - in my opinion - of shifting the blame for things at iSandlwana to someone who is deceased. The inference being it was a deceased member of this forum who was at fault. I was further surprised by a statement that the archaeologist had no grounding in history, a comment I found disturbing as I thought that archaeology was a science that relied on history. Equally interesting given that the archaeologist involved specialises in Khoi-San rock art dating from period prior to the Nguni influx into the area.

I have challenged KwaCulture to provide further archaeological evidence resulting from the survey, which I in my humble non-academic opinion consider to be flawed. It is that I await reply on.

I hope that clarifies things.

JY






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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:18 pm

John
e on the way
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Cultural Centre    Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:21 pm

Very Illuminating JY , I suppose we all await with baited breath . Must be something about Isandlwana , the deceased are always blamed !
90th Very Happy Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:25 pm

Bonjour John,
Please, do you know who had chosen the archeologist?
I suppose it was not KwaCulture.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:36 pm

Photos and annotations sent. John im sure I mentioned the response of the rather senior official when I mentioned the Archeologists name. For the benefit of the forum it was : "WHAT, hes a bloody rock painting man". I would add the person in question is a normally very calm lady and doesn't swear.
Frederic
I believe he was appointed by the EIA team.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:50 pm

Bonjur Frank,
Thak.
I have read two reports on this subject.
-One dated 01 June 2016:
"In terms of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations 2014, under Section 24(5), 24M and
44 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act No 107 of 1998), published in
Government Notice No. R. 982 of 2014 and Section 21 of the National Water Act (36 of 1998), the
proposed development requires a Basic Assessment Process and Water Use License Application
(WULA) to be conducted."
-The other is dated 11 february 2016 and signed by Frans Prins MA (archeology).
"A phase two heritage impact assessment and survey of the proposed Isandlwana Heritage Development identified eleven graves, or the remains thereof, on the footprint. These most probably belonged to British soldiers and Zulu warriors who were killed during the Battle of Isandlwana although all surface evidence for their presence have been removed in 1958. The individual graves and graveyard have been afforded a high heritage rating. It is suggested that a buffer-zone of 10m be maintained around these potential grave sites and that the proposed Isandlwana Heritage Development be adjusted accordingly on the footprint. The second option would be to motivate for a permit to exhume these graves but this option would necessitate an elaborate community consultation process and will be time consuming. Attention is drawn to the South African Heritage Resources Act, 1999 (Act No. 25 of 1999) and the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act (Act no 4 of 2008) which, requires that operations that expose archaeological or historical remains should cease immediately, pending evaluation by the provincial heritage agency".
The archaeologist referred  by John Young is quoted in this report.

There is another archaeological report?
Amitié
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:58 pm

That's the one Frederic.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:47 pm

Frank.
OK. Thanks.
Fred
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:24 pm

Bonjour,
The location of the graves described in the report seems to imply that those buried in the graves are probably Zulu. Several survivors (British and Zulu) told that the British casualties were few (except for the artillerymen / Lt Curling ) before the retirement (retreat).
Happy to be corrected.
Cheers
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:47 pm

Frédéric,

I have my own opinions, which is one of the reasons I have sought clarification of the ethnicity of the remains that were discovered. Also why I asked what artefacts were present, as these would assist in identification. All of this information is lacking in the report.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:08 pm

If you look at Frank's third photo it appears that the fenced off area sits pretty much on the "alternative" line of advance of the Rocket Battery (ie west of the Conical Hill). And of course of the retreat of the few survivors. Any remnants of the NNC escort presumably came that way too? Just a thought.

If the remains are buried, and are Zulu, would that not imply that they were interred by the British?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:44 pm

Steve,

The archaeological survey merely states ‘human remains’. There is no evidence of who, or what come to that, the remains belong to.

I am not prepared without evidence to accept these are the remains of ‘Zulu Martyrs’ - a phrase I have heard dropped into conversations. A Zulu friend of mine had a forebear killed at iSandlwana, his ancestor was in the Natal Native Contingent having been recruited at Msinga. A Zulu martyr to the British cause, I don’t think he would fit the bill as far as KwaCulture are concerned.

I have no doubts the remains were interred by the British.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:40 am

One thing we need to be very clear on, these are grave sites. The possibility of any remains being found is highly remote. Two cairns, higher up on the battlefield, that collapsed through erosion were very carefully moved with the ground sieved to locate any remains. Two very tiny pieces of bone were recovered and reburied. The potential was that in the two cairns were 4 to 12 bodies so the tiny fragments were miniscule in comparison to what was intered.
There is no suggestion that the 'Grave area' will be subject to any excavation so the question of any examination or investigation doesn't come into the equation. At present there are no remains or artefacts exposed.
I can vouch that the excavation presently undertaken has been without any formal process. The mounds of soil and over burden moved from the trenches has been piled for I believe future road construction purposes. I spent most of Sunday morning working on the spoil stocks looking for anything of interest and finished with 2 coke cans ring pulls. Anything that does exist in those piles will be so small as to be unrecognisable so as I agree with John that to locate something that could be forensically examined would be a first class result the prospect is highly unlikely.
And sorry John but to try and distinguish between a Masinga resident or a Nongoma resident would be a tad difficult. If, and its a damn big if, an examination did find European DNA it wouldn't amount to much at all in that the firing line has already been established as in that area ( Tony Pollards dig refers).
Fred your point on the lack of casualties in that area is taken but I would caution that approach as there are, not ten metres away, a couple of cairns.
Steve yes the traffic in that area would have been substantial, from retreating piquets, NNC, RB survivors, and of course the artillery, 24th men etc. On the subject of the artillery position itself, there is a plaque marking their position some Forty metres South. That position is wide open to speculation. It was I was told, by one who was there, decided by consensus between a group of enthusiasts, Ken Gillings George Chadwick etc. So its not based on any fact at all, rather just a "This looks about right" approach.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:19 am

Bonjour Steve and Frank,
To be honest, my hope was to be corrected.
I don't think that the survivors who told that there were few casualties before the retirement were necessary wrong.
But their testimonies (in my humble opinion) must be nuanced.
During a battle, the soldiers see only what is directly in front of them, "the tunnel of war" mentioned by an author. They do not have an overview of the battlefield.
So, it seems to me that these witnesses describe only a part of the battlefield.
In this perspective, the losses suffered by the gunners (mentionned in particular par Lt Curling) are uplifting.
The map drawn by FWD Jackson about the position of cairns on the battlefield (Hill of the Sphinx, p. 78) is also uplifting.
Ultimately, Frank's thesis about the rocket battery is a serious analysis quoted by Julian Whybra in his essay "Gunner William Taylor's Escape from Isandhlwana" and also supported by Ian Knight (Facebook).
Cheers
Fred


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:48 am

Frank,
I am surprised by your comment: "There is no suggestion that the 'Grave area' will be subject to any excavation so the question of any examination or investigation doesn't come into the equation. At present there are no remains or artefacts exposed.I can vouch that the excavation presently undertaken has been without any formal process".
According to the report written by Frans Prins, the South African's law says (Burial grounds and graves are dealt with in Article 36 of the NHR Act, no 25 of 1999), in particular,"If the graves are older than 60 years old or of undetermined age, an archaeologist must be in attendance to assist with the exhumation and documentation of the graves. This is a requirement by law".
So, the South African's law is not respected by project's instigators, including KwaCulture...Incredible!
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:06 am

Morning Fred
The 'grave area' and the current building area are next to each other. So far the grave area hasn't been touched...………...so far !
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:15 am

Frank,
Given the specificities of burial at Isandhlwana, this does not mean that other undetected graves are not located in the construction area. It is the entire construction area that must be examined by archaeologists.
For example, every month, soldiers of the First World War are exhumed in France.
Amitié
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:27 am

The remains of Alain-Fournier, the author of a mythical novel "Le Grand Meaulnes" buried by the Germans in a "pauper's grave" was found and identified only in 1991.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:28 am

Hi Fred
I would fully agree. But look at the actuall process of the treatment of bodies. The ground was far to hard to dig so remains were collected and rocks piled over them. So no actuall graves. Over the years the far out cairns were decimated by the locals looking for artifacts to sell and also for the stones to use in building. The bones that were left have been scattered or eaten away by wind and erosion. Theres nothing left there apart from a few stones.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:38 am

Idiot question. If there has been no excavation and nothing is there apart from a few stones, how do we know they are grave sites?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:38 am

Frank,
I agree with the burial parties of May and June 1879, but the funerals continued in September 1879 and during the following years.It seems to me that the bodies were then buried more carefully.
Fred
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:00 am

While I cannot speak for the soil conditions at Isandlwana, as a general rule conditions in KZN soils are not conducive to the preservation of bones. Teeth are more durable and are known from sites in the Midlands that contain calcareous nodules.
Brett
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:36 am

Steve
There are cairns shown on aerial photos from 1942 and on the Boast Map. And of course the eminent gentleman appointed by Kwa Culture has spoken.
There definitely were cairns but highly unlikely there were 'graves'.
Fred
Have a careful look at the photos and see the ground conditions, really bad for digging

Cheers
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:53 am

Frank,
You wrote: "Over the years the far out cairns were decimated by the locals looking for artifacts to sell and also for the stones to use in building. The bones that were left have been scattered or eaten away by wind and erosion. Theres nothing left there apart from a few stones [ on the project's area for the construction of the Cultural Center]".
You also wrote, "The 'grave area' and the current building area are next to each other. So far the grave area hasn't been touched...………...so far !".
Ultimately, the argument based on the possible existence of cairns can not be opposed to the construction of the Cultural Center?
Amitié
Fred
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:59 am

Seems to me this becomes more and more tenuous. I am inclined to go along with your point about the village encroaching on the same area anyway - it is not pretty, but I recognise the very real limits on what a poor local community can be expected to do on that front. Perhaps better all round to support the new structure and ensure, as per JY's suggestion, a fitting memorial to all concerned.

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:07 am

First prize Steve is to take down the existing houses and extend the protected area. But that wont happen so its more a case of looking after what is there, possibly getting the Trust on board to ban any more building would work. In lieu of that build a fitting memorial and incorporate into the battlefield itself.
Fred
Cant argue there. However the main argument is to protect the open area outside the reserve.
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:12 am

Frank,
I have understood in reading your messages on the subject that the construction of the Cultural Center was not the only threat to the preservation of the site...
Amitié
Fred
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:37 am

Its probably after the 'Lord Mayors show' (and its probably been mentioned before) but its a pity that the whole area was not designated 'grave area' based on the fact that many of the graves/burial locations have disappeared and that it is very hard (and expensive) to determine which of the remains are Zulu/British etc.

I spose in Fred's example - bodies on the western front (WW1) can be more easily determined due to lack of predation (at the time) and different soil types that do not downgrade the bones to the extent that has happened at Isandlwana.

Ta

Simon
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:56 am

After reading the message from Brett, a respected expert on the subject, it seems that Simon is right about bodies on the western front and Isandhlwana.
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Fred
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:06 pm

Surely, the whole point of the anti-argument is that the centre will be a blot on the Isandhlwana landscape and destroy any of that feeling that you are treading the same ground and are no longer in the 21st century.
Why not suggest building a huge interpretation centre across the Newfoundland Park trenches - that would improve the site no end.....or in the grounds of and next door to Canterbury Cathedral...or on the site of Custer's Last Stand...it's just so disrespectful, a cultural crime worthy of ISIS.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:33 pm

Ive had an ongoing discussion through the PM facility and I was asked what do I want from this. Its actually difficult. The area is poverty stricken, unemployment probably close to 80%. Any thought of extra jobs enlivens the population. So its damned hard to come down firmly on the righteous and say protect the ground at all costs.
The lives of the people there have to be taken into account, as of course do those that make a living out of the Tourism and those that have invested a lot of money in the industry creating those self same jobs.
To my mind as an designer, builder and amateur historian there is a win win situation. This has been suggested to the powers that be. (And discarded rather contemptuously)
Build the centre, modified so its open onto the battlefield and embraces the area rather than an external buggerance. Open the whole thing up so it can be looked through to see the hills and ridge beyond. Make it an integral part of the landscape blending in with the current area. Jobs would still be created.An aesthetic balance would have been created and the battlefield would be extended.

Just thoughts.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana cultural centre   Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:50 pm

I agree with that Frank. Julian I think you are being unduly provocative - Newfoundland Park has beautifully manicured trenches and a substantial visitor centre, it is far from the reality of the Battle of the Somme in my view. Canterbury Cathedral has become a tourist trap at exorbitant prices. Custer's Last Stand I cannot speak for.
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