Lieutenant John Chard:What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead Seven officers including surgeon commissaries and so on Adendorff now I suppose wounded and sick 36 fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies Not much of an army for you.
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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History

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 I was told this by a zulu guide

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Posts : 3
Join date : 2016-07-11

PostSubject: I was told this by a zulu guide   Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:10 pm

I was guided round Isandlwana earlier last year by a local guide from Rorkes Drift, he was telling me that when a young boy reached 18 years old or so he stood before his father and the elders to show respect and be given his first iklwa that would have been used before in battle.
His bull, who he had known from being a calf, is killed and skinned and the hide treated. he is made to lie down on it to have his shield measured. This makes it a perfect fit for his size. The hide would contain all the power, energy and spirit of the bull in life.

This is somewhat at odds with other sources I have read about issue of shields, has anyone else come across this.


John K
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Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: I was told this by a zulu guide   Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:02 pm

Certainly an interesting story, I would question if there where a sufficient amount of Bulls around to actually allocate to every male member of the village though.
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PostSubject: Re: I was told this by a zulu guide   Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:59 pm

Some of it is true!

"* Knight 1995 p100
"Shields were used in almost every aspect of Zulu life; there was a small shield, about nine inches by nine inches (umgabelomunye) for dancing, carried by youths when courting, and a sturdier shield, ihawu, about twenty-four inches by twelve inches, used for everyday purposes of protection, including fighting.  All these shields were made for an individual from the hides of his own cattle, and were his personal property.  The true war-shield, however, belonged to no one but the king himself.  It was kept with the amakhanda, and only issued to the amabutho when they were in the king's service.  The king's shield, therefore, was not carried lightly, and any man bearing it carried with him a portion of the king's majesty.  Indeed, a man who bore the king's shield -- as most of the male population of Zululand did at one time or another -- was entitled to respect as someone who accepted his place under the king's protection, and the obligations that were placed in him in return.
​    "The war-shield  All Zulu shields were oval in shape; the regimental war-shield was known as isihlangu (pl. izihlangu), from a verb meaning 'to brush aside'. ... The largest of them measure fifty-four inches tall by thirty inches across, although a smaller variant, about forty-eight inches by twenty-seven inches, is common.  No examples appear to have survived from the reigns of the early kings, but the accounts of early white travellers suggest that the larger type was more popular in Shaka's time. ... The later preference for a smaller variant probably had much to do with the changes in fighting techniques over the kingdom's history.  In King Shaka's time, fighting was conducted hand-to-hand, usually against a foe armed with similar stabbing weapons, and a tall, wide shield offered the very real prospect of protection.  From 1838, however, the Zulu army increasingly faced Europeans armed with firearms, against which a shield was of more limited use.  A small reduction in size was probably more than compensated by increased manoeuvrability and a lighter weight in the field."
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PostSubject: Re: I was told this by a zulu guide   Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:04 pm

I would be careful about correct information from certain guides that operate in Zululand. I won't mention any names but my guide in 2011 was utterly atrocious. I think he was making things up as he went along. A certain author was not interested what I had to say about his 'friend' when I got back to the UK. It was very embarrassing what crap he was coming out with! And he'd been able to get away with it for a good few years.
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PostSubject: I was told this by a zulu guide    Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:50 pm

Yes I've heard that many of the Guides do seem to be lacking when it comes to the facts . To put it bluntly , there aren't to many people left who actually know their way round the Battlefields , I'm talking about all of Battlefields , a lot of the local guides from what I've been told , do tend to only stick to Isandlwana & RD , and as warrior has mentioned they can be found wanting . There are only 3 - 4 I'd ever use , plus another from Dundee , unless , I was recommended another by someone whose judgement I was comfortable with .
90th Salute
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Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: I was told this by a zulu guide   Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:00 am

Fully agree. I had lunch with the Guides committee a couple of months back and the very comments you make were very apparent in the discussions. The late Ken Gillings was very pro active in trying to stop these ad hok guides spreading such rubbish.
There was a local guide who insisted on telling a group of tourists that "this was the actually window that the Zulus tried to drag Chard through."
Moral of the story is ask any potential guide if they are members of the Association. Not just registered with Department of Tourism.

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