The extract below is taken from part three of a three-part letter written by Cetshwayo and published in the Natal Witness 20th, 21st and 22nd July 1881
The title for the letters is "Origin of the Zulu War. Cetywayo's own statement."
At the beginning of the first part, it states :-
“The following statement addressed to His Excellency Sir Hercules G.R.R. Robinson G.C.M.G. Guvernor of the Cape Colony and Her Majesty’s High Commissioner, taken down in Zulu from his own lips and translated by the Interpreter, Mr R.C.A. Samuelson, has been copied by desire of Cetywayo for the Bishop of Natal: - Oude Molen, April 11, 1881”
I’m sure all three letters from the Natal Witness have been produced elsewhere but I have shown this part as it contains some very interesting details about the beginning of the battle that seems to contradict the theories that the army was already starting to deploy early in the morning of the 22nd without provocation from the British.
These are Cetshwayos words :-
“Now a boy Mjulela son of Klass, came and said ‘Yesterday afternoon the troops were at Isipezi, but they are now stationed at Isandlwana’ I told Ntsingwayo who was at the head of them, not to attack the English at once, but to try to have a conference, and to send some chiefs to ask the English why they were laying the country waste and killing Zulus, when they had plainly said that they entered the country not to fight, but to talk about the settlement.
Well! The Zulu troops travelled two days, and on the third they reached the Innqutu hill. Here they encamped, and the officers of the different regiments assembled in order to come to an agreement as to which Chiefs they should send to confer with the English about their proceedings forasmuch as they (the English) had said that they were entering the country not to fight, but to settle matters by words and not by arms. During this time the different regiments had sent out foragers to bring in food. That same night that the Zulu troops took up their encampment at the Innqutu, the English, who had in the afternoon fired at Zibebu’s column, fired at the hut in which Mavumengwana was sleeping, and in which the chiefs had been consulting in the evening. When day dawned, my Chiefs were consulting about sending to the English before they fought. But suddenly they heard the roar of cannon, and saw the smoke and dust rising to heaven, and our foragers rushing back to our camp and saying that the cavalry was near. Then the Chiefs knowing that the work of death was on, broke up the council, and went to their several regiments. The troops then moved up a little hill and when they came to the top, they met the English troops and fought at Isandhlwana. In the morning the General fought with part of my troops and overthrew them. At the abaQulusi [Kambula], my men were beaten and lost many. At Ewombane down at Gingindhlovu my troops fought and were overthrown; the regiment that fought here was the Umpunga.