Question: Where did you sleep the night before the battle ?
Answer: In a valley behind Nqutu, to the east of the king's kraal. there are many shrubs and small rocks there,
Q, Did you see Lord Chelmsford's army leaving the camp on the day of the battle ?
A: No, We received reports of fire arms and we saw it when we returned
Q: What orders were given with respect to the attack ?
A: No orders were given at all. It was not our day. Our day was the following one; We had not planned to attack on the day of the new moon. Our intention was to attack the camp the following day at dawn, but the English forces came to attack us first.
Q: Who attacked you first ?
A: The white and black mounted troops attacked us. The Zulu regiments were all hidden in the valley I mentioned, but Umcityu (uMcijo) launched his reply from below the Nqutu and was sighted by the men of the English forces on horseback, who could see Umcityu, but couldn't see the main body of the army. They open fire and as one and the main body of the Zulu Army took form in all directions, hearing the shooting. The attention of the English mounted troops was drawn towards the few men who had responded to their action and before these men knew where the main Zulu body was, we got up and left like a swarm of bees in every direction. When they saw how many of us there were, they withdrew and the uKhandempenvu Regiment pursued them.
Q: Now tell your story.
A: The men on horseback retreated very slowly when they saw the Zulu army, while the uKhandempenvu , also called the Umcityu. chased them. The men on Horseback withdrew and dismounted four times, remounting when we were close. Our Army must have seemed numerous at all times, because we never stopped in our advance. There's a small red hill to the side of Isandlwana and there, two compaines of men on horseback confronted the iNgobamakhosi, to which I belong. Approximately the same distance from the camp as between the courthouse and fort napier, but we were high up on the slope. Some of the men on horseback had white stripes on their trousers and there were also men dressed in black , but none of the native contingent was in front of the hill. The iNgobamakhosi and Uve Regiments attacked on this side. The English force stopped to turn around and fire, but we withstood the fire: they couldn't stop us.
There is a donga on the side of this small hill in which we were stopped by their fire. I saw that they kept their horses inside the donga and all we could see were their helmets. They opened fire at us and we had to retreat with heavy losses, laying down and witing to get up again.
Q: Where were the soldiers ?
A: They were sent in several direction in compaines wreaking havoc among the Zulu. The carabineers defende a position and their fire was very dense. A long time elapsed before they were overcome and we finished witn them. When we managed to surround them, they all died together there. They threw their weapons to the ground when their ammunition had run out and then they started using their pistols, as long as the ammunition held out and then they formed a line, shoulder to shoulder and also to the rear, fighting with their knives. By then many of the soldiers had retreated from their positions from where they had shot at us and the uKhamdempenvu and uMbomambi were carrying out a great massacre. The carbineers and the others were in the area behind the camp and the soldiers were at the front. The zulu Army initially joined at the front where the soldiers were. When the soldiers retreated from the camp, they did so firing and then the Zulu intermingled with them, reaching the camp at the same time.
The two wings then fulfilled their objective at the upper part of the camp and those who were in the camp were trapped inside it and the main body of the Zulu army went to pursue and kill the soldiers. When the Zulu approached, the English continued to fire strongly up to the buffalo River. They were concentrated in the upper part of the camp and the fire was so intense that they were able to open up a large gap, such that the men on horseback were able to escape through the opening. The Zulu's attention was focused on the massacre of the men on the left part and thus did not try to close the opening. so the riders were able to leave through it. There was a great mixture of men, the Edendale Kaffirs and the rest of the whites trying to leave in the direction of the buffalo River. They made an opening through the saddle in the hill crossed the current (He was referring to the Manzimmayama stream) and reach the buffalo River, This is the stream that passes through my fathers Kraal. The rock on this side is what we call the neck: the camp was on the other side. The resistance was valiant along the Dutch road (The trail to Rorke's Drift) and the English took a long time to reach there. They killed us and we killed them. They were defencless because they had no ammuntion left and the Zulu killed them.
Q: You haven't said anything about the cannons ?
A: There was cannon firing at the place were the opening was; it was left in the field.
Q: when did you see the cannon for the first time ?
A: When all the soldiers left the camp and came to attack us headlong. One was dead next to the mules, there was a rocket and another one pulled by horses. They open fire as we came over the samll hill overlooking the camp, before we were in the camp.
Q; Didn't the Carabineers in the donga help ?.
A: Yes the carabineeers came to help and they fired in the same direction at the Zulu army near the donga.
Q: How many cannon shots were fired.?
A: The cannons fired four missle at the iNgobamakhosi and then they turned to fire at the uMbonambi. I don't know how many shots they fired, they fired very quickly, not at one, but at all three regiments. they must have fired about 10-20 times. They started firing when we were a long way off and hadn't yet reached the camp, that is willow bridge to the court house and we had to advance all that distance to the camp.
Q: Were any rockets fired.?
A: Something was going wrong witn the battery of rocket launchers. Two of the mules had climed onto an outcrop and were killed. Two mules were left, but the man was unable tpo fire. When we really saw the rockets being fired , was Khambula.
Q: Did the cannon do a lot of damage.?
A: The cannons only killed four men in our regiment: the shots went over us. When we saw the smoke of the cannon in its mouth,somebody shouted Umoya (Air) and we threw ourselves to the ground and the missile went over us, hitting behind,then after it had passed we got up againg and continued advancing.
Q: Were the Carabineers killed by the Zulu in the donga and the neck of the hill ?
A: No our aim was generally bad. When they were fighting in the donga with the police, we had to retreat, because we were suffering heavy losses. When the Carrabineers remounted, we manage to hit two.
Q: How did they manage to get far away in the donga to tents ?
A: They remounted their horses that were they had hidden in the donga with them. The Carabineers were still fighting when the men of Edendale manage to reach the camp. When the Carabineers reached the camp,
they jumped off their horses and took up a new positions; they were not successful in mounting another time. When they dismounted in the camp, they build a support and anticipated our arrival , but things
were very mixed and confusing. everything was full of smoke and dust and everybody was intermingled, Zulu, Soldiers and mounted natives; it was difficult to know who was on horseback and who who wasn't.
Q: Were the soldiers in the camp ?
A: They were out in the country at all time, returning from the front, all apart from two companies that climbed up the hill and weren't seen again until they were killed. They shot at the horns of the Zulu
army, while the chest pushed forward. the horns were also successful and before the soldiers knew it, they were all killed, not a single one escaped trying to leave the camp. They were met with the Zulu
army that was to large and they couldn't manage it: it was impossible.
Q: Did you examine the mens cartridge holders ?
A: Yes, we did look. Some had one cartridge, but most of them were empty. We didn't find many (he was talking about the paper packets each contained 10 rifle bullets). Other cartridges bags and belts were
all empty; we only found a few bags.
Q: Did the soldiers fix bayonets ?
A: I didn't see. They wouldn't have been able to; they retreated towards the wagons. They turned their backs on the oxon they were heading to the ford and crossed the neck of the hill via the wagon trail.
The wagons were uncovered and the soldiers were on either side of them.
Q: Did the two compaines of men that died fixed their bayonets ?
A: Yes. The men took up new positions at the rear. Some threw their assegais, others shot at them to advoid their bayonets, but those who dared to approched too closely were stabbed in the throat or stomach
and fell to the ground immediately. From time to time, a soldier fought against a Zulu facing him with an assegai and another Zulu stabbed him from behind. There was a tall man who left the wagon and
defended himself valiantly, maintaining his position for some time, during which we thought that we had finished off all the white people in the camp. He was shooting at the Zulu in all directions , as
quickly as he could. Initially, some of the Zulu ignored him, but in the end, he attracted their attention, because of the brave way in which he was fighting and because he ahd killed many of them. He was
the last one still shooting. He immediately hit or stabbed with his bayonet, everyone who came up to him, maintaining his his position for a long time. When I arrived, they had already removed his outer
clothing. We generally removed the outer cloting, but if we saw blood on the clothes, we felt uncomfortable with it. I think that this man was an officer; he had strips,but i didn't see his jacket. He was
unshaven. They killed him just below the Isandlwana Hill. The cannons were in the camp for a long time and Cetywayo (Cetshwayo) ordered Mtembu, who lived nearby, to go and get them and sent them to him.
Each Zulu took what he could carry, like watches and other things...
Q: How many days did the cannons stay in the camp ?
A: I think it was approximatley ten days and then they sent them up on a wagon. Only four wagons were taken for the king, but Matyana took several wagons and Sihayo took four.
Q: Did you take a lot of ammunition ?
A: Yes. Each man took what he could. The crates of ammunition were broken with rocks.
Q: Was all the ammunition used up ?
A: No. our main weapon was the assegai. Our tactics consisted in firing two or three shots and the charging rapidly. All the bodies were cut open, because if we hadn't done so, the Zulu would have inflated
like the dead bodies. I only know one case of a man whose head was cut off. I heard that the bodies were mutilated somewhere else.
Q: Where was the man with the head cut off ?
A: At the entrance to the camp, where the white people were fighting in a back formation. (He was talking about the linear position of the compaines with their backs to the mountain)
Q: Was all the ammunition used up ?
A: It's in the country; we've returned some of it.
Q: Where did you put the dead Zulu ?
A: They were buried in two grain silos in the Kraals, some in dongas and elsewhere. The Zulu died around isandlwana.
Q: When did you see the army return that night ?
A: We saw the force in the afternoon in the distance like that from here to willow bridge. The sun was setting. The main Zulu body was high up in the hills and farthest were leaving the camp.
Q: Where were you when the cannons were fired that night ?
A: I returned to the valley, where we had spent the previous night.
Q: Where were the cannons ?
A: They were both behind. One was in the donga and I didn't see the other one. We left our weapons there. A horse was killed and another stabbed, but I don't know what happened to the rest. I saw two
cannons heading for the camp with a small group of soldiers running beside them, but I don't know if they were sitting in the cart.
Q: Where did the men go back to ?
A: They went to the tents. I can't say whether they knew about the pass to Rorke's Drift or whether they managed to reach it.
Q: How many horses did each cannon have when they returned to camp ?
A: I glimpsed one of them in the donga with three horses, but I don't know where the third was.
Q: Where the four horses with the other cannon ?
A: I don't know. There were no horses with it when I saw it. I don't think they were killed. They must be in the garrisons.Some horses did not belong to the Kaffirs who were riding them, but all those
horses that were caught were killed. Many were killed in our district; only two survived. The artillery horses died.
Q: When di you return to the Battlefield ?
A: I didn't go back again until I had first been to Ulundi.
Q: Did you notice that there was a sabre in place where the Carabineers were killed ?
A: No. I saw Colonel Durnford returing from the Buffalo River. I didn't see who killed him, but when I returned, Some men from the iNgobamakhosi Regiment were taking some things and they called me over to
look at the strange character on hi arm. I'll try to find out about the sabre and if I can obtain it, I'll return it.
Q: Was the opening towards Rorkes Drift an intentional manoeuvre ?
A: Yes. because we discovered that they were killing us in large numbers and we asked the men to separate and we went after them, killing them as they ran.
Q: Who went to Rorke's Drift ?
A: The men who were fighting at Rorke's Drift did not take part in Isandlwana. They were the men of the uNdi body, which formed part of the right horn. When the camp at Isandlwana was taken, these men were
fresh and they followed the fugitives that were running towards Rorke's Drift in Natal. There was a long line running towards what we supposed was Jim's house. The other reserve regiments thought about
intercepting them by crossing the Buffalo River at the point where the Bashee joins it, on the road to Inswarele Kraal. This reserve complained that they had not had an opportunity to participate in the
battle a Isandlwana and they consequently went to Rorke's Drift to fight there. These were men with rings. I only followed the fugitives for a while: I didn't reach the Buffalo River. Those of us who had
fought at Isandlwana were tired as the English and many more of the English forces would have escaped if the reserve regiments had not risen up.
Q: Did many men died at Rake's house ?
A: oh, approximately 300.
Q: How many at Isandlwana ?
A: It's not known how many; it could be a thousand.
Q: Where there more dead at Khambula ?
A: Yes. we were completely annihilated. We began at midday and fought until sunrise.
Q: Is Dabulamanzi a good general ?
A: No, he's to impulsive. He commanded the column with the most losse at Ginsindhlova. We know that the Zulu from the coast are not good fighters. We didn't cpmplain about their bad fighting.
Taken from: The Inmortal Anglo-Zulu War,