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Lord Chelmsford Said .Buller is ‘one of the finest soldiers of the century’, so modest and reticent –that it was difficult to say for what individual deed he had got the Victoria Cross as he had been doing acts worthy of it all along the line
 
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» One of the lesser-known stories. It took place around the same time as Isandlwana.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Does anyone know the source.   Does anyone know the source. EmptySun May 17, 2009 9:04 pm

I came across this while going through some scrap books, that I have had for a while. The problem is I don’t know where this text came from,
I must have kept it for a reason but, my memory must be failing me. So if anyone recognises this please put me out of my misery.


"The British watched in awe as twenty- five thousand Zulu warriors stepped over the skyline and began to advance, chanting all the while, and stopping every so often to stomp the ground in unison, sending a tremor through the earth that could be felt for miles. The Zulu regiments, were armed with short stabbing spears, ixlwa, a word you pronounce by pulling your tongue off the roof of your mouth, a word that deliberately imitates the sucking sound made by a blade when it's pulled out of human flesh.

As the warriors advanced, he says, their places on the ridge above were taken by thousands of Zulu women, urging on their army in the traditional way by ululating, an eerie high- pitched keening that filled the air.

The Black Mamba regiment was cut down by withering gunfire until,after nearly two hours, the force "was as small as a sparrow's kidney," and the remaining men were on their bellies, taking cover. Nkosani, seeing what was happening, strode up to the front line, dressed in all his princely paraphernalia - his ostrich plume headdress and his lion claw necklaces - and berated them. Electrified by his example, the young warriors leaped up and again surged forward, overwhelming the men of the British line, even as Nkosani was felled by a British sniper with a single shot to the head.

And in the final stages of the battle, when the handful of surviving British soldiers had run out of bullets, a most unusual event occurred. The moon passed in front of the sun, and the earth grew dark, like night. And the Zulu impi stopped their killing while this eclipse took place. But when the light returned, they resumed the bloodletting.

The warriors,having overrun the main British camp, dashed from tent to tent mopping up the stragglers - the cooks and the messengers and the drummer boys - until they crashed into one tent to find a newspaper correspondent sitting at his campaign table, penning his report.

"They said to him, 'Hau! What are you doing in here, sitting at a table? Why aren't you out there fighting?' And this man, he was a local white who could speak some Zulu, he said, 'I am writing a report on the battle, for my people.'

"'Oh,' they said, 'all right.' And they left him.

"But soon afterward, when they heard that Nkosani had been shot, they ran back to the tent and said to the journalist there, 'Now that our induna [leader] has been killed, there is no point in making a report anymore,' and with that they killed him."

At the end, according to the few British soldiers who escaped, the Zulus went mad with bloodlust, killing even the horses and the mules and the oxen. They disemboweled each dead British soldier so that his spirit could escape his body and not haunt his killer. And if an enemy soldier had been seen to be particularly brave, the impi cut out his gallbladder and sucked on it, to absorb the dead man's courage, and bellowed, "Igatla!" - "I have eaten!"

And that night the battlefield fell quiet, a great wail was heard from the retinue of the Zulu women, as they mourned their dead. And this wail moved like a ripple through village after village until finally it reached the Zulu capital, Ulundi, fifty miles distant."
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ADMIN

ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone know the source.   Does anyone know the source. EmptySun May 17, 2009 10:14 pm

Hi CTSG
Your text comes from (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa By Peter Godwin) However its does appear your article as some text missing See full text below..

I am on assignment in Zululand for National Geographic magazine when I get the news that my father is gravely ill.

It is night, and I am sitting around a fire with Prince Galenja Biyela. I am sitting lower than he is to show due respect. Biyela is ninety- something - he doesn't know exactly - tall and thin and straight backed, with hair and beard quite white. Around his shoulders, he has draped a leopard skin in such a way that the tail lies straight down his chest, like a furry necktie. A yard of mahogany shin gleams between his tattered sneakers and the cuffs of his trousers. His long fingers are closed around the gnarled head of a knobkerrie, a cudgel.

"All is well," he declares.

It is his only English phrase. He speaks in classical Zulu, his words almost Italianate, lubricated by vowels at either end. His tribal acolytes start chanting his praise names.

"You are the bull that paws the earth," they call.

"Your highness," they sing, "we will bow down to the one who growls."

Prince Biyela's grandfather, Nkosani - the small king - of the Black Mamba regiment, was the hero of Isandlwana, the battle in which the Zulus famously trounced the mighty British Empire in 1879. Tonight, the old prince wishes to revel in the glory days, to relive the humbling of the white man.

He tells me how the British watched in awe as twenty- five thousand Zulu warriors stepped over the skyline and began to advance, chanting all the while, and stopping every so often to stomp the ground in unison, sending a tremor through the earth that could be felt for miles. He tells me how the impi, the Zulu regiments, were armed with short stabbing spears, ixlwa, a word you pronounce by pulling your tongue off the roof of your mouth, a word that deliberately imitates the sucking sound made by a blade when it's pulled out of human flesh.

As the warriors advanced, he says, their places on the ridge above were taken by thousands of Zulu women, urging on their army in the traditional way by ululating, an eerie high- pitched keening that filled the air.

Biyela tells me how the Black Mamba regiment was cut down by withering gunfire until, he says, after nearly two hours, the force "was as small as a sparrow's kidney," and the remaining men were on their bellies, taking cover. And how his grandfather, Nkosani, seeing what was happening, strode up to the front line, dressed in all his princely paraphernalia - his ostrich plume headdress and his lion claw necklaces - and berated them. Electrified by his example, the young warriors leaped up and again surged forward, overwhelming the men of the British line, even as Nkosani was felled by a British sniper with a single shot to the head.

And in the final stages of the battle, when the handful of surviving British soldiers had run out of bullets, a most unusual event occurred. The moon passed in front of the sun, and the earth grew dark, like night. And the Zulu impi stopped their killing while this eclipse took place. But when the light returned, they resumed the bloodletting.

Biyela tells me that night how his grandfather's warriors, having overrun the main British camp, dashed from tent to tent mopping up the stragglers - the cooks and the messengers and the drummer boys - until they crashed into one tent to find a newspaper correspondent sitting at his campaign table, penning his report.

"Just like you are now," he says to me, and his acolytes all laugh until Biyela raises his hand for silence.

"They said to him, 'Hau! What are you doing in here, sitting at a table? Why aren't you out there fighting?' And this man, he was a local white who could speak some Zulu, he said, 'I am writing a report on the battle, for my people.'

"'Oh,' they said, 'all right.' And they left him.

"But soon afterward, when they heard that my grandfather Nkosani had been shot, they ran back to the tent and said to the journalist there, 'Now that our induna [leader] has been killed, there is no point in making a report anymore,' and with that they killed him."

Biyela's men nod. I keep writing.

At the end, according to the few British soldiers who escaped, the Zulus went mad with bloodlust, killing even the horses and the mules and the oxen. They disemboweled each dead British soldier so that his spirit could escape his body and not haunt his killer. And if an enemy soldier had been seen to be particularly brave, the impi cut out his gallbladder and sucked on it, to absorb the dead man's courage, and bellowed, "Igatla!" - "I have eaten!"

And that night Biyela tells me how, once the battlefield fell quiet, a great wail was heard from the retinue of the Zulu women, as they mourned their dead. And this wail moved like a ripple through village after village until finally it reached the Zulu capital, Ulundi, fifty miles distant.

And here, Prince Biyela ends his telling, choosing not to dwell on what followed the Zulu victory. For the eclipse of the sun was a bad portent, and it drew down terrible times - the British reinforced and quickly snuffed out the independent Zulu nation. But still their spirit was not entirely doused. Their ferocity was merely curbed, and there was a sullen dignity to their defeat. It is said that before they would sign the surrender proclamation, one old induna stood and said to Sir Garnet Wolseley, "Today we will admit that we are your dogs, but you must first write it there, that the other tribes are the fleas on our backs."

Prince Biyela pauses to gulp another shot of the Queen's tears, as the Zulus call Natal gin, and the silence is jarred by a ring tone.

"uMakhalekhukhwini," says one of his acolytes - it means "the screaming in the pocket," Zulu for cell phone - and they all grope around in the dark in their jackets and bags. It turns out to be mine. I reach in to cut it off, but it's my parents' number in Zimbabwe, eight hundred miles to the north. They never call just to chat. I excuse myself.

My mother's voice sounds strained. "It's your father," she says. "He's had a heart attack. I think you'd better come home."

(Continues...)
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Does anyone know the source.   Does anyone know the source. EmptyMon May 18, 2009 6:44 pm

Thanks for that pete. But I still don't know why I kept that particular passage.
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