Fair use notice.
This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner.
We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website.
If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Subject: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:49 pm
I have my doubts about the bravery with regards to the Zulu. I based this on the drugs they took before battle. Do you think if they hadn't taken the drug, they still would have charged head on into an army with far superior weapons ?
Yes. The Zulu use of drugs is rather more complex than the Secrets of the Dead documentary implied. As Tony Pollard put it, ‘we wanted to make a documentary about battlefield archaeology but the production company wanted to make one about drug-crazed Zulu warriors!’ There’s no doubt that Zulus did inhale or swallow their protective medicines on going into battle, but these usually only included a small active ingredient, namely cannabis. Native South African cannabis is quite strong (I’m told!!) and can make you quite edgy - in an excited group like an impi going into battle it would have served as a mood enhancer, making the group as a whole more excited and aggressive. But the importance of these medicines was largely psychological - they encouraged the warriors to believe that they were bound by unbreakable spiritual ties to their comrades, that they would overcome their enemies, and that harm would pass them by. The physiological effect on the vast majority of the warriors was very small, yet time and again across Zulu history, whether it be at the battle of the Thukela against the Port Natal settlers in 1838, at iSandlwana or Khambula in 1879, or at Bope Ridge in 1906, they went forward into a swathe of destructive fire with remarkable resolution. In fact - and in fairness I’m not sure the programme made this quite clear - the use of more powerful stimulants was largely confined to a very small group of men who enjoyed a reputation as warriors of particular note, the so-called abaqawe, or heroes - the Zulu hard men, if you like, who staked their reputations publicly before the fighting on the great deeds they were going to achieve, and then had to live up to it! It was these guys for whom a little chemical stimulation gave them that extra edge!
The above from the excellent Ian...
Yes cannabis, but what else..? Native ( native as. locale resource) Dagga. " the use of more powerful stimulants" what are they, i read somewhere that the dreaded lysergic was used..any ' heads ' out there with a view. i always regarded weed as lethargic and sophorific and not at all inducing aggression. cheers xhosa
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Mon Oct 07, 2013 9:22 pm
The mixture for the hardcore. Don't think we will ever know. Red Dust!!!!!
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:29 pm
very good ctsg. " red dust" maybe containing.. Lysergic Acid Diethylomide? explaining maybe. hallucinogenic accounts.ie, they looked like red monkey's ( the British red coats ). it is likely as you say, we will never know. cheers xhosa
Posts : 7077 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:42 pm
I bet somewhere in someone's attic. Where a veterans zulu war soldier lived. Is an old zulu snuff box / pouch. Picked up from one of the battlefields, which contains a red dust
Posts : 7786 Join date : 2009-09-21 Age : 74 Location : Cape Town South Africa
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:30 am
As usual theres a counter argument for everything. If the impi had time to do the 'medicine' it would mean that they were preparing to attack, therefore the attack on the 22nd was deliberate. If the impi was disturbed and didnt intend to attack on the 22nd they wouldnt have been talking to the Sangomas?
One or the other: Drugs = deliberate attack No Drugs = forced attack.
Interesting one guys, which way are you going to go?
Posts : 2558 Join date : 2009-04-06 Age : 58 Location : UK
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:25 pm
It's possible that one element of the Zulu army did take the enhancing drug, as stated by Ian Knight.
Subject: What were the zulus 'on' at iSandlwana. Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:10 am
I like your line of thought there mate, and it does make you wonder about it.
If they had already started, and were still in the process of 'drugging up' when they were discovered, then I would think that they intended to attack on the 22nd.
It would be very interesting to read what other members think about this.
Nice one Frank mate.
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: What were the Zulu's ' on ' at Isandhlwana. Wed Oct 09, 2013 1:27 am
Would they have attacked without doctoring ?
"Strengthening the Army,(Doctoring). Like all primitive nations the Zulus were most susceptible to superstitions and fear of the mysterious or unknown. Never afraid of the normal, they were completely cowed by the abnormal. It is true that Shaka, with greater prescience than that shared by his countrymen, had seen through the machinations of some of his witchdoctors (isAngoma, isAnusi) and had publicly exposed them; yet he believed like everybody else in the effect of rituals and 'medicines', and he was fully aware also that despite what little intrinsic potency they might have, they had an immensely powerful psychological effect on his warriors and were therefore of value in conditioning them for success and victory. The more powerful one's own medicine was believed to be, the greater the confidence of defeating the enemy. This belief in prowess and invincibility through supernatural means and protection, coupled with their discipline and special tactics, worked wonders when the Zulus met their enemies on what were otherwise about equal terms; but it had disastrous results when they charged opponents armed with firearms in the utter belief that their properly doctored shields were impenetrable to assegai - or bullet!
Space does not permit the consideration in detail of the normal practices of 'doctoring'; but, basically, they comprised three aspects: the 'doctoring' and protection of the individual, the 'doctoring' or strengthening of the army, and lastly, the cleansing ceremonies after the battle. No warrior would go to war unless he had first visited his home to solicit the protection of his ancestral spirits, to fortify himself with certain charms such as a piece of skin of a hedgehog, or the bulb of a certain kind of iris, and to refrain from eating certain foods which were believed to cause loss of courage, such as amaDumbe, the marrow of any animal, fish or birds.(16)"