" Dinizulu, king of the Zulus, c.1910 "
Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (1868–1913) was the king of the Zulu nation from 1884 until his death in 1913. He succeeded his father Cetshwayo, who was the last king of the Zulus to be officially recognized as such by the British. In 1890 Dinuzulu was exiled to the island of St Helena for seven years for leading a Zulu army against the British from 1883 to 1884. In 1906 he was accused of treason against the British government, found guilty and sentenced to four years in 1908. In 1910 General Louis Botha became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, and ordered his release. He died on a farm in the Transvaal in 1913.
On state occasions, Dinizulu wore a necklace about 12 feet in length. It consisted of 1,000 or more wood beads, made from a South African yellow wood and strung on a rawhide lace.
" He had fought at Isandlwana "
Isandlwana, Kwazulu Natal. The rockpile marks the location of a British mass grave - Credit: RAM
The Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 was the first major encounter in the Anglo Zulu War between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom. Eleven days after the British commenced their invasion of Zululand in South Africa, a Zulu force of some 20,000 warriors attacked a portion of the British main column consisting of about 1,800 British, colonial and native troops and around 400 civilians.
The Zulus were equipped mainly with traditional assegai iron spears and cow-hide shields, but also had a few muskets and old rifles. The British and colonial troops were armed with the latest breech-loading rifles and artillery pieces.
Isandlwana Zulu Memorial - Credit: RAM
Despite Britain's huge advantage in weapons technology,
the numerically superior Zulus overwhelmed the British force. The British lost over 1,300 troops, and the Zulus around 1,000. The crushing defeat suffered by the British at Isandlwana resulted in a much more aggressive, heavily reinforced second invasion, which saw the destruction of any hopes of a negotiated peace.
The battle is described in Johnny Clegg’s epic song, Impi. For Clegg's Asimbonangaa music video featuring Nelson Mandela live on stage, click here.