Post by Bromhead24 on Dec 17, 2005 11:55:37 GMT -5
Mo seems to have vanished, But here is the "Isandhlwana Bugle" that was dug up from the battlefield supposedly in the wagon park area. I have heard the the guy was wanted by the SA authorities for being a war graves robber...
Mo, if you read this, I'm researching (or going to) that Field-Marshel HRH the Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army from 1856-1895, ordered ALL officers of the line to read the "After Action" report of Gen George Custer's defeat at the battle of Little Big Horn in an attempt to show the commanders and officers the consequence of (as noggs put it in the film Zulu Dawn) splitting your forces in enemy territory with-out knowing the enemy's disposition. It seems that Lord Chelmsford forgot to read the order...Do you have any knowledge of this?
Last Edit: May 21, 2006 9:43:35 GMT -5 by Bromhead24
Post by Bromhead24 on Jan 24, 2007 10:08:21 GMT -5
Combatants: Zulu army against a force of British troops, Natal units and African levies.
Generals: Lieutenant Colonel Pulleine of the 24th Foot and Lieutenant Colonel Durnford commanded the British force at the battle. The Zulu Army was commanded by Chiefs Ntshingwayo kaMahole and Mavumengwana kaMdlela Ntuli.
Size of the armies: The British force comprised some 1,200 men. It is likely that they were attacked by around 22,000 Zulus.
Uniforms, arms and equipment: The Zulu warriors were formed in regiments by age, their standard equipment the shield and the stabbing spear. The formation for the attack, described as the “horns of the beast”, was said to have been devised by Shaka, the Zulu King who established Zulu hegemony in Southern Africa. The main body of the army delivered a frontal assault, called the “loins”, while the “horns” spread out behind each of the enemy’s flanks and delivered the secondary and often fatal attack in the enemy’s rear. Cetshwayo, the Zulu King, fearing British aggression took pains to purchase firearms wherever they could be bought. By the outbreak of war the Zulus had tens of thousands of muskets and rifles, but of a poor standard, and the Zulus were ill-trained in their use.
The regular British infantry were equipped with the breach loading single shot Martini-Henry rifle and bayonet. The British infantry wore red tunics, white solar topee helmets and dark blue trousers with red piping down the side. The irregular mounted units wore blue tunics and slouch hats.
Winner: The British force was wiped out by the Zulu Army.
British Regiments: 2 guns and 70 men of N Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery (equipped with 2 seven pounder guns). 5 companies of 1st Battalion, the 24th Foot 1 company of 2nd Battalion, the 24th Foot Mounted volunteers and Natal Police 2 companies of the Natal Native Infantry
Account: The battle at Isandlwana stunned the world. It was unthinkable that a “native” army armed substantially with stabbing weapons could defeat the troops of a western power armed with modern rifles and artillery, let alone wipe it out.
Until news of the disaster reached Britain the Zulu War was just another colonial brushfire war of the sort that simmered constantly in many parts of the worldwide British Empire. The complete loss of a battalion of troops, news of which was sent by telegraph to Britain, transformed the nation’s attitude to the war.
The Zulu War began in early January 1879 as a simple campaign of expansion. British colonial officials and the commander-in-chief in South Africa, Lord Chelmsford, considered the independent Zulu Kingdom ruled by Cetshwayo a threat to the British colony of Natal with which it shared a long border along the Tugela River.
In December 1878 the British authorities delivered an ultimatum to Cetshwayo requiring him to give up a group of Zulus accused of murdering a party of British subjects. In the absence of a satisfactory response Chelmsford attacked Zululand on 11th January 1879.
Chelmsford’s previous wars in South Africa did not prepare him for the highly aggressive form of warfare practised by the Zulus.
Chelmsford divided his force into three columns. Colonel Evelyn Wood VC (won in the Indian Mutiny) of the 90th Light Infantry commanded the column that crossed the Tugela into the North of Zululand. Colonel Pearson of the 3rd Foot (the Buffs) commanded in the south, by the Indian Ocean coast. Colonel Glynn of the 24th Foot commanded the Centre Column, comprising both battalions of the 24th Foot, units of the Natal Native Infantry, Natal irregular horse and Royal Artillery.
Chelmsford accompanied the Centre Column into Zululand on 11th January 1879, crossing the Tugela River at Rorke’s Drift. The column was to make for Ulundi, Cetshwayo’s principal kraal, joining Pearson’s southern column for the final assault. A company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, remained at Rorke’s Drift, the advanced base for the column.
The Centre Column carried all its supplies in ox carts, each pulled by a team of up to 20 oxen, walking at a slow deliberate pace. A considerable part of the day was devoted to feeding and caring for the oxen. The country was hilly scrubland without roads and progress was painfully slow. Hilltops had to be picketed and the country scouted carefully for Zulus in ambush. Movement was further hampered by heavy rain causing the rivers and streams to swell and deepen.
Chelmsford’s original plan had envisaged 5 columns crossing the Tugela. Shortage of troops forced him to reorganise his force into the 3 columns. Chelmsford required the original Number 2 Column under Colonel Durnford, a Royal Engineers officer with considerable experience in commanding irregular South African troops, to act in conjunction with Glynn’s Centre Column.
Chelmsford resolved to head for Isandlwana Hill. Isandlwana can be seen from Rorke’s Drift, a distinctive shape some 10 miles into Zulu country that the British troops likened to a Sphinx or a crouching lion. The proximity of this strange feature adds substantially to the macabre aura that hangs over the battle.
In the face of the invasion Cetshwayo mobilised the Zulu armies on a scale not seen before, possibly some 24,000 warriors. The Zulu force divided into two, one section heading for the Southern Column and the remainder making for Chelmsford’s Centre Column.
The Centre Column reached Isandlwana on 21st January 1879 and encamped on its lower slopes. On 21st January 1879 Major Dartnell led a mounted reconnaissance in the direction of the advance. He encountered the Zulus in strength. Dartnell’s command was unable to disengage from the Zulus until the early hours of 22nd January 1879.
Receiving Dartnell’s intelligence Chelmsford resolved to advance against the Zulus with a sufficient force to bring them to battle and defeat them. 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, the Mounted Infantry and 4 guns were to march out as soon as it was light.
Colonel Pulleine was left in camp with the 1st Battalion of the 24th Foot. Orders were sent to Colonel Durnford to bring his column up to reinforce the camp.
Early on the morning of 22nd January 1879 Chelmsford advanced with his force and joined Dartnell. The Zulus however had disappeared. Chelmsford’s troops began a search of the hills.
The Zulus had bypassed Chelmsford and moved on Isandlwana. The first indication in the camp that there was likely to be a Zulu threat came when parties of Zulus were seen on the hills to the north east and then to the east. Colonel Pulleine, the officer in command in the camp, ordered his command to form to the east, the direction in which the Zulus had appeared. Pulleine dispatched a message to Chelmsford warning him that the Zulus were threatening the camp. At about 10am Colonel Durnford arrived at Isandlwana with a party of mounted men and a rocket troop. Durnford promptly left the camp to follow up the reports of the imminence of the Zulus and Pulleine agreed to support him if he found himself in difficulties. Captain Cavaye’s company of the 1st/24th was placed in picquet on a hill to the North. The remainder of the troops in camp stood down.
On the heights, Durnford’s mounted troops spread out and searched for the Zulus. One troop of mounted volunteers pursued a party of Zulus as they retired until suddenly out of a fold in the ground the whole Zulu army appeared.
The Zulus were forced to act by the sudden appearance of the mounted volunteers and advanced in some confusion, shaking out as best they could into the traditional form of assault: the left horn, the central chest of the attack and the right horn.
One of Durnford’s officers rode back to Isandlwana to warn the camp that it was about to be attacked. Pulleine had just received a message from Chelmsford ordering him to break camp and move up to join the rest of the column. On receipt of Durnford’s message Pulleine deployed his men to meet the crisis. It is thought that neither Pulleine nor any of his officers appreciated the scope of the threat from the Zulus or the size of the force that was descending on them. Pulleine acted as if the only need was to support Durnford. He sent a second company under Captain Mostyn to join Captain Cavaye’s on the hill and 2 guns were moved to the left of the camp with companies of foot to support them.
As the Zulus advanced Durnford’s rocket troop was overwhelmed and the equipment taken, the Royal Artillery crews managing to escape. The main Zulu frontal assault now appeared over the ridge and Mostyn’s and Cavaye’s companies hastily withdrew to the camp, pausing to fire as they went.
Pulleine’s battalion, drawn up in front of the camp at the base of the ridge, opened fire on the advancing Zulus of the “chest”, who found themselves impeded by the many dongas, or gullies, in their path and eventually went to ground.
The danger to the British line was presented by the Zulu “horns” which raced to find the end of the British flank and envelope it.
On the British right the companies of the 24th and the NNI were unable to prevent this envelopment. In addition the Zulus were able to infiltrate between the companies of British foot and the irregulars commanded by Durnford.
It is said that a major problem for the British was lack of ammunition and failings in the system of re-supply. It seems that this was not so for the 24th. However Durnford’s men on the extreme right flank did run out of ammunition and were forced to mount up and ride back into the camp, thereby leaving the British flank open.
The Zulu chiefs took this opportunity to encourage the warriors of the “chest”, until now pinned down by the 24th’s fire, to renew their attack. This they did causing the British troops to fall back on the encampment.
A Zulu regiment rushed between the withdrawing British centre and the camp and the “horns” broke in on each flank The British line quickly collapsed.
As the line broke up, groups formed and fought the Zulus until their ammunition gave out and they were overwhelmed. A section of Natal Carbineers commanded by Durnford is identified as giving a heavy fire until their ammunition was spent. They fought on with pistols and knives until they were all struck down.
The “horns” of the Zulu attack did not quite close around the British camp, some soldiers managing to make their way towards Rorke’s Drift. But the Zulus cut the road and the escaping soldiers from the 24th were forced into the hills where they were hunted down and killed. Only mounted men managed to make it to the river by the more direct route to the south west.
A group of some 60 soldiers of the 24th Foot under Lieutenant Anstey, were cornered on the banks of a tributary of the Tugela and wiped out.
The last survivor in the main battle, a soldier of the 24th, escaped to a cave on the hillside where he continued fighting until his ammunition gave out and he was shot down.
The final act of the drama was played out along the banks of the Tugela River. Numbers of men were caught there by the Zulus. It is thought that natives living in Natal came down to the river and on the urgings of the Zulus killed British soldiers attempting to escape.
The most memorable episode of this stage of the battle concerns Lieutenants Melville and Coghill. Melville was the adjutant of the 1st Battalion, the 24th Foot. He is thought to have collected the Queen’s Colour from the guard tent towards the end of the battle and ridden out of camp heading for the Tugela River. Melville arrived at the river, in flood from the rains, with and plunged in. Half way across Melville came off his horse, still clutching the cased colour. Coghill, also of the 24th Foot, crossed the river soon after and went to Melville’s assistance. The Zulus were by this time lining the bank and opened a heavy fire on the two officers. Coghill’s horse was killed and the colour swept away. Both officers struggled to the Natal bank where it seems likely that they were killed by Natal natives.
Melville and Coghill probably died at around 3.30pm. At 2.29pm there was a total eclipsed of the sun briefly plunging the terrible battle into an eerie darkness.
Casualties: 52 British officers and 806 non-commissioned ranks were killed. Around 60 Europeans survived the battle. 471 Africans died fighting for the British. Zulu casualties have to be estimated and are set at around 2,000 dead either on the field or from wounds. The Zulus captured 1,000 rifles with the whole of the column’s reserve ammunition supply.
Chelmsford’s force was unaware of the disaster that had overwhelmed Pulleine’s troops until the news filtered through that the camp had been taken. Chelmsford was staggered. He said “But I left 1,000 men to guard the camp.”
Chelmsford’s column returned to the scene of horror at Isandlwana and camped near the battlefield.
Chelmsford’s nightmare was that the Zulus would invade Natal. In the distance the British could see Rorke’s Drift mission station burning. From that Chelmsford knew that the Zulus had crossed the Tugela.
In the longer term the British Government determined to avenge the defeat and overwhelming reinforcements were dispatched to Natal. General Sir Garnet Wolseley was sent to replace Lord Chelmsford, arriving after the final battle of the war. Cetshwayo’s overwhelming success at Isandlwana secured his ultimate downfall.
Private Samuel Wassall was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conduct at the battle. Attached to the Mounted Infantry, Wassall escaped on his horse from the battle and crossed the Tugela. He then saw a comrade from the Mounted Infantry struggling in the water. Wassall recrossed the river, tethered his horse, swam over to the soldier and dragged him ashore on the Zulu side. The two men plunged back into the Tugela and swam to safety on Wassall’s horse as the Zulus came up.
• The Queen’s colour of the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot, was recovered from the Tugela. The colour was presented to Queen Victoria who placed a wreath of silver immortelles on the tip of the staff. Lieutenants Melville and Coghill were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2007 10:08:56 GMT -5 by Bromhead24
From the Natal Witness TOURISM in KwaZulu-Natal was dealt a shocking blow last night with the slaying of internationally renowned historian, raconteur and Anglo-Zulu War expert David Rattray at his home in Fugitive’s Drift. Coming after seven hijackings of tourists in northern KZN coastal areas in the last month, this latest killing has raised concerns about the future of tourism in KZN. A close family friend told Weekend Witness that he had learnt from Rattray’s wife, Nicky, right after the incident, that the couple had been in their bedroom, with Rattray changing to go cycling, just before 6 pm when they had heard their domestic worker screaming. When the couple went to investigate they were confronted by six armed suspects, one of whom was wearing a balaclava, who had originally entered Rattray’s Fugitive Drift Lodge office and held up the receptionist, demanding money before asking for Rattray (58) by name and breaking into the Rattrays’ house. The source told Weekend Witness that Rattray had pushed Nicky down to the ground, at which point one of the suspects opened fire three times, two of which missed Rattray. But the third was fatal. It is believed that nothing was stolen. Certain friends have speculated that the killing had a motive other than robbery. Best known for his dramatic interpretations of Anglo-Zulu battles, right on the battlefield as well as on international tours, even on international flights, Rattray, who has been described as the “Laurence Olivier of the battlefield” and the “Battlefield Bard”, lived at the world-famous Fugitive’s Drift Lodge with his wife in the Mzinyathi (Buffalo) River area where, in 1879, British troops fleeing the battlefield of Isandlwana tried to make their escape following the crushing defeat inflicted by Zulu warriors on the British force. The distinctive sphinx-shaped silhouette of the mountain that shadows the battlefield is visible from the lodge. Rattray and his wife, university sweetheart Nicky, hosted a constant stream of often distinguished, international visitors around the battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. In December 2001, Rattray’s contribution to tourism in South Africa was recognised at the Tatler Travel Awards 2002 ceremony and he was awarded the Tatler/Gordon Campbell Gray award for vision in tourism. Rattray wrote the David Rattray’s Guidebook to the Anglo-Zulu War Battlefields and had just completed another book, A Soldier Artist in Zululand. He was introduced to Zulu lore by life-long friend Mzongani “Satchmo” Mpanza, and the two spent days on expeditions into remote areas. In June 1999, Rattray received the Ness Award from the Royal Geographic Society in recognition of widening the popular understanding of Zulu culture in southern Africa. Describing the shooting as “mindless”, KZN-based British tour operator, former senior British army cavalry officer Colonel Reggie Purbrick, who has been bringing British youths to KZN for the past 10 years for “Berg, beach and battlefield” educational tours, told Weekend Witness that Rattray had been an integral part of the tourism attraction and educational value. “David was the one man in the world who had done more to promote black and white, especially Zulu and British reconciliation than any other. I can assure you that David was the one man in the world, who has continually preached reconciliation in every lecture he gave, the last man to hope that this sort of incident would impact on British tourism. My own personal feeling is, of course, that it will,” he said. “I see this [crime] as a watershed in terms of how we are viewed overseas. What a sickening affair.” The impact of Rattray’s murder on tourism in South Africa will depend, he added, on how it is handled by the press, both at home and abroad, and also upon “how the country’s authorities address the awful and gratuitous violence being committed every day” in South Africa. Contacted by Weekend Witness reporters, Fugitive’s Drift Lodge staff said the Lodge had no plans to close down. SAPS officials were unable to offer any more information to Weekend Witness by the time of going to press. Kwanalu president Robin Barnsley expressed his outrage at the killing, saying he is concerned with the level of violence in the rural areas. Kwanalu met with MEC of safety security and transport Bheki Cele recently to discuss these issues. Barnsley called on government to “make sure that all elements of rural society are pulling together to stop the violence”. Agricultural Union chairman, and neighbour Hermann de Wet, who is also in charge of SAPS reservists, said that the community had mobilised forces to search for the suspects, but that no suspects had yet been identified. KZN heritage body Amafa chair Arthur Koningkramer, who knew Rattray for 40 years, said he was “a very kind and gentle man”. “It’s an absolute outrage,” said Koningkramer last night. “And it’s going to have very serious implications for South Africa.” Rattray was born in Johannesburg in 1958 and was educated at Pridwin and St Alban’s Collge. He graduated from the University of Natal in 1982, with a BSc Honours Degree in entomology. When he left university he went to work at Mala Mala Game Reserve as a manager from 1983 to 1988. After that he moved to Rorke’s Drift, where he settled down with his wife. Ratray was a trustee of the Siyasiza Trust, the Magqubu Ntombela Foundation and the John Voelker Bird Book Fund. In 1998, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical society. Apart from owning and running the Fugitive Drift Lodge, Rattray also half-owned the exclusive Three Tree Hill Lodge.
Nobody loved Africa like David Rattray. A historian of the Zulu people, he had a knowledge and a passion that enthralled everyone he met. So why was he brutally murdered? And what does his shocking death mean for the land he left behind? Special report by Raymond Whitaker
Published: 02 February 2007, THE INDEPENDENT
The chapel at Michaelhouse, South Africa's top public school on the English model, can hold 500 worshippers. At the funeral of David Rattray yesterday, the chapel was full, and twice as many more followed the proceedings on large screens outside. The most commonly used word in the tributes to the 48-year-old Rattray was "icon". This was a man who was not merely the world's leading historian of the 19th-century Anglo-Zulu war, but whose dramatic re-tellings of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift could move listeners such as the Prince of Wales to tears. The news that he had been murdered in his home last Friday resounded far beyond the shores of South Africa.
Prince Charles took Prince Harry to visit Rattray in 1997, shortly after the death of Princess Diana. Rattray was subsequently invited to Balmoral as the personal guest of the Prince, who also invited him to attend the private funeral of the Queen Mother in April 2002.
Joining the historian's widow, Nicky, and their three sons - two of whom are pupils at Michaelhouse - were members of British regimental associations and the Royal Geographical Society in London, where Rattray is believed to have been the only speaker ever to have received a standing ovation. Many had visited his lodge at Fugitives' Drift, overlooking the countryside of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, and been enthralled by his tales.
Zulus themselves, both humble and grand, were among the most numerous of the mourners yesterday. Rattray was a fluent speaker of their language, likened to Italian among African tongues because of its mellifluous vowels. Rattray's dramatic oratorial style earned him the accolade "the Laurence Olivier of the battlefield", and it owed much to the oral tradition of the Zulus, with their umbongi (praise singers) and storytellers. He was close to King Goodwill Zwelithini, the successor of Shaka and Cetshwayo, and always travelled on his research trips with a lifelong friend, Mzongani Mpanza.
With the help of Mpanza, who taught him the language, Rattray brought to light the Zulu memories of the war, which were his greatest contribution to the study of the period. As he often pointed out, with so few British survivors of the battle of Isandlwana - nearly 1,300 of the 1,350-strong force were killed - any history that relied only on their accounts was bound to be incomplete.
Not only did Rattray rewrite the imperialistic version of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift (the one retold in the celebrated 1964 movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine and Stanley Baker), in the words of Saki Macozoma, a businessman and member of the African National Congress's national executive committee, he also "restored the dignity of the Zulu people and their history, and had people spellbound with his intimate knowledge of the Anglo-Zulu war".
All the sadder, then, that his killers were almost certainly Zulus. Six men arrived at Fugitives' Drift on Friday evening and asked for him by name. They held a woman employee at gunpoint outside his living quarters while another of the men went inside and confronted Nicky. She asked what he wanted, and on hearing the anxiety in her voice, David rushed into the room and pushed her to the floor, calling on the gunman not to harm her or the other woman. The man shot him once and went outside, but was sent back in and shot him twice more. Rattray died instantly.
These details, and the fact that neither of the women was hurt and nothing was stolen, have led the family to believe that David Rattray was the victim of a targeted assassination rather than a robbery that went wrong. One of the gang wore a balaclava, possibly because there were people on the staff at Fugitives' Drift who might have recognised him.
David Rattray did not grow up in Zululand, nor was he a trained historian. He went to schools in Johannesburg and Pretoria before qualifying as an entomologist at the University of Natal. His fascination with the Zulus was inherited from his father, Peter, a lawyer who in his youth had met a grizzled veteran of Isandlwana, inspiring him to take his son to visit the battlefields. Peter Rattray bought a farm in the area, which David took over at the age of 30 after spells working at game reserves in South Africa and Namibia.
For the rest of his life Rattray devoted himself to the history of the events of 22 January 1879, when 20,000 Zulu warriors overwhelmed a British column at Isandlwana, and 139 soldiers, many of them sick and wounded, held off repeated assaults by a force of 3,000 Zulus at the battle of Rorke's Drift later that same evening. The soldiers won 11 VCs, the most ever awarded for a single engagement, including the first two to be given posthumously.
Rattray always argued that Isandlwana should be seen as a great Zulu victory, rather than the most humiliating defeat in British colonial history. This was despite the fact that the battle cost the life of the French Prince Imperial, who had been attached to the British force, and precipitated the resignation of Benjamin Disraeli. His passionate interest in the war between the British Empire and the Zulus was rare among white South Africans, whose school histories gave far more space to the battles between the Boers and the Zulus, and to the later fighting in the same region between the Boers and the British. But such was the eloquence of his battlefield tours that his fame spread.
The historian would sit his audience down on the slopes of Isandlwana and recount the battle for four hours, first from the British point of view, then as the Zulus experienced it, switching between the two languages, using a stick first as a rifle, then as a spear. Few were left dry-eyed by the end of one of Rattray's orations, which began to attract a growing number of British visitors. By the time of his sudden death, more than 60,000 people had passed through Fugitives' Drift, including 94 British generals and four field-marshals. Growing demands for him to speak abroad meant that he spent half the year travelling, using his time in Britain to further his research. This week his work of several years - A Soldier Artist in Zululand, based on paintings done by an officer during the Anglo-Zulu War, which were found in the UK by former visitors to Fugitives' Drift - was due to be published.
The battlefield tours will carry on: Rattray inspired a generation of guides with his storytelling methods, and in recent years his absences, and the need to save his voice, meant that his recorded commentaries were often played. But the manner of his death, and what it says about the country's recent history, has left South Africa divided and fearful.
David Rattray's widow was by no means the only one to denounce his killing as "senseless". Sibusiso Ndebele, premier of KwaZulu-Natal province, said: "David Rattray was a huge asset to our country. He helped develop cultural tourism to promote economic development and alleviate poverty. His... murder will fill all peace-loving South Africans with disgust."
But under the provocative headline, "Why the outcry over one white man's death?" the editor of South Africa's Sunday Times, Mondli Makhanya, said many would ask that question "when people are murdered every day in South Africa". (To be precise, there were 18,528 killings last year, more than 50 a day.) "That is exactly the problem," Makhanya went on. "Rattray had a name, a face and a following. He is their face today. Tomorrow there will probably be another face, a black face. " Most of the victims of this tide of murder, he said, were " poor and black - with no voice except a wailing at the graveside".
Makhanya's point was that President Thabo Mbeki's government would be unable to play down the impact of this murder, as it had done with so many before. Immediate anxieties were expressed about the damage to tourism, identified as one of three key industries with the greatest potential for job creation and economic growth, and in particular the potential threat to South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup. "The problem of crime can be solved," said Michael Tatalias, head of the South African Tourism Services Association, "but until there is general agreement that there is a problem, we cannot move forward."
President Mbeki admitted a couple of weeks ago that "the scourge of crime continues to bedevil our young democracy", but a few days later argued that it was an incorrect "perception" that crime was out of control. The national police commissioner insisted that conditions were better than they were at the time of the country's first free elections in 1994, "conveniently omitting the fact," scoffed Makhanya, " that a civil war was still very much on the go in the townships then."
He added: "There's a serious problem here, and it is not just with the criminals. It is with the attitude of our rulers." Pointing out that South Africa had long failed to tackle its HIV/Aids crisis because of its President's refusal to accept the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs, he concluded: "We do not have a few years to waste debating 'perceptions' and stupid comparisons between the war being waged on us by criminals and the war that apartheid's surrogates were waging against the people."
As the argument rages, foreign investors are hesitating, and an increasing number of South African whites are emigrating, draining the country of skills. But the dentists and bankers leaving middle-class suburbs have never been as vulnerable as people of similar income and education in the countryside - people like David Rattray.
"In many ways the problem of violence in the rural areas has been exported from the cities," said Johnny Steinberg, a South African writer on crime and security matters, whose book, Midlands, recounts the murder of a white farmer in KwaZulu-Natal.
Some have claimed that rural violence is the result of frustration over land redistribution. Only 3 per cent of the land due to be returned to black ownership has been handed over, with bureaucratic inertia as well as recalcitrance by white farmers being blamed. Amid calls for land seizures, and farmers forming themselves into armed support groups, there have been fears of disorder on the scale of that experienced in Zimbabwe.
But Steinberg was sceptical of this explanation. "For at least two generations, young black men in rural areas have not wanted to farm," he said. "Instead they go to the cities, where many fail to be absorbed into the urban economy because they are poorly educated. So they return to the countryside, where people with a house and a car stand out like beacons in a sea of rural poverty.
"A black general-goods dealer living in a rural township is more likely to be a victim, in my view, than a white farmer, but all farmers are quite scared. They feel vulnerable and isolated in the post-apartheid countryside, where movement is no longer controlled and there are a lot of strangers coming through. The urban middle class lead far more sheltered lives."
A string of gruesome murders of white farmers has increased the sense of threat, and Rattray himself was said to have been concerned about crime in South Africa. The people who killed him probably neither knew, nor would have cared, about the damage their crime may wreak on South Africa's ability to tackle its problems. But there are some factors peculiar to KwaZulu-Natal that may have a bearing on his murder.
As the historian well knew, Isandlwana was both the Zulus' greatest triumph and the event that sealed their fate. King Cetshwayo was weakened by the loss of thousands of his warriors, and the British decisively crushed the Zulu nation a few months later at Ulundi. With the Boers also subdued, Natal became a "little England", where institutions like Michaelhouse and the League of Empire Loyalists thrived. When the architect of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, held a referendum among whites in 1960 on whether South Africa should leave the Commonwealth, Natal was the only one of the then four provinces to vote "no".
As for the Zulus, even the worst humiliations of apartheid never quite doused their pride or sense of nationhood. The white government tried to exploit this by giving them the "homeland" of KwaZulu, hoping it would divide them from other black groups. But the leader it chose, Mangosuthu Buthelezi - who, incidentally, appears in Zulu - refused to apply for "independence" and exploited his position to criticise apartheid.
When white rule began to falter, however, Buthelezi led his followers down a cul-de-sac. Encouraged both by the regime's undercover operators and romantics abroad like the late John Aspinall, who saw him as the " Christian" alternative to the godless, Communist-leaning African National Congress, Buthelezi failed to throw in his lot with the ANC. In the run-up to the first free elections in 1994, KwaZulu-Natal became a battleground between the ANC and his ethnically based Inkatha Freedom Party, with Zulus from both sides slaughtering each other in their thousands.
A bloodbath was averted and Buthelezi joined the new government, in which he remained until 2004. To this day, though, there is a sense that KwaZulu-Natal is outside the mainstream, with some seeking to foster a sense of Zulu chauvinism by claiming that the ANC is dominated by Xhosas, South Africa's second-largest ethnic group. Add to that some of the starkest rural poverty and the worst rate of HIV/Aids infection in a country vying with India for the greatest number of sufferers, and it is plain that what used to be called Zululand is not the idyll it might seem to tourists.
But David Rattray did not live in the past. He sought the help of Prince Charles to raise money to modernise a school overlooking the battlefields, created a game reserve within his family property, and was a trustee of Siyazisiza, the largest community organisation of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal, which helps the rural poor grow vegetables and produce craft items for sale. Why would anyone from the area seek to kill him? Aware of the international shock at his death, the authorities have moved fast: two men are due to appear in court today charged with his murder. It may take longer, however, to find out whether the killing was indeed random, or whether some more sinister motive was behind it.
In one of his last interviews, David Rattray called his home the "most beautiful place on earth". He said: "We would be mad to let this go, to let it become another Zimbabwe." It would have dismayed him that his violent death has not only exposed the fear and mistrust that still blights South Africa, but has heightened them.
Rorke's Drift: the battle that shaped Rattray's life
In another life, David Rattray could have been an actor, and a very great actor at that, writes Ivan Fallon. One veteran British diplomat, moved to tears by Rattray's passionate and emotional rendering of the Zulu battles, asked him: "Did you ever consider putting on your own one-man show in the West End?" In fact Rattray did just that every year, taking the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift, which were fought near his lodge on the Buffalo river nearly 130 years ago, to an audience of Zulu (and Rattray) aficianados at the Royal Geographical Society, who lapped it up.
Rattray's little lodge, Fugitives' Drift, was in the heart of it all, sited at the spot where the few British survivors fled in their desperate efforts to evade the pursuing Zulus. Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill made it across only to be butchered on the other side, and they are buried where they fell, their last resting place watched over by Rattray as if they were his own sons. From the lodge's porch, the sinister sphinx-like head of Isandlwana is just visible, and Rattray would take you to the donga where Colonel Durnford stood with his mounted forces and for a brief moment stemmed the Zulu tide; to the stony kopple where he died; to the spur where Captain Younghusband made his final stand; and to the saddle itself where Lord Chelmsford, commander-in-chief of the British forces in Southern Africa, returned that night to discover that his camp and half his forces had been wiped out.
Rattray knew not only where every man fell but often who killed them, and their complete life stories, Zulu and British fighters alike. To Rattray there were no villains on these battlefields... only heroes. Those heroes were peculiarly fortunate in the man who chose to honour them by devoting his life to their memory. In the article below, he explained how this moment in history came to be a part of his life.
'My family has had a long and soulful relationship with the Rorke's Drift area of KwaZulu-Natal. It is an area steeped in history. My father, back from the Second World War, spent much time here on Anglo-Zulu battlefields in this region at a time when there were still a few old people alive who remembered those remote days. Great rivers running through impressive gorges. Rolling plains that drop into steep ravines. Waterfalls. Villages. Mottled cattle. And a mountain that looks just like a sphinx: it's impossible to imagine a more fantastic scene for the conflict between two great nations.
It is indeed one of the great ironies of South Africa's story that one of the least economically significant areas in the country should prove to be the crucible in producing so much conflict to this day.
The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 is famous. Is there a person who has not heard of the Battle of Rorke's Drift? But who has heard of the great general Ntshingwayo ka Mahole Khosa, the general in command of the Zulu army at Isandlwana?
He sat on the bluff overlooking the awesome fields of Isandlwana, watching Britain suffer one of the most stunning military defeats in her history. He was a big-boned, handsome man: we have photographs of him sitting imperiously. He wears a head-ring, a small grey beard and a glowering disposition, but more impressive than any of that is the fact that he was 70 years of age and had run over 50 miles, barefoot, accompanying his warriors from Ulundl. One can only imagine what that must have done for the esprit de corps of the Zulu army to have this 70-year-old commander loping along with his warriors, cutting great swathes through the grassland that were still visible six months later. The 22nd of January 1879 must be one of the most remarkable days in history. It opens with the catastrophic British loss at Isandlwana and closes with the restoration of British military honour and Zulu defeat at Rorke's Drift, which deserves a narrative all of its own. Eleven medals of the Victoria Cross were awarded on this day.
The story is a truly Shakespearean tragedy. The conflict should never have happened. The ultimatum that precipitated the Zulu War was issued without the sanction of the British government. Many historians agree that the Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, lost his position as the most powerful man on earth because of the Anglo-Zulu War. Who would ever have thought that the Zulus would unseat a British Prime Minister? They also put an end to the Napoleonic dynasty with the death of the Prince Imperial of France. In smashing the British column at Isandlwana, the Zulus etched for themselves a unique place in history.
Images of Zulus and stories of this great and noble nation were brought into the hearths and homes of the British people by newspaper correspondents and artists who followed the British columns. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Wilbur Smith and others found plenty of raw material here in this saga. Sadly it is also true that in the moment of the great victory at Isandlwana, the Zulus sowed the seeds of their demise. It was a pyrrhic victory thousands of warriors lost their lives, and the Zulu King Cetshwayo knew that despite the overtures he then made for peace, resolution could only come through more bloodshed. He was under no illusions: he knew that the British would reinforce and re-invade, and this is the real tragedy of the story.
On the British side, 1,329 men were killed at Isandlwana and only 55 lived to tell something of this tale. It is possible that most, if not all, of the men who escaped started to leave the scene of conflict before the final British collapse. Isandlwana is therefore a story shrouded in mystery. People will argue for the rest of time about what happened there. My contention is that it is virtually impossible to piece the story together based on British accounts, and it frustrates me to find that modern writers are still trying to explain away the British defeat at Isandlwana, blaming the collapse on such excuses as pig-headed regimental quartermasters who refused to hand over ammunition to soldiers from other units, to a lack of screwdrivers to loosen the screws on the ammunition boxes.
My belief is that we will never get near the truth until we understand Isandlwana for what it was: a great Zulu military achievement. It is high time that we acknowledge Ntshingwayo, the Zulu commander: we should doff our hats to him. On that day he used the topography brilliantly: he commanded superbly, his men were beautifully trained, their bravery was beyond dispute. There were 22,000 Zulus who survived the battle of Isandlwana, and that story lives on in villages in this area to this day. Today it is an atmospheric, unspoiled historic site. It is still possible to get a very creditable account of what happened there.
If my family has made a contribution to the story of Isandlwana, it is that we have actively pursued and collected Zulu information and we have attempted to infuse this information into the story, to give it some balance, to give it some holism, so that the passerby may be left with some material for deeper reflection.'
JOHANNESBURG - Police appear to have smashed the gang who murdered world-renowned Anglo-Zulu War historian David Rattray. The Citizen can reveal that at least one of the gang has confessed, and told detectives how a robbery that went wrong led to Rattray’s death. The alleged ringleader of the gang was a former employee of Rattray – who gave his identity away by wearing a balaclava. Yesterday, as memorial services for Rattray were being held in Plettenberg Bay and at Michaelhouse School, detectives were preparing to arrest two men in their early twenties. KwaZulu-Natal Police polices spokesman Phindile Radebe confirmed that two men arrested by police would be asked to plead in the Dundee Magistrate’s Court shortly. A team of detectives from the Serious Organised Crime Unit has worked on the case since the day after Rattray’s murder. The Serious Organised Crime Unit was formed when the Serious Violent Crimes Unit and Organised Crime Units were merged last year. The men cannot be named until they formally plead guilty or not guilty. A source close to the investigation told The Citizen at least one of the two men would confess to his role in the murder – and offer a confession to the magistrate. In terms of the Criminal Procedure Act a person involved in a crime can be handed a lesser sentence if they testify on behalf of the State, and give satisfactory evidence On being told that by co-operating with the police he would receive a lighter sentence, the suspect is said to have jumped at the opportunity. The suspect has told police the names of the other four members of the gang, and given detectives information on where they may be hiding. He also allegedly led police to where the gang were hiding their firearms. One of the gang had worked for Rattray until recently, and it is believed he may be the ringleader. It is this suspect who wore a balaclava during the murder last Friday. His use of a balaclava led police to believe he may have been a former employee. Police have been told the gang surrounded Rattray’s home, and sent only one person into the house in order to rob Rattray and his staff. But the lone robber, who had never committed an armed robbery before, panicked and shot Rattray before fleeing. He was then stopped by the ringleader, who told him to go back inside and make sure Rattray was dead by shooting him again. The suspect then went back inside and allegedly shot the 58-year-old historian twice more in the chest.
Sethe Nkwanyana (23) will be sentenced on Monday after he was convicted by the Pietermaritzburg High court of the murder of David Rattray, the world-renowned historian .
Nkwanyana was also found guilty of attempted robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm.
He pleaded guilty to all the charges.
Rattray was shot dead at Rorkes Drift last Friday. Nkwanyana told the court he and five others had gone to Rattray's Fugitive Drift Lodge with the intention of stealing money. He says they fled after one of the men shot Rattray. Nkwanyana is due to be sentenced on Monday.
Earlier, another suspect appeared in the Dundee Magistrate's Court. The 25-year old accused was not asked to plead and the case was postponed to next Friday.