Friday, January 22, 2010

Zulus and Isandlwana Revisited, 131 Years Later

On January 22, 1879, 131 years ago, a force of around 20,000 highly disciplined men armed with spears and shields subdued a force of some 500 well armed and experienced soldiers of the British Empire at the famous battle of Isandlwana. Isandlwana is tall rocky hill in the then Zululand. The hill resembled the sphinx symbol worn on the collars of the 6 companies of the British 24th Regiment of foot that fought the engagement. The battle that ensued that day has led historians and history buffs to exam the minutiae of how it was that African natives could subdue the empire that the sun never set on. I have spent the bulk of my life examining this battle and the remainder of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879, along with ascendency of the Zulu Nation in the 1820’s, culminating in the recognition of the Zulu King by the British Government, the only black African Nation to receive such a distinction. The result of the engagement at Isandlwana is the inspiration for my blog and its tagline, “the improbable happens”. A Republican winning the “Kennedy seat” is an example of that happening in politics.
I began becoming a zulubuff because I watched the movie, “ZULUDAWN”, when I was like 5 years old and thought the uniforms and helmets were cool. I would convert all army men or action play into a re-enactment of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. As I got older, I wanted to know more and more about the events, so I started reading books, and more books. What started as research as a war enthusiast, led me to become a Zulu sympathizer. This powerful nation wanted nothing to do with a war with Europeans. They were not ignorant to the consequences, but when finally faced with an invasion, they had to act. Unfortunately, the zulu nataion was ultimately defeated. I believe that left to their own, the Zulus would have dominated all of South Africa. The resulting black society would have been different than anything else we have seen out of Africa. The history of the Zulus is one of independence and pride. I salute their accomplishments.

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