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Here is another cabinet photograph from my collection.

CaneyZulu-760x1154.jpg

The photograph shows an armed memebr of the Nongqai or Zulu Police with a seated white officer - possibly a Sub-Inspector or Inspector - of that same force. The Zulu constable is armed with both a Knobkerry (Zulu war club) and a broad bladed stabbing assigai. Interestingly the white officer's walking out or swagger stick is in the shape of a miniature version of the full sized knobkerry carried by the Zulu constable.

I have guessed that the officer could be George Mansel (or Mansell depending on the source) of the Natal Mounted Police who became Commandant of the Zulu Police in 1883 when the former force was organized. This man is not wearing the 1877-79 South Africa Medal which Mansell would have been entitled to so it seems more likely that this man is another person.

Edited by Peachy Carnehan

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Hi Peachy,

That is a great photo. :jumping:

The spear shaft looks a little long for the traditional stabbing spear yet too short for a good throwing spear, though the blade looks correct. I am wondering if this was the best of both weapons combined into one spear by the owner.

The Assegai is actually a shorter bladed throwing spear that is found throughout Africa, from what I have read on the subject.

The short stabbing spear invented by Shaka Zulu is called an Iklwa. The name is derived from the sound the weapon makes as it enters the enemy's body (or exits, I can't recall which at the moment).

Cheers :cheers:

Brian

Here is an Assegi that came from South Africa by way of the U.K. to me. Because they are common throughout Africa I can only "hope" it is of Zulu origin as it would be hard to prove.

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Hi Peachy

That is a very interesting photograph. Are the men actually identified as belonging to the Zululand Police? The only ZP photos I have seen illustrate three articles on the history of the ZP published in the Natal Police magazine (appropriately named 'The Nongqai') and they are not nearly as clear as yours. However, there are some observable differences, such as the men wearing side-caps and having tunics opening all the way down the front with 5 or 6 buttons. Also, it is unusual that the 'other rank' carries an assegai. As far as I know the ZP were armed with rifles, which were very necessary for their Zululand policing and during the Boer War (1899-1902) and Natal Rebellion (1906).

I agree that the young officer is not Mansel. In fact, he looks much younger than the +/- 15 officers shown in the ZP articles, all of whom have (some very impressive) moustaches. (This is also a feature of men in the Natal Mounted Police/Natal Police and it was clearly fashionable in late Victorian/Edwardian times.)

Hi Brian

I suspect that your assegai might be of 'European' manufacture and of the type issued to men of the Native Military Corps during World War II. It looks as though it has a hollow base into which the shaft would have been inserted. This is not Zulu technology. Zulu assegais had pointed tangs, which were heated and burnt into the shafts and then fixed in position by wound wire, plaited reeds or a section of oxtail skin. I was once told that the last method, which involved stretching the tail section over the tang/shaft joint and then allowing it to dry and shrink, died out after the Zulu War. I have a throwing assegai of this kind that was confiscated by police after a faction fight in Zululand in the 1950's.

Regards

Brett

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I have a throwing assegai of this kind that was confiscated by police after a faction fight in Zululand in the 1950's.

Regards

Brett

Hi Brett!

Your knowledge of this topic seems to be vast!! Thank you for your contribution to this thread and welcome to the GMIC. I would love to see your assegai specimen! Please post an image!

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Another excellent photo Peachy, thank you. Am I right in thinking that you are responsible for the excellent online museum, Soldiers of the Queen?

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Hi Peachy

That is a very interesting photograph. Are the men actually identified as belonging to the Zululand Police? The only ZP photos I have seen illustrate three articles on the history of the ZP published in the Natal Police magazine (appropriately named 'The Nongqai') and they are not nearly as clear as yours. However, there are some observable differences, such as the men wearing side-caps and having tunics opening all the way down the front with 5 or 6 buttons. Also, it is unusual that the 'other rank' carries an assegai. As far as I know the ZP were armed with rifles, which were very necessary for their Zululand policing and during the Boer War (1899-1902) and Natal Rebellion (1906).

I agree that the young officer is not Mansel. In fact, he looks much younger than the +/- 15 officers shown in the ZP articles, all of whom have (some very impressive) moustaches. (This is also a feature of men in the Natal Mounted Police/Natal Police and it was clearly fashionable in late Victorian/Edwardian times.)

Hi Brian

I suspect that your assegai might be of 'European' manufacture and of the type issued to men of the Native Military Corps during World War II. It looks as though it has a hollow base into which the shaft would have been inserted. This is not Zulu technology. Zulu assegais had pointed tangs, which were heated and burnt into the shafts and then fixed in position by wound wire, plaited reeds or a section of oxtail skin. I was once told that the last method, which involved stretching the tail section over the tang/shaft joint and then allowing it to dry and shrink, died out after the Zulu War. I have a throwing assegai of this kind that was confiscated by police after a faction fight in Zululand in the 1950's.

Regards

Brett

Hi Brett,

Welcome to the GMIC.

It indeed has a hollow base. I'm not sure that my item is even Zulu, or supposed to be Zulu. If it has anything to do with Zulus I would be happy if it just turned out to have indeed been issued to the Native Military Corps during WW II, even though it was made in Europe. This was a gift from a fellow who knew little about it so any new information is most welcomed. Thanks for clearing this up. I hate items in my collection with incorrect information attached.

Do you have any more information on such weapons that were issued to the Native MIlitary Corps?

Cheers :cheers:

Brian

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Another excellent photo Peachy, thank you. Am I right in thinking that you are responsible for the excellent online museum, Soldiers of the Queen?

You found me out! :D

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Hi Peachy

That is a very interesting photograph. Are the men actually identified as belonging to the Zululand Police? The only ZP photos I have seen illustrate three articles on the history of the ZP published in the Natal Police magazine (appropriately named 'The Nongqai') and they are not nearly as clear as yours. However, there are some observable differences, such as the men wearing side-caps and having tunics opening all the way down the front with 5 or 6 buttons. Also, it is unusual that the 'other rank' carries an assegai. As far as I know the ZP were armed with rifles, which were very necessary for their Zululand policing and during the Boer War (1899-1902) and Natal Rebellion (1906).

I agree that the young officer is not Mansel. In fact, he looks much younger than the +/- 15 officers shown in the ZP articles, all of whom have (some very impressive) moustaches. (This is also a feature of men in the Natal Mounted Police/Natal Police and it was clearly fashionable in late Victorian/Edwardian times.)

Hi Brian

I suspect that your assegai might be of 'European' manufacture and of the type issued to men of the Native Military Corps during World War II. It looks as though it has a hollow base into which the shaft would have been inserted. This is not Zulu technology. Zulu assegais had pointed tangs, which were heated and burnt into the shafts and then fixed in position by wound wire, plaited reeds or a section of oxtail skin. I was once told that the last method, which involved stretching the tail section over the tang/shaft joint and then allowing it to dry and shrink, died out after the Zulu War. I have a throwing assegai of this kind that was confiscated by police after a faction fight in Zululand in the 1950's.

Regards

Brett

I have another Boer War vinatge image of two members of the Nongqai "arresting" a Biritsh soldier. They are both dressed as you stated above. My best guess to date regarding my above shown photograph is that it was taken very close to the establishment date of the Nongqai sometime around 1883. This might explain the variation in uniform etc. I believe I have also seen members of this police force wearing blue cloth helmets similar to the British Home Service Helmet.

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Paul

Thank you for your welcome. A friend told me about the GMIC and I am amazed by the content. I haven't the facilities for photography, but I will remember your interest when I finally arrive in the 21st Century.

Brian

I don't have any information to hand on NMC assegais. I have seen them in a friend's militaria shop and also in pictures of NMC units on parade. I will do some checking. It is quite possible that assegais such as yours were used elsewhere in Africa. Genuine old assegais are now hard to find, most having been cleared out of rural Zululand by dealers for sale to battlefield tourists. As you can imagine, such weapons are now obsolete, having been replaced by the AK47 and South African army and police issue automatic rifles. I have been told that the latter are preferred because ammunition is more readily available.

Peachy

I think you are right about the likely age of the ZP photograph. The uniform looks makeshift and a bit impractical. Also, the issue of rifles to the ZP may have come later as their 'peace-keeping' role in Zululand developed.

Brett

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HI Brett,

Thanks for keeping a watch for more information.

In my collection I have a South Africa Service Medal (WW II) named to a Zulu. It came with papers, which I don't have for the rest of the S.A. collection so I know a little about his history.

I've been meaning to post my WW II South Africa medals for some time now but keep forgetting (old age + poor memory) ;)

I hope you continue with GMIC, it's a great place to hang out.

Cheers

Brian

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I've been meaning to post my WW II South Africa medals for some time now

Brian,

I look forward to seeing them as well!

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Here is the other photograph I mentioned. It is in poor condition but never the less offers a rare glimpse into an obscure subject:

PrisoneroftheZulus.jpg

Quite obviously a posed photo it shows two memebers of the Nongqai who have just "arrested" what could be a British soldier. He in shirt sleeves and still wears a bayonet on his right hip. The photograph also appears to have been taken on board a large ship.

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Brian

As you probably know, South African military service records can be copied and there are a couple of good researchers who do this sort of thing for a fee. Given SA's weak currency the fees are moderate for most foreigners. The rewards in interesting information can outweigh the cost. If you need the contact details for a researcher, please let me know.

Peachy

The second photograph is even more interesting than the first. It looks as though the man on the left is wearing an oval ?brass armband that might be identifiable. I have not come across such a thing in a Natal Police/Zululand Police context, but I will do some searching today. If the arrest did indeed take place on a large ship, then it is likely to have been in Durban in Natal and not in Zululand. Durban's law enforcement included a corps of Water Police in the late 1800's, which in 1894 joined with the Natal Mounted Police, Gaolers and other such bodies to form the Natal Police, which then existed until 1913. Zulus were employed in the NP, although in menial capacities, so the two men in the photograph are not necessarily Zululand Policemen.

Thank you for posting such interesting items. Most of my collecting and research has to do with policing in Natal and Zululand, so you have given me lots to think about.

Regards

Brett

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