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Mervyn Mitton

ZULU HISTORY AND WEAPONRY FROM 1879

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Did you mean the 'nasty, short and brutish' depiction, Mervyn? Not surprising, given both the events which engendered the drawing and the tenor of the times. Or have I misunderstood completely?

Peter

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The following six are Full Pages from the Illustrated London News. They were all originally

B&W - which on mass can be quite boring - however, I used to have a brilliant artist in

London , who watercoloured each print. He did great research on the colours to get them exactly

right - and the result, as you see here - are dynamic pictures. They are 135 years old.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-61359500-1400666057.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-02211200-1400666578.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-05161100-1400666751.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-59258400-1400666902.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-37725600-1400667065.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-05718200-1400667203.jpgclick

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The following are three drawings completed soon after the Anglo-Zulu war had finished. They

show areas of countryside where events had happened. They are interesting in that they show

the terrain without people in the way.

This first one is where the French Prince Imperial was killed. I will be doing an article on this in

the near future.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-00927100-1400839276.jpgclick

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This is the rock in the Buffalo River - at the crossing where Lieutenants Coghill and Melville lost

the two colours when trying to cross. They clung to the rock from exhaustion and when they

managed to finish the crossing they were both killed by a party of Zulus. Their bodies were found

at a later date and just above the spot where they were killed is a joint grave. Both were

awarded the VC - the first Posthumous awards allowed by Queen Victoria.

The Queen''s Colour was later found on the banks lower down the river - - however, no trace has

ever been found of the Regimental Ensign for the 24th. Regiment. Probably found and hidden in a Zulu Kraal.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-88298600-1400839826.jpgclick

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Looking down towards Rorkes Drift. The small hill -or,hump in the middle is the Oscarberg - from where the

Zulus with captured Martini Henry riifles from Isandlwana , fired down on the beseiged 24th

Hospital. These drawing were made by Lt. Crealock , who drew them immediately after the Battles - at

which he was present. The originals are almost impossible to find - however, they were reprinted in 1969

in Natal. These have also gone out of print and are very difficult to find - I have a copy and will have

it photographed to post.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_05_2014/post-6209-0-26055800-1400840651.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-75528100-1401879038.jpgclick

I must tell you that I have ever only seen one other Zulu comb - and that was in a museum.

The American who invented those metal combs with strong teeth to comb through African type

hair, became a multi-millionaire. Yet, the Zulus had invented a similar instrument much earlier.

This date back to about the 1850's and is made from bone - I don't think from a cow - not thick

enough. Perhaps a goat - or, even a human leg bone. Perhaps an expert could help us on this ?

The marrow is still present in the bone - although dried and shrunken. However, the strong teeth

would have combed hair and this makes it very rare. Perhaps from Zulu Royalty ?

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On the top of the comb - at the end these Amazumpas - or, Wart design - have been carved.

This proves their Zulu origin.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-93829200-1401879797.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-80632200-1402050619.jpgclick

These are a rare collection of 12 Zulu Arm or, wrist bands. Made of brass, they were probably

to be worn by women and children in dance ceremonies. Each has been hand made and hand

engraved - with all of the designs being different.

I would say that they are quite early - perhaps even pre1879. However, I have only seen a few

previous examples and it is possible that they were unique to just one Clan. I will show a few

other examples for you to see the engraving.

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-42752200-1402051058.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-69999200-1402051140.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-88529200-1402051265.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-16167600-1402051373.jpgclick

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Cont. from page 12

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-07441500-1402051524.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_06_2014/post-6209-0-46778600-1402051621.jpgclick

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2014/post-6209-0-52116300-1404814149.jpgclick

We have recently had a conference in Durban on 'Cultural Medicine'. The Professor in charge

took these pictures which appeared in our Sunday papers. These are not staged photos but

show how 'Muti' (the Zulu word for medicine - and used now by most SA's) is still done. The

Govt.have now recognised these types of native practitioners to give sick leave certificates !

There are two types of this medicine - that practised by Sangomas , which is based on herbal

infusions. However, many other things are added these days , which you really wouldn't want

to know about. To consult a Sangoma is an expensive business and can cost thousands of

Rands.

The second type who practise are called Inyangas - this is witchcraft - and includes animal

parts - and even murdered Africans - adults and children. They still play a big part in 'advising'

and treating those who believe in this.

I had a direct example of this at my home - the gardener had a stomach upset. He saw a Sangoma

and was told it was one of my maids using poison - after which he wouldn't eat or drink anything she

had prepared. He started to bring his own lunch - and hiding it under bushes in the front garden

where he could keep an eye on it. After two official warnings he stopped threatening, but she

gave up and left. Now he is back to his usual pleasant self.

The clipping shows the costumes and beaded tools used by a Sangoma. The long haired whisk

is a badge and when they threaten to touch someone you won't see them for dust.

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Sometimes Zulu's in traditional dress and performing old ceremonies are just as culturally interesting as their weaponry.

For this reason I have been including some of these in this section.

This first set of photos - from the local paper - shows the President's son marrying a Swazi princess.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-89376200-1410704722.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-90485100-1410704860.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-80894400-1410705003.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-37651800-1410705153.jpgclick

Probably took two leopards to cover him....

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The present King Goodwill Zwelethini re-commenced the very old Reed Dance, some 30 years ago.

The entrants have to be virgins and take a long reed to present to the King. The ceremony is taken

very seriously and older women supervise. When it was re-started 30 years ago, only about 100 girls

took part. This year between 30 and 45,000 were present.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-74735100-1410705442.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-47099300-1410705957.jpgclick

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_09_2014/post-6209-0-41878100-1410706172.jpgclick

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How common place are 130 year old Zulu antiques there these days? Are these items still being made as they were back then?

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Jerry - thankyou for showing these spear heads - very nice examples. The first three are not Zulu and I suspect more from

one of the tribes in the East African area - or, perhaps as far West as the Atlantic Coast. These heads would be for both hunting and fighting. Did they come with a provenance ? The single one is very similar to a Zulu head - and the cow's tail binding is also

one of the three types they use. My only doubts are that there are no pincer marks showing at the base of the head. These are

invariably there - however, it might just be that I have missed them. Looking again I think I can just make out an indentation - so,

Zulu. With the head cut from the shaft this could indicate an early period - our troops used to bring back mainly the tops since

they were limited to 5 feet in the kitbag.

This is not an Iklwa - or fighting spear. Rather, with the longer shaft to the head it is an Isiphapha - or, throwing spear. Part of a

warrior's main armament, they often carried two of these - one Iklwa and perhaps an Iwisa , or Knobkerrie. Best wishes Mervyn

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