The February Reenactments at Isandlwana

It’s a 4 hour drive to Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift from Durban. It’s a beautiful drive filled with dramatic views of valleys and hills and villagers. And early in every year, it’s extra special.

Every year a celebration of sorts occurs at Isandlwana. The Zulu King and his entourage host the day and the local people to get to watch a reenactment of that fateful day, 22 Jan of 1879. Every year I usually make a pint of going, but the last two years I haven’t.

I’m quite bummed I didn’t attend this years celebration though. It’s an opportunity for me to meet up with fellow guides and not only socialise a little but at the same time discuss and explore events of the Anglo Zulu War.

Back in 2019 we were fortune to have a group of reenactment enthusiasts all the way from the UK. Having them on the field of battle at Isandlwana was an amazing experience. Lining up in their company firing order really brought home how large an area the British defended and how little space the companies took up – a classic example of defending too much with far too few.

In direct contrast to Isandlwana, at Rorkes Drift you could immediately see how the British were able to defend their little outpost from the Zulu attack simply by defending a far smaller area. Makes you wonder that if perhaps Col Pulliene had more experience, or perhaps his officers were a little more forceful, perhaps the day would have ended a little different. Of course we’ll never know.

I would also have liked to attend the celebration purely to see who would represent the Zulu royalty. For those that don’t know, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu passed away on 12 March of 2021 and in his stead Prince Misuzulu Zulu has ascended the throne (his coronation has yet to take place); although it’s not quite as simple as that. A legal challenge to the Prince’s legitimacy is currently underway – so who knows.

The next celebration is of course in 2023 and I most certainly will be there.

Images from days gone by

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