Friday, June 3, 2016

Battlefields of KwaZulu Natal.

Raymond Heron.
One of the best raconteurs I have ever met!
The tales that he shared with me about Spionkop
will remain with me forever.
Such a senseless battle, and the outcome, had it been different,
would have effected world politics as we know it today.
Raymond, together with his wife Lynette,
own and run Spionkop Lodge.
We spent several days with them and were reticent to leave.
A great place to stay while he regales you with history
Contact details:
Telephone: +27(0) 36 488 1404/ +27(0)82 573 0224/5

Brit v Boer...
This cross has been erected where General Sir Redvers Buller
commanded the British forces.
Like many of the battles of this era,
mistakes were made due to bad communication.

From this vantage point he and his men were able to see the Tugela River

The Boer trenches on the top of Spionkop,
where 700 bodies are buried.

For me, standing at this monument was emotional,
as it was a reminder of how futile war actually is.
Although many soldiers lost their lives,
 neither side won or lost any ground.

Standing respectfully next to the graves,
I remembered that at the battle were Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi,
and General Louis Botha.
If any of them had died here, what a different world we might all be living in.

This is the most recent addition to the monuments.
This is for the trackers and the stretcher bearers,
who seem to have been forgotten.
May their souls too be remembered.

"At the going down of the sun,
we will remember them"
To read more facts about this battle:

Lindizwe (Dalton) Ngobese.
Our guide for our trip to the battlefields at Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift.
Dalton is the great-great-grandson of Inkosi (Chief) Sihayo,
who was a major player in the war of 1879.
It was interesting to hear of this battle from a Zulu perspective
Contact details:
Telephone: +27(0)76 134 2334
Dalton is one of the guides who is attached to Isandlwana Lodge,
which is where my wife and I stayed during our visit

Listen to Jonny Clegg tell of the battle in his hit song

Brit v Zulu.
The Battle at Isandlwana was a total victory for the Zulu.
The British had ignored all the information given to them,
and believed that their guns would keep the hordes at bay.
This was not to be and on that fateful day, 22 January, 1879,
1324 British soldiers we slaughtered by more than 10000 Zulus.
In terms of duration, it was a short battle.
It started at midday and was over by 17h00.
There are cairns in memory of the soldiers that fell.

As you enter through the gates that lead to the battlefield and the car park,
you will find this.
A memorial to members of the Zulu Impi who died here.

The battle that overlapped Isandlwana,
was Rorke's Drift.
This army hospital is situated less than 20km's
from Isandlwana.
This particular encounter started at 16h30
and ended in the early hours of the following morning.

Unlike the earlier battle,
and despite being hopelessly outnumbered,
the British troops found valiantly.
They held off the attack and maintained their position.
The highest number of VC's awarded in a single battle(11)
were all awarded to troops who fought here

This is a recent addition.
A bronze sculpture to the memory of the Zulu's who were killed here.

Mom-in-law,Eurika and daughter-in-law, Johani
run the restaurant and souvenir shop
at the Blood River Monument.
Contact details:
Telephone: +27(0)34 632 1695 / +27 (0) 72 988 3544.

Boer v Zulu
This was Boer strategy at its finest.
This particular battle field was not on our original itinerary,
but as it is only about 40km's from Isandlwana Lodge,
we decided to pay it a visit on our way home.
From inside the laager,
a traditional form of wagon defence.

Each of these wagons are an exact replica, in bronze,
of what those wagons would have looked like

An old Aga stove that would have been found in a Boer home.
This one can currently be found in the restaurant at the monument.

Find out more about the battle and it effect on the history of South Africa:

I have been asked to speak at this conference in Cape Town
Very excited as it is a first for me.

All the images were shot on
a Canon SX60HS.

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