Isandlwana slain neglected - Zulu king
Durban - The site of the Zulu nation’s greatest victory did not reflect the name of a single warrior who fell, yet the names of the British soldiers who died were set in stone for eternity, King Goodwill Zwelithini said on Thursday.
He was speaking at the anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwanay, in which King Cetshwayo’s warriors defeated the British in a famous battle.
The names of most of the 1 350 who died on the British side have been recorded, but not the names of the more than 1 000 Zulu warriors who gave their lives defending their land.
In the 20 years since the South African government had changed, the king said, he had been asking for the names of the warriors who had died to be noted at the battle site, but nothing had happened.
Last year I was here in Isandlwana when I revealed that a team, which I assembled in 2005, had put together the names of those who died in Isandlwana and in Ondini in 1879.”
The team, called Isithangami seMpi yaseSandlwana (Gathering of Minds) was made up of three Zulu history experts, Professor Jabulani Maphalala, Reggie Khumalo, the late Radio Zulu personality, and Nhlanhla Mtaka.
“I am telling those who hold power that this is a disgrace. They are spitting in the face of heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
Before the war the Zulu nation had been divided, but they reconciled and united when they heard the enemy was advancing, he said.
“They knew the Zulu nation would be nothing without land, and, indeed, they gave a heroic fight.”
He said the war taught the current generation that to face an enemy, they should set aside their differences.
Maphalala said his team had put together a long list of Zulu warriors who had died at the battles of Isandlwana, Ondini, Ncome (Blood River) and Emome, near Greytown (the Bambatha Rebellion).
“However, no one is interested in those names. I have told those in authority that the names are there, but they don’t take me seriously.
“These monuments should have been erected by the Zululand government (during the apartheid era), but there was no willingness.
“Those who were in charge of the Zululand government as far back as 1972 continued to run the province until 1999, but they still did not do anything about this. Even the current government does not seem to be willing to take action,” he said.
Mtaka said research about Zulu heroes was continuing.
The King again called on all traditional leaders in South Africa to unite and formulate a blanket land claim.
“As the Zulu nation, we are prepared to be part of a forum with other nations in South Africa to discuss on how we can launch a blanket land claim.
“During this forum, I would make an appeal that we should fight the land issue as a united force, and resist being divided by the enemies of traditional leadership,” he said.
In Kokstad last week he made the same call to Nguni nations.
He said since he had made the call he had been criticised by those who were against the idea of traditional leaders claiming land taken from them decades ago.
“It is an attempt to divide the Nguni nation to say if Zulus are calling for the blanket land claim, we are trying to dominate Nguni peoples.
“I see no mistake if children of a man, the Ngunis, can unite and launch a blanket claim for the land because it will help to defeat those who want to see us divided.”