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Zulus to commemorate 143rd anniversary of humiliation by British colonialists who burnt down Ulundi capital

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Durban - Disputed Zulu King, Misuzulu KaZwelithini is next week Monday set to attend the 143rd anniversary of the burning of the kingdom’s capital of Ulundi by triumphant British colonialists.

The annual commemoration is organised to remember the burning of the capital by the British army after overrunning a Zulu army defending it.

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The brutal act of the British happened on July 4, 1979 and it was the continuation of the many Anglo-Zulu wars where the latter was fighting against British colonisation and subjugation.

According to SA History Online, the Battle of Ulundi was the decisive battle during the Anglo-Zulu War as it marked the end of the Anglo-Zulu War, as well as the breakup of the Zulu nation.

In July, Lord Chelmsford (British Commander) whose Chelmsford dam in Newcastle is named after him, moved on Ulundi, and in a final onslaught, known as the battle of Ulundi, secured military success against the mighty Zulu army.

More than 1 000 Zulu were killed and King Cetshwayo of the Zulu nation back then, was forced to flee for safety. He was later captured in the Ngome forest in August and exiled to Robben Island next to Cape Town.

The British casualties were said to be three officers and 79 men.

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This battle had followed the Battle of Isandlwana which was fought in January of the same year and the British were defeated and left humiliated as it was their first defeat as a colonial power.

SA History Online recorded that battle as having been fought on the hill of Isandlwana near Nquthu in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The British Army suffered its greatest defeat in Africa when 24 000 Zulu soldiers overran a British camp of 1 800 near Isandlwana Mountain.

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Over 1 300 of the British force were killed with over 1 000 Zulu casualties. The battle, which lasted for almost four hours, began around 11:h00 am and was a decisive victory for the Zulu kingdom.

Regarding Monday’s commemoration in Ulundi, the Zululand district municipality, said Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the King’s prime minister, will deliver a lecture about the bruins of the capital.

“Zululand District Municipality in partnership with Indonsa Yesizwe, a National THINK TANK will be hosting the commemoration of the burning of the Zulu Capital of Ulundi (Ondini). The 4th of July sets the scene for the collaborative national effort in heritage renewal and recognition of all who perished while defending the land during over 350 years of colonialism and racialised oppression.

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“Dr Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who is the IFP President Emeritus and Prime Minister to His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation, will deliver the lecture. His Majesty the King Misuzulu kaZwelithini will be gracing this historical event,” the municipality announced yesterday.

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