Friday, January 18, 2008

Zulu (the people of the heavens), Zulu War of 1879 and the Campaign Medal in my collection

Meeting with a traditionally dressed Zulu man in Durban hotel was interesting. Here, the hotel keeps him as an attraction for tourists. I took a few snaps and paid some tips too which made him very happy.
I am a collector of war medals, and hence interested about the British wars of the Victorian Period.
I have in my collection quite a few of these Victorian war medals of which a coveted medal pertains to the Zulu wars of 1879.
One of the most bloody and colorful battles Britain has ever fought and in the aftermath of which they developed great respect for the enemy is of the Zulu war, notwithstanding the likes of the battle of Seringapatnam.

Zulu War of 1879 was a conflict in South Africa between the British and the Zulu. Fearing a Zulu attack, the Afrikaners of Transvaal requested British protection. The British High Commissioner demanded that the Zulu king, Cetewayo, disband his army. He refused, and the Zulu made a surprise attack at Isandhlwana, killing 800 British soldiers. Lacking modern weapons, the Zulu were checked at Rorke's Drift and decisively defeated at Ulundi.

The detailed story of King Shaka and the Zulus may be read from innumerable articles written on the subject and will make very interesting reading. Also, one may see the film Zulu I, a 1964 film depicting 1879 Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Army of the Zulus. The film was directed by Cy Endfield and starred Michael Caine .

23 soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross for the Anglo- Zulu War of 1879.

I can’t ever imagine of possessing a Victoria Cross, least of all one pertaining to the Zulu war, but I have in my possession a campaign medal awarded to 968 PTE G SWAINSON of the 90TH FOOT. This is one of my prized possessions.

Durban, 15th January 2008.

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