Now and Then: Out To Avenge

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The Independent Online
22 January, 1879: A Zulu army of 20,000 warriors attacks and destroys an invading British force of 1,800 men at Isandhlwana. On 4 July, a British army, formed in an impregnable square, marches on Ulundi, capital of the Zulu nation, to avenge the defeat and to destroy the most powerful and warlike tribe in Black Africa. In his book 'The Washing of the Spears', Donald R Morris describes the Zulu attack:

'The British movements had trampled down the grass for a hundred yards about, but the oncoming warriors were half hidden in the growth beyond. Then as the regiments began to charge, the battalions opened with rifle fire and the rattling bursts from the Gatling guns stitched the crashing volleys together. Regiment after regiment surged forward, and the lines began to melt away in the hail of bullets scything the slopes. Not a Zulu reached to within 30 yards of the British lines. The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds. Ten men had been killed and 69 wounded. There was no accurate count of the Zulu dead, but over 1,000 bodies lay on the slopes.'

September, 1992: The African National Congress plans to march on Ulundi, capital of the KwaZulu homeland and headquarters of its rival, the Inkatha Freedom Party. The march is part of the ANC's policy to weaken President F W de Klerk's support among leaders of the 'tribal homelands'. The South African government says the march will 'lead to bloodshed'. Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Zulu leader, accused the ANC of plotting to destroy the Zulu nation.

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