Impi yaseSandlwana

22 January 1879, eSandlwana

1st Battalion, 24th Foot, massacred at the hands of the Zulus at the Battle of Isandlwana

Impi yaseSandlwana

Isandlwana, the battle that rocked Victorian Britain; at which the Zulus wiped out a substantial British force including the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot.

Causes of the War: The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and then gold in 1871 changed South Africa overnight from a backwater to a colony with prospects. Britain was approaching bankruptcy, having financed incessant wars for many years and also, watching with envy the rising power of the United States and Germany. The British Government however, was faced with two British colonies, two independent Boer republics and several independent African states.  The answer - to the British - was confederation, all under the Union Jack.

Date: 22nd January 1879

Place:   Isandlwana, eNquthu, KwaZulu-Natal 

Combatants: Zulu army against a force of British troops and Natal units.

Generals: Lieutenant Colonel Pulleine of the 24th Foot and Lieutenant Colonel Durnford commanded the British force at the battle. The Zulu Army was commanded by Chiefs Ntshingwayo kaMahole and Mavumengwana kaMdlela Ntuli.

Size of the armies : The British force comprised some 1,200 men. It is likely that they were attacked by around 12,000 Zulus.

Winner: The British force was wiped out by the Zulu Army.

Account: The battle at Isandlwana stunned the world. It was unthinkable that a “native” army armed substantially with stabbing weapons could defeat the troops of a western power armed with modern rifles and artillery, let alone wipe it out. Until news of the disaster reached Britain the Zulu War was just another colonial brushfire war of the sort that simmered constantly in many parts of the worldwide British Empire. The complete loss of a battalion of troops, news of which was sent by telegraph to Britain, transformed the nation’s attitude to the war.



The Battle of Isandlwana: The Zulu War began in early January 1879 as a simple campaign of expansion. British colonial officials and the commander-in-chief in South Africa, Lord Chelmsford, considered the independent Zulu Kingdom ruled by Cetshwayo a threat to the British colony of Natal with which it shared a long border along the Tugela River.

Zulu Warriers: In December 1878 the British authorities delivered an ultimatum to Cetshwayo requiring him to give up a group of Zulus accused of murdering a party of British subjects. In the absence of a satisfactory response Chelmsford attacked Zululand on 11th January 1879. Chelmsford’s previous wars in South Africa did not prepare him for the highly aggressive form of warfare practised by the Zulus.

References: Zulu War by Ian Knight (Pan Grand Strategy)

Relevant links:

Dabulamanzi, brother of King Cetshwayo and the Zulu commander who massacred the British Army at Isandlwana

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PHILANI LANGA | Reply 12.05.2017 23.16

Ngabe abakwaLanga bahlobene nabakwaMchunu nabakwaKhanyile? Kanti ubani owadla umlenze wayeka insonyama inyama yamakhosi?

Mzwandile Thabede | Reply 02.08.2016 19.59

AbakwaThabede laba abangaweli ngazibuko, abawela ngezimbambo somfula. Laba oGambu, Mwelase, Vezi ,Jiyane. Baqamukaphi futhi bafike nini, kanjani eSouth Africa.

zakes msimango | Reply 09.02.2016 16.50

I love this history about isizwe,samaZulu,now I see why thy are so fond of guns

ayanda ndaba | Reply 01.08.2015 20.32

Jesus is said to have walked on water yes i believe but this man "wakrazula amanzi"...i know and i see it to feeling it.aah Dabulamanzi yebo gogo

Judas Iscariot | Reply 29.05.2015 09.28

We moered them

Dlamini | Reply 10.02.2015 22.06

King of , Cetshwayo is my grandfather

Sokalezwe Mthethwa | Reply 17.01.2015 08.15

I wish all Black africans should know this history.

Tibua 28.05.2015 17.49

I wish it can be put as a syllabus at national school

cyprian Ntuli | Reply 06.07.2014 23.18

Siyabonga Mavumengwana Ntuli,nathi asibancinyane singoKhuboni

Musa Khoza | Reply 17.02.2012 22.32

guys ngifuna umlando ka Ntshingwayo ka Mahole

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