19 January 2004
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and British Deputy High Commissioner Andy Sparkes will commemorate the 125th anniversary of the epic Battle of Isandlwana, one of the turning points of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
The commemoration, to be held on 24 January, will feature a re-enactment of two decisive phases of the battle, which was the greatest defeat ever inflicted on British forces during the Anglo-Zulu war.
Barry Marshall, director of heritage KwaZulu-Natal, told BuaNews that several British regiments will also participate in the re-enactment of the great Zulu victory over the British.
It was during this battle, on 22 January 1879, that over 1 300 British soldiers and 1 000 Zulus lost their lives.
The following day, 25 January, a service of reconciliation will be held at Shiyane/Rorke’s Drift, where a small British garrison held off the Zulu army, earning the defenders a record 11 Victoria Crosses.
The Anglican Bishop of Zululand, Reverend Anthony Mdletshe, will conduct the service in St Augustine’s Church. The Memorable Order of Tin Hats (Moths) will also parade at Rorke’s Drift.
Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales, will head a regional government delegation that will honour the role at Isandlwana of the Welsh 24th Regiment of Foot.
In addition to the re-enactments, the commemoration will feature Mhibelo dancing (Sotho), Indlamu dancing (Zulu) and Amahubo – traditional Zulu songs.
A large turnout of tourists and history enthusiasts is expected at the battlefield, which lies between Dundee and Babanango in northern KwaZulu-Natal.