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The Battle of Isandlwana 1879

Location: 22km’s South from Nqutu in Zululand

The name of a prominent hill twenty three kilometres east of Rorke's Drift, on the road to Nqutu. This was the scene of one of the greatest disasters that has ever befallen the British. In addition to some 1350 British soldiers killed, a large number of Zulus also lost their lives in action.

The battle was fought on 22nd January, 1879. The Zulu impi of some 25,000 men was under the command of Ntshingwayo ka Mahole Khoza. Six regiments lay in waiting, and were discovered by mounted troop. Immediately they rose, and in a spontaneous movement, advanced on the British camp at Isandlwana. The Mbonambi and Kandapemvu concentrated on a direct attack on the camp, the Nokonke and Dududu regiments worked round to the west of Isandlwana to the rear of the camp, cutting off any possible retreat to Rorke's Drift. The Uve and Ngomakosi carried out a similar movement to the east.

About 400 men who managed to escape made their way down the Manzamnyama and crossed the Buffalo at Fugitive's Drift. At Isandlwana there is now a poignant reminder of the lives lost. White stone cairns that dot the landscape tell the tale of disaster, tragedy, victory, bravery and are a testament to the futility of war.