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Prince Imperial

Location: 22km North East of Nqutu in Zululand

Another place that brings the course of the bitter Zulu War of 1879 to mind is the place where Eugène Louis Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Imperial of France, was killed by the Zulus on 1 June, 1879. A monument marks the site amongst the hills on the course of the Itshotshozi River.

The disaster of Isandlwana gave rise to great military zeal in England, and the Prince begged the British Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Cambridge, to allow him to go out and fight in Zululand. His request was granted and he left for South Africa holding the rank of lieutenant posted to Colonel Harrison's scouts at Dundee. The Prince was sent in advance with six men to choose a place where the army could spend the night. The party passed the Itelezi Hill and dismounted for coffee near an apparently deserted Zulu kraal about 200 metres from the Itshotshozi River. Except to the north, the area round the kraal was overgrown with tall mealie fields. On the eastern side, a donga about two metres deep ran diagonally past the kraal. Suddenly the party noticed about fifty Zulus approaching them through tall grass from that direction and rushed to their horses to get away.

The Zulus shouted and fired at them; the horses took fright and bolted and the Prince fell. He rose, ran beside his horse, took hold of the saddle-bag and tried to leap onto the animal. The horse swerved and he once again fell, and his horse galloped away. The dismounted Prince turned on his assailants and opened fire with his revolver, but was struck down by Zulu assegais. Two of his men died with him.