Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini has asked government to afford the annual commemoration of the Battle of Isandlwana a higher profile than that currently enjoys.
He was speaking in the shadow of Isandlwana hill at a low-key ceremony marking the 130th anniversary of the single worst military defeat suffered by Britain at the hands of colonial opponents. The battle is also said to be the only in which a major force equipped with firearms was defeated by an opponent equipped with blade weapons.
He lamented that the event was no longer on the provincial calendar and that this year`s event contrasted poorly with the centenary of the Bhambatha Rebellion in 2006 that was attended by then-President Thabo Mbeki.
describes the battle as the major opening encounter in the Anglo Zulu War
of 1879. An Army of 20 000 rushed and defeated a mixed British and colonial force encamped below the kopje.
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is meanwhile reporting that wealthy local and overseas people are enticing poor South Africans to plunder battlefields and rob graves of artefacts.
“They pay these people a pittance and the stolen artefacts invariably end up with dealers and command high prices,” said Amafa KwaZulu-Natal chairman Arthur Konigkramer. Amafa is the provincial heritage body.
Although Amafa has contacted Scotland Yard and raised the matter with the British High Commissioner to get stolen artefacts back, “it seems the issue is either too sensitive or embarrassing, because no progress has been made”, he told a conference to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the Anglo-Zulu War in Dundee on Monday.
Konigkramer said the desecration of battlefields was a global problem, but noted it was particularly serious in KwaZulu-Natal.