|The journey to Ulundi
takes the visitor to the very heart of the Zulu Kingdom.
The last battle of the Anglo-Zulu War took place close to present-day
Ulundi in 1879. The British army took up position on the north bank
of the White Umfolozi River overlooking King Cetshwayo's capital
oNdini and on the morning of 4 July 1879, about 5 000 men formed
a hollow square and began to advance across the plain where 20 000
Zulu warriors awaited them.
The battle lasted less than 45 minutes and despite
the great courage and determination of the Zulu men as they faced
two Gatling guns, infantry rifle fire and artillery, few got within
30 metres of the square.
Only 12 men were killed on the British side, while the Zulu were
thought to have lost up to 1 500 in the battle which effectively
ended the war, the rule of King Cetshwayo and the independence
of the Zulu kingdom.
Those killed in the battle are buried in a garden
of blood-red flowering aloes and today white stones mark the position
of the British square on the Ulundi battlefield. A picturesque
domed stone memorial bears the inscription:
"In memory of the brave warriors who fell
here in 1879 in defence of the old Zulu order".
Nearby, King Cetshwayo's residence at oNdini has been recreated
on the exact site of the Royal capital following extensive archaeological
excavation and the discovery of the original preserved mud and
dung floors of the huts.
There is a site interpretative centre which
has a fascinating display on the scale and layout of oNdini at
the time of King Cetshwayo. Due to the enormity of the original
capital only the isigodlo (the Royal enclosure) has been rebuilt.
Cetshwayo's indlunkulu (the Great Hut) is particularly impressive
and from the low opening it was possible to look half a kilometre
downhill to the main entrance of the capital.
The oNdini Heritage Site also houses the
KwaZulu Cultural Museum with exhibits of the history and arts
of the Zulu people.