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Battlefields of KZN

Roger and Pat de la Harpe

A Few Right Royal Battles in Northern KwaZulu Natal.

Article by Pat de la Harpe
Photography by Roger de la Harpe


Travelling through the tranquil countryside in northern KwaZulu Natal it is difficult to imagine that the area cost the lives of Boer, Brit and Zulu in a series of bloody battles during the 19th century and the early part of the last one. Difficult, that is, until one visits the various battlefields and sees the graves and monuments that bear mute testimony to the futility of war.

Even if one is not an avid military enthusiast, the battlefields in the region provide a unique glimpse into the turmoil of South Africa's past and present a historical overview of the events of the Voortrekker Zulu Wars (1836 to 1852), the Anglo Zulu War (1879) and the Boer War (1899 to 1902). The involvement of several historical greats like the Prince Imperial of France, Winston Churchill and the Zulu King Cetshwayo in some of the battles fought in the area, has lent additional status to the sites and it is not unusual to see ex military types pacing out the distances between the cairns of white stones dotted around the veld, which mark the graves of those who perished for King and Country.

The four battlefields of Blood River, Isandlwana, Fugitives Drift and Rorke's Drift provide a mixed bag of victories for Boer, Brit and Zulu and are a good place to start, as they are not...

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