The Zulus

Sunday, January 26 – 1879
It appears that the Zulus have thirty-three regiments, eighteen of which (according to a pamphlet issued by Lord Chelmsford to his officers) are composed of married, and fifteen of unmarried men. Practically only twenty-six regiments exists, as seven of the married regiments are composed of men over sixty years of age, and so may be said not to be good for much.

The twenty-six regiments, however, number 40,400 men, all able to take the field, and, as they are of all ages from twenty to sixty, it may be said that they are effective soldiers. The officers are one commandant, one second in command, two wing officers, a captain, and one to three subalterns per company.

Dress they have none, or next to none, the principal men only wearing a sort of apology for a kilt composed of civet and green monkey skin, which is tied round the waist and descends half-way to the knees. A similar garment is worn at the back, and gives the men a very ludicrous appearance.

Each regiment has its distinguished marks. The married men wear large rings round the head, and curry white shields; the unmarried wear no rings, and carry black shields. The regiments are not numbered, but have distinguishing names and marks.

The Zulu army are tolerably well armed – some with breech-loading rifles – but every variety of weapon, from the old flint or matchlock upwards, is to be found amongst them. They have no commissariat deserving of the name, two or three days’ provisions being carried by women or small boys following the army. There is no drill worthy of the name.

Our strength will be about 6,500 whites and 7,500 natives, the latter little or no good. As we shall have to leave a considerable number of our force to garrison posts along the border, we shall not be likely to send on more than 5,000 men, if even so many.

The terms sent by Sir Henry Bulwer to King Cetewayo are these: – A resident magistrate in Zululand, and disbanding of his army, but not disarmament. The two main roads mostly used by traders to be maintained in his country, and persons allowed to go unmolested. The boundary between Zululand and the Transvaal to be fixed by the Bloed and Pongolo river.  British subjects who may elect to remain on their farms in Zululand to be allowed to do so, but must subject themselves to the law of the country. Every facility to be given to enable those desiring to do so to remove. Cetewayo to be held henceforth responsible for any cattle stealing or offences on the part of his people against British subjects. Certain Zulu headmen, known to have been guilty of criminal nets against British subject, to be given up to be dealt with by the Natal Government.
(Reynold’s Newspaper, 26-01-1879)

Image below from “The Graphic”, April, 19 – 1879.
Zulu 1879

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