|H. Rider Haggard and the Anglo-Zulu War in Fact and Fiction|
|Thursday, 11 November 2010 15:18|
H. Rider Haggard and the Anglo-Zulu War in Fact and Fiction
In a bid to package and brand the appeal of KwaZulu-Natal to tourists - both locally and from overseas - the KZN Tourism Authority styles the province “the Zulu Kingdom” with an accompanying picture logo depicting a Zulu warrior holding a shield. We should not underestimate the power this word - or the image - has over the overseas' imagination - and market. For example, John Laband's 1995 book Rope of Sand, subtitled, The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Kingdom in the Nineteenth Century, when published in the United Kingdom found its sub-title turn title - becoming The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Kingdom - in order to capitalise on the word "Zulu". More recently - among the seemingly unending slew of books on the Anglo-Zulu War - we have had, from local writers Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill, Zulu Victory and Zulu Vanquished, and from British historian Saul David, Zulu.
On Monday November 14 last, the film Zulu, depicting the defence of Rorke's Drift in 1879, starring Michael Caine, Stanley Baker, and featuring Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi as King Cetshwayo, was broadcast on e.tv. It was last aired on South African television in 1993. In Britain it is broadcast annually and has become a cult movie. This province - KwaZulu-Natal - owes the film a great debt as it continues to fuel interest in the Anglo-Zulu War with the result that the Battlefields Route is one of KZN's prime tourist attractions.
Ian Knight, a British historian of the Anglo-Zulu War who has been bringing groups of military history buffs to tour the battlefields for many years, told me "in that time I can count on the number of one hand the number of people whose interest had not in some way, been stimulated by the film Zulu."1
A book on the making of the film has just been published - called Zulu - With some guts behind it - a reference to a line in the film - written by Sheldon Hall, a film historian at Sheffield Hallam University.
"There can be few films which have had such an enormous impact in stimulating an interest, not just in the battle and the war, but in history generally,” says Hall. “Zulu has effectively created several generations of historians, both amateur and professional."2
And, I might add, several generations of tourists.
But before Zulu, there was Rider Haggard - Henry Rider Haggard to give him his full name.
Prior to detailing Haggard's writings on the Anglo-Zulu War I would like to provide what might be termed a "cautionary preface", in order to provide some kind of context for Haggard's approach to his subject matter. A good starting point is to be found in Jeff Guy's introduction to his 1979 book The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom:
"In 1879 the Zulu came suddenly and dramatically before the world with the news of the British defeat at Isandlwana, the defence of Rorke's Drift, the killing of the Prince Imperial, and Disraeli's famous comment on the remarkable Zulu people who convert our bishops, defeat our generals, and put an end to a great European dynasty. All this was intensified by the grotesque imagination of Rider Haggard who became the great popular writer of his time by showing the Zulu as they were, in all their superstitious madness and bloodstained grandeur', and who successfully confused in his readers' minds campfire anecdotes about the rise of Shaka with the later history of the kingdom."3
Haggard did indeed incorporate "campfire anecdotes" into his fiction but if one person is responsible for forming - indeed creating - Haggard's "grotesque imagination" and his perceptions of the Zulu people and their history, it is Theophilus Shepstone, Natal's Secretary for Native Affairs.4 In the 1870s when the young Haggard lived and worked in Natal, and later the Transvaal, Shepstone was for Haggard both mentor and surrogate father.
On his arrival in Natal in 1875 Haggard found the white settler community of the colony's capital, Pietermaritzburg, divided into two unequal camps. The larger that of Shepstone, the smaller, that of Anglican Bishop John Colenso - the cleric "converted" by the Zulu. The two men, previously the best of friends, had irrevocably fallen out over Shepstone's handling of the so-called Langalibalele Rebellion of 1873.5
While sailing to southern Africa the young Haggard was kept busy “getting up all the Langalibalele case & extracting the pith from a mass of blue books. It is not easy to get at the truth when it is hedged round by such a mass of contradictory evidence. However the whole affair is rather interesting inasmuch as it gives you an idea of the tremendous state of ferment & excitement the colony was & is still in."6 In that ferment Haggard found himself firmly aligned with Shepstone in opposition to the bishop. In his later writings Haggard would champion Shepstone's views on all matters Zulu, ever loyal to the man he called “my beloved chief”.7
The idea of the chief, the inkosi, was central to Shepstone's view of how the indigenous peoples of southern African be controlled and governed in a manner that would serve both the white settler community's need for cheap labour while at the same time ensuring their safety and security. To this end Shepstone was the chief: the Great White King ruling over the Zulu people in Natal, living in his idea of what constituted a “traditional” pre-Shakan tribal society. To this end he had created what became known as the “Shepstone system”, a system of administering the African populations of Natal via resettlement in reserves where they were subject to Native Law. A system in which can be found the origins of the later segregationist policies that culminated in “separate development” - apartheid.8
So in presenting this paper to a colloquium pondering “literary tourism” I would caution that in considering Haggard's writing on the Zulus and the Anglo-Zulu War that will be outlined here it is well to remember that his was a conditioned view. One filtered and refracted, first, through the eyes of Theophilus Shepstone, then those of Shepstone's acolytes, men such as Melmoth Osborn and Fred Fynney, and, later, that of the more sympathetic James Stuart. 9
"I must admit that my acquaintance with (the Zulus) dates from a period which closed almost before your day," says Haggard in dedicating his book Child of Storm to Stuart (this dedication is the source of the quote by Jeff Guy). "What I know of them I gathered at the time when Cetewayo ... was in his glory, previous to the evil hour in which he found himself driven by the clamour of his regiments, cut off, as they were, through the annexation of the Transvaal from their hereditary trade of war, to match himself against the British strength. I learned it all by personal observation in the 'seventies, or from the lips of the great Shepstone, my chief and friend, and from my colleagues Osborn, Fynney, (Marshall) Clarke and others, every one of them long since 'gone down'.
"Perhaps it may be as well that this is so, at any rate in the case of one who desires to write of the Zulus as a reigning nation, which now they have ceased to be, and to try and show them as they were, in all their superstitious madness and bloodstained grandeur." 10
"Of all the savage tribes upon the earth few, if any, have been as much in men's mouths during the last quarter century as the Zulus, or more correctly the Ama-Zulu, which means the 'People of Heaven'. This, of course, is chiefly owing to their fearful war with the English in 1879, which cost us several thousands of lives and millions of pounds of treasure." Thus Haggard, in an article titled "The Zulus: The Finest Savage Race in the World", published in the Pall Mall Magazine of June 1908. His article is a sanguinary account of nineteenth-century Zulu history with much emphasis on the tyranny of King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.
In the same article Haggard set out his views on the origins of the Anglo-Zulu War: "Cetywayo found his position very difficult. He had an enormous army of sixty or seventy thousand warriors who clamoured continually for war. He would have fought the Boers, but the English prevented him by annexing the Transvaal; indeed, as I have reason to know, that was the principal motive for this much mispresented act. He would have fought the Swazis, but we prevented him again. So things went on until at length Sir Bartle Frere issued his ultimatum, and he fought us because he had no-one else to fight."11
That Haggard had "reason to know" was due to the fact he had been a member of Theophilus Shepstone's mission sent to annex the Transvaal in 1877. Though Haggard was to spend the duration of the Anglo-Zulu War in Pretoria he knew many of the British and colonial combatants who took part in it from his time in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, where he had been on the staff of Lieutenant-Governor Sir Henry Bulwer.
Best known as the author of African tales of adventure, notably King Solomon's Mines (1885), Allan Quatermain (1886) and She (1886), Haggard wrote of the Anglo-Zulu War several times. His first book, Cetywayo and His White Neighbours (1882), a work of non-fiction, was an examination of British relations with the Zulus and the Boers prior to the war and he subsequently wrote a factual account of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift for Andrew Lang's The True Story Book (1893). The battle of Isandlwana features three times in Haggard's fiction, in The Witch's Head (1884), Black Heart and White Heart (1896) and Finished (1916) - the final volume in Haggard's trilogy dealing with the history of the Zulus in the nineteenth century. Haggard's own reminiscences of his life in South Africa at the time of the war can be found in his autobiography The Days of My Life (1926).
Ironically, though the Zulu people and their country, Zululand, feature prominently in Haggard's writing, during the years he lived in South Africa as a young man (from 1875 to 1881) he never visited Zululand. Haggard only travelled north of the Thukela river, the traditional boundary between Natal and Zululand, in 1914 when, at the age of 58, he came to South Africa as a member of the Dominions Royal Commission. Once his official duties with the commission were over he went on a tour of Zululand which included visits to the battlefields of Isandlwana, Gingindhlovu and Ulundi. His account of this trip can be found in Diary of an African Journey (2000), published for the first time in 2000, seventy-five years after Haggard's death in 1925.
Haggard was born in 1856 at Bradenham, Norfolk, the son of a country squire and the eighth in a family of ten children - three girls and seven boys. The young Haggard did not excel at school and, unlike his brothers and others of his class, was not sent to a public school though this was as likely due to financial as intellectual reasons - farming was in the doldrums at the time and his father had a large family to support. Haggard went instead to a grammar school in Ipswich, Suffolk, and though he did not shine academically he did - perhaps prophetically - win a school essay prize. This lack of academic achievement found the young Haggard facing an uncertain future and the usual safe haven for the Victorian gentry, the army, failed to provide a refuge. Haggard failed the army entrance exam - "duly floored by old friend Euclid". 12
Following this reverse Haggard's father decided Rider should have a career in the Foreign Office and Haggard was packed off to London where, first under a tutor and then at a crammer, he prepared for the Foreign Office examination. In London, as well as dabbling in spiritualism, he also fell in love with Mary Elizabeth Jackson, known as Lilly.
But all this came to nought when, during a family holiday at Tours in France, his father discovered while reading The Times that a Norfolk neighbour, Sir Henry Bulwer, was being posted to Natal as Lieutenant-Governor. Bulwer was to replace Sir Garnet Wolseley who had briefly held the post as an interim appointment, clearing up the aftermath of the Langalibalele "rebellion"13 which had led to the fall of his predecessor Sir Benjamin Pine. Haggard sailed for Africa, unofficially engaged to Lilly Jackson.
In August 1875 the nineteen-year-old Haggard set foot in Africa for the first time as an unpaid supernumerary on Bulwer's staff. At Government House in Pietermaritzburg, the Natal capital, Haggard was put in charge of the catering. He was also required to make the occasional speech at social and ceremonial occasions - such as that for a new corporation bridge, where, following speeches and toasts from, among others, Theophilus Shepstone, it is recorded in the Natal Witness that on a call for a toast to The Ladies "Mr Haggart (sic) replied and kept the company in constant laughter."14 The Natal Witness consistently mispelt Haggard with a "T" on the end. Perhaps he could take some consolation in this being an improvement on the Cape Town newspaper that had referred to him as Waggart.15
Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs, the other speechmaker noted by the newspaper, was, as we have seen, one of the most influential and powerful men in Natal. The young Haggard came increasingly under Shepstone's wing. "I looked on him very much as father (and) he treated me very much as a son" 16
Perhaps their first real contact was when Shepstone took the Lieutenant-Governor and his staff on a tour of Natal which involved a stopover at the homestead of Chief Phakade, near Muden. Phakade laid on a spectacular ceremony of welcome which provided the subject matter for the first article Haggard ever wrote, A Zulu War Dance. It was published in the Gentleman's Magazine of July 1877 under the title A Zulu War Dance.17 However, its publication was preceded by another article, The Transvaal, which appeared in MacMillan's magazine of May 1877. In late 1876 Haggard had gone to the Transvaal with Shepstone who had been charged with annexing the Boer republic by the colonial secretary, Lord Carnavon, intent on implementing his confederation policy in South Africa. The annexation was intended as part of the push for a confederation of southern African states under British influence.
In mid-December 1876 Haggard departed Pietermaritzburg for the Transvaal as a guest on Shepstone's staff, which included Melmoth Osborn and Fred Fynney18 plus an escort of mounted police. The party reached Pretoria on 27 January, 1877.
Haggard later recalled with nostalgia the camaraderie experienced during those days of travel. "Those camps were very pleasant, and in them, as we smoked and drank our "square-face" after the day's trek, I heard many a story from Sir Theophilus himself, from Osborn and from Fynney, who next to him, perhaps, knew as much of the Zulus and their history as any living in Natal.'19
Haggard also heard stories from another individual attached to the Commission "a kind of head native attendant to Sir Theophilus". His name was Mhlopekazi. A Swazi of high birth, aged 60, he was "a tall, thin, fierce-faced fellow with a great hole above the left temple over which the skin pulsated, that he had come by in some battle. He said that he had killed ten men in single combat ... always making use of a battleaxe. However this may be, he was an interesting old fellow from whom I heard many stories that Fynney used to interpret."20
Mhlopekazi, transformed into a Zulu named Umslopogaas, would later thrill readers with his exploits in Allan Quatermain, Nada the Lily (1892) and She and Allan (1921). (Though he doesn't appear in King Solomon's Mines a reference to him was inserted in the revised 1905 edition21).
After lengthy negotiations - one-part diplomacy, one-part stone-walling - Shepstone annexed the Transvaal. In order to avoid inflaming local feeling when the proclamation of annexation was read out in Pretoria on 12 April 1877 the hoisting of the Union Jack was postponed. It was finally raised on 24 May, Queen Victoria's birthday, and the young Haggard helped to run it up the flagstaff.
Haggard had hardly settled into a new and, incidentally, his first paid post as English clerk to Osborn, who had been appointed colonial secretary of the Transvaal, when the Master and Registrar of the High Court died and Haggard was appointed to act in his place despite the fact he had barely turned 21 and had no legal experience.
In Pretoria Haggard found a friend of similar age in Arthur Cochrane, and together they built a small cottage, ironically calling it "The Palatial", under the roof of which they were living when the Anglo-Zulu War began.
The advent of the war had long been a subject of correspondence home. "You seem rather alarmed about the state of affairs here, and it is not altogether reassuring," Haggard wrote to his mother on 4 March 1878. "The Zulu business hangs fire but that cloud will surely burst ... We have got troops coming and now is our time to crush the Zulus but how can we whilst (Bulwer) is fiddle faddling with his arbitration. They won't send us troops again. It is a very useless proceeding for it is not for one moment to be supposed that Cetywayo will be bound by any decree given against him." 22
In a letter written a month later he expressed the thought that "this country will never really go ahead till we have finally settled the Zulu question, and when that will be goodness knows."23 Delaying proceedings were a number of factors, including Boer agitation over the annexation and the threat of Sekhukhune of the Pedi in the northern Transvaal. A battle with the Boers was one thing, but Sekhukhune was an ally of the Zulus in dispute with the Transvaal over their north-western borders.24 Another piece of the jigsaw were the Amaswazi; with their friendship towards the Boers wavering there was a possibility that if they patched up their differences with the Zulus, all three indigenous peoples would make a concerted attack on the Boers. "War here between white and black is a terrible thing," commented Haggard.25
The one occasion Haggard recalled Shepstone getting angry with him - "for he was very tender to my faults" - was when Haggard suggested the Transvaal be better left unannexed. "'Then,' I said, 'the Zulus and the Boers will destroy each other, and the Transvaal will fall like a ripe apple into the lap of Great Britain.'" Shepstone was furious and angrily asked Haggard if he understood what he was saying, "such a policy would mean the destruction of thousands of white men, women and children by the Zulu assegais, to be followed probably by a great war between white and black." 26
As Boer, Pedi and Swazi threats subsided the young Haggard grew decidedly optimistic at the prospect of war with the Zulus: "Sir Garnet's famous thunder cloud of 30 000 armed Zulus is I think really going to burst at last. It must come some time so I think it may as well come now. We shall have to fight like rats in a corner, but we shall lick them and there will be an end of it. I do not think a Zulu War will be a long one: they will not hide in Kloofs and Mountains like these other wretches but come into the open and fight it out."27 The war Haggard so eagerly anticipated loomed closer with the delivery of High Commissioner Sir Bartle Frere's Ultimatum to the Zulus on 11 December 1878.
Haggard, writing his autobiography in 1912, is less bellicose than his youthful self. "Respecting Sir Bartle as I do, agreeing with him generally as I do, and sympathising with him from the bottom of my heart as to the shameless treatment which he received from British party politicians after his policy seemed to have failed and the British arms had suffered defeat, I still think, perhaps erroneously that this ultimatum was a mistake. Although the argument is all on his side, I incline to the view that it would have been wiser to remonstrate with the Zulus and trust to the doctrine of chances - for this reason: neither Cetewayo nor his people wished to fight the English; had Cetewayo wished it he could have swept Natal from end to end after our defeat at Isandhlwana. But what I heard he said at the time was to this effect: `The English are attacking me in my country, and I will defend myself in my country. I will not send my impis to kill them in Natal, because I and those who went before me have always been good friends with the English.' So it came about that he forbade his generals to cross the boundary of Natal.
"Whichever view may be right, the fact remains that the ultimatum was issued and from that moment war was inevitable. Our generals and soldiers entered on it with the lightest of hearts; notwithstanding the difficulties and scarcity of transport they took them with them their cricketing outfit into Zululand. This I know, since I was commissioned to bring home a wicket that was found on the field of Isandhlwana, and return it to the headquarters of a regiment to which it belonged, to be kept as a relic." 28
Haggard also recalled that he had expected the British defeat at Isandlwana. "Indeed I remember writing to friends prophesying that it would occur, and their great astonishment when on the same day that they received the letter the telegraph brought the news of the great destruction." 29
What Haggard prophesied, others dreamt. "A night or two before it happened a lady I knew in Pretoria dreamed a dream which she detailed to me on the following day ... What I recall of it is to the effect that she saw a great plain in Zululand on which the British troops were camped. Snow began to fall on the plain, snow that was blood-red, till it buried it and the troops. Then the snow melted into rivers of blood." 30
However a "more inexplicable occurrence happened to myself," writes Haggard. On the morning of 23 January 1879, a day after the battle "I saw the Hottentot vrouw who washed our clothes in the garden of `The Palatial' and went out to speak to her. The fat old woman was in a great state of perturbation, and when I asked her what was the matter, she told me that terrible things had happened in Zululand; that the `roobatjes', that is, redcoats, lay upon the plain `like leaves under the trees in winter,' killed by Cetewayo. I inquired when this event had occurred, and she replied, on the previous day. I told her that she was speaking falsehoods, since even if it were so no horse could have brought the news over two hundred miles of veld in the course of a single night. She stuck to her story but refused to tell me how it had been learned by her, and we parted."
Haggard was impressed enough at the news to saddle a horse and ride down to the Government offices to repeat what he had heard to Osborn and others. They agreed it was impossible for the news to have got to Pretoria in so short a time. "Still they were uneasy, thinking that something might have happened at an earlier date, and made inquiries without results. I believe it was twenty hours later that a man on an exhausted horse galloped into Pretoria with the evil news."
"How did the old Hottentot woman learn the truth? ... I have no explanation to offer, except that the natives have, or had, some almost telegraphic method of conveying news of important events of which the nature is unknown to us white men." 31
This story was recounted once again during Haggard's visit to South Africa in 1914 when he was reunited with Mazooku, his Zulu servant from those earlier years.32 Mazooku accompanied Haggard on his tour of Zululand which was made together with two great contemporary authorities on the Zulus, James Stuart and James Young Gibson. After walking the battlefield of Isandlwana Haggard asked Mazooku if he remembered the incident in Pretoria. He did. "(Mazooku) even recalled what horse I had saddled to ride down to government offices and repeat to Osborn what I had heard, viz: `Black Billy'. He said that he asked the old vrouw how she had learned the news so quick, and she replied that 'somebody had told her'. We could get now more out of him on this point, for if he knew he would not reveal it. Natives are very shy of speaking of anything they know to partake of mystical national lore, especially before men in high official position like (District Native Commissioner) Gibson." 33
A similar tale was told to Haggard by William Carter, Archbishop of Cape Town, who related that Canon Robert Mullins, principal of the Native College in Grahamstown in 1879, had told him that he "heard of this catastrophe through his natives at Grahamstown in the Cape Colony many hundreds of miles away, also on the morning after it happened." 34
In the Pretoria of 1879 there were few "who had not lost some that were dear to them" in the battle of Isandlwana. Shepstone had lost a son, George - "afterwards his skeleton was recognised by some peculiarity connected with his teeth" - and Osborn a son-in-law. "Personally I knew many of the officers of the 24th who fell," writes Haggard, "but the one I mourned the most was the gallant Coghill, with whom I had become very friendly when he was at Pretoria as aide-de-camp to Sir Arthur Cunynghame. He was a particularly light-hearted young man full of good stories, some of which I remember to this day." 35
Haggard was also a friend of one of the few surviving British officers at Isandlwana, Captain Edward Essex of the 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment, a special service officer who had been appointed Director of Transport, and who described his flight down Fugitive's Drift to Haggard. "All he could recall was a kind of refrain which came into his mind. It ran `Essex, you --- fool, you had a chance of a good billet at home, and now, Essex, you are going to be killed!'" 36
On 28 January 1879, Haggard wrote a brief letter to his father informing him of the "terrible disaster that has befallen our troops in Zululand." 37 In a more detailed letter that followed on the 31st, Haggard noted that "it was the old story of underestimating your enemy." He added that Colonel Anthony Durnford was being blamed for the defeat "who, though a nice fellow personally, was a headstrong rash man and, irony of fate, a violent Zulu partisan." 38
In response to the defeat at Isandlwana a mounted corps was raised in Pretoria "to go down to the assistance of our countrymen." Haggard thought it unlikely he would be allowed to go because of his official post but "I intend to go if I can for I think it is the duty of us Englishman to set an example ... if anything should happen to me, it must and I am sure will be your consolation, that it will be while doing my duty." 39
Haggard did his duty, volunteered, and at a preliminary meeting of the corps was elected adjutant "and one of the two lieutenants, the captain being a Mr Jackson, a colonial gentleman of great experience." 40
"We were ordered to proceed to Zululand with Weatherley's corps. As it chanced, at the last moment these orders were countermanded, which perhaps was fortunate for us, since otherwise in all human probability our bones would now be rotting beneath the soil of Zululand in company with those of the ill-fated Weatherley's Horse." 41 During the action at Hlobane (28/29 March 1879) most of the Border Horse were killed, including Weatherley and his teenage son. 42
Haggard's orders were countermanded because of the threat from the Transvaal Boers who, with the British occupied in Zululand, saw a chance to regain their independence. Haggard's volunteer force was considered necessary for the defence of Pretoria. However the Boer threat came to nought, probably due to the influx of British troops into the country prior to the second invasion of Zululand.
During negotiations with the Boers in April 1879 Sir Bartle Frere visited Pretoria and Haggard commanded the guard of honour of the Pretoria Horse that escorted him into town. "Sir Bartle was very civil to me, and asked me to remember him most kindly to my Father and yourself. They say however that he intends to get rid of all the annexationists to please the Boers." 43
Two Boer deputations had gone to England to demand retrocession and Shepstone "was summoned home to confer with the Colonial Office respecting the affairs of the Transvaal". 44 While Shepstone was in England Sir Owen Lanyon was appointed to replace him. Shepstone decided to retire. With his resignation a new order came to power in the Transvaal and Haggard and Cochrane decided to leave Pretoria. Personal matters also played a role in hastening their departure. In early 1879 Haggard learned that Lilly Jackson, the woman to whom he had become secretly engaged in England, had married another man. Haggard was deeply wounded and, in his own words, became "utterly reckless and unsettled". 45He embarked on an affair with a married woman, Johanna Catherine Ford, who became pregnant with his child. The child, Sarah Rider, only survived a few months.46
Haggard and Cochrane resigned from government service to start a farming venture centred on ostriches. They bought a small estate just outside Newcastle in northern Natal from Melmoth Osborn who, while resident magistrate there, had built a farmhouse, known as Hilldrop, on the 3000 acre property of Rooipoint farm. Leaving Cochrane in charge of the farm, Haggard returned to England for an intended brief visit. Prior to his departure he wrote to his father concerning "another blunder made worse by arrant cowardice": the death of the Prince Imperial on 1 June 1879. "It is sad to think that the last of the Napoleons should have met his end at the hands of three or four Kafir cowherd boys, for I don't believe there were more. I hope those cowardly fellows with him will be shot to a man." 47
Writing his autobiography thirty-three years later Haggard recalled the death of the Prince Imperial somewhat differently: "One of the last things that happened before I left South Africa was the slaying of the Prince Imperial at a Zulu outpost. Well can I remember the thrill of horror, and, I may add, of shame, that this news sent all through the land. Yet it has always seemed to me that the most of the blame should have fallen, not upon the unfortunate officer and his companions who were with the Prince, but on whoever allowed him to go out on picket duty of so peculiarly dangerous a nature. The incident itself is easily explained. Nothing is more terrible than a sudden rush of savages on a little party that does not expect their presence, especially when the attacking force may perhaps be numbered by hundreds. The Englishman concerned lost their heads, that was all. It was a case of sauve qui peut. Doubtless until it was too late they thought the Prince was with them. Well, he died as anyone might be proud to die, and, as it seems probable, by his death changed the history of Europe, or at any rate the destiny of France, for doubtless had he lived, his chance of succeeding to the imperial throne was excellent. Again, one wonders whether such things happen by hazard, or if it were the hand of Fate that threw those assegaais." 48
While in England Haggard met Louisa Margitson and they became engaged. It was to prove a lengthy engagement due to the legal action on the part of her guardians who considered Haggard a fortune hunter. The couple were finally married on 11 August 1880. Haggard and Louie, as she was always known, returned to South Africa arriving just in time for Christmas and the outbreak of the First Anglo-Boer War. Despite hostilities they eventually decided to make for Hilldrop and it was from its stoep they heard the guns at Majuba on 27 February 1881. They were also to hear the terms of the treaty that brought about the end of the war and the retrocession of the Transvaal as these were drawn up at Hilldrop - Haggard rented the farmhouse to the peace commission. "It was a strange fate," he wrote, "which decreed that the Retrocession of the Transvaal, over which I had myself hoisted the British flag, should be practically accomplished beneath my roof." 49
While Haggard and Cochrane camped in the garden one room was kept in the otherwise rented farmhouse for the heavily pregnant Louie and on 22 May she gave birth to a boy, Arthur John Rider Haggard, affectionately referred to as Jock.
By August 1881 Haggard and family plus Cochrane were sailing for England. Haggard had decided South Africa was not a safe place for his family. "Every day that passes has only strengthened my conviction that we can look for no peace and security in South Africa." Haggard wrote to his mother.50 In a letter to Shepstone Haggard voiced similar sentiments: "I don't see how respectable people can be expected to stop here in this land of murder and sudden death." 51
Once settled In England Haggard studied for the Bar. Having passed the required exams he found himself with time on his hands and so he turned to his pen. His first book was Cetywayo and His White Neighbours, largely a defence of Shepstone and his policies with regard to the Zulus and the Boers, as well as being highly critical of Wolseley's settlement of Zululand after the Anglo-Zulu War.52 Written in 1882 the book is an expansion of views expressed in his letters written from South Africa: that the presence of a warlike race ruled by a despotic king positioned threateningly close to a British colony made war inevitable. He vigorously attacked those, such as Frances Colenso and Lady Florence Dixie, who held contrary views "on the question of Cetywayo's bloodthirstiness". 53
Frere declared war upon the Zulus, according to Haggard, "because he was afraid, and had good reason to be afraid, that, if he did not, Cetywayo would before long sweep either the Transvaal; whilst on the other hand, the Zulus fought because our policy was too philanthropic to allow them to fight anybody else." 54
Haggard prefaces his account with a history of the Zulus designed to show Cetshwayo as the villain of the piece and the individual Zulu warrior a male celibate, whose "home was on the war-track with his regiment ... and (who's) affections were fixed on the sudden rush of battle, the red slaughter, and the spoils of the slain." 55
"For some fifty thousand men, comprising the whole manhood of the nation, to be continually on the boil with sanguinary animosity against the human race in general, is an awkward element to fit into the peaceful government of a state." 56
Haggard saw Cetshwayo caught between the "Scylla in the shape of the English government, and on the stormy and uncertain Charybdis of his clamouring regiments". 57
Prevented by the British from making war on the Swazis, Cetshwayo turned his attentions to the Boers of the Transvaal. "It is difficult to see what could have saved the greater part of the population of the Transvaal from sudden extinction, if a kind Providence had not just then put it into the head of Lord Carnavon to send out Sir T. Shepstone as Special Commissioner to their country" and thus forced Cetshwayo to stay his hand. 58
Once the Transvaal was annexed "Sir Bartle Frere appeared upon the scene, and after a few preliminaries and the presentation of a strong ultimatum, which was quite impracticable so far as Cetywayo was concerned, since it demanded what it was almost impossible for him to concede - the abandonment of his army - invaded Zululand." 59
According to Haggard Frere "was a statesman who had the courage of his convictions; he saw that a Zulu disturbance of one kind or another was inevitable, so he boldly took the initiative." An initiative that should have seen him lavished with praise, a peerage and a "perhaps Governor-General of India to boot; but he had reckoned without his Lord Chelmsford, and the element of success which was necessary to gild his policy in eyes of the home public was conspicuous by its absence." 60
In Cetywayo and His White Neighbours Haggard is content to deal with the origins of the war as the "details of the Zulu War are matters of melancholy history, which it is useless to recapitalute here. With the exception of the affair at Rorke's Drift, there is nothing to be proud of in connection with it, and a great deal to be ashamed of, more especially its final settlement." 61
"Sir Garnet Wolseley has the reputation of being an extremely able man, and it is only fair to him to suppose that he was not the parent of this political monster, by which all the blood and treasure expended on the Zulu war were made of no account, but that it was dictated to him by authorities at home, who were anxious to gratify English opinion, and partly ignorant, partly careless of the consequences." 62
In 1888, by when Haggard had become a famous author, Cetywayo and His White Neighbours was reissued with a new introduction bringing the reader up to date on the "progress" of the Wolseley settlement. Haggard was particularly critical of the restoration of Cetshwayo. In the first edition he had opposed any such proposal. Now, in hindsight, he was able to show what a mistake it had been, one that had led to civil war and the destruction of Zululand. Haggard also criticised British reluctance to annex Zululand contending this should have been done after the war in 1879 or, at the very latest, after the death of Cetshwayo in 1884 instead of waiting until 1887. "In that case there would now have been no New Boer Republic established in the heart of Zululand, and many thousands of men, women and children, whose bones strew the caves and whiten the veldt would to-day have been alive." 63
Following Cetywayo and His White Neighbours Haggard tried his hand at fiction, first came Dawn (1884), a romantic melodrama, followed by The Witch's Head (1884), a three-volume novel with a melodramatic story line involving an inheritance. After fighting a duel at the end of Book One the young hero, Ernest Kershaw, flees to South Africa with his second, Alston, a middle-aged Natal colonist. Book Two is set in South Africa where Kershaw's adventures parallel to some extent those of Haggard himself when he lived in the colony. Alston takes on the role of a father-figure and is an amalgam of Shepstone and Osborn. Another real-life character who appears in the book is Ernest's Zulu servant who, like Haggard's, is named Mazooku.
Alston and Kershaw arrive in Pretoria shortly after the British annexation and Kershaw joins Shepstone's staff. With the advent of the Anglo-Zulu War Alston (now taking on Weatherley's persona) raises a corps of cavalry and Kershaw is commissioned as a lieutenant. Haggard's description of their departure for Natal is probably based on that of Weatherley and his men: "Alston's Horse, sixty-four strong, marched out of Pretoria with a military band playing before. Alas! they never marched back again." 64
"At the neck of the poort or pass the band and the crowd of the ladies and gentlemen who had accompanied them halted, and, having given them three cheers, turned and left them. Ernest, too, turned and gazed at the pretty town, with its white houses and rose-hedges red with bloom, nestling on the plain beneath, and wondered if he would ever see it again. He never did." 65
At the head of the column Alston is accompanied by his fourteen-year-old son Roger - the same age as Weatherley's son, Rupert.
On 20 January 1879 Alston's Horse reach Rorke's Drift where they receive orders to join the No 3 Column "with which was Lord Chelmsford himself, and camped about nine miles from the Buffalo River at a spot called Isandhlwana, or the 'Place of the Little Hand'." They march up to the camp on the 21st and thereafter events in the book unfold more or less according to the historical record. On the 22nd "Durnford arrived from Rorke's Drift with a rocket battery and two hundred and fifty mounted native soldiers, and took over the command of the camp from Colonel Pulleine." 66
Haggard describes Durnford from his memory of him in Pietermaritzburg. "He was a handsome soldier-like man, with his arm in a sling, a long, fair moustache, and a restless, anxious expression of face." 67
Once the battle with the Zulus commences Alston's Horse are ordered to the north of the camp to check the advance of what are referred to variously as the "Undi Corps" or the "Undi regiment". A term “corps” has now fallen away as it is generally accepted the idea of a corps didn't exist in the Zulu military context - these were really regiments who were associated with each other because their headquarters were in the same royal homestead. The word Undi is the root of Ulundi or oNdini where this group were based. The 'oNdini regiments were the uThulwana, iNdlondlo and iNdluyengwe.
On reaching the high ground Alston's Horse dismount and open fire on the Zulus running across their front. When this fails to stop them Alston orders a cavalry charge during the course of which he and his son are killed and Kershaw is left in command. He, together with the other survivors then make a heroic last stand clearly modelled on that of a group of soldiers led by Captain Reginald Younghusband in the actual battle. However Kershaw, his cousin Jeremy and Mazooku manage to survive and with the help of Mazooku cross the Buffalo (Mzinyathi) some miles below Fugitive's Drift and make for Helpmekaar. They get caught in a thunderstorm and Kershaw is struck by lightning and blinded, thus bringing Book Two to an end. Book Three returns the protagonists to England where the rest of this Victorian melodrama is played out.
Neither Dawn nor The Witch's Head were notably successful and Haggard decided to concentrate on his legal career until fate intervened, apparently at the toss of a coin. His daughter Lilias records how her father was travelling by train to London with one of his brothers when they began discussing the recently published and highly successful Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. "Rider said he didn't think it was so very remarkable, whereupon his brother replied, rather indignantly: 'Well, I'd like to see you write anything half as good, bet you a bob you can't.' 'Done,' said Rider."68 The result of the bet was King Solomon's Mines published in 1885.
The book's phenomenal success turned Haggard into a household name, and one forever associated with Africa. Further books followed, many with an African setting, among them She (1887), Jess (1887), Allan Quatermain (1887), Nada the Lily (1892) and the later Zulu trilogy Marie (1912), Child of Storm (1913) and Finished (1917). By the time of his death in 1925 Haggard had written 42 adventure stories (or romances as they were then styled) as well as 12 novels dealing with contemporary subjects, and ten works of non-fiction.
Though the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 does not impinge directly on the plot of King Solomon's Mines it's shadow hangs over the book. When Umbopa, a key character in the book, is hired for the expedition to the mines of the title Quatermain comments that he has seen his face before. "Yes; the Inkoosi (chief) saw my face at the place of the Little Hand (Isandhlwana) the day before the battle." Quatermain recalls the meeting. "I had been on Lord Chelmsford guides in that unlucky Zulu War, and had had the good fortune to leave the camp in charge of some waggons the day before the battle. While I had been waiting for the cattle to be inspanned I had fallen into conversation with this man, who held some small command among the native auxiliaries, and he had expressed to me his doubts of the safety of the camp. At the time I had told him to hold his tongue, and leave such matters to wiser heads; but afterwards I thought of his words."69
Umbopa elaborates on his history: "I am of the Zulu people, yet not of them. The house of my tribe is in the far North; it was left behind when the Zulus came down here 'a thousand years ago', long before Chaka reigned in Zululand. I was Cetywayo's man in the Nkomabakosi Regiment. I ran away from Zululand and came to Natal because I wanted to see the white man's ways. Then I served against Cetywayo in the war. Since then I have been working in Natal. Now I am tired, and would go North again."70
King Solomon's Mines also makes reference to the death of the Prince Imperial. In the chapter entitled 'The Elephant Hunt' Quatermain and his party drive a herd of elephants into "a nullah or dried water track, with steep banks, a place very much resembling the one the Prince Imperial was killed in Zululand." 71
The Anglo-Zulu War next featured in Haggard's novella Black Heart and White Heart. The story features the disreputable "black hearted" Philip Hadden, "a transport-rider and a trader in `the Zulu'" 72 and the "white hearted" Nahoon, "a captain of the Umcityu" 73 both of whom love the beautiful Nanea. Hadden's suit leads to her death at the instruction of Cetshwayo and Nahoon goes literally mad with grief and disappears. On the eve of the battle of Isandlwana he reappears and requests a spear and a shield "that I may fight with my regiment, for a seek a face in the battle."74 The face he seeks is that of Philip Hadden and he finds him as his regiment close around the doomed camp. A long pursuit ends in the forest where Nanea, who in fact escaped execution, has found refuge. Nahoon kills Hadden and is restored to sanity when Nanea emerges from hiding.
Haggard returned to Isandlwana with his contribution to Andrew Lang's The True Story Book (1893), a collection of inspiring tales for children such as 'A Boy Among the Red Indians', 'The Story of Grace Darling', 'The Spartan Three Hundred' and 'The Conquest of Montezuma's Empire'. The proofs of Haggard's offering, 'The Tale of Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift', were checked by "my friend Colonel Essex, who was one of the three or four officers in camp who survived the disaster, as subsequently he did those of Laing's Nek and Ingogo." 75 Haggard also made use of the testimonies of Essex and Lieutenant William Dundonald Francis Cochrane to the court of inquiry into the battle.
After a brief history of the Zulus - "they seem to have sprung from an Arab or semitic stock"76 - we arrive at the war of 1879: "Sir Bartle Frere made war upon the Zulus because he was afraid of their power, and the Zulus accepted the challenge because we annexed the Transvaal and would not allow them to fight the Boers or the Swazis." 77
Haggard concedes that the English "also are a warlike race, and there was honour and advancement to be won, and it would seem that but few of those who marched into the Zulu country guessed how formidable was the foe with whom they had to deal." 78
Having "done with dull explanations" Haggard then tells of "the disaster at Isandhlwana or the `place of the Little Hand,' and of the noble defence of Rorke's Drift"79
which he prefaces with a brief description of Zulu battle tactics.
Haggard gives a factual account of the battle in the course of which he ponders why the British forces did not laager their wagons and rely on their superior fire power as "demonstrated by what happened on the same day at Rorke's Drift" with a much smaller body of men. "Why then it may be asked, did Colonel Durnford, a man of considerable colonial experience, adopt the more risky ... mode of dealing with the present danger, and this in spite of Colonel Pulleine's direct intimation to him that his orders were `to defend the camp'? As it chances, the writer of this account, who knew Colonel Durnford well, and has the greatest respect for the memory of that good officer, and honourable gentleman, is able to suggest an answer to the problem which at the time was freely offered by the Natal colonists. A few years before, it happened that Colonel Durnford was engaged upon some military operations against a rebellious native chief in Natal. Coming into contact with the followers of this chief, in the hope that matters might be arranged without bloodshed, Durnford ordered the white volunteers under his command not to fire, with the result that the rebels fired, killing several of his force and wounding him in the arm. This incident gave rise to an irrational indignation in the colony, and for a while he himself was designated by the ungenerous nickname of `Don't fire Durnford.' It is alleged, none can know with what amount of truth, that it was the memory of this undeserved insult which caused Colonel Durnford to insist upon advancing the troops under his command to engage the Zulus in the open, instead of withdrawing them to await attack in the the comparative safety of a `laager'." 80
In relating the flight down Fugitive's Drift of Lieutenants Coghill and Melville - "whose memory their country will not willingly let die" - Haggard notes "the writer of this sketch had the good fortune to know (Coghill) well. A kindlier-hearted and merrier young English gentleman never lived." 81
Haggard concludes his account of Isandlwana with the return of British troops to the site in May 1880 to bury the bodies of the slain. "Strange were the scenes that those saw whose task it was to lay them to rest. Here, hidden by the rank grass, in one heap behind the officers' tents, lay the bodies of some seventy men, who had made their last stand at this spot; lower down the hill lay sixty more. Another band of about the same strength evidently had taken refuge among the rocks of the mountain, and defended themselves there till their ammunition was exhausted, and their ring broken by the assegai. All about the plain lay Englishmen and Zulus, as they had died in the dread struggle: - here side by side, amidst rusted rifles and bent assegais, here the bony arms still locked in the last hug of death, and yonder the soldier with the Zulu's assegai in what had been his heart. One man was found, who, when his cartridges were spent, and his rifle was broken, had defended himself to the end with a tent-hammer that lay among his bones, and another was stretched beneath the precipice, from the crest of which he had been hurled." 82
Haggard then tells the story of Rorke's Drift, briefly summing up the progress of the war thereafter and ending with a paean of praise to "the drama of the building up of a great Anglo-Saxon empire in Africa - an empire that within the next few centuries may well become one of the mightiest in the world." He envisages a time when "the child has become a giant" that "men will show their sons the mountain that was called Isandhlwana ... and a certain spot on the banks of the Buffalo River, and tell the tale of how beneath that hill the wild Zulus of ancient times overwhelmed the forces of the early English settlers; and how for a long night through, a few men of those forces held two grass-thatched sheds against their foe's savage might; and of how some miles away two heroes named Melville and Coghill died together whilst striving to save the colours of their regiment from the grasp of the victorious `Children of Heaven'." 83
Haggard concludes: "Now it may interest you to know that these last words are written with a pen that was found among the bones of the dead at Isandhlwana." 84
The battle of Isandlwana would feature again in Finished, the final volume of Haggard's Zulu trilogy written after he had visited Zululand and its battlefields in 1914.
After a period of seclusion following the tragic death of his son Jock in 1891 Haggard became involved in public affairs and though a continuous stream of novels flowed from his pen his literary endeavours took second place to his public service and, more particularly, his interest in agriculture. This found its first published expression in his diary of a year on his farm at Ditchingham, A Farmer's Year (1899).
But even in the depths of the English countryside Zululand is not far from Haggard's mind and in A Farmer's Year he adds an interesting sidelight on the fate of Weatherley's Horse at Hlobane. Talk of an injured horse in Norfolk leads to reminiscences of a horse Haggard owned in Pretoria that suffered a similar injury - a cracked shoulder. Though lame "a gentleman who had always admired it very much offered me twenty pounds for it, taking the chance of its recovery, which sum I accepted. Six months or so afterwards I was astonished to see the late Colonel Weatherley riding off at the head of his troop to the Zulu war upon this very horse. Afterwards he was killed from its back at Inhlobane; but the horse escaped, for my friend Sir Melmoth Osborn told me that many years later he recognised it in the possession of a native chief in Zululand, of which country he was by then Governor." 85
Haggard recounts the death of Weatherley and his son Rupert, adding a macabre epilogue: "Ignorant of the dreadful slaughter that had taken place upon the mountain, another volunteer corps, which had been recruited in the Transvaal, approached the camp, and among them an elder son of Colonel Weatherley's, who had been my clerk when I was master of the Transvaal High Court. This corps meeting a number of saddled and bridled runaway horses, young Weatherley caught one of them, a good-looking pony, and rode it into camp. It proved to be the animal on which his brother had just been killed." 86
A Farmer's Year was followed by a massive two-volume review of the state of agriculture in Britain, Rural England (1902), and Rural Denmark (1911), a study of agricultural methods in Denmark. As a result of these labours Haggard gained a reputation as an agricultural reformer and it was for his services to agriculture, and not literature, that he was knighted in 1912. In the same year, and thanks again to his agricultural expertise, he was appointed a member of the Dominions Royal Commission created to investigate how the white settler societies of the Dominions - Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Newfoundland and South Africa - could assist the mother country, now trailing economically and militarily behind the United States and Germany.
The year 1912 also saw the publication of a new Allan Quatermain novel, Marie, the first volume of Haggard's Zulu trilogy and with Africa beckoning it was only fitting he dedicate it to the man under whose wing he first went to the continent, Sir Henry Bulwer.
The trilogy deals with the rise and fall of the Zulu kingdom as engineered by a malevolent witchdoctor, Zikali, "The Thing that should never have been born", as opposed to the more prosaic historical forces of which Haggard was certainly aware.
The first volume deals with the period of the Great Trek and includes the death of Piet Retief and his party at the hands of Dingane. The backdrop to the second volume, Child of Storm, is the civil war fought between Cetshwayo and Mbuyazi to decide the successor to Mpande. It features the battle of Ndondakusuka (1856) and for his description Haggard draws on an account he heard from Osborn who had observed the battle from a rock in the middle of the Thukela River. Child of Storm was dedicated to James Stuart, the Natal civil servant who had recorded the testimonies of nearly 200 informants on a range of topics concerning the history of the Zulus and their neighbours. Haggard met Stuart in London in 1912 where Stuart was supervising publication of his account of the 1906 Bhambatha Rebellion, A History of the Zulu Rebellion. The two discussed a mooted biography of Theophilus Shepstone and though this project came to naught Stuart read the manuscript of Child of Storm and made various suggestions which Haggard incorporated into the final text.87
Haggard was to meet Stuart again when the Dominions Royal Commission visited South Africa. The commission first toured Australia and New Zealand in 1913 before coming to South Africa in February 1914. With the commission Haggard visited the four provinces of South Africa: the Cape, Orange Free State, Natal and the Transvaal. In between his official duties Haggard managed visits to old haunts including "the Palatial" in Pretoria and Hilldrop at Newcastle. Once the commission had completed its fact-finding mission Haggard went to Rhodesia where he visited the ruins at Great Zimbabwe. He returned to South Africa and went on a trip through Zululand accompanied by James Stuart and James Young Gibson, author of The Story of the Zulus, who had recently been appointed District Native Commissioner at Eshowe. Another member of the party was Mazooku, Haggard's servant from former days and with whom he had been reunited in Pietermaritzburg.
At Eshowe the party stayed at the Residency built by Osborn and on 20 April 1914 Stuart and Haggard visited the kwaGqikazi homestead where Cetshwayo had died in 1884. In his diary Haggard renders it Jazi meaning "Finished''or 'Finished with Joy" using this translation to provide the title for the third volume of his Zulu trilogy. 88 The party left Eshowe on 22 April and travelled by car to Gingindhlovu and thence by rail to Somkhele. On the way to Gingindhlovu they stopped at the battlefield "while Stuart took a photograph of the graves of those who fell here in the battle during the Zulu War. The spot which is by the roadside is surrounded by long grass and looks rather desolate." 89
Early on 23 April they left Somkhele in a car hired for the tour by the department of Native Affairs. In a bid to recreate the memory of his youthful travels in South Africa Haggard had initially requested the tour be undertaken in a mule drawn wagonette. But Michael Hallowes Addison, the Chief Native Commissioner who organised the trip had been unable to locate one. "I have tried every Government department as well as local contractors for such a conveyance ... They either have no mules or won't risk them in certain parts of Zululand." So it was decided to hire a car instead. "It is extraordinary how motor has superseded other traffic in Zululand during the last year or so." 90
The car, a Willys Overlander, was driven "oddly enough by a young fellow of the name of Edwards, the grandson of old Marsdon, the miller at Bungay where he was born. He is a nice young man and seems to be getting on well in South Africa." Bungay in Suffolk was the nearest town to Haggard's home at Ditchingham in Norfolk.91
Young Edwards drove them first to Hlabisa where an indaba was held between Gibson and 50 chiefs and headmen. They then proceeded to Nongoma and Gibson showed Haggard the site of the battle of Ivuna (23 June 1888) where the uSuthu under Dinuzulu had defeated the Mandlakazi under Zibhebu during the civil war in Zululand. They departed for Mahlabatini, only reaching it after dark having had to push the car up a steep hill "backwards, propping it with stone every few yards to prevent it running down again." 92
On 25 April they visited the battlefield of Ulundi "passing the spot where our friend and ally, King Panda, was buried. His grave was robbed by British soldiers and it is said his skull is now at Netley hospital. To my mind it was a shameful act, especially as the burying places of their kings are very sacred to the Zulus."93
Unsure of the actual site of the battle Mazooku was dispatched to a nearby homestead. "Presently he returned with an old Zulu named Simpofu, who by good luck had fought in it and was able to tell us everything." 94
Simpofu took them to "the remains of an earthen entrenchment thrown up by our troops. Here too is the little graveyard with 12 iron crosses which stand above those who fell in the fight...not far away is another spit of which the centre has sunk in. This may have been a gun platform, or more likely - from the hollow in its middle - those Zulus who fell near the entrenchment were here collected and thrown into a pit." 95
Haggard found rusting bully beef tins and collected a pocket full of Martini-Henry cartridges. As they stood by the graves Simpofu who "had fought that day in the ranks of the Ingobamakosi Regiment, shewed us all the plan of the battle which, for the Zulus, was from the first an impossible adventure, seeing that they must advance over an open plain against an army behind an entrenchment and armed with breechloaders. What kind of courage must these people possess that it enabled them to persist in the attack until - well until they or many of them died. Simpofu told us that the only Zulu wounded attended to were those who chanced to be found by relatives who lived in the neighbourhood. The rest died where they fell. How did they die? Imagine it! Many of them, however, lived through wounds that would have killed Europeans. Thus Simpofu pointed to a scar on his neck and another beneath the shoulder, the bullet having travelled right through him. He received it at Kambula evidently fired from above, yet he was able to travel 200 miles or so and a while later fight at Ulundi." 96
Haggard asked Simpofu what had happened to the remains of the Zulu dead "as we saw no skeletons lying about the veld". Simpofu told him that "white men came and took them (the skeletons) away in wagons". Gibson then recalled seeing "piles of bones lying at a store in the neighbourhood, so I suppose that the end of the mortal part of those Zulus was to be ground into bone-dust for manure." 97
Leaving Ulundi they travelled to King Dingane's royal homestead, uMgungundlovu, and visited Kwa Matiwane where Piet Retief and his followers had been put to death in 1838. To Haggard's obvious delight they found skeletons in a cairn that had been broken open. "What we saw before us, and photographed, were the mortal remains of some of Retief's people, and, for aught I know, of Retief himself." 98
Departing this "ill-omened Golgotha" the party motored on to stayed with Sir Charles Saunders near Melmoth. 99
After lunch on the 27 April they started for Empandhleni 30 miles away but on trying to charge across the Black Mhlatuze River the car got stuck in the middle. "Water got into the baggage, utterly soaking poor Stuart's belongings but only damping mine. At this juncture who should appear but a pretty young witch-doctress in full professional array with the regulation bladders in her hair". She was accompanied by her father and a few other people. Her name was Nombe and "she sat down and apparently began a course of incantations on our behalf, swaying herself to and fro." Meanwhile the others helped push the stuck vehicle and, after unloading the luggage and with Haggard at the steering wheel, they got "through that dreadful river." 100
After staying overnight at Empandhleni and attending another indaba in the morning they set off for Isandlwana. On the way they debated the meaning of the name of the famous mountain. "Mr Gibson declares that this name means Like a little house'; Stuart, on the contrary, says that the true interpretation thereof is `the second stomach of an ox'. When such learned doctors disagree, as they did with vigour, I may be pardoned if I cling to the old rendering `the place of the little hand'. Certainly it is not in the least like either a little house or an ox's stomach; where as it has "some similitude to an arm with a clenched fist at its end." 101
Finally, late on the afternoon of 27 April, Haggard set eyes on the site of the battle that had so dominated his youth in South Africa. "At length the strange, abrupt, lion-like mount of Isandlwana appeared before us, standing solitary and, in a way, terrible upon the plain; its sheer brown cliffs of rock rising like the walls of some cyclopean fortress. Between it and another low stony hill there lies a nek of some 500 yards in width. All about this nek stand monuments and little cairns built of rough stones marking where the bones of the dead were buried when our forces returned to Isandhlwana in 1880, a year of so after the disaster." 102
Standing on the nek Haggard looked out over the battlefield and visualised the events of 22 January 1879. "Few relics are left of the struggle now after the lapse of 35 years, some broken medicine bottles, a good many fragments of bully-beef tins, pieces of the bones of men and animals, that is all. Also we picked up the remnants of two Martini cartridges; the one I found on the nek had not been fired, probably it came from the pouch of some slain soldier, a slate pencil and such sundries." (That night when the party stayed at the store of Charles Evelyn Parr, close to the battlefield, Haggard was given a "number of cartridge cases and the head of one of Durnford's rockets." 103)
"It was sad for me to stand by the piles of stones which cover all that is left of so many whom I once knew; Durnford and Pulleine and many other officers of the 24th, George Shepstone and the rest. Coghill I knew also very well but he died with Melville by the river bank ... We walked back towards the store past the little graveyard where I see that Hitchcock, the first husband of Osborn's daughter is buried with a few others whom it was possible to identify, and across the dongas and the rough ground about them." 104
"When I had gone some way I turned and looked back at this lonesome, formidable hill standing there, a fit monument for the multitude of dead; immemorially ancient, stern and grand. The twilight was closing in, the sky was red, fading into grey. Over that savage crest trembled one star: Heaven's own ornament. Near to it gleamed the faint but luminous bow of the new-born moon, that same young moon which once hung above the slain upon this forsaken field of blood. I walked awhile, picking my way over the stony ridge and dongas where the last stand was made against a roaring flood of foes, and again looked back. Now the stark mount had become very black and solemn, the trembling star had sunk or vanished and of the following crescent of the young moon but one horn appeared above the hill. It looked like a plume of faint, unearthly fire burning upon Isandhlwana's rocky brow. This must be a quiet place for man's eternal sleep. But the scene which went before that sleep!" 105
The next day the party "followed the path of the routed towards Fugitive's Drift. At first the cairns are many but by degrees they cease. All were slain by now save those who were marked for another space of life. But even today I can scarcely bear to think of those last incidents of a mighty tragedy of which I heard so much when I was young, and will write of them no more. They are forgotten among men. Peace to the brave, white and black together, for be it remembered our men did not die alone. `Is this a victory of which you tell me?' asked Cetywayo, as he surveyed his thin regiments, `Wow! I name it defeat'." 106
Haggard looked upon Rorke's Drift in the distance but did not visit. After a brief stop at St Augustine's Mission they departed for Dundee travelling via Nqutu.
At Pietermaritzburg station on 29 April Haggard bade goodbye to Mazooku for the last time before travelling on to Durban where he stayed for a few days until his departure for England. During this time Haggard interviewed John Dube, a founding member of the African National Congress and its first president. They discussed, among other things, the Native Land Act of 1913 which Dube and others were about to go to the Union parliament in Cape Town to protest and, thereafter, to the Colonial Office in London. Haggard supported Dube's views but felt he would have little luck in getting them heard. He sent a report of the interview to the Colonial Secretary, Lewis Harcourt, to whom he later sent a comprehensive letter detailing matters in Zululand. He summarised his views to Lord Gladstone, the Governor-General in Cape Town, in a letter written from Durban on 30 April 30: "I think the Zulus are in a most unhappy position," he wrote. "Some two-thirds of their land are in the hands of white people: often they are rent paying squatters on their territory which their fathers occupied ... they are a people we have broken and not mended." 107
"The justice of many of our dealings with them is open to the gravest question. On every occasion and pretext we take more of their land leaving them the worst and most unhealthy portions. And in return what do we give them? They long to be educated but there is no system of education. The little that is done is the work of missionaries and sectarian. Some general system of education should, in my opinion, be introduced under government control. Again, I think that they should be given a representative voice in their own affairs, such as exists in the Transkei and Basutoland. Why cannot a native council be established on which the Native Commissioner and the magistrates have seats? They have many troubles, many grievances, but their only opportunity of expressing them at present is in the course of a visit from the commissioner, necessarily of a hurried nature, or through an interview with the local magistrate. None of them knows what the rest think throughout their wide land: they have no chance of collective speech." 108
Information obtained by Haggard during the Zululand trip was used in the final volume of the Zulu trilogy, Finished, published in 1917, which sees the climax of Zikali's vengeance on the House of Shaka. The first half of the novel deals with diamond smuggling but eventually, thanks to the magic of Zikali, Quatermain finds himself in Zululand where he meets Cetshwayo and is given a message to take to the colonial authorities: "I will send an answer to their demands on the point of an assegai. Yet add this, that not I but the English, to whom I have always been a friend sought this war. If Sompseu (Shepstone) had suffered me to fight the Boers as I wished to do it would never have come about. But he threw the Queen's blanket over the Transvaal and stood upon it, and now he declares that lands which were always the property of the Zulus, belongs to the Boers. Therefore I take back all the promises which I made to him when he came hither to call me King in the Queen's name, and no more do I call him father. As for the disbanding of my impis, let the English disband them if they can. I have spoken." 109 Bearing the message Quatermain heads south for Natal crossing the Thukela at the Middle Drift where he encounters the "No 2 Column which consisted of a rocket battery, three battalions of the Native Contingent and some troops of mounted natives, all under the command of Colonel Durnford, R.E... a tall nervous-looking man with a fair handsome face and long side-whiskers. One of his arms, I remember was supported by a sling, I think it had been injured in some Kafir fighting." 110
Quatermain then proceeds to Pietermaritzburg where he delivers his message but "it did not produce much impression as, hostilities having already occurred, it was superfluous." 111 He then hires himself out to the military as a transport rider together with his oxen and wagons. His wagons laden with ammunition he treks to Helpmakaar then to Rorke's Drift where he joins the No.3 column. Once arrived he makes representations "to certain highly placed officers, I will not mention which, as to the necessity of laagering, that is forming fortified camps, as soon as Zululand was entered, since from my intimate knowledge of its people I was sure that they would attack in force." 112
On 11 January 1879 the column crosses the Buffalo River and makes for Isandlwana "its sheer brown cliffs of rock rising like the walls of some cyclopean fortress, the strange, abrupt mount of Isandlwana, which reminded me of a huge lion crouching above the hill-encircled plain beyond." 113
Quatermain describes the opening moves of the battle and the arrival on January 22 of Colonel Durnford at "about ten o'clock ... with five hundred Natal Zulus, about half of whom were mounted, and two rocket tubes which, of course, were worked by white men." 114
"I happened to see the meeting between Colonel Pulleine, a short stout man who was then in command of the camp, and Colonel Durnford who, as senior officer, took it over from him, and heard Colonel Pulleine say that his orders were `to defend the camp' but what else passed between them I do not know." 115
Durnford then asks Quatermain if he thinks the Zulus will attack the camp. "'I don't think so, Sir,' I answered, 'as it is the day of the new moon which they hold unlucky. But tomorrow it may be different.'"116
Durnford then dispatches Captain George Shepstone with a "body of mounted natives along the ridge to the left, where presently they came in contact with the Zulus about three miles away." 117
Just before advancing himself Durnford asks Quatermain to accompany him "adding that as I knew Zulu so well I might be useful." 94 Three and a half miles to the left front of the camp they encounter a "trooper of the Natal Carabineers (sic) whose name was Whitelaw, who had been out scouting" and who reports an advancing Zulu force. "Presently these appeared over the crest of the hill, ten thousand of them I should say, and amongst them I recognised the shields of the Nodwengu, the Dududu, the Nokenke and the Ingobamakosi regiments." 118
Durnford and his men, Quatermain among them, fall back to a donga where they discover the remains of the rocket battery. Retreating to another donga they are "reinforced by about fifty of the Natal Carabineers under Captain Bradstreet."119They hold the position until they run low on ammunition. "Messengers were sent back to the camp for more ammunition but none arrived, Heaven knows why. My own belief is that the reserve cartridges were packed away in boxes and could not be got at." 120
Ammunition running out they retire towards the nek where all is chaos. "Colonel Durnford gave orders to certain officers who came up to him, Captain Essex was one and Lieutenant Cochrane another." 121
The defence collapses and Quatermain witnesses the death of Durnford. "Scorning to attempt flight, whenever I looked round I caught sight of his tall form, easy to recognise by the long fair moustaches and his arm in a sling, moving to and fro encouraging us to stand firm and die like men. Then suddenly I saw a Kafir, who carried a big old smooth-bore gun, aim at him from a distance of about twenty yards, and fire. as the result of a shot: "that was the end of a very gallant officer and gentleman whose military memory has in my opinion been most unjustly attacked. The real blame for that disaster does not rest upon the shoulders of either Colonel Durnford or Colonel Pulleine." 122
Quatermain decides it is time to escape but instead of heading down towards Fugitive's Drift makes off in the opposite direction for the Nqutu plateau. According to Zikali he would be safe if headed for Ulundi. Quatermain duly rides across the plain, now full of Zulus, but when his horse is shot it wheels back towards the north of the Isandlwana mountain at the foot of which it drops dead. Quatermain climbs to the top of the mountain and hides. "From my lofty eyrie some hundreds of feet in the air, I could see everything that happened beneath." Among the events he witnesses is a soldier taking refuge in a cave "whence he shot three or four (Zulus); then his cartridges were exhausted ... I think he was the last to die on the field of Isandhlwana." 123
From his vantage point Quatermain witnesses the looting of the camp and the approach of Lonsdale and his hasty retreat. As night falls he hears firing from Rorke's Drift. In the morning he descends from the mountain but groups of Zulus moving about the battlefield prevent him from making contact with the British. He catches a Basuto pony ("it had belonged to Captain Shepstone's force of mounted natives" 124) takes a Martini-Henry rifle and some cartridges from a dead soldier. Accompanied by an Airedale terrier ("doubtless it had belong to some dead officer" 125) and donning the headress of a dead Zulu he makes his escape towards the north. Thereafter other storylines intervene and Quatermain takes no further part the Anglo-Zulu War only hearing of its conclusion at the battle of Ulundi second-hand.
In the final chapter Quatermain is present at the death bed of Cetshwayo at "the kraal Jazi" that "meant 'Finished', or 'Finished with joy'" near Eshowe, that Haggard had himself visited in April 1914. 126
In some respects this paper/article reflects the interaction of literature with history. As noted at the outset, Haggard's view and interpretation of Zulu history is a problematic and conditioned one. Even in his own writings inconsistencies abound; he expresses different views and opinions at different times. His handling of historical material also varies according to the requirements of what mode he happens to be writing in at any given time: fact or fiction..
Haggard's views on the Anglo-Zulu War and his depiction of the Zulu people are contested ones. Jeff Guy will not sit happily with Haggard's "grotesque imagination", just as the Colensos could no longer take tea with the Shepstones.
With that in mind, an ironic coda: King Solomon's Mines was published in 1886. In June of that year Frances Colenso, daughter of the bishop - and like him a thorn in the side of the Natal authorities - was sailing to England aboard the “Anglian”. “The Captain brought me Mr Haggard's King Solomon's Mines this afternoon,” she wrote to her mother. “Having a great dislike for the author I only began the book out of politeness to the lender but justice constrains me to acknowledge that it is a very clever book and altogether readable. I never saw a more transparent and unpleasant fool than that young man. How did he write so good a book?”127
Stephen Coan, Pietermaritzburg, November 2005.
(This article is a revised and expanded version of Sir H. Rider Haggard and the Zulu War published in the journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Historical Society, December 2001, without notes)
[i] Quoted in 'Return of the Redcoats', Natal Witness, 2 July 2003.
[ii] Quoted in 'Zulu battle-ready again', The Witness, 14 November 2005.
[iii] Guy, Jeff, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom: The Civil War in Zululand, 1879-1884, Ravan Press, Johannesburg, 1982, p.xx.
[iv] “One man loomed over the affairs of Natal’s black population to the end of the (nineteenth) century and beyond it, almost as much as the shadow of Shaka. In some respects, Theophilus Shepstone might have served as a model for the benign paternalist among colonial servants. He extolled African virtues where negrophobes saw only savagery, defended tribal society when others sought to destroy it, and created a kodel for ruling aboriginal peoples that was widely admired and copied elsewhere in the empire. But Shepstone was no dewy-eyed idealist, and his motives were almost invariably self-serving. He would have survived among the Borgias and prospered with the Bourbons. Simple, broad features gave him the appearance of a butcher, but his real metier was for intrigue.” Taylor, Stephen, Shaka’s Children - A History of the Zulu People, Harper Collins, London, 1994. p.164.
[v] The refusal of Langalibalele of the Hlubi to surrender arms to a local magistrate provided a causus belli for the colonial authorities, who dispatched a force to arrest him at his homestead in the foothills of the Drakensberg. In an action at the summit of a pass over the Drakensberg, this force was repulsed in a confused skirmish that led to the death of three colonial volunteers and two African auxiliaries. Thereafter the Natal authorities embarked on a brutal policy of repression. The handling of Langalibalele’s subsequent trial by Shepstone ended the long friendship between himself and Colenso. See W.R. Guest, Langalibalele: The crisis in Natal, 1873-1875, Durban, 1976; Norman Herd, The Bent Pine: The Trial of Langalibalele, Johannesburg, 1976: and John Wright and Andrew Manson, The Hlubi Chiefdom in Zululand-Natal: A History, Ladysmith Historical Society, 1983.
[vi] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 18 August 1875.
[vii] H.R. Haggard, The Days of My Life, Vol.1., p.68. Haggard's years in South Africa 1875?1881 have to be seen within the context of the final subjugation of the indigenous races ? the war with the Zulus and the Pedi ? and the relationship between the British and the Boers, culminating in the defeat of the British at Amajuba in 1881.
[viii] See Norman Etherington, The ‘Shepstone System’ in the colony of Natal and beyond its borders, in A. Duminy and B. Guest (eds), Natal and Zululand from Earliest Times to 1910: A New History, Pietermaritzburg, 1989. Also Taylor, Stephen, Shaka’s Children - A History of the Zulu People, Harper Collins, London, 1994. p.164. et seq.
[ix] For further discussion of Haggard's treatment of the Zulus and their history see Laura Chrisman, Re-reading the Imperial Romance - British Imperialism and South African Resistance in Haggard, Schreiner, and Plaatje, Chapters 3 and 4. Also Norman Etherington, Rider Haggard, Twayne, Boston, 1984.
[x] H.R. Haggard, Child of Storm (1913), reprinted London, Macdonald, 1952, Introduction pp. v-vi.
[xi] Haggard's Zulu orthography has been retained in quotations from his work. Otherwise current day usage applies.
The Zulu emerged as a powerful nation state under King Shaka ka Senzangakhona (c.1787-1828) in the 1820s. After his assassination in 1828 he was succeeded by his brother Dingane. Threatened by Vootrekker incursion and settlement. Dingane (1795-1840) killed a trekker group led by Piet Retief at uMgungundhlovu (6 February 1838). The Zulu army was defeated by the trekkers at the battle of Ncome/Blood River (16 December 1838) and Dingane was subsequently deposed by his half-brother Mpande (1798-1872) in alliance with the trekkers. It was agreed the Zulus would control the area north of the Thukela river. After the British annexation of Natal in 1843, the Zulu kingdom was recognised as an independent state north of the river. A dispute over the succession to the throne led to civil war in 1856 between Mpande's favoured son, Mbuyazi, and another son Cetshwayo (c.1826-1884). The succession was decided in Cetshwayo's favour after the death of Mbuyazi at the battle of Ndondakusuka in 1856.
By the late 1870s the militarily powerful Zulu kingdom was seen as a threat by both Boers and British, with the latter perceiving it as an obstacle to the policy of confederation then in vogue. In January 1879, an ultimatum to the Zulus from British High Commissioner Sir Bartle Frere, finally precipitated war. Among other things the ultimatum demanded Cetshwayo dismantle the Zulu military system. A condition which Frere knew would be impossible to comply with. After the Zulus won a devastating victory over British and colonial forces (and their African auxiliaries) at Isandlwana (22 January 1879) - followed the same day by the British defence of Rorke's Drift - the tide turned against them and they were finally defeated at the battle of Ulundi (4 July 1879). Cetshwayo was deposed and sent into exile at Cape Town. Sir Garnet Wolseley, advised by, among others, Theophilus Shepstone, devised a settlement of Zululand that divided it into 13 "kinglets". It was a recipe for disaster. After much conflict and civil war, Zululand was partitioned into three areas in 1883. Cetshwayo was permitted to return to rule one of these areas, the remnant of his original kingdom, but, following the destruction of his capital, Ondini, by the forces of his rival Zibhebhu (c.1841-1904), he took refuge under British protection at Eshowe where he died in suspicious circumstances in 1884.
His son Dinuzulu (c.1870-1913) took up the cause against Zibhebhu, enlisting Boer help in exchange for land. In 1887 the British annexed Zululand to forestall the Boers of the New Republic pushing to the coast and gaining a harbour. Dinuzulu rebelled in 1888 against the new British administration of the colony of Zululand. Arrested and tried on a charge of high treason, he was exiled to the island of St Helena. In 1897 Zululand was incorporated into Natal. In 1898 Dinuzulu was allowed to return as a minor chief but sought recognition as king. For his perceived role in the 1906 Bhambatha Rebellion he was sentenced to four years imprisonment.
[xii] H. R. Haggard, The Days of My Life, Vol.1, London, 1926, p.28. Haggard's autobiography, completed in 1912, was published posthumously in 1926 according to his instructions.
[xiii] In 1873 the refusal of Langalibalele, ruler of the Hlubi people to surrender arms to a local magistrate provided a causus belli for the colonial authorities who dispatched a force to arrest him at his homestead in the foothills of the Drakensberg, this force, led by Major (later Colonel) Anthony Durnford (who would later play a key role in the battle of Isandlwana) was repulsed in a confused skirmish that led to the death of three colonial volunteers and two African auxiliaries. Thereafter the Natal authorities embarked on a brutal policy of repression and the handling of the Langalibalele's subsequent trial by Theophilus Shepstone was equally controversial. See W.R. Guest, Langalibalele: The Crisis in Natal, 1873-1875, Durban, 1976; Norman Herd, The Bent Pine: The Trial of Langalibalele, Johannesburg, 1976; and John Wright and Andrew Manson, The Hlubi Chiefdom in Zululand-Natal: A History, Ladysmith Historical Society, 1983.
[xiv] The Natal Witness, 10 March 1876.
[xv] It was probably during his time in Natal that Haggard obtained his Zulu name Lundanda u Ndandokalweni meaning ‘The tall one who travels on the heights’.
[xvi] Haggard in a speech reported in the Natal Witness 28 March 1914.
[xvii] A Zulu War Dance was published in the Gentleman's Magazine of July 1877 and The Transvaal in the May 1877 issue of MacMillan's Magazine.
[xviii] Melmoth Osborn (1834-1899), Natal civil servant, was Resident Magistrate at Newcastle before joining Shepstone's staff in the Transvaal in 1877. From there he moved to the post of British Resident in Zululand in 1879. After the British annexation of Zululand in 1887 he became Resident Commissioner and Chief Magistrate of Zululand with his headquarters at Eshowe. "He remained the most important colonial official in Zululand through the decade,"Jeff Guy, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom: The Civil War in Zululand, 1879-1884, Ravan Press, Johannesburg, 1982, p.82. Frederick Bernard Fynney (1839-1888), Natal Border Agent, Inspector of Native Schools and a "diplomatic adviser" to King Cetshwayo during the king's visit to London in 1882.
[xix] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol. 1, p.76.
[xx] Ibid., Vol. 1, pp.74-76.
[xxi] See note 68.
[xxii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his mother, 4 March 1878. For a detailed account of Bulwer’s “fiddle faddling” see Richard Cope’s The Ploughshare of War: The Origins of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg. Haggard’s comment clearly shows his bias to the Shepstone/Frere camp who favoured war.
[xxiii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 7 April 1878
[xxiv] Sekhukhune (c.1810-1882) was paramount chief of the Pedi from 1861 and fought with the Boers for the independence of his people. After the British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 the Pedi were finally defeated by British forces and their Swazi allies in 1879.
[xxv] Letter to father 6 July 1876 quoted in H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, p.61.
[xxvi] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, pp. 69-70.
[xxvii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 2 June 1878
[xxviii] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, p. 117.
[xxix] Ibid., Vol. 1, pp. 117-118.
[xxx] Ibid., Vol. 1, p.118.
[xxxi] Ibid., Vol. 1, pp.118-119.
[xxxii] Mazooku was a member of the Buthelezi clan. He was born in 1854 two years before the battle of Ndondakusuka where his father fought on the side of Cetshwayo. However the induna under which his father served was suspected of disloyalty and this induna along with Mazooku's father and others took refuge in Natal. Haggard and Masooku enjoyed several adventures together. One on occasion, when Haggard got lost while hunting, he credited Mazooku with saving his life. Mazooku appears under his own name in Haggard's second novel The Witch's Head (1885). He also features in Haggard's autobiography The Days of My Life written in 1912 and their reunion in 1914 is recorded in Diary of an African Journey (2000)
[xxxiii] H.R. Haggard, Diary of an African Journey, Pietermaritzburg, 2000, p.204.
[xxxiv] Ibid., p.204
[xxxv] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, p.120.
[xxxvi] Ibid., Vol.1, p.120. Essex gave report to the Court of Inquiry into the battle of Isandlwana. For details see Knight, I., Zulu: The Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke;s Drift, 22/23rd January 1879, London, 1992.
[xxxvii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 28 January 1879.
[xxxviii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 31 January 1879.
[xli] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, p.126.
[xlii] Weatherley's Border Lancers, or what became better known as the Border Horse, had been raised by Commandant Frederick Augustus Weatherley initially to combat threats both real and imagined from the Pedi under Sekhukhune in the Zoutpansberg. On January 30 B troop of the Border Horse left Pretoria for Luneburg. After taking part in raiding operations in the Ntombe valley Later ordered to move to Wood's camp at Khambula where it arrived on March 2. During the action at Hlobane 28/29 March 1879 most of the Border Horse were wiped out including Weatherley and his teenage son. See Jones, Huw, 'Hlobane: A New Perspective', Natalia 27, Journal of the Natal Society, Pietermaritzburg, 1997.
[xliii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his mother, 15 April 1879.
[xliv] H.R. Haggard, The Days, Vol.1, p.121.
[xlv] Ibid., Vol.1 , p116.
[xlvi] For details of this period in Haggard's life see H.R. Haggard, Diary of an African Journey, Introduction pp. 7-9.
[xlvii] Cheyne Collection, Norfolk: H.R. Haggard to his father, 13 June 1879.