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RE-ENACTMENT OF THE BATTLE OF ISANDLWANA (article first published : 2003-01-22)

One of the most dramatic episodes of South African history was recalled at this year's on-site Re-Enactment of the Battle of Isandlwana in northern KZN on January 18.

Now a major fixture on the South African cultural and tourism calendar this spectacular pageant recalls the greatest Zulu victory of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Presented by Kwa-Culture in association with the Mangwebuthanani Traditional Council, the event was staged under the artistic directorship and co-ordination of Jerry Pooe of Eager Artists at the Isandlwana Battlefields. It took place in the presence of members of the Zulu Royal Family, as well as invited Amakhosi Asendlukulu from throughout KZN.

Due to the growing popularity of this annual happening, which last year drew a crowd of more then 4,000 including many international visitors, this year's re-enactment of the famous battle has attained the status of a cultural festival. Visitors were encouraged to explore traditional life in the Isandlwana region, besides experiencing the mainstream public programme of events for which admission was free.

Following the Regimental War Rituals at 05h00, the festival's core events ran from mid morning until mid afternoon. A festival parade was followed in sequence by: a regimental guard of honour; the historically famous Zulu Horns of the Buffalo Military Display; the Ritual Passage; an address by His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini; the re-enactment; His Majesty's regimental honour; and culminated with general festival celebrations which included a spread of Zulu cuisine.

A major thrust to augment tourism in the Isandlwana region is now underway. Besides the mainstream programme, incentives planned for visitors to this annual event will include additional cultural tourist amenities and attractions. These will include visits to, or over-night stop-overs in, local traditional homesteads.

KwaGogo ("where the fun never ends") is a communal venue for children that offers exposure to traditional lore and indigenous games. And for a perspective of true African spirituality and ancestral calling, visitors were also encouraged to visit the Mangwebuthanani Zulu cultural village, where regiments gather for war ritual performances.

The Re-enactment of the Battle of Isandlwana is supported by KZN Tourism, the National Arts Council and the Nquthu Municipality. For more details contact KwaCulture on 031 207 5750 (office hoursl), fax 031 207 5752 or email: kwaculture@mweb.co.za




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