Once again we had the pleasure of welcoming Durban Fellow Member KEN GILLINGS, who showed us his video about one of the,- in a modern military sense-, astonishingly able Zulu chiefs, Zibhebhu of the Mandlakazi tribe. The Mandlakazi were a powerful tribe which had been created under the chieftainship of Sojiyisa, a reputed son of King Jarna, who built his kraal kwaMandlakazi at Bongonomo. His grandson, Zibhebhu, served in the Zulu army and commanded the Indluyengwe regiment which was part of the Undi corps at Isandlwana. Prior to the battle, he had supervised the Zulu scouting and, being too late for the battle itself, led the Indluyengwe in pursuit of the British soldiers who were making their way to Fugitive's drift. From there Zibhebhu directed the amabutho in the attack on Rorke's drift.
He was a creative military leader and his tactical ideas were very advanced. As a battle tactician, he employed scouts to provide him with intelligence of the enemy, his strength and positions, and examined the terrain in advance to select the most suitable sites for ambush and attack. He even infiltrated the British lines himself to obtain this information. After the conclusion of the Zulu War, Zibhebhu became one of the Thirteen Kinglets appointed, but soon clashed with Ndabuko, Cetshwayo's brother, on a matter of "stolen" cattle. To settle the business, Ndabuko invaded Zibhebhu's territory with 5000 men in 1883, although he had no idea of Zibhebhu's wherabouts nor of his strength. Zibhebhu had only 1 000 men and decided to ambush the invaders by hiding his men in the dense grass of the Msebe valley. The invaders fell into the trap. Suddenly attacked from different sides they fled in panic and this led to a total rout. Zibhebhu only lost ten men, but the enemy about 2 000. A few months later, fearing that Ndabuko might attack him again, he fought the enemy at Cetshwayo's Ondini kraal in a surprise attack and proceeded to burn and loot the huts.
But this was the last of his victories. In 1884 Dinizulu, assisted by a Boer commando, defeated him at Tshaneni, and four years later he lost at Ndunu Hill. More troubled years followed but eventually peace returned to Zululand, and this allowed Zibhebhu to return to the Mandlakazi area. He died in 1904.
One of his striking battle formations was the "Horn", shaped like the horn of an ox, with the sharp ends either pointing backward or forward. Depending on the battle situation, they could be used to either defend the flanks of his troops or encircle the enemy. It is intriguing to speculate that Zibhebhu might have somehow learned of Hannibals Cannae encirclement?
Maj Tony Gordon thanked Ken for an unusual presentation, and a lively Q&A session closed the successful evening.
Meetings of the Cape Town Branch are normally held on the second Thursday of each month (barring December) at 20h00 (8.00 pm sharp), in the Recreation Hall of the SA LEGION'S ROSEDALE COMPLEX, Lower Nursery Road, Rosebank, (off Alma Road), opposite the Rosebank railway station, below the line. Visitors are welcome. Donation R 3.00. Scholars and Students free. Tea and biscuits will be served.
John Mahncke, (Vice-Chairman/Scribe), (021) 797 5167