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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Non-Combatants and War: Unexplored Factors in the Conquest of the Zulu Kingdom
Author:Guy, Jeff
Periodical:Journal of Natal and Zulu History
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:Anglo-Zulu War
Zulu polity
social conditions
military history
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:In 1879 British imperial forces invaded the Zulu kingdom in what is now present-day Natal, South Africa, and created a legend which has obscured all sorts of other aspects of what has become known as the Anglo-Zulu War. The author wants to set the picture right by examining the fate of the invariably overlooked non-combatant Zulu population and he attributes the contemporary misery and poverty in rural KwaZulu-Natal to this colonial foray. Although the author acknowledges it is impossible to build up a complete picture and that the non-combatants are doomed to live forever in the shadow of the warriors both 'civilized' and 'barbaric', this conquest which killed thousands in battle had a catastrophic effect on Zulu society as a whole. Military force was deliberately used against the civilian population, even though in the aftermath it was proclaimed that the struggle was against the Zulu king not his people, celebrated even today in battlefield sites and tourism, eclipsing the lives and deaths of the ordinary people. The author argues that military confrontations should be contextualized and to ignore the civilian is bad military history. It ignores the undermining and consequent chaos caused by the weakening of the social and economic structures on which the military depended. The social disruption caused the elderly and the children and the women who looked after them is swallowed up in the glory of the battle. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]