Zulu Terror

Zulu Terror

Robin Binckes
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
This book is another from the Pen & Sword series ‘History of Terror’. It covers the history of the wars between the Zulu and associated tribes of South Africa at the time of Shaka and afterwards. At this time there were massive power struggles between the various tribes, involving grouping into power blocs, treachery, war, theft of cattle and genocide. As the Boer Voortrekkers arrived into the Interior, their wagons were crunching over carpets of skeletons of those slain in this inter-tribal terror. In this reader’s opinion, certain current-day politicians could benefit from reading it, as the list of tribes wiped out before the settlers arrived is very long indeed!

A usual with Pen & Sword it’s a quality paperback, printed on decent paper, with many photos of people, places and documents used as source material. There is an extensive bibliography and the story is told in a very human way, with memories from letters, official documents, family stories and photographs. The stories of campaigns, battles and the reasons for them are detailed and interesting, with some descriptions of the slaughter of women and children in their villages rather disturbing.

The book gives a very good account of a period of turmoil, where the Zulu tribes were at war with one another as they fought for ascendancy, cattle and land. It provides an insight into how the European Settlers were able to find and exploit an existing slave trade, and to pit tribes and sub-tribes against one another. It also touches on the roots of the Boer War, between Dutch and British settlers, which I am sure will provide material for another book in the series.

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