Zulu Village at Rorke's Drift
"I have just come back from the village - my first proper look - it really is fantastic, Emmanuel has done a great job, its very aesthetically pleasing! You can be proud of him!"
Fugitives' Drift Lodge, Zululand.
The Anglo Zulu War Historical Society has offered to support the Rorke’s Drift community with a new project and I am seeking members’ help to launch a special fund. The following is a brief résumé of the project – and I would be truly grateful if you would consider helping with a donation. This new project is in addition to the support the Society has provided the schools and church at Rorke’s Drift during the last ten years.
Under guidance from the Society – the project, already under construction, is to establish a traditional Zulu village at Rorke’s Drift – with local Zulu people, in traditional Zulu dress, to show off their proud traditions and culture. The plan includes presenting displays of Zulu culture, music and dancing, and providing an outlet for locally produced Zulu artefacts.
The Society has sought, over the last 10 years, to advance the quality of education and associated amenities to the isolated community at Rorke’s Drift. We have helped the two schools with books, sports kit and contributed to the onward college education of a number of local children, and funded school staff to increase their educational qualifications – the deputy headmaster has just received his MA that was totally funded by the Society. We continue to assist the church and its staff to maintain the structure of the church building and help them to remain in the community. All these projects have been carefully selected and monitored to ensure fairness and continuity. We now wish to broaden our help to include the whole community.
But lots of people visit the battlefields!
Indeed. But the four thousand annual visitors to the Rorke’s Drift battlefield are unable to contribute directly to the local community. The battlefield is an official government site and the shop is privately owned – and of little benefit to the local people.
Why a Zulu village?
The nearest traditional Zulu village that can safely be visited by tourists is Shakaland over 80 miles away near Eshowe. There are no opportunities at Rorke’s Drift for battlefield visitors to gain any insight into the traditional Zulu way of life.
Who will manage the village?
The project will be managed by Xolani Mhize (known to Rorke’s Drift visitors as Emmanuel), a 26-year-old Zulu from Rorke’s Drift and the first Zulu to become an accredited battlefield guide. Apart from being a consultant to the Society, he is a former employee of David Rattray and was, for many years, the youth leader at Rorke’s Drift. For the last four years he managed a popular tourists’ Zulu village near Durban. He now wishes to support his own community with a similar venture but, having recently married, he has no means to do this himself. He has already gained the written support of the local Rorke’s Drift chiefs and community leaders. The project has also been given approval by those most concerned with local tourism and who have generously offered to maintain a local ‘watching eye’.
Who will monitor the venture for the Society?
It is intended to appoint three Patrons to the Society. Two have already agreed to take on the role, they are Jenny Darwin and Roberta Welham – both have generously supported previous initiatives and regularly visit Rorke’s Drift. The Trustees will be myself (Dr Adrian Greaves), Ian Knight and David Payne FCA who will also supervise the project’s finances. Nat West Bank has kindly agreed to run the bank account free of charge. All three of us are regular visitors to Rorke’s Drift, which will ensure on-going supervision, and we all understand the complexities of such a venture.
Society projects at Rorke’s Drift over the last 10 years, involving over £25,000, have all been carefully monitored and all financial assistance from the Society is supported by bona fide receipts and similar checks and balances. This assistance will continue as before.
Once the project is ‘up-and-running’ I would welcome a selection of volunteers, from the donors list, to be members of a ‘Village Advisory Panel’ to monitor the project’s progress and accounts. I would anticipate at least one meeting each year at, for example, the Royal Geographical Society in London.
What are the project’s costs?
Collectively, that of land purchase, work on site, building the beehive huts, a car park, acceptable toilet facilities and associated traditional buildings. Then comes the training of local dancers, guides and demonstrators. At the same time we will assist local people to start a traditional home industry making Zulu artefacts such as shields, knobkerries and trinkets.
Overall, I need to raise at least £15,000 for the first year to help establish the village and about £10,000 for year two, which will be used to maintain and build additional facilities such as traditional beehive buildings for use as a guest/reception/lecture hall, village office and covered demonstration area. After two years, the project should be self-funding from visitors’ fees - which will be ticketed for accounting purposes.
How will this initial money be raised?
I have personally started the fund with an initial £500 donation; in addition, for the next two years I am paying the profits to the fund from my various Zulu War books (probably another £3,000 or so). The bulk of the fund will, hopefully, come from donations from Society members, especially those who have previously visited the battlefields. Twelve huts are currently under construction at a cost of about £400 each and I would like to think that each building would be individually sponsored – for which a donor’s plaque will be discreetly placed in the building.
What happens to the village after two years?
The running of the village will be handed to a management committee drawn from the Rorke’s Drift community. The Society will offer the community its continued support.
David Payne (a Trustee) and I have made a special visit to Rorke’s Drift to monitor the progress to date and you can read more on the project’s progress in the Zulu Village News link below. The next Trustee supervisory visit to the village is scheduled for March 2007.
If you would be interested in sponsoring a special feature of the village or sponsoring a hut, please give me a call. Meanwhile, any donation, however large or small, will greatly assist the initial establishment of this project. All donations will be registered and a full list of inaugural sponsors’ names will be entered into the Sponsors’ Register which will be open to all subscribers to view.
Cheques should be made payable to AZWHS Zulu Village and sent to me at the usual Society address. If you require a receipt, please let me know. Thank you for reading this far – and I await your response with interest. If you have any queries, please get back to me.
I would be truly grateful if you would kindly consider helping this worthwhile project.
Dr Adrian Greaves Society Chairman.