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The Zulu War-by possibly its most authentic historians
Most written histories intend to be accurate, but they often suffer from the bias of perspective, and whilst this history of the Anglo-Zulu War is no exception, it is exceptional in that it is decidedly not a view of the conflict from an Imperial British standpoint. Francis Colenso was the daughter of Bishop Colenso, whose Bishopric included Zululand at the time of the war. She knew the Zulu nation well, had an affection for it and in company with her father was an ardent advocate in its cause. She was well aware of the many shameful calumnies perpetrated against it by the British including the bringing about of the war of 1879 itself. This history, written by an author who was on the spot, was originally published very shortly after the events themselves took place. It provides a very different view, far removed from a story of Imperial glory or folly. Ultimately the traditional Zulu way of life was destroyed by the war and the injustice and tragedy of that is painfully elaborated in these pages. ‘Fanny’ Colenso had a close personal relationship with Colonel Anthony Durnford, who fell at Isandlwhana and who became one of Lord Chelmsford’s scapegoats for the disaster. For the military aspects of her history she called upon the assistance of Durnford’s brother, Edward-also a soldier-to provide vital expertise, credibility, accuracy and authority. This is the first and possibly the most important history of the Zulu War and the events that bought it about and is an essential component of any library of the history of South Africa.