The vast majority of books on the Zulus concentrate on their stunning victory at Isandlwana over the invading British Army and the tragedy of their subsequent defeat during the Anglo-Zulu Wars.
By tracing the long and turbulent history of the Zulus from their arrival in South Africa, where they were not indigenous as were the Koi and San population, and the establishment of Zululand, The Tribe that Washed its Spears is an important and readable addition to this popular subject area. It describes the violent rise of King Shaka and his colourful successors under whose leadership the warrior nation built a fearsome fighting reputation without equal among the native tribes of South Africa. It also examines the tactics and weapons employed during the numerous inter-tribal battles over this period. They then became victims of their own success in that their defeat of the Boers in 1877 and 1878 in the Sekunini War prompted the well-documented British intervention.
Initially the might of the British empire was humbled as never before by the shock Zulu victory at Isandlwana but the 1879 war ended with the brutal crushing of the Zulu Nation. But, as Dr Greaves reveals, this was by no means the end of the story. The little known consequences of the division of Zululand, the Boer War and the 1906 Zulu Rebellion are analysed in fascinating detail.
An added attraction for readers is that this long awaited history is written not just by a much published leading authority but, thanks to the co-author’s contribution, from the Zulu perspective using much completely fresh material.
As reviewed in the 'Ashford Herald', 'Folkestone Herald' and 'Hythe Herald'.