Walking stick owned by King Cetshwayo of Zululand, 1879 (c)
Cetshwayo was King of Zululand, a territory bordering Natal and the Transvaal. In 1878 he refused to disband his Zulu army or to cooperate with Sir Bartle Frere's plan for imperial federation in South Africa. In January 1879 a force commanded by Lieutenant-General Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand. Cetshwayo's army resisted bravely, but the king became a fugitive after the Battle of Ulundi (4 July 1879). He was taken prisoner in August. Deprived of his kingdom he was sent into exile at Cape Town. This stick was taken from the king after his defeat and brought back to Britain by a Colonel Bell.
The stick is carved with two snakes coiled around the shank. It is a typical example of the staffs carried by men of high status; the snake was a common symbol representing the protection of the ancestral spirits.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum Copyright
National Army Museum, Study Collection
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