Online Collection

The Online Collection showcases a selection of our objects for you to discover and explore. This resource will grow as the Museum's Collection is catalogued and computerised, and as new acquisitions are added.

Members of the Natal Native Contingent (NNC) armed with assegais (short spears) and shields, 1879 (c)

Photograph, Natal, 1879 (c).

The NNC was formed in 1878 to bolster the defences of the British colony of Natal. Most recruits came from the Basuto and Mponso tribes. NNC troops wore their traditional tribal apparel with a red cloth bandanna around their foreheads, the only item to distinguish them from Zulu warriors who were traditional enemies of the Basuto and Mponso.

Natal's white population had long feared that arming the black population would constitute a security risk, and as a result only a small percentage of NNC soldiers were issued with guns. These were obsolete muzzle-loading muskets rather than modern rifles. Soldiers issued with firearms were only given four rounds of ammunition at any one time. Most NNC soldiers fought with traditional African weapons during the Anglo-Zulu War (1879).

From an album of 70 photographs related to Colonel Hume, 94th Regiment of Foot (1879).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1954-06-5-2-12


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

Object URL

Browse related themes