Winning life’s battle

2009-09-12 00:00

TOUR guide Joseph Bonokwakhe ­Ndima knows KwaZulu-Natal’s battlefields like the back of his hand.

Ndima, who was trained by the late David Rattray, is known for keeping tour groups to Isandlwana battlefields spellbound by his tales of Zulu warriors and redcoat soldiers.

With his booming voice and variety of facial expressions, Ndima knows every detail of the battles and no question stumps this battlefield expert.

The humble Ndima told Weekend Witness that his journey as a battlefield guide began in 2006 when he got into a government learnership programme aimed at uplifting local people.

He was lectured by historians from universities around South Africa and travelled extensively as part of the learnership.

“It was great being taught by these experts. I loved the travelling too as it gave me an opportunity to learn more about this country,” he said.

Once the learnership was over, ­Ndima was lucky enough to secure a job as a guide at Fugitives’ Drift, the luxury lodge owned by Rattray.

He spent two years training under Rattray and he developed a close bond with the world-famous historian.

“David taught me everything I know. He treated me like a brother and being able to learn from him was amazing. His death shattered my world,” he said.

Even though Ndima conducts hundreds of tours each year, he never loses enthusiasm for his job; each tour is fresh and as informative as the last.

“Every tour is special to me. Having a different audience each time helps me stay fresh so that I can give each group a great experience when we are out at the battlefields,” he said.

Ndima has left such a mark on some tourists that they return to listen to more tales about the battlefields, something that makes this special tourist guide extremely happy.

“Those who come back ask more questions and love to hear the stories. That makes me happy because I learn something new too,” he added.

He has also had family members of redcoat soldiers visit the area to learn more about the battles that claimed their relatives.

The recent tourism campaign by MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Michael Mabayakhulu, to create more awareness of the battlefields and its tourism potential has excited Ndima.

“I’m happy with the MEC taking the decision to promote this area. It’s a special place that has lots to offer both international and local tourists,” Ndima said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.