College adds historic spear to archives

2018-03-16 13:45
Maritzburg College head boy Ntuthuko Mchunu (18) holds up a spear from the battle of Isandlawana.

Maritzburg College head boy Ntuthuko Mchunu (18) holds up a spear from the battle of Isandlawana. (Ian Carbutt)

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Maritzburg College celebrated its 155th anniversary this month by adding an important piece of history to its archives — a Zulu throwing spear used during the battle of Isandlwana.

The spear, called a mkhonto, was donated to the school by the family of former old boy Bev Wimbush.

The iconic battle of Isandlwana, in 1879, saw a Zulu Impi wipe out British and colonial troops in Zululand.

Matthew Marwick, the chairperson of Maritzburg College’s archive committee and a history teacher, said the Zulu throwing spear was encapsulated in the school’s heritage.

“It was a vital battle for KwaZulu-Natal and has enormous significance for the school. Our badge, our school colours and our motto were all inspired by that battle. Seven old boys died in that battle.

“So now with this spear we’re representing the demographics from the Zulu side.”

He said the spear was given to Wimbush by a young soldier, Charlie Tatham, with whom he lived on a farm in Greytown.

“Charlie was part of the relief party that went to Isandlwana to bury bodies. While on the battlefield he found two Zulu spears. One got lost and the other he gave to Bev.”

The family of Wimbush, who died four years ago aged 83, donated the spear to the school two days before its 155th birthday.

“We’re very happy, because as a staff we try to inculcate a pride in our boys of coming to a school with great heritage,” Marwick said.

The spear will be displayed in the school’s Victoria Hall, along with other collected items.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg college

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