This was the most controversial and brutal British imperial conflict of the nineteenth century. The real story of the Anglo-Zulu war was one of deception, dishonour, incompetence and dereliction of duty by Lord Chelmsford who invaded Zululand without the knowledge of the British Government. But it did not go to plan and there were many political repercussions.
Cy Endfield co-wrote the epic prequel Zulu Dawn 15 years after his enormously popular Zulu. Set in 1879, this film depicts the catastrophic Battle of Isandhlwana, which remains the worst defeat of the British army by natives, with the British contingent outnumbered 16-to-1 by the Zulu tribesmen. The film's opinion of events is made immediately clear in its title sequence: ebullient African village life presided over by King Cetshwayo is contrasted with aristocratic artifice under the arrogant eye of General Lord Chelmsford (Peter O'Toole).
The battle of iSandlwana was the single most destructive incident in the 150-year history of the British colonisation of South Africa. In one bloody day over 800 British troops, 500 of their allies and at least 2000 Zulus were killed in a staggering defeat for the British empire. The consequences of the battle echoed brutally across the following decades as Britain took ruthless revenge on the Zulu people.
Zulu [50th Anniversary]
ZULUS ON THE RAMPARTS. is the battle cry of those defending the Mission Station at Rorkes Drift. It is 22 January 1879, and the British invasion column moving into Zululand was disastrously defeated that morning at nearby Isandlwana. Now, fresh troops from the victorious Zulu iMpi (army) are advancing on your position. With your 140 British soldiers and auxiliaries, you must survive the repeated attacks of 4000 crack Zulu warriors.