MTHONJANENI HEIGHTS – DINGANE`S SPRING
The Mthonjaneni Heights were named after the Ntonjaneni Spring overlooking the Emakosini Valley. During the Shakan Era, King Shaka used the Mthonjaneni Heights as a decoy to split Zwide`s Army by sending out 200 of his warriors herding cattle towards Zwide`s army. When Zwide saw the cattle driven over the ridge of the Mthonjaneni Heights, he sent about half of his army to capture the cattle, weakening his strength against Shaka`s army. Zwide`s army was defeated at Gqokli Hill in 1818 and Shaka emerged as the most powerful King in Nguni history. The whole of Zululand was shaken by `he who thunders while he sits. The cow that mooed at Mthonjaneni every tribe hears.`
During the reign of King Dingane, a garrison of warriors were stationed at the Mthonjaneni Spring to protect the spring and as part of their daily chores maidens from his kraal at Umgungundlovu were ordered to fetch water for the King`s household on a daily basis. King Dingane was afraid that he would be poisoned by water from nearby rivers. Today it is known as Dingane`s Spring and guided tours can be undertaken from the Mthonjaneni Historical Museum to visit the site.The spring is about 150 m from Mtonjaneni Lodge next to the Mtonjaneni Cattle Sales Yard. It has been declared a National Monument and a plaque has been erected on the site. This is one of the water points that King Dingane used to fetch clean water. 2000 Zulu maidens had to walk 12 km daily to fetch the water high up in the valley. They had to carry the water in claypots balanced on their heads. Legend has it that if the water was dirty once they reached the King`s homestead ,the maidens where thrown off a cliff so that the King`s `children`,the vultures,could be fed.
Enquire at Mtonjaneni Zulu Historical Museum.
During the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 no major action took place in the Melmoth area but it is interesting to note that the Zulu Army, on it`s way to Isandlwana passed through the area on 17 and 18 January 1879. When the British forces under Lord Chelmsford invaded Zululand for the second time in June 1879 several small fortifications were constructed. Upon reaching the Mthonjaneni ridge a circular earthwork was constructed. This became known as Fort Mthonjaneni and lies opposite the Trading Store at Mthonjaneni which is now a Craft Centre.There are 3 forts situated at Mtonjaneni. The main fort (A), was built in 1879 during the Anglo Zulu War as a supply and wagon depot. The other 2, B+C twin too Fort Mtonjaneni were also built by British Forces as Headquarters during this period.
King Xhoko, the Royal son of Ndaba, founder of the Biyela clan in the vicinity between Babanango and Nkandla, lies buried at Kataza. The royal blood of this decendent are from the Egazini kraal where Mbopha the bodyguard of King Shaka came from. The grave of Xhoko was unveiled in 1993 by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and His Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
EMAKHOSINI – THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS
The Valley Of The Kings is a microcosm of the history of Southern Eastern Africa. It is here that in 1785 King Shaka was born and the first Royal residence of the Zulu Kingdom,Mgungundlovu(Place of the Elephant)was established here. The Voortrekker leader,Piet Retief was executed in the valley and the grave can be visited at Moordkoppie.Seven Zulu Kings lie buried in the Emakhosini Valley. The Spirit of Emakhosini, overlooking the valley, was built to honor them. The monument consists of a large bronze beer pot (Khamba) that rests on a beaded plinth. On the plinth are bronze reliefs showing aspects of rural life. Surrounding the pot are seven different animal horns representing each of the seven kings. The pot is symbolic as a receptacle for the heritage of the valley.
Open daily: 8am – 6pm. Entry is free.
The name `Mgungundlovu` stems from the Zulu word `ungungu we ndlovu` which means the `secret meeting place of the elephant`. The word `ndlovu` (elephant), refers to the king. Mgungundlovu was one of several military complexes and the headquarters of King Dingane, who reigned from 1828 to 1840. He established the kraal in 1829 in the Makosini Valley against the slope of Singonyama (lion hill).
KwaMatiwane (hill of execution) is the ridge north- east of Mgungundlovu. Here the bodies of people condemned to death by Dingane were thrown and where the remains of Piet Retief and his fellow boers were found by Andries Pretorius after the battle of
Built on the old interpretation centre site at Mgungundlovu (Dingaanstad) a new multimedia centre is nearing completion. The centre will have a restaurant and a large auditorium where a movie of the history of the area can be watched. There is also a smaller touch room where visitors can interact with computer-based programmes. The centre, designed by Eshowe architect, Jeremy Steele, will be a showcase of the Zulu history.
KWAMAGWAZA (`place of tall trees`)
The Anglican Mission Kwamagwaza was established in 1859 on land granted by Mpande to the Rev Robert Robertson. In 1907 the complex was expanded and it was used as a hostel for orphans, a high school, a teacher`s training centre and the St. Elizabeth`s College of Nursing. In 1959, Bishop Tom Savage had the buildings renovated and used as a conference centre called KwaNzimela. The KwaMagwaza Mission Station lies about 10km from Melmoth.
KWANZIMELA DIOCESAN PASTORAL CENTRE
(A condensed historical background)
It was started by the first Anglican Pioneer missionary in Zululand named, Robert Robinson, as his place of residence towards the close of the 19th century.
MEANING OF THE NAME `NZIMELA`
Robert Robinson had a habit of carrying a long walking staff, which he used to lean on as he travelled around doing his missionary work. To lean on a staff in isiZulu is `Zimelela`. Historically, the one who leans on a staff is nicknamed `Umzimela`. Hence Robinson was commonly called `umnZimela`, by local people. His residence was later fondly referred to as KwaNzimela, meaning, at the place of MnZimela.
DEVELOPMENT OF MISSIONARY SETTLEMENT
As the mission grew in the early 1920`s Mnzimela`s residence was developed into the small Nursing Training School, which later became a Girls Boarding hostel for female students attending at KwaMagwaza Secondary School. When the school closed, the hostels at KwaNzimela were used as a residence for men being trained as Catechist, until the early 1960`s when the Ministry of Catechist was abolished – leaving the building at KwaNzimela unutilized.
VISION OF A CONFERENCE CENTRE
It was the late Bishop Thomas Savage who began transforming the old dilapidated buildings into a Diocesan Conference Centre with accommodation facilities to cater for various Diocesan meetings and events.
Since the initiatives introduced in the days of Bishop Thomas to transform KwaNzimela into a modern Conferennce Centre, funds have been poured into the development of the entire establishment to become what it is today. The purpose of it`s existence has been widely broadened to include provisions for modern times. This includes all Pastoral Ministries as well as catering for Tourism, serving as a Educational Training Centre and providing community development programmes.
Presently KwaNzimela Conference Centre can comfortably sleep 94 people. The dining hall with it`s large kitchen is able to accommodate 105 people. The rooms can accommodate 1 – 10 people. The centre has a beautiful Chapel where services and retreats are conducted. For workshops and conferences there is a Hall and Boardroom with all the facilities needed.
Compiled by: I.M Zwane
The Emkhindini kraal on the R66 near `Oom Wessel se Winkel` was built for Nandi the mother of King Shaka by the King`s warriors to fulfill Shaka`s childhood promise to his mother after they had been driven away from Senzangkhona`s kraal.
Shaka used to console his mother when she was weeping by saying, `Don`t cry my Mother, one day you will be a She-Elephant ( Ndlovukazi) and rule all over Zululand.` In later years when a new kraal was built for Nandi near Mandawe in the lower Umthatuze Valley, the original Emkindini kraal was presided over by Nomcoba, Shaka`s sister.
Nkandla forest is about 68 km from Melmoth and is the largest remaining indigenous forest remaining in Zululand. Throughout Zulu history it has been regarded as a place of mystery and the supernatural and the Chube, ironworkers associated with the Nkandla area, were never conquered by Shaka. The name Nkandla is derived from the Zulu verb `khandla` which means `to be tired`.It was named by King Shaka when upon reaching the area he was exhausted and decided to rest. The forest is a rare example of high wet rain forest, one of very few surviving examples and remnants of a time when the climate was wetter and colder. It is also one of the best examples of surviving mist belt forest in South Africa. Steams that rise in the forest form deep gorges leading into the Nsuze River, running along the base
of the ridge. Over 147 bird species have been observed in the area and smaller game such as Bushbuck, Samango Monkey, Bushpig, Blue Duiker and Leopard can been spotted.
KING CETSHWAYO`S GRAVE
King Cetshwayo`s grave is near the Nkandla Forest. He requested to be buried among the local Shezi people as they had sheltered him, whilst being a fugitive after the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879.
FORT ITALA AND FORT PROSPECT
Both forts are lesser known battle sites of the Anglo- Boer War. The remains of the fort are found on the road between Melmoth and Nkandla. At Fort Prospect, Sergeant Gumbi of the Nongqayi, based in Eshowe, led his troops, under heavy fire, to help the troops at Fort Prospect. For his bravery he was rewarded with an engraved rifle.