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One Hundred Years On


Jul 30 A column of 1 000 men begin a 30 mile march to Sikhombo Mguni’s stronghold by Tshingengoma1, near Diana’s Pool. They establish their base at Sugar Bush Camp, on the site on which later is established Fort Umlugulu2

Aug 5 An attack is made by the MRF on the stronghold. Plumer is forced to retreat after suffering many casualties. The column withdraws to the jeers and mocking of the AmaNdebele3. This is the most disastrous engagement to date - 12 MRF men killed (including Major Kershaw, one of Plumer’s right hand men), and the AmaNdebele are still masters of the situation.

death of major kershaw
Shot while leading his squadron
to the attack of some caves.
The Death of Major Kershaw
sikombo's dead
After the action at Sikombo's, 5th August 1896.
Carrying away the dead

Aug 8 Baden-Powell leads the final attempt against the AmaNdebele, by attempting to lead the column by night onto Tshingengoma. There is a certain amount of confusion as the column breaks up with Baden-Powell on the summit of Tshingengoma watching the rearguard wandering aimlessly around in the ravines below him. Under the eye of the no doubt bemused AmaNdebele, the column manages to regroup by dawn, and is now content to merely pound the AmaNdebele positions from afar with artillery.

1This massive whale backed dwala takes its name from a large, balancing solitary drum shaped boulder.
2Named after uMlugulu Khumalo, one of the principal AmaNdebele indunas in the area.
3The men of the MRF tried to drown these out by a loud rendering of “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” - what significance this had to the situation is anybody's guess.

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Acknowledgements:-Dave Anderson
Colin Anderson