Dingane at Ihlatikhulu

Covered by wild fig leaves

Shaded by the forest plum

Haunted by ancestral voices

Echoing in prehistoric shells [1]

Condemned to isolation

In the deepest valley a Zulu finds

With Boer blood dripping

And a thousand impis slain.


Protected by the shelter of strangers [2]

In a forest to lose your way

Where all around seems just the same

As the path forks left and right

Where shouts die on the trunks

And a dog picks up your scent

To put you on the right track

Home to a place of rest.


But a plot hatched to usurp power [3]

Avowed determination and intrigue

Swirl in the mind like circles in the forest

As defeat dawns in silent exile

Far from the elephant's throne [4]

But the future must remember us kindly

As the nation chooses peace

In the birth of new-found freedom.


30 June 2006


Reflections on the importance of making right decisions, after visiting the Dingane memorial, and the Margarets lost their way in the forest. Ella, the Reece's dog found them!


[1]  Large shells from Cretaceous times 60 million years ago when the sea covered the area

[2]  After the 1838 Blood River defeat Dingane sought refuge north of the Pongola river. Instead he was assassinated there in 1840.

[3]  Shaka was assassinated by his half-brother, Dingane in 1828.

[4] Umgungundlovu  (the place of the elephant) - Dingane's palace near Eshowe.