Ulundi

Site of the royal village of Zulu, previously capital of KwaZulu, and the name in Zulu means ‘the high place’.

When Cetshwayo became king of the Zulu on 1 September 1873 he created, as was customary, a new capital for the nation. He named the new capital Ulundi – ‘the high place’. On 4 July 1879 the British army captured Ulundi and burnt it down. This battle finalised the Anglo-Zulu War and a monument was later erected on the battle site. A history and cultural centre, which also houses the headquarters of the Monuments Council, has been built in the vicinity.

At the conclusion of the war, chief Cetshwayo was exiled, but Queen Victoria reinstated him as chief of the Zulu. After his re-instatement he built a second Ondini to the north of the original. In the civil war that followed his reinstate-ment, he was driven out and in July 1883, the new kraal was destroyed by Sibebu’s impis.

The imposing Legislative Complex, which dominated the town, was completed in 1984. It features a breathtaking display of tapestries depicting significant historical events in the region and is on display in the Legislative Assembly building.

Ulundi, at present the seat of government, together with Pietermaritzburg, are contenders for the status of capital city of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Location: 51km north of Melmoth

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