At this sphinx like hill 20 000 Zulu warriors defeated the British Army in what has been described as one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the British. lsandlwana means “the hill that looks like a little house.”
On 20 January 1879 Colonel Glyn’s column advanced to the mountain of lsandlwana and pitched camp at its base. No opposition had been encountered during the march. On 22 January Lord Chelmsford and Colonel Glyn moved out from lsandlwana, leaving only a small portion of the column. It was reported that the Zulu were close at hand and in large numbers, but no attempt was made to strengthen defence positions in and around the camp. The small force was scattered in the hope of checking the Zulu advance. The Zulu impis made the attack in the usual fashion – a mass of men in the centre, with horn-shaped wings thrown out from each side and slowly meeting to enclose the doomed camp. The number of Zulu was overwhelming and it was evident that all was lost.
Within a space of just over two hours 1 329 black and white soldiers on the British side lay dead and approximately 3 000 Zulu warriors. The victory of 22 January was a dearly bought victory for the Zulu.