Ancient palace makes history

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Historical artefacts dating back to the mid-19th century during the reign of Zulu King Dingane were unearthed at his former uMgungundlovu home in northern Zululand, Amafa Heritage KZN said yesterday.

Chief executive Barry Marshall said the archeological find included an iron spearhead and coloured glass beads.

The dig was undertaken in an area where Dingane inspected his army and cattle.

"It was here on February 4 1838 that King Dingane ordered the slaying of trekker leader Piet Retief and his party," he said.

The site is 30km from Ulundi, off the road between Melmoth and Vryheid and in the heart of the eMakhosini Valley where many Zulu kings are buried.

It is adjacent to the R25million multi-media centre being built to showcase four centuries of Zulu history - and act as a place of reconciliation, he added.

Piles of charcoal also found relate to the torching of the thatched dwellings and palisades.

"Now that we are aware of the extent of the king's residence, we will on the outer perimeter plant indigenous aloes which will make a spectacular ring of colour during winter," he added.

Marshall said the find would be displayed once the media centre had been completed.

Foundations for the multi-media centre have been completed and it is due to open early next year.

The centre is intended as the departure point for visits to the cultural, historical and natural attractions of the 30000ha eMakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park.