Stirring Zulu history on film

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Four centuries of stirring Zulu history have been captured in a state-of-the-art film that will be a key attraction to the multi-million-rand uMgungundlovu Centre in the eMakhosini Valley.

"This is only the second such installation in South Africa," says Barry Marshall, CEO of Amafa, the provincial heritage body behind the project.

The centre was initiated by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele as a tourist drawcard to this remote but historically significant region. "Most of the early Zulu kings are buried in the valley, where events like the slaying in 1838 by King Dingane's warriors of Boer leader Piet Retief and his followers took place," he said.

The centre - due to open in May to coincide with the Tourism Indaba in Durban - has been built just below uMgungundlovu, Dingane's vast royal homestead, and across from KwaMatiwane, the king's Hill of Execution, where the Boers were buried.

The valley is part of the 28000-hectare eMakhosini Ophathe Heritage Park, an initiative between Amafa and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to re-create the ancient cultural and natural landscape, first settled in the 17th century by the Zulus.

It includes a game reserve proclaimed in 1991 as a sanctuary for endangered species like the black rhino. The film was shot in the valley and at the battlefields of Blood River (1838) and Isandlwana (1879).

The 100-seater venue for screening can double as a conference or performance venue.