Friday, January 22, 1999 Published at 21:55 GMT
Brits and Zulus back on battlefield
Both sides are keen to remember their shared history
British soldiers and Zulus have re-enacted battle marking the 120th anniversary of one of the British army's worst defeats.
Only six members of the regiment survived.
A new memorial to the 2,000 Zulu dead was unveiled near the British memorial erected in 1914.
Around 120 members of the Royal Regiment of Wales travelled to the battlefield in the east of the country. They set up camp and some 3,000 Zulus joined them for the commemoration.
King Zwelithini, clad in traditional dress, said the Zulus subsequent defeat by the British "laid the foundations.... for the oppression of our people."
Commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Iain Cholerton said the march back to the battlefield was a very emotional experience. He said he had seen grown men cry as they heard about their regiment's defeat.
Many of the soldiers came from the same Welsh valleys and villages as the men who fought in 1879.
He said: "We have developed over the years a very close relationship with the Zulus, and for us to return as friends to the battlefield where our former battalion was annihilated is a tremendous feeling."
Military historians say the 19th century Zulus were among the most fearsome and disciplined infantry fighting forces ever seen.
On 22 January, around 20,000 Zulu warriors crept up on British soldiers camped out at Isandhlwana. By the afternoon, after a fierce battle, the British had been all but wiped out. The defeat became the subject of the film, Zulu Dawn, starring Burt Lancaster, Peter O'Toole and Sir John Mills.
Hours of bitter hand-to-hand fighting followed, and the Zulu forces eventually retreated. The battle went some way to restoring dented British imperial pride.
Eleven of the defenders were awarded the Victoria Cross, the largest number to receive the medal in a single action.
It was not until 29 March at the Battle of Khambula, that the tide finally turned in favour of the British. By July, Zulu forces were finally crushed and King Cetshwayo was forced to surrender.
As the battle cries rang out across Isandhlwana 120 years on, both sides hoped the lessons of history would bring reconciliation and heal the wounds of the past.