Day  82

A sea day means more lectures. Terry’s talk was on “The Zulu Wars.” Like the usual colonies in this part of the world, there was a great deal of European presence. In 1704, the French were in South Africa, followed by the British in 1795, then the Dutch in 1804, and the British again in 1806. The Zulu tribe under Shaka was enlarging his empire conquering neighboring tribes and coming into contact with the foreigners. Shaka had a well-trained army, physically fit and mobile. He created a new weapon, the Iklwa, a short handled stabbing knife for close combat. The young men had a requirement to achieve before they were allowed to marry: their Iklwa must have the blood of the enemy on it; so they were always looking for a fight. Jumping ahead to 1878, tensions were high with frequent border disputes, dislike of Zulu customs and their lethal justice practices. The British attempted a treaty with the Zulu king, Cotshwago, and laid out foolish one-sided conditions. The king only agreed to stay on his side of the Buffalo River. The British could not take that refusal without consequences. The Governor, Sir Bartle Frere, with previous experience dealing with native populations in Bombay, and Lord Chelmsford, Commander of the South African forces, were going to show these savages who was in charge. In January 1879, they marched four columns of troops into Zulu territory attempting to surround them. Lord Chelmsford, leading one of the columns, passed through Rorke’s Drift Mission Station leaving 100 troops behind with supplies, while he went to find the Zulu. After a short march, he decided to split his column, leaving 1,700 near a rock outcropping, and venturing off with 1,200. He eventually found his eastern column in time to reinforce them against their Zulu attackers. At Isandlwana, back at the rock, the British did not set-up any defenses and were surprised. They lost 1,300 troops and the Zulu lost more than 3,000. A final number was not possible because the Zulu would try to carry off their dead.

Back at the Rorke Drift Mission Station, they could hear the gun shots and started preparing their defenses. There were 100 soldiers against 5,000 Zulu. The Zulu attacked in short spurts, not all at once. No one knows why. It could have been the new breech loading rifles that could fire about 14 rounds a minute. The battle lasted two days, January 22-23, 1879, with the loss of 15 British troops and about 350 Zulu. The soldiers must have fired quickly and inaccurately, because they used 20,000 rounds of ammunition. From my memory of the Hollywood movie, Zulu, there seemed to be thousands of Zulu killed and only a handful of troops standing at the end of the movie. There seemed to be a disproportionate response with the awarding of only 11 Victoria Crosses. To be continued tomorrow.

Don Walsh spoke on a timely subject, “Water, Water Everywhere and not a Drop to Drink.” Without water a human would die in one week. Water is finite. There is no new water being made, just the same water used over and over since the beginning. The oceans contain 98% of the earth’s water, ice almost 2%, rivers and lakes about .01% and ground water .05%. Fresh water is only 1% of all water. Antarctic contains 91% of the ice, the Arctic and Greenland 8%, and mountain glaciers 1%. He raised a question – Is water a commodity or a human right? Agriculture uses 71% of the fresh water and CA, TX, and FL use 25% of the US fresh water. He stated that 3.7 billion people either have no source of fresh water or limited and insufficient amounts, resulting in health and disease issues. He cited some futuristic predictions about population growth in 20 years will cause demand to exceed supply by 40%. One-third of humanity will only have one-half of required water to meet basic needs. If agriculture consumes 71% of the fresh water, production may suffer, resulting in food shortages. People could migrate toward water and this could lead to conflicts. He finished by telling us about South Africa’s three year drought and the shortages imposed on the population. The main reservoir is at 11% capacity and is projected to run out in less than a year if there is no relief. Our bottle of water could be more valuable on land than our money.

At the noontime games, we played a version of Family Feud and our team got second place points. I played ping-pong with Art and Bob before lunch. I tried my luck again at the 2pm slots tournament and came in first for a $120 payout. Pat attend a special wine tasting that was educational as well as refreshing. We met back in our suite to finish our Mensa questions in time for the answers given just before the Trivia game. We did well on both today, scoring first place Regent points. We now have over 150 points on this segment ready for redemption in a few days for Regent gifts and apparel.

We decided to eat quickly at the Sette Mare Italian Restaurant. Pat got her special treat, Veal Parm, and I had lasagna.

Tonight’s show was entitled, “Music of the Night,” starring Mike Sterling. Mike had a wonderful tenor voice and sang music from Phantom, Les Miserables, Puccini, Andrea Bocelli, and other classical numbers. He received a standing ovation and will return for another performance in a few days.

We turn our clocks back another hour tonight and will be only six hours ahead of East Coast time as we proceed to Richards Bay, South Africa. Two more sea days are ahead for us before arriving there.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac