Owen's Camp

Learn more about the culture & History

The eMakhosini, the Valley of the Kings, is the heartland of the Zulu people and resting place of seven Zulu Kings, who lie buried in undisturbed graves within kilometres of the  Owen’s Camp.

It is the cradle of the Zulu people. The progenitor, Malandela, was born more than 400 years ago in about 1597.  He was the forbear of Zulu, Ntombela, Phunga, Mageba, Ndaba, Jama and Senzangakhona, the father of the most famous Zulu Kings, Shaka, Dingane and Mpande. Mpande was the father of King Cetshwayo, the last truly independent King, whose armies inflicted a humiliating defeat of the British invaders at Isandlwana on January 22, 1879.  His son, King Dinizulu, who was imprisoned and exiled for resisting British rule after they had destroyed the Kingdom, also lies buried a few kilometres from Owen’s Camp.

A state of the art R30-million multi-media centre is less than a kilometre from the camp. The history of the Zulu people and influx of Trekkers and British into the kingdom is graphically illustrated in a video programme.  The famous Hall of Kings makes it possible for visitors to hear the praises of the illustrious kings.

The remains of Voortrekker homes and graves of the early settlers are scattered throughout the valley.

The famous Shaka himself grew up at iSiklebeni. a stone’s throw from Owen’s Camp. He laid the groundwork for his power in 1818, when he defeated his arch rival, Inkosi Zwide of the Ndwandwe at the battle of Gqokli Hill due east of the Camp on the outskirts of Ulundi.

This epic battle had repercussions for the whole of Southern Africa. Not only did it result in the creation of the most powerful economic and military kingdom on the African continent, the Kingdom of the Zulu, but the young Shaka’s victory drove out men who would leave their mark on the sub-continent.  These included Mzilikazi, who not only fought against the Boers in founding the Ndebele Kingdom, but went on to conquer Zimbabwe.

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