Ondini Royal Kraal

Prior to the Anglo-Zulu wars, King Cetshwayo, the last king to reign over an independent Zulu nation, established his royal kraal at Ondini, just outside the modern Zulu capital, Ulundi.  After extensive archaeological research, the “isigodlo” or royal section of Ondini was re-built on the original site at the instigation of Cetshwayo’s grandson, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, in the 1970s.  When the British troops burned the grass huts after the Battle of Ulundi, the heat from the fires turned the mud and dung floors of the huts into rock-hard circles which survived a century of weathering. Social anthropologist Rob Rawlinson oversaw the re-building, employing the few old local women who still remembered the craft of weaving at the individual entrances. Like King Shaka’s kwaBulawayo, Ondini was a major city in its heyday.