Original Zulu Wars Wooden Knobkierie War Club from a Survivor of Rorke's Drift in 1879

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind Bring Back. This comes from one of the most respected Antique Dealers in the United States, and is without doubt the most exciting Zulu War item we have ever handled. Since the movie ZULU with Michael Caine was made years ago, the Zulu War of 1879 has gained worldwide fame and popularity. This particular Zulu War Club, known as a KNOBKIERIE, which has many spellings, is the ONLY ONE we've seen that was picked up and marked literally "on Site" from the Battlefield at Rorke's Drift by one of the surviving PRIVATES who was there. Most Knobkieries were gathered and returned to England with the Regiment and Regimentally engraved, usually, with Silver plaques naming the Officers and men involved.


Once the battle was over, the surviving troopers just continued guarding the Waterway known as Rorke's Drift until relieved by fresh troops, and basically they were bored! Our Trooper named SAMUEL PITTS walked through the hundreds of ZULU dead and selected what was then an old minor Chief's Knobkierie that dated back, because of its form and style, to about 1820 when the great Chief SHAKA caused so much trouble.

This War Club was made from a single large branch, as all were, carved down for the handle, and leaving the full width for the head. It measures 26" tall including the head, which is about three and a quarter inches across and shows age splits and possible damage from use in battle over the years. By 1879 the Zulu's had this down pat and produced perfectly proportioned examples, not as in the 1820's. The haft its does NOT thicken at the bottom end as usual, but tapers away just as the branch it once was.

Around the neck of the ball warhead and as a sure hand grip it has two very old leather wraps that are undoubtedly totally original to the weapon. Along the shaft appears the "MONEY SHOT":-


Laid out in tiny brass brads/tacks, so simple but probably done beside the camp fire. Samuel Pitts really was named Pitts, however because it is such an unusual name that many references claim his last name was the very common PITT as in Brad Pitt, but it wasn't. When first hearing of this, IMA owner Christian Cranmer was ready to dismiss it as a modern fake, HOWEVER once he saw it "in the flesh", to him and those around him, this was 100% right.

Something we've never had before, and likely will not have again for some time, if at all.

Hard to believe that the Zulu Native warriors destroyed most of a Regiment (24th of Foot) in 1879 being armed with clubs, spears and shields. Wonderfully recalled in the Movies ZULU and ZULU DAWN.

A Knobkierie, also spelled knobkerrie, knopkierie or knobkerry, is a form of club used mainly in Southern and Eastern Africa. Typically they have a large knob at one end and can be used for throwing at animals in hunting or for clubbing an enemy's head. The knobkierie is carved from a branch thick enough for the knob, with the rest being whittled down to create the shaft.

The name derives from the Afrikaans word knop, meaning knot or ball and the Nama (one of the Khoekhoe languages) word kierie, meaning cane or walking stick. The name has been extended to similar weapons used by the natives of Australia, the Pacific islands and other places.

Knobkieries were an indispensable weapon of war, particularly among southern Nguni tribes such as the Zulu (as the iwisa) and the Xhosa. Knobkieries was occasionally used during World War I. The weapon also being carried by British soldiers in Siegfried Sassoon's fictionalized autobiography.

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