Zulu Shield and Weaponry
The bishop on the Zulu side is represented by the Zulu warriors main weapons and shield. They have been chosen to signify the importance that the warrior placed on his weapons for his own and his peoples survival. The chess piece consists of, a traditional Zulu shield, two throwing spears, a stabbing spear (iklwa), and a clubbing weapon (knob – kerrie). Most Zulu warriors going into battle would carry perhaps two throwing spears, one stabbing spear or perhaps a knob – kerrie. They would also carry their distinctive war shield made from a bull or cow hide. It was only possible to fashion two of the superb, oval shaped shields from one hide. The hide from a bull was preferred for its toughness, but cowhide which was more readily available, was used more and more, because of the ever increasing demands of the growing army. During King Shaka’s time, when the Zulu Nation was being unified into a military society, the markings on the shield denoted the regiment to which a warrior belonged.
The knob kerrie (iwisa) was a weapon common to the Zulu people, it was formed from the heaviest and hardest wood available and was often carved and decorated.
The stabbing spear was called by the Zulu people iklwa, as a reference to the noise that the spear made when being removed from flesh. It was approximately 25.4 cm (10 inches ) long, with a broad blade made from iron, and was the preferred weapon of the Zulu Warrior.
The throwing spear had an iron blade with a very slim handle to enable the user to hold more than one spear at a time in his shield hand, in readiness for casting