The Zulu King is represented by King Cetshwayo, whose name means’ ‘the slandered one’, he was King of the Zulu Nation at the time of the Anglo Zulu Wars. His figure is seen seated holding across his knees an axe (inhlenla). He is resplendently dressed in a leopard skin which signifies his royal blood. He was born in 1826 and was the first born son of King Mpande, his mother Mgqumbhazi was a commoner. When he took his place as ruler of the Zulu Nation in 1872, he inherited a largely peaceful Kingdom but with a fighting force of great capability that was not to be underestimated.
On 11th December 1878 The Natal Government presented the Zulu King and his people with the ultimatum that he should disband his army or face the consequence of going to war. Although this was an unreasonable demand, it was still with great reluctance that the Zulu people went to fight. In a letter written by the King he said ‘I have done no wrong, therefore you must have some other object in view in invading my land’. However the conflict was to proceed on 22nd January 1879, with devastating consequences.
King Cetshwayo’s Warrior Forces were to defeat the British Army on no less than three occasions at the battles of Isandlwana, Hlobane and Ntombe.
After the final Zulu defeat, King Cetshwayo was imprisoned in Capetown. He was eventually to visit London where he made an appeal to be reinstated as the Zulu King. His Kingdom was re-established 1883. He died the following year on 8th January 1884.