Cetshwayo's Dutchman


A pleasant Saturday morning spent at Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room on Bree Street reading Cetshwayo’s Dutchman: private journal of a white trader in Zululand during the British invasion. The Dutchman in question was one Cornelius Vijn, a twenty-something trader active in Zululand during the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. How wars have changed – no videos uploaded to youtube – rumours and runners with notes in cleft sticks were the order of the day.

cet 296x300 Cetshwayo's Dutchman

The Zulus were fighting for their land, cattle and women (they thought the Brits were trying to steal their maidens) and put up a surprisingly good fight, wiping out the British army at Isandlwana in one of the early battles. After a couple of early victories, it all ended in tears for Cetshwayo who was imprisoned in the Castle and then at Oude Molen in Stellenbosch. So how appropriate that Stellenbosch winemakers dominate the Royal Signature range of wines launched last week by his descendant, King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Cetshwayo was taken to see the Great She-Elephant, Queen Victoria and Cetshwayo was a big hit in London society. Which is a good omen for King Goodwill’s wines. The British royal family is on a roll at the minute with all things regal incredibly popular. Rather than team up with competitors Chile and Argentina in a Beautiful South show to promote southern hemisphere wines in London in September – another harebrained scheme from WOSA – SA producers should rally round the royal standard and play the colonial card. These Royal Signature wines are a good start.