Yesterday I wrote about the Battle of Rorke’s Drift and I mentioned Michael Caine and the film based upon the battle. In said film, there are two great scenes. First, is the scene prior to the actual battle. The Undi Corps of Zulus approaches the grizzled British embattlements and begins a war chant. The British respond by singing “The Men of Harlech,” an old Welsh march. The battle then commences. When the battle is over and the Zulu return, they once again form to begin a war chant, this time saluting the noble, dogged enemy that had repelled their attacks.
The final scene made a very big impression upon when I first watched it as a young Rat sitting in World History at the Mother I. My professor, had regaled us the day before with a spirited and nuanced retelling of the Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. To then watch it on the silver screen only fueled the already grandiose notions of venturing out on great campaigns that were already swirling in my head.
But when the Zulus saluted the British I was awed. There, on the screen, was a dramatic representation of honor and respect, even amongst your enemies, that was being drilled into our heads back in the Barracks. It still stands as one of my most favorite scenes from the cinema.
I have embedded it below for your viewing pleasure, dear reader. The big battle doesn’t begin until about the middle of the video, but it follows directly into the final scene.