19thc Zulu Stabbing spear 'Umkhonto we sizwe'
A classic 19th century Zulu stabbing spear UmKhonto, also known specifically as an Iklwa or more generally to collectors as an Assegai. These were used in close quarter warfare, most famously at the battles of Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Ulundi, where the trained warriors of the Impis were more than a match for the British soldiers. This example is of the type inspired by King Shaka in the early 19th century, with a short stabbing shaft, and a broad large iron blade. Together with the iwisi club (known to collectors as the knobkerrie), and the Isihlangu cowhide shield, the zulu warriors became famous for their fighting prowess throughout the Southern African region in this period.A wide variety of spears were used by the zulus during the later 19th century including slender throwing types, but the short hafted Iklwas were used only in close combat hand to hand fighting. 39 inches long overall, the blade 9.5 approximately. Wonderful condition, binding immaculate and the iron blade with attractive dark age patina. An assegai with near identical proportions and the same blade shape is in the National Army Museum accession number 1957-02-37-3 taken in 1879.