'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Monday, January 29, 2007

David Rattray died 26 January 2007

One of South Africa’s greatest sons was murdered on the 26th of January age 49. David Rattray of Fugitive’s Drift Kwazulu Natal was shot 3 times and killed at his own house at 6 in the evening as he prepared for a cycle ride. David was a brilliant teller of the story of the Anglo-Zulu wars in particular the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. His account of the battle of Isandlwana, which I’ve heard him perform 3 times over the last 10 years, is told as the great Zulu victory. Di and I had the great privilege of having him to ourselves for 2 days some 10 years ago, sat on the battlefield in ‘Sotho blankets riveted by his stories and the cadence of his voice. We’ve also seen him move a packed Royal Geographic Society through tears and laughter .
We only knew him briefly but he’s had a lasting memory on the both of us. His death is unsettling and possibly one of those personal life changing moments.
It’s a mystery still why he died. The impact on his immediate community and South Africa is yet to be felt. I don’t think I’m overstating things, but like the release of Nelson Mandela, I’m sure that the shooting of David Rattray will be yet another turning point for the new South Africa.
His wife Nicky said “South Africa had lost a man who spoke to an international audience about, not only the history of his beloved South Africa, but also about the miracle that he saw us living through today"….."How tragic that a man who gave his life to preserving the Zulu culture lost his life at the hands of the Zulus”
Hamba Kahle – Go Well
PS: The battle of Isandlwana was on 22nd January 1879. There was a commemorative ceremony just 4 days before David’s death. I wonder what will happen next year.


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