Rider Haggard

Rider Haggard visiting the British graves at Ulundi in 1914. As a young man Haggard had been on Shepstone’s staff during the annexation of the Transvaal in 1877, and as an ardent Imperialist he was in favour of the invasion of Zululand. He never visited Zululand at that time, however, but went on to make the Zulus more famous around the world with his novels, including ‘King Solomon’s Mines’.
In 1914, now knighted and very much a successful establishment figure, he went back to South Africa as part of a Royal Commission, and visited the historic sites he had written about but never seen. His guide here is a Zulu called Simpofu who had fought at Ulundi with the iNgobamakhosi. Haggard left a long account of his journey, published in an excellent book by Stephen Coan (‘Diary of An African Journey’) in which he clearly displays doubts on how the Imperial policies he had once championed had actually worked out for southern Africa.

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