Lecture by Dr Renier van der Merwe
Thu, 07/11/2019 - 19:30
The Auditorium, Roedean School, 35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg

Date:          Thursday, 07 Nov 2019                             Time:  19:30

Venue:       The auditorium, Roedean School,

                   35 Princess of Wales Terrace, Parktown, Johannesburg

Charge:      Non-members:  R30, members: free        

The rise of the Zulu Kingdom and the interactions this kingdom and its rulers had with neighbouring communities has been a popular topic in South African histography. Despite the vast amount of work done on this topic, very little attention has been given towards the archaeology of the military settlements associated with the Zulu Kingdom. Settlement archaeology for the Nguni have traditionally been described along the lines of the Central Cattle Pattern; suggesting that warriors of the Zulu Kingdom lived in large family homestead type settlements. The archaeological signature of military settlements, according to this theory, would therefore be indistinguishable from normal family homestead settlements. The research that will be presented here, shows how this is a somewhat oversimplified view of Zulu settlement archaeology. By utilising a multidisciplinary approach in reassessing some of the well-known historical military settlements, it will be shown that not only do Zulu military settlements present with unique archaeological signatures, but it is also possible to identify different types of military settlements. This talk will focus on the archaeological signatures of each of these military settlements, elaborating on the unique function each of these fulfilled during the time of the Zulu kingdom. 
Renier van der Merwe completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria in Heritage and Cultural Tourism, History and Archaeology. This was followed by two honours degrees in History and International Relations. From here he shifted his focus back to archaeology and completed his Masters in Archaeology focussing on developing a settlement model for Zulu military settlements. He is employed as Site Manager and Curator of Malapa in the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. Currently he is pursuing his PhD in Archaeology, under the supervision of Prof Karim Sadr at the University of the Witwatersrand. His research focuses on the military settlements of the northern Nguni, with a specific focus on of the Ndebele (Matabele).