It is a century since Bhambatha kaMancinza, inkosi of the Zondi, ambushed a police patrol at Mpanza north of Greytown in Natal and, with 150 men, headed for the Nkandla forests in Zululand. There, joined by thousands, he defied the colonial government. This was the Bhambatha rebellion or impi yamakhanda, the ''war of the heads'', named after the head or poll tax that sparked it off.
Britain's 1879 invasion of the Zulu kingdom and the looming US war against Iraq have much in common. A closer examination of what happened in the South African past, of how the exercise of imperial violence shaped South Africa, does enable us to understand the present more clearly