Zulu Iklwa. Pre-1870 Zulu Stabbing Spear

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Zulu Iklwa. 1879 Zulu War Stabbing Spear.

This Zulu Iklwa is a Zulu War bring back. The style of the haft, with almost no flare at the end suggests that it was made prior to the 1870’s. Many earlier spears lack the iconic flared end to the hafts. After the punitive attack on the Zulu capitol of Ulundi in 1879, many such trophies were collected by the troops and brought back to the UK as souvenirs. Finding one now-a-days however is not so easy!

The 360mm hand forged blade has a flattened diamond section with raised medial ridge. The blade is 39mm at its widest and is in great condition.

The blade is secured firmly within the haft and woven ilala palm binding was added to strengthen the bond. The palm binding is in good condition with small areas of loss. Traditionally there were three types of binding used to secure the blade into the haft – wire, cow tail and Ilala palm. 

The 755mm haft has a wonderful patina with minimal widening towards the end.

While the Zulu King was responsible for providing his warriors (Impis) with shields, the individual Zulu warrior was responsible for his own weaponry. As such, the length and breadth of a warrior’s Iklwa blade was very much a status symbol. The more steel a warrior could afford to purchase and have forged into a blade, the wealthier and more important he was.

This Iklwa has a total length of 1,115mm (111.5cm).

This is an excellent example of a Zulu warrior’s stabbing spear probably made prior to the outbreak of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. This iklwa will make a great addition to any Anglo-Zulu War collection.


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