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On 22 January 1879, an overwhelming force of Zulu warriors attacked highly trained British troops and colonial forces on the slopes of an isolated hill in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal. Previously, if you wanted to know more about the Battle of Isandlwana — considered one of the greatest defeats the British empire suffered at the hands of a native force — your options would include locating a tour guide and perusing its Wikipedia page. Now there’s an app for that.
Produced by Tourism Radio, iSandlwana (see what they did there?) Battlefield Guide is an app for Android and iOS that documents one of the earliest conflicts in the Anglo–Zulu War. Conceived with the help of historian Frank Allewell, the mobile guide tells the story of the conflict using a timeline of events, an interactive map with key locations, modern-day photos of the site of the battle and historical portraits of key players, along with journal entries from the men involved in the attack. You can also share points of interest within the app via social media.
Allewell approached the Tourism Radio team because he feels a lot of the existing information on the battle doesn’t give a comprehensive overview of what happened in the shadow of the hill more than a hundred years ago. The producers have also made sure that the guide will work without an internet connection — once you’ve downloaded it, you can wander off to rural KwaZulu Natal or just walk over to your couch and learn more about it without using any more mobile data.
“Whether you’re an armchair historian, or have the opportunity to walk around the battlefield itself, this app will show you exactly who did what, and where. It’s a simple way of experiencing the Battle of Isandlwana for yourself,” says Allewell.