UK fundi to retire on his Zulu war stash
A former council worker in England is auctioning off his beloved Zulu artefacts for just under R1m to fund his retirement.
The collection, which includes shields and weaponry used at the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift in 1879, will be auctioned on Wednesday by C&T Auctioneers in Kenardington, south England.
The 120 pieces are expected to sell for £50,000 (about R894,500) and experts say there are plenty of collectors willing to fork out for these items.
Mick Woodfield, 61, a former council worker for Warwick, began collecting Zulu war artefacts after seeing Zulu, the 1964 film starring Michael Caine and depicting the battle of Rorke's Drift between the British and Zulus.
He is now selling his collection to fund his retirement, having started collecting 45 years ago.
But, Woodfield told The Sunday Times this week, he would be keeping a few of his favourite pieces.
"They aren't the most expensive, or the most rare, but they have the most sentimental value for me. It's never been about the money, I don't know how much this auction will fetch but I hope there will be pieces which everybody can afford," he said.
The pensioner said he couldn't wait to come to SA next year to see the battlefields for the first time. "I am so excited to climb Isandlwana and to see the spot where the last soldier died," he said.
So vast is Woodfield's collection that the auction next week will be the first of two. The second will be held in April. Matthew Tredwen, militaria specialist at C&T Auctioneers, said this was the company's first auction dedicated to Zulu war memorabilia.
He said such memorabilia were very popular and C&T expected to sell the whole collection.
Local Zulu war historian and battlefields expert Paul Garner said many British people still come to the battlefields to hear the story of the Zulu war, "much more so than South Africans. For many Brits it is a bucket list event," he said.