Very Rare King Cetshwayo 'Medalet' c. 1881 During Captivity in Cape Castle
Very Rare King Cetshwayo 'Medalet' c. 1881 During Captivity in Cape Castle

Very Rare King Cetshwayo 'Medalet' c. 1881 During Captivity in Cape Castle

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A very rare small (2 x 1.5 cm) tin 'medalet' struck by the supporters of King Cetshwayo kaMpande and distributed by him as a favour during his time in captivity in Cape Town, 1880-1882.

Whilst in captivity following his capture at the end of the Anglo-Zulu War King Cetshwayo worked hard to keep British public interest alive in his circumstances and the fragile state of the Zulu kingdom. He received visitors both during his incarceration at Cape Castle and later on the farm Oude Moulen, and he became fashionable among visiting British gentry, many of whom became sympathetic to his cause. In order to further awareness, the King presented visitors with his autograph - which he was taught to write during his time in the Castle - and with these small medals, which were apparently produced for him by his admirers.

The medal displays a stylised portrait on the king on one side and 'The Zulu War Medal' on the other; it was designed to be worn in the manner of a ladies' favour, and this example is attached to a small weight in order to hang it from a button-hole. The King's campaign was largely successful as it ultimately resulted in him visiting the UK in 1882, where he became a celebrity to the London public.