About Rorkes Drift

History is our Destiny

History of the Battle

Rorkes Drift known as Kwajimu ( Jim’s Land) in the Zulu language, was a mission station and a trading post for an Irish merchant called James Rorke. The post was located near a rift on the Buffalo River which at the time formed the border between the British Colony of Natal and the Zulu kingdom of South Africa.
On the 23rd January 1879 a battle took place between the British army and the Zulu’s where 141 British army regulars fought and defeated 3,000 Zulu’s which ultimately became known as The Battle of Rorkes Drift.

History of the Film

zulu caine
zulu

This battle was made famous by a film in 1964 called Zulu which was an epic war film depicting the battle which became one of the biggest box office hits of its time making $8 million dollars.
It remained 12 years in cinema circulation before making it’s appearance on TV and has since become a film classic. The film made Michael Caine famous.

Besides the films record achievement it made a historical significance in that it was filmed in South Africa during Apartheid and an incident during filming brought home the realities of the oppressive regime.

One of the several professional black stuntmen employed on the film was invited for a drink in the crew’s bar by the film’s assistant editor Jennifer Bates. It was forbidden by law for blacks to mix socially with whites and when he entered the bar he was reprimanded by an Afrikaans foreman with a punch in the face.

The producer, and star of the film Stanley Baker sacked the foreman on the spot and made it clear that such behaviour would not be tolerated on his set. It caused political scandal and Michael Caine swore never to make another movie in South Africa again while apartheid was in force. He kept his word.

History of the Villa

Netflix Crown

At the time the film was made in 1964 The Villa was owned as part of an estate by the illustrious landowner and industrialist the Honourable Colin Paget Tennant, the 3rd Baron of Glenconner who was also the proprietor of the Island of Mustique in the Grenadines.

He had been a lieutenant in the Irish Guards and was close friend and escort to Princess Margaret.

He was forced to deny newspaper reports that he would be announcing his engagement to the princess.

In popular culture he is portrayed by Pip Carter in the Netflix television Series “The Crown” and by Jonathan Hansler in the TV film “The Queens Sister”.

Rorkes Drift Tile plan05

On the 28th September 1964 the estate was divided up and The Villa, known then as “The bungalow” was sold on. During further apportionments and subsequent conveyances, the villa became known as “Rorke’s Drift” and was purchased by the current owner in January 2003.

During the conveyancing process the owner noticed on the legal documents that there was a striking similarity between the plans of the original Rorke’s Drift site where the historic battle took place and the site plan of The Villa.

The owner subsequently learned that the villa was previously owned by one of the executive producers of the film Zulu and during its refurbishment two spears fell out of the loft believed to be original props from the film.

Zulu SPEARS02

The spears are displayed in the villa.

The current owner of Rorke’s Drift is the author Adrianne Roy who wrote the best- selling novel “Do you know who I Am” in the lounge and gardens of the villa in 2010.

She says “There is such a magical aura in the villa that inspires the creativity of any artist that has been there.”

The novel has been optioned to be made into a feature film.

Rorke’s Drift was destined to be in the film business.

OUR HISTORY IS OUR DESTINY

ABOUT US

  • We own Rorke’s Drift so we have the flexibility to offer a bespoke service.
  • We have specialist experience in the film and hospitality business so understand film production and can visualise scripts for locations.
  • Our ethos is “Discretion and Confidentiality at all times”.
  • Our professional hosting team are artists in their own right and led by a resident author who has creative vision and supports creativity the arts.