Monday, October 19, 2009

Zulu Warriors Right Here in Texas

My own Zulu impi warrior.

Last Friday I decided to take the boys in my co-op class all the way down to South Africa. We talked a bit about the Zulu's history and culture before jumping into our project. (Just a tiny bit, though, as the boys were eager to get to the weaponry.)

I had a bit of a different project in mind for this week ... one that included a shield as well as a spear and club - the whole package, as it were. The process wasn't quite what they were expecting, because the kids were able to do virtually all of the project themselves, so they were happily occupied weaving and gluing. All too frequently, they end up watching (and thus getting distracted) while the adults do the hands-on work after they ask for help out of frustration. This week, though, they seemed to be especially pleased by their creations, knowing that they'd done most of the work themselves.

And they didn't even have to bury them for two days under manure and pound them with stones.

This is what they were supposed to look like.
(Photo from Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)

We started with tracing ...

And cutting ...

And tracing and cutting ...

And more cutting ...

And then my brilliant idea of hardening the supple Corinthian Leather using fabric stiffener.
Let's just say that trying to take a shortcut by using a blow dryer didn't do the trick.
We ended up laying them out on the back porch to dry, where they got, well, a bit stiffer.

Sometimes the help of an adult was necessary, but it was minimal.

Evan didn't mind.
He waited patiently while the helper made the holders for the center support.

One happy impi warrior heads off down the hallway to meet unsuspecting students.

Scared yet?

(Sorry, I'm not feeling too witty or clever tonight, as I think I'm coming down with S's virus from last week. So tonight it's "just the facts, ma'am.")
If you enjoyed this post, you might like Maces, Chain Mail, and 4-Year-Old Knights.


  1. This looks like a fun activity. I don't recall learning much about Africa in school... Oh, wait. I don't recall learning anything about Africa! So it is great that homeschooling offers the flexibility to really delve into these sorts of topics.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Great looking project. Feel better soon!