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Rob has become internationally known for his telling of the battle of Rorke's Drift
Perhaps the most famous of all the battlefields of KwaZulu is Rorke’s Drift. In a long night of high drama, the battle was characterised by astonishing acts of bravery. One hundred able Welsh and English soldiers defended a hospital against 4,000 Zulu warriors. Their desperate defence, room by room, led to the award of eleven VCs for bravery; more in this single military action than any other in history.
Rob Caskie has become internationally known for his telling of this battle. Rob grew up on a dairy farm and studied agriculture. But his love of adventure saw him take off on long solo motorbike journeys around southern Africa, and the adventurer Kingsley Holgate invited him to join the Afrika Odyssey Expedition in 1993 documenting their journeys along waterways from east Africa to Cairo. In the 1990s Rob worked in the Okavango Delta of Botswana with National Geographic making films and taking photographs.
The storyteller David Rattray invited Rob, who speaks fluent Zulu, to join his team at Fugitive’s Drift Lodge, which was fast becoming internationally famous for David’s brilliant accounts of the battles of Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana.
Rob is always quick to give David credit for the powers of storytelling he has developed; and this is typical of a man who is humble and courteous. After David’s untimely death in 2007, Rob took over as lead guide at Fugitive’s Drift Lodge as well travelling to the UK and US as a guest lecturer. In 2011 he left full time work at the lodge to became a freelance speaker.
Rob captures the drama of Rorke’s Drift; as he speaks you can see the battle rage ‘in the theatre of the imagination’. He tells the stories of the soldiers, not only before and during the battle but what became of them afterwards. Listening to his account, you feel a connection to the brave men of the battle: Chard, Brumhead, Dalton, the 'Rev'd Padre George 'Ammunition' Smith' and men of the 21st Monmouthshire Regiment. With Rob's combination of humour and compassion, his detailed knowledge and reflection, you can feel, smell, hear the battle and understand what it meant to those who experienced it. Rob also draws lessons from the battle.
Listen to Rob's three part account of Rorke's Drift, and other talks he has posted on GreatGuides.
Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 16 Mar 2010
Location: Southern Africa | South Africa
Themes: the past, travel | 1850 - 1945
|Rob Caskie on 06 Feb 2012|
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