David Rattray: Zulu historian's murder reignites fears over violence in South Africa

Historians in the News

The widow of one of South Africa's best-known historians condemned the country's "senseless banditry" last night after her husband was gunned down by robbers.

David Rattray, 48, a friend of Prince Charles and a world authority on the Zulu War, was shot dead after a six-strong gang burst into his home at Rorke's Drift, in KwaZulu-Natal province.

David Rattray was gunned down at his lodge. His widow has condemned the lawlessness engulfing South Africa

His grieving widow, Nicky, said that his murder highlighted the lawlessness engulfing South Africa, where 20,000 people are murdered every year.

"This famous son of South Africa now joins the unacceptable list of citizens who have lost their lives to senseless banditry," she said....

According to a KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman, the robbers entered the lodge office and held-up the receptionist, asking for Mr Rattray by name. They proceeded to the main lodge, where one of the robbers fired a single shot. After the gang's leader ordered him to return, the gunman re-entered and then fired a further two rounds. Mr Rattray's body was found in a bathroom, with gunshot wounds to his chest, shoulder and hand. An unnamed friend of the Rattrays told a local newspaper that Mr Rattray pushed his wife to the ground shortly before the first shot.

Although the gang appear to have been looking for money, police said they departed empty-handed. That has prompted speculation locally that they may have targeted Mr Rattray for some other reason, a theory given added credence because of the care they took to ensure he was killed. The police have not yet commented.
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