My Great-Grandfather in Zululand – The Rev Dr Frederick Wilfrid Walters
Rev. Frederick Wilfrid Walters studied and qualified as a medical doctor during his curacies in All Hallowes, Southwark, St Luke’s, Camberwell and St Philips in Sydenham (1887 – 1892). He sailed to Zululand on 10 December 1892 on the SS Scot. He was accompanied by his wife, Helen Millicent (Mansfield) Walters, their two little boys, Edward and Herbert Aiden, and his sister, Flo Walters. He started work in Zululand as Principal and Medical Missionary at the Zulu Theological College in Isandhlwana. Fairly soon afterwards, the Government wished to appoint a medical officer in Zululand, and the Bishop asked FWW to take up the position in Nongoma. In his own words, writing on March 8th 1894 to The Net Cast in Many Waters (the Missionary Magazine for the Church of England):
Bishop has asked me to go to Ndwandwe, where Umswele, the queen mother, lives, and it is the centre of the Zulu nation, Mr Gibson, the Resident Magistrate, of that district, has himself noticed that there is a remarkable religious movement going on amongst the people, a kind of stirring of the dry bones. Old and long tried supporters of the Mission will be rejoiced to hear of this, that the seeds sown amids many discomforts and much opposition, yet in faith, by the early pioneers of Christianity in this land, are beginning to bear fruit after this manner. (Read the rest of this first available letter by clicking the link below…)
Moving to Nongoma – 5th June 1894
Bishop Carter writes (and refer to the map above): Mr Walters met me at Ulundi and we went on together to Nongoma. It is a longish ride of some 42 miles, and the greater part of the way is through thorn country. Fortunately it was a cloudy day and not very hot.
FWW continues: On Tuesday April 3rd, we all walked around the place to choose a site for us to settle on. The place chosen commands a beautiful view; it is on the side of a hill, the Ndunu, and itself the battlefield between Dinizulu’s people and Usibepu’s in the disturbances. I pray God our settling there may be a happy omen of the inauguration of the reign of the King of Peace in this widely populated district. The R.M. computes there are some 14,000 Zulus living here, the pure stock. Mrs Walters & Co., arrived a week after we did, bringing with her the bulk of our belongings. The other wagonload came later. Unfortunately we have had rain twice lately, and as all things were on the open veldt without any cover, through some delay in the arrival of the tents lent us by Government, you may imagine they are not improved.
We are building round huts, 18 feet in diameter, of poles and reeds daubed over with mud and sand; the poles cost £3 a load of 30. The roof is of grass, 3 foot round; £26 has vanished already in grass and reeds, but I think we have about enough now. We hope to get one hut finished in a week or so. Levelling the ground took a long time; we had to burn off the long grass first. So you see we are beginning from the very beginning.
Building their first home in Nongoma:
Read the full account in FWW’s letter to The Net on 5th June 1894