Johan Willem Colenbrander


Zulu nickname ‘Sishungushwana emhlope’ which means “The White Whirlwind’.

During his lifetime he participated in a number of key events, including the Zulu War, the visit of Lobengula’s indunas to Queen Victoria, Rhodes’ expansion into Mashonaland where he acted as interpreter, the Ndebele Rebellion, and the Anglo-Boer War (during which he raised and commanded a unit named ‘Kitchener’s Fighting Scouts’). After several unsuccessful business ventures, he obtained employment in 1917 with I.W. Schlesinger’s film company, helping to organize labour for the filming of The Symbol of Sacrifice. He played the part of Lord Chelmsford in the film and drowned as he tried to cross the Klip River on horseback.
For his military services he was awarded with the CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath).

In The Netherlands he was renounced by his Dutch family because he fought on the English side during the Angla-Boer War. However they probably didn’t realise he grew up in the English part of South-Africa and had no feelings whatsoever to the cause of the Boers.

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