The monument at the Blood River, a fort of cast-bronze wagons, brings to life the terrible events of 1838, which meant the beginning of the end of the Zulu Kingdom. This monument stood alone for many years as a reminder exclusively of the heroism of the white settlers, who suffered no fatalities at Blood River on that day.
Finally, in December 1998, a memorial for the 3,000 Zulu soldiers who died in the battle, was inaugurated by Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi across the river from the Afrikaner monument. The historic anniversary of the 'Day of the Vow' has been renamed 'Reconciliation Day' in the New South Africa.
After the Voortrekkers had failed to negotiate with the Zulus the secession of land for settling and grazing, and had endured a number of catastrophic assaults, they assembled at the Ncome River for a decisive battle. On December 16, 1838, 464 Boers under the command of Andries Pretorius defeated more than 10,000 Zulu warriors. The deeply religious Boers did not ascribe the military victory to their technically superior armaments, but interpreted it primarily as a sign of God. Before the battle, they had prayed and made a vow that if God would grant them victory over the Zulus, they would commemorate the event annually. With that battle behind them, they believed even more strongly that white predominance over blacks is God's own will.