My Brother’s Keeper

A Powerful Novel Of Intrigue And Deception Set In The Anglo-Zulu War Of 1879, Written From A Zulu Family’s View.


‘I was enthralled with this story and immediately set up an interview with the author  when I was two thirds through the book.  I was genuinely surprised by this debut novel by Douglas Hawkins as the writing appears to be of an experienced author’

Samm Marshall, SABC 2 Weekend Live presenter

 The author has given us a wide picture of Zululand of the 1870s, with the tensions not only between the Zulu nation and the British, but within the nation itself. He has told the story from the standpoint of a well-born Zulu family…there is much one can learn about Zulu culture, which he researched

Shirley de Kock Gueller. Cape Times.


When rumours of an invasion of the Zulu kingdom by forces of the British Empire sweep through the land the Zulu army mobilises at the royal capital.

As war with Britain looms, the chief of a powerful clan loyal to the king struggles to avoid a civil war within his people. Anti-royalist forces hiding in his domain are drawing his sons into a plot to place a renegade prince on the Zulu throne under British protection. An old medicine woman foretells of an attempted assassination of the chief’s heir, and of a mysterious young woman who is the key to saving his life. 

In a resounding victory the Zulu army defeats the invading British force at the battle of Isandlwana. At the ensuing battle of Rorke’s Drift the anti-royalists make their attempt to assassinate the clan heir followed by an attack on the military outpost of the clan chief. 

This is a story within the story of the Anglo-Zulu war; a story of warriors, chiefs and a king caught up in a churning mix of intrigue and deception. British infantrymen of the time wore scarlet tunics and dark blue trousers, and were known to the Zulu as red soldiers.

‘Following his passion for history, the author extensively researched the first month of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 and has approached it from the view of a high ranking Zulu family caught up in that war.  The result is an historical novel that tells a tale with superb entertainment value as it follows a well thought-out and intricate plot, cleverly interwoven with factual history, Zulu tradition and mystique that brings people and places of the 19th century alive.’

Editor: Aneza Lee Immelman

What makes this book unique?

For the first time a very carefully researched book has appeared showing the ‘other side’, the roles and lives of Zulu soldiers at the time of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift in 1879. The author has woven the historical facts into a story line to make the reading of it a ‘who-done-it’ thriller, complete with heroes and heroines and evil assassins bent on their downfall. Who were the shadowy figures behind the renegade anti-royalist uprising seeking the overthrow of the monarchy in its time of need?

Vivid descriptions of everyday life and customs of the Zulu people living under threat of war, flow with a writing style that takes the reader back in time to become part of the fictional Zulu family in their struggle to support the king in his fight to save Zululand from invasion forces of the British Empire.

Graphic descriptions of the rituals carried out at the Zulu royal capital and the roles played by the izAngoma, psychic traditional healers, in guiding the king and the fictional family caught up in a war not of their making will carry the reader as if you are there, living in the great military establishments of King Cetshwayo, the fourth of the Zulu kings of the 19th century.

Careful research has made the story historically and culturally accurate, mixing fact with fiction in a page-turning tale that is both highly entertaining and informative.

Author’s note :

This is a novel set during the first month of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. It is based on historical fact but the characters of the family central to the story are fictitious as is that of the old psychic Healer whose prophecies guide them. Whilst her character is fictitious, to be truly possessed by the spirits of one’s ancestors is fact. The spirits come to such a person, the chosen one, just as they have done for thousands of years and always will when deciding who will be ‘isAngoma’; a respectful epithet used when describing one who has both the skill of applying herbal medicines as well as being a diviner inspired by her/his ancestral spirits.