The Iklwa is a short spear used by the Zulu, an easily wielded wood spear with a razor sharp iron spike. It was the mid-range weapon of Shaka Zulu, who allegedly invented the weapon as part of his military reforms. It is a short variant of the traditional Zulu spear, the assegai.
The Iklwa is a relatively short spear with a long, dagger-like blade that was about half the length of the overall spear. The weapon was designed as a primarily thrusting weapon, although it could be used for slashing an enemy. The name "Iklwa" is derived from the sound that the spear makes as it stabs into the body and the sucking sound when it is withdrawn. The Iklwa's thrusting prowess was demonstrated on the show as it managed to pierce a sample of unriveted chainmail, stabbing into the ballistic gel torso beneath, where it pierced the aorta and stopped an inch before the spinal cord.
- Mid Range
- 2.5 feet
- 1.5 lbs
- Iron & wood
Prior to Shaka, warfare in Southern Africa consisted largely of groups of enemies throwing spears at one another and the ritual challenging of individuals, with both sides leaving largely unharmed. Allegedly created by Shaka himself, the Iklwa became the primary weapon of the Zulu. Even after they encountered firearms, the Zulu shunned them in favor of the iklwa, as they believed that the slow reload times of the British muskets allowed for them to rush in with their iklwa's and dispatch the enemy gunmen. The african spear was used for stabbing and slashing.
Zulus also frequently used a longer spear called the Assegai: although the word 'Assegai' can refer to almost any Sub-Saharan-African spear.