The KHULA Education Story – A David Rattray Initiative

The Story & History of KHULA Education – a David Rattray Education Initiative

KHULA Education was founded to continue the work started by David and Nicky Rattray. David was a recognised world-expert on the period of history known as the Anglo Zulu War of 1879.

David and Nicky ran their Lodge from a base on the banks of the Buffalo River, situated in the Anglo Zulu War battlefields. Travelling throughout the area David quickly became aware of the needs of this deeply rural, under-resourced, under-developed, very traditional part of the country and determined to do what he could to help. David and Nicky believed that most problems could be solved, certainly in the long term, through improved education and they set themselves to helping in this much-needed field.

The work undertaken has gone from strength to strength and whilst ambitions were initially modest, the lives of over 13,000 pupils have now been positively impacted.

KHULA EDUCATION - A David Rattray Initiative

“Without education there is no hope, without hope there is no future.”



KHULA EDUCATION - A David Rattray Initiative

David’s Legacy

David was noted for his desire to build a spirit of reconciliation amongst the peoples of South Africa.

His legacy is that of support for the field he considered most important to alleviate the poverty of the region: Education. By educating people, you empower them, and you also give them the means to educate the next generation.

Since its foundation, the charity has gone on to work in 19 schools in the Zulu heartland and to support many thousands of children, and thus their communities. This is David Rattray’s enduring legacy.

The Rattray Family

Living amongst the Zulu people David and his wife Nicky developed a deep love and respect for the people and their traditional lands, and understood the problems they faced in the modern world.

As the Foundation, now KHULA Education , has developed, the whole Rattray Family has been involved. Nicky, David’s wife, and their eldest son, Andrew, both serve on the Board of Trustees of KHULA Education. Nicky and others from Fugitives’ Drift Lodge regularly read to the children at KHULA Education’s Isisekelo Preschool. Peter, their younger son, returned in December from his Rorke’s Drift to Brecon motorcycle ride, raising vital funds along the way to continue the work that KHULA Education is doing. And now, one of the youngest Rattrays, Emily, at the age of 2, is joining other local children at Isisekelo Preschool.

The Rattray family can be contacted at or email Nicky at

KHULA EDUCATION - A David Rattray Initiative

More about David Rattray

Born in Johannesburg, David built up Fugitives’ Drift Lodge together with his wife, Nicky, and since 1989 the Lodge has hosted a constant stream of guests visiting the historic battlefields of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift.

In 1994 – the year of the first all-party, democratic general election in South Africa – David started lecturing in the UK including at the Royal Geographical Society in London. In 1999 David was honoured with their prestigious ‘Ness Award’ for increasing understanding of our world and its environments. David also lectured in America, Antarctica, Hong Kong and throughout Southern Africa.

The central theme of his lectures was reconciliation – and how reconciliation can develop from conflict. Close links were also forged with the Royal Regiment of Wales. The 24th Regiment of Foot which fought at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift was absorbed into the Royal Welsh Regiment and the famous regiment came out to the Battlefields to mark the 120th Anniversary. Close ties are maintained with the regiment and the curator of The Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh (Brecon)  which houses the most extensive collection of artefacts and documents from these times.

Back in KwaZulu Natal, Fugitives’ Drift Lodge continues David’s mission to welcome visitors, educating them about the history of the Zulu people and a significant era of history. The family business has a natural synergy alongside KHULA Education’s operations supporting the education of the area’s most vital resource – its children.

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