Nada was the baby daughter of the famous American Scout, Major Frederick Russell Burnham (1861 - 1947). She was the first white child born in Bulawayo and she died of fever and starvation during the Siege of Bulawayo in the Second Matabele War. She was buried three days later in the pioneers section of the Bulawayo Cemetery, plot No. 144, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Nada is the Zulu word for lily and she was named after the heroine in Sir H. Rider Haggard's (1856 – 1925) book: Nada the Lilly (1892). Haggard is best known for his lost world novels set in Africa and he was a close friend of Nada's father. Three of Haggard's novels are dedicated to Nada Burnham: The Wizard (1896), Elissa: The Doom of Zimbabwe (1899), and Black Heart and White Heart: A Zulu Idyll (1900). Haggard's dedication reads as follows:
To the Memory of the Child: Nada Burnham, who "bound all to her" and, while her father cut his way through the hordes of the Ingobo Regiment, perished of the hardships of war at Buluwayo on 19 May 1896, I dedicate these tales—and more particularly the last, that of a Faith which triumphed over savagery and death.
Letter from her father to Dr. [Robert Andrews] Millikan, dated July 26, 1930: We lost our little girl in the siege of Bulawayo. Coarse meal and meat from animals dying of Rinderpest slowly killed many little children. My wife and friends laid her in a bullet-swept shallow grave on the outskirts of town, as all of us who were able were away fighting. Upon her death we were assaulted by that terrible word of two letters - IF this, and IF that. Then came that maddening one - WHY - WHY - WHY! There is no escaping them.... Last year we visited the grave of our little girl, now shaded by tall trees and surrounded by other graves of friends now gone, or that also perished in the siege... We had no desire to bring her home, as we had planned. We had no recurrence of sorrow, though no lessening of love. If the choice were given us of erasing the memories of her life and loss we would at once say, "We will keep every one of them, it is part of our lives."