James Stuart.

A history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation online

. (page 12 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 12 of 52)
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But, in conveying to uneducated savages the information
that, although the tax became due on 1st January, and
would begin to be collected after the 20th of that month,
there was no compulsion to pay before 31st May, the
greatest difficulty was experienced by the Magistrates.
So used are Natives, under tribal rule, to regarding instruc-
tions from competent authority as peremptory that any-
thing in the shape of a concessive order is extremely
liable to be construed as requiring compHance on the day
first notified by the Magistrate as that on which he would
be prepared to receive the tax. This is evidently what
happened in the case of a Chief shortly to be dealt with,
otherwise he would not have called on his people to pay
in the way he did.


On so important an occasion it would, perhaps, have
been wiser to have adopted a different procedure, such,
for instance, as was followed by Sir Theophilus Shepstone
when the first tax of 7s. was imposed, and when, many
years later, it was raised. That officer, as head of the
Native Affairs Department, was, of course, familiar with
the whole position. The same could not be said of any
of the Magistrates. As the communication to be made
was obviously one of dehcacy and called for thorough
explanation, he resolved to make it himself, and consider-
ably in advance of any attempt at collection. In so
acting he secured both accuracy and uniformity, besides
keeping a firm hold on the situation. It is true that the
Minister for Native Affairs, whose position was very
different to that of Sir Theophilus Shepstone, having
arrived at somewhat similar conclusions, toured most
parts of Natal and Zululand to hold meetings with the
Native Chiefs, etc. These were effective and pacifying ;
but, when the action was taken, most of the Magistrates
had already explained the law to the best of their ability,
with the results already indicated.

Anxious that those in his employ should conform to the
new law, Henry Smith, a farmer of Umlaas Road, person-
ally conducted his Natives to the magistracy, Camper-
down, on the 17th January. This was but three days
before that on which Magistrates had been instructed to
begin their collections. The tax was paid. One of the
boys thereafter obtained permission to go to his kraal on
the pretext that his child was ill. The same evening,
about 8 p.m.. Smith was standing on his verandah when
he heard a shuffling noise by the wall. He thought it was
a dog, but saw a Native, who, putting his head round the
corner, exclaimed : " Nkosi ! " (ordinary form of salute),
and handed him an envelope. Turning to read the
address by the light of the window. Smith was at once
stabbed by the Native with an assegai and mortally
wounded. Circumstantial evidence led at the trial proved
that the boy who got permission to go home was the one
who had committed the murder. He was convicted.


Apart from having been induced to pay the poll tax, no
other motive for the murder could be discovered. That
Smith was a good master was abundantly proved by the
testimony of his other servants.

The following significant incident occurred at Mapumulo
on the 22nd January. The Magistrate (Mr. R. E. Dunn)
proceeded to Allan's store, some 9 miles from the magis-
tracy, to collect the poll tax as previously arranged.
Shortly after his arrival, a Chief, Ngobizembe, came up
with about 100 men, each armed with several sticks and
some carr3dng shields. These sticks and shields they
placed beside them as they sat in the presence of the
Magistrate.^ On the latter saying that he had come to col-
lect the tax, all exclaimed : " We won't pay ! " Some 200
other members of the same tribe, the largest in the district,
now approached Dunn from behind, chanting a song as
they advanced. They were dressed in their war dress, and
fully armed with shields, knobsticks and ordinary sticks.
As they failed to accord the customary salute, their Chief
remarked, " Why don't you salute ? " " Why should we ?
We shan't ! " they roared in reply. They then sat down,
practically encircHng the Magistrate and the three Euro-
pean and six Native police who were with him. Many of
the Natives who wore hats did not remove them. The
Magistrate again stated why he had come, and was about
to make other remarks when all present, as with one voice,
shouted him down with " Shut up ! we refuse to pay ! "
In spite of further efforts to bring them to reason, the men
became more and more uproarious and unruly. Their
shouting became ' terrific' They got up, danced about
and gesticulated with their sticks in that defiant manner
which only Natives are capable of doing, a form of
effrontery indicative of trouble. They eventually came
close up to the Magistrate and his staff from the rear, as
if contemplating assault. Only by the Chief and some of
the older men vigorously using their sticks, could they be
made to fall back. In these and other ways the Magistrate,

^ A gross breach of etiquette and a matter that would at once excite


notwithstanding his being a perfect Zulu linguist, was
treated with the grossest insolence, contempt and defiance.
Only by exercising the greatest care was an outburst of
violence averted.

Other similar instances of defiance were exhibited in the
same district, viz. at Butler's Store, Insuze, on the 29th
and 30th January, and, on the 1st February, at Gaillard's
Store, Umvoti, by the members of three other tribes.

Behaviour of this kind called, of course, for immediate
action. Ngobizembe was ordered to appear before the
Minister for Native Affairs at Pietermaritzburg on the 1st
February, and a strong body of police (under Inspector
0. Dimmick) was dispatched on the 3rd to keep order at

The position in Zululand on the 26th January was that out
of 83 Chiefs, 62 had been called on to pay ; of these, 46
(including Dinuzulu) had responded, with the result that
over £1,400 had been collected, and other payments were
being made daily. The other 16 Chiefs appeared to be offer-
ing a passive resistance. At Empandhleni (Nkandhla), how-
ever, the people of one of these Chiefs behaved in a violent
and insolent manner to the Magistrate when called on to
pay the tax. The Minister for Native Affairs, who was at
Nongoma on the date referred to, expressed the view that
such success as had been achieved was " in a measure due
to the good example set by Dinuzulu."

On the 7th February, the date fixed for collecting the
poll tax from the Chief Mveh and his tribe at Henley — a
small railway station on the Pietermaritzburg-Umzimkulu
line — and about 11 miles from Pietermaritzburg — the
Magistrate of Umgeni division (Mr. T. R. Bennett) went
out to keep his appointment. Whilst at that place, the
Chief called attention to the fact that a section of his tribe
had taken up a position on a hill about two miles off and
were armed with assegais. ^ The Magistrate sent a Euro-
pean trooper (W. A. Mather) and two of the Chief's
relatives to ascertain what truth there was in the state-

^ The Native Code prohibits, on pain of severe penalty, the carrying
of lethal weapons by persons other than constables on duty.


merit. A party of twenty-seven armed Natives was come
upon. When an attempt was made to record their names
they assumed a threatening attitude, and presently rushed
at the messengers with their assegais. The latter, to avoid
being killed, retired at a gallop. Depositions were taken
and warrants for arrest issued on the charge of " taking
part in an assembly of armed men without the authority
of the Supreme Chief." It transpired, on a later date, the
party had intended, on being called up to pay, to murder
the Magistrate and his staff. ^

Early on the day following the acting District Police
Officer, Sub-Inspector Sidney H. K. Hunt, armed with
the warrants, left Pietermaritzburg with eleven mounted
poKce for Richmond, where he was joined by four others,
including two Native constables. Another small patrol,
under a non-commissioned officer, proceeded towards
Thorn ville Junction. Hunt's party, owing to delay on the
railway, could not move on before noon, when they pro-
ceeded via Byrnetown to the farm " Trewirgie." Owing
to the guides not knowing the way, their difficulties being
increased by a thick mist which came on early in the
afternoon, slow progress was made. The nearer the men
got to their destination, the more it was noticed that only
women and old men were in evidence at kraals along the
route traversed.

It was not until 5.30 p.m. that the house of Mr. Henry
Hosking, owner of " Trewirgie," near where the accused
were reported to be, was reached. The Natives required
lived but half a mile from, though out of sight of, the
homestead. Hunt resolved, contrary to the advice given
him by Hosking, to try and effect the arrests and after-
wards put up for the night at the farm house. At 6 p.m.
he, with twelve Europeans and two Natives, went to the
kraal indicated as that at which the accused would be
found, that is to say, one within sight of which the
poUce had passed a few minutes before. A man

^ When going about a district collecting taxes, a Magistrate's staff
hardly ever exceeded three or four Europeans and half-a-dozen Native
police and messengers.


and two women were found to be the only occupants.
Inquiries as to where the young men who were wanted had
got to met with no success. Hunt now directed the man to
shout for them. This he did. Two Natives were presently
caught in the vicinity and, happening to be among those
wanted, were handcuffed. A third and older man was
found near by. This turned out to be Mjongo, one of the
ringleaders. He, too, was handcuffed. At this moment,
Trooper George Armstrong was sent to investigate a
suspicious object some way up a steep incline in the
immediate rear of the kraal, and about 80 to 100 yards
off. No sooner had he gone up than he shouted to his
comrades : " Come on, there's an armed party here."
Leaving a couple of troopers with the prisoners. Hunt
proceeded up the hill with the rest of the men, where he
found some 40 or 50 fully armed Natives.

The ground there was very steep and covered with
rocks. Hunt went in amongst the Natives and asked what
they meant by being armed. They were most excited and
kept rushing up to the troopers, flourishing assegais, knob-
sticks and small shields, exclaiming, " You have come for
our money ; you can shoot us ; we refuse to pay." Hunt's
interpreter was at first unable to make himself heard,
because of the hubbub. After it had subsided, Hunt
again tried to persuade them to lay down their arms and
move to the kraal, where he would speak to them. Several
then shouted : " If we put down our assegais, you'll make
us prisoners, and we'll have to work in gaol," " You put
away your revolvers and we'll put down our assegais," and
so forth. All this time they kept backing up the slope
towards a dense bush, yeUing, " Come on, you're afraid."
It must then have been past 7 o'clock. Hunt was advised
to desist. He, however, released Mjongo, but, as soon as
the latter attempted to address the infuriated savages,
they rushed at, caught, and dragged him in amongst them-
selves. The police now retired towards the kraal. The
Natives followed, jeering at and taunting the former in
the most insolent manner. On reaching the kraal. Hunt
ordered his two remaining prisoners to be brought along.

ir. fJ.Sh^riinn,/.




Magistrate, Mahlabatini.


Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 12 of 52)