James Stuart.

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

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Notwithstanding this the Natives, as shown by numerous
records, generally assumed an attitude of disrespect and
defiance. In so doing, they acted hastily and recklessly,
owing largely, no doubt, to the difficulty of understanding
the exact effect of the law. It was enough that it was
extra taxation, and appeared to put a premium on the
already increasing independence of youths. No allowance
whatever was made for the bona-fide straits the Govern-
ment was in for the want of revenue, nor yet for the fact
that the additional burden would not, after all, exceed one
shilling per head per annum on the total Native popula-
tion. ^ Chiefs, aided and abetted by their adherents, made
attempts to combine against the Government. At Mid-
lUovo, European farmers felt obliged to go into lager,
whilst others prepared to do the same at such places as
Highflats, Ixopo and Richmond. It will, no doubt, be
conceded that defiance in any community calls for firm
and prompt action by those in authority ; not less neces-
sary is it when savages, known to be warlike and impulsive,
have to be dealt with.

Then the anonymous order, purporting to have come
from some Native of high position, requiring the killing of
pigs, white fowls, etc., and the discarding of utensils of
European manufacture, could have had no other signifi-
cance than that the Natives in general should unite against

1 The poll tax actually collected from Natives in the years 1906-1909
was as follows :

1906 1907 1908 1909

Natal - £68,500 1 £49,637 10 £45,150 £41,498

Zululand - 7,990 6 4,267 3,940 3,520

Total - £76,490 7 £53,904 10 £49,090 £45,018

That it was greater in 1906 than in later years, was due to failure by
Natives to apply for exemption or to their assuming liability in
different ways for the hut tax.


the white man's government. Such interpretation is patent
to anyone. There was, moreover, abundant evidence that
this propaganda had been widely spread. Messengers are
known to have proceeded to different parts of the Trans-
vaal and even to the neighbourhood of Salisbury, Rhodesia,
preaching sedition wherever they went. In Natal the
order had already been compHed with by many people.
Numerous instances occurred in the thickly populated belt
of country between Krantzkop, Mapumulo and Stanger,
especially on the Tugela side of that line. Others were not
wanting in other parts of the Colony, such as Ixopo, Mid-
Illovo, Weenen, etc. Not only had animals been either
killed or sold at absurdly low figures,^ but European
utensils, e.g. pots, had been destroyed or thrown away. If
some Natives had already manifested disaffection, only
time and want of effective control by the Government were
needed for others to do the same.

Thus the atmosphere, by the time of the outbreak, had
become so charged with an unmistakably rebellious spirit,
and with reports that the tribes generally were out of the
control of their Chiefs, that it required but a successful
outbreak or two, in places not readily accessible to
European troops, to set the whole affair ablaze. And,
in any such event, not only the peace of Natal, but
of other portions of South Africa, would have been
endangered. There is no getting away from this con-
clusion, because it foUows directly from the widely
prevalent facts above referred to. Clearly, the position
was abnormal, and, being abnormal, it called for extra-
ordinary action.

It was whilst these evidences of unrest and loudly and
disrespectfully expressed dissatisfaction existed that the
Magistrate of Umgeni division proceeded to carry out the
new law. For any Magistrate to have refrained, from fear
of outbreak, from collecting the poll tax, after giving
proper notice, would have been the height of weakness, of
which Natives, in such mood as they then were in, would
not have been slow to take advantage. And yet when the

^ Pigs were disposed of in Weenen division at Is. to 4s. apiece.


Magistrate ^ proceeded in a normal manner to collect the
tax, another section of the same tribe, on its own initia-
tive, marched under arms and in open defiance of the law
to await at a convenient spot an opportmiity of throwing
themselves on to and murdering the Magistrate. Being
discovered, they returned to their kraals, well-knowing
that, as they had broken the law, warrants would be issued
for their arrest. Although unprovoked in any way, they
continued to carry their weapons in defiance of law and
order. Instead of surrendering or running away, as other
offenders would have done, they banded themselves
together 2 when the poHce appeared on the scene, and went
into hiding. And when the poHce proceeded to make
arrests, they resisted and murdered them. Why ? Not
because of any grievance against the Government pecuUar
to themselves, but one which they supposed had, by then,
become common to the whole Black House.^

There were, however, other considerations. The Natal
PoHce Field Force, about 100 strong, had some weeks
before been divided into two. One detachment was sent
on important duty to Zululand and the other to Mapumulo
— an isolated district carrying a particularly large Native
population, where, it will be remembered, the Magistrate
had been openly defied. Owing to this fact, no ordinary
poHce were available to deal mth the Trewirgie affair. To
have engaged for this duty special constables, many of
whom would probably have been unable either to ride or
to shoot, would have been almost as great folly as to have
sent them out on foot armed with batons. But legal
machinery to enrol even such auxiharies was wanting. If,
then, firearms were necessary, it was surely better to

1 The Magistrate, Umgeni division, was one of the first to attempt
collection. On 25th January, however, the Magistrate, Upper Umko-
manzi division (Mr. J. Y. Gibson), had made an imsuccessful attempt
at Mid-Illovo. The same officer tried again, before the outbreak, to
collect, this time at Richmond, but the Chief requested him to defer
collecting until some more powerful tribe had paid.

2 One of them belonged to a different and adjoining tribe.

' Natives, in speaking of themselves collectively, frequently use this


employ a disciplined force than put them into the hands
of men who did not know how to use them.

The necessity for immediate concentration of a force at
Trewirgie was obvious. To have delayed, say for 36
hours, would have been to court appalling disaster. Zulus
are known to be precipitate in action when once the war-
cry has been sounded from the hill-tops and the beacon-
fires Ht. Every battle of the Zulu War testified to their
energy, rapidity and true martial instincts. The fact that
the first blow had been struck in a cause common to a
milhon others, already impatient to emulate the heroic
deeds of their fellows, still further lessened any chances of
delay on their part. Here is the language of one of them,
uttered on the 13th February to friends within a couple of
miles of Richmond : " You are cowards, sitting still when
there's fighting on. I have a following of my own. Let us
combine and kill the whites round about here." ^ Had
the rebels got away with the reno^vn of having attacked
and defeated the police with loss, Avithout overwhelming
action being swiftly taken, the Rebelhon must have spread
in an alarming manner. That, at any rate, is the opinion
of all persons on the spot best entitled to express it, men
with life-long experience of those parts, including the
Natives themselves.

The alternative, that of caUing out the Militia in support
of the pohce, assuming these to have been available, would
certainly have been proper in the case of any ordinary
riot, disturbance of the peace, or other emergency, but
this was no ordinary outbreak, nor was it at all Hkely to
confine itself to the locality in which it had occurred.
Outbreaks of a more serious character, such as the one in
question, were intended by the legislature to be dealt with
by a Permanent MiHtia Force, provision for estabhshing
which was included in the law. Such force, it was enacted,
might be ordered out to any part of the Colony, " to act
therein, either in aid of, or as the police force . . . and

^ This man belonged not to Mveli's, but another, tribe. He was
subsequently tried and convicted by the Magistrate on the evidence of
three witnesses.


when so acting every member of the Permanent MiUtia
Force shall have the same authority as constables and
otherwise. ' ' ^ This force, owing to the want of the necessary
financial provision, had never been created. If, however,
regular pohce had been employed, there would have been
no one available to reheve them at their various posts.
In this connection, it must be stated that, as the dis-
affection was general, it was obviously impossible to
withdraw the pohce from the various out-stations.

Under all these circumstances, the Governor had no
difficulty in deciding (a) " that men were in armed resist-
ance to the authority of the Crown " ; (6) " that such
armed resistance could not be dealt with by the Mihtary,
acting merely in aid of the civil power in the ordinary
manner " ; (c) " that such armed resistance could not be
promptly and effectively suppressed otherwise than by
subjecting the inhabitants of the disturbed district to
direct mihtary control, and by inflicting summary punish-
ment upon offenders against the peace." ^

But, although of opinion that martial law was necessary,
care was at the same time taken by the Government to
provide for aU criminal and civil cases pending in the
various courts being proceeded with and determined in
the ordinary way ; where failure or inabihty to exercise
jurisdiction occurred, the proceedings were to be suspended
until withdrawal or amendment of the proclamation.^

The extension of martial law over the whole Colony
instead of only the district in which the revolt had
occurred, — to which, indeed, the Governor had at first
wished to hmit it, — arose solely out of the unrest and dis-
affection being so wide-spread. Alarming rumours were
constantly being received from all quarters, showing that

1 Act No. 36, 1903, sees. 69, 71. It will be observed the force was to
be distinct from the Active MiHtia or Reserves, but only by reason of
being a standing body.

2 " Rules on the subject of Martial Law." Colonial Regulations, vide
Colonial Office Circular, 26th May, 1867.

3 The latter contingency did not arise. The presence of troops, how-
ever, had the effect of interrupting public business during April and
May at Nkandhla, May, at Umsinga, and July, at Mapuniulo, magis-


the entire Native population was more or less disaffected
and that outbreaks of rebelHon were possible anywhere
and at any moment. As for the Ministers being panic-
stricken, there was not only no sign of this at any time,
but they, throughout the whole course of the RebelHon,
enjoyed the fullest confidence of the pubhc as well as of
the Governor. The latter, on more than one occasion,
called the attention of the Secretary of State for the
Colonies to the cool and collected way in which they were
grapphng with the situation.

The truth is that, with such a personnel at the head of
affairs, together with Sir Henry McCallum, the Colony was
extremely fortunate. There is no question that it was
owing largely to their able and firm administration that
an insurrection, which, at one time, threatened to become
universal, was suppressed as speedily and effectually as
it was.

As soon as the employment of the Mihtia had become
legally possible, orders to mobihze were issued to the
Right Wing of the Natal Carbineers and to one Battery of
the Natal Field Artillery ; the Commandant of Mihtia
was, at the same time, authorized to issue requisitions on
all persons " to furnish such animals, vehicles and other
necessary things as may be demanded from them for
mihtary use." When, however, reports of threatened
risings, with demands for mihtary assistance, were, about
the same time, constantly received from Magistrates and
others in various parts of the Colony, the Government
resolved to mobihze a stronger force than at first intended,
and this notwithstanding that later intelUgence went to
show that the rest of the tribe to which the Trewirgie rebels
belonged was loyal. The force, therefore, that mobihzed
and proceeded from different points on the 10th to con-
centrate at Thornville Junction, Elandskop and Rich-
mond, consisted of Right and Left Wings, Natal Car-
bineers (under Major A. C. Townsend and Lieut.-Col. D. W.
Mackay, respectively) 675 ; two sections, C Battery, Natal
Field Artillery (Capt. W. S. Bigby) ; one company. Natal
Royal Regiment (Lieut.-Col. A. W. Matterson) ; two


squadrons, Border Mounted Rifles (Lieut.-Col. W. Amott) ; ^
one squadron, Natal Police Field Force (Lieut.-Col. G.
Mansel, C.M.G.) ; and detachments, Natal Medical, Natal
Telegraph, and Natal Service, Corps.

Colonel, now Brigadier-General, Sir Duncan McKenzie,
C.B., K.C.M.G., J.P., V.D., of the Natal Carbineers, was
placed in command. ^ General authority to administer
martial law was, moreover, delegated to him by the

The rapidity with which mobilization and concentra-
tion were carried out could not have been surpassed. That
fact alone testifies to the excellence and splendid efficiency
of the Militia organization. In the case of the B.M.R.,
orders to mobiUze were received at 11 a.m. on the 10th.
By 8 p.m. on Sunday the 11th, although having had to
march over thirty miles in heavy rain, the regiment,
" mobihzing forward," had reached Elandskop, the des-
tination assigned.

The disposition of the forces on the 1 1th was :

Thornville Junction. Staff; Right Wing, Natal
Carbineers ; Natal Pohce. Elandskop. Left Wing, Natal
Carbineers ; Border Mounted Rifles (Troops D — H).
Richmond. One squadron (D), Natal Carbineers ; C
Battery, Natal Field Artillery ; Natal Royal Regiment.

The object of this disposition was to enable a converging

1 A, B and C troops were left to guard the Pondo border.

2 This officer's services were : — Mashonaland, 1897 (medal and clasp).
South African War, 1899-1902. Engaged in — Relief of Ladysmith,
including action at Colenso ; operations of 17th to 24th January, 1900,
and action at Spion Kop ; operations of 5th to 7th February, 1900,
and action at Vaal Krantz ; operations on Tugela Heights, and action
at Pieters Hill ; operations in Natal, March to June, 1900, including
action at Laing's Nek ; operations in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria,
July to October, 1900.

In command 2nd Imperial Light Horse, November, 1900, to May,
1902. Engaged in — Operations in the Transvaal and Orange River
Colony, 30th November, 1900, to 31st May, 1902 ; operations on the
Zululand Frontier of Natal, September and October, 1901.

Despatches, London Gazette, 8th February and 16th April, 1901, and
29th tfuJy, 1902. Queen's medal with five clasps. King's medal with
two clasps. Awarded C.B. ; C.M.G.

The Offixiial Army List, 1911. War Office. Wyman & Sons, Ltd.,
Fetter Lane, London E.C.

2 Vide, p. 149 note.


movement to take place, from the three points named, on
the farm Trewirgie. A simultaneous advance, with excep-
tion of the Artillery and Lifantry (which remained at
Richmond), was accordingly made on the 12th, the inter-
vening country being searched as much as possible en
route. On the afternoon of the same day, the troops
having completed the drive, combined on the farm
Trewirgie, in the immediate vicinity of the scene of
outbreak. The brigade then formed was nearly 1,000

Chief Mveli had, in the meantime, been instructed to
co-operate. McKenzie placed on his shoulders the responsi-
bility of finding the rebels, then evidently hiding in the
neighbouring forests. The result was that, on the 13th and
succeeding days, Mveli, with some 300 of his men, rendered
very valuable assistance. The Enon forest, some 1,200
acres in extent, was driven, whilst the kraal and crops
belonging to Mjongo were destroyed.

Owing especially to the prompt and energetic assistance
of a local farmer (Mr. Gibson), the hiding-places of two of
the rebels were ascertained, when both were captured.
They were tried on the 13th by a drumhead court-
martial and, on its being clearly proved they had partici-
pated in the murder of the poHce, were sentenced to be
shot. The sentence was carried out forthwith on a peak
overlooking Enon forest, and in the presence of Mveli and
his men.

The shooting of these men created a deep impression.
News of the incident, which was regarded as just and
proper by every loyal Native, spread at once far and wide.
RebelHously disposed Natives realized that the troops had
come into the field to adopt stern measures, and put a
check on their behaviour accordingly.

As, by this time, everything appeared to be quiet in the
district, the column moved on to Richmond on the 14th.

The troops would not have withdrawn from the neigh-
bourhood of Byrnetown had it not been clear that the
best method to adopt with the remaining rebels was to
continue to hold Mveli responsible for their capture. As


a matter of fact, Mveli and the majority of his tribe were
loyal. Apart from this, they had a motive of their own
and, therefore, needed no urging. This motive was, of
course, to avenge themselves in some way on the Ethio-
pians, with whom they had the deep-seated, ten-years'
difference dealt with at the beginning of the chapter. A
further reason for imposing the onus was that the rebels
were concealed in a part of the country with which the
whole of Mveli's tribe were intimately acquainted. That
McKenzie was right in the action he took will be seen
further on.

An Inspector of Native Locations (Thomas Fayle) was,
about this time, killed at his house, some three miles from
Henley, probably by lightning. The death was regarded
by some as a murder, connected in some way with the out-
break, seeing it occurred but a few days after the attack
on the pohce, and only a short distance from Trewirgie.

Other intelligence that was received went to show that
people hving in Richmond division, under a headman,
Mamba, but belonging to Chief Miskofeh, under the behef
that an attempt was to be made to arrest their Chief,
responded to some extent to a call to arms circulated on
the night of the 12th. On the following day, certain head-
men passed Thedden, the residence of Mr. W. Nicholson,
but, finding him absent, used some expressions regarding
him which were interpreted at the trial later on to signify
an intention to have killed him had he been at home.

Owing to the disrespect that had recently been shown
by Natives to the Magistrate of Richmond when explain-
ing the poll tax at Mid-Illovo, the Minister for Native
Affairs (The Hon. H. D. Winter) caused another meeting
to be convened at the same place to afford himself an
opportunity of addressing the Chiefs on the same subject.
It was fixed for the 13th. On the day previous, it trans-
pired that some of Tilonko's people had taken up arms
either to offer resistance or act in some more daring and
even aggressive manner. The probabihties are that they
felt their Chief was about to be arrested and intended
resisting, if any such attempt were made. Needless to


say, the idea had never entered the mind of the Govern-
ment. Notwithstanding this intelhgence, having made
the appointment, Mr. Winter proceeded to keep it, and
this in spite of warning as to the risks he was apparently
running. On arrival at Mid-Illovo, accompanied by Mr.
S. 0. Samuelson, Under Secretary for Native Affairs, he
found that three Chiefs and a large gathering of Natives
had already assembled. The European inhabitants of
that part were in a lager, which consisted of wire entangle-
ments erected round a church. The Chiefs, with six men
each, were directed to enter a larger wire-fence enclosure,
within which the church and lager stood, leaving the rest
of their followers seated along the road a short distance
off. After Mr. Winter had taken them to accoimt, one by
one, for unruly behaviour to the Magistrate, and one of
them for having resorted to certain practices of a treason-
able character, and had further fully explained the poll
tax, they asked for a day to be named on which the tax
could be paid by those Hable therefor. The matter was
thereupon referred to the Magistrate, who met with no
further difficulty. It was in respect of this and other
occurrences incidental to the tours made by Mr. Winter
to different parts of Natal and Zululand at this critical
time that the Governor referred to him as having " behaved
with conspicuous calmness and courage," an opinion
shared by others as well.

In view of the fact that, as daily arriving information
showed, disaffection was not confined to Trewirgie or Mid-
Illovo, it became necessary for McKenzie's force to demon-
strate in other directions, especially on the south of the
Umkomanzi and towards Ixopo. At the same time, the
Government was most anxious that the troops should be
kept well in hand, and not to put the people to more
inconvenience than was absolutely necessary. To this
end, on the 17th, the Commandant of Mihtia instructed
McKenzie in the following terms : "On Monday next, the
19th instant, you will march with all your mounted men
and one or two sections of artillery from Richmond to
Springvale, crossing Umkomanzi by the Josephine bridge,


thence to Highflats, and thence to Ixopo. From Ixopo
you will proceed to Mabedhlana, thence to Bulwer and
Elandskop. . . . You will send two men with a message
to Miskofeli and other Chiefs on your route before your
forces approach their neighbourhood, assuring them that
they need fear nothing from the column. . . . You will
take care that nothing is done by your force to provoke
an outbreak on the part of the Natives. If MiskofeH does
not come and pay his respects to you . . . you will take
this as a sign of fear, or as indicating that he is not as loyal
to the Government as he professes to be ; you wiU, how-
ever, take no action until you have gone on and given
some of the smaller Chiefs an opportunity of coming to
see you. . . ."

These instructions were carried out to the letter, except
that, instead of proceeding from Ixopo to Bulwer and
Elandskop, it became necessary for the column to demon-
strate in the direction of the south coast.

Leaving the Natal Royal Regiment to garrison Rich-
mond,^ with Lieut.-Col. J. Weighton as officer in command
of the post, McKenzie moved off at 9 a.m. on the 19th with
the rest of the force. He crossed the Umkomanzi river
and camped in the neighbourhood of the farm Waterfall.
The next day the march was continued through the
heart of MiskofeH's ward to Springvale. Owing to the
country being hilly, and the roads difficult, the guns and
waggons stuck fast several times.

At Springvale, Miskofeli, who was a man of about 25
years of age and head of a powerful tribe, came with a
small following to pay his respects. ^ This satisfactory
result was brought about through the efforts of a well-
known local resident, Mr. Garland, whose services the
Officer Commanding was fortunately able to secure.^

^ The N.R.R. were withdrawn from Richmond in the middle of March
and demobilized.

2 Miskofeli's mother is a daughter of the late Chief Langalibalele of
whom mention was made in Chapter I. This woman's influence during
1906 was directed to inducing her son's tribe to pay the poll tax.

5 It should, however, be pointed out that the Magistrate, Richmond,
had previously been directed to proceed to the Ixopo division to inquire


From Springvale, the column went to Highflats, where
intelhgence was received that Miskofeh and three other
Chiefs of that part had originally arranged, and to some
extent prepared, to break out in rebellion on the 18th,
but, on hearing that troops had arrived in Richmond and
were ready to advance, their plans were upset.

On the 22nd, the force pushed on to Stuartstown.^ At
this village it remained until the 13th March. The route
traversed between the 19th and 22nd had, on purpose,
been through, or close to, areas largely occupied by
Natives. 2

During such time as the troops were at Stuartstown, a
number of courts-martial were held (beginning on the 3rd

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 13 of 52)