James Stuart.

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

. (page 16 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 16 of 52)
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should die in our own hands, rather than be shot by
Europeans out of our sight." Others tried to persuade the
Chief, but, influenced by Nhlonhlo, Bambata remarked :
" I won't go. Some of you want me to be killed by
myself. When they kill me, it will not be until some of you
have been laid out." References to the action of the
British Government in regard to Cetshwayo and Langali-
balele were unavailing, for Bambata repfied : " When
each of these was captured, it was not until after some of
their people had been killed, therefore I too mean to
resist." " If you are tired of him " (i.e. Bambata), said
Nhlonhlo to the peace-makers, " give him over to us."
After the wiser men had queried whether Nhlonhlo had a
fortress where Bambata could be hidden with any good
prospect of success, the people dispersed. Bambata was
then conducted to the forest-clad hill above the principal
induna Mgombana's kraal, and there concealed.

On the 3rd March, a final message was dispatched to the
eJGfect that, if Bambata continued any longer to disobey
the Supreme Chief's order, he would have to take the
consequences, whatever they might be. The bearers, how-
ever, failed to see him, as the people refused to disclose his
whereabouts. The message was delivered to the Chief's
brother Funizwe.

Major W. J. Clarke, with a force of 170 Natal Police and


a troop, U.M.R. (Helpmakaar), made a surprise visit to
Mpanza on the 9th, with the object of arresting Bambata,
but failed, as the man hid himself in the dense bush about
those parts as soon as he saw the force advancing. Clarke,
thereupon, returned to Pietermaritzburg.^ In the mean-
time, Bambata, feehng that Natal could not afford him
protection, crossed into Zululand on Sunday, the 11th
March, boasting to his followers as he left, that when they
next set eyes on him he would be at the head of an army.
Nothing more was heard of him officially from the 11th
until the morning of the 3rd April.

During his absence, Magwababa and Funizwe (Bam-
bata's full brother), together with the more important
men of the tribe, including the fire-brand, Nhlonhlo, were
summoned to Pietermaritzburg, the object being to
appoint a successor to Bambata, who had been deposed
as from the 23rd February. It was decided Funizwe
should succeed, but that, for a year, Magwababa was to
act as Chief.

But where was Bambata at this time ? Subsequent
inquiries show that, when he left for Zululand, travelHng on
foot, he was accompanied by his chief wife, three children,
and a mat-bearer, also a young man, Ngqengqengqe by
name. Among other places, he slept at a relative's in
Nkandhla district ; he then proceeded on to Dinuzulu's
Usutu kraal by easy stages, leaving his wife and children
at a place some seven miles away from there. He reached
Usutu on Sunday, the 25th March.

Only long after the Insurrection was any account pro-
curable of these doings, particularly from the woman and
children in question. According to their evidence, this
young man, Ngqengqengqe, had been sent from Usutu kraal
by Dinuzulu's minor induna to summon Bambata, as Dinu-
zulu desired to see him. Bambata had several interviews

^ A week before, Clarke had been sent with a strong force to make the
arrest. On his reaching Greytown, arrangements were made for a night
raid on Bambata's kraal, but, owing to Chief Sibindi inforining the
Secretary for Native Affairs that Bambata would probably cause trouble
if raided, Clarke was directed to refrain from executing the warrant,
although he had gone to the trouble of ascertaining that the Chief was
at his kraal and could have been secured with comparative ease.


with Dinuzulu, being treated by the latter in a markedly
hospitable manner. Accommodation in a special estab-
lishment a few yards from the kraal and Dinuzulu 's own
apartments, was provided. His wife and children were
brought the next day to Usutu and there concealed.
Dinuzulu, says Bambata's wife, through his principal
induna, Mankulumana, gave Bambata instructions to go
back to Natal, commit an act of rebellion and then flee to
Nkandhla forests, where Dinuzulu's men would join him.
Bambata was, at the same time, given a Mauser rifle and
some ammunition. After spending four days at Usutu,
he started on his return journey, leaving his wife and
children at Dinuzulu's kraal. And there they continued
to be concealed for fourteen months. ^ Two young men
were sent back with Bambata to Natal, one being
Cakijana (son of Gezindaka), who soon began to play an
important part. Bambata, accompanied by these two,
called at a kraal of Chief Matshana (son of Mondise) on
Friday, the 30th March, but was refused admission. He
left the same afternoon for Ngubevu drift (on the Tugela),
having first assured himself that it was not being watched
by poHce.

About 7 a.m. on Tuesday, 3rd April, it was reported to
the Magistrate that Bambata was back in Mpanza valley
(as a matter of fact he had got back on the 31st March),
and that he and an impi he had raised had captured the
acting Chief Magwababa on the preceding evening ; that
they had surprised Magwababa in his hut, treated him
with violence, and, tying him with a reim,^ had marched
him off towards that portion of the tribe that lies furthest
from Grey town, and in the vicinity of Marshall's hotel.
The foregoing tale had been brought to a farmer (Mr.
Botha) at 3 a.m. by Magwababa's own wife who, from
what she saw, supposed her husband must by then be

1 The sending of Ngqengqengqe to summon Bambata and the inciting
of Bambata to rebel were emphatically denied by Dinuzulu. Dinuzulu's
connection with the Rebellion will be dealt with later.

One of Bambata's children died at Usutu during their stay there.

^ Thong of cow or ox-hide.


Afterwards it was discovered that the assailants had,
on seizing Magwababa, jeered at him in these terms :
" Where are your white friends now ? We acknowledge,
not a Natal king, but a black one."

In addition to arresting Magwababa, attempting to
secure Funizwe (who escaped through having slept in the
field because afraid of his brother), Bambata, assisted by
his principal induna, Mgombana, and other men, went
about commandeering the young men, threatening im-
mediate death on failure to comply. The commandeering
was carried on throughout the whole of Monday night
(2nd). That such " club law " had to be adopted, shows
that Bambata felt it difficult to get members of the tribe
to join, although some were only too eager to do so. His
tribe, for the most part, was against rebelhng, and could
be forced into doing so only by the adoption of violent
methods. But for the presence of Cakijana, the reputed
emissary from Dinuzulu, and who in the name of Dinuzulu
urged all to rise,^ Bambata must have failed to dragoon
as many as he did.

The result of the report was that the Magistrate deemed
it necessary to proceed to Mpanza to investigate. He was
accompanied by a clerk, a civiHan, Inspector J. E. Rose
and two troopers of the Natal Police, and a Native guide.
They went along the main road as far as Mpanza
(Marshall's) hotel when, unaware that their movements
were being watched, they proceeded up Mpanza valley in
the direction of Varty's house in search of Magwababa's
captors. Whilst looking for a drift to cross the Mpanza,
which passes the hotel about three-quarters of a mile
lower down, they were suddenly surprised by a body of
men, under the command of Bambata himself, fully armed
with assegais and some guns. Bambata's party imme-
diately opened fire at short range at the Inspector, who,
with a couple of men, was leading. A few shots were
returned, when one of the enemy was wounded. The impi
had behaved in a dehberate and cold-blooded manner,

1 It was generally known Cakijana was one of Dinuzulu's personal


well-knowing the party was composed of Government
officials. One would have thought the smallness of the
party was enough to have guaranteed its safety. It would
probably have made a considerable difference had it been
even smaller and unarmed. Evidently the temper of the
people had greatly changed. When the men were sent
with Clarke to arrest Bambata, he fled to Zululand. Now,
when another, though smaller party, appears on the
scene, he, without warning, opens fire upon them. Clearly
something had occurred during the visit to Zululand to
embolden him to break out into open rebellion. The
Magistrate's party, on going into Mpanza valley, did so
in no aggressive spirit, not even to attempt arrest, but
solely to find out what had become of the acting Chief, as
it was their duty to do. They could not, under the circum-
stances, do otherwise than make their way back to the
hotel (on the main road) as best they could, through the
thick thorn bush that lay between. The three ladies in
the hotel, Mesdames Hunter, Marshall and Borham (and
son), warned of their danger, proceeded to effect an
escape as speedily as they could. This was done with the
assistance of the poHce.

As a matter of fact, though unknown to the party at the
time, the rebels did not pursue, otherwise one or more
must have been overtaken. They made their way as
rapidly as possible to the PoHce Station, Keate's drift (on
the Mooi River), reaching the post the same afternoon.

Some time after the party had gone off, a number of the
insurgents proceeded to the hotel and, breaking into the
canteen and cellar, helped themselves freely to the large
supply of liquor they found there.

After representing the state of affairs to the Comman-
dant, Colonel Leuchars, whose Mapumulo command had,
of course, by this time demobilized, proceeded on his own
responsibihty, in the absence of the Magistrate, to arrange
for the defence of Grey town. The necessary organization
was effected the same evening with the assistance of the
Town Commandant (Major Menne). All available men of
the U.M.R. were mobilized ; patrols were sent out in


different directions, and the local First Reserves put on
to guard the approaches to the town. The action taken
was at once confirmed by the Commandant.

Such Natal Police as were available, including the four
officers, 100 non-commissioned officers and men who had
the day previous been to Richmond to carry out the
executions referred to, were immediately ordered to Grey-
town, not, however, receiving instructions until late in
the afternoon. On arrival at Grey town by train at about
8 a.m., the force was joined by a detachment, raising the
strength to six officers, 166 non-commissioned officers and
men, under the command of Lieut.-Col. G. Mansel, C.M.G.,
Chief Commissioner. The force marched from Greytown
about 10.30 a.m. and camped on Botha's farm (adjoining
Burrup's), six or seven miles from and above Mpanza
valley. The idea was there to await developments.
Leuchars was, the same day, appointed to command all
troops in the district ; this, of course, brought Mansel's
force under his orders.

Intelligence was received by Mansel the same afternoon
by wire from Keate's drift, to the effect that the European
men and women, who had taken refuge there, were unable
to proceed through Mpanza valley to Greytown, owing to
insufficiency of escort. On account of the hostile attitude
assumed by Bambata, whose fastnesses were not more than
seven or eight miles from Keate's drift, the position of the
ladies was considered to be unsafe. Mansel accordingly
decided, without, however, submitting the matter for
instructions, to bring in the fugitives. Shortly before
3 p.m. a column, consisting of five officers and 146 non-
commissioned officers and men, left for the purpose. A
few men, together with some Nongqai (Zulu! and Native
Pohce), were left in charge of the camp.

The force, with Mansel in command, not having seen
anything of the enemy, although it had passed through
Mpanza valley, arrived at the drift at 4.30 p.m. It left
again at 6.15, escorting the ladies and child. The latter
travelled in an open carriage drawn by two horses. The
police detachment at Keate's drift continued to hold the


post under Sub-Inspector Ottley. Mpanza hotel was
reached just after sunset. A short halt was made, when
the column continued its march along the road. There
was an advanced guard of twenty-six men. The carriage
occupied a position in the centre of the main body. Every
precaution was taken. Connecting files were posted
between the guard and main body (about 150 yards apart),
but, in Mpanza valley and for some miles further on, the
nature of the country was such that flankers could not be
thrown out, not even five yards on either side of the road.
The density of the bush about that part is remarkable.
The trees, though not more than twenty feet high, are
so closely intermingled, some of thorn, others of cactus
variet}^, as to make it difficult for a man to make his way
through, even on foot. Add to this, a three-strand wire
fence running five yards from the road on either side —
the road itself not being more than thirty feet wide — and
the predicament the column would be in, in the event of
attack at night, can better be imagined than described.
The worst is what actually did happen. After the force
had marched barely a mile from the hotel, and just as the
advanced guard, under Major 0. Dimmick, 100 to 150
yards ahead of the main body, was passing through the
worst section of the forest along the route, and one of the
nastiest spots to be found either in Natal or Zululand —
the time being about 8 p.m. — a sudden and determined
rush was made by the savages at the right rear of the
guard. As they rushed, they simultaneously shouted, at
the top of their voices, their newly-adopted war-cry
" Usutu ! " 1 Almost instantly the rest of the right
flank of the guard was attacked. Every horse took fright,
and, although each man was marching with his rifle
drawn, it was impossible to use it. The attack had come
from the higher side of the road, where the whole of the
enemy, about 150 in number, were in hiding, the spot

^ It is the custom for Zulus to shout their war-cry on charging.
" Usutu " was the one belonging to Dinuzulu's followers, he having
inherited it from his father Cetshwayo. Dinuzulu's principal kraal, it
will be remembered, bore the same name. Bambata's men had not used
this cry before the occasion in question.


being beside a huge solitary rock at the foot of a steep,
bush-covered hill, known by the Natives as Hlenyane.
The enemy's object was evidently to cut the advanced
guard off the main body.

Owing to the narrowness of the road, the way it was
hemmed in by the bush on either side, and the darkness —
there being but half-moon, with clouds about — the guard
succeeded, only with great difficulty and after considerable
delay, in making their way back to the main body. As it
was, the leading section was completely cut off, and, with
three horses wounded, made its way on to the camp as
best it could.

The tactics of the enemy were evidently to deal first with
the horse, then with the man, after bringing the latter on to
a level with himself. Sergt. E. T. N. Brown, Lce.-Sergt.
J. C. G. Harrison, and Tprs. A. H. Aston and J. P. Greenwood
were killed outright, whilst four were wounded (one of
them dangerously). Three horses were killed, and nine
wounded. All these had been stabbed, except two — shot
through the neck. When the attack started, the main
body moved up, dismounted, and volleyed into the bush
on either side. Except for those who came on to the road,
it was quite impossible to see the enemy, although at the
outset they could not have been more than five to ten
yards off the road. They were in possession of several fire-
arms, but, owing to the heavy fire of the police, were
obliged to retire in different directions. It was afterwards
ascertained they withdrew by dragging themselves along
their stomachs through the undergrowth, done to avoid
being hit.

During the action there were several acts of bravery.
Among those who behaved with conspicuous gallantry
were Dimmick and Trooper 0. Folker. Trumpeter C.
Milton, who was severely wounded, must have been killed
but for their carrying him out of danger, with much diffi-
culty and at great risk to themselves.

The following account by Dimmick will be read with
interest :

" When the rebels started their attack, they volleyed


■) ■oi"'

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 16 of 52)