James Stuart.

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

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Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 17 of 52)
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able part during the rising. It seems to have originated
from the Basutos.

The behef that the bodies of the " rightly disposed "
would be impervious to bullets, would appear to have
existed, not only before the attack on the police at

^ He was known also by the names Sukabekuluma {he who goes off
whilst they are still talking) ; Dakwaukwesuta [he who becomes drunk on
getting a full meal) ; and Gwazakanjani {how do you stab ?). One of his
praises was : uSigilamikuba, ku veV izindaba = The one whose pranks
give rise to matters for consideration.


Mpanza, but also before the one at the kraal of

If there was anything that went to confirm the belief in
" bullets not entering," it must have been the comparative
absence of casualties among the rebels : (a) at Mjongo's
kraal ; (h) when the Magistrate's party was attacked ;
and (c) when the pohce were ambuscaded at Mpanza. It
may, however, be mentioned that Malaza was wounded
at Mpanza, though not to such an extent as to oblige him
to retire.

Immediately after their attack, the rebels cut the tele-
graph line between Greytown and Keate's drift.




On the day following the ambuscade in the valley,
Mansel moved his camp from Botha's to Warwick's farm
(Burrup's), i.e. on to high, open ground, slightly nearer
Greytown, and awaited reinforcements. Bambata re-
mained in Mpanza valley. He dispatched messengers
forthwith to each of the Chiefs Silwana, Sibindi and
Gayede, calling on them to render assistance ; at the
same time, he informed them he had been to Dinuzulu,
who had promised to co-operate as soon as the ball had
been set rolling. He warned them that, in case of refusal,
they would incur " the Prince's " displeasure, and draw
on attack by the army the latter was about to bring into
the field. The two that went to Silwana were promptly
arrested by that Chief and conveyed to the Magistrate at
Weenen ; Sibindi did hkewise with the man sent to him.
Although Bambata was, through his mother, nearly
related to Silwana, it was the height of absurdity to think
that the latter, the most powerful Chief of Natal, whose
grandfather had, in years gone by, formed a not unworthy
opponent of Tshaka himself, would risk his position and
the well-being of his tribe, by responding, at a moment's
notice, to a summons from a Chief Hke Bambata, even
though accompanied by a threat from the representative
of the House that slew his father Gabangaye at Isandhl-
wana in 1879.^

* Gabangaye, with a large following, formed a portion of the Native
contingents that assisted the Imperial troops.


Finding he was not likely to obtain support locally,
although general sympathy in his cause was not wanting,
Bambata decided, most probably in accordance with a
preconcerted plan, to move across the Tugela to the
famous Nkandhla forests, commonly known by the
Natives as falUng within Chief Sigananda's ward. He
declared he had been directed to do this by Dinuzulu.

The rebel ringleader lost no time, owing to the fol-
lowing developments : No sooner was the news of
the Mpanza affair flashed to Pietermaritzburg, than the
Commandant re-mobiHzed theU.M.R., N.F.A. (B Battery,
four 15 pdrs.), a company of the D.L.I. , with signallers,
and Greytown Reserves (120) — brigading these arms
with the Natal PoHce Field Force. Colonel Leuchars
was placed in command and ordered to deal with the
situation. The artillery and D.L.I. referred to left Durban
at 7.30 a.m. on the 5th, and arrived at Greytown by 6.30
p.m. the same day. The other corps mobilized with similar

Leuchars moved out the following morning at 9 and,
after joining the N.P. and Nongqai at mid-day, remained
in camp the rest of the day. Bambata would naturally
have received early information of the arrival of these

After considering the position by the hght of the intelli-
gence available, Leuchars decided to surround Mpanza
valley at dawn on the 7th. His dispositions were as
follows : N.P. and Z.N.P. to occupy a long hill to the
south-east and overlooking Marshall's hotel, the remainder
of the force to proceed to high ground to the west of Bam-
bata's position in Mpanza valley.

At 8 p.m., Leuchars moved out with the latter portion
of the column. It was, however, not until 2.30 a.m., after
a nine-mile march, that the position overlooking the valley
on the west could be reached. Early the same morning,
Mansel proceeded with the pohce along the main road
towards Marshall's hotel, whilst Clarke, with a detachment,
advanced to a position on hills (on the south) overlooking
Mpanza valley, and midway between Leuchars and Mansel.


At 9 a.m. two guns opened fire on kraals in the valley
at a range of 3,000 yards, the other two did Likewise at
10.30 a.m. from a high position on the north side of the
valley. Clarke, in the meantime, opened with a Maxim
at other kraals about 1,200 to 1,500 yards o£f. Not a
Native, however, was to be seen.

The Reserves, under Chief Leader John Nel, who did
not join Leuchars till 9 a.m. that morning, ^ held ground on
a spur to the north-west of the valley, where a Native,
evidently a spy, was shot as he tried to escape over the
wooded hills towards Mooi River.

The loyal Chief Sibindi, who had been ordered on the
4th to guard the border as well as the Tugela drifts, co-
operated generally on the east with his levy of about
1,000 men. His orders were to advance as far as the
Biggarsberg main road, about a mile from Bambata's
hiding-place, as soon as the guns opened fire.

A report came in about noon that Bambata had vacated
his ward, proceeded south-east on to the high veld, and
then turned into Gayede's ward. There being no confirma-
tion of this, Leuchars continued the operations. He sub-
sequently withdrew to bivouack for the night at Warwick's
farm. 2

On the following day (Sunday), Sibindi was sent back
into the thorns, supported by a squadron U.M.R. (100),
under Major S. Carter, with instructions to complete the
bush driving. The Reserves occupied a ridge north-west
of Mpanza valley. Owing to Sibindi's men being too tired,
on reaching Marshall's hotel at 4 p.m., to go further that
day, Carter camped with him on an old mealie garden
immediately behind Marshall's. By 9 a.m. on the 9th,
all the troops being in position, Bambata's stronghold,
about three miles north-west of Marshall's, was surrounded.
It was found vacated, with evidences about it of quite
recent occupation by a considerable force. The rough and

^ These men had received orders to mobilize only the morning before.

- The Reserves, with part of the U.M.R. , one Maxim detachment,
and one field gun, passed the night at Wintershoek ; the Police, with one
troop U.M.R. and Maxim detachment, camped at Botha's quarries.


very thickly-wooded country in the neighbourhood of
Mpanza was thoroughly scoured in different directions on
the 9th, 10th and other days ; the kraals of rebels were
burnt and their stock seized. Many, who had, in various
ways, managed to hold aloof from the insurgents, were
met with. In consequence of being at their kraals within
the area of operations, notwithstanding warning to be
outside, several narrowly escaped being shot. The crops,
not having quite matured, had not been reaped. Those
belonging to, and abandoned by, the rebels, were given
to the loyahsts. The Reserves were demobiHzed on
the 10th, whilst the artillery and infantry withdrew to
Greytown on the same day, followed by the U.M.R. on
the nth.

The intelhgence that Bambata had fled to Zululand had
been fully confirmed by the 10th. The advisability of
pursuing the fugitives was thereupon considered by
Leuchars. Quick pursuit is undoubtedly in accordance
with Native tactics on such occasions, but Leuchars
beHeved it was part of the rebels' plans to decoy his force
to Nkandhla and thereby afford the remainder and larger
portion of Bambata's tribe, say, in combination with
Silwana's people, an opportunity of attacking Greytown
and the many outlying European homesteads. Proof of
the possibiHty of such attack lay in the fact of Bambata's
force having concealed itself a few weeks previously in
Layman's trees, on the day other members of the tribe
went to pay the poll tax in Greytown.

Leuchars, however, had other and broader grounds for
advising against troops being sent from Natal at this
critical moment. To have withdrawn a large portion of
the Active Mihtia would have been to place all civihzed
portions of the Colony in jeopardy, especially as no
Imperial troops were available. The Matabeles, it will be
remembered, rose in rebelhon in 1896 when the greater
portion of the Chartered Company's forces were absent
in connection with the Jameson Raid (December, 1895).^

^ See " The Causes, Superstitions and other Characteristics of the
Matabele Rebelhon, 1896." Appendix X.


The ways and means of dealing with the situation at
Nkandhla were fully considered by the Commandant and
the Government, when it was decided to employ irregular
troops in Zululand, and so obviate as much as possible the
necessity of withdrawing the local Mihtia. Hence the
Commandant's instructions to Leuchars were to remain
where he was.

Journeying due east, concealed by the dense bush and
rugged hills everywhere to be met with, Bambata, after
emerging from the valleys, passed through a farm gate,
and, travelUng a short distance along a road, branched off
to the left, making down through Chief Gayede's location
and along the lower part of the Dimane stream, a tribu-
tary of the Tugela. He had about 150 men with him,
including Magwababa (then a prisoner), Mgombana, Caki-
jana and Moses. It was when he had well-nigh reached
the Tugela river that the guns above referred to were
heard by the party booming in the distance. Magwababa,
on account of having a bad knee, had, by that time, fallen
into the rear. In addition to tying him, the rebels had,
with a stone, struck and bruised the inner side of his knee,
to prevent his running away. About noon on Saturday,
he succeeded in eluding his guards ; he made his way
direct to the Krantzkop magistracy, and was shortly after-
wards conveyed from there to Grey town by post-cart.
Although a Hst of the rebels with Bambata had already
been partially obtained, Magwababa helped to complete it,
besides giving other useful information.

Near the Tugela Rand, and about ten miles from
Krantzkop, the fugitives, about noon, came to a store in
charge of one John Jenner. Their behaviour was orderly.
After the main body had passed the store, which it did
forthwith, one who appeared to be an induna, purchased
a pair of long stockings, a white handkerchief, also two
bottles of lemonade. A few, who were in rear, stayed
about fifteen mmutes, when they moved on after the
others in the direction of the Tugela. It was noticed that
the men, who were not known by the storekeeper to be
from Mpanza, had eight or ten guns of various kinds,


whilst others carried shields and assegais. Two only were
mounted. A number had white ostrich feathers stuck in
their hair. They had pushed on quickly, because afraid
of being overtaken.

Proceeding down the Dimane by foot-paths, they crossed
the Tugela into Chief Mpumela's ward by the Mtambo
drift, probably less frequented by Europeans than any
between the junction of the Tugela with the Buffalo and
Middle Drift. It is about equidistant from the only two
drifts possible for wheeled transport in that section of the
river, being not less than fifteen miles from each, and in a
mountainous, rocky, unsurveyed and unknown region.
The party crossed whilst Leuchars' artillery was still
engaged firing at various targets in Mpanza valley. Thus
Leuchars did not get the report of Bambata's alleged
escape until after the latter had entered Zululand !

Bambata went at once to Ntshelela's kraal,^ where he
demanded a beast, threatening to drive the whole herd
home and help himself unless the owner complied. The
latter selected a young animal ; but Bambata, dis-
satisfied with what he considered the man's niggardly
disposition, immediately chose one of the largest ; this he
then shot on the spot. The flesh was partaken of by the
fugitives who, late the same afternoon (7th), passed on to
the kraal of Mangati, another son of Godide. Mangati
gave them a goat.

After passing the night at Mangati' s, the party pushed
on, early on Sunday morning, via certain kraals, to that of
Simoyi in the mouth of Mome gorge, on the edge of the
Nkandhla forests, and within a mile of the ancient and
redoubtable stronghold.^ The journey from Mpanza to
the Mome, forty to fifty miles, for the most part over
extremely rugged country, had been performed within
about thirty-six hours, including rests. And so the torch

1 Ntshelela is one of the many younger sons of Godide, son of Ndhlela,
one of Dinganas two principal indunas. Ndhlela was one of the two
indunas in power when Piet Retief and his party were massacred at
Mgungundhlovu in 1838.

2 By this time, Cakijana had temporarily detached himself from the


that had been Ht in Natal, with surprisingly small loss to
the insurgents, was swiftly carried with audacity and
success into a district whose people had no cause what-
ever of grievance against the Government pecuHar to

Sigananda's people had, indeed, as recently as the
preceding January, expostulated with the Magistrate in a
violent and disrespectful manner because required to
pay the poll tax. They were brought to trial, but
discharged with a caution.^ Difficulty had also been
experienced in procuring (as had previously been done
from time to time) a few labourers for the Pubhc Works
department. The Magistrate had been obhged to inflict
a small fine on the Chief's principal son, Ndabaningi, for
neglecting to obey a summons. As regards Sigananda
himself, it was found that, on account of his great age, he
was no longer capable of satisfactorily managing the tribe.
The Commissioner for Native Affairs (Mr., now Sir,
Charles Saunders, K.C.M.G.), accordingly visited Empan-
dhleni on the 2nd April and discussed the position with
Ndabaningi, who represented the Chief, and the indunas,
when the meeting concurred with the Commissioner in
thinking that Ndabaningi should be authorized to act
on behalf of his father. " I told the indunas," says Mr.
Saunders, " that there was no objection on my part to
recommending Ndabaningi's appointment, but before
submitting such a recommendation for the consideration
of Government, it was necessary that the question be

1 The Magistrate specially appointed to try the ease, took a surpris-
ingly lenient view of the matter. What had occurred was this : The
Chiefs of the district were directed to bring their people to pay the poll
tax. All, to begin with, were nervous and averse to paying until
Sitshitshili came forward in the presence of the others and made his
tribe pay, remarking, as he did so, that, having always obeyed the
Government, he was not going to be afraid of doing so on that occasion.
Other Chiefs then followed the example. Sigananda's people, of whom
about 200 were pi-esent, declared they had no money and could not pay.
When told that, as such was the case, they might go home, they
*' rushed up to the court-house fence brandishing their sticks, shouted
out their tribal war-cry Yayize ! " and began to dance in a defiant
manner [giya) within the precincts of the court-house, action which at
once terrified all the Native police, as bloodshed appeared to them to be
imminent. No physical violence, however, occurred.


considered by Sigananda and the heads of the tribe who, if
they were of the same opinion, should make a formal repre-
sentation in this respect to me at Eshowe on my return
from the Usutu kraal, whence I was then proceeding." ^
When F. E. van Rooyen, Chief Leader of the Krantz-
kop Reserves, heard on the 6th that Leuchars proposed
operating at Mpanza on the following day, he arranged
with about twenty of his men, not then mobiHzed and but
few of them armed, to go and watch the operations. They
left an hour before dawn. Just after sunrise, they
ascertained that a body of Natives had been seen the
same morning making towards the Dimane stream. On
further investigation, it transpired that the party con-
sisted of Bambata's people. The Magistrate, on being
advised, wired the information to headquarters. Van
Rooyen volunteered, if reinforced, to follow up and con-
tain the rebels. The offer was accepted, and support
promised. He was accordingly instructed to mobilize.
At 9.30 a.m. on the 8th, the fifty-four men that had come
in, left and, crossing the Tugela at Watton's drift, were
not long in finding unmistakable traces of the fugitives.
It seemed at first as if they had made for the Qudeni
forests. 2 Van Rooyen went on to Ntingwe store, actually
crossing, without knowing it, the route that had been taken
the day before by Bambata. He at once communicated
his intelHgence to the Magistrate, Empandhleni, and,
leaving Ntingwe at 2 a.m. on the 9th, reached Empan-
dhleni with his men at 6 a.m. Shortly after his arrival, word
came that Bambata was encamped at the Mome gorge.
By this time, about thirty of the Z.M.R. had mobilized
and were at Empandhleni. Van Rooyen proposed that the
rebels should be at once attacked. To this course, the
commanding officer (Major W. A. Vanderplank), who
arrived in the evening, would not agree, on the ground that
the local Chiefs had not been ordered to arm. Van Rooyen

1 Cd. 3027, p. 31.

^ These forests are very extensive and difficult of access when ap-
proached from Natal. They are mainly on the eastern slopes of Qudeni
mountain, and about twenty miles from those of Nkandhla. Bambata,
however, does not appear at any time to have had them in view.


made other efforts in the direction of aggressive action by
European troops, but, meeting with no success, left with
his men on the morning of the 10th to protect the Euro-
pean famihes at Krantzkop against a possible rising in
that part of the country.

After serving under Leuchars from the 5th to 7th,
Mansel decided to detach himself and to follow Bambata.
His strength then was 175 N.P. and 77 Nongqai. He
advised Leuchars of what he was doing, but asked
approval of action which, as a matter of fact, had already
been taken before the commanding officer had sanctioned
it. But, although getting away from Leuchars as quickly
as Van Rooyen did from Krantzkop, Mansel did not
reach Empandhleni until at least three and a half days
after the former, although the distances travelled were
about the same. One of the reasons for this delay was
that he had waggons with him. These, on getting near
Fort Yolland, branched off and made for Empandhleni
via Eshowe and Melmoth, leaving Mansel, with the main
portion of the force, to go on direct to Empandhleni. As,
at this time, there was no reason whatever for anticipating
attack along the route selected for the waggons, it is diffi-
cult to understand why the entire column should have
been kept back as escort to the waggons, instead of push-
ing forward to contain the enemy.

By midnight on the 7th, instructions had been sent
from Eshowe to the Magistrates concerned to warn all
Chiefs of Nkandhla, Eshowe and Nqutu districts to arrest
the fugitives should they enter any of their wards.

Immediately the Nkandhla Magistrate (Mr. B. Colen-
brander) heard, as he did on Sunday, the 8th, that the
rebels had entered his district — at first he supposed they
were making for Qudeni forests — he sent word by Native
runners to the Chiefs hkely to be concerned, notably
Mpumela, Ndube and Mbuzo, directing them to arm and
arrest the law-breakers, then correctly said to be at or
near a mountain called Kotongweni. Each compHed the
same day, but, before they had learnt what Bambata's
real destination was, the latter had left Kotongweni,


passed from kraal to kraal in the manner described,
entered the ward of another Chief, Sigananda, and taken
refuge in his notorious stronghold. The Magistrate was
instructed by the Commissioner the same afternoon " to
arm all the Natives in his district to assist in capturing
Bambata," and to direct the tribes nearest the magistracy
to protect that place during the night. The latter order
was comphed with.

It may be of interest to indicate what was spontaneously
done by Natives through whose kraals or lands the
strange body of men passed on their way to the Mome.

Ntshelela at once reported the fact to the Magistrate.
Mangati, and two other kraal-owners, although all men of
rank, took no such action, but, associating themselves
with others, merely sent a report to the Chief (Sigananda).
They, moreover, at once adopted a friendly attitude
towards the rebels, notwithstanding that the latter bore
indications of their recent conflict with the police — they
carried a number of guns, two or three of which had
manifestly belonged to Europeans, and even wore the
helmet of a European trooper. They had also the mous-
tache of the unfortunate man whose body had not at once
been recovered, cut off and carried to induce others to
take up arms against the white man.

Whilst Bambata was halting at a kraal near Mome, a
few Natives came up, among them one named Muntumuni.
On glancing about, Muntumuni espied Bambata. He
immediately exclaimed in a loud tone : " Who is it dares
to allow a reprobate to set foot here ? Bambata is very
weU known to me. When serving as a pohceman at Grey-
town, I found him constantly being arrested for thieving
European cattle ! " This was said in the rebel's hearing.
Bambata turned and looked at the speaker, but said
nothing. Those of Zululand who were present silenced
the ex-constable and, after an interval, sent him and
another to advise Sigananda, then at his Enhlweni kraal,^

^ Enhlweni, from inhlwa, a poor or indigent person, may be rendered
the pauper'' s retreat, no doubt in allusion to the ' destitute ' condition
Cetshwayo found himself in on his return from exile, — ' destitute,' that
is, as compared with his former affluence and popularity.


near the Mome waterfall, of Bambata's arrival, and of the
circumstances under which he had come. Muntumuni
went and, after delivering the message, said to the Chief
that it would be criminal if he failed to notify Bambata's
arrival to the Magistrate. Sigananda asked how it was
that, after being sent to report the arrival, Bambata being
a protege of Dinuzulu, the messenger should advise con-
flicting action to be taken ? "Go and report to the
Magistrate yourself," said the Chief. The messenger went.
At the magistracy he was presented with a coat and
assegais. He returned with instructions that Sigananda
was to arrest and bring Bambata to the court-house.
Sigananda now blamed himself for having sent the report.
He said to Muntumuni, " I personally know nothing what-
ever of Bambata, I have never set eyes on him. It was
you who suggested reporting. It is all your affair. It,
therefore, devolves on you to produce and hand the man
over to the European authorities, for you declared you
had seen him." The messenger found himself in a di-
lemma. The majority of the tribe condemned him. They
kept on asking what business it was of his to make the
communication. Although declaring the Chief had sent
him, the latter repudiated having done so. On being
asked, later on, by the Magistrate to indicate where Bam-
bata was, Muntumuni said Sigananda did not know. " But
you came here to say he had been seen, didn't you ? "
" Yes." " Did you not see him ? " " Yes, I did."
" When Sigananda sent you, was not Bambata with
Sigananda ? " " No." " Where was he then ? " "I saw
him when he arrived, he was then on his way to the Mome.
It was at that stage I was sent to report to my Chief."
When the messenger returned to his kraal, he was ostra-
cized. Unable to submit to the treatment, he presently
threw in his lot with the very man he had declared was a
criminal and an outlaw. ^

1 This man Muntumuni was later on shot in the Mome valley whilst
climbing one of the steepest parts of the gorge. He was fired at many-
times, being in an exposed position. On being hit, he rolled to the foot

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 17 of 52)