James Stuart.

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

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their tyrant.

With his successor and brother Dingana, the position
became greatly altered. So far from cherishing a friendly
disposition towards the immigrants, he regarded them as
sources of pecuHar inconvenience, if not as an insidious
and growing menace to his very throne and person. He
resented their harbouring refugees from his country at
Port Natal, notwithstanding that Tshaka had always
refrained from troubling himself with such escapades, on
the ground that, in quitting Zululand for the abelungu at
Isibubulungu (as the Zulus called Port Natal), they had
but gone to his friends, and were, therefore, within reach
whenever required. So uneasy and hostile did Dingana
eventually become that, in 1834, he dispatched a strong
raiding-party to massacre every soul, white as well as
black, settled in the neighbourhood of the Port, and
this vindictive order would have been carried out to the
letter, had they not fled precipitately either towards
the Cape Colony, or concealed themselves in the numerous
bushes round about. As it was, a party, headed by Fjnin,
consisting of a considerable number of his Native adherents,
was overtaken by the raiders south of Umzimkulu, and
exterminated almost to a man, Fynn himself escaping.
Nor was this the only occasion on which this King betrayed
his hatred of the British settlers. ^

1 Much of the earlier history of the Colony will be found in the follow-
ing works : N. Isaacs, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa, 2 vols.
London, 1836 ; Capt. Allen F. Gardiner, A Journey to the Zoolu Country,
London, 1836 ; H. F. Fynn, Papers, printed in part on pp. 60-124,
vol. i. Bird's Annals of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1888.

Up to the day of his death, Fynn, the friend of Isaacs and the source
from which the latter drew much of the information in the work above
quoted, was the final authority on all matters appertaining to the
Natives of South-East Africa. He, fortunately, left a number of
valuable manuscripts. These are being prepared for the press by the
author. They include a large quantity of matter connected with early
Zulu history, customs and habits hitherto unpublished.


With the arrival overland from the Cape Colony of
the Boer voortrekkers, however, a great change came over
the scene. Momentous events followed one another in
quick succession. Here was a well-armed, mounted and
efficient force, extremely small in numbers as compared
with the Zulus, and very desirous of occupying the land
they found vacant in the northern portions of Natal.
Although in no way intending to be aggressors, the entirely
amicable and co-operative spirit in which they entered
upon negotiations with Dingana being evidence of this
fact, they were undoubtedly regarded ab initio in that
light by the Zulus. The Boers, however, had arrived in
these practically unexplored regions prepared for all con-
tingencies, war included ; Dingana saw this, and war they
were compelled to enter upon forthwith. The treacherous
and brutal massacre of Piet Retief, along with some sixty
followers and forty Hottentot and Native servants, at the
principal royal kraal, Mgungundhlovu, on the 6th February,
1838, followed almost immediately by the cold-blooded
murders of 281 Boer men, women and children, together
with 250 of their coloured servants, at Bushman's and
Blauwkrantz Rivers in Natal, were the initial acts of that
wholly unprovoked war. The vaHant manner in which
460 voortrekkers subsequently went forth to oppose an
army outnumbering them by at least 40 to 1 ; the readi-
ness with which they moved about the roadless country
with cumbersome transport, notwithstanding the traps
occasionally laid by a crafty foe ; their crushing victory
over some 9,500 Zulus at Blood River on 16th December,
1838 ; and their further expedition of January-February,
1840, when, as the result of a battle between Dingana
and their ally Mpande, the former's power was finally
shattered, will always stand to their credit, and be a lesson
as to how operations can be conducted with success against
a race of barbarians.

Subsequently to the death of Dingana, probably from
poisoning, in Januarj^, 1840, his brother, Mpande, who,
towards the end of 1839, had crossed over into Natal with
a vast concourse of adherents to seek the protection of the


Boers, was later on formally installed by the latter as
Paramount Chief of the Zulus.

Between 1840 and 1843, the relations between the
Enghsh settlers on the coast and the Boers, who had taken
up their residence further inland,^ unhappily became so
strained that open hostilities broke out between them in
the winter of 1843, the former having been strengthened
by a regiment sent overland to Durban in 1842. This
regrettable conflict resulted in the formal annexation of
Natal by the British Government, the majority of the
Boers falhng back to establish themselves in territory
across the Vaal, then already partly occupied by their own
countrymen, and now known as the Transvaal.

After being invested by the Boers, as already stated,
Mpande maintained and even elaborated the Zulu miUtary
system. This system continued to exist, not only to the
end of his reign in 1872, but throughout that of his son
Cetshwayo, that is, until the Zulu War of 1879.

During this long period, notwithstanding that numerous
imni'^Tants arrived in Natal, nothing in the shape of
regular military organization took place among the white
settlers, beyond the formation, from time to time, of
volunteer corps ^ (this, however, does not apply to the
Boers who, between 1837 and 1843, were well organized).
Lagers ^ were erected in various parts of the Colony, as
well as a few magazines for arms and ammunition. Where
magazines existed, rifle associations soon began to be

1 Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Natal, was laid off by them.

2 Among these were the Natal Frontier Guards, Weenen Yeomanry,
Victoria Mounted Rifles, Alexandra Mounted Rifles, Natal Hussars,
Royal Durban Rifles, Natal Carbineers, Natal Mounted Rifles, Border
Mounted Rifles, Natal Field Artillery, Durban Light Infantry, Natal
Royal Rifles, also the Natal Moiinted Police and Natal Native Police.
(The coips in italics have either ceased to exist or been merged in those
printed in ordinary type.) The last-named corps, organized in 1848,
and about 150 strong, was disbanded by the Government in 1854,
without any reasons being given as to why such action had become
necessary. To this day. Natives wonder what the reasons could have
been. Mr. (later, Sir) Theophilus Shepstone, was its captain-in-chief.

^ Often wrongly spelt *' laagers." See Glossary.


If it was never possible to determine how long it might
be before trouble arose, the Government was aware
that a general rising could originate only in Zululand.
From the time the first colonists arrived in Natal, up to
the end of the Zulu War, August, 1879, the principal
arbiter of savage warfare in South Africa was the Zulu
sovereign. It was to him that the whole of the tribes of
Zululand — the real storm-centre of South Africa — looked,
including those of Natal, who were without any hereditary
King. The latter were, indeed, only too glad to place
themselves under the protection of the British Govern-
ment, and even actively assist against their former King
in the campaign of 1879. The majority of the Natives
of Natal then, and the same is still the case, consisted
of people who, at various times, had fled from Zululand,
fearing lest they should be put to death on some bogus
charge of practising witchcraft, of infringing the very
stringent and remarkable marriage regulations, or of
neglecting to conform to a hundred and one instructions
or directions. Ever since the days of Dingana, the King
became exceedingly incensed on hearing of any of his
subjects breaking away to place himself under the noto-
riously milder European rule south of the Tugela. Any
neglect to conform to his pleasure, where, in former days,
similar desires would have been carried out with alacrity
and without the least demur, appeared to be no less than
outrageous defiance, and, as such, punishable with the
utmost rigour. The tendency of fleeing to Natal from
the despotic laws, which became even more arbitrary
as the possibility of infringing any of them with impmiity
appeared greater, grew to such formidable proportions,
that special regulations were introduced in Natal to cope
with the situation. Refugees, for instance, were required
to indenture themselves as labourers to European house-
holders, farmers, etc., for a period of three years. But,
by the time Cetshwayo, long the de facto ruler of Zululand,
actually began to reign (October, 1872), the prestige of
the Imperial Government had become so firmly estabHshed
in Natal, and to such numbers had the farmers and other


Europeans grown, backed up by an Imperial garrison at
Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg, that the King perceived
that any attack was not only destined to fail, but must
result in the prompt dispatch of irresistible forces to
bring an end to his rule. The fact, however, remained
that the relations between Cetshwayo and the repre-
sentatives of Imperial authority in Natal became more
and more strained, and the outbreak of war between the
two races sooner or later inevitable.

No one appreciated better the position than did the
Natives in Natal. Because, in most cases, their having
come to the Colony was tantamount to flagrant defiance
of the royal will, so, no one knew better than they, that,
in having placed themselves under alien protection, they
had thereby burnt their boats behind them and incurred
the unappeasable wrath of the Zulu dynasty. It is for
this reason that Natal Natives were, formerly, at all times
only too eager to co-operate with their protectors in the
direct or indirect destruction of the Zulu power.

In these circumstances, as actual warfare between the
colonists and the Zulus was never imminent, notwith-
standing sharp differences in civihzation, manners and
customs, till shortly before 1879, it was unnecessary to
promote systematic enrolment and organization of the
local forces.

There was, however, an important factor in the situation
to which reference should be made. Natal became a
British Colony in 1843, and remained such, though at first,
for a few years, annexed to the Cape Colony, until the
grant of responsible government in 1893 ; thus, during
the long critical period preceding and succeeding the Zulu
War, it devolved on the Imperial Government to provide
continually for the protection of its recently-acquired
possession. A regiment was stationed at Fort Napier.
With the existence of this organized and well-armed force,
capable of quelling any local disorder of limited propor-
tions, there was still less necessity for organizing the
Colony's fighting material. For all ordinary purposes,
the Volunteers and the Natal Mounted Police, commanded


for many years by Major (now Major-General Sir John)
Dartnell — the first to organize the Vokmteers into a
mihtary body — were sufficient, with the Imperial troops
behind them, to preserve order. After responsible
government was granted, however, it became imperative
for Natal to consider how to defend herself by means of
her own resources against an internal or external foe.

Although there was no regular Native war in Natal
proper between 1824 and 1906, there were periodical
disturbances, Hmited, however, to particular districts.
Among these may be named : the Fodo Revolt (Unko-
manzi River), 1846 ; the Sidoyi Expedition (Ixopo
division), April, 1857 ; the Matshana Expedition (Um-
singa division), March, 1858 ; and the Langalibalele
RebeUion (Estcourt division), November, 1873.

The most important occurrences outside, though near,
the borders of Natal were : the conquest of Zululand by
the Boers, assisted to some extent by British colonists,
1838-9 ; a raid by a Boer commando from Natal on
Ncapayi, (Pondoland), 1841 ; battle between Cetshwayo
and Mbuyazi, sons of Mpande and rival claimants to the
Zulu throne, near the mouth of the Tugela (Ndondaku-
suka), December, 1856; the Bushman Expedition, 1866;
the Sikukuni RebelHon, 1878-9 ; the Zulu War, 1879 ;
and the Zululand disturbances, 1883-8.

Other battles or campaigns, in which, however, the
Natives were only indirectly concerned, were : Battle of
Congella, 1843 ; the Boer War, 1881 ; and the Boer War,

Of the foregoing campaigns, etc., it is proposed to refer
specially to two only, the Langalibalele Rebellion and the
Zulu War.

The Langalibalele Rebellion, the only internal warfare
of any importance prior to that of 1906, and for that
reason worthy of notice here, occurred in 1873. It was
directly connected with the Kimberley diamond fields,
which began to be developed in the year 1870. Con-
tractors recruited labourers in Natal for the mines. Many


of these Natives received guns in lieu of wages and returned
with them to Natal. The Government, objecting to
unregistered arms being held, proceeded to call them in
for registration, or confiscation, where any owner was
regarded as unfit to possess a firearm. Langalibalele,
Chief of the Hlubi tribe, living near Estcourt, refused,
in the name of those of his tribe concerned, to comply
with the order, although aware of instructions issued by
the Government prohibiting the introduction and holding
of guns, except under the usual conditions. It was
beheved most of the unlawfully-held weapons were in
possession of this particular tribe. A force, accompanied
by the Lieutenant-Governor and consisting of 200 regular
troops, 300 colonial volunteers, and some 6,000 Natives,
marched on 30th October to enforce obedience. Langali-
balele, with a large following, fled at once into Basuto-
land. Many of his cattle, etc., as well as those of a Chief,
Putili, who was associated with him, were seized. In
attempting to hold a difficult pass in the Drakensberg
Mountains,^ by which it was correctly supposed the
fugitives would travel. Major A. W. Durnford ^ and his
men ^ who had been directed " not to fire the first shot,"
were attacked by about 200 rebels on the 4th November
— three Natal Carbineers and two Natives being killed.
It was found necessary to proclaim martial law on the
11th of the same month over the disaffected area, but
only, as it happened, for a period of fourteen days. During
the operations, some 200 rebels were killed. Langali-
balele himself was foUowed up in December by a force
under Capt. A. B. Allison, one of the Magistrates of the
Colony. Finding himself opposed by Natal forces, Cape

1 Known as Bushman's Pass.

2 It was this officer who, on 22nd January, 1879, was Colonel in
command when the Imperial and Colonial troops suffered their reverse
at Isandhlwana.

3 Consisting of one officer, one sergeant and thirty-three rank and file
of the Natal Carbineers (with forty rounds of ammunition per man),
and twenty-five mounted Basutos ; of the latter, seventeen had various
kinds of guns (with about three charges apiece) ; the other eight were
armed only with assegais. — A Soldier's Life and Work in South Africa,
edited by Lt. Col. E. Durnford, London, 1882, p. 32.


Colony troops (which had been specially sent to co-
operate), as well as by the Basutos, LangaUbalele, after
offering some resistance, surrendered. Of the 7,000
cattle captured from him in Basutoland (besides 200-300
horses), 2,000 were awarded to the Basutos, Allison con-
veying the remainder, with the Chief and a number of
other prisoners, back over the mountains to Natal. The
Chief, with some of his sons and followers, were after-
wards tried at Pietermaritzburg. He was deposed and
banished to Robben Island, Cape Town, and his tribe
broken up. After some years, however, he was permitted
to return to Natal, where he subsequently died a natural

With regard to the Zulu War, the fundamental causes
were disputes with Transvaal Boers over land matters,
notably territory lying between the Buffalo River — then
part of the eastern border of Natal — to as far down as
where the Blood River enters it, and the Pongolo River.
Another cause was, violation of Natal territory in July,
1878, by three sons and a brother of Sirayo, a Zulu. One
of these sons was Mehlokazulu, of whom more will be
heard when the Rebellion itself is being dealt with.

The land matters were investigated by a Commission.
Whilst the award to be made was under consideration,
various incidents occurred, thereby complicating still
further an already strained position. An ultimatum was
sent, by direction of the High Commissioner (Sir Bartle
Frere), to the Zulu King, Cetshwayo. This, inter alia,
required that certain promises, alleged to have been made
by Cetshwayo at his coronation in respect of governing
his people should be observed » e.g. that his army should be
disbanded ; that the military system should be discon-
tinued, except on certain specified Hues ; that, on arriving
at man's estate, Zulus should be free to marry, without
waiting to receive special royal sanction ; that a British
resident, whose duty it would be to see that these and other
stipulations were observed, should henceforth reside in

The King failed to meet the demands, whereupon his


country was invaded by three columns. During the
campaign, wliich lasted just under eight months, several
severe engagements were fought. Among these were
Inyezane, Isandhlwana, Rorke's Drift, Hlobane, Kambula,
Gingindhlovu and Ulundi.^

The last battle, Ulundi, when the Zulu power was
broken up, was fought on the 4th July, but it was not
until 28th August that the King was captured.

On the conclusion of the War, the country was divided
into thirteen districts, over which as many Chiefs, with
very extensive powers, were appointed by Sir Garnet
(later Viscount) Wolseley. The arrangement soon proved
calamitous and imsatisfactory, notwithstanding that a
British resident was stationed in the country to supervise
internal and external affairs.

After his arrest, Cetshwayo was imprisoned for a time
at Cape Town. In 1882, he was allowed to visit England,
where he had an audience of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.
He was subsequently repatriated, but, owing to the refusal
of two or three of the thirteen appointed Chiefs to recog-
nize him as head of the district assigned him, his position
became untenable. He attacked one of these Chiefs,
Zibebu, who, retahating, forced the ex-King to take refuge
in reserved territory south of the Mhlatuze River, first

1 The strength of columns at 11th January was : European troops —
85 Staff and departments, 263 Royal Artillery (20 guns — 7 and 9 pdrs.,
2 rocket tubes, 8 rocket troughs), 5,128 infantry and 1,193 cavalry =
6,669 (of these, 292 were from Natal mounted volimteer corps and 80
Natal Mounted Police). Native troops — 315 mounted, 9,035 infantry =
9,350 ; making a grand total, including 1,910 conductors, drivers and
voorloopers, of 17,929 officers and men.

After the Isandhlwana disaster, another 10,000 men from England,
Ceylon and other parts were sent as reinforcements, disembarking at
Natal at the beginning of April.

The losses in action were : Killed — (Europeans) 76 Officers (including
the Prince Imperial of France), 1,007 N.C.O. and men ; (Natives) 604.
Wounded— (Europeans) 37 Officers, 206 N.C.O. and men; (Natives)
57. The returns are incomplete as regards Native casualties. Between
11th January and 15th October, 1879, 17 Officers and 330 men died of
diseases consequent on the operations. The total cost of the war was
£5,230,323, — Narrative of the Field Operations connected with the Zulu
War of 1879. War Office publication. London, 1881.

A Natal official retiuTi (1880) shows that, in addition to a reserve of
360 Europeans and 2,500 Natives, the Natal forces called out were :
Natal Moimted PoHce, 130 ; Volunteers, 582 ; Levy leaders, etc, 86 ;
Natives, 20,037. Total, 20,835.


at Nkandhla, then at Eshowe. Cetshwayo died at the
latter place on the 8th February, 1884. His body was
conveyed by his people to the vicinity of the Nkandhla
forests and there interred. Of this grave and forests a
good deal will be heard later.

The disturbances that had broken out between Zibebu
and the royal family continued down to the middle of
1888, by which time Dinuzulu, eldest son of Cetshwayo
and bearer of his father's tattered mantle, had reached his

As the part played by Dinuzulu both before and during
the Rebellion was of the greatest importance, it would be
as well to include here, by way of introduction to what
has to follow, a somewhat fuller notice of his antecedents.
He was born about the year 1868. As Zulus are nothing
if not expressive in the selection of names, so, in devis-
ing one for his eldest son, Cetshwayo gave e^adence of
the well-known national characteristic. Dinuzulu means
" one who is a source of worry to the Zulus.'"

Under Sir Garnet Wolseley's settlement, Ndabuko,
Dinuzulu's uncle, and, next to Cetshwayo, the man of
greatest rank and influence in Zululand, was placed under
one of the thirteen " kinglets," Zibebu, a blood relation
of the King. During Cetshwayo's imprisonment, Ndabuko
became Dinuzulu's guardian. As the result of endeavours
by this prince to secure the return of Cetshwayo, friction
arose between him and Zibebu. It was not long before
civil war broke out between the royalist party and that
of Zibebu. Ndabuko's cause became the cause of Dinu-
zulu. The British Government had, in the meantime,
definitely refused to take over the government of the

In 1883, when, at Ulundi, Cetshwayo was surprised and

^ Dinuzulu's mother, a daughter of a commoner, Msweli, was a
concubine and never became Cetshwayo's chief wife. There was a
posthiunous son by the chief wife, called Manzolwandhle, now a Chief
in Nqutu district, Zululand, who would, under ordinary circumstances,
have succeeded his father, but, with the country in an unsettled
condition at the ex-King's death, it was decided that Dinuzulu, because
the only son then living, should be recognized as head of the Zulu


defeated by Zibebu, Dinuzulu was saved by a faithful
adherent SitshitshiK, who will be referred to later.

On the death of Cetshwayo, the heads of the nation
nominated Dinuzulu as successor. ^ The claim of his
younger brother, Manzolwandhle,^ to the heirship has,
however, always been regarded by the majority of Zulus
as superior to his own.

Dinuzulu soon found it necessary to seek the assistance
of the Boers against Zibebu and Hamu (another of the
" kinglets " and an uncle of Dinuzulu). The latter
(Dinuzulu) called in the support of Boers of the Trans-
vaal, who, on the 2 1st May, 1884, went through the farce
of " crowning " the prince " King of the Zulus," thereby
recalHng the occasion on which, forty years before, they
had installed his grandfather as Paramount Chief. On
the 5th June following, Dinuzulu's adherents, aided by
600 Boers, attacked and completely routed Zibebu and
his followers at Tshanini.^ The Boers, for their moral
assistance — hardly more than moral — induced the young
" King " to sign a document ceding them a large tract of
north-eastern Zululand, extending down to the sea at
St. Lucia Bay. This they cut up into farms and created
the " New Republic," afterwards the Vryheid district
of the Transvaal. In Sir A. Havelock's settlement with
the Boers, this Republic was recognized by Britain, its
limitations were defined, and a large portion of country
alleged to have been ceded was recovered for the Zulus,
including all the coast land round St. Lucia Bay.

In May, 1887, the Imperial Government assumed full
control of the affairs of Zululand, the Governor's pro-
clamation of formal annexation being read at Eshowe in
the presence of some 15,000 Zulus.

Other disturbances arose between Dinuzulu and Zibebu
in 1887-8, but as the country had been formally annexed

^ The Imperial Government did not at any time recognize Dinuzulu
as a king.

2 The name means " water of the ocean,'" in memory of the voyage that
was made by his father to England.

^ Where Mkuze River passes through the Ubombo Range.


by the Imperial Government, and as it appeared Dinuzulu
and his two micles, Ndabuko and Tshingana, had delib-
erately contravened the law, of whose provisions they
were fully aware, they were arrested on a charge of public

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 2 of 52)