James Stuart.

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

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counteract a rumour that was circulating to the effect
that the Imperial Government, disapproving of what had
taken place, would not assist the colonial forces. Mansel
advised the taking of similar action. The Ministry, how-
ever, deemed it expedient to deal with the situation as
far as possible from Natal resources alone and, if it proved
beyond the Colony's capabilities, to appeal for assistance


to other portions of South Africa. " Fears having been
expressed," says the Governor, " that if the Active
Militia as a whole left for Zululand, the Natal tribes, who
were still in a state of unrest, might possibly rise, and
that the Reserve Mihtia were insufficiently organized to
deal with them, it was determined to raise immediately
a Special Service Contingent of mounted men under the
command of Lieut.-Col. J. R. Royston, C.M.G., D.S.O.^
. . . Detachments of Infantry were sent to garrison
Gingindhlovu and Eshowe, in order to keep open Unes of
communication via Fort Yolland." ^ At the same time,
a reward of £500 was offered for the capture, dead or
ahve, of Bambata, and £20 in respect of each of his
followers. This reward, intended to stimulate Natives
whose loyalty was not assured, was, however, withdrawn
before the end of April, on account of the considerable
number of Europeans then being put in the field.

In raising the Special Service Contingent, known as
" Royston's Horse," Royston was debarred from recruit-
ing members of the Active Militia force. After advertizing
in the local press, numerous appHcations were received
from all parts of Natal and the rest of South Africa, with
the result that the corps reached its full complement (550)
within ten days, hundreds of apphcations having had to
be refused. The great majority of the men came from
Johannesburg, Durban and parts of the Cape Colony.
Much difficulty was experienced in selecting officers, as

1 This officer (Brev. Lieut.-Col. B.M.R.) had served as follows :
South African War, 1878-9 — Zulu Campaign. Medal with clasp.
South African War, 1899-1902 — Operations in Natal, 1899, including
actions at Rietfontein and Lombard's Kop. Defence of Ladysmith,
including sortie of 7th December, 1899, and action of 6th January,
1900 ; 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. West Australian Mounted Infantry — Operations in the
Transvaal and Orange River Colony, 30th November, 1900, to 31st May,
1902 ; operations on the Zululand Frontier of Natal in September and
October, 1901.

Despatches, London Gazette, 17th and 25th April, 1902, and 4th
December, 1903. Queen's medal with four clasps. C.M.G. ; D.S.O.
The Official Army List, Wyman & Sons, London, 1911.

2 Cd. 3027, 1906, p. 12.


also in obtaining clothing, boots, saddles, etc., as the
Militia Department had very little in stock, except arms
and ammunition. The corps being a mounted one, it
became necessary for Royston to use the powers given him
under martial law to commandeer horses where the
owners refused to sell.

Dinuzulu's attitude, ever since the outbreak at Byrne-
town, and, indeed, for months before, had, as has already
been related, been regarded by many with suspicion.
Such, however, was not the view of Mr., now Sir Charles,
Saunders, who emphasized in one despatch after another
his implicit belief in the Chief's loyalty and complete
detachment from the rebellious proceedings at Nkandhla.
The opinion of such an officer naturally carried great
weight throughout Natal and Zululand, as it was commonly
known he was not only an exceptionally competent Zulu
linguist, with a life-long acquaintance with the Natives,
their habits and customs, but had held important official
positions in Zululand ever since the beginning of 1888,
and these, especially during the preceding ten years, had
brought him into frequent personal contact with Dinuzulu.
Many were swayed by this testimony, fortified as it was by
the fact that Mr. Saunders had just been on a visit of a
day and two nights to Usutu kraal, having left there on
7th April, after communicating to Dinuzulu and his
indunas the news of the disaster at Mpanza.

The Government, on the 17th, decided on the course
reflected in the following telegram to the Commissioner :
"Absolutely necessary that Dinuzulu should take some
action to show his loyalty, of which you say you are
assured. All information goes to show that Natives believe
he is concerned in movement, and he must be made to
show his hand." Dinuzulu was communicated with
accordingly. The same afternoon, the Government asked
if the Commissioner thought it advisable to order Dinuzulu
and Mciteki ^ to come to Pietermaritzburg to assist in
advising as to affairs in Zululand, and whether some
other powerful Chief might be told to come as well. The

^ Son of the late loyal Chief Zibebu.


Commissioner replied it would be fatal at that juncture to
order Dinuzulu or the others to Pietermaritzburg. " Situa-
tion is most delicate and critical at present and requires
the presence of any loyal Chiefs we can depend on amongst
their own people."

Almost simultaneously with the announcement of Siga-
nanda having joined Bambata, the following message was
sent to Mr. Saunders by Dinuzulu on the 18th, in reply to
that from the Government of the preceding day : "I am
not surprised that the Natal Government should have
doubt as to my loyalty in face of repeated and constant
accusations to the contrary effect which have been levelled
against me throughout South Africa. I can only say I am
perfectly loyal and am most anxious to give proof of this
in any way the Government may wish. I have assured
you of my loyalty by words and actions repeatedly, but
apparently this is doubted, and I now ask that Govern-
ment suggest means by which my loyalty can be proved
absolutely, and finally dispel the slurs which have been
cast upon me, and which I keenly resent. I am perfectly
ready to turn out the whole of my people, and send them
to Nkandhla at once to operate in any manner you may
think fit, either in entering the forest and capturing this
dog Bambata, who has been allowed to enter Zululand
and disturb the peace which we enjoyed long after Natal
Natives had openly shown disloyalty. As you know, I am
physically incapable of leading my people in person, being
unable to move with freedom from my bed, but the impi
would go down in charge of my chief induna, Mankulu-
mana, and I myself am prepared to be conveyed to Non-
goma and remain there alone with the Magistrate, whilst
my people are operating in any way they may be required
as a proof of my good faith in this matter. If Government
say they wish me to go to Nkandhla, I will find means to
reach there, notwithstanding the state of my health. If
this assurance is not sufficient, I am sure that Government
will indicate what is necessary for further proof of loyalty
to our King."

When this message was received it was communicated


to the press and, being naturally given great prominence,
had a reassuring effect far and wide ; so much so, that the
end of the Rebellion appeared to many to be in sight.
Little did anyone suppose at the time that this communica-
tion, to all appearance brimming over with the deepest
loyalty and affection, had issued from one who was
actually committing high treason at the moment he sent it.

The Government, most fortunately dissuaded by Mr.
Saunders, decided not to accept the offer of a levy. Such,
by the way, could not have exceeded 500 or 600 men. To
have accepted, however, as was pointed out at the time,
would not only have attracted to it thousands of Zulus
from every part of the country, as well as from beyond its
borders, but the very movements of such concourse as
would have assembled would have caused a recrudescence
of the alarming rumours and unrest of which the Colony
had already had a surfeit, the net result of which would
have been to greatly augment Bambata's forces, if Dinu-
zulu and ' his army ' did not themselves join en bloc.
The Commissioner was opposed to Dinuzulu being so
called on, not because he doubted the Chief's loyalty, but,
as he wired on the 19th, because " the country is in such a
nervous state that if his people once commence to arm,
people would flock to join him from all parts. This would
not only cause a general panic, but would be made the
greatest capital of by Bambata as absolute proof that
Dinuzulu was arming to join him." At this time, more-
over, Dinuzulu was in a somewhat poor state of health,
" being enormously stout and suffering apparently from
some dropsical and cutaneous disorder, which completely
incapacitated him for any physical exertion."

That the Government was not satisfied with Dinuzulu's
passive and neutral attitude is seen from the fact that, on
the 16th prox., the Commissioner was asked if he was still
of opinion it was inadvisable to employ that Chief's men.
In reply, Mr. Saunders adhered to the view already

Instead of requiring Dinuzulu to go to the magistracy
as suggested by himself, it was arranged Mankulumana


should proceed to Sigananda to ascertain what was his
attitude towards the Government, as well as to inquire
pointedly by whose authority the rebels were being massed
at Nkandhla. He was, moreover, to deny that Dinuzulu
was in any way an instigator of what had occurred at
Mpanza. Mankulumana, as has been seen, reached
Empandhleni on the 23rd, and, after ascertaining from
Mr. Saunders what message he was to dehver, moved on
to see Sigananda at Nkandhla forests. He returned on
the 26th to report he had been received by the rebels in a
hostile spirit, being precluded by their leaders from
meeting the Chief, and that he had made it as generally
known as possible that Dinuzulu was not associated with

The Magistrate of Eshowe proceeded on the 20th to the
neighbourhood of Fort Yolland, where he met three
important Chiefs of that part with their followers. These
begged the Government to send a force to protect them
against raids that were being made by Bambata and
Sigananda's impis. The Chiefs were told a force was
coming and directed, in the meantime, to arm and defend

On the night of the 23rd, intelligence was received
that Bambata was in the vicinity of Ntingwe ; Mansel
thereupon made a night march with the Pohce and Z.M.R.
over the worst imaginable country, so steep as to be
dangerous for man and beast. The sortie, however,
proved unsuccessful.

The convoy of waggons, escorted by the Natal
Carbineers, under Mackay, consisting of the Left Wing,
three squadrons of the Right Wing, and a section of
B Battery, N.F.A. — 400 all told, arrived at Empandhleni
at mid-day on the 25th, having left Dundee on the 20th.
They had travelled via Vant's Drift, Nqutu, Nondweni
and Babanango.i

1 The convoy found the Buffalo River full and experienced trouble
in fording the waggons. Every precaution was taken when travelling
in Zululand. A lager was formed each night with the waggons, and a
light barbed-wire fence erected 50 yards therefrom. The force stood to
arms at 4 a.m. every day.


By this time, the Government had resolved to adopt
measures for driving the Nkandhia district from various
directions, hence Mackay, on temporarily occupying Em-
pandhleni, received instructions to desist from doing any
more than seize stock and burn kraals belonging to rebels
within the immediate vicinity of the magistracy ; he was
warned not to attempt to draw the enemy prior to the
general converging movement shortly to take place.
Attention was accordingly confined by him to the district
lying within a radius of six or seven miles of the magis-
tracy. This ground was completely cleared of rebels,
stock, etc.

Mansel, on being reheved by Mackay, was to have left
with the PoHce and Zululand Native Police for Fort
Yolland on the 26th, but owing to dense mists, was unable
to do so until 10 a.m. on the 28th ; he reached his destina-
tion by a somewhat circuitous route at 11 a.m. on the
following morning. He had passed along the northern and
north eastern edges of the forest, where numbers of rebels
were seen ; these, however, refrained from coming to
close quarters.

Vanderplank, too, left for Ntingwe — an important
strategical position, six miles north of Macala — at 1 1 a.m.
on the 28th, reaching camping ground near there on the
following day.

On the 28th, Mackay moved out in the direction of
Nomangci, with a couple of squadrons. He came in touch
with about twenty-eight of the enemy, when a few shots
were exchanged.

On the morning of the 1st May, a small patrol, including
Native scouts, from Ntingwe, was fired on near Mfongozi.
The fire was returned, when the enemy decamped, leaving
four horses and two foals, which were captured. During
the night, E. Titlestad's store at Ntingwe was looted by
the rebels.

Four squadrons of Mackay's force demonstrated again,
on the 2nd May, in the direction of Nomangci, when about
a dozen kraals were burnt, including one of Sigananda's,
known as oPindweni. About 100 cattle, also goats, sheep


and a few horses, were seized. The burning of the kraals
was necessary, as it was ascertained the rebels slept and
obtained food at them of a night. Shortly after noon the
same day, a squadron under Capt. Park Gray went to
reconnoitre on Ndindindi ridge, overlooldng Insuze valley.
No sooner did he reach the summit than he, and the few
men with him at the moment, were suddenly charged by a
company of rebels, up till then concealed behind rocks.
Knobsticks and assegais were flung amidst wild war-cries.
The Carbineers met the charge and killed two or three
before being obliged to fall back on the rest of the squadron.
As they fell back, the two 15-pounders N.F.A. opened fire
at about 1,500 yards and succeeded in dropping a shell in
the enemy's midst. Sigananda afterwards had the inso-
lence to say his men were out looking for Bambata in
obedience to the Commissioner's orders, and to contend
that the Government was the first to begin hostilities in
so far as he and his tribe were concerned. As a matter
of fact. Gray had seen nothing whatever of the Natives
before going on to the ridge, nor, when he got there, did
they afford him an opportunity of explaining how they
came to be under arms four or five miles from where it was
commonly known Bambata then was.^

On the 3rd, four squadrons made a reconnaissance in
the direction of a deep gorge near the Insuze. Some fifty
cattle were being driven into it as the troops approached,
but it was decided not to attempt seizure. Kraals in the
neighbourhood, reputed to belong to rebels, were des-
troyed and some sixty cattle, with goats and sheep,

On the same day, strips of white calico, two and a half
inches wide, and similar pieces of Turkey red, were issued
to Native loyalists, who had come in to assist as directed,
to enable them to be immediately distinguished in the field
from rebels. These bandages were bound round the left
arm above the elbow, each colour showing plainly. The

1 The rebels occupied a position from which every movement by
Mackay's force, ever since it left the magistracy, could be plainly seen.
They, moreover, had two other outlooks which were visible from the


device was later on copied by every force employing
Native levies. Subsequently this useful badge was worn
also round the head, it being feared that, especially when
driving a bush or forest, it could not be readily enough
seen when bound round the arm.

The Northern District Mounted Rifles (Major J.
Abraham) joined the Z.M.R. near Ntingwe during the

Further reconnaissances in force were made by Mackay
on the 4th and 5th May, with the object of ascertaining
the enemy's strength, without, however, engaging him.
On the latter date, as the column was returning to
Empandhleni from Nomangci, a few rebels fired on the
rear-guard from a distance of about 900 yards. As it was
getting late, they were not engaged, particularly as it was
impossible to see them as they were behind stones. On
one exposing himself full-length, however, and challenging
the troops to " come on," he was fired at, when he promptly
decamped. It was ascertained during the reconnaissance
that a stone wall, about three feet high, had been erected
that day across the main road to the forest, with the object,
as afterwards transpired, of impeding any advance to, or
retreat from, Mansel at Fort Yolland.

Intelligence was received on the 3rd of the death of Mr.
Herbert Munro Stainbank, Magistrate of Mahlabatini dis-
trict, ^ who had been foully murdered the same evening in
Chief Ngobozana's ward, on the right bank of the White
Umfolozi river, and beside the pubhc road. He had left
the magistracy on the 2nd with his wife and child (in
arms), a lady companion and two European poHce, in a
mule trolley to collect taxes from Ngobozana's tribe. His
party also included nine Native men and two Native
servant girls. " The camp was pitched on the south bank
of the White Umfolozi, about 200 yards from the drift
to the east of the main road leading to Melmoth." ^
Mr. Stainbank had selected the site so as to be near the

1 This is the district whose Chiefs had, but a few days before, offered
their services against Bambata and Sigananda.

2 Cd. 3027, p. 67.


telephone, and so in touch with the Commissioner at
Empandhleni. " On the 3rd instant, Ngobozana's tribe
assembled and paid hut and dog tax, but it does not appear
to have been a successful collection from a financial point
of view, as only £184 18s. was collected in hut tax, whereas
the tribe are responsible for about £270. The collection
ended at about 2 p.m. and the Natives dispersed. Ngobo-
zana is said to have presented Mr. Stainbank with two
sheep for slaughter, but he declined to accept them, saying
that Ngobozana could afford more than that. . . . Ngobo-
zana took back the sheep and said he would bring a beast
next day. . . . About 7 p.m. that evening, Mr. Stainbank
spoke on the telephone, then returned to his evening meal,
and, at about 7.50 p.m., he went to the telephone, accom-
panied by Tprs. Sells and Martin. . . . He had a lantern
and, after connecting his telephone instrument, he got
into a squatting position, Tpr. Sells seating himself about
two yards away leaning against the telephone pole, and
Tpr. Martin squatting close by Mr. Stainbank's left side ;
about 7.55 p.m. Mr. Stainbank rang the telephone bell,
and was waiting for a reply, with the receiver to his ear,
when suddenly a shot was fired, and Mr. Stainbank
exclaimed, ' My God, I am shot ! ' and fell over on his
left side, then a second shot was fired, striking Tpr. Sells,
and shortly after a third shot was fired, also striking
Sells." 1 Sells and Martin, as well as the rest of the party,
escaped, but Stainbank died on the journey back from
hsemorrhage and shock. The camp was left standing,
including the safe, also two guns and ammunition. On
returning the following day, the money and camp were
found intact.

Chief Nqodi, living in the viciuity, was directed to turn
his men out and protect the magistracy.

Mr. J. Y. Gibson, one of the senior Magistrates of the
Colony, with a considerable experience of Zululand
affairs, was now appointed at Mahlabatini. He assumed
duty on the 13th. Much trouble was taken by him to
discover the murderers.

1 Cd. 3027, p. 67.


After being informed by the Commissioner of what had
happened, Dinuzulu expressed the greatest indignation
and grief. He begged to be allowed to assist in bringing
the criminals to justice, and asked permission to send
Mankulumana at once to Mahlabatini with twenty or
thirty picked men to do all he could. The offer was
accepted. Several arrests were subsequently made, and
the prisoners, after lengthy examination, were brought to
trial, but acquitted. The occurrence was for long en-
veloped in mystery. We shall return to the subject when
deahng with similar murders that occurred chiefly after
the conclusion of the Rebellion.

Barely a week after the foregoing murder, a Native
Mnqandi, of the tribe of Matshana ka Mondise, when on a
visit to Usutu kraal, was found with his throat cut, though
still ahve, near the boundary of Dinuzulu's ward. He is
generally beheved to have been assaulted in this murderous
manner whilst within the said ward.



The news that Sigananda had, with practically the whole
of his tribe, together with sections of two other adjoining
tribes, espoused Bambata's cause, commonly said at the
time to have Dinuzulu's full support, had hardly been
made public before offers of substantial assistance were
received from the Cape Colony and the Transvaal. The
Prime Minister of the former telegraphed on the 17th
April : " Extremely sorry to hear of your further Native
trouble ; can we be of assistance, you may depend on our
ready help in anything that it is possible for us to under-
take." The reply was : " Many thanks for your telegram.
Should assistance be necessary, we shall not hesitate to
ask your help."

On the 23rd April, the following message was received
from the Lieutenant-Governor of the Transvaal (Sir
Richard Solomon, G.C.M.G., K.C.B.) i : " Please inform
your Ministers that, with the High Commissioner's warmest
approval, Transvaal Government offers to send to assist-
ance of Government of Natal, whenever required, 500
Transvaal Volunteers fully armed and equipped, and
offers to maintain them while in the field." To this the
following reply was sent : " Ministers beg to express their
very grateful thanks for the most generous offer made by
the Transvaal Government, which they gladly accept.
They beg me to assure your Government that they highly
appreciate the spirit which has prompted this offer." On

1 Now High Commissioner for South Africa in London.


the 25th it was added : " The regiment we have offered
will be a mounted one, and will be kept up to its full

The Prime Minister, Cape Colony, wired again : "I
have thought that possibly a battery of six Maxim guns,
fully equipped and manned by Cape Mounted Riflemen,
might be of service to you in the present campaign.
Government, Cape Colony, willing therefore to place these
at your disposal, fully manned, equipped and with pack
saddles and mules, of course free of all cost to j^our Govern-
ment. Should you be short of signallers, we can also
supply them fully equipped. I merely make these special
suggestions as a part of my original offer of general
assistance." To this it was rephed : " We are deeply
grateful for the repetition of your generous offer of assist-
ance, but are advised that at present we have sufficient
forces in the field to deal with the Rebellion in Zululand.
We shall certainly avail ourselves of your offer should the
insurrection spread to other parts of the Colony."

On the 8th June, the Government, referring to the fore-
going, asked the Cape Government for a battery of six
Maxim guns. Within a week, the guns, fully manned and
equipped, under the command of Captain M. Humphery,
C.M.R., together with twenty signallers, under Lieutenant
R. Stopford, C.M.R., were in Natal and proceeded at once
to take the field.

The offer of the Transvaal having been accepted, it
became necessary for that Colony to issue a proclamation,
in which, inter alia, it was made known that, as it was
" desirable in the interests of this Colony, that a Volunteer
Corps, formed under the Volunteer Corps Ordinance, 1904,
should be called out for service in this Colony, and in the
said Colony of Natal," and as the Lieutenant-Governor of
the Transvaal had " accepted the service of certain persons
desiring to be formed into a Volunteer Corps," and such
Corps had been lawfully formed and designated the First
Transvaal Mounted Rifles, therefore the said Corps "shall
be and is hereby required to serve within this Colony or
in the said Colony of Natal."


The formation of the corps, 500 strong, took effect as
from 26th April. It was placed under the command of
Lieut.-Col. WilUam Frank Barker,^ with Captain Walter
Jar dine as Adjutant.

Great care was taken in the selection of the other

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 20 of 52)