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 22 of 52)
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The casualties were : Among the rebels, sixty to seventy
killed, with many wounded ; among the troops, none
killed ; one N.M.R. slightly wounded ; one Z.N.P.
severely wounded and another wounded. Seven horses
were also wounded.

Mfungelwa's men took no part in the fighting, though
they captured 300 cattle and many goats, besides destroy-
ing several rebel kraals.

The impi that first attacked at F was made up of
Mavalana, Hayelwengwenya, Felapakati, and Mbokodwe-
bomvu regiments, the first-named being the youngest
and of an average age of 20 to 23. It was Mavalana that
led and threatened most at E. The body that advanced
up the Nkunzana and threatened the rear-guard, was
under the personal command of Bambata. The eighteen
who had guns were commanded by Ndabaningi, Siga-
nanda's principal son, who, though considerately wearing
a white shirt, escaped being hit. All the enemy's shooting
was bad. Those seen near the hill Nkolotshana late in
the afternoon, were merely elderly men who had congre-
gated from various kraals. Altogether about 1,000 of the
enemy were seen during the day.

Inconclusive and unsatisfactory as the foregoing pro-
ceedings were from a military point of view, the engage-
ment proved remarkably decisive from that of the rebels.
The reason for this is not hard to guess, viz. the clear
demonstration that had been given of the utter inefficacy


of Bambata's and his doctors' drugs ! The bullets had
entered, and entered wherever and whatever they had
hit. The main success of the Bobe fight accordingly lay
in dispelhng, possibly for ever, in so far as Natal and
Zululand Natives are concerned, the extraordinary delu-
sion already described.

Li consequence of the numerous casualties, many Native
women came the following morning to where the rebel
forces had collected near Cetshwayo's grave to demand, of
those who had declared European bullets would do no
injury, restoration of their missing sons, husbands, and
sweethearts. If anything ever made Bambata wince,
these women's simple and unanswerable application did.
At the same meeting, one of the older men asked pointedly
why Bambata and his men had not engaged in the fight.
Why had he stood by when a section of the forces
attacked ? The speaker went on, in heated manner, to
propose that the notorious leader should be arrested and
handed over to the Europeans forthwith ; if that were
inexpedient, then let him be given over to the rebels
themselves to put to death. " He has deceived us by
declaring bullets would not hurt us."

Finding himself thus suddenly unpopular, with his
prestige gone, and even in danger of losing his Hf e, Bambata
rode off, an hour or two later, with Cakijana to Macala,
saying not a word to anyone, not even to his own followers.

On the same day, Vanderplank came in touch with the
enemy in Manyane valley, a few miles south-west of
Ntingwe, when two were killed, thirty cattle seized and a
number of kraals destroyed.

Between the 6th and 16th May, Mansel's column
remained at Fort YoUand, erecting entanglements or
otherwise fortifying the lager.



The force that arrived at Empandhleni with McKenzie
on the 8th May rested on the 9th. InteUigence, at this
time, went to show that Bambata, with his own adherents
and a few others, had gone to Macala.^ After enquiring
into the position, McKenzie reahzed the impossibihty
of starving the rebels out " by sitting quietly on the
hills and allowing them to collect provisions everywhere
at night." He considered it necessary to operate at
once, and to begin by destroying all their kraals and

At 4 a.m. on the 10th, the T.M.R., under Barker, left
for Ntingwe, to strengthen that important strategical
post. The country to be traversed was exceptionally
rough, especially at Mdunduzeli ridge. The result was
that the waggons, much too heavily laden, could not reach
their destination the same day. With even the lightest
loads, a journey of thirty-five to forty miles with ox
transport over country such as this was obviously im-
possible. Two squadrons were detached the same day and
pushed forward to reinforce Vanderplank, who antici-
pated attack at Ntingwe. It required the whole of the 1 1th
for the transport to ascend the ridge referred to, some five

^ This mountain, which has a ferest on its western, steep and rocky-
face, was soon to become one of the rebels' principal rallying-points.


miles long. At 12.30 a.m., 12th, messengers arrived at
Ntingwe from Capt. C. E. Ligertwood, who had bivouacked
with the transport on top of Mdunduzeh, to say the enemy
was concealed in force in a forest close by, evidently with
the intention of attacking at daylight. The two squadrons
referred to immediately saddled up and returned, reaching
Ligertwood about 3.30 a.m. Everything was quiet and
in order. Half-a-dozen waggons had, however, capsized.
That day the waggons got on to Kombe forest. Shortly
after daybreak on the 13th, Tpr. H. C. Maw, I.L.H.
squadron, went in search of his horse. When near the
edge of a bush, he was sniped from within it and mortally
wounded. The troops immediately lined a ridge running
parallel and volleyed three or four times into the forest ;
nothing, however, could be seen of the enemy. The whole
force, including the transport, reached Ntingwe about mid-
day on the same day. Maw died the following morning at
Ntingwe, where he was buried.

McKenzie, with the remainder of the troops, including
Mackay's, made a reconnaissance in force at 4.30 a.m. on
the 10th to the top of Nomangci ridge, overlooking Mome
gorge. Some thirty mounted Native scouts were sent
ahead under a European officer. A few of these, on reach-
ing the summit, were fired at by rebels from a stone
shelter at the top of a kopje on the left. After the troops
(N.C.) had come up and a couple of volleys had been fired
at the shelter, the enemy vacated it and fled into a forest
close by. An examination was now made of the country
round about Green Hill, whereupon the force moved along
Nomangci ridge and the northern edges of the forest to the
vicinity of Sisusa peak. Here the scouts, among whom
was Chief Sitshitshili, a splendid specimen of a brave and
loyal Zulu,i proceeded to lower ground on the south where
some rebel kraals were burnt and stock captured. On
withdrawing in the early afternoon, McKenzie left three
squadrons of Carbineers concealed close to the kopje
referred to, in the hope of surprising the enemy. The ruse,
however, proved unsuccessful.

^ Foully miirdered later, as will be seen, because of his loyalty.


On the following day, Mackay, with about 420 men
(chiefly N.C.), left for Helpmakaar with a convoy of 138
empty ox- waggons. The Carbineers were ordered back
as it was possible an outbreak might any day occur in
the northern portions of Natal. Nevertheless, having
already done useful work at Nkandhla, they were very
disappointed at having to leave that part, especially as
fighting appeared to be imminent.

On the 12th, McKenzie made a reconnaissance to Insuze
valley on the south-west of the magistracy.^ In the course
of the day, a large number of women and children were
met with, but no information could be obtained from them
as to the rebels' movements. After being questioned, they
were allowed to return to their relations.

Another reconnaissance was made to Dhlabe on the
western side of Mome on the 14th. The rebels indulged in a
good deal of ineffective sniping from the forest. A few
15-pounder and pompom shells were fired into the Mome
valley. The force camped for the night at the site of
the old magistracy.

On the same day, three of Barker's squadrons recon-
noitred along the base of Macala, with the object of trying
to draw the enemy, who had been observed in force at
that mountain. Bambata himself was reported to be
there. This intelligence was proved later to have been
correct. The rest of the force at Ntingwe co-operated
with McKenzie's in destroying rebel kraals in the inter-
vening district and capturing stock.

The destruction of these and other kraals, which, as
explained in a previous chapter, are invariably of wattles,
grass and poles, and therefore easily constructed, was
imperative as, being numerous, they afforded shelter and
food to the enemy. But for the adoption of such tactics,
and the seizure of stock, especially in the vicinity of the
great forests at Nkandhla and Qudeni, and other consider-
able ones at Kombe, Ensingabantu, Macala, etc., the cam-
paign must have been unduly prolonged and resulted in

1 His force included a levy of about 450 loyal Natives, called out by
the C.N.A.


far greater suffering to Natives at large than actually

The most humane method in deahng with savages is one
which has for its object cessation of hostilities at the
earUest possible date. To achieve this end, much must
necessarily take place which appears offensive to civiHzed
people at a distance, but which not less civiHzed persons
on the spot know to be imperative. Difference of opinion
on these matters is very marked and very regrettable, but
it is useless endeavouring to justify tactics to those
ignorant, often absurdly ignorant, of the elementary con-
ditions under which any given war with savages has to be
fought. That is not war which studiously avoids incom-
moding the enemy in any way. If there be obloquy, it
must, therefore, be suffered to remain on the side of

Next morning (15th) Barker, leaving sufficient men to
guard the camp, moved to a position near Dhlolwana,
about six miles to the south-west of Ntingwe and three
from Macala. Whilst engaged burning kraals, he had a
brush with about 500 rebels, who followed up on his
returning to camp, four of them being kiUed. It would
seem Barker lost an opportunity here of inflicting a heavy
blow on the enemy. At the same time, it must be re-
membered he was playing a waiting game which, had he
planned a countermove — as he certainly might have done
on this occasion — might have been spoilt.

On the 16th, a few men were sent to decoy the enemy ;
he, however, refused to be drawn. McKenzie then helio-
graphed Barker to take part early on the 17th with himself
and Mansel in a large converging movement towards the
enemy's headquarters at Cetshwayo's grave. Leuchars,
then at Middle Drift, was invited to co-operate on the

During the night, Sub-Overseer Walters, in charge of
a road party, was murdered in a tent at his camp by
Natives at Mbiza stream, about eight miles north of
Empandhleni. The murderers were arrested within a
couple of days.


McKenzie had decided on the general movement referred
to because of the main body of the enemy being camped
at the grave and having with them large herds of cattle.
The route to this spot was more difficult for the troops on
Nomangci than for those at Fort Yolland or Ntingwe. The
one selected was via Gcongco, Gcongco being an abnor-
mally steep spur abutting on the Insuze, barely a mile
from the Mome stream.^ Owing to lack of intelligence
as to the precise nature of the spur, there was, at starting,
some doubt as to whether the troops, especially mounted
men, would be able to descend it with safety. Barker was
directed to proceed down the Msukane neck and along the
Insuze vaUey. Mansel, who was to bring transport, was
to bivouack at Mfanefile's store at Maqonga hill on the
16th, and move forward on 17th via Mkalazi and Insuze
valleys. The time fixed for the columns to arrive at the
grave was 11 a.m.

The descent of Gcongco was accompHshed without
accident, whereupon McKenzie, ^ seeing Barker coming
down the valley, and noticing that his own force would
strike the road before Barker could get up, did not trouble
about his rear-guard, beyond sending back a D.L.I.
Maxim as support, when the enemy was slightly engaged
and Pte. WiUiams wounded. The main body thereupon
made straight for the grave. A large number of cattle and
goats were captured by London's levies near Tate gorge.

Barker, who had left Ntingwe at 3 a.m., proceeded
through the neck referred to and along a bridle path in

^ This particular spur is famous in Zulu history as being that down
which Tshaka led his army about 1823, when pursued by his most
formidable rival Zwide. In going down Gcongco, however, Tshaka was
merely pretending to flee, and, the spur being abnormally steep, made
it appear all the more probable that his retirement was genuine flight,
instead of a stroke of genius by a master in tactics. After continuing
to fly for some distance, he suddenly rounded on his pursuers, and,
taking them at a great disadvantage, practically annihilated them.

' His force on this occasion was : Five squadrons, R.H. (Lieut. -Col.
J. R. Royston) ; 60 D.L.I. (Major G. J. Molyneux), and some 600
Natives (Lieut. W. H. London). Each man carried three days' rations.
The artillery was sent to Empandhleni with regimental transport,
escorted by D.L.I. Mr. B. Colenbrander, the local Magistrate, with
an excellent knowledge of the affairs of his district, also accompanied
the column.



single file. The enemy, as day broke, was seen descending
Macala heights, streaming on to high ground on Barker's
right flank. Recognizing the disadvantages the column
must be under if attacked, an effort was made as speedily
as possible to reach more open country. Shortly after the
advanced guard and main body had come on to open
ground, the rear-guard, consisting of the N.D.M.R., was
attacked from Macala. The guard, in command of
Abraham, assisted by a squadron sent back from the main
body, succeeded in driving off the enemy, who made no
further attempt to follow. About six rebels were killed.
One of the officers, Lieut. H. Wilkins, N.D.M.R., was
wounded in the arm with an assegai whilst crossing a drift.
Barker reached the grave about ILSO a.m.

Had intimation of the intended combined movement
reached him earlier, Leuchars might, in conjunction with
Barker, have made an effective raid through the Macala
hills and got in touch with the other columns. As it was,
he crossed at Hot Springs at 10 a.m. and moved in a
northerly direction on to a high ridge running eastwards
from Macala, where a column near the grave (McKenzie's),
and another near Komo (Mansel's), were sighted. Owing
to a mishap, Leuchars' signallers had not reached him, so
it was impossible to reply to the heliograph flashing from
the first-mentioned column. A few rebels were observed
making along the ridges towards Macala ; these were
chased in a dashing manner by the Reserves. From 150
to 200 rebels were then observed congregated on a knoll
(Simakade) towards which the Reserves, who had become
scattered, were making ; the U.M.R. were thereupon
pushed forward at a hand gallop, when the enemy fled
to the bush at Macala, eight being killed and others

One of those wounded by the Reserves was no other
than the notorious emissary from Dinuzulu, Cakijana, the
man who, as alleged, had been sent from Usutu to Mpanza
to help Bambata start the Rebellion. Cakijana had
formed one of the party that emerged from Macala bush
the same morning and attacked Barker's rear-guard all


the way from Umzilingwana stream to that of Lugada,
near the Tate gorge. Repulsed by Barker, they made
towards Nomtulwa hill with the view of joining those
who had remained behind with Mangati ; but on getting
to the hill they came upon Leuchars' Reserves, who at once
made for them, as above described. They succeeded in
joining Mangati, who, seeing the Reserves scattered and
unsupported, contemplated attack. The plan was, how-
ever, frustrated by the main body of the U.M.R. moving
smartly up, upon which Mangati and his men disappeared
over the slopes to the west. Cakijana, dressed in khaki
tunic and breeches, with leather gaiters and helmet, ran
in the direction of Masolosolo stream. He was quite tired
out, having shortly before given over his rifle to another,
when he was fired at and struck in the calf of the left leg
— a flesh wound.

Mansel's column was late in coming up, owing to diffi-
culties with the transport. Neither McKenzie nor Barker
had brought any transport. Had Mansel deployed at
Bobe, it would have considerably assisted the enveloping
movement, and prevented a number of the enemy from
escaping into the forests. By 4 p.m. all the columns had
joined hands. They bivouacked for the night near the
grave, not far from the junction of the Nkunzana and
Insuze rivers.

The result of the day's operations was somewhat dis-
appointing. The enemy's losses, however, must have been
heavier than the twelve actually seen dead, especially in
the engagement with Barker's rear-guard.

About 800 head of cattle and 1,500 goats were captured,
besides the 150 cattle driven off by Leuchars' column.
Many kraals belonging to the insurgents were burnt,
including a large number of temporary war-huts near the
grave. "A gale of wind," says McKenzie, " was blowing
at the time, and the grass on the fringe of Cetshwayo's
grave caught alight, but no damage was done to the trees
of the plantation surrounding the grave. It was an
unavoidable incident. Most stringent orders, which I am
pleased to say were strictly carried out, were issued to all


columns to prevent the desecration in any way of the
grave. The matter was at once reported to ]\ir. Saunders,
so that the true facts could be conveyed to Dinuzulu." ^
The Commissioner advised Dinuzulu accordingly.

McKenzie's column, with those of Barker and Mansel,
formed a combined camp a few hundred yards south of
the grave and on the site of what had, for a month, been
the enemy's recognized headquarters. The strength of the
camp was about 1,700 (mostly mounted men), exclusive
of about 2,000 Natives (levies).

Leuchars' force moved back down a steep ridge that led
towards the Tugela at Ndundumeni, and immediately
below Macala, where it bivouacked (Zululand side). At
7.30 p.m., however, the column crossed and bivouacked in
Natal. Leuchars gave strict orders for all camp fires to be
left burning, whilst no hghts were to be struck when on
the march. The crossing of an unknown drift on a pitch
dark night was carried out without mishap.

A force made up of N.P. (200), T.M.R. (3 squadrons)
and R.H. (2 squadrons) was sent by McKenzie on the 18th
to operate on the east side of the grave near Bobe, there
being reason for supposing a section of the enemy was
concealed in that neighbourhood. The information, how-
ever, proved incorrect. The supposed enemy turned out
to be women and children who, owing to the difficulties of
obtaining food in the forest, were making for the kraals of
relatives and others near the Tugela who had not up to
that time taken up arms.

Native women were a source of much inconvenience
throughout the campaign. They not only urged their
menfolk to rebel and kept them supplied with food as
well as they could, but, taking advantage of the protection
afforded their sex, frequently conveyed intelHgence to the
enemy as to the movements of the troops.

On the same day twenty-one rebels, members of Siga-
nanda's and Tulwana's tribes, surrendered at the magis-

1 Report. Colonel D. McKenzie. September, 1906. The state of
the grave in 1906 is described on p. 210.


With the intention of attacking the redoubtable Mome
stronghold, the whole force, excepting the men in charge
of the camp, marched for the purpose, on the 19th, but
had hardly moved out when a spy, previously sent out,
brought inteUigence to the effect that, whilst desirous of
surrendering, the rebels refrained from doing so through
a sense of fear. The spy, with a white flag, was thereupon
directed to inform the enemy that the O.C. Troops was
prepared to meet their emissaries half-way up an indicated
hill should they really wish to surrender. Upon the spy
returning to the hill in question, McKenzie, accompanied
by three of his stafif, proceeded to the proposed rendezvous.
After waiting there a considerable time, the spy, who had
again been sent back, returned with two indunas from
Sigananda's heir Ndabaningi, who said the people generally
were desirous of surrendering. The men were told that
surrender was to be unconditional. They then asked for
time to find, and dehver McKenzie's message to, Ndaba-
ningi. The receiving of the surrender was fixed for 9
a.m. on the following morning. After this, the troops
returned to camp.

It was not until 11 a.m. on the 20th that the spy came
back with information that Ndabaningi was engaged
gathering together the various members of the tribe to
discuss the situation. Extension of time until sunset of
the same day was then granted to enable the discussion
to take place, notwithstanding that the horia fides of those
negotiating was already being regarded by McKenzie with
suspicion. The same evening, two indunas from Ndaba-
ningi were escorted to the camp, only, however, to apply
for further time within which to make the necessary
arrangements. The request was once more acceded to, it
being again impressed on the emissaries that surrender
was to be unconditional. They were further advised that,
whilst all operations would be suspended as regards them-
selves, the Officer Commanding could not permit the
negotiations to stand in the way of contemplated opera-
tions in other districts, or against Bambata, who, at that
moment, was alleged to be in occupation of Macala.


On Monday, 21st May, taking with him all the mounted
troops,^ McKenzie made a reconnaissance to Macala, it
having been reported Bambata was there with 500
followers. Soon after starting, word was brought by
scouts to the effect that the enemy had vacated that
mountain and made off in the direction of Qudeni, some
fifteen miles further west, where there are many large and
dense forests, similar, in some respects, to those at
Nkandhla. The reconnaissance was carried out neverthe-
less ; it proved long and unsuccessful. None of the enemy
were seen, though fresh traces of their occupation were
come upon. A few cattle and goats were captured, and
kraals as well as war- huts destroyed. The troops did not
reach camp until late at night in irregular, straggling
order. The day had been a trying one. Owing to the
broken nature of the country, the men had been obhged
to march in single file. Although the sortie was unsuccess-
ful from one point of view, from that of acquiring accurate
knowledge of the topography of one of the enemy's
principal rallying-points, it was valuable, and proved of
much service at a later date. The same remarks apply to
the Mome valley and surroundings, whose many features
and peculiarities could be and were carefully noted during
such time as the combined forces were camped near the
grave. 2

On the following day (22nd), six men arrived from
Sigananda to signify his wish to surrender, but as, being
so old, it was more convenient for him to do this at the
magistracy, he asked permission to adopt that course.
McKenzie agreed, and thereupon decided to move to
Nkandhla, not, however, before dividing the troops into
two columns so as to better equaHze them.^

1 200 N.D.M.R., 100 Z.M.R., 128 N.P., 540 T.M.R., 300 R.H., 30 M.I.,
D.L.I. = 1,298, also 100 Nongqai and 1,500 Natives (levies).

2 On the occasion of the reconnaissance to Macala, the O.C. Troops,
noticing a small kopje at the mouth of Mome gorge, on which guns could
be placed to shell the gorge, caused a sketch to be prepared and subse-
quently handed to Barker.

3 The columns as re-formed were as follows : Under McKenzie' s
direct command — Northern District Mounted Rifles, Zululand Momited


The camping of so large a force at the grave for several
days had the effect of greatly diminishing the suppUes
on which the rebels were depending. At most, if not all,
of the kraals, pits were found, in which, as customary with
the people, large quantities of meahes and corn were
stored.^ Much of the grain was taken to be consumed
either by the levies or the horses. The large herds of
cattle, moreover, which had just been captured soon
destroyed such crops in the neighbourhood as had not by
that time been reaped.

Mansel remained at the grave with instructions to

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 22 of 52)