James Stuart.

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

. (page 29 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 29 of 52)
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than a thunder of artillery and hail of bullets, brought
on by that very race against whom the mysterious
command had been specialty directed. Truly, the manner
in which Dinuzulu had directed the elements left much to
be desired.



Although Nkandhla had been selected by the rebel
leaders as their terrain, that was not to say outbreaks
would not occur in other parts of the Colony as well.
Indeed, one of the objects of making Sigananda's strong-
hold the principal rallying-point was to encourage overt
acts of rebelHon in other parts from knowledge of the
fact that, so long as the fastness was held, it was a^vailable
as a general headquarters and place of refuge. As an
illustration of this, the disaffected men of Ngobizembe's
tribe who, after being punished in the middle of March by
Leuchars — being by themselves powerless to resist the
troops — made off from Mapumulo and joined Bambata at
Nkandhla. Mehlokazulu and other Chiefs, as has already
been seen, broke from Nqutu and adjoining districts to
do the same. The principle upon which all these men
acted seems to have been that, where local confederates
were not strong enough to offer resistance on the spot,
either from want of numbers or suitable fastnesses, they
would move to Nkandhla, but where the prospects were
not unfavourable, as at Umsinga and Mapumulo, each
with a teeming Native, and sparse European, population,
they would resolve to try their chances there and then, in
the hope that, by creating additional and widely-separated
areas of disturbance, the difficulties of the troops would be


increased, when other tribes would follow one or other of
the alternatives referred to, always with the ulterior
motive of causing the country to rise en bloc.

In view of the importance of Umsinga and Mapumulo,
both districts being within forty to forty-five miles of
Nkandhla by such routes as Native pedestrians ordinarily
travel, it is well to understand the position at those places.

In Umsinga district there were, in 1906, ten tribes, by far
the largest being that of Kula. The total huts owned by
members of his tribe was upwards of 4,500.^ The huts (in
the same district) of the other nine tribes together did not
amount to 4,000, To so great an extent did Kula over-
shadow the other Chiefs, that it is unnecessary to make
more than passing reference to the latter.

Kula was a young man, grandson of Ngoza, once famous
throughout Natal and Zululand as Sir Theophilus Shep-
stone's principal induna. Ngoza, after serving in a posi-
tion of trust and responsibihty for many years, was
appointed Chief over a tract of country vacated in 1858
by a Chief Matshana ^ to escape arrest. The ward was
450 square miles in extent, almost the whole falling within
one magisterial division.

The Poll Tax Act and regulations were promulgated to
the Natives of Umsinga in September, 1905, visits being
paid by the Magistrate to four centres for the purpose.
The announcement was well received. The only matter
commented on by the Natives was that young men and
boys (over 18) were held hable for the tax, instead of
their fathers, as in the case of the hut tax. It was thought
this would promote greater independence than was already
being exhibited towards parents, and, at the same time,
lead to youths retaining their earnings, instead of handing
them over to their fathers or guardians, as up tiU then
customary, on the plea of having to meet obligations of
their own towards the State.

^ Giving, roughly, a population of 18,000 souls, or about 2,500 fighting

2 The man referred to frequently in this history as Matshana ka


Kula and the smallest local Chief, Nondubela, soon
began to influence their respective people against paying
the tax. Their intrigues were extended to other Chiefs
near them, both in Natal and Zululand. Early in Decem-
ber (1905), the same two tribes began to prepare for
rebelHon. Supplies of assegais, shields and tshokohezi
badges were obtained. The young men of all the Umsinga
Chiefs were called on to pay the poll tax subsequently to
20th January, though payment, it was explained, might be
made at any time between then and 31st May. Only one
of the Chiefs made earnest and successful endeavours to
induce his men to pay, viz. Tulwana, a man who had
always been conspicuous for his loyalty to the Government.
Nondubela instructed his men not to pay, nor did any do
so until after the Rebelhon had broken out and several
reverses had been sustained by the rebels. Kula advised
his tribe to pay a few pounds, and so throw dust in the
eyes of the Government. £98 out of £1,500 is all that was
paid by his people.

In February, two of the same man's tribe, constables at
Tugela Ferry, were charged and convicted of conspiring
to murder the European poKce at that place and seize
their arms and ammunition. The conspiracy was exposed
by one of Chief Sibindi's men — a fellow constable.

Kula, a man of intemperate habits, had for long been
a source of annoyance. In 1898, he openly organized his
tribe into regiments. He was reproved for so doing by
the Supreme Chief. Between 1898 and May, 1906, he was
repeatedly fined, either for refusing or neglecting to supply
labourers for the Pubhc Works Department. In January,
he was warned by the U.S.N. A. to be more careful. " The
Government," this officer said to him, " is lenient, but
will not put up with annoyance such as this for ever."
In July, 1905, the Governor (Sir Henry McCallum) paid a
visit to Pomeroy. The Chiefs were summoned to greet
him. Kula arrived with a mounted cavalcade and dehber-
ately galloped past the King's representative without
saluting. For this gross disrespect he was cautioned by
His Excellency in person.


On the 4th March, 1906, about fifty men of the tribe
residing at Elands Kraal, under headman Mabulawo,
openly took up arms. This caused all European farmers in
the neighbourhood to flee precipitately from their homes.
The impi continued under arms and defied the local police,
with the result that thirty-six of the Police Field Force,
under Sub-Inspector C. R. Ottley, were sent to Umsinga
to restore order. Ottley, however, deemed it inadvisable
to attempt more with so small a force than camp near
the court-house. On the 23rd, Kula held a large beer-
drink at his kraal within two miles of the magistracy. An
armed force was there assembled, it was said, for the
purpose of killing the police and court officials. On the
night fixed for the massacre, Kula, it seems, got drunk,
when some of the more loyal headmen of the tribe bound
him up, thereby preventing him from carrying his supposed
threat into execution.

After these proceedings had been reported, Kula was
summoned to Pietermaritzburg by the Supreme Chief. He
at first hesitated about compljdng, but, on being pressed
by his headmen, obeyed. Upon being questioned at head-
quarters by the Minister for Native Affairs, he denied
everything that had occurred, but, in the face of irrefu-
table evidence, was ordered to arrest Mabulawo and all
who had been or were still under arms. Twelve days later,
the headman was brought to the Magistrate, unaccom-
panied, however, by any of those who had armed. On the
23rd April, a large impi was organized to release Mabulawo.
The latter was now driven off in Dr. Keith Murray's trap
to Pietermaritzburg. When the impi heard of this, and of
the fact that thirty of the Umsinga Reserves had been
mobilized and posted at the magistrac}^ they withdrew to
their kraals.

Ever since the 4th March, the affairs of the district had
been going from bad to worse. Europeans and loyal
Natives were assaulted by disaffected Natives with im-
punity, so much so that the poHce were directed to desist
from attending beer-drinks in uniform, and not to arrest
any Native in the presence of others. By this time, Kula's



tribe had virtually become master of the district, doing
whatever appeared right in its own eyes.

It so happened the Magistrate (Mr. A. E. Harrington)
was collecting hut tax at Keate's Drift when Mr. Cross
and party were fired on by Bambata and others in Mpanza
valley (3rd April). Chiefs Silwana and Sibindi were
ordered to arm and prevent the rebel Chief from crossing
into their wards. As soon as the message reached Sibindi,
he did all he could to assist, in fact most of his tribe in
Umsinga division were mobilized within two hours.
Silwana's response was half-hearted. About 11 p.m. the
same day, Ottley and twenty men arrived at the drift from
Pomeroy, six hours after hearing of Bambata's outbreak.
The Magistrate, Umsinga, proceeded the next day (4th) to
collect taxes at Tugela Ferry, where, however, but few paid.

The unrest among the Umsinga Natives now became
more accentuated. Mtele, Kula's uncle and principal
iiiduna at Elands Kraal, mobilized the whole of the people
under his charge. Nondubela joined him. The indunas
of that portion of Ngqambuzana's tribe, which was in
Umsinga division, were reported by the Chief as intending
to cross into Zululand and join the rebels. All the Euro-
peans of the district went into lager at Helpmakaar, except-
ing the court officials. The Umsinga Reserves were joined
by those of Dundee, Newcastle and Weenen early in May,
together with a composite MiUtia force under Major W.
Murray-Smith, N.M.R.

Kula reported by messengers on the 4th May that
Mtele was in open rebeUion. Harrington, in reply, re-
marked that he had two months previously told Kula a
portion of his tribe was in rebellion, but this had been
denied ; "he sends only now to tell me what I knew two
months ago." Before receipt of this message, Kula had
openly declared that he would never come to the court

In consequence of a large number of Natives being
expected at the magistracy to pay taxes, a squadron
N.M.R. (Capt. P. M. Rattray, D.S.O.), with a few Reserves
under Chief Leader D. C. Uys, was sent there from Help-


makaar at 6.30 a.m. on the 8th, pending arrival the same
day of Lieut. G. R. Richards, M.L.A., and a squadron (100)
N.C. Kula, probably because he saw troops proceeding
to the magistracy, deemed it prudent to visit it too.
Accompanied by a dozen of his leading men, he arrived
shortly before 11 a.m. Almost simultaneously, Richards
rode in with his men. Harrington conferred with the
latter, Rattray and Uys. He pointed out the degree to
which Kula was implicated in the Rebellion, and suggested
the man should be removed from the district. Richards,
then in charge of the post, though not senior officer,
decided, with the concurrence of the other officers, to
transfer the Chief to make the statement he had already
made respecting disloyalty in his tribe to the Officer Com-
manding at Helpmakaar. Kula was informed of the
decision. A few minutes later, he was required to proceed
with Rattray and his men to Helpmakaar. Six headmen
were allowed to accompany the Chief. On arrival at
Helpmakaar, Kula was closely examined by Lieut. -Col.
A. T. G. Wales, who, in his turn, resolved to keep him in
custody pending receipt of orders from the Government.

The Government was naturally placed in an awkward
position by these unexpected and unusual proceedings.
Richards, of course, had made no actual arrest, and, in
referring the question of the advisability of Kula's con-
tinued presence in the district to the officer at Helpmakaar,
had done so because the point at issue appeared to be one
not for him but for some higher authority to decide. The
Commandant was surprised at Richards' action, and could
he at once have got into communication with the respon-
sible officers, the probabihties are that Kula would not
have been either arrested or detained, as everything
pointed to his committing himself sooner or later, when he
would have been either captured or shot as a rebel.

Under the circumstances, in view of the then greatly
disturbed condition of the country, the Government
caused the Chief to be conveyed on the 9th from Help-
makaar to Pietermaritzburg, where he was detained,
though not in custody.


Those best competent to judge, firmly believe the arrest
or enforced removal of this important Chief at that
particular moment checked the spread of rebellion in
those parts. This, indeed, was subsequently realized by
the Government. Thus, though there was irregularity in
the way in which Kula was removed, the step was justi-
fied by peace being maintained at a time when a rising was
imminent in the thickly-populated district over which he
had control.^

Kula's brother. Manuka, tried to usurp control of the
tribe after the former's departure. On such endeavour
being detected, he was promptly placed under arrest.

Simultaneously with the dispatch of the Zululand Field
Force to Nkandhla (1st May), squadron A (with the
Sydenham troop of B), N.M.R. (about 110), under Lieut.-
Col. H. Sparks, V.D., were detailed for Mapumulo, whilst
the remainder of the regiment (160) proceeded via Dundee
to Helpmakaar, under Major W. Murray-Smith. A force,^
under the command of Murray-Smith (with Capt. G. T.
Hurst as Staff Officer), left Dundee for Helpmakaar on the
5th. It reached its destination on the 6th, but moved on
the 7th to a new site two miles off, where a strong lager of
wire entanglements was speedily erected.

It was from the foregoing column that the detachments
proceeded to garrison Pomeroy, as already noticed in
connection with Kula's removal. Patrols, too, were sent
out in various directions. These obtained intelligence in
confirmation of Mtele and Nondubela being in open

When Wales left for Pietermaritzburg on duty (11th),
Murray-Smith took over the command. Finding the
Natives referred to were actually in rebellion, Murray-

1 Kula's uncle, Mtele, with the portion of the tribe that rebelled with
him, formed part of the force that attacked Leuchars at Mpukunyoni.

2 It was made up of 200 N.C., Right Wing (Major A. C. Townsend) ;
160 N.M.R. (Capt. P. M. Rattray) ; N.F.A. (four guns) (Major C.
Wilson) ; 55 N.R.R. (Lieut. A. McKenzie) ; and departmental details.
When en route to Helpmakaar, it was joined by the following Reserves :
80 Newcastle (Chief Leader Adendorff) ; 200 Estcourt (Chief Leader
A. F. Henderson, C.M.G.) ; 55 Dundee (Chief Leader D.C. Uys).


Smith decided to attack and prevent them from inducing
others to take up arms. An armed body of 200 to 300 was
discovered at a kraal in a valley some four or five miles
from the camp. As, however, the Commandant's instruc-
tions were that the column should simply proceed to Help-
makaar and, having fortified itself, await Mackay's arrival,
it became necessary for permission to assume the offensive
to be obtained. This Colonel Bru-de-Wold, after carefully
considering the situation, gave in a few hours by telephone.

On the following day (12th May), Rattray was accord-
ingly detailed to take command of the mounted troops,
viz. 60 to 80 N.C. (Lieut. P. W. Stride) ; 60 to 80 N.M.R. ;
about 150 Newcastle, Lady smith, Dundee and Estcourt
Reserves ; and 8 Umsinga Reserves under Chief Leader
A. Miiller, the latter being guides and scouts.

Leaving camp before daybreak, the force moved
towards Elands Kraal, some ten miles away. About 9
a.m., the scouts got in touch with the enemy and ex-
changed a few shots. Rattray, close at hand, pushed on at
a gallop up a hill and attacked Mtele's impi, about 150 to
200 strong, the latter partly concealed in bushes. The
impi, making neither charge nor stand, was forthwith
driven into an adjoining valley, through which they were
promptly pursued by N.C. and N.M.R. as far as the
Buffalo (about two miles), as well as in other directions.
On reaching the river, the Natives scattered more than
they had already done, some crossing into Zululand, whilst
others concealed themselves in as extraordinarily rough
country on the Natal side.

The Reserves, with a Maxim (N.M.R.), took ground
where the enemy had first been seen. From such position,
a continuous fire was kept up, which proved very effective
in breaking down any opposition that might have been
offered in such extremely rugged and out-of-the-way

The main force with Murray-Smith had, in the mean-
time, occupied high ground overlooking the Elands Kraal
settlement and the Buffalo valley. Here the N.F.A..
supporting and covering Rattray, opened and kept up a


shrapnel fire on groups of retreating Natives. Such, how-
ever, was ineffective on account of the long range.

The whole action, including pursuit, lasted about two
hours. The troops suffered no casualties ; of the rebels,
twenty-nine were killed, eight prisoners were taken, and
thirty cattle captured.

On an examination of the scene being made, two camps
of war- huts were found (about a mile apart). Food and
clothing belonging to the insurgents were discovered at
the back of the hill on which they were first sighted.

Two days later, Murray-Smith took a force (including
N.C. at Pomeroy, then having been reHeved by N.R.R.)
to Nondubela's kraal, at a hill called Nqoro, near Buffel's
Hoek, but the rebels, on the alert in consequence of the
action at Elands Kraal, escaped to Zululand. It was on
the same day that Msickay crossed into Natal at Rorke's
Drift.i Had it been possible for him to co-operate,
Nondubela and his force might not have escaped as
cheaply as they did. As it was, Murray-Smith went with
a section of his force to Rorke's Drift, then down the right
bank of the Buffalo, whilst another section, under Rattray,
proceeded by road via Elands Kraal valley, and, after
crossing Mazabeko stream, converged with the main body
on Nqoro hill (below Fugitives' Drift). On this occasion,
aU kraals that were come across belonging to rebels were
destroyed. Over forty miles were covered during the day.
The feature of the day's operations, however, was the
splendid performance of the guns (N.F.A.) under Wilson,
which travelled a distance of not less than forty miles.

In addition to tshokobezi badges, it was noticed that
strips of white goat-skin, about an inch broad and tied
round the neck, were used by Natives of these parts to
indicate being in rebeUion. The prisoners, as well as the
killed, were found wearing them.

As soon as Mackay arrived, he took command and
operated as already described in Chapter XII.

Orders were received from the Commandant on 16th

1 His and Murray-Smith's men met near the Buffalo and moved back
together to the latter's camp.


May for 100 N.M.R. and 100 N.R.R.^ under Murray-
Smith, to escort a convoy of fifty-one waggons (supplies,
etc.), from Dundee to Nkandhla. Leaving on the 17th,
the escort, strengthened at Vant's Drift by 100 N.C. under
Richards, arrived at Nkandhla via Nqutu, Nondweni and
Owen's store, on the 24th. On the following day, the
escort, less the N.C. — detached to become bodyguard to
Colonel McKenzie — was ordered to return with the empty
waggons to Dundee and join the Umvoti Field Force (then
under command of Major W. J. S. Newmarch, U.M.R.)
at Grey town, and do so via Tugela Ferry. Murray-Smith
left Nkandhla on the 26th and, returning via Nqutu,
reached Dundee on the 30th.

The night the escort reached Nqutu (28th May), an
absurd scare arose out of a belief that Mehlokazulu in-
tended attacking the village the same night. The Basutos
had, in consequence, mobilized and taken refuge at the
gaol. As, at this time, Mackay was camped sixteen miles
away at Isandhlwana, it is difficult to understand how
the scare arose.

On arriving at Dundee, Murray-Smith got orders from
Leuchars to proceed hy rail to Greytown, leaving N.R.R.
at Dundee. He accordingly entrained on the 1st June,
reached Greytown 6 a.m. on the following day, and joined
the U.F.F. at Spitzkop on the 3rd, temporarily taking

Shortly after, Mackay moved into Nqutu district, Zulu-
land (27th May), to co-operate with Leuchars. Lieut. -Col.
J. Weighton was appointed to command at Helpmakaar.

On being appointed (29th May), to the command of all
troops south of Tugela and in Nqutu district, Zululand,
i.e. the whole of Natal plus Nqutu, Leuchars, as has been
seen, visited Helpmakaar to direct operations from there.
He arrived at that place on the 2nd June to find that 1,000
of Chief Silwana's men had suddenly, and without refer-
ence to the Commandant of Militia, or to himself, been

1 N.R.R. were reHeved at Pomeroy on the 16th by D.L.I. (100) (Capt.
W. P. M. Henderson), the latter having arrived at Helpmakaar on the
preceding day from Dundee with a convoy of supplies.


called out by the Minister for Native Affairs, with orders
to be at Pomeroy on the 3rd. Efforts were at once made
to secure a European leader. The men displayed no
enthusiasm whatever and were barely civil. Although
called out under the authority of the Native Code as an
ordinary levy, they asked to be armed with rifles and
supplied with blankets. The applications could not be
entertained. Warnings were received that the levy was
not to be trusted. It was freely stated that Silwana had
forbidden the men to cross into Zululand. At Gordon
Memorial mission station they looted a European house.
On a false alarm occurring one night, a number of the
younger men sprang to arms with the war-cry, " Usutu ! "
Under these circumstances, Leuchars decided to send
them back to Weenen. Urgent requests, however, came
from Government and the Magistrate of Weenen to give
them a trial. Mr. G. A. Jackson, who knew the people, was
accordingly appointed to lead them. The order to return
to their homes was withdrawn. They were told Jackson
would take them next day (7th) to a locality where a
number of returned rebels of Manuka's section was in
hiding. As there was a tribal feud of long standing be-
tween Silwana's and Kula's people, it was thought the
levy would have undertaken the duty with alacrity.
Jackson went to Helpmakaar to arrange for supphes. On
getting back to Pomeroy next morning to lead the levy on,
he found no less than 600 had deserted during the night.
Although about 100 of those remaining volunteered to go
forward, they were carried away by the majority, who,
packing up their bundles, made for their homes. After
expressing regret at the behaviour of their men, the
indunas proceeded to do Hkewise.^

By way of facilitating control of the forces in Umsinga
and Nqutu districts, those under Mackay, less the Reserves
sent back to Helpmakaar, were separated from the Help-
makaar Field Force and formed into a distinct column,
with instructions to confine their operations to the basin
of the Buffalo and the north-west portion of Qudeni

1 Report, Colonel G. Leuchars, C.M.G., 23rd Nov. 1906.


mountain. Mackay's column then consisted of the N.C.,
Right and Left Wings ; N.R., one company ; N.F.A., one
battery (six guns) ; and N.N.H., one squadron.

The Mapumulo garrison was detached from the U.F.F.
and became a separate column under Sparks, with author-
ity to turn out 200 from each of two loyal tribes to assist
in searching for and arresting returned rebels of Ngobi-
zembe's tribe.

The H.F.F. was now made up of the garrisons of
Pomeroy, Fort Murray-Smith,^ Helpmakaar, Paddafon-
tein and Dundee. Wales was appointed to command vice
Weighton, who had been ordered to take over court-
martial duties.

Further proof was given by the Transvaal at this
juncture of an earnest desire to assist Natal in her trouble.
That patriotic and well-known organization, the Lancaster
and York Association, Johannesburg, conceived the idea
of offering Natal the services of 150 men (twenty-five of
them mounted). On approaching the President, Mr. (now
Sir) Abe Bailey, K.C.M.G., the latter not only approved
the proposal, but undertook to defray all expenses of
equipment, clothing, saddlery, etc. — excepting only
salaries and food supplies — out of his own pocket. This
generous offer was most gratefully accepted by the Natal
Government. So enthusiastically did Mr. Joe Bell, Mr.
W. Beachy-Head and other members of the Association
take the matter up, ably assisted by the Staff of the
Transvaal Volunteer Headquarters, that after beginning
to enrol on the 1st June, the corps, under the command of

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 29 of 52)