James Stuart.

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

. (page 31 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 31 of 52)
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The Cape squadron of R,H. (about 100), arrived at Gingindhlovu on
the 23rd, where it was directed to remain pending further orders.

Part of the C.M.R. Maxim detachment, after being detained for a few
days at Melmoth, came on to Nkandhla and eventually joined Mackay 's


clearing up generally and receiving as many surrenders
as possible. The Commissioner for Native Affairs was at
first of opinion the latter action might be misunderstood
by loyal Zulus, but, after further consideration, concurred
in it.

Woolls-Sampson left Empandhleni on the 23rd June,^
and, marching via Fort YoUand, took up a position on the
northern side of the Tugela at or near the precipice known
as Isiwasamanqe, with the object of preventing Natal
rebels from breaking into Zululand. The loyal tribes of
that part, including that of Mtonga,^ assisted with levies.
Strict orders were, at the same time, given to Woolls-
Sampson to take every precaution to prevent looting of
property, or damage to crops, kraals, etc., of friendly

As, at this juncture, everything pointed to a peaceful
state of affairs in Zululand, the O.C. Troops left Empan-
dhleni on the morning of the 25th. By this date, the
majority of rebels in Nkandhla district had surrendered.
The garrisons at Empandhleni and Ensingabantu were,
nevertheless, allowed to remain, owing to the inadvisa-
bihty of entirely and suddenly denuding the country of
troops. Just before he left, the indunas and Native
messengers at the magistracy asked to see Colonel
McKenzie, when they expressed their gratitude for the
Rebelhon having been so rapidly suppressed and peace
restored once more. They, at the same time, warned him
" just to glance back occasionally, as a grass fire, when put
out, often starts again in rear." This McKenzie took to
mean that Dinuzulu was still in his rear and might have
to be dealt with.

These facts are sufficient to show that, to the action at
Mome, must be attributed the complete and almost im-
mediate collapse of the Rebellion in Zululand. After that
fight, there was no further opposition in any direction in

^ He escorted about 230 Native prisoners from the place referred to
to Fort YoUand.

2 A brother of Cetshwayo. Cetshwayo had, j^ears before, attempted
to put him to death, when he was obhged to take refuge for some years
in NataJ.


Zululand. Throughout Nkandhla and Nqutu districts
peace and good order were restored almost at a single
stroke. A decisive blow, and all was over. That was
what McKenzie constantly aimed at, that was what the
Government desired him to aim at, because the more
summary the punishment, the sooner would peace be
restored and destruction of life put an end to. War is not
a pastime, as some people seem to think, but a reahty, as
stern in operation as any law of nature. At any rate, that
is how it is viewed by Zulus, and the sooner Europeans
look at it in the same way when at war with these tribes,
the better for them and the tribes.

Although, for a few days, many rebels remained in
hiding, none ventured to take refuge in the stronghold
which, having become a place of bad omen, was entirely
deserted. It had become the home of the dead. Nor did
the few more prominent rebels hke Cakijana, Mangati and
Magadise, fearing the consequences of their misdeeds,
make further use of it during the many weeks they roamed
about from one place of hiding to another.

It will be remembered that Mapumulo district was
visited by a column (imder Leuchars) during March,
when a large cattle fine was levied on Ngobizembe and
members of his tribe for defiant conduct towards the

As part of the general plan for coping with the RebelUon,
the Commandant of Mihtia decided at the end of April
to establish a garrison at Mapumulo. This took place
simultaneously with the Z.F.F. leaving Dundee for
Nkandhla, and the garrisoning of such other places as
Helpmakaar, Krantzkop, and Grey town in Natal, and
Empandhleni, Fort YoUand, and Eshowe in Zululand.

It was known that the Natives at Mapumulo were
hable to rise at any moment, hence the question as to how
the outbreak could be delayed at once occurred to the
Commandant, for he had not sufficient troops to operate in
that part as well as at Nkandhla and other places. Calling
to mind what he had read and studied of Cape and other


Native wars as to how Natives, setting no value on time,
had often been prevented from precipitating a conflict
through troops being frequently moved about in such a
way as not to run risks of being ambushed, he decided to
garrison the place with a small force which, strongly
entrenched behind wire entanglements, would be adequate
in case of a rush, though not strong enough should the
O.C., losing his head, feel inclined to act on the aggressive.
Lieut.-Col. H. Sparks, V.D., was the officer selected for the
post, firstly, because he was intimately acquainted with
the district, and secondly, because of his being a cautious
leader. He was instructed to have the district well
patrolled, but on no account to come into colHsion with
the enemy unless his lager was attacked. Stores, etc.,
were to be drawn from Stanger, but, unless a strong
escort accompanied the waggons, drivers and voorloopers
were to have no escort at all.

The force, consisting of 120 N.M.R. and 50 D.L.L,
arrived at Mapumulo on the 2nd May. Sparks found the
Natives, barely fifty miles from Nkandhla as the crow
flies, with the Tugela between, in a very disturbed state,
notably the tribes of Ndhlovu, Meseni, and Ngobizembe.
They were all palpably in sympathy with Bambata. A
lager of wire entanglements was erected about the gaol
and court-house. Patrols were sent out daily to Bal-
comb's and Allan's stores, i.e. north and north-west, as
well as to Thring's Post and Umvoti Drift, in Meseni's
ward. On the 15th May, a large one went into the latter
ward, where armed Natives were observed on the hills.
These were said to be awaiting an opportunity of joining
Bambata at Nkandhla.

Reports were continually brought in by scouts that
Natives of certain tribes were being doctored for war,
after which they proceeded to Nkandhla. One of the
Chiefs concerned helped to ascertain the kraals of those
who had so gone ofl. Sparks adopted the ingenious
expedient of distraining all cattle belonging to these kraals
until the rebels who ordinarily lived there had been sur-
rendered, and, in several instances, with every success.


The O.C., moreover, ably assisted by the Magistrate
(Colonel T. Maxwell), ^ got into touch with a number of
loyal Chiefs and headmen. In these and other ways,
these two officers succeeded in maintaining order until
after the decisive blow had been struck at Mome.

Of the Chiefs in Mapumulo, Lower Tugela and Ndwedwe^
divisions, two or three, apart from those already referred
to, call for special mention.

Meseni was head of the Qwabe tribe, one of the most
ancient and famous tribes in Natal and Zululand.^ On
the death of his father Musi, some years before the
Rebellion, a dispute arose as to the heir, when the Gover-
nor, after inquiry, decided to divide the tribe. Meseni
was appointed Chief over the principal section, whilst his
nephew, Siziba (a minor), was awarded another section,
as well as the property left by Musi. This decision, how-
ever, caused considerable dissatisfaction. The Magis-
trate of Lower Tugela (Mr. F. P. Shuter), was shortly
after made Chief over Siziba's section. This gave great
offence to Meseni. A fight took place between the two
factions. Although, in Meseni's view, one party was as
guilty as the other, his men were more severely punished
than those presided over by the Magistrate. This Meseni
felt to be unjust. He became disrespectful to Mr. Shuter.
Such offence, as well as his assembhng men with the
alleged intention of attacking another Chief, with whom
some difference had arisen, were reported, when nearly
1,000 huts of his tribe (i.e. the section in Lower Tugela
division), were detached and put under other Chiefs.

^ Colonel Maxwell, a firm ruler, with a vai'ied and life-long experience
in Natal in different official capacities, was selected for the position,
after the Magistrate, who had been defied by Ngobizembe's men when
the poll tax was proclaimed, had left Mapumulo.

^ A broad, continuous tract of country, which runs through portions
of Mapumulo and Ndwedwe divisions, and extends fiuther south, is
reserved entirely for Native occupation. The three districts mentioned
had, in 1906, a total population of 80,000 Natives.

^ Qwabe, the progenitor of the tribe was, like the founder of the Zulu
tribe, a son of Malandela, who flourished probably at the beginning of
the sixteenth century. As Qwabe wa,s Zulu's elder brother, the tribe,
though politically subordinate to the Zulu one, is regarded as senior in
a social sense.


When those of Meseni's tribe in Mapumulo division
were called together by the Magistrate for the purpose of
the poll tax being explained, they behaved in an insolent
and defiant manner. This occurred at Gaillard's store,
Umvoti, whilst the Chief himself was at Stanger in connec-
tion with the faction fight referred to. Such absence did
not, of course, prevent his being called on for an explana-
tion by Leuchars in March. He was ordered to arrest and
hand over all such as had misbehaved. This Meseni said
it was impossible to do within the three days allowed,
especially as many weeks had elapsed since the affair.
He, however, brought in a number, who were punished.
For faihng to hand over about 200, he was later on
arrested and imprisoned at Mapumulo. After being in
gaol for about six weeks, he was released by order of the
Government, without, however, having been brought to
trial. When, with the fighting going on at Nkandhla,
the people at Mapumulo began to assume a rebelHous
attitude, Meseni was ordered to come in but did
not do so. In May and June, when larger numbers of
troops came to the district, he called up his people, as
he says, to protect himself. Action of that kind, of
course, at once gave the impression that he was in

Ndhlovu ka Timuni, of the Zulu tribe, was a Chief with
considerable influence in Mapumulo di vision. ^ Owing to
a mistake, he was summoned to Stanger in April. On
instructions from Mapumulo, he was placed under arrest
and subsequently removed to that place, where he was
detained for a time and then released.

The people of both these tribes broke into rebellion in
June. Associated with them were the Chiefs MatshwiH and
Mlungwana, also portions of Ntshingumuzi's, Swaimana's
and other tribes. Ntshingumuzi himself did not rebel,
though a relation of his, a young man Mahlanga, vigo-
rously coerced many to rise and join Matshwih.

But although, as in the cases of Meseni and Ndhlovu,
there was apparently some cause for complaint, purely

^ Being of the Zulu tribe, he was, of course, related to Dinuzulu.


Native influences of a distinctly disloyal character were
at work, and this prior to either of the arrests referred to.

As far back as January and February, for instance, a
large portion of Ntshingumuzi's tribe had been doctored
for war, whilst practically the whole of those of Mlungwana
and Matshwili had gone through the same performance.^
There is no act, passive in its nature, which a Native can
commit that betrays hostile intent more plainly than
being doctored for war. Once such ceremonies are held,
all that remains is to await the signal for a simultaneous

Early in June, two messengers (one a headringed man)
arrived from Siteku, an uncle of Dinuzulu, living near
Melmoth in Zululand. This man (Siteku) incited the tribes
of Ndhlovu, Matshwili and Meseni to rebel and kill all the
white people ; " Bambata has not been killed," he said,
" but is in hiding in the Tugela valley." He threatened

1 The following is a digest of interesting evidence given for the prosecu-
tion at the trial of Ntshingumuzi, Mbombo and another before the Native
High Court. Mbombo was a doctor from Zululand, living near Usutu
kraal under Dinuzulu, and one of that Chief's domestic physicians.
It was alleged that Ntshingiunuzi had called the tribe to his own kraal,
early in 1906, to be doctored for war. In response to the summons, the
people came carrying sticks and dancing-shields. They formed a circle
Xumkumhi) in the cattle-kraal. Mbombo then came out of a hut with
his face smeared with black powder, and carrying a smoking firebrand.
He went round the men, first on the inside and then on the outside of
the circle, flourishing the smoking brand wherever he went. He then
threw it away and sprinkled the people with medicine, by means of
two Native brooms, one being held in each hand. After this, the
company was sent by him to a stream. His boy followed with a
basket of medicine, which was put into deep running water, so that the
water flowed into the basket and out of it. The basket was retained in
position by the doctor's boy, assisted by one of the boys from the kraal.
The warriors drank of the water, some from the basket itself, and others
just below it. This done, they individually moved down the stream and
vomited into the water. After washing their bodies, they moved back
to the cattle-kraal, chanting as they went in company formation. Thus
clean of body and stomach, they dipped their fingers in the war medicine,
prepared on heated potsherds, and brought it to their lips. The Chief
was not doctored. When sprinkling the warriors, the doctor asked
them if they wanted war, they replied in the affirmative. They were
then allowed to return to their kraals, but told to sleep on their weapons.
— Decisions, Native High Court, 1907, p. 93.

It seems that the warriors were also invited by the doctor and
Ntshingumuzi to make money contributions, and that shillings and
sixpences were given. The money, it was said, was to be sent to the
' Chief of Zululand ' (Dinuzulu) to buy drugs, to render their bodies
impervious to bullets.


Ndhlovu with violence if his people did not rise. Calling
to mind an occasion on which a relation of that Chief had,
some seventy years before, failed to assist the Zulus against
the Boers, Ndhlovu was warned that although his relation
had escaped punishment at the hands of the Zulus, he
(Ndhlovu) was not to be too sure such luck would be his
own during the existing crisis. Ndhlovu states that a
messenger from the tribe of Mtonga (another uncle of
Dinuzulu, living in Eshowe district), also came and incited
him to take up arms.

It was in these and other ways, too numerous to be
noticed in detail, that the majority of the Native popula-
tion at Mapumulo decided to rebel. Those who did, began
by arming and organizing themselves quietly in their
respective wards. And the more they massed and organ-
ized, the more confident they were of success. To such a
pitch did the excitement grow, that Ndhlovu resolved to
step forth and give the required signal.

It so happened that on Monday, the 18th June, a convoy
of nine waggons, drawn by oxen, left Stanger for Mapu-
mulo. The waggons outspanned for the night 200 yards
from Oglesby's store, near the Otimati stream, and some
six miles from Mapumulo. On receipt of news of the
locaUty being in a greatly disturbed state, an early start
was made on the following day. The usual Native driver
and voorlooper (leader) accompanied each waggon, also a
European conductor (Q.-M.-Sergt. L. E. Knox, N.M.R.),
Trooper Albert PoweU, of the same regiment (who was
returning from sick leave), and a Griqua. Just as the
waggons had begun to descend a white cutting, some fifty
or sixty rebels of Ndhlovu's tribe, wearing tshokobezi
badges, sprang up on either side and made for the leading
waggon. Knox was struck with a knobstick, and stabbed
in the right thigh (the assegai penetrating to the stomach).
He jumped from the waggons, dashed through his assail-
ants and made off for Mapumulo along the road as hard
as he could go. Being a good athlete, he quickly out-
distanced the rebels and arrived at the magistracy
shortly before 9. In the meantime, Powell, who was on


the last waggon, ran to Oglesby's store. The Oglesbys
(father and son), did what they could. The former was in
the act of conducting Powell to a cave a few hundred
yards off, when the impi came in sight and overtook them.
Powell, who, Hke Knox, was in uniform, was immediately
stabbed to death, but Oglesby and his son, well known to
the Natives of that part, were not touched.

The drivers and voorloopers ran off for a time as soon
as the attack began, although the rebels shouted that,
being Natives and having been commandeered for service,
they would not be molested. The oxen were not interfered
with, nor were any contents of the waggons worth referring
to looted.

Early the same morning (19th), Corporal J. Koster,
N.M.R., rode off from Mapumulo towards Stanger on
leave. After going about eight miles, and at 7 a.m., when
on a short-cut, he was suddenly attacked from the lower
side of the path by eight rebels of Ndhlovu's tribe. The
telegraph wire between Mapumulo and Stanger had just
been cut. It was possibly in anticipation of a despatch-
rider going that way, that the Natives lay there in ambush.
Assegais were flung at Koster, who narrowly escaped being
killed as he rode past. One of them struck his horse,
piercing a kidney. After galloping about 300 yards, he
dismounted and fired several shots at the enemy, who at
once decamped. These shots were heard by the rebels
then engaged with Kjiox some three miles off, and to this
may be due their not having pursued Knox further than
they did. Koster then passed on to Thring's Post, where
he was informed that a Norwegian storeman, Sangreid, and
Mr. W. C. Bobbins (Stock Inspector), had been murdered
during the night in Mr. Thring's dwelHng-house, some 400
yards from the store. After obtaining a trap and pair at
Bull's some miles nearer Stanger, Koster returned to
Thring's. He found Sangreid dead, but Robbins living,
though severely wounded.

The impi that attacked Sangreid and Robbins was also
from Ndhlovu's tribe, evidently the same men that sub-
sequently attacked Knox. Robbins' life was saved by one


of the rebels, owing to his being well known in the district.
Sangreid was brutally murdered in his bedroom, late at
night, for no offence whatever.

The stores at Thring's Post and Oglesby's were looted,
as also the cattle belonging to the former place. Oglesby's
store was not looted until it had been vacated by the

On Kjiox reaching Mapumulo, it so happened a patrol
was about to leave for Balcomb's, six miles north-west of
the magistracy. A hurried account of what had occurred
was given to Lieut.-Col. J. Ritchie, V.D., who, after
directing others to follow in support, left with Capt. W. H.
Smith and eleven N.M.R. at a gallop for the spot at which
the convoy had been attacked. On getting within a
couple of hundred yards of Oglesby's store, a large track,
evidently of the impiy was come upon. Following this,
the men passed through a Mission Station (Norwegian),
about a thousand yards from the store. Near this
station, which was still being occupied by the missionary,
four armed Natives, evidently scouts, were seen on a hill
on their left front. These immediately disappeared into
a large valley and towards a kraal belonging to Chief
Ndhlovu (Ezintandaneni). Ritchie galloped to a high
ridge overlooking the valley. A solitary horse was
observed some distance below tied to a tree, whilst a
number of cattle, which afterwards turned out to be those
seized at Thring's Post, were seen grazing within the
immediate vicinity of the kraal. The men dismounted
and descended the rocky, steep slopes towards the kraal.
This, in respect of the position they then occupied, lay
between them and the magistracy. After proceeding about
120 yards, and when about the same distance from the
kraal, they were suddenly surprised by an impi about 200
strong, up to that moment concealed near a bed of reeds
in one of the two forks at the head of a kloof or small
valley running past, and on the immediate north of, the
kraal. As soon as the enemy showed himseK, he charged
upwards at them, shouting Dinuzulu's war-cry " Usutu ! "
The troops opened fire at once at fifty yards. This had



the effect of checking the advance for the time being.
*' They attempted several times," says Ritchie, " to get
round our flanks and ... in fact had almost succeeded,
when Knox and Campbell came up with the supports. . . .
The rebels had again to take shelter under the chff and
behind the rocks. Shortly after this, they made one more
determined rush to get up over the rocks, where eight or
ten of us were standing. They came to within five yards.


but, although all had their assegais poised ready for throw-
ing, only one was actually thrown. The fire seemed to
paralyse them. The assegai that was thrown just grazed
the head of one of the men."

It was but a few minutes after Ritchie had gone off
from Mapumulo, that Capt. A. G. Knox, brother of the
man already referred to, and Capt. W. A. Campbell left
with about fifty men in support of Ritchie as directed.
They arrived on the ridge referred to just before the charge.
Their appearance was most opportune as, having descended
as far as they had done, Ritchie and the others would


probably have been annihilated had the rebels not been
checked as they were from the ridge. Finding the supports
too strong, the enemy retreated down the valley up which
they had come, many being shot as they ran. The locality
being ' thorn -country ' afforded cover — even though it
was winter — of which full advantage was taken by the
enemy. The troops now combined and drove the valley
from which the attack had come, as well as a similar one
120 yards from the kraal on the south, in which other rebels
were found concealed. One or two of the ridges were also

During the drives, which extended over about a mile
of country, many armed Natives withdrew from their
hiding-places and were shot as they ran down the streams
towards the still more rugged country below. Lieut. R.
Armstrong and another, who had become detached from
the main body, took up a position below Luhoho's kraal
and commanded the fiigitives' main route at C {vide
plan) with considerable effect.

Towards the conclusion of the drives, intelligence was
received that Ngobizembe's men, under Sambela, about
600 strong, were approaching from the direction in which
the rebels had just fled. Owing to accounts subsequently
received from the fugitives, they decided not to continue
the advance.

The total strength of the N.M.R. engaged on this
occasion was sixty-six (made up of the Stanger and Green-
wood Park troops, exclusive of twelve men sent by Sparks
to Nyamazana to expose themselves to the enemy in
Meseni's ward, and thereby prevent the latter from joining
the imfi at Otimati). About 150 rebels were killed and
four prisoners captured during the operations, which
lasted an hour and a half. There were no casualties among
the N.M.R. Powell's body was found later the same day
in a horribly mutilated and scarcely recognizable condition,
having been dragged by the rebels some 300 yards from
where he had been killed to a place where it was supposed
it would not be found. It was then removed to Oglesby's


The number of rebels killed in this action was greater,
in proportion to the number of troops engaged, than in
any other action of the campaign. From start to finish,
the proceedings reflect the greatest credit on Ritchie and
his men, not the least remarkable feature being the
rapidity with which the men got into action. Only fifty
minutes elapsed between their leaving camp and firing
the first shot, although the distance travelled was fully
seven and a half miles.

It afterwards transpired that the rebels, led by Ndhlovn
himself, were expecting Ritchie and the few with him to
go to the kraal, when the plan was to cut them off in rear.
No doubt the horse and cattle had been purposely left
as baits. Before the arrival of the troops, the enemy were
in the cattle-kraal. They slipped into the valleys on
either side at the last moment.

After the action, Ritchie sent Smith with sixteen men
to investigate what had occurred at Thring's Post. As

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 31 of 52)