James Stuart.

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

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July), the light of a far more important man was flickering
out at Empandhleni. This was none other than the
veteran Chief Sigananda, who, forced to rebel, — as he
plainly hinted at his trial, by Dinuzulu and Mankulu-
mana's attitude towards Bambata, — had been the cause
of so much trouble at Nkandhla. Although treated as a
first-class offender, supplied during his thirty-eight days'
imprisonment with whatever he required in the way of
food, clothing and other comforts, the old man was unable,
at the age of 96, to adapt himself to changed conditions of
living. He was cheerful and communicative to the last,
and in full possession of all his faculties. On more than
one occasion, he narrated wonderful experiences gone
through by him in earlier days. Among these, was the
massacre of Piet Retief and party in 1838 at Mgungun-
dhlovu, when Sigananda had himself actively participated.
The glee with which the old man told of his King's triumph,
wholly regardless of the fiendishly treacherous manner in

1 When, on the 10th July, Dick returned to Durban, Furze took com-
mand (under Wylie) ; Furze was relieved on the 13th by Boyd- Wilson.
In the concluding stages of the campaign, N.R. were detailed as garri-
sons at such places as Thring's Post, Kearsney, Stanger, and Nkandhla,
whilst E squadron cleared up at Noodsberg.


which it had been accomplished, served to throw a lurid
light on the true Zulu character when called on to deal
with a supposed enemy.

As soon as the T.M.R. were relieved at Esidumbini,
they proceeded to Durban. There they became the guests
of the Mayor and Corporation during such time as they
were in the town. The whole people rose in their honour
and loudly acclaimed their performance. The regiment
was entertained by the Government at luncheon on the
21st, when, in the course of an eloquent speech, intended
also to apply to the " Rosebuds " (L. and Y.) and Rangers
(N.R.), the Governor formally and warmly expressed the
heartfelt thanks of the Colony for the splendid services
that had been rendered by the Trans vaalers, services
which included the defeat and expulsion of the enemy
from a stronghold supposed for many generations to be
insurmountable and impregnable. Help such as that,
freely and generously given by a sister Colony in time of
need, would, said Sir Henry McCallum, never be forgotten.
At Johannesburg, again, the return of these and other
Transvaal troops was an occasion of much public rejoicing.

The following general resolution was moved and carried
unanimously in the Legislative Council as well as in the
Legislative Assembly on the 31st July :

" (1) That the cordial thanks of this Council (Assembly)
are hereby accorded to the MiHtia and other forces now or
lately engaged in the field, for the promptitude with which
they responded to the call to arms for the purpose of
queUing the rebellion of portions of the Native population
of this Colony. That this Council (Assembly) in con-
gratulating the Officers Commanding upon the success
which has attended their arms, places on record its appre-
ciation of the gallantry and endurance displayed by all
ranks, and of the public spirit with which private interests
have been sacrificed by all alike for the defence of the
Colony. (2) That a copy of this resolution be conveyed
to the Commandant of Militia, with an expression of the
wish of this Council (Assembly) that its terms may be
communicated to the various units engaged."



Two days later, some 2,000 troops, representing the
various units recently engaged in the operations, including
the Cape Mounted Rifles, headed by the band of the
Cameron Highlanders, marched to and paraded on the
Market Square, Pietermaritzburg, where they were ad-
dressed by the Governor in the presence of a large con-
course of spectators, not the least interested being members
of many of the Native tribes. Speaking on behalf of the
Colony, and as His Majesty's representative. Sir Henry
McCallum cordially thanked the troops for " the magnifi-
cent services they had rendered to the Colony and to the
Empire." " For, perhaps, the first time on record," he
went on, " you have been engaged principally upon the
offensive, and you have carried out work which was
supposed to be insurmountable. This has required the
greatest fortitude on your part. Willingly have the
mounted men put their horses on one side, scrambled into
the bush, and got into the forefront in attacking the
enemy. The conduct of the campaign throughout has
been one for the greatest congratulation, not only to
yourselves, but to the Colony in general." His Excellency
added : "I see on parade a detachment of the Cape
Mounted Rifles. I am afraid that many volunteers from
the Cape Colony were disappointed at not being able to
take part in this campaign, but I am extremely glad that
arrangements could be made by which our sister Colony
was represented. I thank those who have come to our
assistance extremely, and I ask them when they go back to
inform their fellow-colonists that the young Colony of
Natal has equally soldiers who are ready at all times to
give to her assistance, if wanted, in the same way that
they have come to us."

With martial law in force, it followed that offences
arising out of the Rebellion were, for the most part, dealt
with under such law. Many of the Magistrates were
granted authority by the Commandant to try these
offences, but this was revoked by the Governor on the
17th September. Graver crimes were reserved for pro-
perly-constituted courts-martial. These courts were


convened at such places as Nkandhla (Empandhleni),
Mapumulo, Grey town, Dundee and Pietermaritzburg, and
were presided over by the following, among other, officers :
Lieutenant-Colonels J. Weighton, V.D., J. S. WyUe,
H. H. C. Puntan, H. R. Bousfield, C.M.G. The sittings
began at Empandhleni on the 25th June with the trial
of Sigananda,^ and lasted till the end of September. To
afford the accused every facility in procuring witnesses,
to obviate putting European and Native witnesses to more
inconvenience than necessary, and to impress those most
specially concerned with the enormity of the offences that
had been committed, it was arranged to try offenders, as
far as possible, in the districts within which the treason
or sedition had been committed. Among the most
important trials were those of Sigananda, Ndabaningi,
Meseni, Ndhlovu,^ Tilonko, Sikukuku, and some forty of
those implicated in the attack on the Police at Mpanza
(tried in two lots). In some of these, and in other, cases,
the death sentence was passed, but, on the advice of
Ministers, the Governor, in every instance, commuted it
to one of imprisonment. The three Natives, including
Mjongo, who were concerned in the murder of Hunt and
Armstrong — too unwell to be tried by court-martial at
Richmond in March — were tried in September, not by
court-martial, but by the Supreme Court. The evidence
adduced was similar to that given at the court-martial.
The prisoners were defended by counsel other than those
who appeared before the latter court. The three were
convicted, the jury being unanimous in respect to two,
and 7 to 2 as to the third. The sentence of death by hang-
ing was subsequently carried out. This conviction by an
ordinary tribunal only goes to confirm the Governor's
contention in respect of the first trial, namely, that it was
in every way fair and just.

Kula, the Chief who was removed from Umsinga in May,

1 Major W. A. Vanderplank, Z.M.R., prosecuted in this important
case, and Capt. C. F. Clarkson, D.L.I., with Lieut, H. Walton, N.C.,

2 Meseni and Ndhlovu were tried at Mapumulo on the 16th and 17th
July, 1906, and convicted of high].treason.


was not tried for the reason that no crime of a sufficiently
definite nature was found to have been committed by him.
As, however, his conduct as a Government officer had,
for some time past, as well as during the Rebellion,
been unsatisfactory, it was considered undesirable for
him to resume control of his tribe. He was accordingly
required to reside for a time a few miles from Pieter-
maritzburg, so as to be under the immediate eye of the

The rank and file of some 4,700 prisoners were tried by
their respective Magistrates and by Judges. The great
majority of sentences ran from six months to two years,
with whipping added. A few were for longer periods, for
life, etc. After a number had been flogged, the Govern-
ment directed suspension of all further whippings during
good behaviour. Special arrangements had, of course, to
be made in Durban and elsewhere for accommodating the
prisoners. About 2,500 were confined in a compound at
Jacobs near Durban, formerly used by Chinese labourers ;
400 (for the most part with sentences of two years) in a
special prison at the Point, Durban ; 100 at Fort Napier,
Pietermaritzburg ; and the rest in various gaols. The
Inspector of Prisons (and Assistant Commissioner of
Police), G. S. Mardall, was responsible for the carrying out
of the foregoing and other connected duties. The labour
on which the men were principally employed was in
connection with the harbour works, Durban, as well as
making and repairing roads in different parts of the
Colony. Later, about 1,500 were hired by the Collieries,
and others by the Railway Department.

As the Ministry were of opinion that a good effect would
be created on the Native mind by such ringleaders as had
been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment being sent
out of the Colony to serve their sentences, arrangements

^ Other Chiefs and headmen, whose conduct during the disturbances
had been unsatisfactory, were deposed, and, in some cases, ordered to
remove to other districts. Among those removed were Tshingana,
Dinuzulu's uncle, and, later on, Mabeketshiya, one of Dinuzulu's
cousins ; the former left Mahlabatini district to live near Amanzimtoti
in Natal, the latter went from Vryheid district to Alfred division.


were made for the removal of twenty-five to St. Helena.
They were deported on the 1st June, 1907.

A general desire to abrogate martial law at the earliest
opportunity was felt as soon as the troops had been
demobilized. No one was more anxious to do this than
the Government itself. With so many prisoners to be
tried for offences of varying gravity, however, it was
impossible to do this before the 2nd October.

On the same day, the Governor, on authority granted
by the Secretary of State in August, signified his assent to
an Act indemnifjdng the mihtary and civil authorities of
the Colony and all such persons as had acted under them
in regard to acts during the existence of martial law.

It was with much gratification that the Governor and
his Ministers received the following telegram, on the 2nd
September, from the Secretary of State for the Colonies :

" I rejoice to think that the period of strain through
which the Colony of Natal has passed may now be con-
sidered at an end, and I desire on behalf of His Majesty's
Government to express our sense of the courage and self-
reliance with which the emergency has been met. The
conduct of the troops in the field and the management of
the operations appear from all accounts to have been
admirable and to have been well supported by the deter-
mination and seK-restraint of the Government and the
people. I should have been prepared at any moment to
move His Majesty's Government to render assistance, but
I am glad that the necessity did not arise.

" The judgment and moderation shown in the commu-
tation of courts-martial sentences inspires the hope that
the peace of the Colony will now be re-established on the
broad basis of justice and good feeling for all races.

" For yourself this has been a time of great stress and
anxiety, and I congratulate you on the success which has
attended you in your difficult task."

An estimate of the total number of rebels that took part
in the Rebellion is very difficult to arrive at at aU approxi-
mately. Judging from the reports of Commanding Officers,


the aggregate for Natal and Zululand would be about
10,000 to 12,000, of whom about 2,300 were killed. After
the outbreak, the Government obtained particulars from
the various Magistrates, when the totals for Natal and
Zululand were found to be 3,873 and 2,031 respectively ;
of these, 782 and 609 were said to have been killed or
missing.^ There are several reasons why the Magistrates
would have been unable to obtain exact information, the
chief among them being dread of punishment, either by
imprisonment or seizure of stock. At the same time, the
miUtary estimates may also have been at fault.

It remains to refer to the cost of the Rebelhon. The
expenditure for the suppression and prevention thereof
was met from loans raised under Acts of the Natal ParHa-
ment, whereby authority was granted to borrow up to
£1,000,000. A sum of £900,000 was raised, the amount
reahzed being £892,137 16s. Actual expenditure charge-
able against loan account amounted to £637,039 15s. 5d.
at 31st December, 1906 ; this rose to £778,360 Is. 7d. by
30th June, 1907. Included in the latter total are claims
for compensation for losses sustained during the Rebellion,
£40,750, and upkeep of rebel prisoners, £49,657, whilst a
reduction of £10,992 has been made, on account of monies
received by Government for the hire of rebel prisoners.^

The issue of a medal, in recognition of services rendered
during the Rebellion, was approved by His Majesty the
King. It was granted to those (including nursing sisters),
who served between the 11th February and the 3rd
August, for a continuous period of not less than twenty
days, also to certain civiHans, Native Chiefs, and others
who had rendered valuable service. A clasp, inscribed
" 1906," was issued with the medal to such as had served
for a continuous period of not less than fifty days.

1 As, at a number of the places where engagements had occurred, e.g.
Mome, Insuze and Izinsimba, it appeared that many bodies of rebels
had not been removed, it became necessary for the Government to send
out a small party to bury them.

2 Particulars will be foimd in Appendix VIII. regarding expenditiu-e
from the beginning of the Rebellion to 31st May, 1910, i.e. including
that incurred in connexion with the Dinuzulu Expedition, December,
1907, to March, 1908.



From a military point of view, the rapidity and thorough-
ness with which the rising was suppressed cannot but
reflect the greatest credit on the Colonists and the Govern-
ment of Natal. Hostilities began on the 4th April and
lasted until the middle of July, barely three and a half
months. The achievement w£is altogether a notable one,
and one of which far larger Colonies would have justly
been proud, especially when it is borne in mind that it
W£is accomplished without the assistance of the Mother
Country. 1 To have conducted with success so formidable
a campaign, calhng as it did for the employment of nearly
10,000 men and over 6,000 Natives, without Imperial aid,
is probably unique in the history of the Empire. And not
less creditable was it that the rising was kept from
developing to far greater proportions, as might easily
have happened through mismanagement.

The character of the work done by the Natal MiHtia,
as weU as by the Transvaal and Cape troops, the Natal
Police and other forces, shows that a very high standard
of efficiency existed at the beginning of the hostilities,
indicating that organization in the hands of the Com-
mandant, and of the authorities in the sister Colonies,
was everything that could have been desired. Throughout
the campaign, all units, under their respective command-
ing officers, discharged the duties allotted to them in a
cheerful, soldier-like and exemplary manner. Many of the
operations and actions engaged in from time to time were

^ Except to the extent indicated on p. 63.


of a particularly severe and difficult nature. Especially
was this the case in regard to what is known as the thorn
country, which is very extensive and broken, and at
Nkandhla, where forest-driving had to be repeatedly
undertaken, often under the most disheartening condi-
tions. If the men were not obHged to undergo privations
to an abnormal extent, it was only because of the general
excellence of the other branches of the service, e.g. trans-
port, supphes, medical, ordnance, etc., each of which,
again, was strongly supported by aU ranks of the Natal
Government Railways Departments.

Foremost among individuals who contributed to the
success were the Governor, Sir Henry McCallum, G.C.M.G.,
the Natal Ministry (Messrs. Smythe, Maydon, Hyslop,
Watt, Winter and Clayton), and Colonels Bru-de-Wold,
McKenzie and Leuchars.

Attention has already been called to the eminent
services rendered by Sir Henry McCallum. That he
should have made a point of discussing the position with
his Ministers, as he did, daily from the day the trouble
started to its close, is proof, if any were wanting, of his
extreme soHcitude for the welfare of the Colony. Valuable
assistance was afforded him throughout the campaign by
Sir Charles Saunders, for the time being his deputy in

The Ministry are deserving of the greatest praise for
the cool, resolute and statesmanlike manner in which
they controlled the affairs of the Colony. They met the
extraordinary difficulties that confronted them from time
to time with courage and success. The stand made when
the suspension of the Richmond executions was ordered
is alone sufficient to cause their administration to be
remembered and respected. A further measure of credit
is due to Sir Thomas Watt, who, as Minister of Justice
and Defence, was, of course, primarily responsible for the
excellent state of military organization at the beginning
of the campaign.

It is unnecessary to recapitulate what has already
been said about Colonel Bru-de-Wold. The Militia was


exceedingly fortunate in having so enthusiastic and
experienced an officer as Commandant. The same appHes
to that distinguished soldier Major-General Sir John
Dartnell who, for a time, reUeved Colonel Bru-de-Wold.

That Colonel (now Brigadier-General Sir Duncan)
McKenzie did more than come up to the high expectations
formed of his capacities as a soldier was generally acknow-
ledged. But few opportunities for distinguishing himself
arose during the demonstrations in February and March.
When he assumed command at Nkandhla, however, early
in May, with Colonel Sir Aubrey Woolls-Sampson as Chief
Staff Officer, they became numerous. It was due mainly
to his generalship, ably supported by the column and
other commanders, that the decisive results at Nkandhla
and elsewhere were brought about. Every operation or
action taken in hand by him during the compaign was
planned with the greatest care and circumspection. He
was fortunate in being provided with excellent intelligence.
His policy was always to strike hard, and to afford no
chance of escape. It was, in the main, owing to this
method, and the vigour and resolution with which it was
followed, that hostilities were brought to an end as soon
as they were.

A fine horseman, with an unerring eye for country, his
performances in the field were invariably marked by
swiftness of action, and brilliancy and thoroughness of

Colonel Leuchars commanded all troops in Natal proper
and Nqutu district, though, after 30th May, he did so
under McKenzie. Much useful and soHd work was done
by this popular officer, with Major (now Lieut. -Col.) S.
Carter as Staff Officer. He proved himself to be a judicious,
capable and reliable commander. The disturbed area over
which he had control included no less than five magisterial
districts. As these all abut on the Tugela, it can be seen
that the command was one of exceptional difficulty, and
this not only in a geographical, but a diplomatic, sense.

The first lesson of the Rebellion may, therefore, be
said to have been (a) the happy conjunction of capable


statesmen and soldiers, one and all ready to serve the
Colony to the utmost in its time of need ; and (b) the
thoroughness of mihtary organization.

Rebels' strategy, tactics, etc. — The primary object of the
rebels was to score victories, however small, at the outset,
it being felt that that was the most effective way of
rousing the people from a condition of apathy or inertia
brought on through chronic fear of Europeans. The
masses considered it was useless fighting against a race
far better armed than themselves, and one which, twenty-
eight years before, had defeated the Zulu army when in
its highest state of efficiency. If the Rebellion was not to
fall flat, the most strenuous efforts had, therefore, to be
made to secure adherents.

Having regard to their inferior weapons, the only chance
of success lay in selecting a terrain suitable to their tactics.
That, at any rate, would afford breathing- time, for if the
theatre of war lay away from railways and in country
difficult for horses, the longer would hostilities continue.
Thus success was recognized as depending largely on
protracting the campaign, by rendering it as difficult as
possible for the troops.

To start hostilities, again, at the most favourable time,
i.e. about May, when all the crops had been reaped, was
regarded as essential. It is true that the Trewirgie affair
occurred in February, but such must be regarded as an
exception which proved the rule.

The feeling that they could, as it were, " float " a
general rebellion was, no doubt, largely derived from the
success achieved by a Zulu impi against Potgieter's com-
mando at Holkrantz. The ambuscade at Mpanza, too,
was a success, and afforded just the illustration required
to support the cry that European bullets would not
" enter." As Natives in general greatly dreaded rifle fire,
it became necessary to counteract the fear by inventing
the " non-en tering-bullet " superstition. Had but one or
two rebels been killed at Mpanza, not nearly so much
would have been made of the superstition as was done.

The fact that, at the beginning of June, the position


was extremely serious, only shows that the enemy's tactics
had been effective, differing widely from the free, open
methods practised during the Zulu War. But for the
remarkable coup at Mome, the RebelHon might easily
have developed to far greater proportions. As it was,
many Chiefs on both sides of the Tugela had begun to
assist directly or indirectly. And it is clear that the more
protracted the fighting, the more Natives at large would
have inferred that the Government had got to the end of
its resources, and was, therefore, unable to cope with the
situation. Once such a notion had been created and been
widely believed, anything up to 100,000 might have risen,
and so called for an army corps to deal with the outbreak
at a cost of £10,000,000 or so. That is the prospect the
Ministry had before them at the latter end of May and
beginning of June.

That principles such as the foregoing would be followed
in any future Native war appears axiomatic, particularly
as Natives know quite well that their tactics in 1906 were,
on the whole, successful ; Mome, though a catastrophe,
was due to accident or carelessness that could easily
have been avoided by a competent commander.

That an outbreak should have occurred at Mapumulo
subsequent to the d^dcle in Zululand, is remarkable chiefly
as showing lack of territorial organization. Although a
certain amount had been introduced at Nkandhla, be-
tween the arrival of Bambata and the action at Mome,
the army daily becoming more crafty and efficient, it had
reference only to such rebels as had actually massed at
that place. A supreme organizer was wanting, one who,
whilst directing at Nkandhla, could have so far enforced
obedience as to control situations such as those at
Umsinga, and especially in Mapumulo and Ndwedwe
divisions. That there was this want was undoubtedly
felt by every insurgent. They knew too much of Tshaka's
successes to do otherwise than realize that they were weak,
and see what such weakness was due to. That is why
Dinuzulu's personality and presence was so much in
demand. That is why, for instance, one heard of such


talk as that they would seize and carry hini off to lead

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 36 of 52)