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 38 of 52)
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hostilities in the eastern districts of Natal, as well as of
the dissolution of Parhament and following general

The terms of reference were of the widest range, practi-
cally every aspect of Native legislation and administra-
tion being set down for inquiry. There was, however, one
matter which did not fall within the scope of the inquiry,
viz. the actual causes of the Rebellion.

The seven Commissioners appointed included a repre-


sentative of the Imperial Government. No time was lost
in getting to work.

The labours and area covered by this important body
are succinctly set forth in the following extracts from its
own report :

" The design of the inquiry being both general and
particular, the powers conferred have been used in the
manner intended and to the fullest extent by collecting
information from all sources, European, official and un-
official — Native and others ; all being invited who could
further the investigation, by advice or suggestion, or the
results of their observation or experience. . . . The Com-
mission held its first meeting on the 16th October, 1906,
. . . evidence was received from time to time up to the
18th June, 1907. To facihtate this object, thirty-four
places were visited, at which statements by 301 Europeans
were received, together with those of 906 Natives and
others, who addressed the Commission personally or by
delegation. So highly did the Natives appreciate the
opportunities afforded them of expressing their views
that at least 5,500, including Chiefs and headmen,
exempted and Christian Natives, attended, and, on the
whole, spoke, as they were invited to do, with remarkable
freedom." ^

The recommendations of the Commission will be
referred to later.

Colonel Bru-de-Wold was unfortunately obHged to
retire from the position of Commandant of Militia, as well
as from the pubHc service, at the beginning of 1907. He
had served in several capacities, chiefly as a soldier —
always with benefit to the Colony and credit to himself —
for upwards of thirty years. In recognition of the splendid
work done by him before and during the Rebellion, the
honour of D.S.O. was conferred on him by the King. The
Natal Militia, moreover, presented him with a sword of
honour, formally handed to him by the Governor. Colonel
Sir Duncan McKenzie, K.C.M.G., succeeded as Com-

1 Report. Native Affairs Commission, 2oth July, 1907.


A general election took place towards the end of 1906,
when Mr. Smythe's Ministry, finding itself without a
sufficient working majority, resigned in November. The
Right Hon. Sir Frederick R. Moor, P.C., K.C.M.G., was
then called on to form a ministr}^ This he did, the port-
foHo of Premier and Minister for Native Affairs being
taken by himself.

In connection with many of the courts-martial referred
to in the preceding chapter, a considerable amount of
evidence was led more or less impHcating Dinuzulu in the
Rebellion. Moreover, a Native who had visited Usutu
kraal on private business in January, 1907, reported having
seen being harboured there twenty-eight rebels he knew
by name and some hundred or more others. The men, it
was averred, had been formed into three companies
and called the Mbambangwe (leopard-catcher) regiment,
because, for the most part, they consisted of those who
had almost annihilated a small portion of Royston's Horse
at Manzipambana.^ In these circumstances, the Govern-
ment arrived at a decision in August to hold an inquiry
into Dinuzulu's conduct. Although action followed, it
was soon suspended in favour of the Chief himself paying
the Governor a visit. The making of such visit arose out
of a conversation Sir Charles Saunders had with Dinuzulu
(then at Nongoma) over the telephone. The latter had
wished to ' unburden his heart.' After doing this as well
as he could through the telephone, he asked that what
he had said might be transmitted to the Government.
This, the Commissioner replied, it was obviously impossible
to do, although he promised to forward a summary, and
suggested Dinuzulu's paying the Governor a visit and
setting forth at a tete-a-tete all he wished to say. As, by
this time, the Imperial Government wanted Sir Henry
McCallum to assume the Governorship of Ceylon at an
early date, suggestions were made to Dinuzulu that he
should proceed to Pietermaritzburg for the purpose of
unburdening himself, and, at the same time, bidding His
Excellency good-bye. After some delay in arranging

^ Deposition by Mgunguluzo, 1st Feb. 1907,


preliminaries, he proceeded to the railhead at Somkele.
At various stopping-places on the way to Pietermaritz-
burg, he was visited by Natives, who not only accorded
him the highest royal salutes, but laid at his feet other
tokens of devotion and humble allegiance. This triumphal
progress continued until he had reached Pietermaritzburg.
At this place, too, the Natives treated him in a manner
that could not have been outdone by the most servile
subjects of an eastern potentate.

On the 20th and 21st Msij, he was summoned to
Government House, where he, with his indunas, Mankulu-
mana and Mgwaqo, and others, had lengthy interviews
with Sir Henry McCallum in the presence of the Minister
for Native Affairs and other officials. After saying all that
was on his mind, Dinuzulu was spoken to straight ly in
respect of his misbehaviour and offences, real and imagi-
nary, so far as these were then known. He parried too
searching inquiries with his usual dexterity, not unmingled
with suppressio veri, but there were certain accusations
which he was unable, even with the assistance of his coun-
sellors, Mankulumana and Mgwaqo, to quite brush aside.
For instance, his having received messengers from Chiefs
in all parts of the country in connection with the poll tax
and not reporting them to the local Magistrate, as required
to do by standing instructions.

The Governor's object, however, was not to punish him
for such misdeeds as had come to hght, or to probe too
deeply into others that rested merely on suspicion, but to
show him that the Government was in possession of infor-
mation which clearly proved misbehaviour on his part,
and to afford friendly counsel as to his conduct in the
future. Little did the Governor or the Government know
that the man then being addressed and urged to make a
clean breast of his grievances, as he had himself requested
to do, had already committed several serious and un-
pardonable acts of high treason.

After another interview, this time with the Acting
Prime Minister and other Ministers, the Chief returned to
his kraal.


By this time, the Native Affairs Commission was touring
in Zululand, holding meetings at most of the magistracies
with Chiefs and followers, under conditions the most
pleasing to the Natives. Zulus rejoiced at having that
opportunity of laying their grievances before the official
delegates. Not so Dinuzulu. And yet the Governor's
words to him, through the interpreter, were that he would
" have an opportunity of laying his views before the Com-
mission. I ask him to do so, because I can assure him that
any recommendations which that Commission may send
in will receive the earnest consideration of the Govern-
ment." 1

When Dinuzulu got to Somkele by rail, the Commission
happened to be there too. This Dinuzulu knew, and yet
although compelled for some hours to be at the station,
he was unable to leave his railway carriage and walk a
hundred yards to tender evidence, general in character,
which it was well within his power to give, and which,
in the interests of the people one would think he would
rejoice to have tendered.

By reason of the fact that interviews had taken place
with Dinuzulu, the Governor decided to arrange others
with the most influential of those Natal and Zululand
Chiefs who had behaved loyally during the Insurrection.
Some of these men controlled tribes as large or larger than
that of Dinuzulu. It was, indeed, for that particular
reason that no differentiation was shewn between him and
them. The interviews, held on the 3rd and 4th June,
helped materially to allay much of the nervousness then
still prevalent among the people at large, and to restore
the former amicable relations between them and the

This proved to be the last of many useful services Sir
Henry McCallum was caUed on to perform as Governor of
Natal. With the greatest regret did Natalians of every
class take leave of this pubKc officer, for he was one who
had very closely identified himself with their interests, in
times of peace and of war. The energy and ability with

1 Cd. 3,888, p. 83.


which he had grappled with the numerous issues of the
Rebelhon were at all times conspicuous and conspicuously
successful. Difficulties of the most serious nature arose,
sometimes with surprising force and suddenness, only to
be met with coolness and courage, and invariably sur-
mounted. The Colony prided herself in having him as her
Governor. In his hands she felt safe. So satisfied was
she with him in command, as to accord him every privilege
in connection with internal affairs as it was possible to
do. In parting with him, after more than the normal
term of years, she rejoiced to know that his services and
experience, which had been of such intrinsic value to her
in times of stress and of peril, would not be lost to the
great Empire of which she formed a part.

Until the new Governor's arrival at the beginning of
September, Mr. (now Sir WiUiam H.) Beaumont, one of
the judges of the Supreme Court, acted as Administrator.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Matthew Nathan, K.C.M.G.,
who had served with distinction as Governor on the
Gold Coast and Hong Kong, arrived at a critical time to
preside over the affairs of the Colony. He at once
addressed himself to the situation which, as will be seen,
had been rapidly developing during Mr. Beaumont's
tenure of office.

During Dinuzulu's visit to Pietermaritzburg to see Sir
Henry McCallum, reference had been made to certain two
murders in regard to which the Chief was said to have
rendered no assistance to the Government. He explained,
though not at that moment, that one of the men had
' died ' in his ward and the other (Mnqandi) outside it.
The latter who, up to the time of his death, had been
living at Usutu kraal, had had his throat cut, but after
walking a long way, died some eight miles from the kraal.
This incident occurred about the same time that Stain-
bank was murdered. Dinuzulu declared he was unable
to offer any explanation as to how the crimes had come to
be committed.

These murders, both of which took place during the
first half of 1906, are mentioned because it was owing to


them and similar mysterious occurrences in 1907, again
associated with Dinuzulu, that the Colony came once more
to be placed under martial law, and a large portion of the
MiHtia mobilized for the purpose of restoring order.

Following on a charge of having committed adultery
with one of Dinuzulu's wives (a charge which was not
substantiated), and on that account, beheved to have
caused Dinuzulu to become ill, another man, Gence alias
Nsasa, formerly employed by the Chief as a doctor, was
murdered in Nkandhla district in April, 1907.

The latter incident, however, because of deceased's low
rank, did not excite nearly as much attention as the
murder of a prominent and conspicuously loyal Chief, also
of Nkandhla, named Sitshitshih. This man had materially
assisted the Government to the utmost of his abihty
during the Rebellion. Many years before he had saved
Dinuzulu's life, when the kraal at which the latter was
stajdng was suddenly attacked by Zibebu's impi. Si-
tshitshih's murderer, who professed to be a messenger, was
a stranger to deceased. He was allowed to spend a couple
of days at the kraal. Seizing his opportunity when his
host was alone at night, and after drinking a cup of coffee
with him a few minutes before, he shot him in the chest
and stomach with a revolver and, though pursued, escaped
in the dark. The effect instantly created on the Native
mind by this revolting and brutal murder is best stated
in the words of Sir Charles Saunders, written but two weeks
after the occurrence :

" Several of the loyal Chiefs from different parts have
either visited or sent representatives to me to express
their regret and horror at what has happened, and
emphatically assert that the Hfe of no loyal person is now
safe. . . . There appears to be no doubt in their minds
that this murder, as well as others, was inspired at the
Usutu kraal. Some say so openly, whilst others, who are
not so frank, insinuate in unmistakable terms that they
share the same view, and it is not difficult to perceive that
they hold Dinuzulu, either directly or indirectlj^ respon-
sible for the whole."


Dinuzulu's principal induna.


Bambata's cliief wife.


To show the people that the Government was aHve
to the necessity of preventing such crimes, the Police at
Nkandhla magistracy immediately set to work to try and
discover the murderer. Everything that skill or persever-
ance could accompHsh was attempted. But these exer-
tions did not escape the attention of specially interested
parties. Sergeant Wilkinson, the officer who was in
charge of the investigations, retired to his room about
midnight on the 8th of September. Barely a minute
after blowing out his light, two shots were fired at him
through a hole in a window-pane with a revolver. One
struck about eight inches above, and the other under, the
bed. Being very dark, no clue could be got of the would-
be murderer, except that the bullets closely resembled
those fired at Sitshitshih. As, except in a very hmited
degree. Natives are not allowed to possess firearms, and,
when permitted; almost invariably procure guns, the fact
that a revolver was used on Sitshitshili and Wilkinson at
once attracted general attention. *

Orders were now issued by the Government for the
country to be thoroughly patrolled by a strong Natal
Police Force, with the object of restoring pubhc confidence.
Some such action was sadly needed, but, in the opinion of
Native loyaHsts, far wide of the mark. These and many
other people held but one opinion, namely, that Dinuzulu
himself was the fons et origo of all the mischief. If not he,
then puppets directly or indirectly instigated by him or
his indunas.

The long dispensation or lease of immunity Dinuzulu
had enjoyed was, however, fast coming to a close.
Oppressed with the feeling that his misdeeds were
gradually coming to hght, in spite of all his profound
and subtle influence on Zulus in general, in spite, too, of
the terrorizing tactics above referred to or still to be
described being traceable to his kraal, if not to his
personal attendants and himself, he had done his best
to enlist the Governor's sympathies on his own behaK.
Those of Sir Charles Saunders he felt he could still count
on, though he failed to give that officer credit for being


able to see through his prevarication, and affectedly
innocent pose.

For some months past, rumours to the effect that
Bambata's wife and children were being dehberately
harboured by him at his kraal had come to the notice of
the Government. As, however, it was extremely difficult
for any official Native messenger — a European one would
have been hopeless — to obtain information on such point
by visiting Usutu, all that could be done was to mark time
and watch developments.

The opportunity came shortly after the return from his
visit to Pietermaritzburg. He had been asked by Sir
Henry McCallum to give orders for the arrest of any rebels
who might find their way to Usutu and have them con-
veyed to the local Magistrate. On this Magistrate subse-
quently sending a list of eight rebels who had been
recently seen in his ward, Dinuzulu caused five, and
another not specially asked for, to be delivered two weeks
later — 3rd July.

On the morning of the same day, however, Siyekiwe,
the wife of the notorious rebel Bambata, and two of his
children, a girl (about 16) and a boy (about 14), turned up
suddenly at Mahlabatini magistracy, having, as they
declared, left Dinuzulu's kraal the evening before and
travelled through the night. They had deserted, owing to
a threat by Dinuzulu to remove them to a remote region
in the north. As the Chief had led the Government to
believe there were no rebels at his kraal, he determined
to rid himself once for all of the woman and children.
They had at length become a nuisance, although he
believed, or professed to believe, his friend Bambata to
be still ahve. It was owing to Dinuzulu's not informing
Siyekiwe of Bambata's death that she did not shave her
head, as is universally customary among Zulus and other
Natal tribes. The failure to do this was of the greatest
importance in keeping ahve the impression among Natives
in general that Bambata was not dead, but roaming about
somewhere. If his favourite mfe, the one who had accom-
panied him in his flight to Usutu, did not believe in his


being dead, no one else would, as she was not unnaturally
looked on as the principal authority in such matter. Who,
they argued, can know better than a woman if her husband
be dead or not ? Not the woman, but Dinuzulu appears
to be responsible for the false impression that was cir-
culated far and wide.

When Dinuzulu went to Pietermaritzburg, he had tem-
porarily secreted the woman and children at a kraal a few
miles off. That of a thoroughly rehable adherent was
selected. But as the woman, quite young and rather
good-looking, was not without male friends, she, on being
recalled to Usutu, heard of the scheme, whereupon she
made a plan and speedily got completely beyond Dinu-
zulu's reach. Then was the fat in the fire !

The fugitives were passed by the Magistrate to Sir
Charles Saunders who, amazed to hear their numerous
revelations, had them conveyed to Pietermaritzburg,
where the whole story was carefully reduced to writing.

And what was the story ? Briefly this. About a month
before the attack on the PoHce in Mpanza valley (4th
April, 1906), and when the Pohce were attempting to
arrest Bambata for refusing to obey a summons from the
Government, a Native messenger arrived to say Dinuzulu
wished Bambata to come to him, the former having heard
he was unhappy through being harassed by the Govern-
ment and Europeans generally. After conferring with
members of the tribe until lately presided over by himself,
he left for Usutu, taking with him the woman and three
children (by two other wives). Travelling on foot, the
party reached Usutu in a few days. Here Bambata had
several interviews with Dinuzulu and his indunas, Manku-
lumana and Mgwaqo. He was treated with every con-
sideration. Suitable accommodation and food were found
for him, his wife and children. Bambata informed his
wife that, at the interviews he had had with Mankulumana
and others, he had been reproved for showing cowardice
on the occasion of the Pohce entering his ward to arrest
him. It was considered he should have shown fight
Bambata queried how it was possible for him to go to war



with Europeans. " Have you no people ? " they asked.
"A few," he repHed. " Few though they be, you ought to
have come into conflict. What do you suppose caused us
to fight in 1879 ? Do you think we did so by the aid of
drugs ? "

The day before Bambata's departure for Natal, he was
summoned to where Dinuzulu, Mankulumana and others
were. " The room I was seated in," says Siyekiwe, " was
close by where Dinuzulu was with the men referred to,
and I could hear distinctly what was said. I heard
Mankulumana say to Bambata ' There is nothing more that
we have to say to you to-day. To-day we give you this
weapon, a Mauser rifle, and we say : Go across into Natal
and commence hostilities. We give you Ngqengqengqe,
whom we direct to go back with you, also Cakijana. . . .
After causing an outbreak of hostilities, you will remove
into the Nkandhla district. Do not be afraid through
thinking that the fighting is brought about by you.
We, not you, are responsible for it. . . .' The words I
have given were spoken by Makulumana in the presence
of Dinuzulu in an audible voice. . . . My husband said
he hoped that they would not deceive him, make a fool of
him, and deny the fact that they were the originators
of what they wanted him to do. My husband was also
instructed thus : 'After you have started the fighting and
fled for refuge to the Nkandhla forest, we will meet you
there.' "

The rifle, said to have been handed to Bambata by
Mankulumana in Dinuzulu's presence, with cartridges done
up in a piece of white cloth, were seen by the three.
Bambata then left. Some time afterwards, Dinuzulu
informed the woman that a rebellion had broken out in
Mpanza valley, and that her husband had fled to Nkandhla

When the Commissioner for Native Affairs made his
visit to Usutu early in April, 1906, the woman was there
the whole time, carefully concealed in the harem. ^

* It will be remembered that Mr. Saunders, while at Usutu, got a
telegram saying Bambata had broken into rebellion, and that he told


There is no necessity to refer to other items in the
story, such as the visits and harbouring of various rebels,
seeing they belong rather to criminal proceedings than to
a history. These proceedings, as well as the foregoing
crucial fact, will be briefly dealt with later. Suffice it to
say, the woman and children had been actually harboured
by Dinuzulu, fed, accommodated and medically treated at
his own expense for a period of over fifteen months.
During that period, the boy was appointed cleaner of the
large number of guns possessed by Dinuzulu, many of
them illegally held. And yet the Chief had been called on
officially from time to time to produce all guns in his
possession for registration.

Not long after the woman and children had given their
sensational evidence, the one corroborating the other, they
were permitted to return to their relations at Mpanza.

The position now became clearer, though still com-

Sir Henry McCallum's object, when he had his inter-
views with Dinuzulu, was so to rouse the Chief to a sense
of his duty as to cause him, on getting back to Usutu,
forthwith to put his house in order and discontinue his
unsatisfactory behaviour. We have seen the way in which
he treated the Governor's suggestion about appearing
before the Commission, and what he did about handing
over the rebels who had taken refuge in his ward.
Although called on later to deliver up other rebels, declared
by reliable informants to have been recently at Usutu, he
neglected to do so, on the plea that the men had not been
there. The Governor also advised that all firearms in his
possession should be given up. According to the evidence
of Bambata's wife and children, especially the boy, and
to other testimony, Dinuzulu possessed many more guns

Dinuzulu this, whereupon the latter and his indunas were, says the
Commissioner, " unanimous in their expressions of indignation ; their
frank demeanour left no doubt in my mind that these expressions were
perfectly genuine and that Dinuzulu and his people were not in any way
associated with Bambata and his doings." — Cd. 3,207, p. 31. And yet
the wife and children of the very man whose acts they had unanimously
condemned to the principal executive officer of the Government were
not 100 yards away as they were speaking !


than had been registered, consequently he had failed
between the time of getting home and when the woman
and children deserted — a period of at least three weeks —
to act on the Governor's advice.^ What was his object in
not wishing to disclose that he had these unregistered
guns ? He, moreover, had held a hunt in August, extend-
ing over a fortnight, in the Black Umfolozi valley, at
which, as reliable information went to show, he secretly
inspected about 150 breech-loading rifles in possession of
his people, including his bodyguard, ' Nkomondala.' On
the same occasion, he is said to have told his most confi-
dential advisers " that he had experienced great difficulty
in getting Mauser ammunition, but that there was not the
same difficulty with regard to the ordinary -303 ammuni-

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 38 of 52)