James Stuart.

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

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with by a Native High Court. This court, now consisting
of four Judges, but originally of only one, was first created
in 1875, to relieve the Supreme Court of a class of work it
was incompetent, and had insufficient time, to deal with.

From what has been said, it is seen that, in 1906, and
since 1893, when responsible government was granted.
Native affairs were presided over by a Supreme Chief,
appointed by the Imperial Government, though bound to
conform to the advice of his ministers, except on certain
important, rarely-occurring occasions. The portfoho of
Native Affairs was held by one of the cabinet ministers,
assisted by a permanent Under-Secretary and staff.

The Under-Secretary selected for the post was Mr.
S. 0. Samuelson. This painstaking officer, with an
unsurpassed knowledge of the Zulu language and customs,
did a vast amount of useful and varied work under difficult
conditions. During his long tenure of office, which ex-
tended from 1893 to 1909, there were several changes of
ministry and, with each, came a new Minister of Native
Affairs, holding views sometimes, as it happened, widely
differing from those of his predecessor. It seemed so
strange to the Natives to have movable ministers in
charge of their affairs, that they tended to focus their
attention rather on Mr. Samuelson than on the minister,
with the result that the former stood constantly in a false
light, as unfair to himself as to the people. This mutation
of ministers and frequent introduction of new policies,
were radical defects in the Constitution Act of 1893. They
opened the door, not only to modifications arising out of
the personal predilections of the minister, but, what is

^ Zululand was annexed to Natal in December, 1897, when practically
the same system of Native administration in vogue at that time was
permitted to continue.


far more important, to those dictated by the party in
power for the time being in Parhament. As this party
depended on the support of their constituents, needless
to say, the latter, with brains ever active in devising
solutions of the Native problem, and not unnaturally
anxious to promote their own interests, brought pressure,
through their members, to bear on highly-placed officials,
and, through these, on Magistrates and other established
officers, not excluding Native Chiefs— all with the cumu-
lative effect of unsteadying the entire fabric of Native
administration and imperilling the general welfare of the

After Zululand was annexed to Natal (December, 1897),
the office of Resident Commissioner and Chief Magistrate
of that territory was converted into one of Commissioner
for Native Affairs. Under the Under-Secretary and
Commissioner came the Magistrates, the thirty ^ of Natal
proper, as ex-officio Administrators of Native law, coming
under the former, and the eleven of Zululand under the
latter, officer. After the Magistrates came the Chiefs of
tribes, 238 in Natal proper,^ and 83 in Zululand. Salaries
and allowances were paid to 227 of the Natal Chiefs,^ and
stipends to seven of those in Zululand.* All Chiefs were
required to control their tribes in accordance with the
tribal system and keep in close touch with the Magis-
trates of their respective wards.

Some attempt must now be made to describe the tribal
or patriarchal system (analogous in many respects to that
of the ancient Jews), the very backbone of Native adminis-
tration and still the most prominent and radical feature
of the South African Native population.^

^ The statistics here given are for the year 1906.

2 These include those (23) of the so-called Northern Districts — a
tract of country annexed to Natal on the conclusion of the last Boer

3 Total, £2,618 for the year.

* Total, £1,200, of which £500 was paid to Dinuzulu, £60 to each of
three of his uncles, and £300 to Mciteki (formerly Zibebu).

5 At the last Census (May, 1911), the total niunber of Natives in
South Africa was 4,019,006 (males, 2,012,949 ; females, 1,996,057).


Confining attention to the Zulus, we shall begin by
observing that they are polygamists and occupy circular
huts of beehive formation, invariably constructed of
wattles, thatched mth grass, and supported inside by
poles. Each wife has a hut of her own. There are,
especially in larger homesteads or kraals,^ additional huts
for the occupation of young men, storing grain, etc. If,
then, a man has four wives, we shall expect to find him in
possession of Rve or six huts. Now, it is universal custom
to arrange these huts in circular formation, from which
method, indeed, the word " kraal " has evidently been
derived. For sanitary reasons, the rule is to select for
the kraal-site slightly sloping ground, though, when this
is done, the floor of each hut is carefully levelled. At the
highest point of the site is built the hut of the head or
principal wife, not necessarily the one first married, whilst
subsequent wives' huts are placed in a sequence determined
by the kraal-owner, who, however, is compelled to act in
terms of rigid tribal practice. The intervals between the
huts are so regulated as to preserve the symmetry of the
kraal as a whole. But, in connection with the circular
arrangement referred to, must be considered the indis-
pensable cattle-pen or enclosure, locally known as a cattle-
kraal. This, too, is invariably round or oval, the gate
being at the lowest, with one or two wickets in the top-
most, portion. When it is reahzed that cattle are given
for every woman taken to wife, the close association of
cattle and their milk with the huts becomes more intel-
ligible, though the fact of the pen being inside rather than
outside the huts as arranged, is possibly also accounted for
by the numerous lions, leopards and other beasts of prey
that existed before the introduction of firearms, not to
refer to human foes.

The cattle handed over by the bridegroom to his bride's
father are known as lobolo. For two or more generations
it was customary for five, six or seven cattle to be so
delivered (afterwards restricted by the Natal Government

^ The word " kraal " wliich will henceforth be used, is derived from
the Dutch " coraal."


to a number not exceeding ten). This passing of cattle
was not, as is commonly supposed, by way of purchase,
but as compensation for loss of the girl's services, and,
further, as a living and vjsible guarantee that she would
receive proper treatment at the hands of her husband.

The next essential to consider is this. When a young
man marries, he either continues for a time in his father's
kraal (his wife, of course, having a hut of her own), or
moves, along with his mother (if she can be spared), to
some site at a distance, approved by the Chief or his
representative, and there proceeds to act on the same
principles that governed his father's domestic affairs.
In time, other sons leave to establish themselves on
similar lines. And so, like the pumpkin plant (a favourite
simile among the people), the family expands, throwing
out fruitful off-shoots here and there, only, in their turn,
to do the same.

In the case of Chiefs, the number of wives is frequently
beyond a dozen in number, and, in respect of Kings,
without limit. Owing to this and other reasons, such as
jealousy among the women and rivalry among the male
children, it was and is still found convenient to erect
different kraals, though on the same general lines as those
already outlined.

So much for the domestic side. Let us now glance at
the administrative.

The King was assisted by a privy council of some five
or six members and a general assembly of non-elected
and more or less elderly men. The latter deliberated in
public, anyone being permitted to listen to, and even take
part in, the proceedings. In view of the fact that the
assembly included men of high rank, those of inferior
status usually remained silent. But as, when the Rebelhon
broke out, there was no Native King, it is necessary to
confine attention to the actual machinery in vogue at
that time.

The King's place had been taken by the Supreme Chief
(Governor), whilst the functions of the privy council were
discharged by the executive council, and those of the


assembly by the Legislative Assembly and Council. It is
needless to remark that Native opinion, mider such arrange-
ment, where not only the Supreme Chief, but the councils
consisted entirely of Europeans, and where no Native
council existed at all, except occasional and partially
representative gatherings called together by the Magis-
trates — more to assist the Government in communicating
its laws or regulations than to discussing their necessity
or suitability — did nob find more than apologetic, and the
feeblest, expression.

In regard to the various tracts of land specially set apart
for Natives, the same tenure was in vogue as had existed
under tribal rule from time immemorial. The land was
held in common. And this rule appHed as much to the
Chief as to his humblest followers. There was no such
thing as alienation of land ; no freehold, no leasehold, no
rents. Occupancy depended on good behaviour, together
with ready and loyal discharge of all civic and miHtary
duties. Considerable care was taken by the Chief, in
allotting building and garden sites, not to interfere with
the commonage or existing rights. If these arrangements,
in the face of an increasing population, were not always
judicious, pressure of circumstances had begun to teach
lessons, as it does all other nations.

Anything required by the Government to be done was
communicated by Magistrates to the Chiefs, whose tribes
varied greatly in size. These then passed the order on
to responsible headmen — generally conveniently situated
in different parts of the ward or wards ^ — who, in their
turn, transmitted it to the various individual kraal-owners
in their areas. When, on the other hand, anything of
importance occurred in a Chief's ward, such as commission
of crime or outbreak of disease, it was, under Native law,
the duty of the one nearest whose kraal such incident had

^ For many years past, many Chiefs had portions of their tribes
living in two, three or more Magisterial divisions. In such cases, a
Chief was called on to nominate a headman, with powers almost equal
to his own, to control each section. It was, moreover, the Government's
policy, on the death of such Chief, to make an arrangement whereby
the outlying sections would be absorbed by Chiefs actually resident in
the Magisterial districts in which such sections happened to be.


happened, to report to the headman, who, after taking
such immediate action as appeared necessary and within
his power, sent the inteUigence on to the Chief, and so on
to the local Magistrate. And it is wonderful with what
rapidity these reports were transmitted, notwithstanding
that Natives, as a rule, are unable to read or write, and are
not possessors of horses or any other means of locomotion.
The obhgation resting on all, on pain of heavy penalty,
to report crime, transformed members of every tribe into
an organized and efficient pohce force. It is owing to this
fact that the expenditure of the Colony on account of
pohce was, in earher years, as surprisingly small as it was.

Among the most important crimes was cattle-steahng.
Every kraal-owner in regard to cattle — the greatest of all
forms of Native property — was exceedingly vigilant,
never allowing a beast to be driven past his kraal unless
he knew where it had come from, where it was going to,
etc. This principle of " collective responsibihty," as it is
caUed, had the effect of preserving order in the tribe and
even guaranteeing to every member and the Chief that
order would be maintained.

Enough has, perhaps, been said to enable the reader
to infer that the position of women was a low one. They
could not, except in rare cases, inherit or hold property.
Generally speaking, they fell much into the background,
and it devolved on them, not only to perform all domestic
duties, draw water at the spring or stream and collect fire-
wood, but to cultivate and keep clean the crops as well.

It can also be readily understood that the tribes of
Natal and Zululand (whatever may have been their inter-
relation when Tshaka began his iron rule and the process
of welding the nation together), had, in the main — albeit
within a couple of centuries — sprung from but three or
four parent stocks. It is this universal interminghng of
types which, as in England, has gradually evolved a
people weU-nigh homogeneous and possessing a remarkable
degree of sohdarity. Although, in 1906, many feuds and
differences — some of these dating back two or more
generations — existed among many of the tribes, when



anything powerful enough to inflame particular sections
occurred, it required but little effort and time to bring on
a conflagration of the whole. There is nothing puny or
dilatory about a Zulu when he begins to sharpen his
assegais and cut shields for war. It will be seen in a later
chapter how strained the relations between Natives and
Europeans became, and how the black race came to feel
that the white man's civilization was oppressing it. With
such resentment latent in a million warlike savages, living
under such system as has been outlined above, the danger
of the tribal system, as well as its meaning, become,
perhaps, sufficiently clear ; at any rate, for the under-
standing of the story narrated in these pages. And yet,
of all people on this earth, the Zulus are the most respect-
ful, the most amenable to discipline, and the most easily
managed — chiefly because of the many excellences inherent
in the tribal system.

Having regard to the profound differences in social
organization between the Zulus and the British people,
differences which, chiefly because of their immense scope
and variety, have been but briefly indicated herein, it
has, ever since Natal became a British Colony, been a
problem of extreme difficulty to devise a method whereby,
whilst safeguarding Native interests, their affairs could
be managed in a completely satisfactory manner. The
elimination of the higher machinery of Native government,
e.g. the King and his councils, has imposed on an aHen
people, animated by vastly different ideals, the duty of
controlling present Native progress, if such, in fact, it be.
If evidences of imperfect grafting of the Native system of
administration into our own have often been conspicuous
during the last seventy years, it will surprise no one ; nor
will anyone be astonished to hear that strong Commissions
have been appointed at different times specially to investi-
gate the condition of the Natives. One of these bodies
was at work in 1852-3, another in 1882-3, and yet another,
in the interest of South African Natives as a whole, in
1902-4. What is remarkable is the apparent apathy
displayed by the public, its representatives and the


Government, whenever the result of such investigations
and reports thereon are in their hands. Not that the
various recommendations should all be adopted, but one
would think a httle time could be spared to examine the
development of a problem, probably greater than all other
problems put together, that South Africa will ever be
called on to deal with, and to consider seriously if such
development is or is not proceeding on sound lines. A
further Commission was appointed in 1906, on the con-
clusion of the Rebellion ; it, indeed, fared better, but
into the sincere and Hberal administrative reconstruction
brought about by the Government, it is unnecessary to
go at this stage.

In the Constitution Act of 1893, provision was made
whereby a sum of £10,000 a year was set apart '' for the
promotion of the welfare and education of the Natives."
More than half this sum was, latterly, placed annually at
the disposal of the Education Department for furthering
Native education, whilst the balance was applied to other
Native purposes, such as industrial training, cottage
hospitals, irrigation, dipping tanks (East Coast Fever),
and barrack or shelter accommodation. With the increase
of Native population from 500,000 in 1893 to 945,000 in
1906,1 jj^l^ g^j^ soon became inadequate, particularly
when regard is had to the fact that the beneficiaries
have contributed, on the average, about £250,000 per
annum in direct taxation since the annexation of Zululand
to Natal.

In addition to this contribution, however, the Govern-
ment, as long ago as 1862, began making extensive grants
of land upon trust to missionary societies, " that the
same might be used for missionary work amongst the
Natives by the ecclesiastical or missionary bodies named
in the several deeds of grant." ^ By 1887 (the date of
the last), seventeen of these reserves, aggregating 144,192
acres of the best agricultural land, had been so set apart.

^ Zululand, with a Native population of about 170,000, became, as
has been seen, a province of Natal in 1897.

2 Preamble, Act No. 49, 1903.


Numerous other, for the most part, smaller blocks have
since been granted in Zululand. By way of still further
assisting these societies, ParHament, in 1903, passed an
Act transferring the administration of the trusts to the
Natal Native Trust ^ and authorizing this body to charge
rent from Natives hving on the reserves. ^ One half of
these monies was to be handed over to the missionaries
for purposes of Native education and industrial training.
It was not feasible to adopt such course in respect of
the Zululand lots. Thus the education and general
welfare of the people was promoted directly as well as

Difficulty has always been experienced by the Govern-
ment in inducing the people to take up industrial pursuits.
On more than one occasion, large sums of money were
voted and spent in erecting suitable buildings and pro-
viding instructors, but all to no purpose. Lack of enter-
prise on the part of the Natives was also exhibited in the
matter of tree-planting, even when necessary for fuel, and
this as to areas in regard to which they had every reason
for thinking their occupancy would continue undisturbed
for many years.

There are other directions in which difficulty has been
met with when striving to promote material development.
In some instances, disinclination to adopt European ideas
is due to almost ineradicable superstitious notions.

Although Native law is in force in Natal, the Govern-
ment, many years ago, foresaw the necessity of enabHng
individuals who had shown a disposition to adopt civilized
habits, to obtain exemption therefrom. A law affording
facilities, but, in practice, not free from difficulty, was
accordingly passed in 1865.^ Many men, women and
children have availed themselves of its provisions.* It

^ See p. 24. A separate Trust, though consisting of the same personnel,
was created in 1909 for Zululand. In this territory alone, the area
reserved for Native occupation amounts to nearly 4,000,000 acres.

2 £3 a hut was at first levied, subsequently reduced to 30s.

3 Law No. 28, 1865.

* Some 1,800 men, women and children had been exempted by 31st
December, 1908.


was also foreseen that these people, according as they
conformed to civiHzed conditions of life, would stand in
need of means whereby their voice could be given expres-
sion to. Hence, the passing of the law ^ under which a
male Native, who has been resident in the Colony for a
period of twelve years, who has the necessary property
qualification, and has been exempted from the operation
of Native law for a period of seven years, is entitled to be
registered as a quahfied elector in the district in which he
possesses property qualification. In practice, but little
advantage had been taken of this law. This tends to
show that the Native per se has no special desire to obtain
European franchise.

There are two disabilities all classes of Natives suffer
from, viz. the impossibility of possessing firearms,
except with the special consent of Government, and of
obtaining European liquor, except on the production of a
medical certificate.

1 Law No. 11, 1865.



When it is borne in mind that the campaign which forms
the subject of this history is probably the first to be
conducted from start to finish by a British Colony, inde-
pendently of other than merely moral assistance of
Imperial troops, the contents of this chapter will probably
prove of greater interest to the reader than would other-
wise have been the case. No apology is, therefore, needed
for attempting to describe the beginnings and develop-
ment of mihtary organization in Natal, and to show how
it became possible for the Colony, aided to some extent
by her sister Colonies, to deal as successfully as she did
with the Rebellion.^

In 1893, when the Imperial Government granted
responsible government to Natal, it was arranged that
the Colony should assume direct control of her large
Native population. It was, at the same time, decided
that the garrison of Imperial troops should remain for a
period of five years, so as to afford the colonists time
within which to organize a defence force.

After the expiry of the five j^ears, the Imperial Govern-
ment began gradually to withdraw the troops.

A Volunteer Act was passed by Natal in 1895. The
post of Commandant of Volunteers was conferred on
Colonel (now Major-General Sir John) Dartnell, K.C.B.,

^ It is, moreover, not unreasonable to suppose that the Union Govern-
ment found the example of Natal of considerable assistance when
passing its already well-known Defence Act of 1911.


C.M.G., who, in addition to having for years controlled
the various, though small, volunteer corps, had, for
twenty-two years, been in command of the Natal Mounted
Police. On his resignation from the former office in 1898,
he was succeeded by his staff officer. Major W. Royston,
who, promoted to the rank of Colonel, continued in
command until his untimely death in 1902. Colonel
H. P. Leader, of the Imperial Army, succeeded. He was
assisted by the four District Adjutants who were in charge
of a Hke number of military districts into which the Colony
was divided.

Much useful work was accomphshed between 1893 and
1902 towards increasing the strength and efficiency of
the force, as well as placing it on a sound war footing. To
Colonel Royston belongs a large measure of credit for the
high degree of organization achieved, notably in con-
nection with the Boer War. During this war, of course,
all Natal troops took the field to assist in repelhng invasion.
The alacrity with which they responded to the calls, and
the smartness with which the duties assigned them were
carried out, were commented on in the most favourable
terms by the distinguished general officers in charge of the
operations. But, notwithstanding the promptness dis-
played, it was impossible to disguise the fact that, out of
an available manhood of 12,000, only 2,000 were actually
liable for service.^ It is, therefore, not surprising that
ParHament should have been ready to provide for a better
and more comprehensive system of defence than was
possible under the Volunteer Act.

Organization proper, in the sense of exclusively local
adjustment and systematization of local forces and
materiel, could not and did not begin until some years
after the bestowal of autonomy on Natal, and the first
step in the process was the passing by the legislature of
the Mihtia Act (1903) imposing on every class of the
European inhabitants, between certain ages, the liabihty

1 Commandant of Militia (Brig. Gen. Leader), Annual Report. See
note, p. 45, where it is shown that a much larger number volunteered for


to undergo military training and service. By exacting
compulsory service universally, with, of course, certain
exceptions, a powerful instrument was placed in the
hands of the Commandant of Militia, and one which
enabled the Colony to be put in a more thorough-going
state of defence than had ever before been attempted.

The word " organization " is used here in a precise and
definite sense, and is taken to mean estabhshment of the
requisite regiments or corps, personnel, horses, arms,
transport, etc., and a placing of the same by constant

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 4 of 52)