James Stuart.

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

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which the RebeUion had started. Besides Dinuzulu,
there were five other Natives to be indicted. A beginning
was made with the case of Cakijana, charged with high
treason. After a trial extending over a week, the prisoner
was found guilty and sentenced to seven years' imprison-
ment with hard labour. Jombolwana, charged with the
murder of Chief Sitshitshih, was next tried. The sentence
of death passed on him was carried out in December.

The trial of Dinuzulu, the most important event that
had ever occurred in Greytown, began on the 19th of
November. The accused had, however, already pleaded
on the 10th to an indictment of high treason, consisting
of twenty- three counts. His plea was ' not guilty ' to
each. The Attorney-General (The Hon. T. F. Carter,
K.C.) with Messrs. D. Calder, W. S. Bigby and G. E.
Robinson, appeared for the Crown, whilst the Hon.
W. P. Schreiner, K.C, with Messrs. E. Renaud and
R. C. A. Samuelson, were for the defence. Among those
specially, though unofficially, concerned were Misses
Harriette E. and Agnes M. Colenso.

Although a large number of European witnesses gave
evidence, the case was purely a Native one. The pro-
ceedings were conducted in Enghsh and Zulu, the principal
interpreter being Mr. J. W. Cross, J. P., one of the senior
Magistrates of the Colony, and Magistrate at Greytown,
as will be remembered, when the Rebellion broke out.

In view of the large numbers of witnesses required by
the prosecution and the defence, and the long duration
of the trial, it became necessary for separate camps to
be erected for them.

At the beginning of the trials, considerable interest
was taken in the proceedings by residents of Greytown
and neighbourhood. This, however, soon began to wear
off until Dinuzulu himself gave evidence and, later on,


when counsel for the Crown and for the Defence were

The Court adjourned on the 22nd December, and
resumed on the 4th January, 1909. The prosecution
closed on the 18th. Beginning on the following day, the
defence terminated on the 23rd February. By this time,
the Court had sat sixty-seven days ; ninety-five witnesses
had been examined for the Crown, and sixty-eight for
the Defence.

Of the witnesses called for the prosecution, forty-seven
were Europeans and forty-eight Natives. Of those for
the defence, sixty-four were Natives, including Dinuzulu
(who took no less than ten and a haK da3^s to give his
evidence), and four Europeans. The evidence amounted
to no less than 6,148 typed folio pages.

Mr. Carter addressed on the 24th and 25th, and Mr.
Schreiner, beginning on the 25th, concluded on the 2nd

Judgment was delivered on the 3rd, that is, on the
seventy-third day's sitting. The prisoner was found
guilty of high treason : (a) by harbouring and conceahng
Bambata's wife and children for over fifteen months ;
(b) by harbouring and assisting the ringleaders Bambata
and Mangati during the actual progress of the Rebellion ;
and (c) by harbouring and concealing 125 named and other
rebels at various times between May, 1906 (when the
RebelHon was at its height), and the date of his arrest.

With regard to the most serious count of which he
was found not guilty, one of the judges felt it necessary
to say : " The matter has given me a great deal of con-
cern, and, up to this very morning, the thought has
occurred to me again and again whether it would not be
my duty to stand out from the majority of the Court in
the conclusion to which they have arrived on this point."
There " certainly is evidence which makes one hesitate
very much, as far as I am concerned, in giving the prisoner
a clean biU."

The Attorney-General had already withdrawn two
counts whilst some of the others unavoidably overlapped,


consequently it was felt unnecessary to consider them.
In respect of one, the Judge President said as " two of
the alleged conspirators are to be tried before this court
... I think it better that we should give no finding."
Dinuzulu, after admitting a previous conviction for high
treason in April, 1889, (his age then being between twenty-
one and twenty-two) was sentenced to four years' imprison-
ment in respect of (b) and (c) " to date from the 9th day
of December, 1907 " (i.e. the date of his surrender), and
a fine of £100 or twelve months' imprisonment in respect
of (a), the " twelve months to be cumulative, not con-

Thus ended a State trial which will long be remem-
bered in South Africa. Remarkable for its intricacy
and duration, it was even more so for the deep and
sustained interest aroused by its various issues among
all sections of the community, in Natal and Zululand,
throughout South Africa, and in England and elsewhere.
Although practically the whole of the evidence for the
Crown and the Defence was laid by the press before the
pubhc, attention tended to become more and more focussed
on the judgment of the court, a judgment from which there
was no appeal. And it was generally anticipated and
hoped that such judgment would supply a complete and
decisive answer to the question as to the exact extent to
which Dinuzulu was implicated in the Rebellion of 1906.
It is, however, impossible to deny that the judgment,
notwithstanding the honest, persevering and exhaustive
efforts of the Bench and the Bar, failed to carry con-
viction home to many who, having followed the pro-
ceedings, were at least famihar with the principal features.
Convicted on but three counts (and these not including
the most important) out of twenty-three, Dinuzulu
was commonly believed to have escaped far more lightly
than he deserved, or than the evidence appeared to permit.
But, owing to the extreme length and complexity of the
case, people felt they had to be content with the result,
as there was neither opportunity nor inchnation to
examine the masses of evidence for themselves in detail.


The result of the conviction, as anticipated by the
President when passing sentence, was that Dinuzulu
not only forfeited the position of Government Induna,
but was formally deposed from his chieftainship.

To have left standing the Usutu kraal or the house
constructed for him at Eshowe, would have been but to
perpetuate an impression amongst a credulous people,
that a Chief, convicted for the second time of high treason,
was returning to the country. It was because the Natal
Government could not for a moment contemplate such
contingency that the estabUshments were either removed
or dismantled. Other action, moreover, had to be taken.
When the ex-Chief was arrested, as previously pointed
out, headmen were appointed to take charge of the tribe.
The arrangement, however, was purely temporary.
But with the deposition of the Chief, it became neces-
sary to introduce some more permanent and final arrange-
ment. It was decided to break the tribe up into three
parts, and attach a section to each of three adjoining
tribes. Under the circumstances, the settlement gave
satisfaction to all concerned, and has continued to work
well from that day to this.

On the conclusion of the trial, the President of the
Court (Sir WiUiam Smith) returned to the Transvaal,
his place being taken by Mr. Justice Dove Wilson of the
Natal Supreme Court ; Mr. Schreiner, too, went back to
Cape Town. Dinuzulu was removed to Pietermaritzburg.

It is but right here to call attention to the fact that
notwithstanding the consummate abihty with which
Mr. Schreiner had defended Dinuzulu, necessitating
absence from his practice at Cape Town for a period of
over four months — thereby, no doubt, involving him in
considerable pecuniary loss — the whole of his services in
connection with the trial were given gratis, an act which
cannot but redound to his credit, especially when one
considers the inabihty of the prisoner or his friends to
pay such heavy charges as Mr. Schreiner might very
properly have made.


Instead of Grey town, the venue for the remaining
cases became Pietermaritzburg. Dinuzulu's indunais
Mankulumana and Mgwaqo, also charged with high
treason, were tried on the 9th and 10th of March, the
Attorney-General prosecuting and Mr. Renaud appearing
on behalf of the accused. Both were found guilty of
three counts in the indictment. The former was sen-
tenced to nine, and the latter to fifteen, months — in
respect of two counts — whilst both were sentenced to a
fine of £50 or eight months' imprisonment in respect of
the third. In passing the sentences, account was taken
of the fact that they had already been fifteen months in

As soon as the Union of the South African Colonies
became imminent, and shortly after the conclusion of
Dinuzulu's trial, the Natal Ministry proposed to the
future Prime Minister the desirability of removing Dinu-
zulu to some suitable part of South Africa, beyond the
borders of Natal. It was recommended that such portion
of the sentence as remained unexpired on the advent of
Union should be remitted on condition that the foregoing
settlement was agreed to by the prisoner. The suggestion
at once met with the approval of G^eneral Botha. Dinu-
zulu was thereupon taken from Pietermaritzburg to
Newcastle, so as to be in readiness to conform to the
terms of his proposed release. He, however, was not
made acquainted with the reasons for his removal to
Newcastle, except that that place was regarded as more
beneficial for his health than Pietermaritzburg had
appeared to be. Union came into force on the 31st May,
1910. Towards the end of that month, Mr. J. C. Krogh,
one of the senior Magistrates of the Transvaal and formerly
Special Commissioner in Swaziland, was instructed by
General Botha to proceed to Newcastle and there, assisted
by the Magistrate, Mr. B. Colenbrander, interview Dinu-
zulu with the object of placing before him, and securing
his acceptance of, the following proposition, which the
ex-Chief was told General Botha was prepared to recom-
mend to the Governor-General :


That he should be released from prison and the remainder
of his sentence remitted on the following conditions :

(a) Acceptance of domicile in the Transvaal at a place
to be put at his disposal by the Government.

(b) That, as from the date of release, his salary of £500
per annum be again paid to him during good behaviour.

The result of the interview was that Dinuzulu im-
reservedly accepted the conditions, and signed a formal
document to that effect. On the 31st, the authority
of the Governor-General-in-Comicil having been obtained,
and wdth the knowledge of Dinuzulu' s friends (Miss
Colenso and the Hon. W. P. Schreiner), Dinuzulu was
released and left Newcastle by the afternoon train for
Pretoria. At Pretoria, he came under the Native Affairs
Department of the Union, it being arranged that all
instructions would, in future, be received by him from
or through that Department.

Steps were taken to secure a farm on which he, his
family and immediate dependants could reside, with
sufficient ground for agriculture, grazing, etc. Some
difficulty was at first experienced in finding land suitable
for one who, Hke Dinuzulu, had Hved most of his life in
the mild chmate of northern Zululand. The farm Riet-
fontein, seven or eight miles from Middleburg, was
eventually selected. To this he proceeded early in 1911,
accompanied by certain members of his family ; his
induna Mankulumana was also permitted to join him.

The release, prior to expiration of the sentence and on
the terms above set forth, was generally approved in
Natal, as also throughout South Africa, and in England.

Almost simultaneously with Dinuzulu's expatriation,
those Native rebels who were still in prison, including
the ones at St. Helena, were released and allowed to
return to their districts, except such ex-Chiefs as Ndhlovu
and Meseni, who w^ere obhged to take up their residence
in districts other than their own.



The amount of misunderstanding that has arisen in
connection with Dinuzulu, both in England and South
Africa, is astonishing. Probably no other case in South
Africa has called forth quite such volumes of criticism
and vituperation. Natal has been accused of following
towards him a policy of petty injustice and malice —
either because of refusal to hold a non- judicial inquiry ; or
because, when the ex-Chief was arrested, it suspended his
salary without the consent of the Imperial Government ;
or for deferring release of the rank and file of the rebels ;
or maintaining martial law longer than appeared necessary,
or for some other reason. In these and other connections,
the Colony and its pubUc officers have been reviled and
held up to scorn by those who did not know the facts, or
did not care to know them. As Natal is still held by
various persons, chiefly such as live outside her borders,
to have been mistaken, and Dinuzulu nothing but a martyr
to official spleen and vindictiveness, it is perhaps not un-
fitting, in a work of this kind, that an attempt should be
made to examine the position from a somewhat wider
point of view than was possible during the trial or,
indeed, on any other occasion.

The history of the Zulus has already been dealt with
briefly in the Introduction, whilst the earher events in


Dinuzulu's life have also been touched on here and there.
It is necessary now to consider the position he assumed
on his return from St. Helena in 1898.

During the latter portion of his imprisonment, a great
deal of agitation arose among the colonists in favour of
Zululand being annexed to Natal, largely because land
was required for growing sugar. As the Imperial Govern-
ment had, since 1887, been directly responsible for the
management of Zululand ; as the cost of that territory's
administration was constantly increasing ; and because
of the agitation referred to, a settlement was necessary
under which Natal woiild assume the administration and
become responsible for Native affairs.

So anxious was the Imperial Government to repatriate
the prisoners, that negotiations with Natal began in the
year following that in which responsible government was
granted. The desire was that they should return as soon
as possible. The Natal Government, however, repeatedly
urged postponement of the execution of such decision.
But, as the Imperial Government was wholly responsible
for sending Dinuzulu to St. Helena, and as his stay there
depended on the length of his sentence, it was essential
to bear in mind that repatriation was later on inevitable.
It was accordingly resolved to make this one of the con-
ditions of annexation. The agreement finally arrived at
between the Governments was that, although Dinuzulu
was to be restored, he should not return until Zululand
had been actually annexed, and then only on condition
that he agreed to become a servant of the Natal Govern-
ment at a salary of £500 per annum, and to serve in the
capacities of Induna and Chief on clearly defined terms.
These terms, being of great importance in appreciating the
position and difficulties that subsequently arose, are set
forth in extenso :

" Dinuzulu will be taken into the service of the Govern-
ment of Zululand, his position being that of Government
Induna. A house will be provided for him on a site to be
selected by the Governor, and a salary of £500 per annum
will be attached to his office.


" He must clearly understand that he does not return
to Zululand as Paramount Chief. He must respect, listen
to, and obey those officers of the Government who are
placed in authority over him. The position assigned to
him by the Government, and the salary allotted to it, wiU
be held during the pleasure of the Government, and wiU
be strictly dependent on the manner in which he behaves
and obeys the laws laid down for his guidance, but will
not be withdrawn without the approval of the Secretary
of State.

" As Government Induna, he wiU be hable to be
employed in Native matters that may arise and be
brought to the notice of the Governor's representative
in Zululand, such as questions of inheritance and others
on which it may be desirable to obtain independent
evidence and opinion.

" He will be the Chief over those people residing in the
location marked off for the Usutu. He will govern
amongst and will rule them by the same laws and form of
Government as other Chiefs of tribes in Zululand, and he
will himself, hke those Chiefs, be under the laws of the
Government of Zululand." ^

The foregoing was agreed to before Dinuzulu left St.
Helena. He knew that, in accepting the office of Induna,
it would be obhgatory on him to live within three or four
miles of the principal Government officer in Zululand, —
for an induna is the principal Native executive officer on
anyone's staff, be he Secretary for Native Affairs, Resident
Commissioner, or Magistrate.

On his arrival with his uncles at Durban, on the 6th
January, 1898, seven days after issue of the proclamation
of annexation, a copy of the conditions, as well as a trans-
lation thereof into Zulu, were handed to him by the senior
officer of the Native Affairs Department. The Chiefs
were thereupon escorted to Eshowe by the Magistrate of
that district. At Eshowe, Dinuzulu occupied the house
which had been specially constructed and furnished for
him at public expense. Although it was not expressly

1 Cd. 3998, p. 7.


stated in the conditions where he should reside, it was
understood by the Governments that he would live at
Eshowe, at any rate for the time being. It was in-
expedient, with matters as they then were, to name a
particular place in conditions intended to be permanent.
Although the Resident Commissioner had, ever since the
Imperial Government took over the administration, been
stationed at Eshowe, except for a short while during the
disturbances of 1887-88, it was conceivable that, with a
change of control, the headquarters might have to be
altered. As a matter of fact, they have not been changed
to this day. At the same time, as Chief over a tribe
nearly 100 miles from Eshowe, it was recognized that
he would have a httle difficulty in controlUng its affairs.
There were, however, and still are, many Chiefs in
Natal whose tribes are broken up and distributed over
various magisterial districts, thereby necessitating the
appointment of headmen to exercise jurisdiction over
each section in the absence of the Chief. Thus, for Dinu-
zulu to manage his tribe from Eshowe, was a by no means
unexperienced or insuperable difficulty.

After an absence of nine years, he and the others
very naturally desired to return to their respective homes.
This desire was so strongly urged, that the Minister for
Native Affairs (Mr., now Sir, J. L. Hulett) agreed, on the
22nd January, to allow him and his uncles to go back
permanently. The same concession was granted to his
old enemy, Zibebu, who had, for some years, been required
to five in Eshowe district. Dinuzulu was allowed to build
kraals for himself, including that which he named Usutu.
His position then gradually became that of a Chief pure
and simple, instead of Government Induna, as prescribed
in the conditions. It is true that he paid periodical visits
to Eshowe and Pietermaritzburg, and there discussed
political and other affairs with the Commissioner for
Native Affairs, but these were of short duration and dis-
continued altogether after the appointment of the Com-
mission in 1903 (of which Mr. Saunders was a member),
to set apart land for the occupation of Natives and


Europeans. We find, then, that between 1898 and the
beginning of the RebelUon, the principal condition under
which Dinuzulu had returned to Zululand was being
practically ignored. During this time, the house at Eshowe
was available whenever he felt disposed to reside there.
Although not discharging the functions of the principal
appointment, he continued to draw a salary, Hberal when
at Eshowe, but excessive when in so remote and un-
civilized a quarter as Usutu kraal, with only a Native
Chief's duties to perform.

Living the indolent life he did at Usutu, he, as has been
seen, became exceedingly corpulent. This, no doubt, is
one of the reasons why, after the Commission referred to
ceased to exist, he failed to visit Eshowe.

He, as well as the Commissioner, knew that his residing
continuously at Usutu was an infringement of the con-
ditions. His friends also, among them Miss Colenso,
knew. It would have been possible for him, or for them,
at any time to have insisted with success on the original
terms being fulfilled. He might have been given a piece
of land near Eshowe on which to locate a few of his kraals,
as was done in the case of the previous Government
Induna. For reasons best known to himself, nothing
appears to have been done, not until he urged Sir Henry
McCallum to take action, nearly ten years after his release.
That the man was allowed to go on as he was doing, was
undoubtedly an error on the part of the Governments.
And yet the Imperial Government had, in 1897, foreseen
with remarkable clearness what might arise. Here are
the words of Lord Ripon :

" The internal pohtics of Zululand are such that under
the arrangement referred to [i.e. installing Dinuzulu as a
tribal Chief, with authority over a strictly-defined dis-
trict, inhabited by devoted followers], Dinuzulu might, in
the course of time, have been drawn into a false and
embarrassing position with respect to the Government,
however desirous he might be at the outset to work loyally
under it."

When one looks back on this period, he cannot but



wonder how it happened that successive Secretaries of
State omitted to inquire how far the conditions under
which Dinuzulu had been returned to his country were
being fulfilled, and, if inquiries were made, why the Natal
Government was not pressed to conform to the spirit and
letter of the agreement.

One of the chief indirect causes of the Rebelhon, as well
as the key-note of Dinuzulu's trial, was the isolated posi-
tion he occupied at Usutu. That it put him into a false
position is undoubted ; that Dinuzulu knew he was in a
false position, and that he knew he was himself primarily
responsible for being therein, admits of no question. The
reason why he tolerated it was because he reahzed it gave
him an opportunity of gradually building up his influence
among the Natives without the knowledge of Government,
until too late to exercise effective control. If responsi-
biHty rests to some extent with the Natal Government for
permitting him to drift into the position he did, he
himself (30 years of age when repatriated) cannot be
absolved from blame, especially as it was at his own
request that he was permitted to go to his tribe.

This is the state of affairs which anyone who desires
to understand the underlying causes of the RebelHon must
have clearly in mind. After leaving Eshowe, Dinuzulu
assumed the duties of a Chief, though because of his
parentage, not of an ordinary Chief, whatever the wording
of the conditions might have been. Instead of being in
close touch with the larger political and social affairs of
the territory, as would have been the case had he continued
to reside near the Commissioner, he preferred to limit him-
self ostensibly to those of his tribe and be under the
jurisdiction of the Magistrate of the district within which
his ward happened to fall. Being the eldest son and
successor of Cetshwayo, — descendant of still more notable
kings, — it was impossible to repress feeHngs of loyalty and
affection exhibited towards him by many staunch ad-
herents of the royal house in all parts of the territory.
More than this, in consequence of the mihtary assistance
given him in 1883 and 1884 by the Boers, a large section


of the north-western portion of Zululand was granted by
him to the Boers. Such land, although promptly cut up
into farms, was extensively occupied by some of his most
devoted followers, among them the Baqulusi. To this day,
the staunchest followers will be found in the districts of
Vryheid and Ngotshe. If many people showed loyalty
towards the senior representative of the royal house, it is
not surprising that even greater devotion was displayed
by those in the districts named. Nor is this all. With

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 42 of 52)