James Stuart.

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

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large numbers of those in Zululand and many others in
the districts referred to (which, of course, were under an
entirely different government, — for annexation to Natal
did not take place until after the conclusion of the Boer
War), it is only natural to suppose that numbers of other
Natives in Natal, Transvaal and elsewhere should also
have become partial to Dinuzulu. With the increase of
European population in Natal, scarcity of land, higher
cost of living and higher rents, in addition to other exact-
ing conditions, Natives keenly felt the necessity for
having a protector of their own flesh and blood — someone
whom they could trust to voice their interests, and one
who, because of his rank, would ensure adequate and
prompt attention being given thereto. The more Dinuzulu
allowed these exhibitions of feehng to go on, the more
Natives in an ever-widening circle looked on him as their
natural champion, and as one who in every way ought to
lay their grievances before the Government. They wanted
him to stand up for them with a view to the ancient Hfe,
habits and customs — with which, for so many centuries,
they had been intimately associated — being allowed to
continue with less restrictions and innovations than had
become customary. Dinuzulu, of course, had no complaint
to make on account of receiving these demonstrations. He
would have been the last person in the world to have com-
plained about such a matter as that. It would have been
unnatural in him to do so. He felt and knew he was being
gradually driven by multitudes, Hving far beyond the con-
fines of his own area, into a position much falser than the
one in which, as we have seen, he had deliberately placed


himself. But it exactly suited his plans. In his dealings
with the Natal Government, he perpetually bore in mind
that behind him was the Imperial Government. His con-
stant effort was apparently to bring about by degrees
such a state of affairs in Zululand as to induce, if not
compel, the latter Government to intercede with Natal on
his behalf, and get himself appointed Paramount Chief,
instead of being merely an Induna and Chief. The latter
appointments, although accepted by him, were not really
to his liking ; they were restrictive, and derogatory. In
the countries of Basutoland and Swaziland, formerly sub-
ject to Zululand, there were Paramount Chiefs. In India,
too, many states had their Feudatory Princes or Para-
mount Chiefs ; what had Zululand done, asked Dinuzulu,
to be so discriminated against as to be without a Native
protector of its interests ? Even the Boers, though
recently conquered, had been granted the most Hberal
form of autonomy.

Throughout the time he was at Usutu, up to the out-
break of rebellion, is nothing but a tale of the spreading of
his influence by one means or another in all directions, and
this notwithstanding the clearly-expressed condition that
it was not as Paramount Chief that he was returning to
Zululand. With such an environment, the people so prone
in many parts to regard him as their natural head, is it
surprising that when the mysterious order that all pigs,
white fowls, European utensils, etc., were to be killed or
discarded was circulated, reference should have been made
to him by many to ascertain his will and pleasure ?

One of the ways in which his influence was considerably
augmented, but which involved him in trouble with the
Government at a later time, occurred towards the con-
clusion of the Boer War. Guerilla warfare was then going
on in the Transvaal and elsewhere. To denude country
occupied by the Boers of stock was recognized as one of
the most effective means of bringing hostilities to a close.
The idea of organizing raids along the north-western
border of Zululand occurred to the authorities, whereupon


one Colonel Bottomley was dispatched to arrange accord-
ingly. Bottomley went to Dinuzulu and, without obtaining
the authority of the Natal Government, ordered the Chief
to arm and assemble his men. Dinuzulu reported to the
Magistrate, who objected to Natives being employed in
such way. The Magistrate, however, as well as the
Commissioner, were overruled mider martial law, then
in force in Zululand, whereupon Dinuzulu went forth
with some twenty-four companies (i.e. about 1,500 men),
and, at a hill called Dhleke, successfully performed the
required duty. It is claimed by him that, in consequence
of this demonstration and other assistance in the shape
of scouts, the magistracy was prevented from being
attacked, as happened at four other magistracies in

During the Dhleke expedition, besides looting stock,
some firearms were taken from a Boer waggon. Dinuzulu
seems afterwards to have attempted to call in the guns,
but, because there had been bloodshed (a couple of his
force having been killed), his men refused to produce them.
He declares that Bottomley then allowed the men to
retain the guns. Later, in 1902, the Magistrate ordered
the weapons to be brought in for registration. A few that
were produced were not, apparently, returned to the
holders. Such retention seems to be the reason why other
holders refused to produce theirs. The matter seems then
to have dropped. It is idle to suppose that Dinuzulu
could not have called in every gun had he been so inclined.
Universally-recognized Zulu law requires that all loot shall
go to the Eang as a matter of course, who thereupon deals
with it as he sees fit.

During the same War took place the Holkrantz massacre
referred to in a former chapter. Owing to the tribe
(Baqulusi) which carried out the massacre being known
to be intimately associated with the Zulu royal house,
credit for the achievement was regarded as attaching
principally to Dinuzulu as head of the house. The
massacre created a profound impression on Natives in
general ; it revealed new and unexpected possibiHties.


The attitude assumed by him when questioned by the
Government for allowing messengers to come and see him
about the poll tax and the pig-kiUing order can be readily
understood. He practically said : " You allowed me to
come back, but gave me a position not in keeping with my
rank. This, Natives at large, have begun to see. Although
my jurisdiction is hmited to my particular ward, and such
fact is well known, it is impossible for me to prevent people
coming to see me." When Sir Henry McCallum spoke to
him at Nongoma in 1904, he was distinctly instructed to
report the arrival of people from tribes other than his own.
These instructions he frequently disobeyed, and such dis-
obedience was subsequently admitted by his induna,
Mankulumana, as well as by himself.

There is another aspect in regard to the man which
should not be lost sight of. The question arose many years
ago as to whether the Chiefs of Zululand were prepared
to surrender the status conferred on them by Sir Garnet
(afterwards Viscount) Wolseley, in order that Cetshwayo
should become Paramount Chief. On the Chiefs in ques-
tion being approached, several objected in the strongest
terms, among them Zibebu and Hamu. The Zulus
regarded it as impossible to serve a King who had been
conquered by another race, and whose restoration was on
the condition, inter alia, that the regimental system should
be done away with, and his jurisdiction confined to terri-
tory reduced by about a third of its original size. This
opposition to his father or his becoming Paramount Chief,
is what was always uppermost in Dinuzulu's mind, and
what it was ever his greatest care to break down or
remove. The long-continued warfare (1883 to 1887)
between Cetshwayo (and, later, himself) and Zibebu took
place for no other reason than that the latter had
refused to acknowledge his father's and, therefore, his
own authority. It was in consequence of this attempt,
vigorously carried on as it was after formal assumption
of the administration by the Queen, that Dinuzulu was
arrested, tried and convicted of high treason, and banished
to St. Helena. On coming back, he reaUzed the futihty


of waging war as a means of attaining his object. The
problem then was : How am I, by adopting means to
which the European Government can take no reasonable
exception, to induce the great mass of the Zulu people to
become unanimous in the proposal of my being appointed
Paramount Chief ? Here, as we beUeve, is the motive for
his sedulously promoting the development of his influence
in the extraordinary, irrepressible and obscure manner
outhned above.

It can, therefore, be seen that he found himself ere long
in a serious dilemma. His position has, indeed, always
been recognized as difficult. But, owing to being a Native,
and therefore living out of touch with the European com-
munity, the nature and intensity of his embarrassment
could not be reahzed as completely and as vividly as they
were by him and his immediate followers.

And yet at the beginning of the RebelUon he stood in
a singularly favourable light as far as the Government
was concerned. The Commissioner had, as is commonly
known, imphcit confidence in his loyalty ; he lost no
opportunity of supporting the Chief, repudiating every
allegation and calumny in the most vigorous manner. The
earnest and determined way in which Dinuzulu was
defended by this officer excited the admiration of all who
observed it.^ By his ready response in paying the poll
tax, as well as by protestations of loyalty, coupled with
an offer to take or send an impi to Nkandhla to deal with
Bambata, Dinuzulu at once ingratiated himself with the
Government and the European pubHc, who, though not
absolutely beheving in his loyalty, were only too anxious
for him to co-operate at that most critical juncture. But,
as it happened, he had already cast the die which, as time
went on and the truth eked slowly out, rendered it more and

1 Shortly after the Rebellion began, and public suspicion had been
aroused as to the Chief's loyalty, Sir Charles Saunders reported as
follows (20th April) : "At my first interview with Dinuzulu on his
return from exile, I told him I would be perfectly frank and open in all
my dealings with him and I expected the same demeanour on his part
towards myself." That this promise was faithfully kept by Sir Charles
Saunders is undoubted, only, however, to be met with gross deception
on the part of Dinuzulu.


more impossible for him to restore those good relations
which, but for his own lapse, would undoubtedly have
been even more cordial than ever before.

It would, we believe, be unfair to assume that he
deliberately and systematically persuaded people to come
and see him. He was astute enough to know that, by
adopting a merely passive and nonchalant attitude, many
would be seized by an overpowering incHnation to pay
their respects, especially when they observed that an
increasing number of other people came to do so. To
visit and get in touch with him became, from their point
of view, quite the proper thing to do. There is no instinct
among the Zulus stronger than that of desiring to do what
everybody else is doing. Such arises, no doubt, from the
force of long-continued custom. Living, as they once did,
under the rule of as despotic kings as could be found any-
where on the globe, whose political and social habits made
all sorts of demands on the people, they became aUve to
the necessity of being always on the alert for fear of being
punished unless conforming to what others were doing.
For, whatever others did was supposed to be in accordance
with the will or desire of the king, even though unpro-
claimed. Apart from this, respect for authority is in-
grained in their natures to a remarkable degree. As
proof of this, it is necessary merely to mention the
custom of hlonipa^ which universally enforces propriety
of behaviour, especially in the female sex.

Instead, therefore, of sending out messages to persuade
people to come and see him, Dinuzulu adopted the more
law-abiding and dignified policy of waiting until they

When, after the promulgation of the Poll Tax Act,
agitation arose among the Natives to such an extent that
many sent messages to him, including Chiefs who, it
would seem, had never communicated with him before,
he had a valid answer always ready : " What is the use of
your coming to me ? I can do nothing. You are a Chief
just as I am. I do not refer to you when in a quandary.
Go to the Government and lay your case before it for


yourself." Profiting by his experience at St. Helena, and
not again wishing to come into conflict with the Govern-
ment, he at once made his own tribe comply with the
demands. They did so at the earliest date, viz. January,

His attitude of allowing people to come and see him
began at length to assume a character more or less criminal.
Instead of the messengers coming to pay their respects,
in order to discuss various matters appertaining to their
tribes, they, one and all, came to consult him about a
particular matter, and one having reference to a law
already enacted. This law, moreover, had received the
sanction of the representative of that Government which,
as we have seen, was party to the agreement under which
Dinuzulu was restored to the country. In no case did he
report to the Magistrate, the Commissioner, or the Gover-
nor that these visits were being made, and that his advice
was being solicited as to what action should be taken. We
have seen the form of reply to those who came about
the poll tax. As regards the pig-and-white-fowl-killing
rumour, he said : " Such order did not emanate from me ;
I know nothing whatever about it."

Judging from his antecedents and his conduct during
the period immediately before the Rebelhon, we cannot
come to any other conclusion than that his decision to pay
was actuated, not by a natural desire to comply with the
law, but rather because afraid, his social rank being what
it was, that the first attention of the Government would
be directed to himself, when he might, before he knew
where he was, find that a casus belli had arisen between
him and people whom his father's entire army had been
unable to withstand. It is, therefore, not surprising that
he should have paid, and that his people paid four months
before they need have done, in order to escape the pre-
scribed penalty. Just as his compliance did not arise out
of a natural desire to obey (any more than, at that time,
there was such disposition on the part of hundreds of
thousands of other Natives in Natal and Zululand), so it
cannot be said that his object was to parade before other


Chiefs his approval of the new and strongly-resented law.
He was never tired of referring to, and, at his trial, never
ceased to quote, his action in being among the first to pay
the tax and claiming greater credit therefor than he
actually deserved. His comphance was undoubtedly a
satisfactory feature, but the act should not be considered
except in connection with the general poUtical situation
and his own to a large extent underhand conduct at that
time and afterwards.

In or about 1903, Chiefs Hving outside Zululand and
north of the Pongolo sent messengers to complain to him
of being taxed £3 per hut in the Transvaal, whereas only
14s. was being paid in Natal. The Governor later on
spoke to Dinuzulu about this, asking why he had inter-
fered. It was bad enough to exercise influence over Chiefs
in Natal and Zululand, but a far more serious matter to
do so in regard to those of a different administration. He
replied that he had reported the incident to his Magis-
trate, when he received orders not to concern himself with
the matter. These orders, he added, were obeyed. He
pressed the Governor to produce the informant, but as
this could not be done, he felt aggrieved that an insinua-
tion of his having done wrong was allowed to drop,
although informed that his explanation was satisfactory.

This accusation, in conjunction with the further allega-
tions that he and his tribe were in possession of unregistered
firearms obtained at Dhleke and Holkrantz, were the
origin of a definite apphcation by him that a full inquiry
into his conduct should be held. The apphcation was
repeated on various occasions, but the Government was
unable to comply. At the same time, the Governor
strongly supported him in connection with the Holkrantz
affair, and told him he had done so.

In consequence of evidence given at various courts-
martial tending to imphcate him in the RebeUion, the
Government had no alternative but to decide to hold
some form of inquiry. A difficulty arose as to the com-
position of the proposed Commission. In the meantime,
an investigation had been started by the Magistrate,


Mahlabatini, into the circumstances attending his pre-
decessor's murder. The evidence therein, too, was found
to some extent to impHcate Dinuzulu. Under all the
circumstances, Ministers, in November, 1906, resolved to
refrain from holding an inquiry until a prima facie charge
could be estabHshed against him, as the effect of any
inquiry being abortive would have been greatly to increase
his prestige.

The desire for inquiry was again referred to by the
Chief in May, 1907, when, with his indunas, he paid Sir
Henry McCallum a visit at Pietermaritzburg. By this
time, however, the Government was in possession of a
good deal of other rehable information tending to prove
that he was personally concerned in the RebeUion, espe-
cially by harbouring rebels, including the ringleaders, at
Usutu, well knowing warrants were out for their arrest,
and either inspiring, or being privy to, various murders
of Native loyahsts that had taken place in Zululand.

Shortly after Dinuzulu's return to Usutu, the murder
of Sitshitshih occurred, followed by the escape from
Usutu of Bambata's wife and children.

After fuUy considering the situation, the new Governor
(Sir Matthew Nathan) " reluctantly came to the conclusion
. . . that Ministers are right in view that the peace of the
Colony requires the removal of Dinuzulu from Zululand." ^
He concurred in the advice that Dinuzulu should be
required to attend an inquiry into " the present state of
affairs in Zululand and into his alleged connection with
last year's RebelHon." He also agreed with the proposal
that two companies of Imperial troops should be stationed
at Eshowe, to discourage breaches of the peace and re-
assure loyahsts more than was possible for a detachment
of Mihtia to do. Representations were made accordingly
to the Secretary of State by cable. The latter rephed on
the 14th October that His Majesty's Government would
no doubt be " prepared to concur in the pohcy of enquiry,
and, if necessary, to move the troops as desired, if the
enquiry is to be into the best means of securing the peace

1 Cd. 3888, p. 109.


of the country, including the redress of grievances and if
the Natal Government will pledge itself to do its best, in
consultation with His Majesty's Government, to carry out
the reforms recommended by the Commission [Native
Affairs]. Such enquiry might be based on Dinuzulu's own
request . . . [and] be an important open enquiry . . .
not a mere pohce enquiry. . . ." ^ Dinuzulu, in the mean-
time, nervous on account of the police patrol that had
passed Usutu on the 30th September, contemplated leav-
ing Usutu to live in a still more isolated quarter by the
Black Umfolozi and nearer the sea.

Shortly after receipt of the Secretary of State's message
(14th October), another Chief, Mpumela, was murdered by
being shot after dark when sitting in his own hut — again
was the murder commonly associated with Usutu kraal,
not, in the first instance, by Europeans, but by Natives.
Ministers now advised that a warrant of arrest should
forthwith be issued against Dinuzulu and a strong body of
Militia be sent to reinforce the Pohce when executing it.
The Imperial Government abode by the pohcy, quoted
above, with the result that the two companies of infantry
apphed for were not sent as requested. Had this com-
paratively minor point been conceded, it is probable that
the murder of the loyal Chief, Mpumela, not to refer to
attempts to murder others, would not have occurred. It
is not surprising that, under the circumstances, the Colony
decided to effect Dinuziilu's arrest with its own troops,
without further appeal for Imperial assistance.

Having seen how Dinuzulu's desire for a pubhc inquiry
became, through gradual denouement, transformed into
a decision to arrest him on a charge of high treason, we
will now pass on to consider other aspects of the case.

One often hears it said that, with the country in so
disturbed a state, a magnificent opportunity for plotting
and fomenting rebellion was afforded the Chief during the
latter end of 1905 and beginning of 1906 had he been so
inclined. That is true. But the outlook from Dinuzulu's
own point of view should not be lost sight of. Here was
1 Cd. 3888, p. 149.


a man, by far the most important in Natal and Zululand,
in so far as social rank was concerned, who, but a few
years before, had returned from a long, exile. He was in
a better position than was any Native in Natal to know
what it meant to take up arms against Europeans. This
had been tried in 1879 as well as in 1887, but had failed.
It was not Ukely that, with his men in a disorganized con-
dition and the nation spht up into hundreds of separate
tribes, the prospects of success would be any greater in
1906, Had he shown resistance, it was inevitable that
the Government would have attacked him forthwith,
before a strong impi could have been assembled and
supplies collected, quite apart from his being physically
unfit to take the field. In other words, the widespread
feelings of loyalty towards him by hordes of undisciplined
barbarians meant little or nothing against organized
troops, armed with modern weapons, until an opportunity
had been afforded for openly mobilizing them and evolv-
ing order out of chaos. Dinuzulu had taken part in
military operations, and was sufficiently a soldier to know

A further reason for disincUnation was because, living
but a few miles from him in different directions, were three
Chiefs, Tshanibezwe, Mciteki and Kambi. These were all
important men : the first was the son of Cetshwayo's
prime minister ; the second a son and temporary suc-
cessor of Zibebu ; and the third a son of Hamu (one of
Dinuzulu's uncles). That is, sons of three of the thirteen
' kinglets ' appointed by Sir Garnet (later Viscount)
Wolseley. But the opportunity at hand, such as it was,
was too good to lose. It might not occur again. He knew
that the great mass of the people, already incensed against
the Government, were looking to him. He knew that the
large number of Chiefs in Natal and Zululand, and even
beyond, expected him to take the lead. He knew they
were ready to follow if he did. But the risks of failure
were too imminent. Like Hamlet, he began to soliloquize.
What, in this predicament, he actually did will perhaps
be never fully known. Whether he specially sent for


Bambata, on hearing this petty Chief was being harassed
at Mpanza, or that Bambata came of his own accord
with one of his wives (and children) to seek a place on
which to Hve ; whether Mankulumana, in Dinuzulu's
presence, actually incited him to start a rebeUion and flee
across to Nkandhla, where Dinuzulu would meet him, or
that Dinuzulu simply confined himself to saying he was
unable to give a site ; whether Mankulumana handed
Bambata a rifle with which to begin the fighting, and
provided him with emissaries to assist in inciting Natives,
or that Dinuzulu, on hearing from Bambata of a certain
doctor who could cure the ailment from which Dinuzulu
was suffering, sent two messengers merely to summon the
doctor : all this is to a large extent obscure. Witnesses
have testified on oath to each of the alternatives. The
Special Court found Dinuzulu not guilty of inciting Bam-
bata to rebel, owing mainly to the evidence of the wife
and children appearing to be an improbable version of
what actually happened ; but, whilst discrediting this
evidence, the Court did not say it accepted Dinuzulu's
own plausible story.

It is unnecessary to deal with other counts than the one
referred to. The prosecution and defence were at one in
concluding that : (a) Bambata fled to Dinuzulu, with his

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 43 of 52)