James Stuart.

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

. (page 44 of 52)
Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 44 of 52)
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wife and children, after wilfully disobeying an order of the
Government ; (6) he had two or more interviews with
Dinuziilu and his indunas towards the end of March ; (c)
he received exceptionally favourable treatment during
the three or four days he was at Usutu ; (d) he was
accompanied to Mpanza, Natal, by two ' messengers '
from Dinuzulu ; (e) on reaching Mpanza, he made prepara-
tions to rebel, being actively assisted therein by one of the
* messengers ' referred to, who, in Dinuzulu's name, openly
incited members of his tribe to rebel ; (/) with the assist-
ance of Dinuzulu's messenger, three distinct acts of re-
beUion were committed on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th April ;
(g) Bambata, along with the same messenger and about 130
men then fled to Nkandhla ; (h) at Nkandhla, it was
represented by the said messenger that Bambata had the


authority of Dinuzulu to rebel and take refuge there ; and
(i) Dinuzulu's messenger thereupon usurped control of
Sigananda's tribe in order to assist Bambata. As there is
unanimity in these and other particulars, and as the
Court found Dinuzulu not guilty, the question arises :
Who, then, was the cause of the RebeUion ? The question
is a fair one and obviously demands an answer, if one can
be given.

Let us attempt an analysis. The names of the ring-
leaders were Bambata, Cakijana (Dinuzulu's messenger),
Mangati, Sigananda and Mehlokazulu, whilst those who
are declared to have instigated it are Dinuzulu, Mgwaqo
and Mankulumana. If the author of the Insurrection is
not among these, then he is nowhere.

Mgwaqo and Mankulumana may be ehminated because,
being indunas of Dinuzulu, the latter must be held to have
been privy to, and responsible for, everything they did.
Bambata would never have been incited, nor would he
have agreed to rebel, except on receiving an assurance from
Dinuzulu himself that they were voicing his wishes.

Mangati and Mehlokazulu, again, only appeared on the
scene after the RebeUion had started, and Bambata was
at Nkandhla. No one who knows the facts would regard
either of them as the cause. They were accessory, but
ex post facto.

Now, as regards Bambata, Cakijana, Sigananda and
Dinuzulu. We have seen that Cakijana was a ' messenger.'
The prosecution declared he was an emissary, but, assum-
ing him to have been merely a messenger on his way to
fetch a doctor, it is agreed that, when he accompanied
Bambata to Natal, he did not receive his instructions from
Dinuzulu or at Usutu, but at his own kraal many miles
away.^ But for having been ordered to accompany
Bambata, he would probably not have gone at all. Caki-
jana declares Bambata had already arrived at the decision
to rebel when he joined him ; consequently, if this be true,

^ This, though not in accordance with Zulu practice, is a method that
would naturally conunend itself to a man like Dinuzulu, who would
realize the danger of adopting normal procedure.


the instigator could not have been Cakijana — for instance,
when he represented to Bambata's and Sigananda's tribes
that it was Dinuzulu's order that they should rebel.

There is not a shred of evidence that any communica-
tion passed between Sigananda and Bambata until after
the Rebellion had started, and this notwithstanding the
blood relation between the tribes. Sigananda, at his trial
at Nkandhla, in June, 1906, a couple of weeks after Mome,
stated that, in the absence of Dinuzulu and Mankulumana,
he would say nothing, they being the people " who drew
this man {i.e. Bambata) along here. ..." President of
Court- Martial — " I want the names of the people who
brought you into trouble." Answer — " I say their names
are Dinuzulu and Mankulumana. . . . This man Bam-
bata came from their country." Another of Sigananda's
reasons for not giving his evidence was because he had
just heard the messenger he sent to Dinuzulu to report
Bambata's arrival at Nkandhla give evidence. With
such evidence he fully concurred. What was it ? Briefly
that Dinuzulu had sent the following reply : " Tell my
grandfather, Sigananda, that he is to receive my man
Bambata into his bosom and take care of him." The
witness added that Dinuzulu was at the bottom of the
Rebellion, and had said he would assist by ordering
various tribes to support Sigananda. And the tribes
referred to did actively support. Other evidence was
given showing conclusively that Sigananda rebelled solely
because of the instructions he had received from Dinuzulu.
Now, this is independent and remarkable testimony by
one of the oldest and staunchest supporters of the Usutu
cause in Zululand.

There remain the names of Bambata and Dinuzulu.
We know Bambata rebelled. But was he the principal, or
merely an agent or instrument ? He has been called a ' mad-
man.' The word ' hlanya,' however, that was commonly
applied to him, also means ' firebrand,' ' desperado,' or
' anarchist ' ; it was in the latter senses that it was used.
Cakijana was the same type of man, though, in addition,
with considerable experience of European warfare, arms,


ammunition, etc. This Dinuzulu knew when he directed
him to accompany Bambata. Indeed, had the mission
been merely the absurdly trivial one of fetching a doctor
from a low-caste tribe, a hundred other equally suitable
and less martially-inchned messengers could have been
got within ten miles of Dinuzulu's kraal and within his
own ward. And then not two but one would have been
necessary and usual for such a purpose, especially as the
man who had recommended the doctor was himself
accompanjdng the messenger. Cakijana Uved in another
ward, and was not a member of Dinuzulu's tribe.

Bambata was killed during the RebelHon, hence his
evidence is not available. His wife and children (the latter
aged about 17 and 14 in 1907), declare that he was
presented with a rifle and ammunition at Usutu with
Dinuzulu's knowledge, whilst the first-mentioned adds
that she heard Mankulumana, in Dinuzulu's presence and
hearing, incite Bambata to rebel and to use the rifle and
ammunition referred to for the purpose. Bambata, too,
is known to have informed other people that Dinuzulu had
given him the rifle.

On no occasion had Bambata fought against the Govern-
ment until he met and conversed with Dinuzulu and his
indunas, and the fatal blow was struck within a few days
of the interviews. The first thing any Native would do
when meditating resistance would be to calculate if his
force is Hkely to succeed. That such is Native character,
just as it is the character of other races, was brought out
by witnesses both in Dinuzulu and Sigananda's trials, to
refer to no others. That the same calculation was made
by Bambata is probable. That it was because he recog-
nized the futihty of taking up arms that he fled when a
handful of Poflce were sent in March to arrest him is
abundantly clear. From where, then, did he derive that
confidence to attack which at first he lacked ? Like a wise
man, wishing to oppose the Government when depriving
him of his chieftainship, but reaKzing his inability to do
so with success, he went to the only person who was able
to assist, one described by Natives themselves as " a high



tree, upon which all the birds fed or congregated." That
another Chief would be appointed in his place became a
certainty to him as soon as he deserted. He, an old
Natal resident, well knew the consequences of defiant
conduct. Hence, feelings of hostihty, together with the
motive to fight, were already in his mind when he went
to Dinuzulu. They did not arise merely after he got back
and saw his uncle had been appointed, for the choice
of a successor necessarily lay between the uncle and
Bambata's brother, Funizwe. Support is given to this
view by the boast Bambata is said to have made to
his tribesmen when leaving for Usutu in March : " When
next you set eyes on me, I shall be at the head of an
army ! "

We beHeve that Bambata went to Dinuzulu with the
resolution to rebel already formed, and that the sole object
of the visit was to obtain from Dinuzulu, at that time
beheved by ignorant Natives to be all-powerful, an
assurance that if he, Bambata, belled the cat, he would
obtain the Zulu Chief's support. We beHeve, after a long
and careful study of the facts, that such assurance was
unequivocably, though subtly, given. The proof of this is
that Bambata fled unhesitatingly to Nkandhla as soon as
he rebelled, where he immediately got the support of an
acknowledged Usutu adherent, and such was given because
Sigananda was directed by Dinuzulu to ' protect ' Bam-
bata. We do not beHeve Dinuzulu went out of his way
to incite the man to rebel, still less that he sent for him in
a cold-blooded way with the object of inciting him to
rebel, nor even that he suggested his so doing, because,
as we have endeavoured to show, the intent was probably
already latent in Bambata's own mind. The ' suggestion '
theory is plausible and appears to fit the case exactly,
except for the animus injuriandi that may reasonably be
supposed to have been present in Bambata's mind before
he started for Usutu. In other words, we believe he was
the author, but only because Dinuzulu was accessory.
But for the feeling to rebel having occurred spontaneously,
we can hardly picture to ourselves his going off to start


a rebellion with only a couple of Dinuzulu's men in attend-
ance. Surely, had the initiative come from Dinuzulu
himself, Bambata would not have been content with the
terms. On such a hypothesis, they would have been most
unusual. No mere agent would have acted with the dash
and daring Bambata did. His actions were those of a
principal. But for Cakijana, the whole of the men who
struck the first blow were members of Bambata's own
tribe and entirely under his command. What experience
had Dinuzulu of Bambata's fighting capacity that he
should select him, a young man, to carry out so vast an
undertaking, assuming Dinuzulu to have been actively
directing its execution ?

Then, it should be remembered, Dinuzulu was nothing
very much to Bambata. His allegiance was allegiance-for-
the-time-being, mere opportunism. Bambata belonged to
a class (not only a tribe, but a set of tribes) generally
looked down on by the Zulus. He was a Lala. Lalas
were and are still held by Zulus to be an inferior people ;
ancient slanders to the effect that they do not wash
before meals, and habitually lie down to sleep in an
indecent manner, are indications of the attitude assumed
by the aristocratic Zulus towards them. It was with that
hereditary social antipathy in mind, conscious that he
was accused of being the actual fomenter of insurrection,
that Dinuzulu, in his famous message to the Government
protesting loyalty and innocence, spoke of the man, with
whom he had just had intimate deahngs, as ' this dog
Bambata.' Zulus regard dogs as filthy creatures and keep
them at a distance ; the term, therefore, was intended
to give the impression that it was opprobrious. As a
matter of fact, it was nothing of the kind. Under these
circumstances, it can be seen Bambata's loyalty towards
Dinuzulu was not pervaded with that depth of affection
and sincerity of devotion which would have animated
tribes of a higher class.

As regards ' this dog Bambata ' being connected with
Dinuzulu through the latter's marriage with a girl,
Nomadhlangala, the contention can be dismissed in a


word. The girl belonged to the Bomvu tribe, that is, to a
tribe living next to Bambata's, whose services to the
Government, by invading and spoiling Bambata's ward
along with the troops, besides other acts of conspicuous
loyalty during the Rebellion, have become widely known.

Bambata was naturally impulsive, determined and
daring, with an experience of fighting, if only faction
fighting. A man of that kind, already inchned to intem-
perance, with all his substance wasted, and ruin, in the
shape of loss of chieftainship, staring him in the face,
would not require urging to take up arms. The only
point for him to consider, then, would be the amount of
support that could be reckoned on.

That the foregoing theory is reasonable is further borne
out by what actually happened. Testimony was repeatedly
given at various trials — which cannot all be brushed aside
by Dinuzulu's petulant exclamation that the witnesses
are personal enemies — that Dinuzulu had, at different
stages of the Rebellion, either " given Sigananda to Bam-
bata," or " given Mehlokazulu to Bambata," or given
some other Chief. The meaning was that Dinuzulu had
instructed these Chiefs, in some way and at different
moments, to assist or support Bambata in fighting the
Government. And all the Chiefs that were named did
assist. The probabilities are, moreover, that the gun and
ammunition obtained by Bambata at Usutu, if given by
Dinuzulu, were given not as ocular proof of incitement,
but in token of his sympathy and support^ — not in the
shape of fighting material, but to influence others who
controlled such material. Such sympathy, however, we
beheve, was extended only on condition that the identity
of the giver was not revealed.

Messengers were sent from Uzutu to Sigananda soon
after Bambata got to the forests, directing him to " place
Bambata under his armpit," implying, of course, that the
man was to be protected from the Government troops
that were sure to follow.

A strong reason why Dinuzulu did not incite Bambata
to rebel, except in the sense of assuring him of indirect


support, is the fact that he did not send with him an
induna, i.e. one who is usually an elderly, headringed man.
This omission will appeal powerfully to all who know the
Zulu character.^ Cakijana was a man of no rank whatever,
though he had once been a servant of Dinuzulu, as well as
a member of his bodyguard (Nkomondala) ; moreover, he
was not more than 33 years old, and without that cus-
tomary sign of manhood and responsibility — a headring.
Dinuzulu himself drew the attention of the Government
to these facts in defence of his conduct. But, although
prima facie proof of his not having instigated Bambata,
the sending of Cakijana and the other messenger was
proof to Bambata and to others of Dinuzulu's readiness
to assist, and that was precisely what Bambata wanted.
He, as well as Cakijana, made such use of the fact that,
as we beUeve, a false impression was conveyed to Natives
at Mpanza, at Nkandhla, and other places, that Dinuzulu
himseK was rebelling, instead of only assisting Bambata
to rebel — that is, assisting by using the influence he
possessed to practically ' direct ' Chiefs to support,
although always in a position to retort to the Government
that, being only a Chief, he obviously had no authority
over other Chiefs, as clearly stipulated in the conditions
of repatriation. The conveyance of such impression, and
especially its probable communication to the authorities,
greatly alarmed Dinuzulu, and possibly was the motive
why he so persistently concealed from the Government
the fact that Bambata's wife and children were being
harboured by him, and, from Bambata's wife, that her
husband was dead.

The main feature of this aspect of the case was Dinu-
zulu's absolute fear of taking any step to start a rebellion
in his own name. He could, of course, have made the
attempt, but, because closely watched by the Government
(particularly during the unrest), by the three Chiefs and
hereditary foes that have been named, as weU as by

^ Too much emphasis should not, however, be laid on this, as Dinuzulu
was shrewd enough to know that, only by not conforming to normal
procedure, would he stand the best chance of cloaking the true intent of
his words and actions.


other Chiefs, the game was not worth the candle. He
might as well have committed suicide. These are the
reasons why he did not embark on a rebellion (as some
seem to think it was open to him to do), except to the
extent of cautious wire-pulling from a considerable dis-
tance. No doubt he did the best that could possibly
have been done under the circumstances to embarrass the
Government. It certainly was not because he was whole-
heartedly loyal that he refrained from rebeUing, for the
Special Court found him guilty of high treason, and the
justice of that finding has never been questioned by

When Mr. Stainbank was murdered, Mankulumana, as
has been seen, was sent with a few men by Dinuzulu,
on application being made to him by the Government, to
help in arresting the murderer or murderers. The mission
met with no success whatever. Only after six years'
police inquiry, carried on altogether independently of
Dinuzulu's assistance, was the murderer discovered,
brought to trial and convicted (July, 1912). This man,
Mayatana, turned out to be the son of one of Cetshwayo's
principal pohtical messengers. He was well known to
Dinuzulu, had for months resided at Usutu, and, during
the Boer War, was a member of his bodyguard. It
was the same man who, as he himself declared, was
sent with Cakijana by Dinuzulu to shoot a man called
Gence for having committed adultery with one of Dinu-
zulu's wives, and causing the Chief to become ill.
Gence was accordingly murdered, not, as Mayatana was
careful to point out, by himself (though he also fired),
but by Cakijana.^

The case of Dinuzulu is of many-sided interest, but

1 When the troops arrived at Nongoma (December, 1907), the same
Mayatana volmiteered to assist as a 'spy.' As he appeared to be acting
in a bona-fide manner, his services were accepted. On one occasion, he
led the way by night to a cave near Usutu, where a couple of useless
guns and a kamba full of old cartridge cases were found. It was not, of
course, known then that he was a murderer. It is not improbable that,
although apparently assisting the troops, he was really acting in his
master, Dinuzulu's, interests the whole time. To have done so, would
have been in keeping with Zulu character in time of war.


we cannot stay to examine it further. It is, we believe,
destined to become classic, as demonstrating the impossi-
biUty of deahng with the Native or, indeed, any subject
races on other than lines natural or as natural as possible
to themselves. The story is a sad and painful one. No
one who goes into it can fail to find a deep pathos running
through the whole. That is only to be expected, because
of the Hmitations that were placed on one of such out-
standing rank, and after he had already experienced the
dangerous honours and pleasures that belong, as of right,
to the heir of every vacant throne. It is a story of pohti-
cal faults, and these by no means only on Dinuzulu's side,
but it is also the story, especially in later days, of deep-
rooted intrigue on the part of the ex-Chief, culminating
in a memorable, though merciful, debacle. He was, as
we have seen, placed in an extremely awkward predica-
ment, but the restrictiveness and distastefulness thereof
would not, we venture to think, be held by even his
most devoted friends to have justified the disloyalty of
which he was found to be guilty. At the same time,
it is fair to bear in mind that, ever since the Zulu War,
he has had to contend with difficulties of so extra-
ordinary a kind as no other Zulu has ever been called on
to face.

One cannot but regret that he was allowed to drift as
long as he did. The irrationality of his position was
practically unperceived, except by those closest to him,
and, if perceived by others, insufficiently appreciated, so
that a more suitable and timely remedy could be found
and apphed. But here again, as the reader will have
already inferred, both the Imperial and Natal Govern-
ments were face to face with obstacles of no ordinary
character, which could not have been removed, except by
incurring grave risks and, perhaps, even graver than those
that were incurred.


That unusual significance attaches to the events narrated
in the foregoing pages, can hardly fail to have impressed
the reader. It wiU, no doubt, have been borne in
on him that he is here face to face with the spirit of
Africa itself. Attempts have been made to explain
the position as it developed. What remains now is to
deal with the subject in a more general way — see if what
occurred amounted to rebelKon ; if so, when it began and
came to an end ; estimate the various underlying causes ;
attempt rephes to some of the criticisms that were passed ;
and, finally, put forward one or two suggestions as to
future relations between the European and Native races.

(i) Nature of the Rising,

A number of people, swayed by false accusations of
rapacity, unfairness or what not against the colonists,
would appear to have come to the conclusion that the
RebeUion was of a merely superficial nature. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Not that the colonists
were or are without blame, for they are of the same type
of British settler as is to be found in any other part of the
Empire, but such faults as they were responsible for were
certainly not, as far as we can see, the principal or moving
cause. There was something more fundamental than

But before dealing with the causes, let us inquire if
what occurred was a rebellion or an insurrection. What


is rebellion ? It is " organized armed resistance to the
ruler or government of one's country." ^ What is
insurrection ? It is " the action of rising in arms or open
resistance against estabUshed authority or governmental
restraint." ^

It would be difficult to prove that the attack on the
PoKce at Trewirgie amounted to rebeUion or even to
insurrection. It was, however, active resistance to
constituted authority at a time when practically the whole
country was in a state of unrest and seething with dis-
affection. The attack was, no doubt, intended to be an
act of insurrection or rebelhon, though prematurely
carried into execution.^ This conclusion is supported
by the fact that it was followed by no other overt act of
violence on the part of others ; at any rate, not until
two months later. But for such occurrence, the Mpanza
one would probably not have taken place in the way it
did. The former, no doubt, paved the way for the latter,
though, at the same time, as a general rebelHous spirit
was abroad, Trewirgie may be said to have disturbed the
formation of plans that were either incubating or would
certainly have incubated in an environment favourable
for a general rising.

When, however, we come to Bambata's attack, there
can be no question but that such was a premeditated act,
intended to be the first step in a revolt which, it was hoped,
would rapidly become universal.

The Mpanza affair was further characterized by the
plans formed in connection therewith. Evidences of
plan are found in Cakijana, in the name of Dinuzulu,
inciting Bambata's people to rebel, and warning them not to
kill European women and children, or other than members
of the Militia and Police forces ; in the insurgents forth-

1 J. A. H. Murray & others, A New English Dictionary on historical
principles. Clarendon Press, Oxford,

2 Ibid.

3 Those concerned were charged and convicted of public violence,
murder and " being in arms against the Government and actively-
resisting constituted authority, and aiding and abetting rebels against
the Government."


with crossing to the Nkandhla forests, where the Chief
of that part, on receipt of ' instructions ' from Dinuzulu,
proceeded to protect Bambata ; in Sigananda, Mehloka-
zulu and other Chiefs or headmen promptly assisting
Bambata. A war-cry, badges and pass-words, which
presently became general, were, moreover, ordered to
be used, and so on.

The plan undoubtedly was that the rising should
eventually involve the whole of Natal and Zululand. To
begin with, hostiUty was to be allowed to develop out
of a spirit of unrest and opposition to the Government,
known to have more or less infected the entire Native
population. After the insurgents had to some extent
estabhshed themselves at Nkandhla, they began coercing
neighbouring Chiefs to join their cause by raiding their
stock. Had suitable opportunity occurred, these methods
would have been practised on men living at even greater
distances. Later on, two indunas, Macala and another,
were, as declared by Mangati, appointed by Dinuzulu —

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 44 of 52)