James Stuart.

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

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Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 45 of 52)
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the former to take supreme command of the rebel forces.

But evidences of plan and organization are not of
themselves sufficient to decide the point. The character
of the motives is also a determining factor.

There is abundant evidence that the Natives of Natal
were satisfied with the Crown Colony government that
existed up to 1893, whilst those of Zululand were equally
contented with the Imperial control which continued
until the end of 1897. The majority were averse to being
autocratically ruled by Zulu kings of the type of Tshaka,
Dingana or Cetshwayo.^ It is, moreover, certain that
they knew themselves to be powerless against European
troops. With the recent object-lesson of the Boer War
before them, they realized the utter futihty and madness
of attempting to regain their independence as a nation.
There is no evidence of any such thought having been
seriously entertained, in spite of Ethiopian propaganda.

^ They would, however, probably not have objected to being controlled
by Dinuzulu as Paramount Chief, provided that he had been appointed
by the Government, and became answerable to, and was effectively
controlled by, such superior authority.


The most they hoped for was that, as the Imperial troops
had been withdrawn, the King would not assist the
Colonial Government in the event of hostilities. The
mere fact of withdrawing the troops appeared to their
limited outlook to show that His Majesty disapproved
of the manner in which the Colony, and especially the
Native people, were being governed, and would, therefore,
probably refrain from helping. Because of apparent
disapproval of Natal policy, the sympathies of the King,
they thought, would be with the Zulus in any conflict
that might arise ; and any opposition by them would
be held to be justifiable. The mere fact of a quarrel
occurring would be good cause why the Imperial Govern-
ment should intervene and readjust matters. After
interfering, a general inquiry would ensue and possibly
lead to reversion to the former mode of government, and,
perhaps, to the setting up of Dinuzulu as Paramount Chief.

This is the loose reasoning that Dinuzulu and Man-
kulumana probably indulged in, and this is the only
motive that we can assign for the Chief aiding and abetting
Bambata as he did. The pronounced way in which the
numerous Chiefs, headmen and other Natives that
appeared before the Commission approved of Sir Theo-
philus Shepstone's management of their affairs under
Crown Colony government goes to support the theory.

The peculiar instruction that European women and
children were not to be murdered or molested, or men
other than Police or Militia injured, is also in harmony
with the idea, for Dinuzulu knew the Natives would
forfeit all sympathy with their cause in England had they
put their ordinary methods of warfare into practice.
Clearly this extraordinary instruction was issued to gain
approval. It was certainly not to placate the rebels.
If not the Imperial Government, we fail to see what other
people it was intended to influence. No doubt, the
severe manner in which Europeans condemned the murders
of European women and children as well as civihans by
the Matabele (Zulus) in the Rhodesian Rebellion of
1896, had come to Dinuzulu's notice. If the motive was


simply to destroy European government and set up their
own in its place, it is obvious no such order would have
been issued.

It may be incidentally remarked that many Europeans,
particularly at the beginning of the rising, were in a great
state of alarm lest the Natives should rise en bloc and
massacre them. The great difficulties of combination
between Chiefs were, however, insufficiently reahzed,
especially as many were loyal, or at least neutral, and
would have reported any hostile plans or intentions
that came to their notice.

We beUeve the order about not putting European
women and children to death was issued, and it is not
unhkely that credit therefor should be given to Dinuzulu
himself. At the same time, one should bear in mind that
the Natives of Natal and Zululand, upwards of a million
in number, were in a completely disorganized condition.
To a great extent, they looked to Dinuzulu as their head,
and he, no doubt, desired to be their leader. They would
have wished for nothing better than that he should lead
in an active manner. The fact remains that he did not
take up such position, and certainly a man like Bambata
could never have done so. Therefore, although Dinuzulu
might have given the order, there was no guarantee,
had the Government dealt with the RebelUon in a less
rigorous manner than it did, that the rebels, especially
if they had secured a few successes in different parts of
the country, would not have become so elated as to act
as they saw fit, in the beUef that the day had at last come
when the white man was to be driven back into the sea
' from whence he came.'

As proof that the foregoing supposition is not incorrect,
we find that the civilians Veal, Sangreid and Walters
were murdered, and Robbins seriously wounded.^ And
these incidents happened two or three months after issue
of the order.

1 Sangreid was murdered and Robbins wounded, in direct contra-
vention of the orders issued by the Chief (Ndhlovu), who was in com-
mand of the impi. Ndhlovu was only a mile or two away when the
incidents occurred.


One can understand Bambata's animus towards the
Government, but, as has already been shown, Bambata
was backed or supported by Dinuzulu. Had his actions
not been so directed, it is impossible to understand how
the many rebels that joined him could have done so
merely for the sake of fighting against the Government
in the certain knowledge of being speedily annihilated.
So many members of a normally sane and phlegmatic
people would never have followed an ignis fatuus and
sacrificed themselves on the mere chance that the public
would benefit. It is inconsistent with Zulu character
for a man to sacrifice himself, unless there be a reasonable
probabihty of material advantage accruing. We, there-
fore, arrive at the conclusion that their only reason for
taking up arms was because they beheved, and beheved
on what appeared to be the best possible authority, that
Dinuzulu desired and had ' ordered ' them to fight to
further some practical, profitable scheme or another
which he had in mind.

Another possible motive was, by offering sharp and
stubborn resistance, to demonstrate to all concerned,
more plainly than words could do, that the people resented
the way in which they were being governed, and so urge
their local rulers to bring about a change for the better.
These aimless or improvident tactics are, indeed, of a
merely animal type, such, for instance, as a dog, continually
irritated by its master, might resort to.

Having regard to Dinuzulu's association with the
rising in the capacity, to some extent, of invisible mentor
and director, we cannot beheve that, with his by no
means scanty knowledge of Imperial rule and of Natal
responsible government, especially of the conditions under
which he had been repatriated, and of the political
relations subsisting between the Home Government and
Natal, he would not have had some ulterior object in
view, even though not given expression to at the time.
His personal preference for the Imperial Government
has always been strong, consequently restoration of
something akin to Crown Colony government was naturally


what would have been uppermost in his mind and supplied
a sufficiently practical goal. If, however, responsible
government could not be revoked, the conditions under
which he had been repatriated might conceivably have
been revised by estabhshing him as Paramount Chief
and, through him, improving the status and condition of
the people at large. That such thoughts were actually
in his mind is proved by his own words to Sir Henry
McCallum at the important interview that took place
in Pietermaritzburg in May, 1907 : " I do not wish,"
he said, " to conceal it from your Excellency that the
whole of the people, the Zulus, hke me, as the son of my
father, who was their king formerly. . . . Now, I feel
it very hard on me, as I have been placed on a level with
all other headmen and Chiefs in the country. We are
just hke a flock of goats, we are all the same. ... I feel
very pained about something that I wish to state. My
father went to war with the British Government ; he
was beaten ; he was taken away from the country,
but afterwards, . . . allowed to return. . . . Notwith-
standing that he was returned by the kindness of the
Home Government to his home in Zululand, I feel, and
I wish to speak plainly here, that he was not treated as
he should have been, nor I, nor the people of Zululand,
as other nations or peoples who have gone to war with
the Government have been treated. . . . We cannot
help feehng that we Zulu people have been discriminated
against, and have not had the same treatment meted out
to us as to other races. . . . There is no one over us all
who might be held responsible and as a superior to keep
them together and to give them advice and direction." ^

We do not beheve the ordinary Natives were well
enough informed to appreciate the general motives here
imputed to Dinuzulu, but it was not at all necessary that
they should know them before acting as ' directed ' by
their supreme head. In the patriarchal system, blind
and unquestioning obedience is rendered, as a matter of
course, even to Chiefs ; much more so in the case of a
1 Cd. 3888, pp. 79, 80.


Paramount Chief or King. For all they knew, the
ordinary Natives might, in 1906, have been fighting for
anything else. It was sufiicient to know that they were
acting by direction of their ' King,' the adequacy and
practicability of the end in view being a matter left
entirely for him to decide. Loyalty and devotion such
as this could not but be admired by all who witnessed it.

It is just as well, from the rebels' point of view, that
Dinuzulu did not reveal his objective (assuming the one
imputed to him to be correct), otherwise many must
have reahzed at once the futihty of their endeavours.
After all, he himself saw the game was hardly worth the
candle, which accounts for his contenting himself with
working through other tribes, i.e. through those over
whom, ex hypothesi, he had no official jurisdiction.

Although he was, by birth, the supreme head, his
authority was not recognized by many Natives, especially
in Natal, i.e. where the new taxation pressed most heavily.
Armed opposition was, therefore, contemplated to some
extent independently of his control. The murder of
Smith at Umlaas Road, the incident at Trewirgie, the
exhibitions of defiance to various Magistrates, cannot be
explained, except as spontaneous, isolated and purely
local outbursts of hostile feeling in which Dinuzulu was
not implicated. He had his reasons for promoting hostil-
ities, whilst the Natives in general, particularly those
in Natal, had theirs. He distinctly appears to have
exercised restraint, and prevented the rising from resolving
itself into isolated outbreaks in all parts of Natal and
Zululand, regulated by nothing but the caprice of self-
appointed leaders.

In these circumstances, the only conclusion we can
come to is that the rising, dominated as it was from
start to finish by Dinuzulu's personahty, was more of the
character of an insurrection than of a rebelHon, for,
although apparently aiming at a change in the constitu-
tion, such change, as we believe, was intended to be
brought about by the Imperial Government of its own
motion, as soon as the time came for intervening. It


was what may be styled a limited or incipient rebellion,
although the rebels themselves, and certain sections of
the people, appear to have acted in the behef that the
object was or ought to be nothing less than expulsion of
the white race from Natal, if not from South Africa.^

That the taking of action against Dinuzulu was deferred
until sixteen months after the conclusion of the Rebellion,
is accounted for by his at first being presumed to be
loyal ; his having quickly paid the poll tax ; and his
offer of a levy. Had Colonel McKenzie received, prior
to August, 1906, the subsequently-obtained information
of the Chief's treasonable conduct — ^it is needless to say
that he would have been dealt with without delay.

(ii) Causes, motives, etc., of the Rebellion.

The vexed question of the causes of the Rebellion
appears simpler now that practically the whole of the
evidence is available, by which we mean that of the
Native Affairs Commission, of Dinuzulu's and other
trials, and of numerous other official and private records.
But, in deahng with the subject, one is at once confronted
with a number of difficulties. The so-called ' causes '
are found to resolve themselves into causes, motives and
occasions, these again being capable of further sub-
division. The wordJ^causfiJ-:^vill here be restricted to any
action on the part of the Government or colonists that
tended to bring about in the Natives an attitude of
hostility or rebelUousness ; ^jnotive ' will be Hmited to
anything which was an inducement to advance from
attitude to action ; and * occasion ' will be regarded as
an opportunity, time, or state, favourable for rebelling.
It is one thing for Dinuzulu to have had motives and
occasions for promoting insurrection, quite another as
to what causes had been at work in bringing about a
rebellious spirit in the people.

^ Notwithstanding the above conclusion, we have not felt justified in
altering the title of the book. Throughout South Africa and elsewhere,
the rising is spoken of as a rebellion.


The first, elementary, and most striking fact in con-
nection with the upheaval is the profound and natural
differences that existed between the contending races.
Their civilizations were widely different. They had
different creeds ; different social systems ; different
habits and customs ; different languages, history and
traditions ; a different physical, moral and intellectual
nature and equipment ; different tastes, ideals and
outlooks on hfe, and countless other differences.
Although the causes of any general conflict between a
higher and a lower race are not, perhaps, necessarily
deep-seated, in this particular instance we beheve they
arose out of the all-round radical differences referred
to, and were as fundamental as it was possible for them
to be.

Because of being a different race, the Natives, as has
been seen, were governed by a set of laws different to
those of the Europeans. This they strongly approved.
It was, indeed, after their heart's desire. But, with the
introduction of Responsible Government and develop-
ment of European towns, commerce, industries, institu-
tions, etc.. Native Affairs received a gradually diminishing
amount of attention on the part of the European com-
munity. As the Europeans progressed and became
more engrossed in their own affairs, necessity for safe-
guarding purely Native interests seemed to recede further
into the background. This was, to some extent, due to
Members of the Legislative Assembly being invariably
elected by a purely European electorate. When, as a
result of the Boer War, severe financial depression came
about, and Parliament was compelled to raise money,
the Poll Tax Act was passed, though without being
specially referred to the Natives. Theoretically there
was no necessity for reference, for they were represented
by Members of both Houses. The fault was not really
attributable to the Government, still less to the colonists,
but was rather one of the inevitable results of Responsible
Government, and especially of Western CiviHzation, of
which such Government was a natural outcome. In

2 k


the Constitution Act,^ elaborate provision was made
for the protection of European interests, but no other
than general provision on behalf of the Natives. That
the action taken in respect of the latter was indefinite,
was owing to their being barbarians, and in a very back-
ward state of civiUzation. Nothing, therefore, was
more natural than that the pendulum should eventually
swing unduly in favour of the Europeans. As, however,
the grant of Responsible Government came from the
Imperial Government, such Government cannot be
absolved from a share of the blame for the one-sided — and
perhaps, for the time being, necessarily one-sided —
tendencies inherent in the Constitution Act.

The specific grievances date, for the most part, from
this granting of Responsible Government. Prior to that
time, the Natives were under the immediate control of
Sir Theophilus Shepstone, or officers who managed their
affairs on more or less similar fines. On such regime, all
still look back with affection and gratitude. But the
seeds of friction and discord were nevertheless latent,
only time being needed for them to develop into actual

Apart from the system of Responsible Government,
another disturbing cause was the immigration of Europeans
and Indians. This had gone on steadily before 1893 and
since. These increases, combined with a greatly- aug-
mented Native population, seriously affected the condi-
tions of fiving and, on account of the keener struggle for
existence in a changing environment, the easy-going and
comparatively indolent Native was obliged to go more
and more to the wall.

It was, therefore, impossible to prevent the impression
gaining ground, especially in later times, with an accele-
rated spreading of enfightenment, that the Natives were
being discriminated against and, with such impression,
accentuated by the sinister Ethiopian propaganda dis-
seminated throughout the country since 1892, loss of
confidence in the white man's rule became inevitable.

^ That is, the Act of 1893, inaugurating Responsible Government.


That Natives arrived at the conclusion that they were
being discriminated against must be taken as fact. Dinu-
zulu's interview with the Governor proves that he per-
sonally had arrived at the same conclusion. Instances
of Uke views wiU be found throughout the Evidence
given before the Native Affairs Commission. We are
not prepared to deny that this view is to a large extent
correct, though cannot go the length of condemning
Natal Native poHcy in such unmeasured terms as some
are incUned to do. The clashing that occurred seems
to have arisen more out of the innate character of
Western Civihzation than out of specific injustice, repres-
sion or inordinate self-seeking on the part of the colonists.

When once a people begins to feel that it is accorded
no particularly definite status in the country, that its
welfare is of no special concern to the rulers, except as
a means to the latter's material advancement, that its
members, in short, are pariahs in what, but a few years
before, was their own country, then the time is not far
distant when they may be expected to make a bid for
liberty. It is beside the question to set about to defend
the principles of any poKcy when such impression is
abroad and the country in a ferment ; if people beheve
they are being down-trodden, the belief, justifiable or not,
is what has to be reckoned with. In Natal, it was a fact
that many Natives believed themselves to be a down-
trodden race, and it was this general fact which seems to
us to have been a main underlying cause of their re-
belliousness. But, whilst being a cause, one thing must
be borne clearly in mind. The insurrection was partial,
not universal. Had various Natal governments shown
no regard whatever for the people's interests and welfare,
and been content merely to exploit them for the benefit
of the white race, no one wiU deny that such feelings
of hatred would have been engendered as to have caused
the rising to be far more extensive and formidable than
it was. That there should have been warfare at all is
bad enough, but it is at least fair to Natal to remember
that the great mass of the people did not feel that pro-


vocation, sufficient for taking up arms, had been given.
This testimony is manifestly in favour of successive
governments not having been quite so callous as some
have endeavoured to make out. Of course, the com-
paratively few who actually armed — between 10,000
and 12,000 — wished to organize a general insurrection
or rebelhon ; of that there is abundant evidence ; and
such plan might have succeeded had the rising not been
sternly met and speedily repressed. The malcontents,
knowing that the effects of European rule were felt
as more or less oppressive by the majority of their
kinsmen — just as the majority would, in time, have
regarded as oppressive the rule of the highest type of
British or any other rulers that could possibly have been
selected — and knowing that the poll tax had still further
embittered their race against European rule, calculated
that the time was ripe for general rebelhon. They
reckoned that far greater numbers would have joined
than actually did. But they were disappointed. They
failed to allow sufficiently for the inertia of those who,
though not particularly enamoured of European rule,
saw nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by resort
to arms. Even Dinuzulu, in spite of his promise, and
after exerting his influence on Sigananda, Mehlokazulu
and others, failed at the critical moment to afford
active support. The fact is that the Natal Govern-
ment had not become altogether intolerable, except to
such recognized renegades as Bambata. In every State
of the world, numbers of malcontents are ever ready to
rise against any government that happens to be in
power. Natal was no exception to the rule. And when
her day of trial came, she had perforce to depend on the
loyalty of the remainder of the people, and the strength
of her own right hand. If the management of the Native
races by Natal was worse than is here made out, how
comes it that her entire Native population throughout
the Boer War, which began but six, and ended four, years
before the Rebellion, was as consistently loyal as it was
throughout that protracted war ; that Dinuzulu assisted


as he did with scouts and levies (though not for the pur-
pose of actual fighting) ; that, so far from wanting to
rebel, the Chiefs offered their services, which, however,
could not be accepted on the ground that the war was ' a
white man's war ' — and all this notwithstanding that the
Colony had been invaded, and one of its principal towns
besieged by the enemy for upwards of three months ?
Clearly, Natal's rule had not, at that time, become so
unbearable as to cause the people to prefer a regime set
up by Dinuzulu, or some other Zulu despot.

Under the circumstances, we come to the conclusion
that the fundamental cause was the introduction and
imposition on the aborigines of a type of civilization
radically different from their own. The Government,
first Imperial, latterly Colonial, was necessarily the instru-
ment whereby such civilization was introduced and
imposed. ResponsibiUty for all that occurred must,
therefore, be thrown, as it was thrown by Natives, on
the Government, even the breaking down of their social
system through the unremitting effects of Missionary
teaching, the undermining of the tribal system by
European landlordism, the innumerable deleterious effects
caused by degraded or dishonest classes of Europeans,
and in other ways.

This establishment and promotion of Western Civiliza-
tion operated in various ways on the Natives : (a)
restrictions were imposed on former conditions or modes
of life ; {b) indiscriminate licence was extended to various
sections, as well as to Europeans, whilst, at the same time,
(c) obligations to conform to the new conditions of life were

Let us consider some of the principal causes of dis-
content that sprang from this action.

Under (a) : Natives were prohibited from imder going
military service, or joining in various military occupa-
tions, which, as shown in Chapter IV., took up a very
large portion of their time ; they were precluded from
leading the nomadic life customary with them for ages ;
individual kraalheads were restricted, by the setting


up of a system of freehold tenure by Europeans, from
going to live where they wished, and many of the old

Online LibraryJames StuartA history of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906 : and of Dinuzulu's arrest, trial, and expatriation → online text (page 45 of 52)