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Forty Years

AmongThe Zulus



JOSlAHfYLEK



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FORTY YEARS
AMONG THE ZULUS



BY

REV. JOSIAH TVLER

MISSIONARY OF THE A. B. C. F. M.



BOSTON AND CHICAGO
Congregational Sunlia5=5cJ}ool ani publishing Socictg



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Copyright, 1891, by
Congregational Sunday -School and Publishing Society.



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TO THE MEMORY OF

PvIY BELOVED WIEE,

WHO FOR

THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS LABORED UNWEARIEDLY

FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF

THE ZULUS,

AND WAS THEN CALLED TO HIGHER SERVICE.



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NOTE.



Reluctantly obliged by ill health to relin-
quish mission work in Africa, it has been
suggested that I publish some account of the
beginning and growth of the evangelization
of the Zulus. Thanks are due to the editors
of The New York Observer and other papers
for permission to make use of articles which
have occasionally appeared from my pen while
in Natal. If what I have written shall lead
any one to consecrate himself to the work of
the Master in South Africa, I shall be fully
repaid. j. T.






INTRODUCTION.



It is good to observe a people through the
eyes of one who has long lived among them
and for them. The unselfish soul is the best
observer. He sees truthfully who sees the
good, that he may enlarge it ; the evil, that
he may cure it. For a study of races, the
devotion of love is the light of wisdom. For
this reason the observations and reflections of
this book will have a just and permanent value.

The " heroes of the Dark Continent " are
not all named in the records of explorations
and discoveries. The worth and courage of
the missionary, who, by his fidelity in preaching
and living the gospel, discovers the man in
the savage, are less conspicuous but no less
real. England may trace many streams of her
power to the fountains that were opened by
the teachers and preachers of Jesus when her
ancestors were pagans. If another England —
a "Greater Britain" — appear in South Africa,
with commerce, education, a well-organized
society, and the beneficent forces of religion,



r t ^ c ^c r



8 Introduction,



it will be created by the same truth and
personal consecration. Missionary Tyler will
not live to see the society of his hope, but
when it comes and its history shall be written,
the " Forty Years among the Zulus " will be
named as among the seeds without which there
could have been no harvest.

It is said that nearly one fourth of the native
inhabitants of Africa are of the Bantu race,
of which the Zulu is doubtless the most
interesting tribe. This book makes evident
that they are not only numerous, but have a
capacity for great things. In their courage
and respect for property rights is found the
2:)romise of a new nation. If Paul plant and
Apollos water, God will give the increase.
This book describes the people as they are:
their vulgarities, superstitions, their somewhat
offensive but vigorous naturalness, and proves
what may be done with them by the power of
the gospel. What we call civilization is now
entering Africa. The Christian religion must
go with it, or its selfish and depraving ac-
companiments — impurity, intemperance — will
make the light of knowledge darker than the
native ignorance.

There is a fascination in reading the chap-
ters describing Zulu life as they follow one



Introdiiction.



after another, because it is always interesting
to read of human nature, and more than
interesting to read a book in which an earnest
soul describes the consistent devotion of all his
working years. Mr. Tyler is the son of Bennet
Tyler, d.d., of wide fame as a teacher and
theologian. Inheriting much of his father's
power, alluring opportunities of usefulness here
were presented to him. But he was possessed
of the spirit of a missionary and could be no-
thing else with a whole heart. There were no
unconsecrated reserves in his nature. He was
fitted for his work by a singularly active mind,
a tender and yearning spirit, humor, common
sense, and a heart loyal to Christ. He still
calls the natives his people ; and in his enforced
absence, though with children and friends,
really lives among the Zulus. "I see them
every Sunday," he says, "and find myself in
imagination preaching to them in their own
language the wonderful truths of God's love."

C. M. LAMSON, D.D.
St. Johnsbury, Vt.



K^r^i V ,






CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I. PAGE

LEAVING HOME.

Choice of the South African Mission. — Marriage
and Ordination. — Leaving Home. — Stop at
Cape Town. — Kev. Dr. Philip. — Sight of Natal.
— Reception by Rev. Daniel Liudley. — Ride in
an Ox-wagon 17

CHAPTER n.

STUDY OF THE LANGUAGE.

Rev. Newton Adams, m.d., and wife. — Study of
the Language. — Mistakes in Speaking Zulu . . 29

CHAPTER in.

OUR MISSION STATION.

Going to my Station. — Mr. Lindley accompanies
me. — Incidents in Mr. Lindley's Life. — View of
Esidumbini. — Taking Possession. — Mrs. Liudley 35

CHAPTER IV.

LIFE IN A KRAAL.

Life in a Zulu Kraal. — How the Huts are made. —
A Zulu Pantry. — Owner of the Kraal refuses
to have a Door in his Hut. — Appeal to Ances-
tral Custom. — Winning the Contidence of the
People 41

CHAPTER V.

HOUSE BUILDING.

In a Dilemma. — Rev. Aldin Grout. —His attempt
to Teach a King his Letters. — An American
Mail. — Mrs. Tyler's Feelings in view of the

Work 48

11



* ' c t , ,

* * I r • r



12 "'' Contents.



CHAPTER VI. P^GE

ZULU DRESS.



Zulu Wardrobe. — Shaving the Head. — Head Ring.
— Headdress of the Women and Young Men. —
Fondness for Ornaments 57



CHAPTER VII.

DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED.

Reply to the Question, '■'Who made you'?'" — The
Great Spirit. — Ignorance. — Selfishness. — Need
of Patience. — My "Better Half." — Zulu Con-
sciences 63

CHAPTER VHI.

TOILING AND ^yAITING.

Mrs. Tyler's Retrospect. — Hulumene. — Dambusa. —

Muscular Christianity. — Gravity Upset ... 68

CHAPTER IX.

WILD ANIMALS.

Buffaloes. — Umfulavve's Narrow Escape. — An
Euglishman''s Adventure. — Lions. — Leopards.
— Wild Dogs.— Baboons 73

CHAPTER X.

CROCODILES AND SNAKES.

Butler's Narrow Escape. — A Dutchman's Adven-
ture. — Pythons. — Venomous Serpents. — Puff
Adders. — The " Imamba." — Zulu Carrying a
Serpent on his Head. — Snakes good Rat-
catchers. — Effect of Tobacco on Serpents. —
Remedies for Snake-bites 83

CHAPTER XL

SPIRIT VTORSHIP.

Doctors of Divination. — "Smellers Out." — Zulu
Prayers. — Sacrifices 93



Contents. 13



CHAPTER XII. PAGE

ZULU SUPERSTITIONS. 104

CHAPTER XIII.

POLYGAMY AND OTHER EVIL PRACTICES.

Chattelizing of Women. — Beer Drinking. — Smoking
Wild Hemp 117

CHAPTER XIV.

ENCOURAGEMENTS.

Church Organized. — Prodigals Returning. — Dam-
busa again. — Experience of Young Converts. —
Christianity must Precede Civilization .... 125

CHAPTER XV.

THE SABBATH AT ESIDUMBINI. 134

CHAPTER XVI.

VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES. — NEW WORK.

Trial of leaving Children on returning to Africa. —
Location at Umsunduzi. — Visiting an Out-
station. — Mrs. Tyler's Observations 140

CHAPTER XVII.

EXPERIENCES AT UMSUNDUZI. 149

CHAPTER XVIII.

ZULU CHURCHES.

Disciplinable Offenses in Zulu Churches. — Mission
Rules. — Legislation of a Native Church. —
Polygamous Converts. — One in a Dilemma . . 158

CHAPTER XIX.

ZULU CHRISTIANS.

Their Courage.— Faith. — Happy Deaths .... 163



14 Contents.



CHAPTER XX. PAGE

ZULU PREACHERS.

Revs. James Dube and Ira Adams. — Umsingapansi.
— Cases of Lapse. — Specimens of Zulu Ad-
dresses 171

CHAPTER XXI.

ZULU CUSTOMS AND LAWS.

Origin of the Name "Kaffir." — Similarity of Zulu
and Jewish Customs. — Number of Zulus in
Natal in 1843 and in 1889. — Regard for their
Chiefs. — Independence. — Zulu Lad's Escape
from Cannibals 181

CHAPTER XXII.

ZULU CHARACTERISTICS.

Physical Strength of the Zulus. — Politeness. —
Love of Fun. — Skill in Debate. — Ingenuity. —
Teachableness 188

CHAPTER XXIII.

ZULU WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS.

Cetywayo's Marrying his Fifteenth Wife. — Zulu
Girls " Poj)ping the Question." — Publicly
Choosing a Husband. — Funeral Ceremonies . . 199

CHAPTER XXIV.

ZULU KINGS AND WARS.

Chaka, Dingaan, Umpande, Cetywayo. — Zulu War
in 1869 and 1870. — Quarrel between Cetywayo
and Usibepu. — Death of the Former. — Undiiii-
zulu. — Rebellion and Sentence 212

CHAPTER XXV.

ZULU FOLKLORE. 229



Contents. 15



CHAPTER XXVI. page

DECEASED AMERICAN MISSIONARIES.

Revs. Champion, Bryant, Marsh, McKinney and
wife, Ireland, Abraham and wife. Wilder, Stone,
Lloyd and wife, Robbins and wife, Dohne,
' Pinkerton, Butler, Mrs. Tyler 236

CHAP'i^R XXVII.

NATIVE EDUCATION.

Seminary at Adams. — "Jubilee Hall." — The Theo-
logical School. — "Inanda Seminary." —" Um-
zumbe Home." — Kraal Schools. — Government
Aid. — Books in the Zulu Language 253

CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE MISSIONARY OUTLOOK.

Semi-Centennial. — Past and Present Laborers. —
Condition of the Field. — E. C. A. M. — Other
Societies. — Boer Farm Mission. — Trappists. —
Missionary Outlook. — Need of Help . . . .260

CHAPTER XXIX.

FACTS CONCERNING NATAL.

When Discovered. —Early History. — Elysium in
South Africa. — Climate. — Cost of Living. —
Cattle and Sheep Farming. — Pests. — Ticks and
White Ants 269

CHAPTER XXX.

PHYSICAL FEATURES AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS.

Natal. — Durban. — Maritzburg. — Granite Caves. —
Geological Features. — Coal Beds. — Flora
Waterfalls. — Escape of a Dutchman. — Political
Affairs. — Imports and Exports. — Railways. —
Native Question 283

APPENDIX.

Later Missions. — The Zulu Language. — The Exiled
Chiefs 295



FORTY YEARS AMONG THE ZULUS.



CHAPTER I.

LEAVING HOIHE.

"TTTHEN a boy I loved to sing "From
V V Afric's sunny fountains," and to read
of Ledyard, Mungo Park, and other intrepid
African explorers ; but little did I then imag-
ine that I should make the Dark Continent
my home — be permitted to see the "king of
beasts" walking about in his glory, the graceful
antelope bounding from cliff to cliff, inhale the
odor of its sweet flowers, bathe in its rivers,
eat its luscious fruits, admire its scenery, and
labor twoscore years for the evangelization of
its inhabitants. But it has been even so.

What led me to select South Africa as my
mission field may be briefly stated. While a
member of the Theological Institute at East
Windsor Hill, Conn., I belonged to a mission-
ary society, the members of which agreed to
examine carefully the claims of foreign mis-
sions, confer with each otlier, and ask the Lord
to direct them as to their future flelds of labor.
Of our number, Benton went to Syria, May-
nurd to Salonica, and Rood, Wilder, and I to
South Africa. The letters of Mr. Rood from



18 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

the Zulu Mission, describing the language and
character of the natives and urging the need
of help, led me to conclude that I might be
useful there, and on applying to the Prudential
Committee of the American Board of Commis-
sioners for Foreign Missions, I expressed a
preference for that field. If I had received the
reply, "You are needed elsewhere," I should
have acquiesced. The hand of the Lord was
upon me for good, and his guidance was clear
in the selection of one who was to accompany
me and share my solitude among the heathen.
At my brother's parsonage, at Windham, Conn.,
I met a young lady whose home was in North-
ampton, Mass. If the consent of her parents
could be obtained, she promised to go with me.
Tremblingly, but hopefully, I went to ask. In
considering the subject, they had decided to
give their consent provided they liked the
young man, and on condition that he did not go
to Africa. After a pleasant interview and just
as I was leaving, the mother inquired, " Mr.
Tyler, to what part of the world do you pro-
pose going?" "To Africa," I replied. After
a pause both said, " We have forgotten our
conditions, but the Lord reigns. It is evidently
his will that our daughter should go to Africa."
Those good people never regretted the choice I
had made of the Zulu Mission.

Some months intervened betw^een graduation
and the time of sailing, and instead of studying
medicine, as I should have done, I supplied a
pulpit in central Massachusetts and received



Leavmg Home. 19



a unanimous call to settle as pastor. Thank
God, I did not waver in my determination to
preach the gospel to the heathen ! Rather sud-
denly the summons came from Boston, " Get
ready at once ; a ship is going to India which
will stop at Cape Town." Hurrying to North-
ampton, I was married on the morning of Feb-
ruary 27, 1849, to Miss Susan W. Clark. After
the wedding breakfast, and singing

" Blest be the tie that binds,"

followed by a prayer, — only a part of which
was heard, on account of sobs and sighs, too
funeral-like altogether, — we started for East
Windsor Hill, Conn., where I was to be
ordained the next day.

Previous to the marriage I was asked to call
on the family physician, who had known my
intended wife from her childhood and was not
at all pleased with the idea of her going to a

heathen land. Rather abruptly Dr. T

inquired: "Are 3"0U the young man who is
going to take that delicate girl to Africa?"
" Yes," I replied. " Well," said he, " mark my
word : she will not live a year. Here is a box
of medicines I present to you. Keep her alive
as long as you can, but before the year is out I
shall expect to hear of her death." Not very
comforting, truly ; but I consoled myself with
the thought that not all physicians are infallible,
and down in my heart of hearts I cherished the
hope that I might some time in the future
present that " delicate girl " to the doctor none



20 Forty Years Among the Zulus.

the worse for her African experience. Twenty-
three years later we revisited Northampton with
our six children, all healthy, white Africans ;
but the doctor himself had passed away.

The ordination service was rather more
solemn than is usual now on such occasions.
It was difficult to make people believe that
there was a single bright spot in Africa.
The prevalent feeling was that we were going
to our graves. What made the ordination, in
my case, peculiarly pathetic was the fact that
those who took part in it were near relatives.
My brother-in-law preached the sermon, my
father gave the charge, and my own brother
the right hand of fellowship. Their addresses
were published in a pamphlet form, and often,
while engaged in mission work, I derived
strength from their heartfelt utterances.

My own relatives, as well as those of my
wife, placed no obstacles in the way of our
going. The language of their hearts and lips
was, " Go, and the Lord be with you.'* Some
years after, my honored father remarked at a
meeting of the American Board, of which he
was a corporate member : " I have six children,
and they all are a comfort to me ; but none ot
them is so great a comfort as that son who
is your missionary among the Zulus in South
Africa. He is a beloved son and his wife is
a beloved daughter ; but if God will give them
health to continue their labors I do not wish
to see them again until I shall meet them in
heaven."



Leaving Home. 21



Ordinatioii over, we hurried to Boston to
sail in the ship Concordia, bound to India
by way of Cape of Good Hope. Our fellow-
passengers, Rev. Hyman A. Wilder and Rev.
Andrew Abraham, with their wives, were
designated like ourselves to the Zulu Mission.
We were fortunate in having a large ship, com-
fortable accommodations, and an agreeable
captain. Vessels bound to South Africa in
those days were scarce. They could hardly be
found in sufficient numbers to take emigrants
to the gold fields of California. The cargo to
be landed at Cape Town consisted of flour and
the first load of ice ever shipped to that port.
The Dutch farmers residing there had not
learned to appreciate such a luxury, and it
proved an unprofitable speculation. Having
received our instructions in due form in Park
Street Church, we awaited the time of our
departure, but lo I the cargo was not in the
hold, the precise day could not be fixed, rela-
tives could not wait to see us off, and we our-
selves, becoming tired of Boston, revisited our
homes, having to go through another edition of
Baxter's Last Words. When we did sail at
last, after a fervent prayer in the ship's cabin,
there were two persons on whom our eyes
were fixed, a dear brother and sister who
lingered on the wharf to catch the last sight
of those whom they never expected to see
again in this world. Straining my eyes as
long as possible, I was suddenly surprised by
a rap on the shoulders, with an interrogatory



22 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

from Wilder, my classmate and missionary
brother: — "Tyler, are you not glad you are
out of the dusty streets of Boston ? " As Bun-
ker Hill Monument grew smaller in the dis-
tance, we began to prepare for seasickness,
and it was not long before we could each of
us say as did Henry Ward Beecher, when he
described that malady, " I felt — I felt — I felt
— with a great deal of feeling." My wife was
a terrible sufferer, growing weaker and weaker,
until the captain alarmed me by saying, " If
you don't do something for Mrs. Tyler, we shall
have to bury her in the ocean." A powerful
tonic set her right, and the voyage, though a
long one, was on the whole pleasant.

At Cape Town we met with the kindest
of friends. A letter of introduction from Dr.
Carruthers, of Portland, Maine, to his old
friend and brother Scotchman, Dr. Philip,
superintendent of the London Missionary
Society in South Africa, was a passport for
Mrs. Tyler and myself, to a residence at the
"mission house." Said Dr. Philip, " The bed-
room you will occupy is that in which Dr.
Vanderkemp, Robert Moffat, Livingstone, and
other distinguished missionaries have slept."
Though the doctor was aged and feeble, he
had lost none of his Scottish wit and humor.
He was a stanch Puritan, and sympathized
heartily with the " old school " theology of
New England.

Three weeks of delightful intercourse with
the Christian people of Cape Town passed



Leaving Home, 23



swiftly by, and then it was announced that
the schooner Gem was ready to sail to Natal.
In it we embarked, but alas, what a misnomer !
A more untidy and uncomfortable craft I never
saw. The voyage up the coast was long and
stormy ; the captain a drunkard, and incapable
half of the time. I doubt whether gladder
emotions sprang up in the heart of Vasco da
Gama when he sighted Tierra Del Natalis
on Christmas day than did in ours when we
heard it said, " There is the bluff overhanging
the harbor of Natal." Jubilant were we in the
prospect of setting our feet on dry land, but
our ardor was soon cooled by the words of the
mate : " Don't be impatient ; there is a bar to
cross, and going over it is no joke." The
sandbar, which choked the entrance of the har-
bor at that time, was truly formidable. There
were only eight feet of water at high tide; the
waves beat furiously over it, and accidents
frequently occurred. Captain Homes, from
America, crossing with his vessel a short time
before our arrival, had the misfortune to see
his own brother washed overboard, and before
help could be rendered become the prey of
a shark. We were told that the safest way for
us was to go below and be shut up in the cabin,
or we might share the same fate. Mr. Abra-
ham and the ladies did so, but Mr. Wilder and
myself chose to cling to the rigging. The
Gem thumped several times on the bar, and
was for a short time in danger of stranding, but
no harm befell us, and in an hour we cast



24 Forty Years Among the Zulus.

anchor in the most beautifully sheltered, land-
locked harbor on the southeastern coast of
Africa.

A boat immediately set off from the shore,
and in it we were glad to see a gentleman who,
we were told, was the Rev. Daniel Lindley.
This pioneer missionary had sent to America a
call for help, saying, " Come to our assistance.
We will receive you as kindly as we know how.
In us, if it be possible, you shall find the
brothers and sisters you may leave behind."
The warm welcome he gave us, " to the joys
and toils of the African vineyard," made a
deep impression on our hearts. I recall a
rather brusque reply to a question T put to
him, pointing to a party of Zulu men, semi-
nude, and armed with clubs and spears, "Is it
safe to dwell among this people ? " " Brother
Tyler," was the answer, "you are safer here
than in the streets of Boston." It was difficult
then to realize the truth of that observation,
but subsequent experience proved that the
good brother was right, and that life and prop-
erty are more secure in a state of pure barbar-
ism than in a state of godless civilization.

Our wives, I remember, were fearfully
shocked by the sight of the savage-looking
natives, and doubtless sympathized with the
pioneer missionary ladies to the Sandwich
Islands, who, when they saw the islanders for
the first time, shut themselves up in their
cabins, saying, " We cannot live among such
people."



Leaving Home. 25



Durban, the -seaport town of Natal, named
after Sir Benjamin D'Urban, late governor at
the Cape, was then a plain of sand. Only a
few European families made their homes there,
residing in wattle and daub houses ; that is,
dwellings made of twigs woven in and out
of the posts and plastered with mud. No
hotel existed, and but two or three stores, in
which articles were sold at exorbitant prices.
Just above the town was a large bush or jun-
gle, called the " Berea " by Captain Allen
Gardner, a philanthropic Englishman who once
endeavored to establish a school there. When
we first saw it, there were neither European
nor Zulu dwellings; but elephants, lions, leop-
ards, and other wild animals made it their
habitat. G. C. Cato, Esq., American consul,
banker, merchant, and general adviser, some-
what rough in speech and manner, but kind-
hearted and helpful, treated us most hospitably.

But we did not remain in Durban longer
than was necessary to store our possessions in
a warehouse, and were then ready for the
wagon which came to take us to the mission
station, located on a pretty river called Aman-
zimtote (Sweet Water). We were to take our
first ride in a South African wagon, and I must
describe that institution. It is a huge vehi-
cle, on four immense wheels without springs,
the body ten feet long, with a tent made of
poles bent over, the ends of which are inserted
in staples on the sides. Grass mats, painted
canvas, and over all another piece of canvas



26 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

unpainted, constitute the covering. This is
tied to the sides of the wagon, and at night the
ends are let down and fastened to the wheels.
Inside is what is called in Natal, a kartell
simply a bed frame, made of four poles laced
with strings of cow hide. On this is placed
the mattress, for the wagon is the bedroom
as well as the coach and parlor of the African
missionary and traveler. Six or seven yoke
of oxen, or a span, are considered necessary
to draw this vehicle. Newcomers are disposed
to pronounce it a cumbersome affair and
behind the age ; but they generally modify
their opinion after a few months of travel over
the rough roads of the country. The ox yoke
is peculiar, being a pole about five feet long,
three inches in diameter, and having four
mortises to receive the keys, which take the
place of bows in civilized countries. Each has
a knob on the top to keep it from dropping
through the mortise, and two notches on the
outer edge, into one of which a strap is fas-
tened, coming under the neck to keep the oxen
in the yoke. This strap is made of buffalo
hide with a loop at each end to fit it to the key.
American farmers would laugh at this make-
shift affair, but should they try it a while they
would adopt it, if they had much to do with
African bullocks.

Each wagon has a driver and " forelooper,"
or person to lead the oxen. The whip is of
sea-cow's hide, the size of a man's finger, four
or five yards long, to the end of which is



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Leaving Home, 27



attached a piece of buck's skin. The whip-


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