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in the kraal to prepare for his part in the dance.
When he again appeared he looked like a new
being covered with the skins of various animals,
beads and brass ornaments in great profusion.
Taking his place in the ring, he danced as
enthusiastically as the rest.

What attracted my attention particularly
was an occurrence that usually takes place at
the close of every wedding. The father of the
bride took a shield, and, standing in front of

206 Forty Years Among the Zulus.

the dancers, who for the time kept quiet, made
a speech in which he praised in no qualified
terms his daughter, dilated on all he had done
for her, said the number of cows he had re-
ceived was too small, hoped she would meet
with good treatment, prove a fruitful vine, etc.
Occasionally he emphasized his words by jump-
ing up and kicking his shield with violence.
Then the father of the bridegroom appeared
on the scene, also bearing a shield, lauding his
son to the skies, complaining that he had paid
too many cattle, that the girl was homely in
appearance, not strong enough to do much
work, emphasizing his remarks in the same
manner as the bride's father had done. This,
it is said, is done that the bride may not be
unduly elated. The crowd then dispersed, sing-
ing and shouting vociferously. The wife, for
some weeks after marriage, unless it is the
planting season, does no work. When she
does take up her daily duties she finds often
by sad experience that the happiest dajs of her
life were those when she was a girl at home.

I have described the marriage of uncivilized
Zulus. When they abandon heathenism and
live on mission stations they are married ac-
cording to Christian rites. It was feared by
some that a colonial law lately enacted, making
natives married in a Christian manner liable to
punishment if they took other wives, would
lessen the number of Christian marriages, but
I am told it is not the case.

So large are the assemblies which gather on

Zulu Weddings and Fu7ierals. 207

marriage occasions that it is impossible for
them to find sitting or standing room in our
pUices of worship. I remember once going to
an out-station to marry a couple, and finding
several hundred heathen people who had come
to witness the ceremony. It was performed in
the open air, and it was rather difficult to keep
the crowd quiet during its performance. Pre-
vious to the marriage a procession Avas formed
at the house of the bridegroom by the clad
Zulus, to escort the happy pair to the place
where they were to be united, and as they
appeared in sight on the brow of an adjacent
hill several young people shouted, " Behold, the
bridegroom cometh ; let us go forth to meet
him ! " quite in imitation of the old custom in
the land of the Bible.

After the marriage ceremony was performed,
a hymn was sung, and the procession, headed
by the bride and bridegroom, started for their
future home, with Hags flying, the beat of a
drum, and the occasional discharge of a mus-
ket. Had I wished, it would have been im-
possible to restrain the hilarity and noisy
demonstrations of the multitude, and for two
liours they ])eat the ground with their canes
and clapped their hands and shouted till their
lungs were hoarse. The louder the noise, the
happier they seemed to be. I saw nothing,
however, reprehensible in their conversation
and conduct.

Singing matches are common at Zulu Chris-
tian weddings. The chief object seems to be

208 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

to ascertain which party will sing the longest,
and they often continue till midnight.

Funeral ceremonies among the Zulus are few.
On the death of an aged person there is no
demonstration of grief. They say he or she
has "gone home." But the reverse is the
case if the deceased is a young man or a
man in the prime of life. Then the people in
the vicinity repair to the house of mourning,
and for days and nights naught is heard but
the doleful wail carrying sadness to many
hearts. Often at midnight we have been
roused from slumber by loud cries and wailing
nearly a mile from our dwelling. One reason
why all the heathen neighbors are in the habit
of visiting the bereaved kraal to condole with
its inmates is a fear of being suspected, and
even charged with having in some way caused
the calamity in case they do not attend. The
dead are generally buried in a sitting posture,
and into the grave are thrown blankets, mats,
spoons, the ornaments worn and tools used by
the individual when alive. When the grave is
nearly covered, a large number of stones is
thrown in, and then a mound two or three feet
high is made. Zulus, as a general rule, have
very little regard for the sepulchers of their
countrymen, except those of kings. It has
been the custom in Zululand, and probably is
now, in some parts of South Africa not reached
by civilization and Christianity, when a king
dies, to bury with him some of his servants,
cupbearers, milkmen, etc., that the saying may

Zulu Weddings and Funerals. 209

be fulfilled, '' The king must not go to the
place of the dead alone." The unfortunate
individuals selected were generally strangled,
and their bodies placed at the bottom of the
grave, the royal corpse being laid upon them.
It is reported that some have entered the grave
alive, and died with perfect submission. One
would think that those suspecting their prob-
able fate would try to escape, but I have been
told that this is not the case. A kind of fatal-
ism takes possession of them, which is charac-
teristic of the Zulus. They say, " It was pre-
destinated we should die in this manner," or
they may imagine they will be happier in the
other world if they accompany their sovereign.
The English have put a stop to the cruel cus-
tom, and, in one case, Christian teaching also
had a similar effect. Rev. J. Allsopp, a mis-
sionary of my acquaintance, visited the son
of a chief who had died, and ten or twelve
individuals would have been slain, had it not
been for the missionary's intercession. His
account of it is as follows : —

" The young chief said, ' My father is dead.
Who will guide and tell me what I shall do ? '
We stood for a little, when, in grief he asked,
' Will you go and see my father ? ' I said,
' Yes.' I was taken to the hut, in which the
chief was sitting, not lying, dead, with his
blanket thrown over him. I removed the
covering, looked upon his face, and left the hut.
I went back and found the young chief still
standing. He put out his hand again, and I

210 Forty Years Among the Zulus.

took it as before. Then I said : ' Now is the
day of your power, What will you do ? Shall
the news go from this place to-day to all
throughout South Africa and across the sea, to
those Christians who send you your mission-
aries, and to the Queen of England, that you
have used your power to-day in taking life and
shedding blood ? Shall it be said that you
have stained your hands, and that they are red
with the blood of your subjects? Or shall the
word go forth that you are a man of mercy ;
that you have heard the gospel ; that you
know something of what you ought to do?
Give me your word.' He looked me steadily
in the face, and said, ' Umfundisi (Missionary),
not a man shall die.' I took him again by the
hand, and said, ' Farewell. I believe you. The
chief has spoken : not a man shall die.'

" I returned home, and learned only a few
hours afterward that, in the assembly of two
or three hundred who were already grouped
behind the cattle kraal, some nine or ten were
pointed out to be slain in" a few minutes, but
they were not slain. The chief sent for the
men, and said, " You know that the old council-
ors and the witch doctors would have you die ;
but I say, Go and live upon such a hill ; there
you will be safe, and nobody shall harm you."

And so it was. The gospel has its effect ; and
when it teaches men to value life as they never
valued it before, and when it teaches the hea-
then to value their wives and children as they
never valued them before, it is doing something.

Zulu Weddings and Funerals. 211

These are some of the effects which are mani-
fest to our eyes who are laboring amongst the
heathen. Who will not rejoice in such saving
power ?

On closing the grave of a king an immense
heap of stones is placed upon it, and the na-
tional dirge, used only at royal funerals, is
chanted, while at the same time all the men
present strike their shields with knob-kerries
most vehemently. The grave is closely watched
for weeks, sometimes months, to prevent wiz-
ards from stealing the body, which is supposed
to work charms and even miracles.

In the case of the decease of a common per-
son the most shameful haste is sometimes exer-
cised in the burial. A woman of my acquaint-
ance was taken to the place of interment late
one night, and was so lightly covered that, to
the astonishment of her son, who went early
the next morning to complete the burial, she
said to him as she sat up in the grave, " How
do you do, my child?"

When aid is rendered to strangers in perform-
ing the last rites, pay is always demanded. A
cow and a calf, with a goat for the "washing
of the hands," has been the standard fee from
time immemorial. Before the light of the gos-
pel began to shine among them it was common
to drag old people who appeared to be near
their end to some secluded place, and there let
them die alone, their corpses becoming the prey
of wild beasts and vultures. The dead bodies
of criminals shared the same fate.



CHAKA, the most renowned of Zulu kings,
not improperly called the " Bonaparte of
South Africa," began to reign about the begin-
ning of this century. His name awakens deep
emotions in the native mind. As it is little
more than fifty years since his death, there are
natives living who knew him personally, and
they are never tired of rehearsing his mighty
deeds. I have often heard them repeat with
genuine delight a song which his warriors were
accustomed to sing to his praise : —

Thou hast finished the nations.
Where wilt thou go to battle now?
Hey! where wilt thou go to battle now?

Unlike other South African chiefs, he was in
the habit of fighting in person at the head of
his braves, and it is said he never fled before a
foe or lost a battle. His name is regarded by the
Zulus as sacred, and is never mentioned except
to give solemnity to an oath or to nerve the
warrior for battle. At the time of his death he
had a standing army of thirty-six regiments.
" In working out the scheme of his ambition he
introduced some remarkable reforms into the art
of barbarian warfare. Each regiment was dis-
tinguished from others by the color and pattern


Zulu Kings and Wars. 213

of their shields. His men were traight to wield
the short assegai and shield in close personal
combat, instead of putting their trust, as of old,
in the long javelin hurled from afar; and the
warrior who returned from the fight without
assegai and shield in his hand, or who bore the
mark of a wound on his back, did so to the for-
feit of his life. His warriors were forbidden to
marry, as domestic ties were thought to soften
and enervate. But after a certain period of
service old regiments were superannuated as
veterans and furnished with wives, and new
levies raised to take their places in the ranks."' ^

During the reign of Chaka, which lasted only
nineteen years, he extended' his conquests far
and wide, and swept away no less than three
hundred tribes, slaying all who would not sub-
mit to his authority.

His nature was cruel. He stabbed his own
mother to the heart, and then called on the
nation to mourn her death. At an assembly
of his leading men he was once speaking
of a tribe he was about to attack, and he laid
a wager that their dead bodies would fill a
certain ravine. The tribe was slain ; but the
king's wager was lost, for the ravine was not

When in the zenith of his power, he allowed
a few Englishmen to settle at Port Natal, com-
missioning two of their number to go to Eng-
land with the following message to George IV :
'' If you will look after your interests in Eng-

1 See Dr. Robert Mann's book on " Colony of Natal."

214 Fo7'ty Years Among the Zulus.

land, I will look after mine in Africa, and will
take care that no enemies are left. We will
be the sovereigns of the world."

Captain Allen Gardiner, a philanthropic gen-
tleman, who went to South Africa during
Chaka's reign, received the king's permission
to live at the Port, on condition that he would
send back to Zululand all refugees from that
country. The captain agreed, and soon a party
of men were sent bound to Chaka wdth the
request that he would spare their lives. They
Avere shut up in a hut and left to die of star-
vation. It is a curious coincidence that the
good, but indiscreet captain was starved to
death in Terra del Fuego, where he had gone
to evangelize the Patagonians.

The soldiers who fought under Chaka were
the fathers and grandfathers of those who
resisted so valiantly an army of British troops,
sweeping away an entire regiment on that sad
morning of January 22, 1879, at Isandhlwana.
English officers, who had witnessed battles in
other lands, often remarked that they never saw
courage displayed equal to that of the Zulus.

Like most African chiefs, Chaka fell at the
liands of assassins. Three of his own brothers
rushed into his kraal one da}^, and seeing him
unprotected stabbed him with assegais, and
are said to have drunk on the spot the gall of
the chief they had conspired to assassinate.
Chaka, as he was about to expire, is reported
to have uttered these prophetic words, '' You
kill me ; but the white race, a race you do not

Zulu Kings and Wars. 215

know, shall occupy this land." His prophecy is
fulfilled. Not a stone's throw from his grave,
where were once heard the songs of blood-
thirsty barbarians, stands a church in which
English Christians worship.

On the death of Chaka, Dingaan, his brother
and one of the conspirators, ascended the
throne. He was more wily and cruel, even more
like Nero, than his predecessor. Captain Gar-
diner, who visited him in 1835, saw him amus-
ing himself by torturing one of his men-
servants. Commanding him to hold out his arm,
he seized his hand, and with his burning glass,
the gift of a white man, he burnt a hole into
his skin. The poor servant writlied with pain,
but dared not utter a word lest something
worse should befall him. One of his titles —
a fit one — was " Hyena-man." It is said he
would never acknowledge that he had an}^ chil-
dren. An infant was once brougilit to him with


the hope that its life might be spared. Captain
Gardiner remarked: "He instantly seized his
own child by the heels and with one blow de-
prived it of that life which, with such a father,
it could have been no privilege to enjoy. This
horrid deed was only surpassed by the imme-
diate murder of the agonized mother, whose
eyes closed with tlie vivid impression of the
scene she had beheld."

The Dutch farmers in South Africa will
never cease to execrate the name of that
tyrant, when they recall his treatment of their
fathers. In 1830, seventy strong, athletic

216 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

Boers, well armed and mounted, visited Din-
gaan, for the purpose of making a treaty with
him, and obtaining a part of his country.
Some of them, to obtain his favor, had pre-
viously, at his request, attacked a distant na-
tive tribe, obnoxious to him, stripped them of
their cattle and presented them to him. The
party was received with apparent cordiality,
their request complied witli, and a large slice
of Zululand ceded to them. Elated with suc-
cess, they were about to return to their fami-
lies in Natal, when a polite invitation came to
them from his sable majesty to tarry a little,
take a friendly drink of beer, and witness a
war dance, which he was arranging for their
amusement. This request was coupled with
another, that they should leave their guns and
ammunition outside of his kraal, that the people
might not be afraid. Alas ! the unsuspecting
Boers had not calculated on the treachery of
their host. They repaired to the place desig-
nated, and, while gazing on the weird scene of
thousands of savages engaged in the dance,
Dingaan suddenly arose, waved his hand, and
said, "Kill the wizards." The order was
executed, and in less than fifteen minutes every
farmer was beaten to death with knob-kerries
and canes. I have conversed with natives who
took part in that massacre, and they said the
Boers fought desperately with their hunting-
knives, the only weapons they had, and quite
as many Zulus perished as Dutch. The corpses
of the latter were dragged out to a Zulu gol-

Zulu Kings and Wars. 217

gotha, where they became a prey for wild
beasts aud birds.

Without naiTating in detail what followed,
suffice it to say, the friends of the murdered
Boers wreaked fearful vengeance on Dingaan ;
defeated his army and, at last, placed Umpande,
his brother, on the Zulu throne. Dingaan, when
in the zenith of his power, had desired to slay
Umpande, thinking that he might become a
rival, but, through the intervention of a friend,
spared him, remarking, however, " You wish
me to spare a dog which will one day bite
me." Driven out of Zululand by the Dutch,
Dingaan sought protection among the Ama-
swazi people, to whom he had shown no com-
passion, and it is not strange that they quickly
terminated his existence. Thus there was ful-
filled a Zulu proverb, " The swimmer in the
end gets carried away with the stream."

Umpande was not inclined to war, and for
thirty years kept on good terms with both
Dutch and English. That there were times
when his young braves desired to invade Natal,
enrich themselves with cattle, and sweep away
the few white people residing there, and that
they could easily have done it, is evident. But
Umpande, supported by his old men, always
refused to gratify them. Once, when they
manifested considerable anger because not
allowed to attack the English, an old councilor,
Ulukwasi, by name, made the following elo-
quent speech : —

" I am old and am almost inclined to feel

218 Forty Years Among the Zulus,

that in speaking to you young warriors on the
present subject, I demean myself, for you are
but children in many ways. I fought under
Chaka with my single assegai, and let my com-
panions in arms say whether my assegai ever
came back bright as I took it from home, or if
I ever turned from the foe. I have stood under
Dingaan's rule, with bullets from the guns of
the Dutch passing around me like bees, and the
wounds I show bear witness for me. You speak
of battles to come : I deal with those already
fought, into which we went a host and returned
few in numbers. You ask to be led against the
English? Why? Are they enemies ? You can-
not fight with friends, so they must be enemies.
I will tell you in what their hostility consists.
You were cold, and they gave you blankets.
You wanted ornaments, and they brought you
beads and other things, for which, in fair trade,
you gave your cattle. Did they steal those cat-
tle, that you want to plunder them ? Tell me
of one instance in which an Englishman has
stolen a Zulu beast, and I will join you in your
raid ; but, if you cannot, then tell me when you
start, and I, together with my family, will cross
over to the English." ^

This speech is said to have saved Natal, but
it cost the speaker liis life. It was not long
before he died, probably from poison.

The successor of Umpande was Cetywayo,
one of his youngest sons. The old king desired
that Umbulazi, his oldest son, should have the

1 " Zululand and the Zulus," by Fred B. Finney.

Zulu Kings and Wars. 219

supremacy, and did not hesitate to express his
wish to the nation ; but Cetywayo, a cunning
fellow and burning with ambition, succeeded in
winning over to his side the majority of the
people. The father saw no other way than to
allow the sons to settle the question of sov-
ereignty by force of arms. Evidently Umbu-
lazi had some misgivings in regard to the issue
of the contest, for he selected a place for the
engagement only five miles from the Tugela
River, which divides Zululand from Natal,
hoping, in case of defeat, his adherents might
escape into that colony.

The fight was one of the most sanguinary
that ever occurred among the Zulus. Umbulazi
was defeated, and is supposed to have been
slain, as he was never afterwards seen. Multi-
tudes ran to the river with the intention of
crossing, but were speared on the way, mothers
with babes on their backs as well as the men.
Many were drowned, as the river was swollen
at the time. Cetywayo was " master of the
situation," and the whole Zulu nation ac-
knowledged him as supreme chief.

Although the Zulus are a nation of warriors,
and unsurpassed for courage in battle, yet wlien
not on the " warpath," they are as orderly and
peaceful a tril)e as can anywhere be found.
For the past fifty years those residing in Natal
have been loyal subjects, only one case of re-
bellion having occurred and that very quickly

In the government of the natives, Natal has

220 Forty Years Among the Zulus .

been exceedingly fortunate in having, for thirty
years or more, Sir Theophilus Shepstone as sec-
retary for native affairs, a gentleman whom all,
black and white, could love and trust. That
peace has been preserved for so long a time is
owing largely to his able and wise management.
His father was a missionary in Kaffraria.
When young, he attached himself to the staff
of Benjamin D' Urban, an English officer, and
was engaged in the Kaffir war of 1835. Ten
years later he came to Natal and began that
career of usefulness, the noble record of which
will fill a prominent place in colonial history.
He has always been ready to aid Christian mis-
sionaries by counsel and otherwise. The Natal
Zulus felt that in " Somseu," as they called
their white king, they had a kind and judicious
"• father."

" Could the Zulu war of 1878-79 have been
avoided ? " is a question often asked, to which
various replies have been given. My own opin-
ion at the time was, and it has not changed,
that Natal was in imminent danger, and that if
the English had not taken measures to curb the
war passion in Zululand a raid would have
taken place, the results of which would have
been fearful in the extreme.

Cety wayo, though he may have been disposed,
personally, to live in peace with his white neigh-
bors, could not control his young braves. They
were determined, as they said, " to go somewhere
and wash their spears in blood." Moreover
they had come into possession of firearms, and

Zulu Kings and Wars, 221

were anxious to try them. Not permitted to
attack native tribes on their border, they began
to think and proudly talk of invading Natal.
Travelers, traders, and missionaries saw, from the
impudence displayed, that mischief was brewing.
The Zulus were really under obligations to
the English. Soon after Cetywayo began his
career, he was crowned by them " king of Zulu-
land, and ally to England." Intestine strife
had been averted by the wise intervention of
Sir Theophilus Shepstone, Natal's representa-
tive. At the time of his coronation, Cetywayo
willingly, and it was supposed sincerely, made
certain promises, on the fulfillment of which, he
was told, the safety of himself and country
depended. Those were that he must stop the
indiscriminate shedding of blood ; that no
Zulu should be condemned to death without a
trial, and that for minor offenses loss of prop-
erty should be substituted in place of death.
Everything was carefully exphiined to Iiim.
Would that he had been wise! Soon after,
when called to account for disregarding the
agreement, he said, with an air of defiance, to
the messenger from the Natal government :
'' Why do the white people start at nothing ? I
have not yet begun to kill. It is tlie custom of
our nation, and I shall not depart from it. Have
I not asked the English to allow me to wash my
spears since the death of my father ? and the}"
have kept playing with me all this time, treating
me like a child. Go back and tell the Englisli
that I shall act on my own account, and that if

222 Forty Years Among the Zulus.

they wish me to agree to their laws I shall leave
and become a wanderer ; but it will be seen
that I shall not go without having acted,''''

At another time, he sent this message to the
colonial governor: "I shall do as I like. I am
king in my own country. Take care of your

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