W. Basil (William Basil) Worsfold.

South Africa: a study in colonial administration and development online

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In these pages I have endeavoured to set out in a
connected form the most important features in the past
history and present circumstances of South Africa.

Additional information, with extracts from authorities
somewhat difficult of access, is contained in the Notes ; and
I have added a Historical Summary, a Statistical Appendix,
and the Text of the Convention of London, This latter
is given because of its importance (as governing to a
large extent the present relationships of England to the
Transvaal), and also because the Blue-book which contains
it is, I understand, out of print.

I should perhaps say that I have been able to bring
information acquired during a residence of nearly two years
in the Cape Colony and Natal to bear upon the treatment
of this subject.

W. B. W.

Lamb Building,

/uue loth, 1895.



The rapid march of events in South Africa has made it
necessary to increase the original contents of this book by
two additional chapters, which deal respectively with the
recent disturbances in the Transvaal and the insurrection
of the natives under the administration of the Chartered

In connection with these chapters I desire to acknow-
ledge my indebtedness to Mr Henry Hess for his courtesy
in permitting me to embody in the text some remarks on
the Jameson case and other comments taken from articles
which I had contributed to the African Critic.

At the same time I have taken the opportunity afforded
by the issue of a fresh edition to bring the information
contained in the original chapters down to the present

I have also added three notes, which refer respectively
to the Transvaal Legislation of 1896, the population of
Johannesburg, and the Rinderpest.

W. B. W.

Lamb Building, Temim.k, E.G.,
Deccviber yh, 1896.




Early History.

Variety of political and social conditions of South Africa makes
its history specially instructive — Connection of South-east
Africa with trading nations of antiquity — The discovery of the
maritime route to India causes the Cape to be used as a half-
way-house by the Portuguese, English, and Dutch traders —
A station established in 1652 by the Dutch East India
Company — The station becomes a settlement — Huguenot
emigration — Relations of the Company to the natives, and to
the Franco-Dutch settlers — Review of the period of the
Company's government ..... I


The Kafir Wars.

Early British Government. Introduction of English element by
Albany Settlement — The expansion of the Cape Colony
becomes a record of conflicts between the %vhite settlers and
the Kafirs, i.e. military Bantu — Emancipation of coloured
races within the colony — Colonial frontier policy reversed by
Lord Glenelg — Emigration of large section of Franco-Dutch
population — The cost of the Kafir wars determines the
British Government to allow the dismemberment of the
white communities, and to withdraw from the administra-
tion of native territories outside the limits of the Cape
Colony and Natal — Independence of emigrant farmers in the
Transvaal (1852), and in the Orange River Sovereignty
(1854), recognised — Grant of Representative Government to
the Cape Colony — General progress of the Colony . , 25


Sir Bartle Frere and Federation.

Sir George Grey — Kafir Policy — German immigration — His
condemnation of dismemberment of South Africa, and pro-
posals for the introduction of a Federal system — The dis-


covery of diamonds causes the reversal of the policy of non-
intervention — Resumption of British authority over Griqua-
land West (Kimberiey district) in 1871 — Dissatisfaction of
the Free State — Lord Carnarvon's proposal for reuniting
the white states in a federal system similar to that of the
Canadian Dominion — Mr Froude's mission — The annexation
of the Transvaal in April 1877 — Sir Bartle Frere appointed
to give effect to Lord Carnarvon's policy in 1877. Wide-
spread movement of revolt among the Bantu peoples —
The subjugation of the natives becomes a condition precedent
to the re-union of the white communities — The revolt of
the Kafirs under Kreli crushed— Ketshwayo's " fighting
machine " broken up by the Zulu war — Reduction of
Sikukuni — Settlement of Zululand by Wolseley — Movement
among the Transvaal burghers for the restoration of their
independence — Sympathy with them in England and in
the Cape Colony — The Federation proposals of the Cape
ministry abandoned — Recall of Sir Bartle Frere — Review
of his administration (1877-80) . ... 43


The Boers.

Transvaal Revolt — History of the Boers — Their services to South
Africa — Defeat of Moselekatse and Dingan — Relations be-
tween the emigrant farmers and the Imperial Government —
Transvaal Revolt, 1880-81 — Attitude of the Free State ; of
the Africander party at the Cape — Services of Sir Evelyn
Wood — Retrocession of Transvaal can only be justified on
grounds of political expediency — Position of the Boers in
South Africa ...... 61


Natal and the Kafir Problem.

Constitution of Natal a separate colony in 1848 — European
emigration — Physical characteristics of the countr)' —
Carrying trade — Sugar Industry — Indian labour imported
for the plantations — Development of Coal Mines — Grant
of Responsible Government in 1893 — Smallness of white
population (one in ten) — System of native administration
— Rapid increase of Kafir population — Question of the
growth of the Bantu population in South Africa — The
wider question of the ultimate numerical relationship
between the white and coloured races of the world raised



in Pearson's " National Life and Character * — Native
education in the Cape Colony and its results — Mr
Pearson's " Forecast " ..... 79


The Bechuanaland Settlement.

The Hottentots and Bushmen (yellow-skinned) are practically
extrnct, but the various branches of the Bantu (dark-skinned)
race thrive in South Africa — Comparison of military and
industrial Bantu — Basutoland : ability displayed by Moshesh
— Bechuanaland : the scene of the labours of Moffat and
Livingstone — The trade route to Central Africa — Western
Border of Transvaal not delimited until 1884 — Claim of
Boers to Sovereignty over Bechuanas — In 1884 Imperial
Government determine to assume control of northward
expansion of the white settlers — In defiance of British Pro-
tectorate Transvaal freebooters effect settlements in 1884 —
Importance of maintaining the trade route to the interior
recognised — Change of opinion in the Cape Colony —
Bechuanaland expedition under Warren — Restoration of
British prestige in South Africa — The Bechuanaland settle-
ment is the turning point in British Administration of
South Africa ...... 99


Agricultural and Pastoral Resources.

Sea-borne trade of England — Deficiency of South Africa in grain,
cattle and sheep as compared with other new Anglo-Saxon
countries — Situation and characteristics of chief agricultura
and pastoral districts — Special industries, ostrich farming,
angora goat, and wine farming — Deficiency due to uncertain
rainfall, and unprogressiveness of Boer — Evidence of
travellers unanimous — Man, not nature, at fault — Efforts of
Colonial Government — Agricultural department created, and
means for (scientific) agricultural education provided through-
out the Colony — System of land tenure in British colonies
generally, and in the Cape Colony — New countries must
not be judged by the same tests as old countries . . 117

The Diamond Mines (Kimberley).
Accounts of the discovery of diamonds — Rush to the Vaal in
1870 — Kimberley mine opened, July 21, 1871— Small extent
of diamondiferous area — Geology of diamond mines : pro-



bably volcanic funnels filled with mud— Origin of diamonds
a mystery. Difticullies and discomforts of early miners —
Formation of "Mining Board" in 1874— Old system:
ownership by claim and surface working — Claims gradually
converted into companies as difficulty of working increases
— Reef {i.e. sides of workings) falls in— Crisis in 1883 —
The problem of sinking shafts for subterranean working
solved — Amalgamation of companies : until, in 1888, the
De Beers Consolidated Mines practically absorbs the whole
industry — Regulation of output and economy of working
secured — Description of mines : methods of extracting
diamonds from soil raised from mines ; housing and pay-
ment of European employes ; absolute control of natives
— Town of Kimberley— Special legislation and extraordinary
precautions to prevent the illicit sale of diamonds in the
Cape Colony — The story of the diamond industry a remark-
able record of commercial enterprise . . . 136



Distribution of minerals throughout South Africa — Iron :
Copper : Silver : Coal : Gold — History of gold-mining in
the Transvaal — Original discovery discountenanced by Gov-
ernment on political grounds — Gold laws — Gold-mining
commenced at Leydenburg in 1873; at De Kaap fields in
18S2 ; at Witwatersrandt in 18S6 — Foundation of Johannes-
burg in 1886-87, now a town of 70,000 inhabitants — De-
scription of the Randt basin — Estimates of the extent of
the auriferous deposits — Comparison and review of gold
out-put of North America, Australia, and South Africa — The
world's out-put, 1 700- 1 894 — Effect of increased gold product
u]X)n commerce of the world .... 152


Conflict of Nationalities and Races.

O'.it of three (main) elements, Bantu, Dutch and English, are
fumed a variety of governments differently related to the
Imjierial Government and to each other — An inquiry into
the comparative failure of British administration — Diver-
gences of opinion between the Imperial and Colonial Govern-
ments — More fatal than special difficulties — Nationality
difficulty and native question — Examples of disagreement
between "the man in Downing Street" and "the man
on the spot " — England never assumed the role of para-



mount power until 1884 — In 1884-85 (Bechuanaland) the
Imperial Government avoided the mistake of 1854, and
determined to control the northward expansion of the whites
— Extension of this policy to Mashonaland in 1889— The
factor of race is becoming gradually less important — Partial
union of parties effected by Mr Rhodes — Amalgamation
of the Dutch and English races is being brought about by
the spread of education and extension of railway com-
munication — Question of slavery lay at the root of the
separation of the Europeans in South Africa — Treatment of
natives is still most formidable barrier to reunion— Mr
Rhodes deals with the Bantu problem by the Glen Grey Act
— The Africander race ..... 166


South African Literature.

Colonial literature ; in what sense it can be distinguished as
such ; birth of the author in a colony not a sufficient test ;
knowledge of special locality and of local character not
enough ; the characteristic quality is the reproduction of the
spirit, and not the letter, of colonial life — This "feeling"
gives a special value to the poetry of Adam Lindsay Gordon
and Rudyard Kipling ; to the prose-fiction of Browne (Rolf
Boldrewood), and Olive Schreiner — Thomas Pringle is a
South African poet, he portrays characteristic incidents in
the life of the natives and settlers ; his inspiration comes
from the desert and the wild uplands of the Eastern frontier
— Olive Schreiner : her youth — The " Story of an African
Farm " is a book of " thought " ; Part i. is a study of
child-life in a South African setting ; Part ii. an essay on
woman's rights. The book is redolent of the Karoo, its
incompleteness, its strange gaps, faithfully reflect the
physical and moral conditions under which it was written
— It is valuable to the student as a picture of typical South
African life and of Boer character — Estimate of its literary
merit — Political essay- writing at the Cape . . . 186


The Chartered Company and Mr Cecil Rhodes.

Mashonaland identified by Mr Theodore Bent with the land of
Ophir — Zimbabwe ruins — Victoria Falls on Zambesi— Con-
quest of Mashonaland by the Matabele Zulus and devasta-
tion of country— Extension of British sphere to the Zambesi



(1885) — Concession granted by Lobengula for exploring
and prospecting (1888) — Charter granted to British South
Africa Company (1889) — The Occupation of Mashonaland
by the Company — The Pioneer expedition, conducted by
Selous, reaches Salisbury, Sept. 12, 1890— Colquhoun
administrator, 1890-91 ; Jameson, 1891 — Anglo-Portuguese
Convention (1891) opens east coast — Lobengula attacks
Maslionas in Victoria — Matabele war, 1893 — Extension of
railway and telegraph systems northward — Development of
Mashonaland plateau — Growth of Buluwayo— Commercial
basis of Charterland — Shareholders' profits from minerals
only — Mr Rhodes' "Patent" — Prospects of gold-mining —
Buluwayo in Autumn 1895 .... 204


The Revolt of the Uitlanders.

Terms of Transvaal Independence in 1881 — Alteration of posi-
tion of British population by successive enactments of the
Raad — The admitted grievances of the Uitlanders — Lord
Loch's action in 1894 — Dr Jameson's incursion — Mr
Chamberlain's action — Lord Rosmead (Sir H. Robinson) at
Pretoria — Position of Mr Rhodes — Trial of Reformers at
Pretoria — of Dr Jameson in London — Responsibility for the
Raid ....... 223


The Insurrection of the Natives in Rhodesia.

Immediate changes in the Chartered Company consequent upon
the Raid — South Africa Committee — Causes of Native In-
surrection — Action of local government and settlers —
Measures taken by High Commissioner and Imperial
Government to relieve whites — Colonel Plumer's force —
General Carrington appointed to command — Course of
military operations — Shooting of M'Limo — Mr Rhodes's
Indaba — Reforms proposed by Chartered Company — The
future of Rhodesia ...... 245

Notes ........ 265

Historical Summary ..... 291

Statistical Api-endix ..... 295

Text of Convention of London .... 300


The Early History and Occupation by the
Dutch East India Company.

TN one of those reflections which delight us by their
"•■ simplicity and astonish us by their profundity, Pascal
remarks that the first object of a man's study is his own
person, that is to say, that portion of matter which is
immediately under his own control. But he adds that a
man can never attain to a full knowledge of himself until
he has mastered the science of the universe. And the
same thought occurs in a somewhat different form in that
defiant line in the opening stanza of Mr Rudyard Kipling's
ballad of " The English Flag "—

'* And what should they know of England, who only England know?"

Somewhat on this principle I am going to commence the
study of South Africa by a review of the leading charac-
teristics of the other three great provinces of the Empire
— Australasia, Canada, and India; and by a comparison
of South Africa with these provinces.

South Africa — which means for us Africa south of the
Zambesi, omitting the German territory on the west, and
the Portuguese territory on the east, coasts — has an area
(in round numbers) of one and a quarter million square
miles, and a population of four millions. It resembles
Australia to some extent in physical characteristics, for in
both countries there are central and western desert lands,



and mountainous and more fertile eastern and southern
littorals. In both countries the land requires to be irri-
gated and fertilised, and the task of turning the desert into
the garden is the primary labour which engrosses the
inhabitants of both alike. The area of Australasia — that
is, Australia and New Zealand — is more than twice as large
as that of South Africa, but its population is the same —
four millions. There is a circumstance, however, which
makes the character of these two provinces of the Empire
entirely different : whereas the population of South Africa
is composed of Europeans and natives in the proportion of
one to seven or eight, the four million people of Australasia
are almost exclusively of Anglo-Saxon origin.

The area of Canada, or British North America, is nearly
three times as extensive as that of South Africa ; and its
population, which is composed almost entirely of persons
of European origin, is five millions. In physical character-
istics the two countries are absolutely diverse. Canada is
well supplied with navigable rivers and inlets of the sea.
South Africa is peculiarly deficient in this respect. In the
" barren ground " of Northern Canada is the haunt of the
musk-ox ; the Kalihari desert is the home of the lion.
But there is a point of resemblance between Canada and
South Africa. In both countries the European population
is divided into two sections. In Canada there are a
million and a half French people and three and a half
millions of English ; and in South Africa the Dutch
population exceeds the English in the proportion of five
to four. In both countries, therefore, there is the
" nationality " difficulty, the difiiculty of making two
diverse peoples pull together in the work of civilisation.

Lastly there is India. The area of the two countries *
is much the same, but their respective physical character-
istics are absolutely unlike. With its deficient rainfall and
its useless rivers, South Africa grows barely enough food
* Including Burmah in the area of " India."


for its small population, but India is a very garden for
fertility, and supports a population of little less than three
hundred millions. But here, again, there is a point of
contact. In both India and South Africa the basis of
the population is formed by the native races. In certain
districts of South Africa there is an overwhelming majority
of dark-skinned people, and in these districts the social and
political conditions are those of India. That is to say,
the coloured races are controlled and administered by
the handful of Europeans resident among them.

From the political point of view. South Africa exhibits
a bewildering variety. Unlike Canada, the several states
are not yet united under a Central Government ; unlike
Australia, these states are by no means equally advanced
in the path of civilisation. The two colonies, the Cape
of Good Hope (with which Southern Bechuanaland is now
incorporated) and Natal, enjoy the freedom of " responsible
government." The Free State and the South African Re-
public, or the Transvaal, are two Dutch Republics pos-
sessing full internal freedom. Of the native territories,
some are administered by Imperial, and some by colonial
officers. Finally, there is the British South Africa Company,
which exercises a civil administration over territories as
extensive as the combined areas of France, Germany,
Italy, and Austria. In certain territories the " regulations " *
of the Company's Administrator have the force of law by
virtue of their Charter and subsequent Agreements with
the Imperial Government.

But if the political conditions of South Africa are
characterised by variety, an equally well-marked note of
uniformity runs through its physical features. Great
ranges of mountains run down the eastern coast, along
the southern coast, and more brokenly up the western
coast, at varying distances from the coast-line which
they thus approximately follow. Behind these barrier
* Clause 10, Agreement ot May 1894.


ranges are high plateaux declining into the western
and central deserts ; between the ranges and the sea the
land falls rapidly either in terraces, or in a succession
of lesser ranges, or in both. There are two facts then
which the briefest survey of the physical characteristics
of South Africa reveals. In the first place, owing to the
great elevation of the central regions, the climate improves
as we advance from the coast inland ; and, in the second,
the spasmodic character of the rainfall (due in part to
the disposition of the great mountain ranges), acting in
combination with the rapid fall of the land from the
high plateaux or mountain ranges to the coast, renders
the rivers of South Africa singularly inefficient for purposes
both of irrigation and of navigation.

The history of South Africa does not begin with the
station which Van Riebeck planted in 1652, in the south-
western corner of the Continent, but on the low-lying land
of the south-east coast. It is unnecessary to recapitulate
the interesting chain of evidence by which the identity
of Mashonaland with the " Ophir " of antiquity is practic-
ally established by Mr Theodore Bent. It is sufficient
to know the result of this evidence as it is summed up
in a single sentence by the explorer.*

" Here, near the east coast of Africa, far nearer to
Arabia than India and China and other places, which
they were accustomed to visit, not only is there evidence
of the extensive production of gold, but also evidence of
a cult, known to Arabia and Phoenicia alike, temples
built on accurate mathematical principles, containing
kindred objects of art, methods of producing gold known
only to have been employed in the ancient world, and
evidence of a vast population devoted to the mining of

This, then, was the most fruitful source from which
was drawn that supply of the precious metals with which
• " Ruined Cities of Mashonaland," pp. 193-4.


Phoenicia was enriched at the period when Zechariah
said of her principal city, " Tyre heaped up silver as the
dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets." Here,
too, was the storehouse of that profusion of wealth of
which Horace spoke when he taunted the Roman
miUionaire with the thought that " the undivided pos-
session of all the treasures of Arabia and the sumptuous
Orient "* could not ease the heart of the dread of death.

And now a difificulty arises. How was it that the
inquisitive Greek and the ubiquitous Roman remained
in ignorance of the region from which their supplies of
this precious metal came? Because, says Mr Theodore
Bent, it was part of the recognised policy of the Semitic
nations to rigorously conceal the knowledge of their
trading routes — whether those routes led westward beyond
the pillars of Hercules to the White Island of the Atlantic,
or eastward to India, China, and the east coast of Africa.
The secret was kept so well that it was not until the end
of the fifteenth century that the nations of Europe were
brought into direct trading connection with the East.

At this period the Mohammedans had succeeded the
Phoenicians as the commercial intermediaries between
the East and West, and in order to understand the
political significance of the discovery of the maritime
route to India, we must regard that discovery as part
of the great political duel between the East and the
West which runs through the whole course of history.
In that duel the chief antagonists were Greece and
Persia, Rome and Parthia, Christendom and Islam. The
merit of opening up the maritime route to the East
belongs to the Infante Henry of Portugal. This prince,
it is pleasant for Englishmen to reflect, was very closely
connected with our own royal family. His mother was
Philippa of Lancaster; Henry IV. was his uncle, and

* " Intactis opulentior

Thesauris Arabum et divitis Indiae." — ' Odes,' III. 24.


Henry V., the conqueror of Agincourt, his cousin. In
his youth he was engaged in the wars with the Moors in
Africa ; and, as a result of this experience, he appears

Online LibraryW. Basil (William Basil) WorsfoldSouth Africa: a study in colonial administration and development → online text (page 1 of 29)