The Zulu Rebellion of 1906: The Collusion of Bambatha and Dinuzulu

In 1906 the British colony of Natal in South Africa was racked by a major rebellion. Bambatha kaMancinza, the eponymous hero of the rebellion, had until just before the rebellion been chief of the Zondi people who lived in the Umvoti Division of Natal. Bambatha had been deposed as chief in March 1906 for misconduct and had fled to Zululand, where he sought out Dinuzulu, the putative king of the Zulu people. After a sojourn of several days at the king’s palace, Bambatha returned to reclaim his authority and to launch a rebellion, claiming Dinuzulu’s sanction. Following the colonial government’s suppression of the rebellion, Dinuzulu was tried for high treason in 1908-1909, and, while found not guilty on the main charges of instigating the rebellion, was found guilty of lesser charges that resulted in his being sentenced to four years in exile. Yet during the rebellion he was ostentatiously loyal to the colonial government. Was he playing a double game? This paper focuses on the relationship between Dinuzulu and Bambatha during the period immediately prior to and at the outbreak of the rebellion, and examines evidence with a view to determining the extent to which each was in collusion with the other. It concludes that Dinuzulu must have known much more about Bambatha’s intentions and activities than historians hitherto supposed. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

Title:The Zulu Rebellion of 1906: The Collusion of Bambatha and Dinuzulu
Author:Thompson, Paul S.
Year:2003
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Volume:36
Issue:3
Pages:533-557
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3559433
Abstract:In 1906 the British colony of Natal in South Africa was racked by a major rebellion. Bambatha kaMancinza, the eponymous hero of the rebellion, had until just before the rebellion been chief of the Zondi people who lived in the Umvoti Division of Natal. Bambatha had been deposed as chief in March 1906 for misconduct and had fled to Zululand, where he sought out Dinuzulu, the putative king of the Zulu people. After a sojourn of several days at the king’s palace, Bambatha returned to reclaim his authority and to launch a rebellion, claiming Dinuzulu’s sanction. Following the colonial government’s suppression of the rebellion, Dinuzulu was tried for high treason in 1908-1909, and, while found not guilty on the main charges of instigating the rebellion, was found guilty of lesser charges that resulted in his being sentenced to four years in exile. Yet during the rebellion he was ostentatiously loyal to the colonial government. Was he playing a double game? This paper focuses on the relationship between Dinuzulu and Bambatha during the period immediately prior to and at the outbreak of the rebellion, and examines evidence with a view to determining the extent to which each was in collusion with the other. It concludes that Dinuzulu must have known much more about Bambatha’s intentions and activities than historians hitherto supposed. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]