Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dinizulu KaCetshwayo, 1890-1897

Dinizulu as a prince during the Zulu civil war of 1883-1884.  Original Photo from the collection of the Killie Campbell Museum, Durban, South Africa. 

After the annexation of Zululand in1887 Dinizulu was implicated in the Zulu rising against the British in 1888. The campaign against, and search for, Dinizulu was led by the, then, Captain Baden-Powell. Dinizulu however escaped with his followers across the frontier into the Transvaal Republic. Realising that further resistance was futile a few days later he returned to Zululand and surrendered peacefully to British authorities. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment to be served on St. Helena, and though this subsequently proved to be more exile than imprisonment it still lasted nearly eight years.
Thirteen Zulu prisoners arrived at Jamestown on 28th March 1890. Dinizulu, his two uncles, Ndabuku and Tshingana, Mr Saunders, their guardian and interpreter, Mr. Anthony Daniels his assistant, two male and two female attendants for Dinizulu, a wife and male attendant for Ndabuku, and the same for Tshingana. The Zulu party accompanying Dinizulu and his uncles were all free to mingle with residents on the island, and Dinizulu in particular became very popular. There were three weddings between members of the party and local women who subsequently returned to Zululand with their husbands and children. Dinizulu had 8 children, by his Zulu wives here and the two of them who died on the island are buried in St Pauls' churchyard.

Grave of Unomfino and Umohlozana May 2010

The party, now numbering 25, finally left the island on 24 Dec 1897 on the Umbilo.  Another source gives the size of his entourage as 31 and, in addition to his two wives and Miss Colenso daughter of the Bishop of Natal, included six donkeys, 10 dogs, some rabbits, a piano and a harmonium.
Emily Jackson in her book St. Helena (1903) wrote that: During the time they were on the Island they were gradually weaned from their uncivilised and savage life, until at the time of their departure they were as much civilized and attached to civilized customs as could be expected in such a short time. This can be said especially of the young Prince, who became more refined, his gentlemanly manners and bearing promising well for the tribe over which he might hold sway.

She may well have been surprised then that on his return he was involved in another revolt, the 1906 Bambatha Rebellion.

King Dinizulu at the time of his trial in November 1908. From Shaka's Children, A History of the Zulu People by Stephen Taylor, Harper Collins 1994.

Taylor writes that Dinizulu tried to cut an imposing figure in pith helmet, khaki military dress and leather leggings, but the effect was spoiled by his physical grossness. He was adamant about his innocence. "I am guilty only of being Cetshwayos' son."  Thanks to the incisive cross-examination by his advocate, the prominent Cape liberal William Schriener, he was acquitted on all but three of the twenty-three charges of treason and sentenced to four years' imprisonment. He was released early thanks to the intervention of Louis Botha who had become the Prime Minister of the newly formed Union of South Africa but he remained in exile, drank heavily and died in October 1913, aged forty-five.  He was suceeded by his son Solomon who had been born on St Helena in February 1891.
More detailed information on Dinizulu's stay on St Helena, including the marriages, can be found in Barbara George’s article in the St Helena Herald of 30th October 2009 which can be accessed via their website and from which some of the above has been adapted.

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