Bhambatha Uprising in South Africa 1906

[ 1906 ]

King Dinuzulu was given a hundred head of cattle as a reward for having sent 250 armed men to assist General Bruce Hamilton. All guns and ammunition supplied to him were seized. He was prohibited from visiting the Vryheid district and restricted to his uSuthu district and subjected to the same demotion as the local government induna. From 1903 onwards rumours were circulated by government agents that he had not surrendered all the guns and that he wanted to take up arms against the Natal government. This, combined with the Bhambatha or Poll Tax uprising in 1906, resulted in his arrest in December 1907. Though released after the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, he was stigmatised as a troublemaker by the whites and he died in banishment on the Farm Uitkyk on October 18th, 1913. No other amakhosi in Natal was ever compensated, despite having been promised ten per cent of the livestock that their subjects looted under the orders of Colonel Bottomley. The Zulu Christians also lost out, because they were refused silver medals for their military sacrifices. The fort built by the British near oSuthu as Dinuzulu's armoury remained until April 1910, when it was finally demolished by the Natal government.

As a result of these grievances, when the Poll Tax uprising occurred in 1906 most Zulu people were determined not to be conciliatory to the English-speaking community, feeling they had been cheated.

The Zulu desire to see the Boers defeated was primarily motivated by resentment at their cruel treatment at the hands of the Boers and by hopes for the return of their ancestral land under Boer occupation. Yet the amakhosi who fought on the British side in the Vryheid district were repaid by betrayal. Reconciliation between the Boers and British was speeded up, but for the Zulu people and their king, Dinuzulu, the oppressive status quo ante was reestablished. Ultimately, the Zulu people were in a worse position than before the outbreak of the war.


Final Zulu insurrection in South Africa failed, at a cost of more than 2,000 Zulu dead of a force numbering an estimated 12,000.

Related Conflicts

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