Bambatha Memorial, Greytown

In 1905 the Colony of Natal imposed a Poll Tax of one pound that was to be collected from each unmarried Zulu man. While some paid there were several Amakhosi who refused to pay and amongst them was Inkosi Bambatha Zondi. There had been sporadic skirmishes when police tried to arrest those refusing to pay the tax and as a result two Natal Mounted Police had been killed.

 

Bambatha refused to pay tax and fled his home in the Greytown area and went to King Dinuzulu’s home at uSuthu. It is not clear what was said between the two men but it is suggested that the king encouraged Bambatha to lead a rebellion.

 

Leaving his family at uSuthu he traveled back into Natal and gathered a party of followers numbering about 150. On April 4, 1906 they attacked a police patrol killing four men. Thereafter followed sporadic violence that prompted the deployment of about 100 troops to quell the uprising. What had become known as the Bambatha Rebellion ended on June 10, 1906 when Bambatha and his followers were trapped in Mome Gorge and Bambatha himself was killed.

 

Over 2300 people had died during the rebellion and 5000 Zulus were brought to trial. King Dinuzulu’s role was unclear but he was charged with treason (for a second time) and sentenced to four year’s imprisonment. He was eventually released and allowed to live in the Transvaal where he died in 1913.

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