As the armed wing of ZAPU withdrew to ponder lessons learned, the detained leadership within Rhodesia settled into what seemed likely to be a sustained period of restriction. For Joshua Nkomo the prospect was particularly dreary. Somewhere between the claims of his apologists of untainted zealotry, and his protagonists insistence on his innate corruptibility, lies the truth of what motivated Nkomo. At the very least he was a comfort loving
The immediate consequence of the split in the nationalist movement was violence on a level hitherto unseen. This was a fight to the death, an equalisation and an unequivocal exposure of the deep ethnic and personal fissures that had lain unseen beneath the surface as the cordial first phase of the struggle came to an end. One of the most beautiful understatements ever written about the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle came from the pen of
In the short history of Zimbabwe ZAPU, or the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union, has tended to be regarded as a predominantly amaNdebele party, which latterly has certainly been the case, but at its founding it was a continuation of the determinedly multi-racial and multi-ethnic nationalist credo that defined the formation of the revived African National Congress. This was reflected in the leadership, with Nkomo representing the
In 1949 a meeting was held at the Recreation Hall in Salisbury at which a new president was elected for the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress. This introduced to the centre stage of local politics the founding father of black nationalism and the first authentic voice of the people of Southern Rhodesia. The event within itself did not mean a great deal, since at that stage Congress still held its position as a somewhat elitist
The educated rather than the raw native very often becomes a nuisance to his white neighbours…Report of the Land Commission
The end of the First World War did indeed usher in a change in British imperial policy. A general revaluation of the moral certainties of old coincided with the emergence of a class of educated natives worldwide who were the first among their respective peoples to actively deal with the challenges and seek the benefits
How can the white men punish them? Where are the white police? There are none left in the country.[i]
The uprising was mooted to begin on the evening of the full moon of March 28 1896, no hint whatsoever of which reached the ears of white settlers and administrators in the territory. Even long time residents of Matabeleland such as the Rev. Charles Helm of the Hope Fountain Mission remained convinced that the defeat of the amaNdebele had
The invading force of settler volunteers represented an unimpressive army which, without an unequal portion of confidence, would have been overwhelmed by the knowledge that it marched without supply lines, communications or support, and beyond any meaningful assistance or reinforcement. If it did not conclusively defeat the amaNdebele in the early skirmishes – about half of the fighting strength of the amaNdebele was mobilised in
In an atmosphere of great apprehension and mistrust the Rudd Concession was signed, upon which Rudd took to his horse and sped south to Kimberly where he placed the document in the hands of an immensely gratified Cecil John Rhodes. Thomson and Maguire remained behind in Matabeleland, although neither were held in particular esteem among the amaNdebele, and neither were able to stop or deflect any of the intrigue that immediately gripped the capital in the aftermath.
The Matabele Mission died in due course of depletion and internal discord, proving only that no man or woman in Matabeleland would dare to commit to anything that competed with the stern residue of Mzilikazi’s rule. However the political importance of the mission was that it introduced the younger generations of Moffat and Khumalo to one another, meaning that when Lobengula ascended to the amaNdebele throne, and when John Moffat took
The young prince who had so narrowly escaped death at the hands of his father settled into life as a youth in amaNdebele society in a way little different from any other. The date of Lobengula’s birth is obscure, but if, as has been widely recorded, he was the subject of Mzilikazi’s wrath soon after the union of the two halves of the nation, he must have been born sometime in 1834 or thereabouts.
This means that Lobengula would have been an infant as the tribe was
For the victorious Boer horsemen the sight of the amNdebele streaming north through the mountain passes of the Dwarsberg must have carried with it more than a sense of simple satisfaction. In the tradition of conquest and counter conquest theirs was now the principal claim to a fine country, and the greatest obstacle standing in its way had been broken and cast asunder. This was manifest destiny. The future of their race and the fulfilment of a cherished aspiration seemed secure.
As Robert Moffat’s wagons slipped over the southern horizon and disappeared Mzilikazi turned back towards enKungwini to face arguably the greatest series of challenges to the long term survival of the amaNdebele that he had confronted thus far. The first of these was the long awaited settling of scores with the Zulu that came soon afterwards as Mzilikazi had always feared that it would.
Two years earlier the short but shockingly violent reign of Shaka Zulu had been
Of the many great events of pre-colonial history in Southern Africa, perhaps the most dramatic has been the rise and dispersal of the Nguni line of the Bantu family. Several branches of this family exist, but of those that broke away from the main rootstock, and established satellite communities beyond the borders of South Africa, there are three. These are the Gaza people, or the Shangaan, who at one time ruled, and