The Maphumulo Uprising: War, Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion

By Stapleton, Tim | The International Journal of African Historical Studies, September 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Maphumulo Uprising: War, Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion


Stapleton, Tim, The International Journal of African Historical Studies


The Maphumulo Uprising: War, Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion. By Jeff Guy. Scottsville, South Africa: University of KwaZuluNatal Press, 2005. Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, Portland, Oreg. Pp. xii, 276. $34.95 paper.

This book examines the last part of what is popularly called the Bambatha Rebellion that occurred in the British territories of Natal and Zululand during 1906. Since Bambatha, a Zulu chief and rebel leader, had almost nothing to do with the events discussed in this book, it becomes apparent that the term Zulu Rebellion is more appropriate. Professor Guy begins by looking at the haunting image of an emaciated Mbombo kaSibindi Nxumalo, a traditional healer who performed a purification ritual on the Qwabe community in Natal just before the outbreak of violence, was later arrested by colonial forces and died after being released on bail. Qwabe desire for purification originated from anxiety over the impact of colonial rule including the greater prevalence of disease brought by the new railway, increased rent and evictions by white settlers who controlled much of the best land, and the announcement that Africans would have to pay a new tax, a poll tax on individuals, on top of many other existing taxes. In fact, as other historians have pointed out, the new poll tax was the main cause of the overall rebellion as it diminished the power of older male homestead heads who usually collected money from their young men to pay hut tax. Those young men now had to assume more control over their individual resources in order to pay the poll tax and most complained that they did not have enough money to do so.

Guy concentrates on two prominent and distinguished Zulu chiefs, Meseni kaMusi and Ndlovu kaThimuni, who became the main rebel leaders in the Lower Thukela and Maphumulo areas of Natal. One of the main contentions of the book is that Natal, unlike Zululand, had never been formally subjugated by colonial forces. Since the mid-nineteenth century, chiefs had ruled their people in a sort of partnership, albeit an unequal one, with colonial agents. With the colonial regime becoming more arbitrary and oppressive, Meseni and Ndlovu felt that the principles of good government upon which they had depended were being caste aside. On the other hand, the colonial authorities and settlers saw opposition to the new tax as an opportunity to violently crush the last remnants of African independence in the territory. Guy presents a clear case that the actions of colonial forces in 1906 was not just the suppression of a rebellion but a decisive act of conquest that had not been possible when the colony was first established. African Christians became involved in the violence as they also objected to the colonial regime's aggressive approach and were seen as troublemakers by white officials. The place of Meseni and Ndlovu in Zulu society and history, their different circumstances during the rebellion, and the decisions they made when faced with the wrath of their people over the poll tax are discussed in detail. Geography is also incorporated into the analysis, as Ndlovu was able to choose the rebel path more easily because the forest near his home offered sanctuary while Meseni, whose people lived in open ground and were therefore more vulnerable to European firepower, was forced into revolt by the general colonial violence that swept through the colony. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Maphumulo Uprising: War, Law and Ritual in the Zulu Rebellion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.