Bambatha Rebellion Began with Nonviolent Tax Refusal

Today: some news about the Bambatha Rebellion in . First, from the Clarence and Richmond Examiner:

Native Rising in Natal.

 “The Times’” Johannesburg correspondent, who has visited Natal, reports that the situation is rather more disquieting than officially represented. The natives have been defying the magistrates and meeting the collection of taxes with passive resistance.

Owing to the extra expense the Natal Government refrains from dealing with the situation as a whole. “The Times” says the Government ought to collect the taxes by backing up the magistrates with an Imperial mobile column.

A considerable number of Zulus employed on the Rand are starting for Natal, and some say that their king is summoning them.

The Government of Natal has accepted the offer of the Chief Umveli to supply natives to assist in capturing the rebels who are of his tribe, and who are 50 in number. All other natives are quiet.

The hut tax of 14s. a dwelling will be unfailingly paid as heretofore. Those paying it will not pay the poll tax, which is apart from the hut tax, and similar to an impost on European and other unmarried adults. The poll tax chiefly affects young bloods who do not own kraals.

Lieutenant-General Sir H.J.T. Hilyard, General Commanding-in-Chief in South Africa offers an unlimited number of troops to quell the revolt.

 Three chiefs and 500 natives of Natal have thanked the Secretary for Native Affairs for the visit paid to them, and have promised to pay the poll tax. The tension regarding the probable native rising is now relieved.

 Two natives who were found guilty of the attack on the police in the Richmond district have been court-martialled and shot in the presence of their tribe. The authorities have ordered the tribe to arrest the others, and the kraals and crops of the natives implicated have been destroyed. All is now quiet.

Next, from the Hobart, Tasmania Mercury:

Natal Native Trouble.

Colonel Mackensie’s force has arrested the principal agitator in connection with the resistance shown to the payment of the poll tax in Natal.

The man arrested is an educated native.

Ironically, perhaps, Mohandas Gandhi, later famous as a pacifist and a tax resister, served as a volunteer with the British army (as a medic) in the suppression of the Bambatha rebellion.

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