What were the causes of the Bambatha rebellion?

What were the causes of the Bambatha rebellion?

  • This was the war between the British and the Zulu in 1906
  • It was called Bambatha because it was led by the former Zulu chief of the Zondi clan called Bambatha

  • Loss of land by the Zulu to whites. For example by 1904 a third of land had been grabbed by whites either for settlement of for plantation agriculture.
  • Over taxation of the Zulus by the British. For example by 1904 a poll tax for every adult male had been introduced. This head tax was too much for Africans to bear and they reasoned that the hand and leg taxes would be introduced if they never rebelled.
  • Brutal method of tax collection. The Zulus were flogged in public for failure to pay taxes in time and this could not be accepted by the Zulu hence the rebellion.
  • The spirit of nationalism among the Zulu. The Zulu were proud of their history as a nation and could not accept to be under the British.
  • The need to regain the political independence by the Zulu. The state had lost her independence with their defeat in the Anglo – Zulu war of 1879.

  • Forced labour where by the British forced Zulu to work on European farms and mines for a very little pay.
  • African also offered forced labour on public projects like roads for no pay. This annoyed them hence the rebellion.
  • The deportation of king Cetewayo annoyed the Zulu, moreover; Din Zulu who came in his place was a mere puppet without political power.
  • The British’s introduction of rent that the poor Africans had to pay in order to use land that was formally theirs.
  • The outbreak of Rinder pest disease which destroyed African cattle made them poor and desperate for war.

  • Imprisonment of Africans and chiefs in particular annoyed the Zulu. For example chief Geveza of Cele was arrested and imprisoned for three months.
  • The romours at the close of 1905 that the Bambatha tribe had surrounded Grey town and intended to attack the white.
  • The act of killing white birds and animals by the Zulu. The whites feared that they were next to be killed.
  • The strong and inspiration leadership provided by Bambatha encourage the Zulus to fight against the British.
  • Undermining the traditional authority by the British was another cause. The Zulu chiefs were no longer respected hence the war.
  • The influence of Ethiopians which believed that Africa belonged to Africans. Together with other independent churches, they preached the rebellion and called upon Africans to drive the whites into the sea.

  • The need to revive the Zulu military glory by the Zulu Indunas led to war.
  • The discovery of minerals also led to the rebellion .Africans were attracted to work in mines were they envied the riches of the whites.


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