South African Wars (1879–1915) - Military Conflicts - The Bambatha Rebellion (1906–1907)

The Bambatha Rebellion (1906–1907)

The Rebellion was in reaction to a Poll Tax of £1 on all Native male members over 18 years of age by the Natal House of Assembly. After the magistrate and a small party were threatened by gun shots from Bambata and his followers, the party made their retreat to a small hotel. Joined by the people at the hotel, the magistrate's party proceeded hastily to the police station at Keates Drift.

As news spread to Greytown, a Natal police force was dispatched to deal with the fugitives, but saw no sign of the enemy after reaching the Drift. At sunset, the march was continued until they were ambushed at a spot in the Impanza Valley by Bambata's men. After fighting off the enemy and returning to camps with the dead and wounded, more troops were mobilised for an attack on Bambata's location. However, the morning before, he had escaped to Zululand by crossing the Tugela River. The Kranskop reserves trailed Bambata along the same route until they made a wrong turn. They made camp under the Pukunyoni until 28 May 1906, when scouts were shot at by a Zulu impi marching toward the camp. After returning with the news of the approaching Zulu, the camp prepared itself for attack. The Zulu made an initial rush but were turned away. Using a herd of cattle as cover, the Zulu drove the herd through the North-East corner of the camp, with many Zulu being shot only 5 yards (4.6 m) from the defence line. The rest were then driven back or withdrew. The Zulu continued to fire on the camp from a "very bushy" hillside about 300 yards (270 m) away. Several troops were killed and wounded.

The end of the rebellion came when Col. Barker was brought from Johannesburg with 500 soldiers. Along with local troops, they trapped and killed Bambata and the other Zulu chiefs, ending the uprising.

Read more about this topic:  South African Wars (1879–1915), Military Conflicts

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