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Sol Plaatje,
Native Life in South Africa

Chapter 20

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Introduction etc. | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Appendices etc.

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Chapter XX      The South African Races and the European War

  Oh! the Battle-bow is strung,
  The Banner is outflung:
  From lowlands and from valley,
  From mountain-tops, they rally!
                                       L. J. Coppin.

Africa is a land of prophets and prophetesses.  In the course of
our tour of observation on the ravages of the Land Act,
we reached Vereeniging in August, 1913, and found the little village astir
because the local pastor, Rev. S. H. Senamela, was returning from
a certain funeral service.  To many of the people of the place
the event seemed to be a momentous one, affecting as it appeared more people
than would be ordinarily the case.  The person whose death and funeral
caused all this stir was a black seeress of Vereeniging, of whom it was said
that in her lifetime she prophesied the Anglo-Boer War and some such situation
as that created by the Natives' Land Act.  Before breathing her last,
this interesting lady (whose sayings carried great weight
among the surrounding native peasants and the Dutch neighbours
on the farms of that neighbourhood) had, it was said,
uttered her last prophecy.  It was to the effect that a great war
would take place in the near future, amongst the white peoples of the country,
that there would be much bloodshed, but that the survivors
would live very peacefully with the native population.  We are sorry now
that we did not care to listen to the whole story when it was related,
and we very much wish that we had remained to interrogate the narrator
as to whether the black population that would thus remain to share life
with the white survivors in South Africa would be a contented one, or whether
they would be living in chains, of which the thraldom of coming events
appears to be casting its shadow before.  But at the time
it sounded parlous to think that anything could interrupt
the calm of the tolerant British colonists and egg them against
their Dutch rulers, who call them foreign adventurers.
Nor could we conceive of any reason why the Boers, who have now more freedom
than they ever dreamt of possessing under their own flag, including the right
to partially enslave the blacks, should suddenly rise up against the English,
whose money and brains are ever at the beck and call of the Dutch!
Here, however, is the war, predicted by the late native seeress,
and evidently we have to make the best of it.

The writer was in London at the end of July, 1914, when there were
many disquieting reports about the activities of suffragettes,
and when there were still more serious reports about
the unlawful mobilization of volunteer armies in Ireland.

It was in this exciting period that attention was at once transferred
from Ireland to the Continent of Europe.  There it seemed
that every moment was ticking to drive us towards the greatest war
that the world ever saw.  And though matters grew hourly more serious,
it did not then occur to the writer, a stranger then of only
six weeks in London, that after seeing the capital of the Empire
under conditions of peace, he was soon to see it under a war cloud
filled with all the horrors of the approaching war storm and all the signs
of patriotic enthusiasm.  We were about to see Mafeking over again,
but through the biggest magnifying glass.

To walk along Oxford Street of an afternoon and see
the multitudes of well-dressed women pouring into the streets
from the underground stations (the "Tube" and the "Met", as they are called
in the vernacular), round Charing Cross and Piccadilly, and see them
walking up and down the thoroughfares and looking at the wares displayed
in the dazzling shop windows; or to come down Bishopsgate of a morning
and see the stupendous swarms of white men rushing to and fro
along the pavements of Threadneedle Street, crowding the motor-buses
round the Mansion House, St. Paul's and Ludgate Circus --
yet all this throng so well regulated by the City Police that nobody seems
to be in the other's way -- the disproportion of men and women
in the East and West respectively forming a partial segregation
between the sexes:  to see these myriads of humanity gave one the impression
that if the Garden of Eden (whose whereabouts has not yet been defined)
was not actually in London, then some very fertile human germ
imported from the Garden must have been planted somewhere
in the vicinity of Trafalgar Square, or the Elephant and Castle.
These great masses of people when the war broke out were swept over,
as already indicated, by a wave of patriotism, and sections of them reinforced
by a regular inflow from the provinces, and foreign tourists
-- Americans, Scandinavians, Orientals and Colonials -- rushing back
from the danger zone on the Continent, stranded in London
with their pockets bulging with useless credit notes, all these joined
the buzzing groups in Fleet Street in scanning the latest telegrams
posted at the windows of the newspaper offices, or, going to Hyde Park,
they listened to the open-air speeches delivered there.
In this gamut of personalities and nationalities there were, at first,
faint murmurs by some of the English against their country joining the strife
and in favour of her remaining neutral and leaving the Continentals
to "stew in their own juice".  But when German seamen laid mines
in the English Channel, and capped their deeds by sinking
the `Amphion' and the `Pathfinder', with hundreds of officers and men,
the "protestants" found that their efforts were out of date
and that their arguments could have held water in the good old days,
before the declaration of war, but not after.  For the silent determination
of the London crowds, of both sexes and all colours, was so emphatic
that one could almost read it in their thoughts, and see it,
as it were, percolating through every fibre of their systems.
If the weaker races of the world -- (and which race is weaker
than the coloured?) -- are ever to enjoy rest, then the great Powers
must avenge the violation of the neutrality of Belgium.

Early in August, we left London to visit the Scottish capital,
and as far as the swiftness of the North British Railway
would allow a glimpse, the country towns and villages of the north
appeared to be swarming with Territorials in khaki.  A painful sight
at some of the stations was the number of restive horses
forced into the railway trucks by troopers -- beautiful, well-fed animals
whose sleek appearance showed that they were unaccustomed to the rough life
to which the Tommies were leading them.  Further, it was sad to think
that these noble creatures by their size were to be rendered easy targets
for the marksmen of the enemy's forces, and that they would in addition
be subjected to the severity of inclement weather conditions,
to which they likewise were unaccustomed.

At Edinburgh, the Cameron Highlanders marched along some of the streets
in their battalions, flinging the Highland kilt like the plaited reeds
of so many thousands of Bojale* girls.  Handsome young Scotchmen, all of them,
and it was shocking to think that these fine young fellows
in the flower of their youth were going to be fired at with a set purpose
to kill them as if they were a flock of springbuck on a South African veld.
Surely it is time that civilization evolved a less brutal and less savage
form of warfare!  On Sunday evening we attended divine service
at St. Giles's Cathedral, and the critical political situation
permeated the entire service.  This feeling was not lessened
by the announcement that one of the gallant boys who sank with the `Amphion'
was a son of one of the sidesmen of St. Giles's.  It was war as unmistakable
as it was grim.

* Bechuana circumcision rites.

After the declaration of war between Great Britain and Germany,
the Irish tension at once died away.  The self-constituted
opposing armies of Dublin and Belfast, or rather Ireland and Ulster,
came forward and offered themselves and their arms to
the Imperial authorities.  They were anxious to proceed at once
to the Continent and assert British prestige on the battlefield;
the suffragettes likewise at the outbreak of the war
declared a truce and offered their humble services to the Empire.
"More power to their hatpins!"  But how about South Africa,
the baby-member of the British family?  Where does she come in?

Within a week after the outbreak, Mr. Harcourt sent the following dispatch
to the Governors-General of Canada, Australia and New Zealand: --

Please communicate to your Ministers the following message from His Majesty
and publish:  "I desire to express to my people of the overseas Dominions
with what appreciation and pride I have received the messages
from their respective Governments during the past few days.
The spontaneous assurance of their fullest support recalls to me
the generous self-sacrificing help given by them in the past
to the Mother Country.  I shall be strengthened in the discharge
of the great responsibilities which rest upon me by the confident belief
that in this time of trial my Empire will stand united, calm, resolute,
trusting in God.  -- George R.I."

More offers of men and money came from the Dominions;
and when such well-deserved Royal encomiums are showered
on the already laurelled heads of other dominions, a self-respecting
South African like ourselves walked the streets with a drooping head.
And when our kinsmen in West Africa under the leadership of British officers,
annexed German Togoland rather early in the campaign, we found these questions
reverting in our thoughts:  What is our Government doing?  When is it going
to move?  Surely our Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Native Affairs,
should now postpone the constant pampering of the back-velders,
hang colour prejudice for a more peaceful time, call out the loyal legions
-- British, Boer, and Black -- and annex German South Africa without delay!
As a British General and Minister of Native Affairs, he should himself
lead the black contingents and leave the whites to be led
by their regular officers.

At the beginning of August, a special meeting of the South African
Native Congress was called at Bloemfontein, first to express
its disappointment at the cold reception given to the native deputation
by the Imperial Government; and secondly, to express its thanks
to the British public for the kind reception given to the deputation;
and thirdly, to devise ways and means for the deputation
to tour the United Kingdom on a mission, revealing to the British people
the manner in which the Colonial Government discharges its trust
to the coloured people.

Many of the delegates to the Congress had travelled long distances
by rail and road, but on their arrival at Bloemfontein it was only to learn
that war had broken out between Great Britain and Germany.
Hence the Native Congress, in view of the situation, resolving itself at once
into a patriotic demonstration, decided to hang up native grievances against
the South African Parliament till a better time and to tender the authorities
every assistance.

Mr. Dube, the president of the Congress, who had just returned from England
in time for the conference, proceeded direct to Pretoria with the Executive,
to lay at the feet of the Government this offer of service
made by the Native Congress.  Offers of service poured into
the administrative capital from native chiefs and people
in all parts of the country.  Magistrates who held meetings in their districts
on the instructions of the Government to explain the situation to the Natives
received similar offers.  And besides all these, offers of service also came
from the Zulu chiefs and headmen, from Chief Dalindyebo of the Tembus,
Marelana of the Pondos, and from Griffiths of Basutoland.
In Bechuanaland, the veteran Chief Khama and other Bechuana chiefs
offered the services of native warriors as scouts in German South West Africa,
and the Swazi princes offered a Swazi impi, besides undertaking to help
in any other manner, as they did in the campaign against Sekukuni
in the 'seventies.  The members of the native deputation in England
were longing to catch the first steamer back to South Africa
to join their countrymen and proceed to the front.  But while
all these offers were gratefully acknowledged, none were
definitely accepted.  Surely there must be something wrong.
Is it that the wretched South African colour prejudice is exerting itself
even in these critical times?

At Pretoria, Captain W. Allan King, the popular Native Commissioner
of the Pretoria District, held a meeting of Transvaal Natives,
which amongst others was attended by His Worship the Mayor
of the Union capital; and there again native offers of service were tendered.
Mr. Makgatho, the chairman, in his denial of the report
that appeared in the newspapers to the effect that "South Africa
could not take the field as she had a native menace to watch",
voiced the prevailing feeling of the Natives.  Captain King, however,
assured the Natives that no such slanders were uttered by the Government.
He further reminded them that the Imperial Government
was face to face with the biggest struggle that ever took place
since the foundation of the world; and that there would be fighting
on land, in the air, on the water and under the water.
He urged the Natives to go to work as usual and see to it that there was
no slackening of industries.  He also made a plea for the abiding respect
of the Natives to the German missionaries of the Transvaal,
having regard to what those good men had done in bygone years
for the evangelization of the Natives of that Province.
How little did any one dream at the time that he was thus pleading for others,
that Captain King would be among the victims of the war;
and that he would fall, not from a German bullet, but from one fired
by one of the Dutch traitors, in a brisk fight to quell
the recent Boer rebellion.

     Ku mugama e Tipperary,
    E malandalahla;
    Ku mugama e Tipperary,
     Kwe sona standwa sam.
    Bhota, Piccadilly,
    Sala, Leicester Square,
    Kude le-le-le, e Tipperary
    'Ntliziyo yam ikona.
                             "Tipperary" in Xosa.

White men wrote to the newspapers that as France, our great Ally,
was using Native African troops, there could be no objection
against England doing the same -- as if England had rejected
the assistance of her coloured subjects pending a decision by France.
A well-known Natal campaigner wrote to the authorities
offering to raise a crack Zulu regiment composed of men
who had formerly fought for the old flag against their own people.
He said he felt certain that those Zulus could give as good
an account of themselves against any regiment in the field as any force
yet mobilized; but there was no definite acceptance of these offers
by the Government.  The native uncertainty that arose from
this attitude of the South African Government went on until October,
when our colleagues of the native deputation returned home from England
and threw themselves into the vortex of the martial enthusiasm
that was then sweeping through the country, and as no offers were accepted
by the Government, Dr. Rubusana made to it the following further offer: --

The Right Hon. the Minister of Native Affairs, Pretoria, Transvaal.

Sir, --  Coming as I do so near from the scene of operations in Europe,
I feel that something more practical than mere lip-loyalty is required
from those who boast of the fact that they are British subjects, and are loyal
to the British Crown, more especially during this present crisis.
That being so, I am prepared to raise, if you deem it necessary,
a native levy of 5,000 able-bodied men to proceed to German South-West Africa,
provided the Government is prepared to fully equip this force for the front.
I should, of course, be prepared to accompany them.

               I have the honour to be, Sir,
                         Your obedient servant,
                                   W. B. Rubusana.


                    Union of South Africa,
                         Department of Defence,
                                   November 2, 1914.

Sir, --  With reference to your letter of the 20th ultimo, I am directed
to state that the Union Government greatly appreciates the loyal sentiments
which are being expressed by the native citizens of the Union.

I am, however, to refer you to the provisions of Section 7
of the South Africa Defence Act, 1912, and to state that the Government
does not desire to avail itself of the services, in a combatant capacity,
of citizens not of European descent in the present hostilities.
Apart from other considerations the present war is one which has its origin
among the white people of Europe and the Government are anxious to avoid
the employment of its native citizens in a warfare against whites.

                         I have the honour to be, Sir,
                              Your obedient servant,
                                   H. B. M. Bourne,
                                        Secretary for Defence.
Dr. W. B. Rubusana,
  East London, C.P.

General Botha was once confronted with a definite request
to reconcile two conflicting declarations of policies
enunciated by two members of his Cabinet, and in reply to that request
he gave the following highly diplomatic explanation:  "The one Minister
has said things which should not have been said, and the other Minister
had said things which should have been said in a different way."

If there is one document which contains things that should not
have been penned, or that should have been differently worded, surely it
is the document we have just quoted.  Fancy refusing native assistance
in the present world's war on the ground of colour!  For weeks before
Dr. Rubusana sailed from Europe the Turcos and Algerian and Moroccan troops
had been doing wondrous deeds on the Continent for the cause of the Allies.
These coloured troops also included a regiment of wealthy Natives
from North Africa who had come to fight for France entirely
at their own expense -- a striking evidence of what the Empire is losing
through the South African policy of restricting native wages
to one shilling a day, in a country where the cost of living
is about the highest in the world.  The Union Government
rejected the native offer a week after Lord Roberts laid down his life,
having delivered the appreciation of a grateful Empire
to the gallant Indian regiments who with distinction were participating
in the same war; and a month after the first German General Freise
was captured in the course of a daring charge by North African Natives
from the French Colonies; ten days after the Germans at Tsiengtau
had surrendered to the British and Japanese forces; and nearly three weeks
after the Germans had successfully involved Turkey in the strife;
and while the Canadian troops on Salisbury Plain included Red Indians.
Where, then, is the wisdom of telling Dr. Rubusana, who knows all these facts,
that the Government's rejection of the native offer is due to the fact
that the present struggle is an all-white one?  The truth of the matter
is that the South African Government worships an idol, which was
best described by Sir Gordon Sprigg as "the demon of ignorance and prejudice",
and the claims of this fetish in South Africa precedes those of the Empire.

Under the old Republics we had a law which since the Union has become
the unwritten law of South Africa.  In this law it is laid down
that a coloured policeman shall not lay his black hands on a white man
even if he found him red-handed in the commitment of a crime.
The duty of a coloured policeman in such circumstances would be
to look around for a white constable and report the misdemeanour to him.
Rather than suffer the humiliation of a black official
taking a white criminal into custody white South Africa
would prefer to have the country overrun with white criminals,
ergo, if the safety of the Crown is at stake and it could be saved
only by employing black men, we would much rather let the Crown go
than suffer the humiliation of seeing black warriors resisting a white enemy.
If there is one point upon which white South Africa is agreed, it is that
the claims of South Africa come first and those of the Empire afterwards.
The "bitter-enders" go further:  they say that "the Empire comes handy
only in so far as it is useful to us, but when we have sucked it dry,
like an orange, it must be thrown away."*  It may be that the blacks have
their reasons for objecting to these creeds:  they would prefer Imperial lines
all the time, for Imperial lines are benevolent while South African lines
are cruel; consisting largely of repression and slavery.

* General Botha's reply to General Hertzog on the Ministerial crisis of 1912.

There is a talk in South Africa, which unhappily is not confined
to Dutch-speaking South Africans.  It advocates the elimination
of the Imperial factor, because that factor is said to interfere
with colonial liberties, among which is the right to "correct" a Native
in a manner that a colonial deems fit.  Thus, under the inconvenience
of the "pestilential Imperial factor", a colonial Magistrate
was forced to fine General De Wet the sum of 5s. on his pleading guilty
to having horse-whipped a Native.  Under German rule, which threatened
the Union, the liberty of chastising the Native according to colonial ideas
would be extended, for the German method is that of the old "Free" State,
where a Native used to be tied to a wagon-wheel and whipped.
If he dies in consequence of the beating, his death was but a nominal offence.
This state of things explains the determination of the native races
to fight for the retention of the Imperial factor, or for what vestige of it
still remains in the country.

A native clergyman sends us the following letter.  We are not quite certain
if the reverend gentleman desired to enlist as a private or as a chaplain;
anyway, this is what he says:

Can it be really true that we, too, belong to the British Empire?
This war is growing in such dimensions that it is even affecting
the King's household.  The Prince of Wales has gone to the front,
and His Majesty the King has also gone, yet we are told that we are not worthy
on account of our colour to fight for our King and Empire.
White men only must defend the King's Dominions while we remain behind
with the women and children.  Surely it cannot be the wish of the loyal Boers
that we must not defend our Empire; it is only the wish of the rebels,
and it seems that our Government will continue to study their feelings
even while they are engaged in shooting down loyal people.

It would seem that the South African Government is so deeply
in love with the Natives that they are scrupulously careful
lest the Natives should singe so much as a hair in the present struggle,
and that white men alone may shoot and kill one another.
But, in point of fact, black men ARE required by the Union Government
to proceed to the front as Government wagon drivers,
driving provisions and ammunition wagons, and acting as orderlies
to the white burghers.  In these capacities they are exposed
to all the risks and horrors of the war, yet even if they are shot,
they must not, under any circumstances, be mentioned in the casualty lists,
nor must they carry arms, lest their behaviour should merit recognition;
their heroic deeds and acts of valour must, on account of their colour,
not be recorded.  These native drivers are classed with the transport mules,
with this difference, that while the owner of a mule receives
monetary compensation for each animal that falls on the battlefield,
or is captured by the enemy, the Government's interest in the black driver
ceases when he is killed.

Suppose the services of these muleteers were recognized
in a combatant capacity, some one might get it into his head to ask:
"Why should loyal fighting taxpayers be debarred from
the rights of the franchise that are liberally bestowed
on white rebels and their relations, some of whom are said
to contribute nothing towards the upkeep of the State?"
So then to refuse these Natives the right to carry arms
in defence of the Empire, and to send them to the front without arms,
is to deprive such inquirers of this and similar arguments.

On St. Patrick's Day, the `Westminster Gazette' appeared
with a leading article, from which we make the following extract: --

It will be impossible, when we have had the assistance of the Indian Army
in Europe, to restrict the promotion of its officers in the manner
laid down hitherto.  It will also be impossible to restrict Natives of India
which rest simply on race and are justified by no natural disability
will have to be swept away, and new and more generous conditions laid down
for the whole Indian public service.

Surely what is true in regard to the Indian public service
is equally so in regard to that infallible South African taxing machine,
the adjunct of the Union Civil Service, which is officially called
the Native Affairs Department.  There, raw recruits serve their apprenticeship
while lording it over Natives who have proved their ability and experience
by a quarter of a century's service in their own country.
It is to prevent the application to South Africa of broad-minded views
like those expressed by the `Westminster Gazette' that native Africans
must not serve against the Germans.  Therefore it seems
to have occurred to the authorities that the best course
is to engage the Natives in a capacity in which their participation
will demand no recognition.  These statements are not mere empty phrases,
for the writer recently caused inquiries to be made through
the Department of Native Affairs in South Africa as to whether there were
any Coloured People who had been killed or wounded while on active service
at the front.  And the result was a long list of killed, wounded, and captured
up to the end of October, 1914, among Natives and Coloured People
who had not been mentioned in the casualty lists.*

* When the enemy airmen attacked the British camp at Garub (G.S.W.A.),
  on March 27, 1915, and dropped bombs on General Botha's guns,
  Reuter says, "only one Native was slightly wounded."

This deference to South African prejudice would at least seem reasonable
if the King's enemies also had colour scruples.  But so far from that
being the case, Natives living far away from defended centres
are always the first to suffer when a white man's war breaks out.
In fact they are always subjected to indignities from which
they would be immune if they had arms.  One of the first steps taken
by the "Free" State rebels under General De Wet during the recent rebellion
was to dash for the nearest native owner of horses and annex their mounts.
The unarmed proprietor's recourse in that case was to take to his heels
and leave the rebels to plunder his stock.  Any hesitation to run away
has involved some unfortunate Native in the danger of being horsewhipped
into the service of the King's enemies, and if he took the first opportunity
to escape from the rebel commando, a detection of his act
would positively have meant a bullet behind his neck.

The late Dean Green of Natal, writing years ago, said: --

"Every chief should have his own militia and police.  Our common human nature
tells us that it is the duty of every one capable of bearing arms
to fit himself to be able to defend his country and Government.
Were the Government to refuse permission to the chief to enrol his young men,
it would inflict a wrong on them, against which their manliness would revolt.
Our Government, however, is not established to alienate from us
the native races, but to attach them to us by giving them full freedom
to exercise under restraints of Christianity all those instincts and desires
which are proper to their manhood.

"The Houssas and Soudanese on the north, the negro tribes on the west,
form part of the Imperial forces, and have shown themselves
true, brave, and useful troops.  On no possible ground of justice
can the loyal Bantu tribes be placed under a ban, and refused
to serve in the ranks for the defence of the Empire.  A youth debarred
from the legitimate opportunities of exercising his manly energies will become
riotous and unruly, and addict himself, for the sake of excitement,
to sheep-stealing, etc."

The `Christian Express', which has always acted as the mediator
between the overbearing section of Colonial opinion
on the one hand and the subject races on the other, tried to allay
the disappointment of our people with the excuse that the Government
refused the native offer on the ground that it desired to use men
from the more advanced races who are capable of being more easily trained.*
In the face of historical records, however, this argument
will not hold a drop of water.  British archives are overloaded with instances
of the valour and tractability of the aboriginal races of South Africa
no less than those of their nephews, the Cape Coloured People.
Not having enough space to enumerate them at length we may only refer
to two instances of recent date.

* The `Express' is now advocating the raising of an army of 100,000 Natives.

During the South African war, the writer was asked by the military authorities
to recruit twelve young Natives to act as scouts in the Western Transvaal.
The young fellows were handed to Sergt. Clemens of the Cape Police
for training.  Three days after they were enrolled we met the Sergeant,
who was highly pleased with his "raw recruits".  He told us
with evident satisfaction that, after he had given them oral instructions
in the handling and use of firearms, he took them to the range
to try them at shooting; and all but two of them hit the bull's eye
with the first attempt.  This is but one isolated instance
which is typical of the rest.

It is doubtful if any white man is a greater authority
on the character of the Zulus than Mr. R. C. Samuelson of Natal.
Writing on the outbreak of the European war and the advisability of raising
native levies, he said: --

During the late rebellion I was captain and adjutant of 350 men
composed of men, half of whom were Christians and the other half
heathens of the Amangwane, a section of the Amabomyu tribe,
who at the beginning of the rebellion were raw recruits,
but who, after three months' drill and manoeuvring, were as expert
in their drill and use of the rifle and riding as any corps in the field.
In all my dealings with all these men and many more, I found them
most attentive, most orderly, most careful about their arms,
most alert on duty, perfectly reliable, and in and out loyal
to the Government and those they were under.  Having been a volunteer
for many years, and a cadet at college in the Cape, I can safely say
that I never found our people as a body so easy to manage and train
in the military art, and so orderly and attentive as these natives were.

I had the honour to be called upon to summon 50 of the Zulu war and Boer war
heroes to be reviewed by the Duke of Connaught; many of these
had the Zulu war medal on, which the Duke took special notice of,
but the Boer war medal was not there.  These people were highly complimented
by the Duke, and afterwards gave a free concert to the Royal party
in the Maritzburg Town Hall, which was attended by immense crowds,
the chief song of the evening being a Zulu song specially prepared
by these men, and set to music by them, in honour of the Royal party,
which was also embossed and presented to the Royal party.
The Royal party expressed their appreciation by sending forward to me
one of the officers in waiting on them to thank the singers.

                                   "Izwe Lakiti" Aug. 12, 1914.

The writer has received several letters expressing the native resentment
of the idea that they should fold their arms and cogitate
while other British subjects, irrespective of colour,
are sacrificing their lives for the defence of the Empire in this,
the darkest period of His Majesty's reign.  Our reply to each of these letters
was that the natives should subscribe, according to their small means,
to the several war funds; and our latest information
is that they are subscribing to the Prince of Wales' Fund,
the Governor-General's and the Belgian Relief Fund.
When we last heard from home the Basutos had given 2,700 Pounds
to the National Relief Fund, the list being headed by Chief Griffiths
with a donation of 100 Pounds.  Chief Khama of Bechuanaland gave 800 Pounds,
Chief Lewanika of Barotseland 200 Pounds, Chief Lekoko and two other Chiefs,
each 30 Pounds, while the Zulus, Tembus and Pondos were still collecting.
At Kimberley the Natives gave concerts for the benefit of
the Mayor's Relief Fund.  At their Beaconsfield concert the Kimberley Band
under Herr Carl Rybnikar, known as the best volunteer band in South Africa,
attended and gave selections; and Chief Molala of the Batlhaping
gave General Botha 200 bullocks to feed the Union troops.

In April 1915 the Minister of Native Affairs gave the following
testimony of native loyalty and co-operation.  Speaking from
his place in Parliament Mr. Malan said -- "he thought it his duty
to say that the attitude of the large number of the Natives
entrusted to their care, all through the troubles, had been
most exemplary and most patriotic.  There was one exception to which
he would refer,* but from the commencement, from all parts of the Union,
resolutions came to the Government of expressions of loyalty
on the part of the Natives, and of their support in the measures
Government was taking in connexion with the war.  They (the Natives)
gave oxen and supported liberally, according to their means,
the different patriotic funds which had been established,
and generally gave the Government every assistance.  The Government
had been able to enrol between 23,000 and 24,000 Natives for service
in German S.W. Africa, in building railways and in transport work.
The chief of the Tembus had volunteered to send his own son
to German S.W. Africa for the purpose of superintending
the members of his tribe, a large number of whom had volunteered
for the front.  All that spoke well for the Natives, and he would be
neglecting his duty if he did not testify to that."

* The "one exception" referred to by Mr. Malan was the Hlubis
  of Matatiele district, who forcibly resisted the cattle dipping regulations
  because, they said, the frequent dipping killed their cattle.

In opening the Rhodesian Legislative Council, on April 28,
Mr. Administrator Chaplin concluded by saying that the behaviour and attitude
of the native population since the outbreak of the war left nothing
to be desired.  All information available showed that any attempts
by emissaries of the enemy to stir up trouble would fail to meet with support.
"Numerous expressions of loyalty to His Majesty have come from leading Chiefs,
taxes are readily paid, and perfect order has been maintained."

What a happy land in which to live South Africa would be if,
instead of the present god of colour prejudice, we had some such confidence
as is reposed in the blacks by the British authorities
in East Africa and elsewhere.  The naughty white piccaninnies
who always insult inoffensive black passers-by would be taught
that the Native is a useful neighbour whose strong right arm
may be depended upon in times of trouble, instead of being taught,
as they are taught in Transvaal, that every man Jack of them
is a black peril monster who must not only be discriminated against,
but who must be indiscriminately insulted and repressed.
The following dispatch, published in the `Daily Chronicle',
illustrates the confidence of the British authorities in East Africa
towards the blacks: --

                 East African Battle won by Native "Non-Com".

About the end of September the Germans advanced 600 strong,
with six machine guns, from the Vanga side.  They were held
at Margerini on September 25 by Captain Wavel's Arab Company,
and some King's African Rifles under Captain Stoner arrived from Jubaland
on the 27th, none too soon to reinforce Captain Wavel,
the enemy in the meanwhile having become very aggressive.

The German plan of attack was to destroy the Salisbury bridge,
which connects Mombasa island with the mainland, thus securing
one of the most important strategical positions in East Africa.

The "Koenigsberg" did not arrive, perhaps because of the nearness
of British warships, and the little British force of 300 men
dislocated the land operations of the enemy.  "C" Company held off the Germans
until October 2, when they were reinforced by Indian troops.
The Jind Infantry behaved particularly well at Gazi, where they had to face
a very heavy fire from the six machine guns of the enemy.

The King's African Rifles deserve special mention.  Major Hawthorn,
who was in command, and all the European officers, were wounded
early in the engagement, thus leaving the little force leaderless.

Colour-Sergeant Sumani quietly took charge, and led on his men as if nothing
had happened.  He gave the order to charge, and the enemy broke and fled.
This incident has not yet appeared in the bald official announcements,
but it is hoped the splendid conduct of the native colour sergeant
will receive recognition.*

* Sergeant Sumani has since been decorated with the D.S.O.

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This work (Sol Plaatje, Native Life in South Africa) is out of copyright, but see the Project Gutenberg legal notice.