Drawing of Ndebele army dancing. Image credit plus.google.com

ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: The First Chimurenga: The Ndebele Uprisings

    • The battle began in March 1896 when the British initiated the Jameson raid.
    • The Ndebele killed many British soldiers by end of March
    • The Ndebele also killed farm and mine Shona workers who worked for Whites
    • The Ndebele used traditional weapons, for example, arrows, assegai, axes and knobkerries
    • The Ndebele were led by the most senior induna as they did not have a king
    • These political leaders worked hand in hand with religious leaders
    • The Ndebele were helped in their victory by religious leaders, i.e. Mabwani, Umlugulu and Mkwati
    • These leaders blamed the whites for the calamities that were affecting the Ndebele such as locusts and rinderpest
    • When Major Plummer became the commander of the Matebele Relief Force he managed to defeat the Ndebele soldiers and drove them out of Bulawayo.
    • The Ndebele were defeated at Umguza in June
    • The Ndebele army then retreated into Matopo Hills
    • The British force tried to do the scorched earth method to starve the Ndebele but could not sustain this as new uprisings began in Mashonaland
    • The British forces then followed the Umguza battl with another one in at Ntaba Zika Mambo
    • Rhodes then thought it wise to make peace with the Ndebele and it led to peace talks called Indaba Talks because:
      1. The war was now expensive for the BSAC
      2. Mines closed and BSAC was losing profits
      3. The British parliament wanted to withdraw the Royal Charter
      4. Rhodes’ forces could not fight both Ndebele and Shona uprisings
    • The talks were done in Matopo hills by Rhodes, Dr Sauer (his friend), Vere Slent (a correspondent of Cape Times) and John Calentranoleri (interpreter)
    • A settlement was reached and Rhodes used bribery to secure the agreement on 13 October 1896
    • He promised that:
      1. He would remove the BSAC force and only leave a small permanent force
      2. He would the give seed and food supplies to the Ndebele
      3. He would pay all Ndebele indunas
    • In return the Ndebele were supposed to:
      1. Hand over all their weapons to Rhodes
      2. Give Rhodes all who had murdered the white forces

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