I was very interested to see photos of the recently erected memorial to the Natal Indians and Africans who served in the ABW. I had not heard of this memorial before, a fact not doubt due to my hermit-like existence at 19KKP and the pathetric state of KZN's news media.
A few years ago, I started a thread on the 'Natal Native Scouts' that, disappointingly, seemed to be of no interest to anyone else in KZN. I cannot find the first post of the thread, so I cannot give a link to it.
PS Perhaps I will approach Amafa, KZN's heritage department, to find out if I can share my records with someone there.
Here is an account of one of the Natal Native Scouts named on the memorial:
Native Scouts of Natal
Natal Native Scouts during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) – 3B
Simeon Kambule recorded “A list of Native Scouts under [his] supervision, who served during the late Anglo-Boer War at various places and under Generals White, Buller and Rundle.” The 155 names on this list will be included in a consolidated roll of Natal Native Scouts.
Kambule also stated that he would “like to mention more especially … the following men:”
Shortly after the Ladysmith siege commenced, Stephanus Xaba brought in much important news through the Boer lines from Kosi Mude, a Basuto Chief at Witzie’s Hoek, ORC. Later during the siege he pointed out to the military the Ekamanzi hill near Estcourt as being one suited to heliograph to, and to which heliograms were subsequently sent. Later he was given charge of the Scouts at Volksrust and did well there. His activities included running down a Boer and capturing him with his horse and arms, and handing him over to the Authorities. On another occasion, Captain Allison’s horse having been shot, Xaba handed over his own horse and walked back to camp.
Micah Kunene, who was serving under General Buller, was called upon by that General when his column was about to go up to Helpmekaar. He strongly opposed taking the column up the valley from the direction of Etoleni as he said that the Boers would be there entrenched. He succeeded in persuading General Buller to take the main road from Msinga, thereby saving the column. It was found the Boers were as stated strongly entrenched in the said valley and soon fired heavy guns at the column as it went round the main road.
Qhoto Kubheka and George Xaba, who having been duly instructed during the siege of Ladysmith went to my wife and got the necessary instrument and went to the railway line between Besters and Brakvaal stations and there undid the rails so that a Boer train was wrecked. Qhoto had lately been brought into Ladysmith by Teise Ndhlovu (since killed) and had come through the Boer lines to join us right from Kimberley.
Jacob Ndaba captured an armed Boer at or near Van Reenen’s Pass and brought him in with two guns to the authorities at Ladysmith.
Teise Ndhlovu was killed in action and left a wife and child. Besides many great and brave deeds, he went through the Boer lines during the Ladysmith siege four times. On his return from his mission to Chief Mabizela Bande, he was, together with Qhoto Kubheka and myself, summoned before General White, who told us that he would not forget our services, and that he would always keep an eye on us, and would see that our services were recognised.
Zephanaih Masuku began his services as a spy in October 1899 and sent valuable information to S O Samuelson [brother of Robert Samuelson], Under Secretary for Native Affairs. After the Relief of Ladysmith, he became a Scout and Guide in the Intelligence Department under Major H K Stewart, Mounted Infantry, and went to Newcastle, Amersfort, Bengal Farm, Belfast and Pilgrim’s Rest, and was at all the fighting. He was with the troops in Natal, Zululand, Transvaal and Free State to the end of the war. The regiment to which he was attached went to pay its respects to Lord Kitchener and he carried the flag of the Johannesburg Mounted Rifles. He acted as Orderly, Galloper, Guide and Scout under Colonel H K Stewart. During one of the fights, he single-handedly captured a Boer and handed him over to the Military Authorities.
MosesTshabalala went through the Boer lines at Ladysmith several times, having been sent with news from outside by Lazarus Xaba, who was in charge of the Scouts outside. After the siege was lifted, he went through the Boer lines to a Mr Spilsbury at Harrismith and brought to the Intelligence Department Boer newspapers and other news about Boer movements in the Orange Free State.
Shadrack Moloyi, who was actually living under Commandant Nel in the Free State worked with us through the whole war. He took information about the number and movements of Boer Commandos in the Free State to Lazarus Xaba, who sent it on to us in Ladysmith.
Petrus Gule During the siege, he did his duty well in receiving, hiding and feeding secret messengers of the Government of Natal and Military Authorities, who moved between Ladysmith and Newcastle. Lazarus Xaba used to hide, house and feed other such messengers and Scouts, who moved between Ladysmith and other places.
(Signed) Simeon E Kambule
19 Feb 2013 10:57
Brett Hendey's Avatar
Native Scouts of Natal
Natal Native Scouts during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) – 3A
The author of the following account of Simeon Kambule is not known, since his signature has been lost, but it was almost certainly Robert Samuelson.
Sergeant Major Simeon E Kambule, of Chief Johannes Kumalo, is the son of the late Elijah Kambule, who died faithful to the Crown in the Langalibalele Expedition in 1873 and whose name is on the monument in the [Pietermaritzburg] Town Hall gardens.
During 1879 he went with the Edendale Horse to the Zulu war where he did meritorious services among the said Contingent and is mentioned in “A soldiers life and work in South Africa 1872 to 1879. Colonel A W Durnford.”
During that war, he saved two white men from death by [rescuing them from] the Zulus [and carrying] them on his horse [out of] danger:
[Firstly], during the Battle of Isandlwana he rescued and took to a Laager one Tarboton of the Natal Carbineers, whose horse had stampeded. This man was subsequently killed.
[Secondly], at the Battle of Ulundi [probably Kambula] he rode back and rescued a Captain of the Light Horse, who had lost his horse. Not knowing what to do on account of the Zulus closing on him, he was just entering into a Zulu hut to hide from the Zulus when Kambule placed this Captain on his horse and took him beyond danger. For this act, [Kambule was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal].
[It is evident that Kambule acted jointly with Jabez Molife early in the war and, only after the Relief of Ladysmith, did they act independently of one another. At least some of Molife’s activities before the Relief, which were reported in Part 2B of this series, were shared with Kambule.]
[Just] before the Ladysmith siege began, Simeon Kambule was sent by Major Henderson on a special mission to Harrismith. On his return he was saved from capture by the Boers by a Basuto, Leana Mota, who hid him in a water closet, changed his clothes with a Basuto outfit, painted him with clay and gave him a horse on which he escaped to Ladysmith. He was at Elandslaagte with StephanusXaba. His wife at Watersmeet secretly fed an artilleryman, who had escaped from Nicholson’s Nek, and who was looked after until Ladysmith was relieved. Kambule was besieged in Ladysmith, where he was put in charge of the Native Scouts.
After the siege was lifted, he was sent in advance of Buller’s column to Majuba and Charlestown and returned with reports on the placing of Boer guns at Pokwane and that a large force of Boers was concentrated at Charlestown.
In 1902, when in the Orange River Colony, he accompanied Mr Ashley to see a Boer Veld Kornet, named Blignaut, who wanted to surrender. Blignaut provided valuable information on the movements of the Boers.
The report ends:
“He was very chary in giving me even these facts as he says he does not desire to praise himself, but I have thought that some note ought to be made of them.”
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, David Grant
Perhaps a unique memorial to those that participated rather than to those that died.
There is no denying the extraordinary bravery
“ The previous afternoon I saw the Indian mule-train moved up the slopes of the Kop carrying water to the distressed soldiers who had lain powerless on the plateau. The mules carried the water in immense bags, one on each side, led by Indians at their heads. The galling rifle-fire, which heralded their arrival on the top, did not deter the strangely-looking cavalcade which moved slowly forward, and as an Indian fell, another quietly stepped forward to fill the vacant place."
The "Veterinary Corps" "Khan N" is possibly 408 Vet.Asst. Nawab Khan of the Supply & Transport Corps, Punjab Command, Mian Meer District whose story, in part, is here.