Monday, May 6, 2019


Livingstonia Mission Meeting With Ngoni Headmen 1890s

  • Monday, May 6, 2019
  • Samuel Albert
  • Among the Wild Ngoni
    Chapter VI. Meeting with the Head-men 

    A WEEK after our visit to Mombera a messenger arrived to say, that next day we were requested to come and repeat our words to the head-men of the tribe. We had heard various rumours in the interval, which had caused us no little anxiety as to what would be the result of the meeting. It was said that I had come with many loads of calico, beads, brass wire, and all the many things the Ngoni desire, and at the meeting I was to enrich the people and make them great. Great was the excitement of the people over this piece of news. How such an idea came to them takes us back to the first meeting of Dr Laws with them, when the subject of war was referred to. Dr Laws had said that by obeying “the Book” and giving up war and plunder, they would become richer and greater than they were. The spiritual sense in which the statement was made was not perceived by the Ngoni, and from that day many were the theories expressed of how “the Book” was to bring riches and greatness to them. The native lives only for the present and could not be expected to see the force of such a statement, but it served to emphasise the special work we, unlike trading Arabs who were the only foreigners they had seen, had come to do. We were “the people of the Book” and not for trade. The Book was talked of, near and far, and became a source of wonder and enquiry, so that even from the start, while no systematic mission work was allowed, not a day passed on which some information was not given and seed sown, which, as we now view our work, has borne good fruit. It was no uncommon occurrence to see a group of strangers from a distance, at the house with the request to be shown the Book,—they had heard of it and wished to see it.

    On the morning of the great council of ama-duna we were in the chiefs cattle kraal at eight o’clock, and the whole day till three o’clock in the afternoon was occupied in talking. The cattle-fold is the centre of every Ngoni village. At the royal kraal, where we met, it was a circular space about eighty yards in diameter fenced with young trees. Around it in ever widening circles the huts of the people were built. The gate was at the side nearest the river, and at the opposite side was a smaller gate leading from the chiefs quarters, which were fenced off from the houses of the ordinary people. In the centre of the cattle-fold there was one of the huge ant-hills which are so numerous throughout Ngoniland.

    Soon after our arrival, troops of warriors fully armed marched in and took up their situations in the enclosure. There were eventually several hundreds present, but perfect order and quiet were observed. When all the warriors had assembled, the chief councillor, Ng’onomo, and the others came in. There were eleven present that day. Accompanying the councillors was a large number of men of inferior rank but possessing certain powers in the tribe. The councillors seated themselves in a semi-circle near to us. After the usual delay each saluted the Mission party, and then Mr Koyi rose to open the business. They were told I had come desiring to stay among them, and to teach them the Word of God, and to heal the sick. Several of the councillors spoke, and all were very warm in their expressions of welcome and readiness to give permission to my staying. All went smoothly until Ng’onomo got to his feet. He began by performing a war-dance, which, being accompanied by the war-shouts of the warriors present, and as I could not understand its meaning, discomfited me not a little. I was reassured when I caught the broad smile on Sutherland’s face as he looked at me.

    All the nice bits of native politeness and flattery had been said, and Ng’onomo, bent on the one question of war and conquest, desired to give the meeting a more practical turn. He finished his war-dance, and after recapitulating the speeches of the others, he plainly said that they were not to give up war; that they were accustomed from their infancy to take the things of others and could not see any reason why they should change their habits. He said, “The foundation of the kingdom is the spear and shield. God has given you the Book and cloth, and has given to us the shield and spear, and each must live in his own way.” To emphasise this utterance, he again danced. We had adopted the plan of replying to anything said when the speaker sat down. Mr Koyi replied, saying that the Book was given to all mankind, and that as we were all the children of God it teaches us that we ought to live in peace with each other. Here I may say that there is no word in Ngoni for “peace.” They now use an imported term,—their own expression which comes nearest the idea being “to visit one another.”

    No new question was raised at that time, but two crucial matters with the Ngoni in those days were brought up. They had been brought up when Dr Laws met the council, and for many a day constituted posers for us. One was the flight of the Tonga to Bandawe, and the other was their desire to have the exclusive right to the presence of the white men in the country. Mr James Stewart in 1879 visited Mombera, and wrote thus—“The next day, Saturday, we reached Mombera; but when I enquired for the chief, I was told he was ‘not at home.’ It was soon evident that he was either designedly absent, or that he simply denied himself. We saw only inferior head-men, who expressed dissatisfaction that we had not come to settle among them, and that they did not understand why we should visit other chiefs before doing so. I have no doubt that they were sincere in their desire to make friendship with us; but an exclusive alliance would only suit them. We heard that they were tired of waiting for us, and intended now to take their own way, which, I fear, means war before long. They have lost both power and prestige within the last two years, and may now be resolving to regain both. I heard later that there are two parties in their council. Mombera and Chipatula and their head-men are desirous of peace and to invite us still to come among them, while Mtwaro and Mperembe wish to keep us at a distance, and to recover their power by force of arms.”

    Ng’onomo asked what I was to do to bring back their former slaves, the Tonga, who had revolted and carried away some of their wives and children, their war-songs, and their war-dances. So long, he said, as we would not restore these, so long must they war to bring them and all other surrounding tribes into subjection, and if I would not in a peaceful way bring back the Tonga people, they would do so by war or drive them into the Lake. It required not a little caution to answer this statement, so as to still the excitement of the crowd of people present by whom such words were applauded. I directed Mr Koyi to say that no doubt they had many questions in which they were deeply interested, but as I had only just come among them, it was scarcely fair to demand of me a means of settling them before I had become acquainted with them and had learned their language.

    My remarks had the effect of drawing a very sensible speech from an old councillor. He said I was only now like a child, unable to speak or walk, and as they did not call upon their children to go out to seek strayed cattle, or give judgments in the affairs of the tribe, so they should not call on me to settle their great matters while I yet eould not speak or walk. That statement turned the discussion into more favourable lines, and although the other question of leaving the Tonga and Bandawe and settling among the Ngoni exclusively was brought up, we were able to satisfy the people without exciting their jealousies, or agreeing to take sides with them against their runaway slaves. Ng’onomo afterwards returned to the war question, and endeavoured to show that their war raids on other people were not a bad thing. He said they were surrounded by people whom he called slaves, and that it was not their desire to kill them, but they endeavoured merely to chase them into the mountains, and when their food and flocks were secured, to say to them, “ Come down now and let us all live together.” It was conquest and not murder they pursued, as they could not bear the idea that any people should point the finger at them, and say, “X” (a click, expressive of contempt). He made an original proposal which was not less impossible for me to carry out. If we would agree to countenance one more raid on the people at the north end who were rich in cattle, and would pray to our God that they might be successful, they would, on their return, give us part of the spoil in cattle and wives, and would proclaim that the Book was to be accepted by the whole tribe. Here there was no place for parrying, and the reply was given emphatically enough that we were not the framers of the words in the Book, but merely the teachers charged to tell all men the words which were God’s and binding on us as well as on them, and that when God said, “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not kill,” we had no power to change the command, and could not in any way countenance their wars. Then Ng’onomo asked if we would shut the Book and not pray against them if they went out. I said I had come to teach these words and could not but do so.

    An interesting statement was made by one old man. He had evidently watched the life and character of Koyi and Sutherland, and considered its bearing on the practical things of daily life. He began by saying they were glad I was a doctor, and hoped I had medicine to make Mombera live long. He went on to speak of other medicine which he thought we possessed of which they had no knowledge. He said, “We see you white people are not afraid to go about all over the country, and you settle among different tribes and become the friends of all. How is that?

    You have medicine (natives think everything is done by medicine as charms) for quieting people’s hearts so that they do not kill you. We cannot do so. We are not even at peace among ourselves. We speak fair words to each other, but that is not how we feel. We have also noticed that your servants are ‘biddable,’ and when ordered to do anything at once do it. It is not so with ours. We tell a slave to do a thing, and he says, ‘Yes, master, I have heard’; but he does not do it unless he chooses. We hope you will give us medicine to make our slaves obedient, and to quiet our enemies.” A better opportunity there could not have been for giving them a little plain instruction, and for putting in a word for schools which had been proscribed since the Mission began. Koyi, whose speech was as clear and pointed as theirs, made good use of his opportunity. He told them we had no medicine in their sense, but the words of the Book were stronger than medicine when taken to heart. He quoted the golden rule, and said, “That’s the medicine for quieting enemies everywhere, and was that which made all tribes the friends of the white men.” Then as to making servants obedient, h.e said the Book had words for both servants and masters. It told servants to be obedient and honour their masters; and masters to be kind to and patient with their servants, and give them their due in all things. He added that our servants were obedient and happy because they were being taught the Word of God, and because they were not our slaves, but were paid their wages regularly. He advised them to try it among theirs, and it would have the same happy results. Then he attacked once more the stubbornness of the people in refusing to allow schools. He said in doing so they were refusing the medicine which they were crying out for. As a native only could, he ridiculed them, and by happy and forcible illustrations made them hesitate in the position they held in refusing to allow schools. He said, “You are like a sick man in distress, who sees others being cured and cries for the same medicine, but refuses it when offered.” One replied by saying, “If we give you our children to teach, your words will steal their hearts; they will grow up cowards, and refuse to fight for us when we are old; and knowing more than we do, they will despise us.” That was met by saying that the Book had a command for children which they must allow to be good, viz., “Honour thy father and thy mother.” They would not be taught anything wrong, for all men are taught to fear God and honour the King. The school question was not discussed further; but no doubt some good was done, and the solution hastened by what had passed, although it was, as we shall see, two years after this ere liberty was given to open schools.

    One other point it was necessary to refer to, as only the district immediately under Mombera was open to the Mission, so I requested leave to go about the country, as my desire was to help all. The districts of Mtwaro, Mperembe, and Maurau, brothers of the chief, were closed to us, not more by the hostility of these sub-chiefs, than by the jealousy of Mombera and his advisers, who desired to have the white men all to themselves, no doubt in view of the riches which were expected to come through them.

    I was advised to stay with the others, as all were not favourable to our presence in the country; and while we would be guarded if in their midst, they could not tell what might happen if we went beyond Mombera’s own district into that of any of his brothers. This was not satisfactory, and as it was probably from jealousy, we pushed for liberty to go about. It was denied by the councillors, who repeated their reasons.

    It was, however, clear in all that was said, that the real object of our presence among them was made manifest. However mistaken their ideas were as to the teaching of the Book, we were understood to be men with a message to be received, and they were honest enough to say they did not want it. No advance on previous liberties was made, but our position as neither wishing to bear rule over them nor to work for their overthrow, but to teach the Word of God, was made plain once more.

    Then came the not very agreeable business of presenting the gift which we had taken for the councillors. There was considerable excitement visible generally, as each was presented with twelve yards of red cloth, a kind much valued by the head-men. As each had his portion presented to him there was an ominous silence for a time, and then a burst of derisive laughter. Some turned it over on the ground as if afraid to handle it. Some got up and measured it. One man took his and flung it among the crowd of warriors. One came over and said he did not want cloth. One only had the grace to thank me. They were reminded that we could not attempt to enrich them with goods, but had merely, according to their custom, brought “something in our hand” as a visible token of the friendship our hearts desired. One replied saying they saw we were not bent on enriching them, but it was good to remember that they had great hunger for various kinds of cloth and beads, and another day perhaps they would receive more. If I had come among them expecting the grace and politeness of civilization, instead of their proud indifference and sovereign contempt for the offering of friendship, my feelings would have suffered more than they did, but I was heartily glad when they rose up to go, and that the wild rumours of their expectations which we had heard for some days, found no more pronounced substantiation than their contemptuous treatment of what I thought was a sufficient gift for the purpose in view. The armed warriors, who appeared to have come as the bodyguard of the head-men, quietly filed out of the kraal and we were left alone.

    Mombera was not present, and the councillors went to his hut to report to him the matters which had been talked over. Mr Koyi was called, and it seems the chief had enquired the reason why war dancing had been engaged in. He was angry at Ng’onomo and told him that the object of the gathering was not to discuss tribal matters with me, but to hear what I had to say. After a little the rest of us were called into the chiefs hut, where Ng’onomo and some of the other councillors were being regaled with beef and beer. The stiffness and formalities of the kraal meeting were absent, and no disappointment was visible. Mombera delivered a long speech bidding me welcome among them, and expressing joy that I was skilled in medicine. He himself was often sick, he said, and doubtless I had noticed that there were few old men present that day, the reason being that they were all dead, and if I could give them long life it would be good. He did not say how many never reached old age because they were killed in battle. If there were any doubts as to the full security of our position in the tribe, they were accentuated when Mombera repeated the warning of the councillors, that I should settle along with the others and not go into other districts. No doubt there was some desire to have exclusive possession of the white men, but it was noteworthy that although word had been sent to all the sub-chiefs to come to the palaver none had come, and none of their head-men were present.

    With too great eagerness, perhaps, I pressed for permission to visit his brother, Mtwaro, at Ekwendeni, saying my desire was to become acquainted with all in the tribe and be of use to all. He and Mtwaro were not on friendly terms at that time, but as Mtwaro was heir-apparent it seemed advisable for the permanence of our work, in the event of Mombera’s death, to become known to Mtwaro and his head-men. Not since 1879, when Mr John Moir visited Mtwaro and had opened the way for others by friendly dealings with him, had anyone communicated with that sub-chief, and he had only once visited the Mission station. His armies were known to be out towards the Lake very frequently, and we all thought an attempt should be made to gain Mtwaro’s influence as Mombera’s had been gained.

    After my statement had been interpreted to Mombera and he had consulted with some of those in the hut, he gave permission to visit Mtwaro and was thanked. He seemed to think that that would soften my heart, and so he plied his begging and his demands for cloth, beads, brass wire, big guns, little guns, gunpowder, dogs, bulls to improve his breed of cattle, needles, thread, and, above all, an iron box, with lock and key, in which to keep his valuables, which he said his wives and his councillors were in the habit of stealing. He said he would come over to see me when I could give him these things. It was hard to take all in good part and be at ease under his gaze over the beer-pot, and gracefully excuse our non-compliance with his overwhelming demands. Nothing but a desire to be a means of blessing to such a chief and tribe, would prove an inducement to live the life and experience which may be said to have begun that day. Forgetting the things not agreeable to flesh and blood, we soon after took our departure, feeling that some advance had been made in the work which we had come to take part in.

    It was one advantage having to deal with a council rather than a single individual, and be continually subject to his capricious mind. As the Ngoni had a settled council who were not without dignity and caution in their deliberations, it was evident they had reciprocated our words as far as they could, as, not being over-anxious to allow us all we asked, they were prepared to make good all they allowed. The occasion was very similar to that on which Augustine came to Ethelbert as the first papal missionary to Britain. When he sent word on landing that “ he had come with the best of all messages, and that if he would accept it he would ensure for himself an everlasting kingdom,” Ethelbert would not commit himself, but answered with caution. When at last a meeting was convened, and Augustine “had preached to him the Word of life,” as Bede says, Ethelbert replied, “Fair words and promises are these; but seeing they are new and doubtful, I cannot give in to them, and give up what I and all the English race have so long observed.” But unlike Augustine, who was accorded the privilege of bringing any one of the people over to the new faith, we were told that the chief and council would first have to be taught, and if they considered our message safe, they would give us full liberty to teach the people.

    It may here be noted how different has been the introduction of the Mission to all the other peoples in Livingstonia. In all the other districts the missionaries were hailed as the friends and protectors of the people. All were subject to stronger tribes, by whom they were constantly harried, or were trying to maintain an independent existence surrounded by their enemies; hence they gladly welcomed the missionary, hoping that his presence would prove their safety from their enemies. In no single case did they welcome him on account of his message; and the trouble in those early days was that he was pestered for medicine, guns and powder to kill their enemies. The Missions in those districts had the preparatory work to do in making the people understand the reason for their presence, just as we had of another kind in Ngoniland. Through the faithful testimony of Messrs Koyi and Sutherland, the Ngoni had by the time of my arrival come to understand clearly what our message really was. They needed not our protection from their enemies, as they were masters of the country for many miles around; and, indeed, their pride would not have allowed them to think that in any way a white man or two could be of any profit to them. They knew our teaching would strike at their sins of uncleanness, lying, war, murder and stealing, and they were, unlike the so-called deceitful, vacillating African, at least honest in their treatment of our words. There was great good in having got their ear so far; and even distinct refusal was far better than ready compliance, to be as readily retracted when occasion arose. It is far better to have to deal with an opposing council of head-men with power than with a chief himself, even although he agrees at the time.

    If before leaving home I received one bit of advice more often than any other from Dr Laws, who had experience, along with Mr James Stewart and Mr Koyi, of the dangerous and trying work of gaining an opening among the Ngoni, it was that I should proceed gently and push nothing beyond what was a wise point. On such occasions as the meeting referred to, the judgment and caution of Mr Koyi were invaluable, and he was of opinion that we should not endanger our position with Mombera at that stage, while not sure that we would be received by Mtwaro. We sent a reply that we had no desire to act contrary to the chief’s wishes in the matter, and that until he could send someone to introduce us to his brother, we would refrain from going. It must be remembered that we were merely in the country on sufferance at that time. We did not even own the site of our house, and were not by any means assured of a permanent residence among them, so that we would not have been acting wisely had we been more anxious to assert our independence, than to improve the, as yet, slight hold we had on Mombera and his councillors. There are three special qualifications necessary in every missionary, viz., grace, gumption, and go. Prayer and the exercise of it will ensure the first; where one may get the second, I know not, but the want of it is accountable for more failures in the foreign field than anything else; and the third, although invaluable, can only be right as the outcome of the former. To spend years among the Ngoni and be denied many liberties may, indeed, be an undignified position for a free-born Briton ; but mere questions of dignity ought not to trouble the slaves of Christ in the work to which they have been called. Little by little, as we shall see, our position was improved among the Ngoni, and the years of apparent unfruitfulness were necessary preparation for the intelligent acceptance of the Gospel. 

    Sunday, November 15, 2015



  • Sunday, November 15, 2015
  • Samuel Albert
  • Below are some izithakazelo (Kinship group praises)  for some nguni or ngoni clans collected from the web. As you may notice some are in Zulu, Xhosa and other nguni languages. You can use to get the meaning of the words. This site has an online zulu dictionary that you may also use to translate the ngoni songs found on this site. Remember that isiZulu, isiNgoni, isiXhosa, siSwati and isindebele are all nguni languages and are therefore mutually intelligible.

    Note: Isithakazelo (plural Izithakazelo)are poems praising important people e.g. ancestors within a Nguni clan. They are the story of a clan. The shortened version is used as a fond greeting of a clan member.

    Zithakazelo zakwaMsimang (now known as Simango in Malawi according to GT Nurse)

    Sdindi Kasiphuki
    Sihlula amadoda

    Zithakazelo zakwa Khumalo

    Abathi bedla, umuntu bebe bemyenga ngendaba.
    Abadl'izimf'ezimbili Ikhambi laphuma lilinye.
    Lobengula kaMzilikazi, Mzilikazi kaMashobana
    Shobana noGasa kaZikode, Zikode kaMkhatshwa.
    Mabaso owabas'entabeni, Kwadliwa ilanga lishona
    Zindlovu ezibantu, Zindlovu ezimacocombela.
    Nina bakwaMawela, Owawel'iZambezi ngezikhali.
    Nina bakaNkomo zavul'inqaba, Zavul'inqaba ngezimpondo kwelaseNgome.
    Nina enal'ukudl'umlenze KwaBulawayo!
    Mantungw'amahle! Bantwana benkosi, Nina bakwaNtokela!

    Izithakazelo zakwa-Dlamini (Nkosi)

    Dlamini Hlubi
    Ludonga LaMavuso
    Abay`embo bebuyelela
    Sidwaba sikaLuthuli
    Wena esingangcwaba sibuye noMlandakazi
    Abawela lubombo ngekuhlehletela
    Nina baSobhuza uSomhlolo
    Umsazi kaSobhuza
    Nina bakwakusa neLanga
    Nina bakwaWawawa
    Nina beNgwane
    Nina besicoco sangenhlana
    Nina beKunene

    ezakwa Khambule

    Nina bakwaNkomo zilal'uwaca
    Ezamadojeyana zilal'amankengana
    Nina basebuhlen'obungangcakazi
    Abadl'umbilini wenkomo kungafanele
    Kwakufanel'udliwe ngabalandakazi
    Nina bakaDambuza Mthabathe
    Nina basemaNcubeni
    Kwakhuz'abantu banifihla
    Nina baseSilutshana
    Nin'enakhelana noMbunda
    Nina bakaMaweni

    'Thina bakwa Mhlongo sithi'

    Nina bakaBhebhe kaMthendeka
    Nina bakaSoqubele onjengegundane
    Nina baseSiweni
    KwaMpuku yakwaMselemusi
    KwaNogwence webaya
    Zingwazi zempi yakwaNdunu
    Yatholakal'onyakeni wesine
    Yabuye yatholakala ngowesikhombisa
    Ngaphandle ke uma ngingatshelwanga kahle ekhaya.

    Izithakazelo zakwa-Ndlovu.

    Boya benyathi!
    Buyasongwa buyasombuluka.
    Mpongo kaZingelwayo!
    Nina bakwandlovu zidl' ekhaya,
    Ngokweswel' abelusi.
    Nina bakwakhumbula amagwala.
    Nina bakwademazane ntombazana
    Nina bakwasihlangu sihle.
    Nina bakwaMdubusi!

    Izithakazelo Zakwa-gumede

    Mnguni! Qwabe!
    Mnguni kaYeyeye
    BakaKhondlo kaPhakathwayo
    Abathi bedla, babeyenga umuntu ngendaba
    Abathi "dluya kubeyethwe."
    Kanti bahlinza imbuzi.
    Bathi umlobokazi ubeyethe kayikhuni
    Sidika lolodaba!
    Wena kaMalandela
    Ngokulandel' izinkomo zamadoda,
    Amazala-nkosi lana!

    Izithakazelo zakwaMabaso

    Mbulazi ,
    wen' odl' umunt' umyenga ngendaba,
    wen' omanz' akhuphuk' intaba

    Zithakazelo zakwaNgwenya

    Ngwenya(South African version)
    zingaba mbili,
    zifuze konina,
    baye babuya
    emangwaneni ,
    bayosala beziloyanisa

    Zithakazelo zakwaZulu

    Zulu kaMalandela;
    Zulu omnyama ondlela zimhlophe.
    Nina baka Phunga no Mageba.
    Ndaba; nina bakaMjokwane kaNdaba.
    Nina benkayishana kaMenzi eyaphunga umlaza ngameva.
    Mnguni, Gumede.

    Izithakazelo zakwa zungu:

    nyama kayishe eshaya ngamaphephezeli
    wena owaphuma ngenoni emgodini,
    wena owakithi le emaheyeni,sengwayo

    I have just noted that some people have been trying to search for the meaning of the word ndabezitha used above and in some Zulu films such as Shaka Zulu below.

    Ndabezitha is the one of the praise and respect words used when the Zulus and other Ngunis want to acknowledge loyalty to a Nguni royalty. Just as in English one would say, 'your majesty or his royal majesty or your royal majesty' to their king, in Zulu and other nguni words you use the praise word ndabezitha. The word is a contraction of indaba yezitha literally meaning 'matter of the enemies'


    Sunday, March 11, 2012


    Ngoni Paramountcy Part 1

  • Sunday, March 11, 2012
  • Samuel Albert
  • by Margaret Read.
    THE Chewa term for chief (mfumu) was widely used in Nyasaland for chiefs of all ranks, as well as for village headmen and, occasionally, as an honorific form of address to an important individual. Among the Cewa a man could 'become a chief' by acquiring, through marriage or purchase, the right to own a site, known as a mzinda, on which female initiation rites were carried out. This concept of the office of chieftainship among the Cewa and other local tribes was in sharp contrast to the centralized and unified concept inherent in the Ngoni term inkosi. I have translated inkosi here as Paramount because the term Paramount Chief was adopted by the Administration to denote a ruler who had recognized subordinate chiefs under him and whose court was an appeal court for their courts. It is necessary to emphasize here how distinctive the office of Paramount was among the various types of chiefs in Nyasaland, both in official recognition, and still more in the Ngoni ideas about their Paramount. We saw in Chapter II of Part I that no Nyasaland chiefs, except the Ngoni Paramounts, had Subordinate Native Authorities under them.

    When the Ngoni left the south, a number of small chiefdoms there were gradually being overcome by Shaka and, based on his armies, he had set up a new and unique type of inkosi. The leaders of military bands who left him Mzilikazi, Soshangane, Zwangendaba and Ngwana—had little recognition before they left, except as military and clan leaders. Yet after the Ngoni left, Zwangendaba and Ngwana received from their followers recognition of their political leadership as inkosi, and this was expressed by giving to the Paramount the salute of Bayete. Throughout their recitals of traditions and in their accounts of their political system, Ngoni informants in both kingdoms emphasized that for each kingdom there was one inkosi to whom alone the Bayete was given. We assume, therefore, that the later Ngoni concept of the Paramount and his function and authority was largely evolved and built up during the Ngoni migration across the Zambesi and the early settlement in Nyasaland.

    The office of the Paramount was supported by three typical Ngoni institutions. The first was the regency exercised by the man who was held responsible for the care of the office of the Paramount. He was called 'the one who takes care of the country', 'the one who has to put the new inkosi in his place', 'the one who takes care of the young inkosi until he enters his father's place'. We shall see later how this principle of regency operated in particular cases in the succession to the Paramountcy. It proved to be an effective provision both in the case of a minor who was recognized as his father's heir, and during an interregnum while the succession was being discussed. The Ngoni showed a clear understanding of what functions the regent ought to perform, and when he exceeded these functions and usurped, or tried to usurp, the Paramount's position they condemned his action as wrong.

    The second institution which supported the Paramountcy was the `big house' from which the heir to the Paramount had to come. We shall see later that it was not always considered essential that the heir should be the actual child of the wife in the big house. A boy could be adopted into the house and, by Ngoni kinship rules, he was then a child of that house and of the woman in it.

    The third institution, which made the Paramount immortal at death after having been supreme in his life-time, was the Ngoni practice of `guarding his spirit' in a hut, usually in the village where he had lived. The guardianship of a spirit was not practised exclusively for the Paramount. All the chiefs and the heads of the Swazi clans had this provision made for their spirits when they died, but in national crises prayers addressed to the spirits of former Paramounts were of supreme importance.

    The royal clan and the big house

    Among the Swazi and trans-Zambesi clans which formed the Ngoni aristocracy the royal clan had a unique position. Not only was it the clan of the Paramount, but its members had social rank and prestige because they belonged to his clan. In the northern kingdom informants showed awareness of the fact that their royal clan of Jere was not one of the well-known clans in the south. Other clan names found among them, such as Ngomezulu, Thole, Nzima, Nqumayo, and many more, were known to be clan names among the South-eastern Bantu. The following explanation was given by Cibambo about the name Jere and was the one most widely accepted:

    The Ngoni themselves say that the clan name of Jere was given during the journey, and that it arose out of the number of people who were with Zwangendaba. When the Ngoni want to speak of a large number of people they use two well-known words which are: `Ngu Shaka' (it is Shaka); 'Ngu Jere' (it is Jere). Perhaps Zwangendaba and others took their clan name from this, seeing that they had become a great number. It is certain that the clan name of Jere is not known in Zululand or Swaziland

    In the northern kingdom all the chiefs recognized as Subordinate Native Authorities were of the royal clan, and hence its political authority was widespread. It was noticed by the early missionaries in northern Ngoniland that the sons of Zwangendaba who were chiefs under their brother, the Paramount, showed some degree of independence in that they wanted to rule their own areas with the minimum of centralized control. The pre-eminence of the Paramount among the other Jere rulers was strengthened as time went on by the remoter kinship relationship of the other Jere chiefs to the Paramount. After Zwangendaba's death they were his brothers of the same father and different mothers. Two generations later they were farther removed from his kinship circle since each of their posts was inherited on a direct father to son principle. The political and social importance of membership of the royal clan tended to go in the direct line of relationship to the Paramount rather than to the collateral branches. Later, in Part III, we shall examine the social prestige of the amakosana (lit. children of the inkosi). It was the closeness of their relationship to the reigning Paramount which was the basis for their social prestige, though evidence showed that a sister or brother or child from a big house of a former Paramount was also given social recognition as an important personage.

    The royal clan of Maseko in the central kingdom was also known in Swaziland. Dr. Kuper refers to it in connexion with the Swazi custom of cremating the body of the Maseko chief at his death on a rock by a river.(See Kuper, H. An African Aristocracy, p. 86.) This custom was brought from the south by the Ngoni under Maseko leadership and carried out for each successive Paramount up to 1891. Among these Ngoni the royal clan had special relationships with other leading clans, but the Paramount did not share his political authority with any others of his clan. His chiefs were all of other clans, and Ngoni informants said that it was a deliberate act of the Paramount Mputa to exclude his brothers from political authority and from disputing with him the control of the kingdom. In the isolated position thus established for the royal clan, two other clans had a ritual relationship with the Paramount. One was the Phungwako clan which was custodian of the Paramount's 'medicines', known as the tonga. The other was the Ngozo clan which provided the companion for the Paramount whom I have called the 'royal shadow' (see below, pp. 61-3). Yet another special relationship with the royal clan was that of the Nzunga clan which had chibale, or brotherly relations, with the Maseko clan, that involved sharing the same avoidances and excluded inter-marriage.

    The relationship of the Paramount to other leaders of the royal clan was thus different in the two kingdoms. In the north he was one ruler, though a supreme one, among several ruling kinsmen of the same clan. His position in the past had been strengthened by the prestige shared by his clansmen, but also challenged by his near kinsmen in positions of authority. In the central kingdom the Paramount shared no authority with his fellow clansmen. He was unique among them as a ruler, while sharing special ritual relationships with the two other clans which supported his position without challenging it.

    A new Paramount, in order to be installed in his father's place, had to be of the big house as well as of the royal clan. Dr. Kuper described the Swazi practice whereby cattle were contributed by the nation for the mother of the king, so that she was called the 'mother of the people of the country'. She also described the ritual marriage of the first wife of a ruler, who was called sisulamsiti , and who was never the mother of the heir.(See Kuper, H. op. cit. pp. 54 & 91) The Ngoni Paramount-elect in the northern kingdom married his first wife when he was a young man and she was called msulamsizi, 'the one who takes the darkness off him'. The big wife, who would bear the heir, was married with a large gift of cattle taken from the herd of the big wife of the reigning Paramount and, after marriage, was attached to her big house. We shall discuss in greater detail in the next chapter the relationships of the royal women to the Paramount and to each other. Here it is important to note that the big house owned by the big wife was the place where the future chief was brought up. In the central kingdom the first marriage of the Paramount was traditionally with a woman of the Magagula clan who was said not to bear children. She held an honoured place in the social hierarchy and was married with cattle taken from the herd of the gogo house of the reigning Paramount. It was regarded as a ritual marriage, for if she did bear children they were not acknowledged. Informants were uncertain whether methods to prevent conception were used, or whether abortion was practised, or whether children, if born, died young or were disposed of or placed out in other households. The last alternatives were unlikely, and one of the first two expedients was in line with the phrase always used of this wife: 'she did not bear children'. The wife who bore the heir was married next and was always of another leading clan, and the cattle for her came from the herd of the big house of the reigning Paramount.

    The reasons were obvious why the remembered genealogies of the Ngoni Paramounts of the royal clans were short compared with the genealogies of some other African royal houses. The remote ancestors of Jere chiefs and Maseko chiefs, who were, as we have seen, not Paramounts before they left the south, were forgotten once the departure had taken place. Only a few names had been handed down and were repeated by the official praisers, whose task it was to call out the names of the direct ancestors of the Paramount before declaiming his izibongo or praise-songs. The northern Ngoni remembered the names of five direct ancestors of Zwangendaba, ancestors who had died before they left the south, and the central Ngoni remembered the names of three direct ancestors of Mputa who had died before crossing the Zambesi.'

    The genealogy of the Jere Paramounts which was recited in the northern kingdom varied in different localities. Of three versions which I found two agreed, except in the name given for the earliest ancestor.

    Lovuma (Kali is the alternative given by Cibambo)
    Magalera Died in the south
    Mbelwa I
    Mbelwa II
    Mbelwa III, ruling in 1939

    The list above was given by Cibambo of Ekwendeni and Simon Nhlane of Hoho, the leading member of the Nhlane clan.

    Third Version: Nyandeni
    Mehlo enzhomo
    Jele ka Lovuma
    Mbelwa I
    Mbelwa II
    Mbelwa III

    1 In 'Traditions and Prestige among the Ngoni' (Africa, 1936) I said (p. 466) that nine generations of ancestors were remembered in the north and seven in the centre. These referred to the Paramounts after crossing the Zambesi as well as to their ancestors who died in the south.

    The third version was given by Chinombo Jere, a grandson of Zwangendaba, who came from Emcisweni. This section of the Ngoni, under Chief Mperembe, had for a time associated with Paramount Mpeseni, and not with Mbelwa. This separation gave them a slightly different set of traditions, and they were, perhaps owing to their geographical isolation, the last group to give up the old language and dress.

    An attempt to check the Emcisweni version of the Jere genealogy with that of Ekwendeni showed one piece of evidence in favour of the latter. This was the tradition preserved by the Nhlane clan that the Swazi chiefs of the Nqumayo clan had as their chief izinduna men of the Jere clan who were of the same age regiment. The names remembered were as follows:

    Swazi Chiefs

    Ngoni Izinduna









    In the central Ngoni kingdom the following was the generally accepted version of the genealogy of the Maseko Paramounts:
    Msizi no bulako Died in the south
    Goqweni Died in the South
    Ngwana Died before crossing the Zambesi
    Gomani I
    Gomani II, ruling in 1939

    After the death of Ngwana before the crossing of the Zambesi, two of his brothers in turn acted as regents. Also, on the death of Mputa, his brother Cidyawonga acted as regent. In the recital of the Paramount's genealogies, however, the names of the regents were not included.

    The succession to the Paramountcy and the role of the regent
    It might appear that among a strictly patrilineal people like the Ngoni, where marriage was formalized by exchange of cattle, and where each wife had a recognized position and rank, it would have been easy to formulate rules for the succession to the Paramountcy, and that they would have been followed without deviation. Such had obviously not been the case. It could be argued that the unsettled conditions on the northward journey made it necessary to modify rules of succession in favour of the 'strong man'. Europeans have tried to detect an element of popular choice in the appointment of the inkosi, or at least of a popular verdict in favour of or against a proposed candidate. Another element suggested by Ngoni informants was nomination of his heir by the dying Paramount.

    There were, however, certain principles which were clear in the accounts given by informants. One was that immediately on the death of a Paramount a regent took charge of the country, of the office of the Paramount, and of the person of the heir elect, and also of the funeral rites of the dead Paramount. The provision for a regency allowed for a period of delay before announcing the successor. There was no 'The king is dead. Long live the king.' The office of the Paramount was clearly in suspense during this interregnum which had been known to last a few days, a few months, or even years—the last in the case of a successor who was a minor. During this period the regent was responsible for carrying on the work of the Paramount, and for consultation with heads of leading clans about the successor. In the past the regent was usually a brother of the dead Paramount. The traditions of the central Ngoni were, as we have seen, that after Ngwana had led them out of the south, he died before crossing the Zambesi. Two of his brothers, Magadlera who died before the Zambesi crossing and Mgoola who died near Domwe, successively acted as regents until Mputa was old enough to enter his father's place. When the time came for the end of the interregnum, it was the regent's responsibility to summon the people and present the heir to them as the new Paramount.

    The assumption of authority by a regent and the provision for an interregnum make it clear that the identity of the successor was seldom a foregone conclusion even though the heir-apparent stood with a spear at his father's grave. Among the principles of succession which determined the choice of the new Paramount, one was that he should come from the big house. This could be 'arranged' by adopting him into it if there was no likely heir who had been born there. Another principle was a less easily defined qualification, that of suitability. This was discussed by the regent with the leading clan heads, who took into account the wishes of the late Paramount and the character and personality already displayed by the proposed successor, who had stood by his father's grave. Informants made it clear that responsibility for this selection weighed heavily on the regent and the leading men, for the choice once made was final, the power of the Paramount was very great, the 'medicines' used at his accession 'set him aside as a person of potential supernatural power, and the prosperity of the country and of everyone in it depended on this decision.

    Two famous cases of disputed succession in the past had led to major divisions of the Ngoni kingdoms. The first occurred in the north on the death of Zwangendaba, when his brother Ntabeni became regent, and this dispute revolved round the principle that the heir should come from the big house. It led to the final split between Mpezeni and Mbelwa, the setting up of two kingdoms, and the giving of the Bayete' to two Paramounts of the Jere clan. The following account was given by Chief Mtwalo Jere, son of the Mtwalo mentioned, and he told it to me in his own village of Ezondweni. It brings out the function and position of the regent; the relation of 'house' to `village'; the influence of the popular verdict on the choice of a successor; the magnanimous attitude of other possible rivals for the Paramountcy; and the effect of personal quarrels on a national matter.

    "Ntabeni went to the house of Munene, the mother of Mbelwa. She insulted him and would not give him beer. Zwangendaba went to bathe and when he returned Ntabeni said to him 'I have been insulted by your wife. She called me "Sutu".' This is a great insult among the Ngoni.1 Zwangendaba was very angry, and he took a pan and fried groundnuts, and said to his wife 'You must take the groundnuts in your hand.' Her hands were very burnt because the groundnuts were too hot. 'You are burnt because you must not abuse this your brother-in-law. You are punished.' Zwangendaba died. Ntabeni was taking care of the country. He was the right man to put the inkosi. He said to Mbelwa: 'You are not a chief because your mother abused me.' So Mpeseni was inkosi, and the second was Mtwalo. They chased away Mbelwa. When Mpeseni was elected to be inkosi all the people were complaining because they said the chieftainship should be for the village of Elangeni. The people of Elangeni and of Ekwendeni did not want Mpeseni as inkosi.
    Ntabeni died. The people of Elangeni and of Ekwendeni wanted to fight Ntabeni's people because they were not told of his death, and when he was buried they were not there. The Ntabeni people went away to Tanganyika. All the rest left Ufipa and came to Cidlodlo. Mpeseni and Mperembe stayed there and the rest came to Coma. Then Mperembe returned from Mpeseni.

    Mtwalo said to Mbelwa 'You are the right man to be inkosi. I am not the right man because through jealousy Ntabeni gave the inkosi to Mpeseni.' Then they gave Bayete' to Mbelwa."

    Cibambo, whose father was mlomo wenkosi (mouthpiece of the chief) in Ekwendeni for old Mtwalo mentioned above, confirmed this part of the story of the succession and the role played by Ntabeni as regent. He also gave in his book 2 the most coherent account of an earlier dispute about which wife of Zwangendaba was the big wife—a dispute which illustrated the significance of the house in the succession.

    A disputed succession in the central kingdom arose over a struggle between Chikusi, the son of the Paramount Mputa, and Cifisi, the son of the regent Cidyawonga who took care of the kingdom after Mputa's death. When the regent died, his son Cifisi claimed the succession and war broke out between the followers of the two claimants. After fighting had continued through two generations of claimants the state under Cifisi seceded and became independent, though the `Bayete' was only given to Cikusi and his descendants of Mputa's main line. The following account was given in the royal village of the central kingdom by a former regent assisted by an official reciter of tradition. It related to the succession to Mputa, who died in the Songea district of Tanganyika, and to the defeat of these Ngoni by the followers of Zulu Gama. After this defeat the Ngoni under Cidyawonga returned to the west side of the lake and built on Domwe mountain.

    "When they burned the body of Mputa, Chidyawonga stood with Chikusi, and that was the sign that Cikusi was still young but was inkosi. Cidyawonga was the brother of Mputa. The people told Cidyawonga 'We are in war. You must help us.' They took Chikusi and put him in the big house, because there were no children there.

    Chidyawonga was the regent when they built on Domwe. When he was about to die he said to the people 'Now I leave this country in the hands of the owner, because I was only appointed to keep it for him. This is your leader.' He sent for Cikusi and gave him his father's spear, saying to him `This country is yours.' He said to Cifisi, his own son, ' You my son do not struggle with Cikusi. He is the only Paramount here.' Cidyawonga we did not burn because he had cared for the Paramountcy. And when Cidyawonga died we put Cikusi in his place."

    The relation between the regent and the Paramount emerged again from the confusion following the death of Paramount Gomani I in 1896 at the hands of the British. The record in the Ncheu District Note Book said that authority was divided between the dead Paramount's brother, Mandala, and NaMlangeni, the mother of Chikusi the former Paramount. After the Portuguese-Nyasaland boundary was fixed dividing the Ngoni territory, the Portuguese entered their section to administer it. NaMlangeni and Mandala resisted their entry and were taken prisoners and died. Meantime a big mulumuzana of Paramount Gomani I had acted as regent for his heir who had been placed in the big house. The following account by the treasurer of Gomani II described the situation during the early years of the minority of the Paramount.

    "Chief Gomani II was born in 1893. The country was destroyed by the Europeans when this child was three years old, and he was taken care of by the big mulumuzana of his father, Cakumbira Mpalale Ndau. When the war of the Europeans had finished, they built the village of Lizulu, near Mlanda mountain, where the Dutch mission is today. The child was with them in that village.

    When the European Mr. Walker asked the big people whether Gomani I left any children, those big people refused to tell and said 'He did not leave children, they died when they were small.' They feared lest perhaps the Europeans wanted to kill the children too. Mr. Walker (they called him Chipyoza, 'the thing that goes on boring a hole') did not stop asking because he said `Gomani was my friend and I want to help his children.' On his second journey they revealed to him that there were two children in the village here, and they named the heir Philip Gomani and his younger brother William Gomani who died in 1919. Then Mr. Walker rejoiced. When they brought the children out before his eyes, he gave them gifts which he brought for them, clothes and other things."


    1. Bryant, in Olden Times in Zululand and Natal, said (p. 134) that `Sutu' was an insult because it meant 'harharian'—one who had not had his ears pierced according to the custom of the Zulu.
    2.Cibambo, Y. M. My Ngoni of Nyasaland. London, 1942, chaps. V & VI.

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  • Gungunyane the Negotiator: A Study in African Diplomacy
    Author(s): Douglas L. Wheeler
    Source: The Journal of African History, Vol. 9, No. 4 (1968), pp. 585-602
    Published by: Cambridge University Press

    THIS paper is a discussion of the major negotiations of Chief Gungunyane,1 Paramount Chief of the Shangana of Gaza (1850 -1906), who ruled sections of eastern Rhodesia and southern Mozambique during the period I884-1895. Although some scholars judge his abilities harshly,2 a careful examination of the record suggests that this African leader did a remarkable job in the face of a host of jostling interests: the Portuguese Government; the British Government; many individual European adventurers and concession- seekers; corporate concession-seekers, notably the British South Africa Company and the Mozambique Company; neighbouring tribes; and also many private traders of European and Indian ancestry.


    Gungunyane was a usurper. He was not the legitimate heir to the throne of his father, Mzila, since he was not the eldest son, or son of the 'Great Wife'. His major rival was Mafemane, his brother, whose mother was the Nkosicaze of Mzila.3 Within a few months of his father's death in August 1884, Gungunyane had eliminated or exiled his rivals. He remained constantly in fear of the reappearance of the escaped royal heirs, Anhana and Mafabaze. Followers of these exiles in Swaziland continued to worry him, and in negotiations with the Portuguese he often demanded the surrender of these exiles to his custody.4 Throughout his reign the succession question remained simmering, giving the Portuguese a useful lever in diplomacy, while making the African leader more irascible and nervous.

    The first round of Gungunyane's struggle was set in Manicaland, in northern Gazaland. Gungunyane attempted to conquer Chief Mtassa of Manica as well as other Shona, such as the Duma, to the west. These raids on Manica mountain strongholds in the 1880s were generally unsuccessful.5 Knowing that his father before him had suffered for lack of firearms, Gungunyane acquired a passionate interest in European arms technology, and this was reflected in his diplomacy. In June 1886, while conferring with the Portuguese envoy Jose d'Almeida, Gungunyane learned of the military potential of the incendiary rocket. He demanded that Almeida provide him with a shipment of rockets to dislodge the Shona from their hills.6 The chief received no such arms, but he did continue to covet lands and peoples in Manica and Mashonaland, and his raiding parties intermittently collected taxes in these areas.7

    Gungunyane observed that Portuguese power, though weak, was gradually improving in strength. The Portuguese had a ready access to firearms, were increasing their hold on the coast, and were showing a new interest in Manicaland. In i88I the Portuguese officer Paiva de Andrada had travelled to Manica, but had failed to obtain a concession from old Mzila, at his kraal at Mossurise, since the chief considered the area his tributary holding. In 1884 the Portuguese administration created on paper 'The District of Manica', and named the capital after the Goanese warlord Gouveia (Manuel Antonio da Sousa), whose private army was reconquering new territory south of the Zambezi for the Portuguese.8

    In 1885 the Portuguese sent as envoy to Gungunyane an ex-soldier turned trader who was an old friend of Mzila, Jose Casaleiro d'Alegria Rodrigues. Casaleiro persuaded Gungunyane to send two indunas to Lisbon to sign an 'Act of Vassalage' with Portugal. By this treaty (I2 October 1885), Gungunyane was to obey laws and orders from the governor-general, to promise not to allow the rule of any other nation in 'his territory', to permit a Portuguese agent to live near him and to advise him in ruling, to fly the Portuguese flag in his kraals, to allow all Portuguese subjects to travel freely in Gazaland, to permit mineral exploitation only to individuals with Portuguese concessions, and to allow the establishment of missions and schools. In return, Gungunyane was to have complete jurisdiction in Gazaland, as well as the right to govern and collect taxes. According to article 2 of this treaty,9 Portugal could not use armed force in Gazaland without Gungunyane's permission. By royal decree the chief was made an honorary army colonel, and his major advisors captains, and he was given the full regalia, uniform and sword included.10

    Beginning in 886, Jose d'Almeida, the Portuguese official and later agent of the Mozambique Company, acted as residente at Gungunyane's kraal.The official pressed for a concession to exploit Manicaland for minerals. Though he later achieved some success with the 'Lion of Gaza', Almeida failed in his first mission. Gungunyane claimed that Mtassa was a vassal, and that many Portuguese prazos along the Zambezi and near Sofala were his tributaries as well. He thus refused to give concessions. His advisors told Almeida that the Shangana had observed how Portuguese influence had grown in Inhambane district by means of treaty-making and promises, and that they feared that the Portuguese would establish their rule in the interior of Gaza if allowed concessions in Manica. When Almeida mentioned the 1885 treaty signed by his 'envoys' in Lisbon, Gungunyane replied that the agreement was useless and only a Portuguese trick to obtain his lands. As he stated, revealingly, 'the paper [treaty] is good only for fishing for lands'.11

    As early as 1887, Gungunyane began to turn his eyes away from northern Gazaland toward the south. His southern vassals, the Tonga and Chope, were rebelling against him. This was one area of European interior penetration before 1880, an exception in Mozambique. A former trader of French extraction, Joao Loforte, became an influential figure in the Inhambane area, and between i869 and 1877 armed the Chope tribe as Portuguese allies. By winning the loyalty of a nucleus of chiefs, the Portuguese laid the foundation for later interior expansion.12 Loforte persuaded peoples west of the Inharrime River to resist Shangana raids and tax forays. By I884 over twenty chiefs in this region paid some form of tribute to the Portuguese in return for protection against the Shangana. The Chope region thus became a major flaw in the dominion of Gungunyane. He found himself subject to two pressures: from the war party in Gazaland to reconquer the area and from the Portuguese officials to stop raids against tribes which were considered Portuguese vassals.13

    In 1888 Gungunyane and his advisors reached a vital decision, to move their kraals from the edge of the Rhodesian plateau into the Limpopo valley, by which the future of the Gaza nation was to be profoundly affected. Estimates of the number of people who moved with Gungunyane range between 40,000 and 100,000. Several parties went ahead in April 1889, while Gungunyane left Mt Selinda (Rhodesia) on 15 June. Although one pressure to move was the growing power of Manuel Antonio de Sousa in Manica,14 the major reason for the move was Gungunyane's consuming determination to settle an old score with the Chope between the Limpopo and Inharrime Rivers. He wished to reclaim his father's land in the area called Bilene and to punish one particular chief who, according to tradition,15 had insulted him by sending a message that the 'lion' had a 'big belly'. As Gungunyane told the Portuguese residente before he left Mt Selinda: 'I am going to Bilene; I go to my home, and where I was born. We must pass through the frontiers of the lands of the King of Portugal, who is my friend.'16

    There is some evidence that Gungunyane negotiated with the Portuguese for a free hand in the Limpopo region in return for withdrawal of Shangana influence in Manica.17 In any event, Gungunyane invaded Chope lands in

    Fig 1 Southern Mozambique in 1895

    force in 1889, set up a kraal near the present-day village of Manjacaze (a Portuguese corruption of the kraal name, 'Manhlagazi'), and fought wars with those groups to the end of his reign. If his motivation for the move south was to increase his power and prestige, the Shangana were at first weakened by the long trek, starvation conditions on the way, and formidable resistance from the Chope once they arrived. These warriors took refuge from the Shangana in their special palisade fortresses, constructed of tree trunks, called kocolenes. In the battle of Baul Island in January 1890, the Chope inflicted a reverse on the Shangana. Some Chope refugees, including the chief, Speranhana, who had insulted Gungunyane, escaped to the north into Inhambane district, under the protection of Portuguese authorities.18

    The migration of the Shangana thousands in 1889, then, had the effect of dislocating groups in southern Mozambique, and moving Gungunyane closer to Portuguese coastal settlements. Though the Shangana often won their battles with the Chope, this conflict provided a diversion useful to Portuguese interests. The wars were a constant source of negotiation between Gungunyane and the Portuguese, and presented the problem of dual sovereignty in southern Gazaland. Who was in control over non-Shangana tribes: Gungunyane or the Portuguese?19

    When it came to making important decisions, Gungunyane may not always have been his own master. His circle of advisors, both European and African, and his numerous relatives, influenced his decisions. One power behind the throne was Maguiguana (or Magejana), the induna impi omeno, or 'chief of all war', Gungunyane's greatest general. Rising from a lowly position under Mzila, and perhaps receiving some European training during a sojourn on the coast, Maguiguana was apparently not a Shangana or Nguni, but perhaps an Ndau, like the mother of Gungunyane, or else a Chope or Valenge.20 Maguiguana was a member of the war party in the royal kraal and he advised Gungunyane as a secretary or even chancellor. As the Portuguese envoy, Almeida, observed: Gungunyane followed 'the thinking of his secretary Maguejana [sic] and of his numerous chiefs of war with whom he fears to differ, although he also fears a quarrel with us'.21 Toward the end of his reign especially, Gungunyane found himself under pressure from Maguiguana and other warriors to drop negotiations and go to war with Portugal. Although the 'Lion' might bluster and threaten war, it was, nevertheless, out of character for him to cease negotiations.

    The international conflict for Gazaland entered a new phase in i889 and 1890. The British South Africa Company threatened Portuguese sovereignty in southern Mozambique. Gungunyane confronted this most unscrupulous of concession-seekers at the same time as he was facing many others of a private sort. One of the earliest concessions granted in Gazaland by Mzila was a gold concession to one John Agnew in i874.22 As early as January i888, Gungunyane received concession hunters, and he granted concessions in gold, land and pearls to Europeans during the years i888 to 1891. At first verbal and later written, these concessions were given in return for annual sums of money, usually in English gold.23

    Well before the arrival of Rhodes's agents in I890, the Portuguese recognized the craftiness of Gungunyane as a negotiator. He had the reputation of being 'insatiably ambitious', a 'shrewd intriguer', forever pursuing a policy of 'aggrandizement'.24 Despite his faults, Gungunyane was never accused of being reckless and foolhardy. His Portuguese Boswell, Almeida, respected his sagacity in external as well as in internal affairs. Nearly every European who met him characterized him at first as simply a drunkard, but those who remained for any length of time in the kraal put his drinking in perspective. Certain Portuguese encouraged his drinking, sent wine shipments and hoped to 'inebriate his ambition'.25 Almeida observed, however, that as a rule the chief declined to drink heavily until after a morning of business and dispensing justice. He claimed, moreover, that Gungunyane drank less than his subjects: '... it is not so much for the love of alcohol, as for the display of greatness that they drink... the prestige of the monarch of that large country is due, in great part, to these shows of grandeur, which all subjects envy, and which they competitively try to imitate.'26

    In 1890 Gungunyane ordered a ban on the sale of spirits in Gaza, and discouraged the Banyan traders' traffic in rum and wine. In mid-I899 the Portuguese passed an official decree forbidding the sale of spirits in Gazaland, and authorized Gungunyane to execute this law.27 This suggests the weakness of the Portuguese, and their willingness to use Gungunyane to rule Gaza, as well as the chief's determination to protect his own interests. Despite good intentions, the rum traffic continued.

    Relations between Gungunyane and the Portuguese had slightly improved just as Dr Aurel Schulz arrived on his mission for Rhodes. Several months before, in September 1890, the chief, playing the diplomat, gave Portuguese agents a large ivory tusk as a sign of his respect for the recently deceased King Dom Luis I of Portugal.28 Now he turned to consider an offer of guns, ammunition and money from an agent who claimed to represent the British government, and not merely a company. Gungunyane suspected that Schulz was a charlatan, so he made inquiries to people in his kraal, including Frank Colquhoun: 'does Dr Schulz really represent the Queen?' Colquhoun informed the company that he answered 'of course'29. At the same time, Gungunyane wrote to the British vice-consul, Smith de la Cour, in Lourenco Marques, and asked about Schulz, 'who says that he is the only white man who represents the British Government in Gazaland...'30 Gungunyane craftily asked if the vice-consul had ceased to represent the Queen!

    Although Smith de la Cour was the official British consul throughout 1891-2, he secretly aided Rhodes's plans. Anxious to see British influence furthered in Gazaland, he wrote confidential letters to the company for instructions as to how to reply to the Shangana messengers. Harris telegraphed back: 'Anchor [code name for Schulz] has full powers from Rhodes and Charter kindly therefore strengthen his position with King. Utmost importance no doubt on point in your reply. Chartered body is the Queen...'31 Whether Gungunyane believed these assurances or not is unclear, for he remained cautious. During the negotiations at Manjacaze Dr Schulz gave a useful characterization of the chief: 'The King is a very suspicious and proud man. He will take no guarantee from white people.He wants the goods before he will sign.'32

    Although the British South Africa Company finally settled for land and mineral rights in Gungunyane's territory, Rhodes's earliest plans included a 'Protectorate'. It is clear from the original instructions to Schulz in May 1890 that the agent was to obtain 'a British Protectorate and to hoist the British flag'.33 Another agent for Rhodes, Dennis Doyle, visited Gungunyane in 1891, and considered establishing a 'White republic', with the chief's permission.34

    Whatever Rhodes's original plans, Schulz got Gungunyane to agree verbally to a concession treaty on 4 October i890. Although Schulz had no authorization from the British government for this, the concession was a 'Treaty of Alliance between the said Nation and the Government of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Victoria'.35 The treaty was to be ratified in writing only after the delivery of 1,000 rifles, 20,000 cartridges and an annual subsidy. The goods requested were almost precisely the same gifts promised to Gungunyane's neighbour Lobengula, in the Rudd Concession,36 including 'two bulls, a horse, and a mastiff'. The promised goods were delivered to Gungunyane's kraal in February 1891; this episode and its repercussions have been discussed elsewhere.37

    Despite the great expense and trouble involved, the Schulz concession was invalidated by the signing of the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 11 June 1891, whereby the kingdom of Gaza was partitioned between Britain and Portugal. This was a confirmation-though with less generous frontiers for Portugal-of the August 1890 convention between the two nations.38 Northern Gazaland, in effect, became British territory, but the greater part of Gungunyane's kingdom in the south was officially recognized as Portuguese territory. In the realm of international diplomacy, at least, Gungunyane's fate was sealed by mid-I89I. Last-moment pressures by Rhodes and by Gungunyane failed to change this course of events. The British South Africa Company tried but failed early in 1891 to buy out the Mozambique Company, a chartered Portuguese body, which had stakes in Gaza.39 In April i891 Gungunyane sent a delegation to Britain to seek a closer relationship with the queen. It is not clear whether or not this delegation asked for British protection, but the High Commissioner in South Africa later wrote to Gungunyane praising him for not doing so.40

    Gungunyane was clever in his speeches during concession negotiations in that he used the presence of Portuguese officials to criticize concession seekers and play one group off against the other. He demanded the return of the Inhambane district to his rule, and accused the Portuguese of causing him to move his people south to fight the Chope.41 He also prodded Rhodes's agents, and disputed the annual subsidy sum with Doyle, insisting for a period on £500 instead of £300. Doyle, fluent in the Zulu language, recorded an important speech by Gungunyane at a meeting on 6 November I89I. The following is the version recorded by Doyle:

    [Referring to the Portuguese] ... I have frequently demanded the return of tracts of my country now occupied by you. Moon after moon has passed, promises... you always say that we will give it back, O King; but you never do so, am I a woman? That I should be treated thus: and now today what you have done, you are building a Fort in my territory, I will not have that Fort there; pull it down and fill in the hole that you have made, if you do not, I will send an army to fill in the hole that you have made and I will see who will fire the first shot: It is not true that he [the King of Portugal] knows what you do. Why do you Portuguese object to my making friends with the English, you did not object to Umzila doing so, you did not object to my Grand-father doing so: O Portuguese there must be a day of reckoning. If I were to haul down that flag that stands as a token of friendship between my people and your people and hoist the English flag who would prevent me? When I wish to hand over my people to the English I will do so in the daylight, with the sun shining: Are not my people of the Gaza, of whom are they afraid? I am afraid of the English only. Now I say pull down the fort and let my people and my Father's lands be returned and give back the boats that you stole the other day on the Limpopo: the women of Gaza are the wives of the Gaza nation it may be that you Portuguese think it proper to take other men's wives, but the people of the Gaza say that every man's wife belongs to himself.42

    At the same time, when conferring with Almeida, the chief defended his dispatch of indunas to London in 1891, and resented Almeida's accusation that he sent messengers without Portugal's knowledge. He refused to admit to Almeida that they were sent to solicit British protection either on that trip or on the other occasions when embassies were sent to Natal. In private conferences with the Portuguese-unlike public meetings with Rhodes's agents present-he habitually professed friendship and alliance along traditional lines.43

    After the crisis of 1891, when the threat of a direct company intervention in Gazaland seemed over, the Portuguese officials proposed a peaceful 'wait-and-see' policy vis-d-vis Gungunyane. Almeida favoured a policy of peace and negotiation since, he believed, it would have been 'difficult' to defeat Gungunyane at that stage.44 Antonio Enes, later Royal Commissioner in Mozambique, submitted an important report which recommended Portuguese tolerance of the 'semi-independence' of Gungunyane, while awaiting the opportunity to strike. Gungunyane, he wrote, was losing popularity due to the failure of his internal policy. Much to the disgust of his Nguni circle of advisors, he was now choosing court favourites from non-Nguni people of conquered tribes. The Shangana army now had fewer Nguni warriors and more recruits from weaker groups. Enes predicted that Gungunyane would not live long, because of his drinking, and that many sons would dispute the succession. With his nobles angered by arbitrary confiscations of cattle and women in raids, the chief was losing his popularity. While it over-emphasizes the weakness of Gungunyane, this report perceived the true policy of the chief when it described his desire for 'real and practical independence'.45

    Though he remained cautious and independent, Gungunyane was influenced by the personality of Almeida. When Almeida was not residente during 1892 and 1893, Gungunyane instructed his son, Mangua, who knew Portuguese through lessons with a Goanese teacher at the royal kraal, to write to Almeida. Dated 11 May 1892, this short Portuguese note is one of the few examples extant on paper of the chief's thoughts. He stated that he had rejected entreaties of English agents to 'become English' by answering that 'my father was of the Portuguese and I always must be Portuguese'. Anxious for Almeida's return to Gaza, he wrote this to renew relations.46

    Although Almeida was then loathe to return even the slightest interest that Gungunyane displayed toward him, he was forced to return to Gaza on special business in late 1893. Almeida was now secretary and agent of the Mozambique Company, chartered by the king of Portugal in 1891. Due to Shangana raids in Mozambique Company territory north of the Sabi River, officials sought an agreement with Gungunyane. Almeida parleyed at the kraal between 30 October and 13 December 1893, and arrived at an agreement sworn to by Gungunyane on 19 November.47

    He swore in public banja (meeting) to recognize the right of the Mozambique Company to administer without his interference all of its concession land north of the Sabi. Gungunyane would receive half of the hut tax collected there as compensation for giving the company authority and for the use of his indunas and soldiers to guarantee 'public order' and to collect taxes. This agreement of fourteen articles, if actually agreed to by Gungunyane, suggests the cynical nature of the bargaining. Included are provisions that Gungunyane provide armed men to enable the company to conquer tribes in northern Gaza. Furthermore, the indunas were authorized by the modus vivendi to recruit among the Tonga all the labour necessary for public services. Almeida felt that this agreement would be a steppingstone toward greater control over the chief and 'co-administration' with the Shangana. Portuguese critics, nevertheless, maligned the deal as an appeasement of the 'bloodthirsty autocrat'. Envoy Almeida reasoned that the Mozambique Company had little choice in the matter, since neither the Portuguese administration nor the company possessed an army worthy of the name, and since the Shangana were militarily supreme and had been there since the 1820s.48 Almeida claimed that it was actually illegal to use an army in Gaza by the terms of the 1891 royal charter of the Mozambique Company as well as by the 1885 Act of Vassalage, both of which recognized Gungunyane as the supreme authority in Gazaland.49

    Did Gungunyane mean to become a party to this agreement? The chief believed, perhaps, that the arrangement might increase his wealth and prestige. But though he swore to it in public, he did not put his mark to it, as he did to the Schulz Concession of i890, for reasons stated by Almeida: 'Gungunhana never signed it, nor does he sign any paper, because he cannot read it, nor does he trust a reading given to him, even though the reader might be his own son Mangua.'50

    A week after the modus vivendi was agreed upon, some 800 of the I,000 rifles given to Gungunyane by Rhodes's agents were destroyed in a hut fire near Manjacaze. Who was responsible for this? Was it an accident, as Almeida later claimed?51 Almeida had a motive for destroying them, and he later prevented other arms from falling into the chief's hands.52 Gungunyane was furious and insisted that the Portuguese government give him 1,000 new rifles and surrender the remaining heirs of Mzila, hiding in Swaziland. Despite Almeida's parting gift of ten oxen, three lion skins and two ivory tusks, the 'Lion of Gaza' demanded rifles. Gungunyane later claimed that Almeida had 'promised' these goods when leaving. Thus Shangana hostility toward the Portuguese, and toward concession seekers in general, increased after December i893. Continuing war with the Chope exacerbated the enmity. In this period the Shangana lost some 200 rifles in a war against the Chope.53

    In June 1894 Gungunyane lodged a formal, written protest with the British South Africa Company, using the services of the Swiss missionaries in or near his kraal. This document must have startled officials in Cape Town and London:

    The occupation of lands for farming purposes, by white people within my boundaries, is an unwarranted proceeding as no grant whatever has been given by me to white people to farm, or otherwise to occupy land for agricultural purposes... [and I protest] against settlement in the Umsaapa [Musapa] district of my country, a district it was understood should be exempt from interferenceby white people, as I told Dr Aurel Schulz and the Felses in I890, I89I, when they were with me on behalf of the English people... [I have given to Mr Dennis Doyle] no grants whatever concerning rights in my country.54

    Gungunyane now claimed that Aurel Schulz was his official agent. The Company dismissed this document as invalid,55 noting that Maguiguana had not signed it, but they continued to pay Gungunyane his annual subsidies, amounting to £800, until the last payment made in person to the chief by Longden in September 1894.56 Thereafter payment was made through the Portuguese government, 'thus avoiding direct intercourse with the Chief'.57

    As a final confrontation between the Shangana and the Portuguese forces approached, convulsions in Matabeleland and Swaziland aggravated the situation. There were close ties between Gungunyane and Lobengula. An older sister of Gungunyane became a wife of Lobengula sometime before 1887, and other ties of blood and marriage existed.58 The Matabele War of I893 spread waves of confusion into Gaza, and drove African refugees in several directions from Rhodesia. Portuguese authorities observed that a number of Ndebele fled from Rhodesia and settled in the lower Bilene area following an arrangement with Gungunyane.59 In June1895 the American Consul in Mozambique reported that, ever since the war in Rhodesia, Africans south of the Zambezi were 'in a state of unrest'.60 The Portuguese were not slow to hold up to Gungunyane the example of the defeat of his neighbours. In March 1894 an official told the residente at the royal kraal to inform Gungunyane that 'good words' were no longer sufficient; they wanted him to keep his word. The government, he stated, spent sums for the 'protection' of the chief's lands. Moreover, the Europeans had defeated Lobengula, and if Gungunyane were in trouble, he would need friends.61

    As Shangana grievances and fears mounted, so did Portuguese impatience. Trouble had been brewing for over a decade in Louren9o Marques district as petty Ronga chiefs struggled for supremacy. In 1894 a war began in this district which eventually drew in Gungunyane himself. There is no evidence which implicates the chief in the original hostilities, despite Portuguese accusations.62 It is true, however, that in late 894 the 'Lion' sent indunas to get pledges of loyalty against the Portuguese in case of war; in the region within twenty miles of LourenCo Marques, in the Cossine and Magaia areas,the Portuguese reported that chiefs 'almost entirely' affirmed their loyalty to Gaza. It was also reported that Gungunyane let it be known that he would not oppose chiefs who made war on Portugal, and that he would remain 'neutral' while awaiting the outcome.63

    Warfare broke out on or about 22 August 1894, as Africans involved in a succession dispute resisted arrest by Portuguese African troops at Angoane.Within weeks, the peoples just north of Lourenzo Marques, led by Chief Mahazul and Matibejana of Zixaxa, attacked the town. Several attacks were launched between October 1894 and January 1895, all of them repulsed by
    the Portuguese garrison.64


    Despite wartime conditions and a growing Portuguese spirit of aggression toward Gazaland, negotiations between Gungunyane and his European opponents continued throughout the so-called '1895 Campaign' to within a day of the chief's capture. Patient negotiation by now, however, was impossible. The Portuguese considered the conflict 'a matter of life or death' for their control of Mozambique, and they dropped the cautious, peaceful policy of 1891-4. When the bold and ambitious Ant6nio Enes arrived in Lourenco Marques as Royal Commissioner in January 1895, he brought with him the blueprint for Gungunyane's undoing as a negotiator. Enes grimly set about building Portuguese strength to a force of over 2,000 European troops. At the battle of Marracuene, 2 February 1895, the Portuguese won a victory over the Ronga rebels by means of the machine-gun and repeating rifle.65

    Negotiations continued within the Manjacaze kraal. Gungunyane again requested Almeida's return in December 1894. At a meeting with the chief in late February 1895, a stand-in residente, Lieutenant Judice Bicker, obtained promises that the 'Lion' would not attack Inhambane, and that he would send an embassy to LourenCo Marques to sue for peace. Almeida returned as Portuguese envoy in March with instructions to bring Gungunyane to terms as a vassal of Portugal, or, failing that, to prevent Shangana interference in the serious revolt near Louren9o Marques.66

    Almeida found Gungunyane in an anxious and hesitant mood. Disturbed over the arrest, imprisonment and subsequent exile to Angola of some petty chiefs in southern Mozambique, the chief requested that their families be protected in his kraal.67 When other rebel chiefs fled into his territory in early 1895, Gungunyane gave them protection as well. While Enes planned a three-column attack plan for Gazaland, Almeida vainly tried to fool Gungunyane into believing that no serious war plans were afoot. The chief's system of spies, Indian traders and foreign advisors, however, soon informed him that he was to be attacked from the coast. It is a tribute to Gungunyane's intelligence network that, within a week of the completion of Enes's plannedattack of April 3rd, Almeida wrote from Manjacaze that Gungunyane suspected an imminent Portuguese attack! Missionaries informed him that a large 'impi of whites', as he put it, was gathering. Almeida countered that the European troops had gathered only to attack the rebel chiefs.68

    The crisis worsened after the sudden death on 16 April of Gungunyane's second son, Mangua, apparently a victim of poison.69 Almeida suspected a rival son, Godide, but there is also evidence that the chief himself might have murdered his pro-Portuguese, European-educated son, due to pressures from his aggressive retinue.70 In May 1895 Gungunyane dispatched more envoys to sound out support in outlying regions. At the same time, he dispatched Shangana tax collectors, who in one area reportedly demanded over a pound in gold from each hut for the royal treasury. War with the Chope continued.71

    In eleventh-hour negotiations, Almeida was in a difficult position. His task of bringing Gungunyane under greater control was rapidly becoming impossible due to increasing bellicosity on each side, and to his own disagreements with his superior, Enes. The Royal Commissioner disliked Almeida, and had no confidence in him as an envoy. He facetiously referred to Almeida as 'the chartered tamer of the lion of Gaza',72 and accused him of appeasing the chief. During the first week of June, Almeida accompanied several Shangana indunas to Lourengo Marques to confer with Enes, fulfilling Gungunyane's promise to parley with the government. The indunas asserted that they desired peace, but Enes refused to meet them in person and conferred only with Almeida. Enes's stated reason for this action and for refusing to receive the traditional African saguate (gift of tribute) from the envoys was that, by harbouring the Ronga rebels in Gaza, Gungunyanen had been a disloyal Portuguese vassal.73 Nothing was decided in these conferences.

    A number of sympathetic Europeans aided Gungunyane. The Fels, a missionary couple, acted as his agents into I895. Swiss missionaries nearby advised him, and probably encouraged his desire to keep the peace, but recommended that, if necessary, he should seek British protection. Several weeks after the hapless indunas left Louren9o Marques, two Swiss missionaries, Junod and Liengme, met with Enes. Liengme felt that all the Shangana chiefs-except for a few like Manhune (and perhaps Maguiguana)-wanted peace. Requiring Gungunyane to surrender refugees under his protection, he felt was an immoral and un-Christian act, since these men were 'guests' and he could not break his word. But Enes was adamant and this meeting was also fruitless. Enes rightly feared Liengme's influence over Gungunyane, but the missionary's position at the kraal is unclear.74

    Enes now assumed a tougher position, and on 14 July he issued his 'Conditions with which the submission of Chief Gungunhana will be accepted.'75 The sine qua non condition, one which the chief never fulfilled completely, was the surrender of Mahazul and Matibejana, Ronga chiefs, 'to be punished duly'. In the remaining fourteen conditions, the authorities demanded: an annual tribute of ?Io,ooo; Gungunyane's recognition of Portugal's right to establish military posts and garrison troops in Gaza; an end to the war between the chief and vassal chiefs; the placing of African armed forces at the disposal of Portugal; and, the last condition, that if Gungunyane failed to comply, 'he will lose the right to rule the lands of Gaza, thus occasioning chiefs of those lands to meet and choose his successor .

    Acceptance of these conditions would have meant the loss for Gungunyane of that 'real and practical independence' which Enes in i893 had acknowledged as his major objective. Gungunyane received the official document on 8 August, but refused to hand over his subject chiefs; he still claimed, nevertheless, that he wanted peace.76 A week later, Gungunyane stated his terms: Portuguese acceptance of saguate tribute from his people, in return for which the chief would surrender several important indunas to Enes, but not Mhazul and Matibejana. He claimed that he was willing to pay 1,000 in gold as tribute.77

    Although it became evident to his Portuguese opponents that Gungunyane was committed to an eventual detente with Portugal, if not outright defeat, the chief refused to limit his negotiating position. Again contacting the British vice-consul at Lourenco Marques, now Roger Casement, he asked permission to send another embassy to Natal, as well as to Cape Town. Though advised against this, he sent envoys, with ivory tusks as gifts, via Pretoria to Natal and Cape Town to obtain a promise of protection or alliance. These ambassadors returned to Gaza in September 1895 after a journey of two months, and reported that nothing had been promised.

    Until this last embassy had returned, Gungunyane hoped that he could enlist British aid at least to get protection against the military expeditions now camped on his frontiers. Others in his kraal, however, apparently felt that war was inevitable, and voted for it. Still refusing to surrender the rebels, Gungunyane stated on 19 August that he would pay the tribute demanded in the 'conditions' as well as accept the establishment of forts in Gaza. To balance this considerable concession, he declared that rough treatment from the Portuguese would force him to get the protection of 'the flag of other whites'.79

    Although Enes believed that peace negotiations were finished by 15 August, desultory negotiations continued into September and later. Gungunyane now complained to Almeida that Portugal had broken the rules and had invaded Cossine territory, considered part of Gaza. Almeida himself complained to his superior that his position as Portuguese envoy had been severely compromised by this Portuguese aggression, and that peace was now impossible. Almeida left the kraal in mid-September, after several impis of Gungunyane were defeated by the Portuguese at Magul.

    With his war party pressing for an all-out attack on the approaching Portuguese force, Gungunyane still held out for a negotiated peace settlement, and sent envoys to Enes to ask for peace on 20 September. He received no definite reply. His own war party prevailed by early November. On 7 November at Lake Coolela, not far from Manjacaze, the Portuguese, using effective small-arms fire, crushed some eight Shangana regiments. Coolela was a Waterloo for Gungunyane, and he packed up his treasury (which included over £2,000 in English gold), mounted an ox cart and fled from his kraal. For nearly a month his whereabouts were unknown. Some Portuguese officials believed that he had trekked to the Transvaal,80 but he had fled to Chaimite, a village three days' march away, north of the Limpopo. Chaimite was a sacred village for the Shangana, as it was the resting place of the bones of Gungunyane's grandfather, Manikosi (Soshangane). Although several of Gungunyane's sons succeeded in escaping to the Transvaal, the chief himself did not leave the village.81 On 28 December Mousinho de Albuquerque, now military governor of Gaza, after learning of the chief's location from informers, captured Gungunyane at Chaimite.

    True to his character, 'The Lion of Gaza' tried to negotiate with Portugal to the end. He sent envoys on 13 December to stop Albuquerque's march with the offer of gifts and of one of the rebel chiefs, Matibejana. Albuquerque was impressed by the fear Gungunyane inspired in the area through which he marched, but he refused to parley, demanded the remaining rebel, and marched on to accomplish his mission.82 The last years of Gungunyane-his exile and death in the Azores-represent an anticlimax to his years as a negotiator-warrior in Gaza.83


    Under Gungunyane, the Shangana empire shifted its centre of raiding, but actually increased its power relative to the impotency of Mzila's declining years. The Shangana system expanded its dominion as the Scramble enveloped Mozambique. The result was a clash between two raiding systems: African and European. The Portuguese were too weak to oppose the Shangana raiding system until after i889, when Gungunyane moved into the Limpopo valley. Thereafter, a series of circumstances moved the Portuguese to oppose Shangana hegemony, as it was inimical to their administration and to their own burgeoning political system of tribal allegiance in the Inhambane and LourenCo Marques districts.

    Gungunyane could not satisfy both his aggressive retinue and the increasingly aggressive Portuguese, and still survive. In fact, in the context of Gaza politics, after 1893 he acted more as a moderating influence than as an extremist. He based his negotiating position on his own power and on tradition. To his mind, the raiding system was a promised heritage.84 As the Portuguese grew in strength, as pressure from his warlike advisors increased, as his own army's power declined from the effects of labour migration, alcoholism, disease and internecine warfare, Gungunyane lost standing among the Shangana and, hence, bargaining power with the European. There is thus a marked contrast between his strong negotiating position before the 1894 rebellion and his agony after. Serious concessions to Portuguese demands were the result of this development as well as of the military defeats of his impis after February of 1895.

    There is a 'credibility gap' between the negotiator's words and actions. If he was so anxious for British aid, why was there no final trek northward, back to the Rhodesian plateau, the land of 'other whites'? As is suggested by Brown with regard to the negotiations of Lobengula,85 in the case of Gungunyane we must be sceptical of the belief that he would finally commit his nation to British protection. After 1894 he was probably reconciling himself, and attempting to reconcile his followers, to an eventual arrangement of 'protection' under the Portuguese. The weight of tradition and the political strength of advisors like Maguiguana may have prevented a final trek. Jose de Almeida wrote a passage which sheds light on this problem:

    'No one could or should expect that Gungunhana would abandon this country completely, taking from it all his people, because such an act would go against his traditions and those of his nation, quite proud and warlike, who still vividly remember the bloody battles that brought these peoples[the Chope and others] under his rule.'86

    To characterize Gungunyane as merely an intriguer87 is to misunderstand his position and to do an injustice to his talents. He fully realized that an end of negotiation might mean a disastrous war and end to his independence. In Royal Commissioner Antonio Enes, he met a bargainer with no more concessions to give. As the chief feared displeasing both extremes of opinion-the Portuguese or his generals-he was in a dilemma, which Almeida aptly described as 'the hesitation in which he agonizes'.88 When it came to intrigue, a survey of the 895 campaign suggests that, with the exception of men of action like Enes and Albuquerque, the Portuguese were more inclined to intrigue and delay than was the leader of the Shangana. Enes had a mixed view of the chief: 'The so-called Vatua Shangana empire really was a power, and if it fell so rapidly and so easily, it was only because its chief was very able in his building it up, but had none of the qualities essential for defending it.'89 Reluctant as a warrior, Gungunyane was primarily a negotiator who was better at tactics than at long-term strategy. He could not prevail against a Portuguese opponent who combined the mastery of European technology with a policy of no compromise. Some Europeans who observed the Scramble in southern Mozambique were dazzled by the power of Gungunyane. One Portuguese wrote that this was 'the greatest empire that the negro [sic] race has created in Eastern Africa'.90 In early I89I, some British South Africa Company officials considered Gungunyane'a far more powerful chief than Lobengula',91 and certainly were sceptical along with many others when news came of the chief's defeat and capture.92

    A statement by a contemporary Portuguese in 1910 sums up Gungunyane's role. 'The Chief of the Vatua empire was an astute diplomat, who, seeing that we had no military forces to counter balance his power, succeeded in making obedient vassals of us.'93 When the balance of power shifted, the chief-diplomat was left with few instruments of persuasion.Despite his ultimate downfall, 'The Lion of Gaza' deserves the place he fills as the most important African monarch in modern Mozambique history. In the scramble for southern Africa, he is a remarkable example of an African leader who was more conscious of the realities of negotiating with Europeans than were many of his fellow chiefs. That he failed to keep intact his imperial heritage was due more to the conflicting pressures upon him than to his own flaws as a bargainer.


    Gungunyane, paramount chief of the Shangana of Gazaland, 1884-95, was a very shrewd diplomat. A study of his diplomacy with Europeans suggests that his major goal was Shangana independence of action. From the beginning of his reign, Gungunyane was pressured to give concessions in both economic and political spheres. His capital was on the edge of the Rhodesian plateau until mid-I889, when the chief moved a large portion of his people as well as his capital southward to the Limpopo valley, Mozambique. This significant dislocation influenced later negotiations with Portugal. Although the chief was a strong personality, he was subject to pressures from his immediate-and in this case, warlike-African advisors. In negotiations with the British South Africa Company, the Mozambique Company and the Portuguese government, the African leader enjoyed the benefits of a fearful military reputation, a wide-reaching espionage system, and conflicts between British and Portuguese concession-seekers. A master of playing both ends against the middle to maintain his freedom of movement, Gungunyane found, nevertheless, that his diplomatic programme was undermined by Portuguese superiority in the use of firearms, disunity among the Shangana and their tributaries, and growing social disintegration caused by alcoholism, emigration, and European encroachment. His final military defeat by Portuguese forces in 1895 was not a true index of his talent as an African diplomat.


    * This article is in part the result of research carried on in Mozambique and Rhodesia, during the period from February till April, 1967. The author is indebted to the University of New Hampshire (U.S.A.) for allowing him to pursue this part of his research in Africa through a leave of absence, and to the University College of Rhodesia (Salisbury) for the opportunity to conduct research on this topic in Salisbury. The paper was presented at the Henderson Seminar, 22 April, I967.

    1 The traditional Portuguese rendering, 'Gungunhana', has been replaced by the Shangana or Shangaans pronunciation. The writer visited the Gaza area both in Mozambique and in Rhodesia in I967 and heard the word pronounced as 'Gungunyane'.

    2 L. H. Gann, A History of Southern Rhodesia: Early Days to 1934 (London, 1965), 98: Gungunhana 'lacked the ability of his father Umzila; he was a confirmed drunkard'.

    3 A. Toscano and J. Quintinha, A Derrocada do Imperio Vdtua (Lisbon, 1930), 53-63, 75-6.

    4 Trindade Coelho (ed.), Dezoito Annos em Africa. Notas E Documentos Para A Biographia Do Conselheiro Jose D'Almeida (Lisbon, I898), 64-8, 231-2, 285.

    5 E. P. Mathers, Zambesia (London, 1891), 400-12.

    6 Coelho, op. cit. 231-2.

    7 Philip Warhurst, Anglo-Portuguese Relations in South-Central Africa, 1890-1900 (London, I962), 20.

    8 James Duffy, Portuguese Africa (Cambridge, I959), 220, 23I; 'J. C. Paiva de Andrada', Grande Enciclopedia Portuguesa e Brasileira (Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro), xx, 25-6.

    9 Coelho, op. cit. 377. o1 Ibid. 31, io6.

    11 Rocha Martins, Historia das Colonias Portuguesas (Lisbon, I933), 294.

    12 Coelho, op. cit. 207-9, 283; F. Gastao de Almeida de Eca, Historia das Guerras no Zambeze (Lisbon, I953-4), II, 467-70; A. A. Caldas Xavier, 'Districto de Inhambane', Boletim da Sociedade de Geographia de Lisboa, series 7 (1887), I53-210.

    13 Coelho, op. cit. 207-9, 283.

    14 P. R. Warhurst, 'The scramble and African politics in Gazaland', in E. Stokes and R. Brown, The Zambesian Past (Manchester, I966), 53-4.

    15 Oral information gathered by the writer at Manjacaze, Mozambique in February, 1967.

    16 Residente to Secretary General, I6 June 1889, no. 96, Codice 2.14II, in Arquivo Historica de Mo9ambique, hereafter A.H.M. (Louren9o Marques).

    71 J. Paiva de Andrada to Neves Ferreira, 5 December 1889, in 'Cartas de Paiva de Andrada', Mozambique: Documentario Trimestral (Lourenco Marques, 1941), 100-4.

    18 Toscano and Quintinha, op. cit. 82; Antonio Enes, A Guerra D'Africa em 1895 (Lisbon, 1945 ed.). 19 Caetano Montez, Mouzinho (Lisbon, 1956), 83.

    20 J. Mousinho de Albuquerque, Relatorio Apresentado Ao Conselheiro... Governador Geral Interino da Provincia De Mocambique (Lisbon, I896), 41 note; Amadeu Cunha, Mousinho. A Sua Obra E A Sua Epoca (Lisbon, 1944), 220-I.

    21 Coelho, op. cit. 83.

    22 Tennant and Erasmus to Cecil Rhodes, 28 February, I894, file CT I/7/9; J. Livingstone to Rhodes, 13 September, I892, F. Colquhoun to Company, 24 March, I892, file HC 3/5/I7/5, National Archives (Salisbury, Rhodesia).

    23 Residente at Mossurise to Secretary General, 6 February i888, Codice 2.1411,

    24 Coelho, op. cit. 373. 25 Ibid. 274. 26 Ibid. 373.

    27 Smith de la Cour to Currey, 23 June I891, CT I/7/I2, N.A.

    28 Coelho, op. cit. 276.

    29 F. Colquhoun to R. Harris, 24 January I891, CT 1/7/2, N.A.

    30 Smith de la Cour to R. Harris, 24 January 1891, CT 1/7/I1, N.A.

    31 Smith de la Cour to Harris, 21, 30, 31 March 1891, CT I/7/12, N.A. Harris to Smith de la Cour, telegram, 2 February 1891, CT 1/7/11.

    32 Schulz to Secretary, 31 December I890, CT 1/7/9, N.A.

    33 R. Harris to Schulz, 29 May I890, CT 1/7/9, N.A.

    34 Dennis Doyle, 'With King Gungunhana', Fortnightly Review (London, July I891), 115-17. 35 Warhurst, 'The scramble and African politics', op. cit. 53-4.

    36 J. G. Lockhart and C. M. Woodhouse, Cecil Rhodes (New York, 1963), 220-I.

    37 Warhurst, Anglo-Portuguese Relations, 80-io6. For the text of the Schulz concession see F.O. C. 6495 (1891), Correspondence Relating to Great Britain and Portugal in East Africa, no. i, inclosure in no. 191, pp. 2I8-I9.

    38 Duffy, op. cit. 219-21; Warhurst, Anglo-Portuguese Relations, 91, 104-5.

    39 L. Gann, op. cit. 99.

    40 Loch to Gungunhana, 14 August I89I, HC 3/5/33/Io, N.A.

    41 'History given to Holohulu' (I89I?), CT x/7/4, N.A.

    42 D. Doyle and W. Longden to Secretary of B.S.A. Company, io November I89I, CT I/7/4, N.A.

    43 Residente to Secretary General, 9 October I89I, Caixa 4. 159, maco 13, A.H.M.

    44 Coelho, op. cit. 287-90.

    45 Enes, Mofambique (1893) Relatorio (Lisbon, I896), 174-8.

    46 Coelho, op. cit. 364-5. 47 Ibid; for text of modus vivendi, see 374-6.

    48 Ibid. 378-9.

    51 Ibid. 406-I7.

    49 Ibid. 377.

    52 Ibid. 470-80.

    50 Ibid. 381.

    53 Ibid. 4I3-14-

    54 Gungunhana to B.S.A. Company, 23 June 1894 (copy), HC 3/5/17/5. 55 Cf. note 54 (National Archives), pencilled in left corner of document 'The signature of Prime Minister "Magijahn" not attached-Document therefore invalid'. The 1894 document was signed by witnesses Dr Georges Louis Liengme, Aleida Gerber (Swiss missionaries) and P. Shumugan and four indunas.

    56 Rhodes to Soveral, Dec.? I894, HC 3/5/17/5, N.A.; W. Longden to 'Charter', telegram, i8 February 1915, A 3/I8/I8/4, N.A.

    57 Kimberley to MacDonald (copy), F.O., 21 November 1894, HC 3/5/17/5, N.A.

    58 Coelho, op. cit. 232-3, 324. 59 Ibid. 274, 457-8.

    60 Hollis to Uhl, 28 June I895, Despatches from U.S. Consuls in Lourenfo Marques...,Roll 2, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

    61 Military Commandant of Limpopo to Residente, 21 March I894, Caixa 4. I59, A.H.M.

    62 Mousinho de Albuquerque, Mofambique 1896-1898 (Lisbon, 1913 ed.), 39-40.

    63 Military Commandant, Inhampura, to Residente, i8 October 1894, Caixa 4. 159, maco 23, A.H.M.

    64 Marcello Caetano (ed.), As Campanhas de 1895 Segundo Os Contempordneos (Lisbon, 1945), 40-7.

    65 Carlos Selvagem, Portugal Militar (Lisbon, I934), 618-I9; Caetano, op. cit. 39-40.

    66 Coelho, op. cit. 516-18. 67 Enes, A Guerra, 310-II, 459.

    68 Coelho, op. cit. 459-60. 69 Ibid. 460-2.

    70 Toscano and Quintinha, op. cit. 89. 71 Coelho, op. cit. 473-5.

    72 Enes, A Guerra, 247-5I. 73 Ibid. 238-46.

    74 Ibid. 249-51; Almeida reported that Liengme had no influence with Gungunyane, but another Portuguese report contradicted this. Rosario to Military Commandant, 17 December I894, Caixa 4.159, maco 23, A.H.M.

    75 Coelho, op. cit. 504-5, for terms.

    76 Ibid. 5I6-I8. 77 Enes, A Guerra, 459-60.

    78 Warhurst, Anglo-Portuguese Relations, 107-7; Coelho, op. cit. 522-3.

    79 Ayres d'Ornellas, Cartas D'Africa (Lisbon, 1930), 85; Enes, op. cit., 310-II.

    80 Coelho, op. cit. 499, 511, 523; Caetano, op. cit. 158-60.

    81 Ornellas, op. cit. 97-8, 291-5, 305; Toscano and Quintinha, op. cit. 360.

    82 Albuquerque, Relatorio Apresentado A. Conseilheizo Correia E Lanfa (Lisbon, I896), 35-45; Albuquerque, Livro das Campanhas (Lisbon, I935), I, 43-7.

    83 For the exiled years of Gungunyane, see Pedro de Merelim, 'Os Vatuas na Ilha Ter9eira', Atlantida (Angra do Heroismo, Azores Islands), iv, (1960), 317-I8, and my forthcoming chapter, 'Gungunhana', in Norman R. Bennett (ed.), Leadership in Eastern Africa (Boston University Press, 1968).

    84 Residente to Secretary General, ?November I89I, Caixa 4.159, A.H.M.

    85 R. Brown, 'Aspects of the scramble for Matabeleland', in Stokes and Brown, op. cit.

    86 Coelho, op. cit. 377.

    87 Duffy's interpretation in Portuguese Africa (232) is an echoing of an earlier one in the Royal Naval Intelligence Division's A Manual of Portuguese East Africa (London, 19I9), 499-500.

    88 Coelho, op. cit. 83.

    89 Enes, op. cit., 128.

    90 Coelho, op. cit. 83.

    91 'Gazaland' entry in LO 8/i/i Minute Book, p. 44, N.A. (Salisbury).

    92 Many Europeans refused to believe that Gungunyane was defeated when the news first came out. The U.S. Consul in Mozambique was no exception. Hollis to Uhl, January I896, Despatches N.A. (Washington, D.C.)

    93 David Rodrigues, 'A Ocupagao de Mocambique', Revista da Infanteria (Lisbon, 1910), 150.