Showing posts with label MASEKO zwangendaba sotshangane nqaba swazi mozambique. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MASEKO zwangendaba sotshangane nqaba swazi mozambique. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2011



  • Friday, August 5, 2011
  • Samuel Albert

  • 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.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010



  • Wednesday, August 11, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author: Gerhard Liesegang
    Source: African Historical Studies, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1970), pp. 317-337
    Published by: Boston University African Studies Center

    The area adjacent to the Portuguese possessions of Lourenco Marques, Inhambane, Sofala, and Rios de Sena was affected after July 1821 by the wars and migrations which had started in South Africa a few years before.1 At least four groups moved into the area under consideration; one of them, the Gaza Nguni under Sotshangane, continued to remain in possession of a part of it after 1839, when the other three had left, dominating an area where, before 1820, more than fifty independent political units had existed.

    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the written evidence on these migrations as contained in Portuguese sources, most of which are administrative records,2 though these are not as rich as might be supposed. They hardly ever contain the names of the leaders of the migrating groups, and none of the terms applied to their followers (Mazitis, Landins, Massitis, Mabzites, Vatuas, etc.) is applied exclusively to any one group of invaders. It is therefore impossible to reconstruct migration routes on the basis of the administrative records alone. Only if we take the scraps of recorded oral tradition and personal memories,3 is