Laws and regulations affecting the powers of chiefs in the Natal and Zululand regions, 1875-1910 : a historical examination.
Thabethe, Sinothi Dennis.
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This dissertation aims to examine the nature of colonial-made laws and regulations which affected the powers of chiefs in the Natal and Zululand regions between 1875 and 1910, and the context in which they were made. Since the establishment of colonial rule in Natal in the 1840s, the colonial government had aimed to bring chiefs under control and to weaken their powers. In the 1870s the pace at which chiefly authority was undermined increased. This dissertation begins in the mid-1870s because this was when white settlers in Natal gradually began to get more influence over native affairs because of important shifts in British policies in South Africa. It ends in 1910 when the administration of native affairs in Natal was transferred from Pietermaritzburg to Pretoria upon the formation of the Union of South Africa. It argues that the making oflaws governing Africans in the Natal and Zululand regions from 1875 to 1910 had to do mainly with the desire of colonial officials to tighten up control over Africans, and the desire of white settlers in Natal to ensure security against Africans who greatly outnumbered them and to obtain land and labour from African communities. The dissertation begins with a brief examination of the colonial state and the nature of the powers of chiefs in the period before 1875. From 1875 to 1893 the Natal settlers gradually gained more influence over native affairs, and used it to formalize and define the powers of chiefs and izinduna. These developments are explained in chapter two. In chapter three the laws and regulations affecting the powers of chiefs that were passed under responsible government from 1893 to 1897 are examined in detail. This was when white settlers in Natal gained power to directly control native affairs. The Zululand region, i.e. to the north of the Thukela river, also experienced similar developments as Natal from 1879 to 1897. After the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879, the powers of hereditary chiefs in Zululand were weakened, together with the strength of Zulu royal house. The impact of colonial rule on the powers of chiefs in Zululand is covered in chapter four. When Zululand was incorporated into Natal in 1897, and when the white settler farmers dominated every department in the ministry, the 'web' of chiefly authority was weakened at a faster pace than before. Some ofthe laws that were in the Natal Code of Native Law were extended to Zululand. The way in which chiefly authority was undermined in the enlarged colony between 1897 to 1910 is examined in chapter five. Chapter six summarizes the findings of the dissertation.