Cecil Rhodes and the British South Africa Company vs Lobengula and the Matabele.
|The extract which follows is from Bertrand Russells Freedom and Organization 18141914, Chapter XXXI, Imperialism (pp. 470471 of the hardback version).|
I'm assuming this passage falls within the 'fair dealing' copyright clauses.
|Bear this sort of thing in mind when assessing Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe as it now is.|
In July 1893 Dr. Jameson, who was the Chartered Company's manager, decided that the time had come to deal with the Matabele, [the Matabele and Mashona are two groups roughly in the territory which came to be Rhodesia—RW] and called for volunteers to help him in the "smashing of Lobengula." He offered every trooper who volunteered 3,000 morgen (nearly nine square miles) and twenty gold claims; he provided further that "the loot shall be divided, one-half to the B.S.A. [British South Africa Company—RW] Company, and the remainder to officers and men in equal shares." It is estimated that these various items together amounted to at least £10,000 per trooper. At this rate, it was not difficult to find men willing to help God in bringing about "peace, liberty, and justice." [Cecil Rhodes' catchphrase—RW] By October, the preparations were completed. Lobengula, still hoping for peace; sent three envoys to negotiate. The British gave a pledge of safe conduct, but on the day on which the envoys arrived at the camp, two of the three were "accidentally" killed. This was the beginning of the war, which lasted three months and realized all the hopes of the white men. Lobengula disappeared, his men fled or were killed, 900 farms and 10,000 gold claims were granted in what had been his kingdom, and about 100,000 cattle were looted, thus leaving the native survivors without means of livelihood.
In the "civilizing" of black Africa, it is always necessary to deprive the population of land and cattle, and other traditional sources of food, in order that they may be compelled to work for the white man. In Matabeleland, however, these methods were too slow, and forced labour was introduced. In 1896, after Jameson had been captured by the Boers, the Matabele made a desperate attempt to regain their freedom by rebellion, but they were, of course, defeated, and since then they have given no trouble. A tax of £2 a year was imposed on every native, who had to earn it by working for wages. Thus the two problems of revenue and wages were solved together. The Matabele, however, according to a well-known missionary, Mr. Carnegie, are not grateful, but say:
Our country is gone, our cattle are gone, our people are scattered, we have nothing to live for, our women are deserting us; the white man does as he likes with them; we are the slaves of the white man, we are nobody and have no rights or laws of any kind.It is comforting to think that all this suffering achieved a great and beneficent purpose: the transfer of bits of yellow metal from certain underground places to certain others, namely the vaults of the great Banks.