Bambata Rebellion! Today in 1906

On 14 April 1906, the Natal Government offered a £500 reward for the capture of Bambata in the wake of the Bambata Rebellion which was sparked by additional taxes.

Following the Anglo-Boer War, black workers were flocking to the Witwatersrand in order to work in the gold mines, leaving British employers in Natal without a labour force. In order to pressure more Zulu men to work locally, the colonial authorities imposed a poll tax in addition to the hut tax. Bambata was one of the local chiefs who opposed this tax during the time which is now known as the Bambata Rebellion.

In light of this opposition, policemen were sent to collect taxes from resistant communities. In February 1906, two British officers were killed resulting in the introduction of martial law. Pursuant to this, Bambata fled to King Dinizulu who supported Bambata and his family.

Bambata eventually returned to Mpanza Valley, where he learned that the British had replaced him as chief with his uncle. Bambata raised a small force and conducted guerrilla attacks in the area. Colonel Duncan McKenzie led an expedition in April 1906 to oppose Bambata and his force. Bambata and his warriors were outgunned by the Colonial expedition and were forced to flee. Colonel McKenzie tracked the rebels to the Mome Gorge where Bambata was captured and killed on 10 June 1906.

This time of rebellion makes for great postal history with soldiers writing home to tell of the Zulu threat. Below an example of an Active Service postcard, countersigned by an Officer as required for the stampless carriage. The postcard depicts a street in Ladysmith and was sent from Greytown to Durban. This scarce campaign item is available for purchase from Filat AG.

Bambata Rebellion Active Service Letter

Bambata Rebellion Active Service Postcard


Orange Tree Stamp – First Stamp of the OFS

On this day in 1854 the Orange Free State Constitution was adopted.

Boers had settled North of the Orange River, which was the Northern border of the Cape Colony. On 23 February 1854, British Sovereignty was renounced and three weeks later on 7 April 1854 the Orange Free State Constitution was officially adopted which led to the need for the Orange Tree Stamp.

The Orange Free State introduced its own stamps in 1868 depicting an orange olive tree. The orange tree stamp was typographed by De La Rue and Company and were issued in 1d, 6d and 1/- values.

From time to time, shortages of stamps necessitated the use of overprints, the first of which occurred in 1877. There are many different errors on these overprinted stamps including inverted or doubled overprints.

Below is an example of the IMPERFORATE COLOUR TRIALS for the 6d Orange Tree Stamp in brown, orange and carmine-rose in blocks of four on ungummed paper. These colour trials are extremely rare and are available for purchase on Filat AG.

orange tree stamp

6d Orange Tree Colour Trials