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


Johnson Philatelics receives Johnson’s Post mail

Johnson Philatelics receives Johnson’s Post mail

Envelope with Johnson's Post Cancellation received by Johnson Philatelics

Johnson’s Post Cancellation

With the South African postal strike finally starting to lift, smaller cities such as Port Elizabeth are receiving masses of mail which has been delayed in Johannesburg and other sorting centres. Amongst the copious amounts of envelopes, Johnson Philatelics was delighted to discover one which proudly bears a JOHNSONS POST cancellation. Fellow philatelist, Joh Groenewald RDPSA, generously sent an item from Johnson’s Post near Mosselbay to Mr Richard Johnson, Director of Johnson Philatelics, who did not know this cancellation existed. Mr Groenewald is a well-known philatelic author in South Africa and is renowned for his knowledge of the Boer War. A list of his books can be found here.

Tell a Friend About This Post Tell a Friend About This Post

Scintillating Cyprus




In 1882, whilst awaiting the arrival of supplies of the 30pa definitives, this elusive provisional was in use for only seventeen days (22 May – 7 June)! Most of these provisionals were used postally whilst the remainders were used for accountancy purposes. This F/M example of the 30pa on 1pi rose (SG 24) is exceptionally rare unused thus and is currently available on our Swiss colleague’s website Filat AG.



Tell a Friend About This Post Tell a Friend About This Post

New Material Coming Soon!

After a successful visit to the Pretoria National Stamp Show the Johnson Team is looking forward to offering our clients new material which will be featured on Filat AG.

As a hint of the desirable items to come we present to you this 1907 KEVII 2/6 red cover booklet (SG SB2). F-VF unexploded example (one pane of six stamps removed) containing four complete panes of six 1d’s, the interleaves & covers intact. Stapled at left. Includes the rare first pane where the top left stamp is defaced by overprint “NOT FOR USE”, the additional 1d defraying the cost of production – see footnote in SG. Some minor imperfections, generally very good condition for this exceedingly elusive booklet. An exhibition piece and great rarity! (cv£3000). 20,580 of these booklets were produced but very few survive.

Tell a Friend About This Post Tell a Friend About This Post