MONARCH: A Statue erected in Durban in 2008 honours the memory of Zulu King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo

King Risked All For His People

King Dinuzulu Road Formerly Berea Road North and South ZULU King Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo was born in 1868. He succeeded his father King Cetshwayo, who was the last king of the Zulus to be officially recognised as such by the British. He came to power at a time when the kingdom had been divided into 13 smaller chiefdoms. Dinuzulu’s time on the throne was during a volatile period in his nation’s history and in 1890 Dinuzulu was exiled to the island of St Helena for seven years for leading a Zulu army against the British from 1883 to 1884.

During his reign, King Dinuzulu was twice sent to jail by the forces of colonialism. In 1906 the Bambatha Rebellion broke out. After the rebellion had been put down, Dinuzulu was accused of giving orders to Bambatha to start the rebellion and was put on trial for treason. He allowed Bambatha to work among his people to mobilise them in opposition to the poll tax, because he was against it himself. This he did at great risk to his personal safety and wellbeing. For his support of the Bambatha Rebellion, Dinuzulu was sent to prison and exiled.

Although he steadfastly protested his innocence, he was found guilty and sentenced to four years imprisonment in March, 1908. He served only one year of his sentence because of the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. General Louis Botha released him from prison only to send him to exile on a farm in the Transvaal where he spent the last three years of his life.

He died on 18 October 1913. King Dinuzulu is an important figure in the South African struggle against colonialism and imperialism. He lived in two important historical periods of the struggle: when the last armed struggle or resistance was launched by indigenous people against the imperialist forces; and when the Zulus launched new forms of struggle in the country. He was succeeded by his son Solomon kaDinuzulu.