‘The Last Outpost’
The Natalians, South Africa, and the British Empire
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the largest and last of Britain's colonies of settlement, highlighting its advanced degree of responsible government, making it almost a dominion, which caused Britain its greatest crisis of decolonization. Despite its unusually high rate of population turnover, great efforts were made to foster a local sense of identity which was linked to a wider loyalty to the British empire/Commonwealth and a sense of kinship with the white dominions in particular. The chapter analyses the white Rhodesians' egalitarian self‐image, as well as the complexities of their attitudes to the metropole, to Afrikaners and to Africans who constituted the great majority of the population. It also examines the settlers' ambition to become a permanent autonomous community against increasing odds, as well as their attempts to come to terms with the failure of this project.
In 1970 New Zealand's All Blacks toured South Africa. No Natal rugby player was chosen by the South African selectors to represent the country, even Tommy Bedford, one of Natal's iconic rugby heroes and vice‐captain of the South African national team, was dropped. There was widespread anger in Natal and at a banquet for the All Blacks in Durban, Bedford welcomed the visitors not to the South African province, but to Natal, the ‘last outpost of the British Empire’. Although this could be seen as a gesture of defiance to the South African selectors, it revealed a deeper reality. Natal's majority white group, the Natalians, were only too ready to see the omission of a Natal player as a slight on the integrity of their province and of their own identity. They consciously saw themselves as different to whites elsewhere in South Africa and the ‘last outpost’ was a defiant way of expressing that difference; of proclaiming their identity as an English‐speaking, ‘British’ community, of South Africa, yet different from the rest of the country.
During Natal's imperial period (1843–1961), the Natalians were socially and culturally similar to British settlers elsewhere in the British empire, sharing a broadly common attitude to Britain, the empire, and the monarchy. Within white South Africa, British settlers were in a minority compared to Afrikaners. In Natal, however, they formed the white majority and dominated the region, politically, socially, culturally, and economically. Alone among South Africa's British communities they used their colonial name, Natalians, to distinguish themselves. During the imperial years they evolved as a distinctive, even idiosyncratic, British community, a South African Ulster and the ‘last outpost of the Empire’.
(p. 151 ) The British presence in Natal began in 1824 when a few hunter‐traders established an outpost at Port Natal. The Zulu king, Shaka kaSenzangakhona, allowed them to exercise authority over nearby Africans and they established themselves as local chiefs, taking African ‘wives’. By 1839, when Afrikaner voortrekkers created the Republic of Natalia, few hunter‐traders remained and their legacy lived on as a Coloured or African community outside the settler identity.
The Republic had a short existence. In 1842 a small British force occupied Port Natal and on 31 May 1844, Natal was annexed to the Crown. 1 The new colony's future looked unpromising. Outside the narrow coastal strip and the midlands, Natal enjoyed few ecological advantages: the Drakensberg formed a formidable obstacle to contact with other white settlements; mail boats to England took over six weeks, and Natal's telegraph link came only in the late 1870s. Although the Zulu kingdom remained independent, many Africans lived in Natal. Their numbers grew rapidly, from under 100,000 in 1844 to over 950,000 in 1911, after the annexation of the rump of the Zulu kingdom and the Transvaal's New Republic district. 2 By contrast, white numbers remained small. Most Afrikaners left for the interior; by 1849 about sixty families remained, mainly in northern Natal where they became a distinctive minority. 3
Natal also faced the British government's unwillingness to finance an effective administrative infrastructure or immigration schemes. The colony's first officials came from the Cape, including Theophilus Shepstone who dominated colonial life until the 1870s and posthumously influenced African policy into the twentieth century. The earliest British settlers came from the Eastern Cape or were drawn from the 45th Regiment which garrisoned Natal from 1843 until 1858. These soldiers were the real pioneers, building roads and providing Natal with its first skilled craftsmen. 4
Immigration schemes were left to private enterprise. Between 1848 and 1852, approximately 4,800 settlers arrived in Natal, mainly under the (p. 152 ) auspices of the Byrne Emigration Company. Joseph Byrne brought settlers predominantly from northern England along with a Scottish contingent and a handful from Ireland. Byrne's scheme aimed at placing people of ‘good character and industrious habits’ on the land. 5 Without official financing, the scheme was largely affordable only to families able to pay between £10 (steerage) and £35 (cabin) per person for passage and twenty acres: middle‐class, yeoman, and lesser gentry families. Few had farming experience, and twenty acres was too small for productive farming. By 1852, Byrne was bankrupt and the settlers' future was bleak. One‐quarter soon emigrated. Those who remained on their allotments tended to be experienced Yorkshire farmers. Others with professional or commercial skills settled in Pietermaritzburg or Durban where they forged strong links between the towns and farming districts. 6
The Byrne settlers and another 1,500 who arrived between 1858 and 1864 under their sponsorship 7 established a tightly knit, homogeneous settler society, strongly imbued with mid‐Victorian bourgeois values of utilitarian individualism, self‐discipline, and thrift. 8 They established an enduring settlement pattern: a colony in which middle‐class values predominated and in which English were a majority over Celts, and ‘loyal’ Scots a majority over ‘disloyal’ Irish. There were few non‐British white settlers and many, such as the Norwegians of Marburg, or the small influential Jewish community in Durban, became Anglicized. Only the small German communities of New Germany and New Hanover retained their distinctive identity and language. With few British settlers, Natal's white population grew slowly, reaching only 35,866 by 1887. 9 This growth resulted mainly from natural increase but was retarded by steady emigration. Severe depressions in the 1860s and 1880s encouraged emigration while the Kimberley diamond discoveries in the late 1860s, and the Transvaal gold discoveries in the 1880s, saw large numbers move inland.
Natal was a poor colony with no cash crop except sugar, which became a viable export crop after the introduction of Indian indentured labourers (p. 153 ) from 1860. 10 In the midlands and interior, farmers remained isolated and under‐capitalized, seldom cultivating more than 10 per cent of their lands and dependent on unreliable supplies of African labour. Transport was mainly by ox wagon and bad roads, drought and heavy rains often made travel difficult. Letters and diaries describe evocatively how hard life was, particularly for women who often bore the brunt of farming and of supervising labour while men tried to earn money transport riding. 11 Many farms passed into the hands of speculators such as the Natal Land and Colonisation Company. 12 Economically, the colony survived on the through trade with the republics and on African taxes. In 1871 the Cape's Graham's Town Journal described Natal as ‘a British colony, so‐called, but in truth a native territory scantily occupied by Europeans’. 13 In the following years, as the population discrepancy between whites and Africans increased, the Natalians became ever more conscious of their position as a small minority surrounded by Africans.
Even after farming became commercially viable by the 1880s, the Natalians were essentially an urban community: over half lived in Pietermaritzburg and Durban. While other urban centres remained little more than villages, Pietermaritzburg and Durban became boroughs with mayors and town councils in the early 1850s. They retained the atmosphere of English market towns until the twentieth century. Pietermaritzburg was the administrative and military centre closely linked to the midlands farming community on which it depended commercially. Until Union the social and commercial life of the city centred on Government House and the Fort Napier military garrison while religious life focused on the Anglican bishopric, founded in 1853. The city was clique‐ridden with clear divisions (p. 154 ) between officials and non‐officials and between the military and civilians. Pietermaritzburg had a lower middle class mainly of civil servants and shopkeepers and there was constant friction between them and soldiers. The settlers had the Victorian social disdain for soldiering, a view reinforced by the soldiers' rowdy behaviour. 14 Durban's position meanwhile, as south‐east Africa's most important harbour city, made it commercially important. It was a subtropical British city with very close ties with the Royal Navy. While Pietermaritzburg society was self‐consciously genteel, Durban was brash and commercial, with its social and political life dominated by the merchant community. As the only town in Natal with an important white working‐class community, it was more marked by class differences. 15
From the earliest colonial days, the Natalians stressed what they saw as their superior antecedents. Over time a specifically British, essentially middle‐class, mythology of settlement evolved. The Byrne settlers might not have had wealth but, the Natalians insisted, they had birth, intelligence, and education, good stock ‘on which to engraft a respectable community’. 16 To Natal's first prime minister, Sir John Robinson, the Natalians had ‘won…for the Empire and for themselves the country they inhabit…from barbarism, and have bequeathed it to civilisation…It is a goodly heritage, and they mean to pass it on as a homeland to their children and their children's children.’ 17 An emerging sense of identity is implicit in Robinson's description, one that was essentially British and imbued with concepts of white racial and cultural supremacy, flourishing in contradistinction to both the African and Afrikaner presence in South Africa. This myth of Natalian superiority was nourished by a settler history that justified their dominance over other races, reinforced pride in British antecedents, and celebrated British values and institutions. Acceptance of British values is implicit in Alan Hattersley's books on Natal history and in the diaries and letters of the period. Imbued with colonial nostalgia, these writings portray a colonial setting that accepted the legitimacy of settler domination, ignored the Natalians' exploitation of blacks, and, by reinforcing stereotypes of (p. 155 ) their racial superiority, gave ideological justification to racism. They also, however, offer glimpses of the Natalians' endemic paranoia, particularly their fear of African uprisings, Zulu invasions, Indian competition, and miscegenation.
More recent Natal historiography, beginning with Brookes and Webb's 1965 classic History of Natal, places the Natalians in the context of their interrelationship with other races and offers a more rounded picture of the community and its identity, articulating voices suppressed in earlier work. The new historiography has also largely eroded the idealized myth of settler women and instead portrays them as both ‘subordinate in colonial hierarchies and as active agents of imperial culture in their own right’. 18 Women lived socially restricted, home‐bound lives, but they proved capable of taking the opportunities offered by colonialism and defining and imposing ideas of social status, culture, and Britishness in the home. 19 Both government and private girls' schools modelled themselves on their British counterparts and became important agents in reinforcing Natal's racial, social, and gender divisions. 20 Women's institutes and female patriotic societies like the Victoria League and the Daughters of the Empire became important agents reinforcing Britishness. 21
The earlier historiography was, however, right to place Britishness at the core of the Natalians' identity. While there were always dissenting voices, Britishness legitimized the position of most Natalians and anchored their identity in a new ‘savage’ environment. Their ties with Britain remained strong. As late as 1911, 30.13 per cent were born in Britain 22 and continued to be influenced by families and friends ‘back home’. Settler diaries and letters support Marjorie Morgan's argument that national identity should be understood ‘in terms of everyday images and rituals to do (p. 156 ) with landscape, religion, food and drink, recreation, manners, liberty, language and history’. 23 They reveal how the Natalians clung to old habits and traditions and tried to recreate their familiar way of life in a new environment, emphasizing the difference between savagery and order by cultivating English gardens and naming farms, homes, streets, and suburbs after British people and places. Most settlers handed a vision of Britain as ‘the sweetest, and noblest and best of countries’ down to their children and grandchildren. 24 Britain remained the epicentre of their world; fashions in dress, architecture, art, and literature followed those of Britain, as did the middle‐class desire for self‐improvement. Libraries and educational societies were founded and British books and journals were standard reading matter.
The colonial press served as a forum for imperialist ideology and was active in maintaining a British identity, reflecting and reinforcing ties of kinship and loyalty that bound the Natalians to Britain. The most important colonial newspapers, Pietermaritzburg's Natal Witness and Durban's Natal Mercury, were founded in the 1850s and still command a large place in Natalian affections. In their formative years their editors were forthright northerners who established a tradition of political independence and of opposition to those British policies seen as detrimental to settler interests. Editors like David Buchanan of the Witness and John Robinson of the Mercury were active political figures who used their newspapers in support of Natal's interests. 25
The press seldom questioned the imperial ideal, however, and, until 1961, glorified British achievements and idolized the Crown and the royal family. To the Natalians, the Crown defined their Britishness. Queen Victoria's family life was seen to embrace the middle‐class domestic virtues the Natalians were trying to recreate in their new home and identifying with royal activities was a way of buttressing their British identity. Settler letters and diaries reveal constant interest in the royal family while rituals associated with the Crown, such as the observation of the Queen's birthday and (p. 157 ) the granting of honours made many Natalians feel part of what Cannadine describes as a pan‐British imperial elite. 26 Royal visits also validated British rituals in the colony and reinforced colonial ties with the mother country, while statues of Victoria and other royal memorials provided physical reminders of the Crown. Churches of various denominations also promoted Britishness and loyalty to the Crown and empire. The settlers were predominantly Protestant and Catholicism was never more than a minority denomination. As elsewhere in the empire, Anglican and other Protestant clergymen were imbued with imperial pride and generally shared the settlers' segregationist and white supremacist views. 27
The Natalians' sense of British identity was matched by an equally strong sense of belonging to Natal: while their sense of identity was British, their sense of place was Natalian. Settler writings reflect a love of place and identification with their surroundings. In 1857 Frances Colenso wrote from Bishopstowe to her sister: ‘I wish you could see one of these summer evenings here, the sunset on these lovely hills, the fireflies in the grass…I do so dote on these green hills.’ 28 Twentieth‐century poets like Roy Campbell and Roy McNab celebrated Natal's beauty, the most lyrical evocation being Alan Paton's famous opening lines of Cry, the Beloved Country: ‘There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. The hills are grass‐covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.’ 29 Landscape artists such as Cathcart Methven did much to give a visual identity to Natal in loving portrayals of the Drakensberg, the midlands, Durban bay, and the south coast.
Natalian identity was articulated by the colony's white elite, the major farming and coastal planter gentry and the officials and merchants of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the so‐called Old Natal Families. 30 These families believed as much in the social as in the racial hierarchical order. While some had an upper‐class British background, others overcame initial hardships to become prosperous, gathering the trappings of gentility and building lavish urban and country houses where they replicated a British (p. 158 ) upper‐class lifestyle. As in Britain, the gentry placed a priority on land as an inalienable asset and conformed to Cain and Hopkins's observation that gentlemen in the colonies ‘took to paternalism as squires to the manner born, and they tried to recreate abroad the hierarchy they were familiar with at home’. 31 The Old Natal Families established a closely knit network that dominated Natal's political, social, and economic life and transformed colonial agriculture. Civically conscious, their male members played a role in the legislature and as justices of the peace and established a reasonably effective colonial bureaucracy. Aware of the social importance of the imperial connection they staunchly supported British traditions. Their social life revolved around the Durban Club and Pietermaritzburg's Victoria Club, institutions that were clearly designed to protect and further masculine interests and to exclude not only women but also ‘undesirables’ from access to power. These included the lower classes, other races, and, with few exceptions, Afrikaners and Jews. In rural areas, farmers' clubs and agricultural associations protected settler agricultural interests and worked rigorously to stamp out African or Indian competition.
By the end of the nineteenth century, a hegemonic masculinity had developed in Natal that embraced the middle class as much as the elite and was propagated by vigorously imperialist patriotic societies such as the Caledonian and the Sons of England, and Masonic lodges. This hegemonic masculinity reflected the creed of middle‐class manliness that was being disseminated throughout the empire and dictated what was and was not acceptable masculine behaviour. 32 It was encouraged by the garrison and was particularly evident on the sports field. Hunting and shooting were popular colonial diversions while organized team sports were important indicators of race, class, and gender. Tennis and cycling were the only sports shared by men and women and all sports were strictly segregated racially until into the 1980s. Polo and golf were upper‐class sports while football became divided along class lines by 1900 between ‘middle‐class’ rugby and ‘working‐class’ soccer. Cricket, played from the earliest colonial years, was popular among all classes and together with rugby was seen as embodying the best British values of team play and sportsmanship. Sports clubs, country clubs, and school old (p. 159 ) boys' clubs were important social and sporting meeting places, rivalling urban ‘gentlemen's’ clubs in popularity if not prestige. 33
As elsewhere in the empire, volunteering also provided an outlet for Natalian masculinity. Volunteer regiments like the Natal Carbineers, formed to supplement the imperial garrison, fought in the Anglo‐Zulu War (1879), losing twenty‐one men at Isandhlwana, and in the Anglo‐Boer War (1899–1902). Natal families became associated with individual regiments, providing them with regional loyalties which lasted until the end of the twentieth century. In addition, the regiments established traditions linking them to the British military establishment and to the Crown. 34
The settlers' hegemonic masculine and British ideology was passed from father to son by the colonial educational system. While those who could afford to, sent their sons to school in Britain, elite government schools such as Maritzburg College and Durban High School and private schools like Michaelhouse and Hilton College became prestigious institutions. They relied heavily on English public and grammar schools for their inspiration, traditions, syllabi, and teachers and established a code of conduct that, by training their pupils to fill leadership positions and become ‘rulers of the natives’, reinforced class and race prejudices. 35 The schools' ethos centred on sport: both team sports and boxing were believed to build up boys' characters and instil self‐control, responsibility, and physical courage, essential to ensuring white supremacy. They also taught them to play the game and to ‘take a licking like men’. 36 In a society in which white males often used violence to maintain their authority over Africans, many teachers believed that boys should know how to fight, encouraging them to sort out problems with their fists and often turning a blind eye when conformity or at least silence was thrashed into boys whose allegiance to hegemonic masculinity was suspect. 37 Settler masculinity also found a ready vehicle in the cadet (p. 160 ) system introduced from the 1860s. Cadets instilled military values in boys and provided a recruiting ground for volunteer regiments. 38 While scouting was introduced in the early twentieth century it never became as popular in the elite schools as cadets or as guides in girls' schools and drew mainly on lower class support.
In Natal, as in other European colonies where indigenous inhabitants outnumbered settlers, Britishness was as much a racial as a cultural definition, linked to social‐Darwinist concepts of whiteness and the need to maintain social and cultural distance between the races, violently if necessary. Settler violence took many forms, ranging from physical force to interventions in African life and customs. 39 In an uneasy mix of paternalism and racism, Natalians stereotyped Africans morally and socially as children to be disciplined and whose way of life, from their clothes to the number of their wives, was legislated for. White arrogance and ignorance of African customs exacerbated relations between the races and were particularly evident in the ambiguous relationship between settler women and male African servants. Although there were remarkably few reports of African attacks on white women, periodic rape scares reflected settler fears of the virile ‘savages’ living among them and concerns about the sexual vulnerability of settler women. 40
Feelings of insecurity and fear of the ‘savage’ African saw a particularly virulent and violent racism develop amongst Natalians, more extreme than amongst most other British South Africans and more akin to that of the Afrikaners. It was demonstrated in racist and restrictive laws that curtailed African freedom and in the ruthless crushing of all opposition. 41 Very few Natalians challenged this racism and those who did, such as Bishop Colenso and his daughters, were easily marginalized and ignored. 42 Insecurity and fear were interlinked with Natal's economic stagnation and constant labour shortages. The backwardness of settler agriculture saw many farmers rely on (p. 161 ) African tenants for labour and rents. African independence from settler control made this labour unreliable and the early colonial period was marked by settler attempts to end African independence. In 1856 Natal obtained representative government and, from the start, elected members on the Legislative Council tried to force the administration to limit Africans' independence and turn them into labourers. 43 Before responsible government was granted in 1893, they had limited success as British‐appointed governors, and officials such as Shepstone, afforded Africans a measure of protection.
By the 1890s, however, the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley and gold on the Witwatersrand saw a rapid improvement in the farmers' position coupled with a diminished ability of African tenants to resist their demands. Land values rose, resulting in absentee‐owned and Crown lands passing into settler hands. As the acreage available to Africans shrank, tenants had to accept more onerous labour contracts and became virtual serfs. In the towns, the attempts by the emerging African middle class of Christianized amakholwa to identify with British values and assimilate to Britishness were rebuffed, and there was also a growing demand for white control over both ex‐indentured Indians and the growing class of Indian merchants and traders, all of whom threatened settler economic interests. Particularly in Durban, settler attitudes to Indians became nakedly racist. By the late 1880s there were almost as many Indians as whites in Natal and alarm was growing that the Natalians would be swamped politically and economically. 44
British traditions of self‐government meant that there had always been a strong sentiment in support of responsible government in the colony. Now, as settlers began flexing their economic muscles, they believed that only responsible government would enable them to control Africans and Indians. The small size of their community, however, made them acutely aware of their dependence on British military protection and many feared the consequences of responsible government. But by the early 1890s, these fears were balanced by growing resentment at the continuing neglect by successive British governments of Natal's interests in southern Africa. The (p. 162 ) Natalians particularly resented Britain's non‐support for their attempts to further Natal's economic interests in south‐east Africa and the Transvaal. They had always wanted to see the Zulu kingdom brought under imperial rule to provide them with both land and labour but after the Anglo‐Zulu War, vacillating British policies towards Zululand led by 1888 to the division of the kingdom between the Afrikaner‐controlled New Republic (later part of the Transvaal) and a British colony. 45
Natal's dependence on its import–export trade with the Transvaal made the settlers acutely aware of developments in the republic. In 1877 they had enthusiastically supported its annexation by Britain, and they had reacted with bitterness and humiliation when independence was restored in 1881 after the British defeat at Majuba. The discovery of gold in 1886 revolutionized the Transvaal's economic position and saw it poised to challenge British predominance in South Africa. To protect Natal's economic interests, the merchant leaders of Durban and their representatives in the legislature, Robinson and Harry Escombe, realized that a rapprochement with the republic would be in Natal's interests and they began wooing the Transvaal and distancing themselves from anti‐republican imperial policies.
The desire to establish complete control over Africans and Indians and the belief that only responsible government would enable Natal to protect its interests in the Transvaal and south‐east Africa, convinced Robinson and Escombe of the need for self‐rule. After extensive negotiations with the British government, responsible government was granted in 1893 and the first ministry was sworn in under Robinson's premiership. With fewer than 10,000 voters, the new Legislative Assembly had only thirty‐seven members. Party affiliations never took root and politics throughout the responsible government period tended to be parochial. After Robinson and Escombe's departure in the late 1890s, the legislators were of a poor calibre, ‘governing themselves badly…and the native population worse’. 46 Responsible government succeeded in tightening settler control over Africans and Indians and saw the Colony of Zululand transferred to Natal in 1897, opening it to exploitation by sugar planters. The ruthless assertion of settler power over Zululand and over colonial Africans and Indians saw Winston Churchill (p. 163 ) label Natal ‘the hooligan of the British Empire’. 47 However, it ensured white supremacy in south‐east Africa until the 1980s. It was not uncontested; racist legislation and increasingly onerous taxation saw widespread uprisings in Natal‐Zululand in 1906 which were ruthlessly crushed, leaving Africans exhausted and sullen. 48
With responsible government, the Natalians were also able to complete the Transvaal railway and improve Durban harbour. They heavily mortgaged the colony doing so, in the process becoming dependent on Transvaal trade at a time when the prospect of conflict between Britain and the republic was looming. The Natalians were faced with the choice between imperial sentiment and economic reality. Despite resentment at the detrimental effect of British policies on the colony, many were caught up in the imperialist jingoism sweeping the empire and became increasingly vociferous in support of Transvaal Uitlander demands for British protection. By contrast, successive Natal ministries realized the potentially disastrous economic implications of opposition to the Transvaal and cautiously distanced themselves from British policies. Only in 1899, when it became obvious that the high commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner, was determined to impose British rule on the Transvaal, did the Natal ministry throw its support behind a policy that led to the Anglo‐Boer War. 49 With much of the early fighting taking place in northern Natal, colonial volunteer regiments bore much of the brunt of the initial attack. Although less than 25 per cent of white Natalians of military age volunteered, 50 their services were invaluable in northern Natal and the colony was rewarded after the war by being granted the original New Republic Transvaal divisions.
The annexation of the northern districts and Zululand consolidated settler control over south‐east Africa. The exploitation of northern Natal's coalfields played a vital role in the growth of the colonial infrastructure and industries. 51 Railway lines now linked the colony to the interior, created new (p. 164 ) villages, and brought many farmers into close contact with urban and overseas markets. Durban was becoming South Africa's favourite holiday resort and the subcontinent's premier port. By 1904, Natal's white population had increased to 97,109 and a new sense of settler self‐confidence was reflected in a rash of building, including the exuberantly Edwardian baroque Durban town hall and impressive government and municipal buildings in Pietermaritzburg. 52 Despite this new self‐confidence, the colony faced considerable problems. The growth of Durban had broadened the white urban working class and the appearance of trade unions and founding of the Labour Party in the early 1900s challenged the political and socio‐economic hegemony of the Old Natal Families. Strikes, particularly among railway workers, became a new phenomenon. The post‐war years also saw a severe economic depression that made Natalians aware of the fragility of their position. With annual expenditure exceeding revenue, the colony became more dependent economically on the now British Transvaal. British rule throughout South Africa offered the chance of closer cooperation between the four South African colonies that could alleviate some of Natal's concerns, including fear of another African rising and of Indian competition. In 1908, the Natalians agreed to take part in a National Convention to consider union.
The Natal delegates favoured a federation in which the colony would retain its identity. The other colonies, however, were intent on political union and carried the day. Natal's delegates were able to secure a number of concessions, including the establishment of provincial councils with limited powers over education, hospitals, roads, local public works, agriculture, and wildlife conservation. 53 These concessions, and the suicidal economic consequences of standing aside, saw the Natalians reluctantly accept the inevitable. In a referendum, they voted nearly four to one in favour of union. 54 They greeted the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910 with apprehension, however. The passing of political power from Pietermaritzburg to Pretoria had profound consequences for the new province and particularly for Pietermaritzburg. The departure of the King's last representative, and the transformation of the colonial parliament into a provincial (p. 165 ) council, saw the city lose its status. The administrator, Charles Smythe, was a Union government appointee presiding over a small provincial administration with approximately 25 per cent of the city's civil servants transferring to Pretoria. Although the opening of the University College of Natal gave the city an educational importance, there was little else to compensate it for its loss in status, particularly after the imperial garrison left in 1914.
From 1910, Natal was ruled far more rigorously from Pretoria than it ever had been from London and the Natalians became very conscious of their political impotence. During the next half century they were to fight unsuccessfully to protect themselves from the realities of the changing constitutional position of South Africa and of the empire. Although Britain was replaced as the metropolitan power by the Union government, the Natalians resisted the loosening of imperial ties. Unlike their British compatriots in the other provinces who were cautiously accepting a common South Africanism uniting English‐ and moderate Afrikaans‐speakers, the Natalians became more stridently British. Imperialism became all‐pervasive in shaping their attitudes. For the remainder of the imperial period, Natal's newspapers retained their independence of the newspaper consortiums that were established elsewhere in the Union and continued to be bulwarks of imperialism and Britishness. As Horace Rose, the Witness editor, wrote, ‘Heavy, indeed will be the responsibility upon us if it can be said by our posterity that we in this Province forgot that, whatever our South African nationhood may be, we are British first, and all the time.’ 55
The province gave the Natalians' Britishness a context and, despite its restricted powers, the provincial council gave their Britishness a voice. Thompson defines the province's civic culture as ‘the sum of symbols and rituals which sustain authority and provide identity to a community’. 56 Until 1961, Britishness bound the Natalians together and gave them a sense of coherence. They deliberately used British symbols and imperial rituals to sustain their sense of identity and bitterly resisted all attempts to scrap them. The colonial mace was retained in the provincial council, the Union Jack continued to fly, and ‘God Save the King’ to be sung. These defined the Natalians and assured their position. Britishness became even (p. 166 ) more of an assertion of a separate identity than in the nineteenth century, distinct from Afrikaner identity.
In the nineteenth century relations between the Natalians and the colony's small Afrikaner minority had been cordial but the growth of imperialist jingoism in the 1890s encouraged anti‐Afrikaner sentiments which were further stimulated when many Natal Afrikaners sided with the republican invaders in 1899. Despite being defeated, Afrikaners captured political control of the new Transvaal and Orange River colonies when responsible government was granted in 1907 and were the dominant political influence in the Cape. Fear of Afrikaner domination was an important reason for the Natalians' desire for federation and after 1910 they fought a long rearguard action to preserve their provincial liberties and British character. In doing so they lost sight of the larger picture, reducing their role in South Africa and, by their often vulgar jingoism, undermining the alliance between English‐speakers and moderate Afrikaners that was essential for the continuation of British influence in South Africa.
Their attitude to Afrikaners was partly shaped by ignorance. Until after 1961, outside northern Natal, a Natalian seldom heard a word of Afrikaans. 57 Most Afrikaners they had contact with tended to be lower class, often railway workers or policemen transferred to the province after Union. Middle‐class snobbery reinforced the Natalians' anti‐Afrikaner sentiments, and, when the Transvaal leader, Louis Botha, was appointed prime minister in 1910, many felt bitter that an Afrikaner could dictate the future of a British community.
Despite being culturally and ideologically akin to English‐speakers elsewhere in the Union, the Natalians were unable to form a cohesive block with the predominantly British Unionist Party. A legacy of economic rivalry with the Cape and rejection of the Cape's liberal franchise alienated them from the British in that province and they were equally unable to make common cause with the Transvaal British because the mining interests favoured using Mozambique's harbour facilities. 58 In the 1911 general election, only five Unionists and two supporters of Botha's South African Party (SAP) were elected in Natal compared to ten independents. 59 Botha (p. 167 ) capitalized on the Natalians' antagonism to the Unionists by appointing two independents to his cabinet. In 1912, Botha excluded the Orange Free State ex‐Boer War general, Barry Hertzog, from his cabinet after Hertzog alienated English‐speakers by advocating policies that they believed discriminated against their interests. His exclusion convinced many Natalians that their interests were safe in Botha's hands. 60 The SAP government's support for Britain during the First World War further consolidated their support for Botha and in the 1915 general election the province returned eleven SAP MPs compared to four Unionists, one Labour, and one Independent. 61
The First World War brought out the best and the worst in the Natalians. They responded emotionally to what they saw as Britain's moral decision to protect Belgian neutrality. Like Britons elsewhere in the empire, they felt bound to support the mother country and ‘proud of the high privilege of being called upon to play our part in the struggle’. 62 Schools, patriotic societies, churches, and Natalians of all political persuasions including Labour Party members, threw their weight behind the war effort. A steady stream volunteered with the South African forces while many, particularly from the elite schools, went to England to serve as officers in British regiments and in the Royal Flying Corps. Approximately 43 per cent of English‐speaking South African men of military age fought and, although there are no figures for Natal, there is nothing to indicate that their response was less enthusiastic than elsewhere in the Union. 63 Negatively, the war evoked the Natalians' more jingoist and violent characteristics. Despite having lived harmoniously with their German fellow settlers since the 1840s, anti‐German hysteria gripped the province, with Durban in particular being smitten by ‘the molten hate of the Hun and his works’. 64 After the Lusitania incident in 1915, Durban mobs burned and looted German‐owned buildings and demanded the confiscation of German businesses. 65
South Africa's sacrifices at Delville Wood during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and on other battle fronts made a profound impression on (p. 168 ) Natalians and after 1918 they made concerted efforts to maintain their wartime camaraderie. Monuments were unveiled, memorial services were held and ex‐servicemens' associations were formed, most noticeably the South African Legion of the British Empire Service League, and the Memorable Order of Tin Hats, the MOTHS, founded in Durban in 1927. Ex‐servicemen also founded the great road race, the Comrades Marathon.
Although pride in their wartime achievements stimulated South Africanist sentiments amongst some Natalians, the growth of Afrikaner nationalism in the 1920s which directly threatened Natal's British character and South Africa's position in the empire, further strengthened their British and provincial loyalties. In the 1924 general election the National Party won a majority of seats and, in a pact with the Labour Party, including three Natal members, formed the government. The province's working class only reluctantly supported this pact with the Nationalists and from 1925 they joined with Natalians of all classes in vehemently rejecting a bill to replace the Union Jack with a national flag. The flag controversy aroused a storm of virulently anti‐Afrikaner sentiment in Natal, rallying SAP and Labour supporters, Caledonian societies and Sons of England, men and women, in defence of the Union Jack. The flag symbolized the Natalians' position as British subjects and the province's separate status and they were determined to maintain it. Their success in retaining it as one of two national flags was largely due to the fact that English‐speakers throughout the Union joined forces and used the SAP as a vehicle for their campaign. 66 The support that the SAP leader, Jan Smuts, gave the campaign strengthened Natalian support for the party even if their MPs always acted as a separate ‘Natal Party’ faction within the party. Used by politicians like George Heaton Nicholls to assert Natal interests and stimulate Natal patriotism, the flag campaign paved the way for later separatist movements.
Although the Natal faction was large enough to make its voice heard, its contribution to the party was generally negative. Natal continued to return mediocre MPs who were generally regarded with contempt by both English‐ and Afrikaans‐speaking South Africans. Even the province's most influential interwar politician, Heaton Nicholls, was a political lightweight. Consistent with the province's aggressive masculinity, there were very few female members of Parliament or the Provincial Council. The Natalians' main (p. 169 ) contribution was to strengthen the SAP's conservative, racist, wing. By the 1920s, they were advocating strengthening Zulu tribal authorities as instruments to control Africans 67 and, in response to intensified African migration to urban areas following wartime industrialization, began instituting a segregation system that gathered momentum during the following decades and was extended to include Indians. The so‐called ‘Durban System’ influenced segregation policies elsewhere in the Union, foreshadowing post‐1948 apartheid policies.
The war had stimulated economic growth in Natal, particularly in Durban which witnessed rapidly increased industrialization and the consolidation of its position as the subcontinent's premier port; by the 1930s it handled 80 per cent of the Union's maritime cargo. 68 Sugar farming expanded rapidly on the coast as did wattle and sheep farming in the midlands. This steady capitalization of white agriculture enabled white farmers to tighten their control further over African and Indian tenants. 69 The 1929–33 Depression years, however, destabilized white society. Farmers slid heavily into debt and both whites and Africans moved to the cities, particularly to Durban. Social destabilization led to political instability, manifested in the emergence of a number of small separatist or federalist parties. Although economic discontent was an important factor in this development, the government's proposal to balance the national budget by abolishing provincial councils gave it impetus. By the 1930s the provincial council was seen as the strongest safeguard of the Natalians' way of life 70 and, in 1932, the Devolution League was formed to safeguard it. Federalism remained a constant theme in Natal politics, particularly in Durban, for the rest of the century. Although successive federal parties enjoyed only minority support among Natalians, they did have short‐term successes. In the 1933 general election, a Home Rule coalition won two Durban seats while the provincial elections of August 1933 saw seven of their number returned in Durban seats. 71
(p. 170 ) Ideally the Natalians during these years would have liked to be in the position of the southern African British community they most resembled, the Rhodesians. There was, indeed, a steady if small emigration of Natalians to Southern Rhodesia which combined the Natalian ideal of being both a British and a white man's country. In the best of all worlds, Natal would have remained a responsibly‐governed colony but with the economic and strategic benefits of Union intact. In many ways the province was comparable to Ulster. In 1899, Milner had referred to Natal as ‘a secure outpost of England, loyal in the fashion of Ulster’ 72 and the comparison remained valid for the remainder of the imperial period. 73 At a time when most South African English‐speakers, sometimes reluctantly, accepted constitutional change, Natalians were as determined as Ulstermen to protect their cultural and provincial identity and drew on Ulster prototypes when expressing their determination to remain British. 74 Increasingly they became defined as much by what they were against as what they were. In the process, like Ulster's Unionists, their interests became localized and provincialized and they developed into an idiosyncratic, separatist, and impotent community.
Although the threat to the provincial councils passed, 1933 saw South Africa's imperial links called into question. In that year the Depression forced the Nationalists to ally with the SAP, leading to the formation of the United Party. As part of the negotiations Smuts agreed to support the Nationalists' proposed Status Acts which, consistent with the 1931 Statute of Westminster, proclaimed the Union Parliament the country's sovereign legislative body. The Natalians reacted with considerable bitterness, many seeing this as the first step towards severing the Union's imperial ties. While a tiny minority, mainly ex‐servicemen, formed neo‐fascist movements such as the New Guard, with links to British and Australian groups, 75 most opponents of the Acts used parliamentary means. Eight SAP MPs from throughout the Union, including Natal's Sidney Marwick, broke away to form the Dominion Party whose agenda was to ‘embrace all that is dear to British tradition’ and repeal the Status Acts. 76 The party's stronghold was (p. 171 ) Durban and the south coast, where in the 1938 general election it secured seven seats. 77
The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, rallied both the Dominion and the Labour Party behind Smuts, who became Prime Minister after Hertzog was defeated on a vote of neutrality. The support given Smuts by the two parties reflects the unanimity with which Natalians entered the war, many agreeing with Heaton Nicholls during the neutrality debate that ‘We are at war in the eyes of every British subject and if we are not at war, we cannot be British subjects.’ 78 Even more so than in 1914, they were united with English‐speakers elsewhere in a common and whole‐hearted commitment to the imperial cause. There are no figures for the number of English‐speaking South Africans who volunteered but every indication suggests that their numbers were greater than between 1914 and 1918. Natal's regiments distinguished themselves in North Africa and Natalians won three of South Africa's four VCs. The great majority believed they were fighting for a just cause, particularly from June 1940 when Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone. In addition to those bearing arms, many were involved in home defence while women volunteered to serve as nurses or in the South African Women's Auxiliary Services. Durban became a major wartime port, revictualling and repairing allied shipping and providing quarters for allied servicemen in transit, resulting in ties of friendship that often lasted long after the war. 79
Thompson suggests that the Natalians experienced the imperial connection more strongly during the war than at any other time. 80 Their whole‐hearted commitment to the war effort brought out their best characteristics and by mid‐1945 they felt immense pride in what Natal, South Africa, and the Empire/Commonwealth had achieved. In the following years they found it difficult to accept Britain's diminished power and found British withdrawal from India particularly hard to stomach. But, as the extent of Britain's economic crisis sank in, there was widespread agreement on the need to provide aid to British people. Between 1945 and 1948 the Natalians (p. 172 ) contributed generously to fund‐raising schemes. Street collections, concerts, fetes, and auctions were held and, to personalize the appeals, individual British towns were identified as ‘blitzed areas’ in need of assistance.
The royal visit to South Africa in 1947 reaffirmed the Natalians' loyalty to the Crown and reinforced their sense of pride in the British and imperial connection. The Nationalists' victory in the 1948 general election, however, returned a government committed to republicanism. Over sixty years after the event, elderly Natalians still reflect on the shock of the unexpected result and their own horror, dismay, and devastation. 81
Until the early 1950s, however, the new government downplayed its republican agenda while many Natalians approved of its racist policies to Indians and Africans. Despite more enlightened racial attitudes among returning servicemen, attitudes that were reflected in Natal's schools and university, and were to lead to the formation in the 1950s of the Union‐wide Liberal and Progressive Parties, most Natalians were hostile to the growth of African militancy after 1945 and to Indian and United Nations' support for the Union's Indians. They welcomed the government's removal of Indians from the common voters' roll in 1949, while the Durban corporation readily cooperated in enforcing the government's 1950 Group Areas Act. 82 The extent of Natalian support for anti‐Indian policies led the Commonwealth Relations Office to describe Natal as ‘politically the rogue province’ which could not be relied on to oppose apartheid policies. 83 Few Natalians were, however, prepared to vote National Party and after 1948 the province became a United Party enclave. In 1952, a revival of separatist sentiments among groups like the Defenders of the Constitution and the War Veterans' Torch Commando failed to shake the UP hold on Natal and these groups were only able to make a political impact by forming a Natal Stand with the UP and Labour in the 1953 general election on a platform of protecting the Constitution's entrenched clauses. 84 When the NP was returned with an (p. 173 ) increased majority, the Natal Stand disintegrated and, despite Heaton Nicholls's establishment of the Union Federal Party, 85 the UP was able to consolidate its provincial position.
As the 1950s drew to a close the government came out openly in favour of a republic. In 1957 the Union Jack and ‘God save the Queen’ were abolished and at the beginning of 1960 a whites‐only republican referendum was announced for October. In defence of what they continued to believe defined their distinctive identity, the Natalians presented a united front. In the months leading up to the referendum, large, rowdy anti‐republican meetings were held and republican meetings were broken up. The press warned against breaking ‘the links that bind your future to a great past’. 86 Freedom Radio, broadcast by the semi‐secret Horticulturalist organization, rallied opposition. 87 There was unprecedented enthusiasm on polling day. Natal had the highest percentage turn‐out in the Union: 93 per cent of the voters turned out, of whom 75.9 per cent voted against the republic. Country‐wide, the referendum saw a small vote in favour of the republic, with Natal the only province opposed. Natalians reacted with emotional demands for secession but the UP leadership in the Provincial Council followed the party's national stand in accepting the decision. Finally the Provincial Council compromised by calling for stronger provincial powers, a call that was ignored. 88 On 31 May 1961 Natal reluctantly and with considerable foreboding became a province of the Republic of South Africa, outside the Commonwealth.
The question asked then and even now is, why did the Natalians capitulate in 1961 and why in the following years did they, apparently easily, accept republican rule? For a few years there was increased emigration but most Natalians accepted the inevitable. In the last resort, as in 1909, economics and security rather than culture and identity dictated their actions. Despite overwhelmingly rejecting the republic, the realization that they could not go it alone in an increasingly hostile world saw the Natalians move towards a modus vivendi with the apartheid government. Had Britain been prepared to support a secessionist Natal, the situation might have been different. But (p. 174 ) successive British governments had reacted warily after the Nationalist government had warned in 1953 against encouraging a Natal Ulster. 89 Despite the Natalians' strident insistence that they would resist the republic, British officials realized there was more sound than substance to their protestations. In 1954, the British high commissioner told London that ‘in many ways they present an unflattering picture of Britons gone soft and flabby…lacking the punch required of successful rebels’. 90 In 1960, Natal's UP leader, Douglas Mitchell concurred, referring to the Natalians as ‘lethargic, too damn lazy’. 91
More importantly, the Natalians reluctantly accepted that Britain had little desire to help them. As already noted, they had often felt betrayed by British governments. In the 1950s many, seeking a scapegoat for their own impotence, blamed their predicament on Britain's failure to support them. 92 By 1960 the Natalians could no longer close their eyes to the fact that time was running out for the British settlers in Central and East Africa and in February Macmillan's ‘Winds of Change’ speech brought home the message that Britain would no longer support white South Africans against Africans. For Mitchell the writing was on the wall: ‘One thing is certain. Britain is getting out of Africa…Macmillan said in effect: “Good‐bye…You are on your own.”’ 93 That the Natalians could no longer depend on British support was reinforced once South Africa became a republic, when Britain began criticizing South Africa's treatment of Indians. 94 Because of this, many Natalians became vociferous opponents of British policies. As a small white minority, reinforced by a steady influx of British settlers from East and Central Africa from the 1960s, they were aware of the threat Britain's decolonization of Africa posed to their position. Most enthusiastically supported Ian Smith's Rhodesia and by the late 1960s the Natal Mercury, ten years earlier the most jingoistically British newspaper, had become a strident opponent of the British government.
Such attitudes made acceptance of the republic easier. Despite this, the Natalians continued to regard themselves as different from the rest of (p. 175 ) the country. As English‐speakers elsewhere moved slowly towards accepting the more liberal Progressive Party, the Natalians stuck resolutely to the UP and its successor, the New Republic Party. Even in the 1981 elections, when the Natalians finally abandoned the New Republic Party at national level, it won the majority of provincial council seats on the slogan ‘Natal Stay Free—Vote NRP’. 95 Yet despite their attitudes to blacks, Natalians had difficulty accepting the ideological justifications given for apartheid and straight‐jacketing all South Africans in a common system and they resented the Nationalist government's steady reduction of provincial rights. Impotent to prevent change, the Natalians withdrew into a cocoon of nostalgia for a lost past. The day before South Africa became a republic, at the request of the Natal Executive Council the Royal College of Arms had promulgated the provincial coat‐of‐arms, surmounted by a crown, as the province's official device. The Union Jack continued to fly on historic days on Pietermaritzburg's and Durban's city halls while the colonial red ensign enjoyed a popular revival. As late as the 1977 Silver Jubilee, Natal audiences applauded the Queen when she appeared on cinema screens. After Tommy Bedford's 1970 outburst, ‘Natal—the last outpost’ became a popular slogan. But all these were now irrelevant to the province's position. Nostalgia had replaced action.
Nostalgia helped the Natalians ignore present realities, which included the unwelcome fact that the demise of Britishness had also undermined whiteness. In South Africa at large the ANC was winning the battle against Afrikaner nationalism and Durban was rocked by a growing militancy and widespread strikes. 96 A new aggressive Zulu movement, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party, challenged the Natalians' position and offered a radically different ideology for the province. Yet paradoxically, the revival of Zulu traditionalism seemed to offer the Natalians a radically new scenario, that of moving towards a modus vivendi with the Zulu in a federated Natal‐Zulu province in a federal relationship with the rest of South Africa.
The advent of democracy in 1994 saw the end of much the Natalians held dear. A new province, KwaZulu‐Natal, arose, in whose provincial parliament whites were an insignificant minority. Power also passed into African hands in both Pietermaritzburg and Durban, while in the countryside white (p. 176 ) farmers became a beleaguered community. Today, the Natalians are very different from what they were during the imperial period. Culturally they remain inherently British while their educational system continues to reflect a British ethos and to extend that ethos to Africans and Indians. With their business leaders scrambling to embrace change after 1994, they retain considerable economic power in the new province. But in a post‐apartheid South Africa they have lost political control of the province and this has robbed them of their identity. Yet, unlike the other British communities in this volume, and despite the growing fear of crime, most Natalians have accepted black rule rather than go into exile, reflecting the deep roots most have sunk in Natal's soil. They, have, however, like other English‐speaking South Africans, withdrawn ‘into a private world of business and home and sunlit leisure. Politically they have atrophied…they have no vision of South Africa's future or their role in it.’ 97
Jo Beall, ‘Class, Race and Gender: The Political Economy of Women in Colonial Natal’, MA thesis (Natal, 1982).
Edgar H. Brookes and Colin de B. Webb, A History of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1965).
Andrew Duminy and Charles Ballard (eds.), The Anglo‐Zulu War: New Perspectives (Pietermaritzburg, 1981).
—— and Bill Guest (eds.), Natal and Zululand from Earliest Times to 1910: A New History (Pietermaritzburg, 1989).
Bill Guest and John M. Sellers (eds.), Enterprise and Exploitation in a Victorian Colony: Aspects of the Economic and Social History of Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1985).
Jeff Guy, The Heretic: A Study of the Life of John William Colenso, 1814–1883 (Johannesburg, 1983).
Alan F. Hattersley, Portrait of a Colony (Cambridge, 1940).
—— The British Settlement of Natal: A Study in Imperial Migration (Cambridge, 1950).
Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw, The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War (Cambridge, 2003).
John Laband and Robert Haswell (eds.), Pietermaritzburg, 1838–1988: A New Portrait of an African City (Pietermaritzburg, 1988).
John Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1995). (p. 177 )
Shula Marks, Reluctant Rebellion: The 1906–1908 Disturbances in Natal (Oxford, 1970).
Robert Morrell (ed.), Political Economy and Identities in KwaZulu‐Natal: Historical and Social Perspectives (Durban, 1996).
—— From Boys to Gentlemen: Settler Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1880–1920 (Pretoria, 2001).
George Heaton Nicholls, South Africa in my Time (London, 1961).
Sir John Robinson, A Lifetime in South Africa: Being the Recollections of the First Premier of Natal (London, 1900).
Shelagh O'Byrne Spencer, British Settlers in Natal, 1824–1857: A Biographical Register, Vol. 1– (Pietermaritzburg, 1981–).
P. S. Thompson, Natalians First: Separatism in South Africa, 1909–1961 (Johannesburg, 1990).
—— The British Civic Culture of Natal, South Africa, 1902–1961 (Howick, 1999).
Twentieth Century Impressions of Natal: Its People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (London, 1906).
I gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the University of South Africa. I am indebted for advice and criticisms from my fellow authors and from Alex Mouton and Peter Colenbrander. All opinions and conclusions, however, are those of the author.
(1) Andrew Duminy and Bill Guest (eds.), Natal and Zululand from Earliest Times to 1910: A New History (Pietermaritzburg, 1989) provides a useful history of colonial Natal.
(2) P. S. Thompson, Natalians First: Separatism in South Africa, 1909–1961 (Johannesburg, 1990), 1.
(3) Alan F. Hattersley, The British Settlement of Natal: A Study in Imperial Migration (Cambridge, 1950), 79–80.
(5) Alan F. Hattersley, Portrait of a Colony (Cambridge, 1940), 35.
(6) Hattersley, British Settlement, passim.
(8) John Comaroff identifies such values in ‘Images of Empire, Contests of Conscience: Models of Colonial Domination in South Africa’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds.), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley, Calif., 1997), 169–70.
(9) Edgar H. Brookes and Colin de B. Webb, A History of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1965), 158.
(10) Peter Richardson, ‘The Natal Sugar Industry, 1849–1905’, in Bill Guest and John M. Sellers (eds.), Enterprise and Exploitation in a Victorian Colony: Aspects of the Economic and Social History of Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1985), 181–98.
(11) R. E. Gordon (ed.), Dear Louisa: History of a Pioneer Family in Natal, 1850–1888 (Durban, 1970); Eliza Whigham Feilden, My African Home, or, Bush Life in Natal when a Young Colony 1852–8 (London, 1887); Daphne Child (ed.), A Merchant Family in Early Natal: Diaries and Letters of Joseph and Marianne Churchill, 1850–1880 (Cape Town, 1979) and Portrait of a Pioneer: The Letters of Sidney Turner from South Africa, 1864–1901 (Johannesburg, 1980); William Rees, Colenso Letters from Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1958).
(12) John Lambert, Betrayed Trust: Africans and the State in Colonial Natal (Pietermaritzburg, 1995), 9.
(13) Bill Guest, ‘The War, Natal and Confederation’, in Andrew Duminy and Charles Ballard (eds.), The Anglo‐Zulu War: New Perspectives (Pietermaritzburg, 1981), 55.
(14) John Laband and Robert Haswell (eds.), Pietermaritzburg, 1838–1988: A New Portrait of an African City (Pietermaritzburg, 1988), 102–9.
(15) Anna Christina Bjorvig, ‘Durban 1824–1910: The Formation of a Settler Elite and its Role in the Development of a Colonial City’, Ph.D. thesis (Natal, 1994).
(16) Gordon, Dear Louisa, 38.
(17) Sir John Robinson, A Lifetime in South Africa: Being the Recollections of the First Premier of Natal (London, 1900), 98.
(18) Ann Laura Stoler, ‘Making Empire Respectable: The Politics of Race and Sexual Morality in Twentieth‐Century Colonial Cultures’, in Louise Lamphere, Helena Ragoné, and Patricia Zavella, Situated Lives: Gender and Culture in Everyday Life (New York, 1997), 373.
(19) See Jo Beall, ‘Class, Race and Gender: The Political Economy of Women in Colonial Natal’, MA thesis (Natal, 1982), and P. L Merrett, ‘Frances Ellen Colenso (1849–1887): Her Life and Times in Relation to the Victorian Stereotype of the Middle‐Class English Woman’, MA thesis (Cape Town, 1980).
(20) See Sylvia Vietzen, A History of Education for European Girls in Natal with Particular Reference to the Establishment of Some Leading Schools, 1837–1902 (Pietermaritzburg, 1973).
(21) John Lambert, ‘Britishness, South Africanness and the 1st World War’, in Philip Buckner and R. Douglas Francis (eds.), Rediscovering the British World (Calgary, 2005), 288–9.
(22) Thompson, Natalians First, 2.
(23) Marjorie Morgan, National Identities and Travel in Victorian Britain (New York, 2001), 219.
(24) Merrett, Frances Ellen Colenso, 206.
(25) Simon Haw, Bearing Witness: The Natal Witness, 1846–1996 (Pietermaritzburg, 1996); Trevor Wilks, For the Love of Natal: The Life and Times of the Natal Mercury, 1852–1977 (Durban, 1977). See also John Lambert, ‘“The Thinking is Done in London”: South Africa's English‐Language Press and Imperialism’, in Chandrika Kaul (ed.), Media and the British Empire (London, 2006), 37–54.
(26) David Cannadine, Ornamentalism: How the British Saw their Empire (New York, 2001), 22.
(27) Brian Stanley (ed.), Missions, Nationalism and the End of Empire (Grand Rapids, Mich., 2003), 4.
(28) Rees, Colenso Letters, 41.
(29) Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country (London, 1948), 1.
(30) Robert Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen: Settler Masculinity in Colonial Natal, 1880–1920 (Pretoria, 2001).
(31) P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism, 1688–2000 (2nd edn. Harlow, 2002), 48.
(32) See Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen, passim . For a discussion on English South Africa's patriotic societies, see John Lambert, ‘Maintaining a British Way of Life: English‐Speaking South Africa's Patriotic, Cultural and Charitable Associations’, Historia, 54/2 (2009), 56–76.
(33) Lambert, ‘Maintaining a British Way of life’; John Lambert, ‘South African British? Or Dominion South Africans? The Evolution of an Identity in the 1910s and 1920s’, South African Historical Journal, 43/1 (2000), 210–11.
(34) National Archives, Pretoria, Governor‐General 9/93; Alan F. Hattersley, Carbineer: The History of the Royal Natal Carbineers (Aldershot, 1950), and Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen, ch. 6.
(35) Pietermaritzburg College Magazine, 3/26 (June 1908), 9.
(36) The Durban High School Magazine, 2/1 (Apr. 1902), 1.
(37) Morrell, From Boys to Gentlemen , chs. 3 and 4 ; John Lambert, ‘ “Munition Factories…Turning Out a Constant Supply of Living Material”: White South African Elite Boys’ Schools and the First World War', South African Historical Journal, 51/1 (2004), 67–86.
(38) Hattersley, Carbineer, 46.
(39) See Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Cooper and Stoler (eds.), Tensions of Empire, 7, 31.
(40) Norman Etherington, ‘Natal's Black Rape Scare of the 1870s’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 15/1 (1988), 36–53.
(41) Lambert, Betrayed Trust, passim.
(42) Jeff Guy, The Heretic: A Study of the Life of John William Colenso, 1814–1883 (Johannesburg, 1983), and The View across the River: Harriette Colenso and the Zulu Struggle against Imperialism (Cape Town, 2001).
(43) Lambert, Betrayed Trust ; Shula Marks, Reluctant Rebellion: The 1906–1908 Disturbances in Natal (Oxford, 1970); Robert Morrell (ed.), Political Economy and Identities in KwaZulu‐Natal: Historical and Social Perspectives (Durban, 1996).
(44) Joy Brain, ‘Natal's Indians, 1860–1910’, in Duminy and Guest (eds.), Natal and Zululand, 249–74.
(45) John Laband, Rope of Sand: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Kingdom in the Nineteenth Century (Johannesburg, 1995); Jeff Guy, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom (London, 1979).
(46) The Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, in 1908. See Marks, Reluctant Rebellion, 19.
(47) Martin Kitchen, The British Empire and Commonwealth: A Short History (New York, 1996), 57.
(48) Lambert, Betrayed Trust, chs. 10 and 11; Marks, Reluctant Rebellion, passim.
(49) Ritchie Ovendale, ‘The Relations between Natal and the Transvaal during the 1890's’, Ph.D. thesis (Natal, 1966).
(50) Brookes and Webb, History of Natal, 203, gives 2,710, while the Natal Volunteer Record: Annals and Record of Service, Anglo‐Boer War, 1899–1900 (Durban, 1900), p. x, lists 3,500 names.
(51) Ruth Edgecombe and Bill Guest, ‘An Introduction to the Pre‐Union Natal Coal Industry’, in Guest and Sellers (eds.), Enterprise and Exploitation, 309–51.
(52) Twentieth Century Impressions of Natal: Its People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (London, 1906).
(53) Thompson, Natalians First, 1–5.
(55) P. S. Thompson, The British Civic Culture of Natal, South Africa, 1902–1961 (Howick, 1999), 13.
(57) Information received from Natalians who grew up in the province before the 1970s.
(58) The National Archives, Kew (TNA), CO 551/31, Gladstone to Harcourt, 16 Dec. 1912, p. 188; see also Thompson, Natalians First, 10.
(59) B. M. Schoeman, Parlementêre Verkiesings in Suid‐Afrika, 1910–1976 (Pretoria, 1977), 21–32.
(60) Thompson, Natalians First, 16–18.
(62) S. Michael's Chronicle, 3/9 (Oct. 1914), 1.
(63) See Lambert, ‘Munition Factories’ and ‘Britishness, South Africanness and the First World War’, 285–304.
(64) The Nongqai, 8/2 (Aug. 1917), 72.
(65) Natal Mercury (18 May 1915); Thomas Boydell, ‘My Luck Was In’ (Cape Town, 1948), 107.
(66) Thompson, Natalians First, ch. 3.
(67) Paul Maylam, ‘The Changing Political Economy of the Region, 1920–1950’, in Morrell (ed.), Political Economy, 97–118.
(68) D. W. M. Edley, ‘Population, Poverty and Politics: A Study of Some Aspects of the Depression in Greater Durban, 1929–1933’, MA thesis (Natal, 1983), 19.
(69) Maylam, ‘Changing Political Economy’, 97–118.
(70) George Heaton Nicholls, South Africa in my Time (London, 1961), 206.
(71) Thompson, Natalians First, 102–7; Edley, ‘Population, Poverty and Politics’, 94–106.
(72) G. H. L. le May, British Supremacy in South Africa, 1899–1907 (London, 1967), 77.
(73) See George H. Calpin, There are No South Africans (London, 1941), 205.
(74) In 1955 e.g. the Anti‐Republican League based their Natal Convention on the earlier Ulster Convention. See Donal Lowry, ‘Ulster Resistence and Loyalist Rebellion in the Empire’, in Keith Jeffery (ed.), ‘An Irish Empire’? Aspects of Ireland and the British Empire (Manchester, 1996), 200.
(75) Thompson, Natalians First, 108–18.
(76) Wilks, For the Love of Natal, 191.
(77) See Schoeman, Parliamentêre Verkiesings, 236–7.
(78) Hansard, 36, 3rd session, 8th Parliament, Heaton Nicholls, p. 34.
(79) D. R. Fuchs, Durban During the Second World War, c1939–1945, MA thesis (Natal, 1990), pp. viii, 48–9, 118, 180. See also John Lambert, ‘“Their Finest Hour?” English‐Speaking South Africans and World War II’, South African Historical Journal, 60/1 (2008), 60–84, and Jennifer Crwys‐Williams, A Country at War, 1939–1945 (Rivonia, 1992).
(80) Thompson, Civic Culture, 64.
(81) Personal information received from elderly Natalians.
(82) Paul Maylam, ‘The Struggle for Space in Twentieth‐Century Durban’, in Paul Maylam and Iain Edwards (eds.), The People's City: African Life in Twentieth‐Century Durban (Pietermaritzburg, 1996), 22.
(83) Ronald Hyam and Peter Henshaw, The Lion and the Springbok: Britain and South Africa since the Boer War (Cambridge, 2003), 31.
(84) The NP government was trying to amend the Constitution to remove the franchise rights of Coloureds in the Union. The Natalians feared that, if successful, the government would introduce legislation to dismantle the provincial system.
(85) Heaton Nicholls, South Africa in my Time, 460–8; M. Facchini, ‘The Union Federal Party and Secession, 1953–1956’, Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 19 (1999–2001), 73–94.
(86) Natal Mercury (5 Oct. 1960).
(87) Thompson, Natalians First, 163–6.
(88) W. J. Stewart, ‘Natal and the 1960 Republican Referendum’, MA thesis (Natal, 1990), 153, 162–4, appendix C.
(89) TNA, DO 35/6716, ‘Current Events in Natal’; Facchini, ‘Union Federal Party’, 81–90.
(90) TNA, DO 35/5036, UK High Commissioners' visits to Natal, 1952–1954, confidential, 22 Sept. 1954, p. 2.
(91) Stewart, ‘Natal and the 1960 Republican Referendum’, 120.
(92) TNA, DO 35/5095, Current events in Natal, report 33 for Mar. and Apr. 1955.
(93) Stewart, ‘Natal and the 1960 Republican Referendum’, 29.
(94) Hyam and Henshaw, Lion and Springbok, 165.
(95) Sunday Tribune (29 Mar. 1981).
(96) Maylam, ‘Struggle for Space’, 24–6.
(97) Allister Sparks, The Mind of South Africa (London, 1990), 47.