I had promised to follow up on this topic in the New Year. Unfortunately, there has been a delay in getting copies of files relevant to this subject from the Archives in Pietermaritzburg. However, while the details of what occurred are still missing, the matter of whether or not the Guides received the 2000 bronze QSA's issued to the NataL Government has been determined. The answer is simply that the medals were not issued to the black Guides.
The situation was summed up in the book 'Long,long ago' by R C Samuelson (Durban: Knox ), and the relevant section of the book is copied below. Samuelson was a lawyer in Pietermaritzburg, who became a champion for causes involving the Zulus. His advocacy for justice for the Zulus strained his relationship with white Natalians, even though he was instrumental in founding and raising the Natal Native Horse, which gave valuable assistance to the Colonists against Zulu rebels during the Natal Rebellion of 1906.
“At the close of the Boer War, I spoke to the late Honourable Robert Jameson about these Scouts’ medals and, when the Natal Parliament was sitting, he then asked the then Prime Minister if the Scouts would get their medal, and the answer was that they would. When Joseph Chamberlain came to Natal, the Leaders of the Scouts interviewed him at Government House, and they referred to their medal which they hoped to get, and he thanked them for their valuable services and told them he would see that they got their medals. The Volunteer Department of Natal appointed me to get a correct list of all Scouts that had worked during the war, and also appointed ….. Simeon Kambule and Jabers Molife to assist me. The list was prepared, checked, and passed to Colonel Wales, who also strongly recommended that these medals should be given to those men.
Then, unfortunately, the late Sir George Leuchars, having been appointed Secretary for Native Affairs, thought it his duty to prevent the giving of these medals to those Scouts. I waited on him, as he and I had been school boys together, to find out his grounds for his action, and he said he objected because these men would parade their medals before the Boers and irritate them. I told him that the Natives valued the medal more than the white people, and would not dangle them about, or wear them for the purpose of annoying the Boers. At any rate, the medal was their right as loyal soldiers of their Sovereign, which should not be withheld from them in any circumstances. I told him also that even coloured drivers had received the silver medal. I have that list to this day, as a record against the foolish and weak acts of the officers of that day which has done so much harm to the prestige of the Home Government, and the White race out here. The medals were never given these men, and most of the leaders have died, leaving their children with the feeling that the White man cannot be trusted.”
Good morning Brett,
All very interesting and it just confirms what I have always thought, not just in the case of medals, but, in general terms, the native got a very raw deal and as much as it greaves me to say it, they were indeed shafted by "pushful Joe" and the Colonial Office.
A great injustice. Kambula and Molife were also both recommended for mentions in despatches but never got them along with some other scouts (I'll try and dig out the names). Kambula had the DCM from the Zulu War.