CMG b/b s/g;
OBE 1st, HM 1919;
BSACM Rhodesia 1896 (Lieut. H. M. G. Jackson, Gifford’s Horse.)
Ex A.A. Upfill-Brown collection, DNW 4 December 1991 (Lot 208), DNW 22 July 2015 (Lot 7)
CMG London Gazette 3 June 1930.
OBE London Gazette 3 June 1924.
Hugh Marrison Gower Jackson was born in Natal in September 1870, the son of John Otter Jackson, a J.P. and Regional Magistrate, and was educated at Ardingly College, Sussex. Returning to South Africa, he joined the Natal Native Department, becoming conversant with the language and cultural customs of the Zulu nation and earning himself the nickname “Matshayisikoba” - The Owl Slayer. In 1895, at the invitation of the newly appointed Chief Native Commissioner in Rhodesia, Jackson became Assistant Native Commissioner at Umzingwane in Matabeleland, making his way to Bulawayo via Port Shepstone and Pretoria in the famous “Zeederburg Coach”.
Soon after his arrival in Matabeleland, he was warned by a former warrior, Sikwaba, a survivor of the Imbizo Regiment, which body had been corporately sentenced to death for disobedience by King Lobengula, that he had had a vision in which the latter unleashed ‘supernatural forces’ on the European settlers - a vision that found credence by way of the rebellion that erupted a few months later. Jackson and a small party were cut off deep in the Matabele stronghold, the Matopos Hills, when the rebellion broke out, and, in the absence of any news, it was reported that he had been killed - luckily, as it transpired, he made good his escape and reached Bulawayo.
Quickly enlisting in Gifford’s Horse, he was appointed a Lieutenant in “B” Troop, commanded by Captain H. P. Flynn, a fellow Native Commissioner, and boasting among its number a future Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Howard Moffat. The unit had been raised by the Rt. Hon. Captain (afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel) Maurice Gifford, who was severely wounded in the action at Fonseca’s Farm on 6 April 1896, wounds that resulted in the amputation of his right arm. Nonetheless, Gifford’s Horse continued to lend valuable service with regular patrol work until a peace settlement was negotiated by Cecil Rhodes that August.
Having in 1900 been appointed a J.P., Jackson enjoyed a spate of appointments over the coming years, among them Assistant Magistrate for the Bulawayo District, as Superintendent of Gwelo, Selukwe, Insiza and Belingwe, and, in 1908, as a Native Commissioner and Additional Magistrate at Gwelo. Then in 1913, he became Native Commissioner and Superintendent of Natives for Bulawayo District, while in 1921 he was appointed Acting Chief Native Commissioner in Salisbury.
Awarded the OBE in 1924, in which year he was advanced to Assistant Chief Native Commissioner, Jackson was given the portfolio of Chief Native Commissioner and Head of the Southern Rhodesia Native Department in 1928, on the retirement of Sir Herbert Taylor. In 1930, the year of his own retirement, he also served as Chairman of the Native Affairs Committee and as Government Representative on the Board of the Native Labour Bureau. He was appointed CMG.
Jackson, who retained the ‘keenest interest in all matters affecting natives and native welfare’, and who was blessed with a ‘fantastic sense of humour’, died at his residence in Borrowdale in November 1934.