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 John Dunn - The White Chief of Zululand

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littlehand

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PostSubject: John Dunn - The White Chief of Zululand   John Dunn - The White Chief of Zululand EmptyThu Sep 09, 2010 11:04 pm

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"No other person embodied the turbulent times in which they lived more than John Dunn, the legendary hunter, trader and white chief of Zululand whose activities spanned three crucial decades in the history of Zululand.
Dunn was born of Scottish parents in 1824 and grew up in the rough and ready spirit of early Port Natal (now Durban) but at the age of 18, he moved with his young bride Catherine into the unexplored territory north of Durban.

On one of his hunting trips into Zululand, Dunn met Cetshwayo - the heir apparent to the Zulu kingdom - and was invited to settle in Zululand and become the prince's advisor.

Dunn agreed to the offer and was made Chief of the fertile coastal area known as Ongoye - stretching from uThukela to the Mhlatuze river in the north - and he increasingly adopted the culture and customs of the Zulu.

Against the disapproval of his wife, Dunn married his first Zulu wife in 1861. Over the next few decades he ended up taking 48 Zulu wives.

He was careful to heed Zulu marriage rituals and customs and paid ilobolo (bridewealth delivered by bridegroom to his in-laws) of between nine and 15 head of cattle to the fathers of the brides. For breach of rules, several of his wives were banished from his household and two wives found guilty of infidelity were sentenced to death and executed in accordance with Zulu law.

He is credited with having sired at least 117 children.

The close bond between Dunn and King Cetshwayo strengthened over the years and Dunn rose to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful chiefs in the Zulu kingdom through his ivory and gun trading.

Dunn's own economic well-being depended on a policy of peace with the British colony of Natal but with the inevitability of war, Dunn's influence over Cetshwayo diminished and the king and his advisors came to view his motives with suspicion.

Dunn tried to negotiate a position of neutrality for his chiefdom but the British warned him that he would lose everything in a post-war Zululand.

On Old Year's Night 1878 Dunn and his family, 2 000 supporters and over 3 000 head of cattle were ferried across uThukela into British Natal. A few days later - his fortunes plummeting rapidly - Dunn offered his services to the British.
His first task was to brief the British on the terrain in his former chiefdom. He took part for the first time in the war at the Battle of Gingindlovu.

Following the defeat of the Zulu army at Ulundi and the arrest of Cetshwayo, the British divided the kingdom into 13 independent chiefdoms and appointed men amenable to British administration, including Dunn who was given back his former chiefdom with increased powers and twice as much land.

Four years later Cetshwayo was allowed to return to Zululand and a bitter civil war broke out between the new and old guards. Cetshwayo was speared in the thigh while trying to flee his capital during an attack by neighbouring rival chiefs.
Cetshwayo eventually took refuge in Eshowe and died soon afterwards under mysterious circumstances.

In the late 1880's Britain annexed Zululand as a British colony and Dunn unhappily found himself once again under colonial rule.

He washed his hands of all involvement with the British government and retired to spend out his last years as a cattle farmer. His health deteriorated and after a brief illness he died on 5 August 1895 at his farm Emoyeni at the age of 71.
He was survived by 23 wives and 79 children."


Information source:
Dunn, John (edited by Moodie, D C F). Cetywayo, and The Three Generals, Pietermaritzburg, 1886. Reprint available at Fort Nongqayi Museum Village, Eshowe.
-Ballard, Charles. John Dunn: The White Chief of Zululand,
Craighall, 1985
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PostSubject: Re: John Dunn - The White Chief of Zululand   John Dunn - The White Chief of Zululand EmptyThu May 03, 2018 11:43 pm

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Supposedly John Dunn – Taken at Crewes’s Photographic studio (Corner of Adderley and Hout street) (Circa 1880)

Source:theheritageporta
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