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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Colenso papers: documenting 'an extensive chain of influence' from Zululand to Britain
Author:Colenso, GwilymISNI
Periodical:African Research and Documentation (ISSN 0305-862X)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
Subjects:historical sources
colonial policy
Aborigines Protection Society
About persons:John William Colenso (1814-1883)ISNI
Harriette Emily Colenso (1847-1932)ISNI
Frances Ellen Colenso (1849-1887)ISNI
Francis Ernest Colenso (1852-1910)ISNI
Abstract:The vast amount of correspondence and documentation produced by John William Colenso, the first Bishop of Natal, and members of his family, his brother-in-law, his wife, their five children and two daughters-in-law, covers almost eight decades from the mid 1850s to the 1930s. The most heavily documented period is from 1874 to 1910, when the family's campaigning work in defence of the Zulu people of Natal and Zululand was most intense. The Colenso family's lifelong campaign for justice for the Zulu people brought them into conflict with the Natal authorities and set the family at odds with the majority of the settler community. At the same time, the trial of the Natal Zulu chief Langalibalele in 1874 marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship between the Colenso family and the London-based humanitarian organization, the Aborigines Protection Society, and, in particular, its secretary, Frederick Chesson. The Colenso papers survive today only by chance, dispersed between different collections in the United Kingdom and South Africa. This article details the location, extent and contents of the Colenso papers, as well as relevant materials held in other archives and official records. It looks at one of the campaigning strategies employed by the Colenso family in which the geographical location of different members of the family was crucial in enabling them to exercise an 'extensive chain of influence' between Britain and Natal. The final sections of the article discuss the Colenso papers as a resource for the researcher and their contribution to African history and biography. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]