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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Decentring Shepstone: the Eastern Cape frontier and the establishment of native administration in Natal, 1842-1849
Author:Martens, JeremyISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 1726-1686)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:indirect rule
colonial history
Abstract:In spite of historians' sophisticated understanding of how Africans shaped colonial administration in Natal (South Africa), in many accounts the European side of native administration remains highly personalised. In this article the author challenges the widely held assumption that Theophilus Shepstone was the central colonial figure responsible for the establishment of indirect rule in Natal. The author advances two interrelated arguments. The first is that Shepstone was just one of half a dozen imperial officials, located variously in Natal, the Cape and London, who together made key decisions that laid down the basic framework of native administration in the 1840s. This basic framework the author takes to be the establishment of Natal's first locations and the official recognition of chiefly rule and native law, all of which had been formalised by 1849. The second argument is that these officials specifically drew from their close experience of the eastern Cape frontier - and in particular the administrative policies trialled in Queen Adelaide Province from 1835 to 1836 and British Kaffraria in 1847 - in devising a model for governing Natal's Africans in the 1840s. The author suggests that it is the Queen Adelaide Province experiment, along with the early government of British Kaffraria the following decade, that provided colonial officials with a distinct template for native administration in Natal. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]