Monday, June 30, 2008

How Lobengula Died


Lonely Grandeur of the Last Hours of the Bloody King of Matabele Land.

A correspondent, writing to a South African contemporary, supplies what he states is the true story of the death of the great Matabele chief, Lobengula. It is a pathetic story. The correspondent relates: "Lobengula, suffering from smallpox, worn out by his long flight, disappointed in his hope of peace and altogether broken down by the loss of his country, his power and possessions, came to a halt at last among the mountains north of the Shangani river.

"Here he begged his witch doctor to give him poison with which to end his life, but the man refused. The despairing chief went up the hill to the foot of the crag which tops it, and sitting there he gazed for a long time at the sun as it slowly sunk toward the west. Then, descending, he again demanded poison of his doctor and insisted till finally it was given him. Once more ascending the slope, he seated himself against the krantz, took the poison and gazed at the setting sun, stolidly awaiting the death which presently put an end to his sufferings and his blood stained life.

"There is something pathetic and grand in the picture. It is the last scene of the great epic, the conquest of Matabeleland. His followers found him seated there in death, and piling stones and rocks around him they left him. Whether he was placed in his royal chair, flanked by guns and covered over with his blankets and other possessions, as described in The South African Review, I know not. All this may be true, and also that a strong palisade of tree trunks was planted around this spot, but I give the story as I heard it and believe that, as it emanates from Mr. Dawson, it is the correct one." — Westminster Budget.

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