A royal letter

1. This letter is from 1897. It was written by Njube, son of King Lobengula. Njube, in the middle, had been sent away to Cape Town by Cecil John Rhodes after the conquest of the Ndebele nation. In this picture he is with his brothers Mpezeni & Nguboyenja. Image
2. In this letter, Njube was pleading with Rhodes to be allowed to return home. He wanted to be with his people and to learn his language, he wrote. He wanted to be with mother. A proud young man, he expresses embarrassment at having to ask for money from Rhodes. Image
3. Njube had been taken away by Rhodes ostensibly to be educated in Cape Town, but the real fear was that he would provide a rallying point for his people who would proclaim him successor to his father. Njube didn’t like the forced exile as the letter shows.
4. The letter is at the National Archives in Harare. Reading it was a fascinating encounter with history but also with the pain of a young man who felt lost, exiled as he was in a land far away from his people and his mother. One record says Njube died in 1910.
5. I’m fascinated by events of this period, the 1890s & I’m always keen to read material around the Rudd Concession & the mission to Queen Victoria. I have quite a collection but I would welcome more references for an epic BSR that I hope to write this year when all is ready.

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