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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A case of painstaking planning and preparation: the reception of the 1907 deputation of Basuto chiefs in Britain
Author:Colenso, GwilymISNI
Periodical:African Research and Documentation (ISSN 0305-862X)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Great Britain
land conflicts
Abstract:In 1907 a deputation of Basuto chiefs from the Batlokoa and Bakhulukwe chiefdoms travelled to Britain to pursue a grievance concerning their being dispossessed of large tracts of land in the Orange River Colony (ORC) in South Africa. When the chiefs arrived in Britain there was a readymade support network waiting for them, including a well-informed committee with members drawn in large part from the British-based humanitarian organization 'League of Humanitarian Brotherhood and Native Races Association' (LUB). This article examines the planning and preparation of the chiefs' mission in Britain, and the well-organized support they received whilst in Britain. In most secondary accounts of the Basuto deputation it is not clear how the initial connection was made between the LUB and the deputation. On the basis of documents in archives in Natal and in the United Kingdom, the author argues that it was the relationship between Sylvester Williams, a Caribbean born political activist, then based in London, and the black South African political activist of Zulu-descent, Josiah Gumede, that provided the crucial link between the LUB and the Basuto chiefs. After the chiefs' arrival in Britain, it seems that Willams dealt with the press, whilst, from this point on, the correspondence with the Colonial Office was taken up by the secretary, or joint secretaries, of the LUB. The deputation culminated in the chiefs' meeting with, and presentation of their petition to, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The author argues that the achievements of the deputation - limited though they were in the end - can be attributed in large degree to the painstaking planning and preparation which took place in England prior to the deputation's arrival. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]