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The scramble and partition for Southern Africa

The scramble and partition for Southern Africa

The scramble and partition for Southern Africa means the competition to obtain territories.
By 1900 the whole of Southern Africa was under colonial rule.
Colonies belonging to one power became empire.

Powers which were interested in Southern Africa

    • Southern Rhodesia(Zimbabwe)
    • Northern Rhodesia(Zambia)
    • Nyasaland(Malawi)
    • South Africa
    • Swaziland
    • Bechuanaland(Botswana).
    • Mozambique
    • Angola.
    • Southern Africa(Namibia).
    • Transvaal.

Kingdoms which were colonised by Europeans

  • Ndebele state
  • Gaza state.
  • Sotho.
  • Swazi.
  • Lozi.
  • Zulu.

Names of concession seekers

  • JS Moffat.
  • Charles rudd
  • Rotchffort Maguire.
  • Piet Grobler.
  • Edward Lippet.
  • Charles Rudd.
  • Francis Thompson.
  • Thomas Baines.
  • Edward Lippert.

Wars of resistance fought by Africans

  • The Anglo-Ndebele war(1893-1894)
  • Chimurenga 1
  • Anglo-Zulu war(1879).
  • Nama rising.
  • Herero rising.
  • Anglo-pedi war.
  • The war of guns-Lesotho.
  • Sotho resistance.

Causes of the scramble for southern Africa

    1. Economic reasons/factors.
      • The industrial revolution contributed to the scramble for Africa.
      • The demand for raw materials eg minerals(gold etc)
      • Need for markets to sell manufactured goods.
      • Need to invest surplus capital in Africa eg mining,Agric.
      • It led to better transport eg ships were used to carry soldiers from Europe.
      • The telegram was used for communication.
      • New weapons were produced eg the machine and maxim guns.
      • New medicines were produced which made it easy for whites to live in Africa.
      • MAchinery caused unemployment in Europe, Europeans wanted to sent unemployed people to Africa.
    2. Other reasons
      • Fertile land,Soil for agric etc.
      • Pastures for livestock keeping.
      • Availability of game.
      • Favorable climate.
      • Need for cheap labor.


  1. Social factors.
    • Need to spread 3 c’s.
    • Need to end slave trade.
    • Need to spread Christianity.
    • The desire to spread civilization to the “dark continent”
    • To spread western education.
    • They wanted to solve overpopulation in their countries.
    • To fight diseases and promote health.
  2. Political.
    • Need for military bases.
    • The need for prestige and pride.
    • There was need to protect strategic routes eg Egypt and the suez canal.
    • Africans were not united eg fought on the side of colonies.

Treaties signed by Lobengula and Europeans

    1. Tati concession 1870.
    2. Baines concession 1871.
    3. Grobler treaty 1887-July.
    4. Moffat treaty 1888 Feb.
    5. Rudd concession 1888 October
    6. Lippet concession 1891.

The Grobler Treaty 1887

Piet Grobler , as a representative of the Boers of the Transvaal.


  • A treaty of friendship.
  • Lobengula promised to assist the Boers with soldiers whenever he was asked for help.
  • Lobengula to allow whites with passports from the Transvaal to enter Matebeleland.
  • Lobengula agreed to give protection to Boer hunters and traders in Matebeleland.
  • A representative of the Boers to stay at Bulawayo.
  • Lobengula agreed to sent back criminals who fled from Transvaal.
  • The Boers agreed to recognize Lobengula as the king of Ndebele.
  • There was everlasting peace between the Boers and the Ndebele.

The Moffat treaty


  • It was signed between Lobengula and John Smith Moffart.
  • Moffat was an agent of Rhodes.
  • Lobengula agreed to be a friend of queen of Britain.
  • It canceled the Grobler treaty.
  • Not to sign any other treaty without permission of Britain.
  • Not to give any part of his kingdom to any other power without permission from Britain.

The Rudd Concession

  • Rhodes sent 3 men to negotiate another treaty to increase his influence.
  • It is the most important treaty signed by Lobengula.
  • It was the immediate cause of colonization.
  • The three men were Charles Rudd,Rotchfort Maguire and Francis Thompson.
  • Charles Rudd was a business partner and a close university friend of Rhodes.
  • Rotchfort Maguire was a lawyer.
  • Francis Thompson- a fluent speaker of Nguni languages- to translate.
  • There was no chance to speak to Lobengula for 5 weeks.
  • Lobengula was having sleepless nights caused by concession seekers.
  • Trusted Indunas were bribed- Lotshe and Sikombo and they persuaded King to talk to Rhodes’ men.
  • C.D Helm was now on Rhodes’ side because missionaries had failed to convert Ndebele.He advised Lobengula to sign the Rudd Concession.


Promises made by Rhodes

  • 100 pounds per month-(salary).
  • A gunboat to patrol the Zambezi river/to receive 500 pounds.
  • 1000 riffles/guns.
  • 100 000 rounds of ammunition.

Promises made by Lobengula

  • He gave all mineral wealth and metals to Rhodes.
  • Complete rights to do whatever Rhodes seemed necessary to get minerals.
  • Lobengula promises not to sign any other treaty without British consent.

Verbal Terms

  • Not more than 10 white-men at a time.
  • Visitors to leave weapons at Bulawayo.
  • To dig one whole at a time.
  • Not to dig near towns.
  • Whites to follow Ndebele law.
  • No miners and machines before receiving the first salary.

By: T.Titus Nyakudyara
Twitter: @NyakudyaraTitus

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