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Umkosi Wezintaba

Umkhosi Wezintaba ('The Regiment of the Hills'), 'Umkosi we Seneneem' ('The Regiment of Gaolbirds'), 'Abas'etsheni' ('The People of the Stone'), the 'Nongoloza' and the 'Ninevites' were resistance movements formed by black men in South Africa between 1890 and 1920.[1]

Umkosi Wezintaba (The Regiment of the Hills), 1890-1899

Nongoloza(born Mzuzephi Mathebula), a Zulu African from Natal, worked for two criminals based on the Witwatersrand, Tyson and McDonald, assisting them with robbing passenger coaches or carts carrying miners' wages. Upon leaving his employers, Note sought out the area's Zulu-speaking thieves and criminals, eventually becoming their leader.[1] Historian Charles van Onselen notes that although Umkosi Wezintaba mainly committed anti-social crimes, the organisation also worked to protect its members from perceived injustices.[1]

Abas'etsheni (The People of the Stone) and Nongoloza, 1902-1906

The Ninevites, 1906-1920

The Ninevites were formed by Mzuzephi 'Nongoloza' Mathebula. Nongoloza was the alias adopted by the young Zulu migrant, who having suffered injustice from his past and longing to break away from it to establish a new era. The Ninevites were a gang consisting of other young South African outlaws searching for sources of income through various criminal activities in Johannesburg. The group of Bandits grew across South Africa, and for almost two decades the gang dominated, by 1920 the Ninevites were crushed (Nongoloza was sentenced to prison for attempted murder in 1900).


  1. ^ a b c Onselen, Charles van (1982), Studies in the Social and Economic History of the Witwatersrand 1886-1914: 2 New Nineveh, p. 172, ISBN 0-582-64385-6's_Children_-_Western_Cape_Prison_Gangs_During_And_After_Apartheid_.pdf</

Further reading

The small matter of a horse: The life of 'Nongoloza' Mathebula, 1867-1948, by Charles van Onselen, 1984, Ravan Press