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Kimberley Policemen of the 1890's

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 13 JUNE

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13 June 1876, Kimberley’s first black policemen, 50 Zulus, arrive for duty.
13 June 1902, Reception for General Sir John French at the City Hall.
13 June 1980, Galeshewe born and educated MK operator Leonard Tebogo Tume (Norman Nkosi) killed in Soweto.

DID YOU KNOW

In the early days of the diamond fields, Nicholas Waterboer’s territory known as Griqualand West came under the protection, and indeed, was taken over by the British colonial government. The rush of diggers looking for instant wealth saw settlements springing up all along the Vaal river and the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police, based at Kenhardt under command of a Captain Jackson, were ordered to the diggings to establish and maintain law and order until a permanent police force could be organized. This was complied with but it was only in September 1872 that a proclamation was issued to organize and regulate a police force for Griqualand West (including Kimberley).

Many members of the same Frontier police became members of the first police force, including Inspectors McLean, McKenna and O’Connor. On 26 May 1873 a mounted force was organized and named the Griqualand West Mounted Police. Just over a year later the entire force was re-arranged into the following categories: Mounted Police; Town Police (including detectives); Rural police; and the Convict Police (including gaolers, turnkeys, and special constables).

Well-known law enforcers at the time were Inspectors G. Percy, O. Back, G. Back and G.R. Bradshaw. Major Maxwell was appointed the Inspector of Prisons.

50 Zulu constables arrived from Zululand on 13 June 1876, and were known as Mr Maxwell’s “Zulu Convict Guard”. Other reports suggest that they were already here in early June, and were being called the “coloured peelers”. The Daily Independent suggested that “we hope that this addition to our protecting forces will have the desired effect…”

In 1880 the mounted police were incorporated into the Cape Mounted Rifles, and later the police in the Cape Colony were organized into Districts, Kimberley becoming the HQ for Cape Police II, the patrol region stretching up to Mahikeng (Mafeking). On 1 January 1913, three years after the Union of the Cape, Orange Free State, Transvaal and Natal, the South African Police came into being.

Pictured are Kimberley policemen in the 1890s.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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