"It would be well now to wind up this rebel business sharp": the post-Anglo-Boer War management of the Natal rebels.
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Any post-war society is characterised by complex relationships. Natal society after the conclusion of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) was no different. In this article the post-war relations between the Natal rebels and the Natal and Imperial governments are examined with specific emphasis on how the rebels were managed. The Natal government initially foregrounded its autonomy and insisted on legally managing the rebels accordingly. However, the agreements reached during the peace negotiations forced the Imperial government to put pressure on the Natal government to adopt a more pragmatic approach. With the adoption of this approach, the Imperial government withdrew from the process and left it to the Natal government to further manage the rebels. This was done by systematically releasing some convicted rebels for managerial rather than conciliatory reasons. What the Natal government, however, could not achieve was to convince the rebels still on free-footing in the former Boer republics to hand themselves over to be tried for high treason. In the end the Natal government had to, so as to ensure the managerial workings of the colony, capitulate and grant full amnesty to all rebels.
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