HC Deb 26 November 1917 vol 99 cc1648-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the tribe known as the Bastards of Rehoboth, German South-West Africa, prior to 1884 appealed to His Majesty's Government to take them under the protection of the British Flag; whether, upon Germany taking over the territory, they were granted a form of native government; whether, upon the outbreak of war, they resolutely refused to render any service to the German Administration which would involve them in warlike actions against the British forces; whether a German force at once attacked them and ultimately surrounded the tribe in a mountain stronghold where they were saved from annhiliation by the march of General Mackenzie on Gibeon; whether in January, 1916, this tribe petitioned His Majesty the King to extend protection over them; and whether, if the petition has not been received, His Majesty's Government will ask the South African Government for a Report upon the facts stated?


In the short time available I have not been able to trace the appeal referred to in the first part of the question, but my attention has-been drawn to a letter addressed by the community in October, 1876, to the Cape Government Commissioner, in which they expressed a wish that the Cape Government should rule over the country. The-answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative. I am unable to say from the official information at my disposal whether the facts are as indicated in the third and fourth parts of the question, but it is the case that the hostilities between the German troops and the Bastards in April, 1915, in the course of which the Bastards suffered grievous losses, was due to their refusal to guard Union prisoners. As regards the fifth and sixth parts of the question, no such petition has yet been received, and, pending its receipt, I do not propose to communicate with the Union Government as suggested.