Department of Native Affairs

Department of Native Affairs


In 1894, after the Anglo-Ndebele war had come to an end, the British South Africa Company established the Native Affairs Department to be responsible for the welfare of black Africans living on tribal trust lands. 

The Head of the Department was as followed:

  • Administrator in Council.
    • Secretary for Native Affairs.
      • Two Chief Native Commissioners (Matabeleland and Mashonaland).
        • Chief Native Commissioners were Native Commissioners (tribal districts and sub-districts).
          • Assistant Native Commissioners. 

Throughout colonial Rhodesia, Native or District Commissioners were referred to as ‘Nkosi’.

On 1st October, 1894 , Herbert John Taylor (Natal) and Johan Colenbrander were appointed as Native Commissioners and by 1st May, 1895, Taylor became the Chief Native Commissioner.

In 1962 the Native Affairs Department was renamed the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Following the ranks of the Colonial Service, the Native Commissioners were renamed District Commissioners.

Revenue Cancellations