The Rudd Concession is a concession signed between King Lobengula and Charles Rudd that gave mining rights in Zimbabwe to white settlers. The settlers team was made to wait for a full month before seeing the Ndebele king. Meanwhile, they bribed a close ally of Lobengula, a missionary named Charles Helm. They also bribed two of Lobengula's indunas, Lotshe and Skombo. When Lobengula later found out about this betrayal, he massacred Lotshe and his family. The concession was signed on 30 October 1888.

The terms of the treaty were in two forms, verbal terms, and written terms. The negotiators, Charles Rudd, Rotchford Maguire and Francis Thompson (the interpreter) tricked the king into agreeing to the written terms without fully explaining them. They further lied that they had been sent by the Queen[1].

Written terms of the treaty

  • Lobengula would receive 100 pounds per month[1]
  • A gunboat would be stationed in the Zambezi River
  • Lobengula would get 1000 rifles
  • A minimum of 10 unarmed British soldiers were to be allowed into the kingdom at a time
  • Lobengula would get 100 000 rounds of ammunition
  • The British were granted ownership of all metals and minerals in Matabeleland and could do whatever they deemed necessary to extract minerals from the ground

Verbal terms of the treaty

  • The British agreed to adhere to Ndebele laws
  • The British also promised to help Lobengula defend his state when required
  • There was to be no entrance of British men and weapons before the payment of the 1000 rifles promised to Lobengula
  • A concession notice was to be published in the newspaper to notify other European powers[1]
  • The British promised to dig one hole and go back to South Africa.

Because the verbal terms seemed favorable and also from the pressure of the bribed parties, Lobengula signed the treaty. When he realized what he had actually signed and agreed to, Lobengula sent representatives to the Queen to explain that he had not agreed to sign away his country[1]. The Queen's response was anything but helpful, she told him "a king gives away a cow, not the whole herd". King Lobengula tried to nullify the contract by putting up notices in papers explaining what had happened. He signed other treaties including the Lippert concession and even went as far as massacring Lotshe and his family. This all, however, did not stop the occupation of Zimbabwe by the British.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Rudd Concession of 30 October 1888, Free ZIMSEC Revision Notes and Past Exam Papers, retrieved: 17 Jul 2018