Charles Saunders (administrator)

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For other people named Charles Saunders, see Charles Saunders (disambiguation).
Charles Saunders
Died 1931
Nationality South African
Other names uMashiqela
Occupation Administrator

Sir Charles Saunders (died 1931) was the Resident Commissioner and Chief Magistrate of Zululand. He was responsible for the annexation of the territory in Southern Africa then called British Maputaland (now called Southern Maputaland or the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal). He set up magistracies in Ubombo and Ingwavuma.

"Sir Charles was among the important public servants in Natal, a Zulu linguist of note and an authority on Zulu law and custom. 1876 Saunders became and administrator of native law. In 1887 he went to Tongoland and there ratified a treaty between the ruler and the British government. In the following years he was directed to define the boundary between Tongaland and Zululand, and in 1895 he took ove the Ingwavuma district for the British crown. When Zululand was annexed to Natal in 1897 he became chief magistrate of the territory. He was Knighted in 1907 and retired fromr the public service before the Union.

The Zulus called him 'uMashiqela', meaning the autocrat, and by his work over thirty years he was one of the men who made Natal." [1]

He was the son of Katherine Saunders, plant collector and botanical artist in the Colony of Natal. Like his mother, Sir Charles collected plants and a number of species are named after him, including Pachypodium saundersii and Ornithogalum saundersiae. 426 plants were contributed to Kew Gardens between 1881 and 1889. 16 plant species were named in honour of Katherine Saunders and family members by Kew Gardens.

Kathleen Carola (died 1945), only daughter of the Lady Saunders of Melmoth and Sir Charles Saunders married Philip Edward Laughton of Dundee.

Sir Charles Saunders is buried Eshowe.


  1. ^ LANTERN PUBLICATION, March 1974.