Henry Francis Fynn (29 March 1803 in Grosvenor Square, London, England – 20 September 1861 in Durban, Natal, South Africa) was an English traveler and trader. He was among the first Europeans to make contact with Shaka Zulu. Fynn, Coenraad De Buys, John Dunn and Nathaniel Isaacs were among the most famous of South Africa's so-called White Chiefs.
Henry Francis Fynn was born in London in 1803. He was the first of five children of Henry and Elizabeth Fynn. His father worked for the East India Company, serving aboard an EIC ship sailing between London and Cape Town, until losing his post in 1806.
By 1807, his father and mother had sold their property in England and had moved to Cape Town. Fynn, however, stayed in London with his aunt, who in 1809 successfully petitioned for his admission to Christ's Hospital. In 1816, Fynn left Christ's and, despite a request from his father that he join his family in the Cape, worked for two years in England as a surgeon's apprentice.
Life in South Africa
Fynn quit being a surgeon's apprentice in 1818 and decided to join his family in Cape Colony. After working several jobs, Fynn ventured to Grahamstown, where he eventually was hired as supercargo aboard Henry Nourse's trading vessel Jane. Late in 1823, Francis George Farewell agreed to include Fynn in a trading venture to the Bay of Natal using the sloop Julia.
By July 1824, Fynn was part of the trading post at Port Natal. During his time at Port Natal, Fynn amassed a group of his own followers, who became known as the iziNikumbi (locusts). He was noted for wearing a blanket and a crownless straw hat after his European clothing had worn out. By 1832, however, he was back in the Cape Colony. He did not return to Natal until 1852, where he worked as a resident magistrate.
During his time at Port Natal, Fynn took four African wives, with whom he had twelve children. His great wife was the Zulu princess Mavundlase. She is said to have succeeded to his chieftaincy upon his death. Fynn's son by a junior wife, also named Henry Francis Fynn, attended St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown in 1858 and 1859.
Several years after his return to the Cape, in 1841, he married a European woman, Christina Brown, with whom he had a son, Henry Francis Fynn Junior, in 1846.
Fynn died in Durban in September, 1861.
In popular culture
- Francis Farewell, leader of the colonists
- Pridmore, Julie (2004). "Diaries and Despatches: The Life and Writing of Henry Francis Fynn (1803–61) and Henry Francis Fynn Junior (1846–1915)". Kleio. Routledge. 36 (1): 128–129. doi:10.1080/00232080485380061. S2CID 161936973.
- Wylie, Dan (January 1995). ""Proprietor of Natal:" Henry Francis Fynn and the Mythography of Shaka". History in Africa. African Studies Association. 22: 417. doi:10.2307/3171924. JSTOR 3171924.
- Knight, Ian (1994). Warrior Chiefs of Southern Africa. Firebird Books. p. 11. ISBN 1-85314-106-2.
- Pridmore, Julie (2004). "Diaries and Despatches: The Life and Writing of Henry Francis Fynn (1803–61) and Henry Francis Fynn Junior (1846–1915)". Kleio. Routledge. 36 (1): 130–131, 135–139. doi:10.1080/00232080485380061. S2CID 161936973.
- Laurie 1914, p. 104.
- Pridmore, Julie (2004). "Diaries and Despatches: The Life and Writing of Henry Francis Fynn (1803–61) and Henry Francis Fynn Junior (1846–1915)". Kleio. Routledge. 36 (1): 134–135. doi:10.1080/00232080485380061. S2CID 161936973.
- Fynn, Henry Francis (1950). D. McK. Malcolm (ed.). The Diary of Henry Francis Fynn. Compiled from Original Sources. James Stuart. Pietermaritzburg: Shuter & Shooter.
- Laurie, K. W. J. (1914). Register of S. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, from 1855 to 1914. Grahamstown: Slater & Co.
- Wylie, Dan (January 1995). ""Proprietor of Natal:" Henry Francis Fynn and the Mythography of Shaka". History in Africa. African Studies Association. 22: 409–437. doi:10.2307/3171924. JSTOR 3171924.
This article draws heavily on the de:Henry Francis Fynn article in the German-language Wikipedia, which was accessed in the version of 19 July 2011.