Maji-Maji

Name ID 366

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 06b
Extract Date: 1891

More revolt

They were however about to face more revolts in the interior.

Starting in 1891, Nyamwezi Chief Isike fought the Germans in Tabora region in the Western part of Tanganyika. Defeated in 1892, rather than surrendering, he blew himself up in the armoury of his fort in January 1893.

Trouble flared up north with the Chagga and in central Tanganyika with the Gogo, but two major prolonged wars challenged German rule for years: Mkwawa in southern Hehe land and the famous Maji Maji rebellion which inflamed a quarter of the country for more than a year.

The Germans had occupied Hehe country and following the massacre of a delegation sent by Mkwawa, he retaliated in 1891 by ambushing in Lugalo an armed column headed by Lieutenant von Zeiewski. He seized enough weapons and ammunition to keep up resistance for nearly 3 years during which the Germans prepared their assault: in October 1894 a well-organised expeditionary force under the command of Tom Prince, an English-born German officer, stormed Kalenga, the court town of the Hehe, defeated them and captured the town. Mkwawa escaped and in spite of an enormous reward of 5,000 rupees, he was not betrayed and continued harassing German troops with guerilla actions for 4 years until 1898. Trapped, he shot himself.

The Germans' exultation at this hard-won victory ran so high that they cut off Mkwawa's head which was sent for display to the Bremen Anthropological Museum in Germany, his body being returned to his people for ritual burial. In June 1954 his head was returned and handed over to Mkwawa's grandson. Chief Adam Sapi, who was to become the First Speaker of the independent Tanzania Parliament.

Extract ID: 4024

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 06d
Extract Date: 1905

the Maji Maji war

All resistance to the Germans in the interior ceased and they could now set out to organize Deutsch Ost Afrika.

They continued exercising their authority with such disregard and contempt for existing local structures and traditions and with such brutality that discontent was brewing anew and in 1902 a movement against forced labour for a cotton scheme rejected by the local population started along the Rufiji.

It reached a breaking point in July 1905 when the Matumbi of Nandete chased their akida and suddenly the revolt grew wider from Dar es Salaam to the Uluguru Mountains, the Kilornbero Valley, the Mahenge and Makonde Plateaux, the Ruvuma in the southernmost part and Kilwa, Songea, Masasi, and from Kilosa to Iringa down to the eastern shores of Lake Nyasa.

Known as the Maji Maji war with the main brunt borne by the Ngonis, this was a merciless rebellion and by far the bloodiest in Tanganyika.

Germans had occupied the area since 1897 and totally altered many aspects of everyday life. They were actively supported by the missionaries who destroyed all signs of indigenous beliefs, notably by razing the 'mahoka' huts where the local population worshipped their ancestors' spirits and by ridiculing their rites, dances and other ceremonies. This would not be forgotten or forgiven; the first battle which broke out at Uwereka in September 1905 under the Governorship of Count von Gotzen turned instantly into an all-out war with indiscriminate murders and massacres perpetrated by all sides against farmers, settlers, missionaries, planters, villages, indigenous people and peasants.

Extract ID: 4026

See also

Map and Guide to Tanzania
Page Number: 06e
Extract Date: 1905

the Maji Maji Rebellion

Convinced by powerful witch-doctors (waganga), the people believed that special water from the Uluguru Mountains protected men with magic by turning bullets into water (maji in Kiswahili, hence the Maji Maji Rebellion). The best known mganga was Kinjikitile of Ngarambe and 'drinking stations' were installed all over to allow local populations to benefit from this magic medicine, which was in fact not so much drunk as sprinkled all over the body.

After the first assault, the Ngoni overran the Perarniho German Mission and burned down all the buildings, avenging the destruction of their huts. Sustained battles lasting three to four weeks went on all over but the Maji Maji leaders were repeatedly defeated since the Germans had no scruples in using machine guns against the fighters, who like the Pogoro and Mbunga tribesmen convinced that the Maji Maji was giving them immunity against bullets - massively attacked Mahenge in great strength, but were relentlessly mown down in dreadful numbers.

The biggest united fight against the Germans took place under command of Chief Chabruma of the Ngoni at Lumecha, ten miles east of the fortified German Boma (Administrative Headquarters) but he was routed. He started a protracted guerilla warfare but pursued by German officers and engaging in a last desperate fight in June 1906 he was badly wounded and crossed the Ruvuma into Portuguese territory to take refuge at the court of Chief Mataka of the Yao. Recovering from his wounds and planning yet one more attack he was assassinated by a pretender to his succession. Some actions lasted until 1907 around Songea but Chabruma's assassination marked the end of the incredibly violent rebellion which left between 120,000 and 135,000 dead.

The entire south German East Africa was completely devastated and the political power and economic structure of the Ngoni totally destroyed. District Commissioner Captain Richter applied a scorched earth policy and by confiscating food, provoked a two year-long famine and massive depopulation and emigration. His extreme policy came under severe criticism from those same missionaries who ten years earlier had been one of the main causes of the uprising and they now succeeded in having him relieved from his post.

Meanwhile and between March and September 1906, all the leaders of the Maji Maji Rebellion were hanged. Chief Songea, who gave his name to the town, was offered a reprieve from the death sentence because he had surrendered: he demanded to be and was hanged, fearing that his survival would be considered a treacherous act.

The Maji Maji War in Ungoni by 0.B Mapunda and G.P Mpagnala, published in 1968, documents this period with a wealth of detail and anecdotes.

Extract ID: 4027

See also

Ofcansky, Thomas P and Yeager, Rodger Historical Dictionary of Tanzania
Page Number: 101
Extract Date: 1905

refugees and Maji-Maji

Supported schemes to establish Afrikaner refugees from the South African Boer War and poor Germans from Russia on the foothills of Mount Meru.

Gotzen refused to allow European settlers to buy their farms until the land had been cultivated. He is best remembered for his brutal supression of the Maji-Maji Rebellion. While fighting the rebels, Gotzen implemented a scorched-earth policy in southern GEA which caused the destruction of a region the size of Germany. During this campaign more than 100,000 men, women and children died as a result of famine and disease.

Extract ID: 1200

See also

editors East Africa
Extract Date: 1905-1907

The Maji-Maji rebellion

The Maji-Maji rebellion against German rule spreads throughout southern Tanganyika. It serves to unite disparate tribal groups against foreign domination, but at least 75,000 lives are lost in vain.

Extract ID: 558

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Diana
Page Number: 2007 10 26

im praying for tanzania

my ame is diana

I had a dream I was watching tv and I heard a voice that said really clear and very firm maji maji uprising

I dropped out in the 9th grade I really donít have much education exept for what the lord has give me I didt know what this dream meant so I wet on the computer and looked it up and it had so much info on it about this war maji maji uprising

i pray for africa even though i know othing about it i live in ny in a poor area but u kow i am rich in GOD AMEN I PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE WELL AD THAT GOD BLESSES THEM I DONT KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENIG THERE BUT I WANT U TO KNOW GOD KNOWS AMEN GOD BLESS U IN JESUS NAME AMEN DIANA

Extract ID: 5495
www.nTZ.info