Colonialism – Is a social, political and economic system that leads to the nation to establish exploitative structure in a foreign country and dominate it economically, politically, and culturally.
It is a situation whereby one powerful nation dominates and control the other weaker nation politically, socially and economically and establishing exploitative structure in the country.
Tactics used to Impose Colonial Rule
This was the first principle used during penetration and occupation of the African territory. The techniques used in these principles were:
The signing of treaties was the first technique used by the colonialist during the colonial domination. This involved the signing of the agreement of friendship between African chiefs and European. However, there were not genuine friendship agreement the truth was that African rulers unknowingly signed that treaties to surrender their political power to European agents.
This was possible because the agreement was written in European languages and cries who interpreted those treaties were European interpreted them wrongly to mislead the local chief that is why those treaties were called “Bogus treaties”.
Some of the examples of treaties signed were those of Carl Peter the German agent with Chief Mangungo of Msovelo in 1884 and the one signed by Makoko of the Bakeke with de brazzza who was for the French imperialism in the Congo Basin.
The imperialist agents also used alliances to dominate African societies, usually, alliances were made when there was fear of enmity between strong and weak societies so in order to protect the weak from the attack of the strong societies. The motive of the alliance was to weaken and suppress the opposition.
An example of the alliance/collaboration was done between German and Merore of the Sangu and Bena against Chief Mkwawa of the Hehe and French in West Africa made alliances with the emperor of Tokolor and Khosa to Conquer Senegambia under Mohamed Lemine.
This was the technique used when the signing of treaties and alliances failed, the imperialist tended to use force to attack and conquering all societies that put strong opposition to the imperialist motives of dominating them. For example German conquered the Hehe under Mkwawa, French conquered Samora Toure of the Mandinka in West Africa, British conquered Kibarega of the Bunyoro Kingdom in Buganda.
This was a technique used by the imperialist to threaten and create fear to the African chiefs by showing their military, superiority. This technique was successful in making African surrender, for example, Jaja of Abopo in West Africa surrendered to the British.
Although to the British this technique was used initially in the imposition of colonial rule. It was used as well as in the establishment of the colonial rule. The administrative technique was used as in the indirect rule, direct rule, and assimilation policy.
AFRICAN REACTIONS TO THE COLONIAL RULE
African did not keep silent at a time of the imposition of colonial rule. African government through land alienation.
Forms of the African resistance/reaction
There were three forms of African reactions towards the imposition of colonial rule;
It is the type of resistance in which African did not involving the use of arms to fight and did not cooperate with the colonizers. African resisted participating to the colonial activities. For example, They refused to pay taxes, they refused the production of cash crops, provision of labor,(Example Pogoro of Tanzania and some other societies African surrendered without fight i.e. they submitted their land to the European colonialism. They did that due to- (a) Internal problems such as famine and diseases.(b) Fear and insecurity © Hope to retain some degree of the independence.
This is the type of resistance in which the African showed military opposition by taking weapons to fight against the colonialists. This type of reaction has divided into two types;
[*]Small Scale Resistance
This is the type of resistance covered small areas, involving one tribe or two tribes, for example, Nyamwezi resistance, Hehe Resistance, Samora Toure Resistance, Yao Resistance and others.
[*]Large Scale Resistance
This involved more than one ethnic groups joining together to fight against their common enemy, for example, Majimaji resistance, Nama and Herore resistance, and Shona and Ndebele resistance (Chimurenga uprising)
Some African chiefs welcomed the European and assisted them to strengthen them. They allied with white to conquer the neighboring societies. For example Chief Lumanyika of Bantu, Merore of Sangu Apolo Kogoa in Uganda and others.
REASONS FOR THE AFRICANS TO RESIST COLONIAL RULE
Some societies wanted to preserve their religion and culture, for example, coastal people against German.
To defend social and political sovereignty, for example, Samore Toure of Mandinka and Mkwawa against Foreign encroachment.
In other areas, Chief mobilized their people so as to preserve their trade conducted to their areas.
Other fought because they believed to be politically and military strength. For example, Samore Toure believed that his forces could defeat the French.
Other societies fought because of their ideologies. They had unity and solidarity and confidence against the Colonizers. For example, Majimaji uprising was filled by the use of Magic water could enable them to win the war.
African societies resisted because of the nature of colonial administration system and economic policies. For example to resist forced labor, to resist taxation, to resist land alienation, to resist forced production of cash crops, for example, Nama and Herore against German in Namibia.
Some had resisted because the white Christianity opposed certain African practices such as Polygamy, drinking beer and human sacrifices. They wanted to maintain their traditional practices.
FACTORS THAT DETERMINED THE NATURE OF AFRICAN REACTIONS
The level of development, some societies or empires had attained a certain level of economic development. They had a stable political system, which was attained because of the economic position that they occupied before. These societies were in a position to respond militarily to colonial rule. Example The Hehe and Nyamwezi long distance (Accumulated and guns). The Mandinka people Tran’s Saharan trade (wealth and gun).
Expectations of the African chief, some African chief were ignorant of white men ambition. They thought that they could be helped or protected against their rivals. Some African societies were weak and they constantly attacked them.
Physical factors, some diseases weakened some societies, for example, the Masaai by the time of colonial institution were seriously affected by cholera which killed many people.
The role played by the missionaries also determined the nature of resistance, the penetration of missionaries and their practices made the African reduce resistance because fighting was regarded as a sign of backwardness and it was against Christian belief.
Individual interest made some African respond military and collaborate some African chiefs wanted to defend their economic and political position that they occupied.
ACTIVE RESISTANCES IN EAST AFRICA
Hehe Resistance (1891-1898)
The hehe under Chief Mkwawa fought against Germans. This war took longer than other war in Africa, it involved military actions and well organized. Chief Mkwawa fought the Germans to safe guards his political and economic interest.
The Hehe resistance was caused by the German occupation by several areas in the main land Tanganyika such as Ugogo, Ukaguru, Usambara and Mpwapwa which had economic importance to Hehe ruling class.
These occupied areas where potential for trade activities thus German occupation treated, the economic position for hehe, Mkwawa’s army was defeated by German forced due to poor weapons used when compared to those used by the Germany.
Later on, German patrol caught up Mkwavinyika in July 1898 and surrounded him when he was very tired, sick and alone.
Mkwawa could not accept the shame of surrender so he died by shot himself than being captured while still alive.
NYAMWEZI RESISTANCE (1891 -1893)
Nyamwezi of Unyanyembe Tabora by Chief “Isike” to fight against German intrusion. Isike led his people to defend his political sovereignty and economic interest. The German threatened his position they wanted to control long distance trade which was the backbone of Isike’s economy.
The Nyamwezi fought bravely and managed to contain the German attack but were defeated in 1898 and Tabora was captured knowing how cruel the German was and bearing the result of his captive Chief Isike blow up Shock and the rest of his family.
COASTAL PEOPLE RESISTANCES (1888-1889)
In 1888 Abushiri led the coastal people and attacked many places and towns including Dar es Salaam. The German Imperial commissioner Von Bismarck intercepted the uprising and by 15th December 1889, Abushiri was a leader was hanged.
Another coastal resistance who joined by Abushiri was those led by Bwana Heri of the Zigua and Hassan bin Omary Makunganya of Kilwa. However, the German defeated all of them.
Other tribes such as gogo, The Yao and Haya attempted to resist Germany domination in different ways by they failed
He was organized by Kabarega against British administration in 1893. Kabarega was reacting against the Christian faction used by Captain Lugard of the British government to fight Muslims in Uganda and later the other Muslim forces in Bunyoro.
Kabaka Mwanga joined forces with Kabarega finally the British forces defeated both Kbarega and Kabakas forces and sent for exile in Seychelles in 1899. The British completely took control in Uganda by 1900.
THE NANDI RESISTANCES (1895 -1905)
The Nandi lived in areas of the rift valley and occupied a fertile land used for crop production and livestock keeping. The nandi started resistance against the British under their leader Orkoiyot (Koilalel Arap Samoei ) Orkoiyot was a title of the Nandi leader).
Reasons for Resistances
Nandi believed that they were superior as they had experienced one success after another in their raiding expeditions. They also believed that their culture was superior and they did not want their culture to be interfered by anybody.
Kimnyole’s prophecy, Kimnyole was an ex-orkoiyot, during his reign he prophesied that the Nandi would one day be ruled by foreigners. So the prophecy reinforced the resistances from the Nandi against the British.
Land problem, railway construction had an impact on the Nandi people, removal of the Nandi from their land aimed at creating vacant land for white settlement. Also British were worried that without removing the Nandi they would pose a challenge to the British in the railway construction.
Railway construction, the construction of the railway which passed through the Nandi’s land had interfered with their daily activities and culture.
Effects of the resistances
Massive loss of life, the council of elders, the orkoiyot and army warriors were killed.
The British colonized the Nandi country, the Nandi lost their sovereignty.
African were pushed into reserve areas and others were left landless.
Nandi became cheap labors for white farms.
Destruction of Nandi properties, villages were set on fire and a lot of cattle were confiscated.
LARGE SCALE AFRICAN RESISTANCES
Large scale African resistances against colonial domination took place in various areas and in other cases involved a different number of ethnic groups.
MAJIMAJI RESISTANCES (1905-1907)
It was the resistance against the German in Tanganyika. It was a large scale resistance which covered Southern Eastern part of Tanganyika. The resistances involved several tribes including the Zaramo, Ngindo, Makonde, Matumbi, Mbunga and The Ngoni. The ethnic groups joined to fight against the Germans under the leadership of Kinjeketile Ngwale.
Majimaji got the name from the Swahili word maji which means water. Majimaji was the magic water that was used by Kinjeketile Ngwale drawn from River Rufiji.
Kinjeketile mobilized his people to use magic water in a belief that the water could turn the German bullets into the water due to the power of the ancestors. The magic water give the fighters the confidence of fighting
CAUSES OF MAJIMAJI RESISTANCES
Land alienation, the cotton program was introduced in African areas so most of the African were removed from their land and become landless. This situation subjected the African into worse conditions of looking for employment for the survival. So this made them resist against the white people.
Forced labor, African were recruited and forced to work on cotton plantations without or sometimes with little payments. They were supervised to work in such plantations by cruel German soldiers who mistreated them.
The introduction of taxes, African were forced to pay taxes to the colonial government, the Jumbe and Akidas enforced tax collection by using excessive force which created a lot of embarrassment to the Africans such as beating men in front of their wives and children.
Cash crops production, especially cotton production, The German introduced compulsory cotton cultivation which had no value to the Africans. So this also made the African resist.
Low wages and poor working conditions, People were forced to work in plantations and they were paid very low while they under took heavy works on plantations under hard conditions so African people could not tolerate this exploitation and hence they resisted.
Political Dissatisfaction, German invasion had interfered with the traditional political structures and replaced them with their rulers such as Akida and Jumbe. The Matumbi hated the Arabs and Akidas who’s German gave the power to rule on their behalf through direct rule system. The Africans resisted so as to defend their lost political sovereignty.
The introduction of Christianity, German imposed the policy of destroying African customs. African culture was disgraced. The introduction of Christianity was against the traditional religion and beliefs of the Africans.
The influence of Kinjeketile Ngwale, The effective leadership, and organization of the Prophet Kinjeketile Ngwale led to the mobilization of a large group of followers against the German administration. He inspired high spirit, courage, determination, and morale of resisting by providing magic water to his people and giving them false confidence that German bullet would be ineffective and could turn to water.
The Majimaji resistance ended in 1907 and African forces were defeated by the German.
REASONS FOR AFRICAN DEFEAT
German used superior automatic weapons such as machines guns while Africans used poor weapons such as arrows, spears and outdated guns.
Poor military communication, there was no joint in African military, there was no central military command, each tribe fought at its own places.
Starvation of the African, Farms and food stores were set on fire with food shortage African could not outstand strong resistance.
Big tribes did not participate in Majimaji wars, The Nyamwezi and Hehe resisted to join the war because they had already suffered the defeat in their resistance against the German.
Failure of magic water, the use of magic water made the African enter into the war unprepared. They thought that the water by itself would automatically send them to success, as a result, there was the massive killing of African by the bullets.
Effects of the Majimaji resistance
The existence of famine and starvation because most of the African participated in fighting and they did not participate in agricultural activities.
A large number of African lost their lives, including their leaders and soldiers were killed by the German forces while others died of diseases and starvation.
The majimaji war led to the displacement of many of African families due to fear of insecurity.
Destruction of properties since the German used scorched earth policy which involved burning of villages and crops in all areas with African forces.
German colonial government changed their system of administration aimed at preventing of occurrence of another uprising. They changed from direct rule to indirect rule.
SIGNIFICANCE OF MAJIMAJI WAR
Majimaji inspired the nationalist movements for a future struggle for independence.
The war brought together many African communities to resist against the European invaders.
Tanganyika got a lesson of using peacefully method of struggle for independence instead of using armed struggle.
The German colonial government changed their system of administration from direct rule to indirect rule. They changed their attitude towards African.
German improved some important measures to improve African services like education, health, farming and communication such as the abolition of corporal punishment, elimination of forced labor and rejection of extra taxation.
NAMA AND HERORE RESISTANCE (1905-1907)
This was the massive resistance occurred in Namibia and involved two African societies The Nama and Herore. The Nama fought against the German under their leader Hendrick Witboo while the Herore were under Chief Maheeroro.
Both of these societies pre occupied by Pastoralist and cultivators.
In 1884 The German declared a protectorate over the region, the German set up a military base at Windhoek and launched an attack on the Nama (1884 - 1904).
The German created various economic and political policies which provoked the Nama and Herore. In January 1904 there was a massive Herore revolt against the German the Nama Joined the war in October in the same year.