Gilbert Clement Kamana Gwassa: The Outbreak and Development of the Maji Maji War 1905–1907 [PDF]


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330 pp.
2 maps: Ethnic Groups involved in the Maji Maji Rebellion, Place Names in Connection with Maji Maji. Appendices: A. Matumbi Calendar and Activities, B. An Example of Executions in Southwest Matumbiland, C. Recording and Preservation of Texts in the Field. Bibliography. Supplementary Bibliography up to 2005

Text language: English

The manuscript of this book had been lying in the National Archive in Dar es Salaam for more than 30 years, until the Archives and Museum Foundation of the United Evangelical Mission (Wuppertal / Germany) decided to publish it and consequently to make it open to a wider public. The occasion for this was the centenarian commemoration of the Maji-Maji-War in Tanzania, in former times German East Africa (Deutsch-Ostafrika). The author Gilbert Klement Kamana Gwassa already presented this work as his dissertation in 1973 to the University of Dar es Salaam. What makes it so particular is the fact that it is one of the first studies in Africa about a colonial war from the point of view of an affected.

At the end of the 1960s the author was able to question some contemporary witnesses who had experienced the war as youths or concerned family members. Additional, a lot of documents had been at his disposal, amongst others from the German Colonial Archive in Potsdam (Deutsches Kolonialarchiv Potsdam). He evaluated written and oral sources, and also factored the precolonial history of the southern areas of Tanzania during the 18th and 19th century to display that this region had already had peoples comprehensive experiences with violence and foreign rule through slave manhunts and leaderships of the sultanes on Zanzibar.

These historical experiences are at least to some extent an explanation for the fast diffusion of the Maji-Maji ideology in the South of the country from 1905 on. The author had repeatedly visited the scenes of events and studied the inhabitants’ cultures on the spot. The result is a realtime and realistic picture of the incidents between 1905 and 1907 originated in the area of conflict between the indigenous and the colonial perspective. And even 30 years later – after the premature death of the author – the work did not loose its topicality.

The editors arranged the present book in a way which makes it possible everytime to refer to the original manuscript version. The scholarly literature published after 1963 as well as the literature which the author did not consider is found in an extra bibliography at the end of the book. Finally, bearing in mind readers who are familiar with the places two maps of the mentioned places and peoples are also appended.