MAJI MAJI WAR (1905 – 1907)
Refers to the war which was waged by Southern Tanganyika tribes against the German Colonial rule. It was the large – scale resistance which covered South – Eastern part of Tanganyika. The war involved several tribes including the Zaramo, Ngindo,Luguru, Makonde, Matumbi, Mbunga and Ngoni just to mention the few. This ethnic groups joined together to fight against Germans under the leadership of Kinjekitile Ngware at the area near Ngalambe river.
MajiMaji war got its name for the Swahili word “ Maji” which was used to refer to magic water that was used by KinjekitileNgware from Rufiji River.
He told the people that after drinking and being washed by that water, the bullets of the Germans could not harm anyone, The German bullets could be changed into water. The magic water gave the fighter( Southern tribes) the confidence of fighting against the Germans.
REASONS FOR THE OUTBREAK OF MAJI MAJI WAR
i. Africans wanted to defend their political sovereignty. The Germans invasion interfered the traditional political structures of Southern Tanganyika societies and replaced them with rulers such as Akidas and Jumbes. The Matumbi for instance, hated the Arab Akidas who the Germans gave power to rule on their behalf. The Akidas and Jumbes were very brutal hence MajiMaji war.
ii. The Introduction of Taxation. The natives were forced to pay tax to the colonial government. The Jumbes and Akidas enforced the collection of taxes by using excessive force. This created a lot of embarrassment to the Africans such as beating men in front of their wives and children. This as a result led to the outbreak of MajiMaji war
iii. Introduction of Cash crops production. In 1902 the German governor in Tanganyika Julius Von Sodden, ordered that every Akida must establish a cotton plot where the people would come to work. The Africans faced hardship as they worked for long time and were low wages. This eventually led to MajiMaji uprising.
iv. Land alienation. The cotton program was introduced in African areas where Africans were dispossessed of their land and in turn were made landless. This situation made Africans to wage the MajiMaji war so as to restore their land.
v. The character and conduct of Germans. The Germans were very harsh, brutal and lacked moral consideration and respect. For instance, the Ngindo complained on the German mercenaries and others on their sexual harassment and misbehaving with their wives. This eventually led to the MajiMaji uprising.
vi. Cultural interference. The Germans imposed the policy of destroying African customs. The African culture was disgraced. The Missionaries condemned the initiation ceremonies and circumcision and worse enough they introduced Christianity religion. This as a result led to the MajiMaji war so as to restore the African culture.
vii. Good Leadership of Kinjekitile. KinjekitileNgware managed to join and mobilize several ethnic group magic water which created unity among the Africans and finally made them confident to wage the MajiMaji war.
EFFECTS OF MAJI MAJI WAR
i. Famine and starvation. Large famine and starvation broke out among the Africans. This was due to the fact that, the Germans attacked the farms and grain stores. It is estimated that 50,000 people died due to famine caused by the war.
ii. Large scale migration. Many Africans migrated from the areas which were affected by the war. They were looking for asylum for their survival.
iii. Provided a lesson to the Germans. The sacrifice of thousands of Tanganyikans killed in a war was an important lesson to colonizers that Africans were ready to die for their country’s independence.
iv. Provided a foundation for anti – colonial struggles. MajiMaji war acted as a foundation for the later anti – colonial struggles in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
v. It inspired other nationalist’s fighters. MajiMaji war inspired other nationalists like MwalimuNyerere to unite all Tanganyikan people just like what Kinjekitile did in order to fight for independence later in 1950’s.
vi. Provided a lesson to other Africans. Other Africans outside Tanganyika were inspired by Maji Maji to unite together as a way to fight independence. For instance the Kenyans used Mau Mau movements against the British Colonial government in order to demand their independence.
vii. The Germans changed their system of ruling. The German Colonial government decided to change their system of ruling by adopting peaceful approaches rather than coercive approaches.