Tag: Africa Imperial History

Fighting the Aliab Dinka Southern Sudan, November 1919 – May 1920

  In southern Sudan in 1919 the Aliab Dinka, Bor Dinka and Mandari tribes inhabited an area west of the upper White Nile river.  The tribesmen tended to be tall and fit-looking cattle herders who were adept at using spears.  They had little if any time for western conventions such as wearing clothing or paying tax demands.  The shared governing… Read more →

The Imperial Tussle: Missionaries give way to a Protectorate in Nyasaland

The arrival on the lake of the British missionaries pitched the Portuguese on the coast into a fit of apprehension tinged with paranoia lest this be the vanguard of a concerted British strategy to rob them of their interests in the interior. Tensions between Lisbon and London had been steadily building since the days of Livingstone which had been amplified… Read more →

David Livingstone and the discovery of Lake Nyasa

The road to development, peace and Christian enlightenment in Nyasaland, as it was in most other facets of British interface in Africa, was paved with good intentions. The original architect of that road was David Livingstone. No man had more profoundly noble intentions than he, but one of the many tragedies of the John Chilembwe affair was the fact that… Read more →

A Night of Killing: The Story of John Chilembwe

The evening of the 23rd of January 1915 settled on the Shiré Highlands of the Nyasaland Protectorate without obvious mishap or portent. January, traditionally the wettest month of the year, could on occasions be drenched by upwards of 10 inches of rainfall, however, on this particular evening, the sky was sheer, the moon high and the stars clear and bright.… Read more →

Proof that it wasn’t just white against black!

(Some interesting comments and observations on the theme of this article can also be found here) I was browsing through the photographs on the Rhodesian Military Facebook page, and noticed a comment attached to a picture of a black Rhodesian soldier manhandling a black guerilla corpse, that this was…‘Proof that it wasn’t just white against black!’ I hope that one… Read more →

Ian Smith, Prime Minister Rhodesia 1964-1979

In September 2002 I had a very interesting experience. At the time Rachel and I were living in Harare and were owners of a small guest house in Avondale. On one particular evening I fell into conversation over a few beers with a guest by the name of Anthony Oberdorfer. The discussion quickly turned to the subject of Rhodesia, and… Read more →

Why the Native Regiments and Askari Corps of Africa fought

Colonialism as an institution has been blamed for almost every ill affecting the developing world, particularly Africa, which has limped along with the aid of this crutch for two generations. Africa’s imperial history is as varied as every other aspect of its history, and the colonial experience itself varied from territory to territory. The Germans were probably among the more… Read more →

A summary of the East Africa Campaign of World War I

African Imperial history has in recent years become something of a discredited subject. The basic reason for this, I suppose, is that the political and social landscape of Africa has been so radically altered by independence that very little tangible trace of the period remains. It is also true that all the many failings of indigenous African administration have tended… Read more →

Cecil John Rhodes the Empire Builder and Capitalist

Rhodes’ huge territorial ambitions Africa in the 19th century was filled with opportunity, and no less filled with opportunists. The potential to make or break were equally spectacular, and nowhere more so than in South Africa. The great diamond discoveries of Kimberley in 1866 followed by the Witwatersrand Gold Rush of 1886 both helped to establish South Africa as the… Read more →

Paul Emil von Lettow Vorbeck, German Commander, African Hero

The East Africa Campaign of World War One threw up a number of great personalities. The Campaign is filled with military and civilian characters that contribute verve and colour to one of the most interesting campaigns of World War I. Not least of these were the two principal commanders, General Jan Christian Smuts and Colonel, later General Paul Emil von… Read more →