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Author: Jan-Bart Gewald

Abstract

In 1915 troops of the South African Union Defence Force invaded German South West Africa, present day Namibia. In the north of the territory the South African forces captured an African soldier serving in the German army named Mbadamassi. Upon his capture Mbadamassi demanded to be released and claimed that he was a British national from Nigeria. In addition, he stated that he had served in the West African Frontier Force, and that he had been shanghaied into German military service in Cameroon. Furthermore, whilst serving in the German army in Cameroon, Mbadamassi claimed that he had participated in a mutiny, and that, as a consequence, he had been deported to GSWA. The article covers the remarkable military career of the African soldier, Mbadamassi, who between 1903 and 1917 served both the King of the British Empire as well as the Kaiser of the German Empire. In so doing, the article sheds light on the career of an individual African soldier serving in three colonial armies; the West African Frontier Force, the Schutztruppe in Cameroon, and the Schutztruppe in GSWA. The article argues that beyond the fact that colonial armies were institutions of repression, they also provided opportunity for those willing or condemned to serve within their ranks. Furthermore the article provides some indication as to the extent of communication that existed between colonial subjects in the separate colonies of Africa at the time. En 1915, les troupes de l'Union de l'Afrique du Sud ont envahi l'Afrique du Sud-Ouest allemande, l'actuelle Namibie. Dans le Nord du territoire, les forces sud-africaines ont capturé un soldat africain servant dans l'armée allemande nommé Mbadamassi. Celui-ci exigea d'être libéré et revendiqua être un Britannique du Nigeria. De plus, il déclara avoir servi dans la West African Frontier Force et avoir été enrôlé de force dans l'armée allemande au Cameroun. En outre, pendant qu'il servait dans l'armée allemande au Cameroun, Mbadamassi a prétendu avoir pris part à une mutinerie, ce qui avait conduit à sa déportation vers l'Afrique du Sud-Ouest allemande. Cet article couvre la remarquable carrière militaire du soldat africain Mbadamassi, qui, entre 1903 et 1917, a servi à la fois le roi de l'empire britannique et le Kaiser de l'empire allemand. Ainsi, l'article éclaire sur la carrière individuelle d'un soldat africain servant dans trois armées coloniales; la West African Frontier Force, le Schutztruppe au Cameroun et le Schutztruppe en Afrique du Sud-Ouest allemande. L'article soutient qu'au-delà du fait que les armées coloniales étaient des institutions de répression, elles ont aussi offert la possibilité à ceux qui le voulaient ou ceux qui y étaient condamnés de servir dans leurs rangs. En outre, l'article fournit une indication sur l'étendue de la communication qui a existé entre les sujets coloniaux dans les colonies d'Afrique séparées de l'époque.

In: African Diaspora
In: Living the End of Empire
In: Transforming Innovations in Africa
In: The Speed of Change
In: Strength beyond Structure
Author: Jan-Bart Gewald

In 1950s Northern Rhodesia, present day Zambia, rumours abounded amongst the African population intimating that the white settlers and administration were extensively involved in witchcraft, cannibalism and blood-sucking. In turn, members of the white settler community believed very much the same with regard to the African population of the territory. The development of nationalist politics and the increasing unionization of African workers in colonial Zambia led to agitation that was matched with increasing disquiet and fears on the part of white settlers. The emergence of ‘Mau Mau’ in Kenya and rumours of ‘Mau Mau’ in Northern Rhodesia served to underscore European settler fears in Northern Rhodesia. Based on research in the National Archives of Zambia and Great Britain, this paper explores the manner in which public rumour played out in Northern Rhodesia and gave emphasis to settler fears and fantasies in the territory.

Open Access
In: Afrika Focus
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In: African Roads to Prosperity