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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: Nature Conservation in Southern Africa
In: Transforming Innovations in Africa
In: Strength beyond Structure
In: The Speed of Change
In: Living the End of Empire
German Colonial Rule in Namibia: An Annotated Reprint of the 1918 Blue Book
The 1918 “Blue Book” Report on the Natives of South-West Africa and Their Treatment by Germany, is based on the voluntary statements taken under oath of no less than 50 African witnesses. This testimony was combined with numerous German colonial documents to produce, not only a stinging indictment of German colonial policy in German South West Africa, but also the first detailed eyewitness accounts of the first genocide of the twentieth century. However, within ten years of being printed, orders were issued for the destruction of all copies of the “Blue Book” within the British Empire.
The editors have investigated how the Blue Book came into being, provided background information to the events and people described, and sought to discover the original German documents upon which so much of the Blue Book material is based. The particular usefulness of the book lies in the fact that it gives voice to African testimony regarding the first genocide of the Twentieth Century.
People en Route to Socio-Cultural and Economic Transformations
This book brings together in a comparative analysis the results of studies of the various cultural, social, economic and historical aspects that are formative in African societies’ experiences of how people negotiated the spaces and times of being in transit on the road to prosperity.
The book analyses the various outcomes of the process of mobility and the experience of spaces and times of transit across gender, generational, and class-differences. These experiences are explored and give insight into the socio-cultural and economics transformations that have taken place in African societies in the past century.

Contributors are:
Akinyinka Akinyoade, Walter van Beek, Marleen Dekker, Ton Dietz, Rijk van Dijk, Isaie Dougnon, Jan-Bart Gewald, Meike de Goede, Benjamin Kofi Nyarko, Samuel Ntewusu Aniegye, Taiwo Olabisi Oluwatoyin, Shehu Tijjani Yusuf, Augustine Tanle and Amisah Zenabu Bakuri.

In: African Roads to Prosperity