African societies did not keep silent at time of imposition of Colonial rule. Africans reacted differently and vigorous to the imposition of colonial rule. There were three forms of African reactions ( responses) towards imposition of colonial rule.
FORMS OF AFRICAN RESISTANCES
Resistance refers to an opposition or disagreement of a certain matter.
African resistances refers to different oppositions of reactions that were taken by African Society towards the imposition of colonial rule in their localities.
Many African resistances historically occurred during the establishment of colonial rule after the Berlin Conference. But these resistances ( reactions) took place in three forms:
- Active Resistance
- Passive Resistance
- Adaptation (Collaboration)
This was a response where the Africans resisted actively by showing of military opposition. In this form, Africans took their weapons to fight against colonial encroachment in their localities. However, active resistances were divided into two groups
- Small – Scale Resistance
- Large – Scale Resistance
SMALL SCALE RESISTANCE
This refer to the resistance whereby the local community armies or traditional leaders of a certain ethnic group resisted against colonial rule. In other words, it was an active resistance that covered a small area involving one tribe or two. A good example of Small Scale Resistance included Nyamwezi Resistance, Hehe Resistance, Samore Toure Resistance, Yao Resistance, Nandi Resistance etc.
LARGE SCALE RESISTANCE
It was a resistance which involved more than one ethnic group ( tribe). This is where ethnic groups joined together to fight against Colonial rule. A good example was Majimaji resistance in Tangayika, Nama and Herero resistance in Namibia, Shona and Ndebdele ( Chimurenga Uprising) in Zimbabwe etc.
Sometimes, this type of resistance is named as Secondary resistance. This type of active resistance was common among societies which accommodated colonialism at the beginning but later decide to resist after being subjected to colonial exploitation and oppression.
This was the type of resistance where Africans did not involve the use of arms to fight and did not cooperate with the colonizers. In other words, Africans did not do anything ( to resist or cooperate) with the colonizers. What these Africans did, was to resist to participate in the colonial activities and payment of taxes but not imposition of Colonial rule in their areas.
This was done by most of the smaller societies in Africa which could not unite and oppose the Encroachment of colonial rule.
In this type or response, since African chiefs welcomed the Europeans, assisted them to consolidate their colonial rule and sometimes they allied with the colonizers to conquer the neighboring societies. A good example of African Chiefs who collaborated with the Colonizers includes: Chief Lewanika of Rwozi Kingdom, Chief Mareale of Kilimanjaro, Mumia of Kenya, SemeiKakunguru in Uganda, ApoloKagwa in Uganda etc.
REASONS FOR AFRICANS TO COLLABORATE WITH COLONIALISTS
There were various reasons why some Africans Chiefs and Individuals collaborated with the colonizers during the imposition of colonialism. Some of those reasons were as follows:
Expectations of Africans
Some Africans were ignorant of the colonizers ambitions. They hoped to be protected by the colonialists against their rivals to revenge against their enemies. This made them collaborate with colonizers. For example, The Sangu collaborated with the Germans against the Hehe who were attacking them everyday
Factors like diseases, drought and shortage of food made some societies to collaborate with the colonizers For example, the Maasai by the time of Colonial intrusion were seriously affected by Cholera, rinderpest which killed their cattle and weak economy. This made them to collaborate. Also the Haya , Ankole and Ha were seriously affected by jiggers something which made them not to react militarily, instead they decided to collaborate.
Some Africans Chiefs wanted to defend their economic and political positions. Therefore they decided to collaborate with colonizers fearing that the whites would remove them from powers.
The role played by Missionaries
The penetration of missionaries and their preaching made the Africans to refrain from resisting and decided to collaborate. Fighting was regarded as a sign of backwardness according to the missionaries. Also fighting was considered to be against Christians beliefs.
Presence of Traditional conflicts
Some African Societies had internal conflicts with each other’s whish were traditionally. Therefore Africans tended to welcome Europeans as allies against their rivals for political domination. A good example Chief Lenana of Maasai against his brother Sendeyo.
The Desire of wealth
Africans also collaborated with colonialists as they hoped to gain more wealth from. This was due to the fact that Europeans had many luxurious goods which attracted many Africans. A good example was Apollo Kagwa in Uganda.
The need to participate in colonial government
African Chiefs also collaborated with the colonizer because they hoped that colonialists would include them in their colonial governments. A good example was Semei Kakunguru In Uganda
REASONS FOR AFRICAN RESISTANCES AGAINST COLONIAL RULE
There were several reasons why Africans resisted against the imposition of colonial rule In their areas. Africans reacted against the imposition of colonial rule due to the following reasons.
The desire to protect their culture
Some societies in Africa resisted because they wanted to preserve their religion and culture.In some parts of Africa, Islamic culture was deeply rooted and was accepted as a society religion.For instance the Coastal people in Tanganyika resisted against the Germans in East Africa due to religious motives.Germans who were Christians seemed to jeopardize the interests of the Muslims.Therefore Abushiri and Bwana Heri led the Coastal people in resisting against the Germans for this reason.
They wanted to protect their land
Some African societies resisted because they wanted to protect their economic interests such as land.For instance: the Nandi, Shona and Ndebele and the MajiMaji uprisings were waged so as to protect the economic interests of the people in those areas.
They wanted to defend Social and Political Sovereignty
Some African chiefs resisted against colonial rule because they realized that, their power and position would be destroyed after the arrival of colonizers.For exampleSamoreToure of the Mandika empire, Mkwawa of Hehe, Kabarega of Bunyoro etc.
They wanted to prove their strongest in political and military
Other societies fought because they believed to be politically and militarily strong. Worse enough, they were ignorant of the European military capability.They had an experience of war in their localities, which made them to be confident for any fight.A good example were: SamoreToure of Mandika Empire, believed that his forces could defeat the French, The Nandi in Kenya believed to be strong enough to defeat I.B.E.A.CO forces etc.
They wanted to preserve their trade monopolies
In other areas the chiefs mobilized their people to resist so as to preserve their trade monopolies. Some societies had a big monopoly on trade that was conducted in their areas for example, The Yao and the Nyamwezi had a strong hold to the East African Long distance trade, therefore they resisted the Germans due to this reason, King Jaja of Opobo and Asante people of West Africa fought against the British for the purpose of safeguarding their economic interests( trade) etc.
They resisted because of their ideology (belief)
Other societies fought because of their belief that cultivate ( instilled) the sense of unity and confidence to them. For example, the MajiMaji was fueled by the use of the magic water in which the people built confidence that it could enable them to win the war. This was due to the people beliefs that once the whites attempted to shoot them, the bullets would turn into water. This made them to have confidence and resist the Germans.
They resisted because of Colonial exploitation and oppression
Africans united to resist against the foreigners due to Colonial exploitation and oppression. Africans were not happy with taxation, forced labor, land alienation and cattle confiscation. For example, the Maji Maji resistance in Tanganyika and the Nama and Herero resistance in Namibia were both fueled by colonial exploitation and oppression.
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