What are the Significance of the Early african Resistances
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)
AFRICAN RESISTANCES TO COLONIAL RULE
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,
Significance of the Early Resistances
i. Primary resistances helped to shape the environment of later African politics because of their impacts upon the thinking and action of the colonial authorities. The formation of TANU in Tanganyika had connection with Maji Maji and other associations.
ii. Primary resistances brought about the collapse of the commercial companies, which were at first employed by the German and British to open East Africa spheres of influence. So this forced the two governments to take direct responsibility.
iii. Primary resistances helped to change the early European attitudes of superiority. The thinking of administrators and settlers especially in Tanganyika and Southern Rhodesia after Maji Maji and Shona and Ndebele rising of 1896-1897, were dominated by fear of the repetition of such horrible outbreaks.
iv. Primary resistances showed Europeans that Africans were not willing to be colonized by Europeans. They wanted to remain’ with their traditional ways of living.
v. Primary resistances displayed African grievances to the Europeans, e.g. Land alienation, forced cultivation, taxation, and low wages.
vi. Primary resistances forced Europeans to change their methods of ruling Africans. For example, in Tanganyika after the Maji Maji war the Germans made changes in their way of ruling including land ownership, taxation, whipping people in public etc.