THE NYAMWEZI RESISTANCE 1891-1894
The Nyamwezi, or Wanyamwezi, are one of the Bantu groups of East Africa. They are the second-largest ethnic group in Tanzania.
The Nyamwezi people’s ancestral homeland is in parts of Tabora Region, Singida Region, Shinyanga Region and Katavi Region.
The term Nyamwezi is of Swahili origin, and translates as “people of the moon” on one hand but also means “people of the west” the latter being more meaningful to the context.
Historically, there have been five ethnic groups, all referring to themselves as ‘Wanyamwezi’ to outsiders: Kimbu, Konongo, Nyamwezi, Sukuma, and Sumbwa, who were never united. All groups normally merged have broadly similar cultures, although it is an oversimplification to view them as a single group.
The Nyamwezi have close ties with the Sukuma and are believed to have been one ethnic group up until the Nyamwezi started their forrays to the Coast for long distance trade. The Sukuma would refer to the Nyamwezi as the ‘Dakama’ meaning ‘people of the south’ while the Dakama would refer to the ‘Sukuma’ as ‘people of the north’. Their homeland is called Unyamwezi, and they speak the language Kinyamwezi, although many also speak Swahili or English.
Ancient Indian texts refer to the Nyamwezi, or “the men of the moon” – a term still in use to identify the Nyamwezi people in Tanzania. It was only in the 19th century that the name could be found in European literature; the term might include almost anyone from the western plateau.
Travel taught them that others called them Nyamwezi, and almost all men accepted the name given to them by the coastal people indicating that the Nyamwezi came from the west. A century later, their land is still called “Greater Unyamwezi”, about 35,000 square miles (91,000 km2) of rolling land at an elevation of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m).
Nyamwezi resistance was a small scale resistance against the Germany rule organized by Nyamwezi under their leader known as chief Isike in 1891-1894.
The Nyamwezi resistance occurred as a result of German’s monopolization over Nyamwezi’s trade and passed through their land such as Ujiji and Mwanza which broke their first good trade relation.
The Nyamwezi started resistance under their leader chief Isike in 1891 in order to avoid the Germany control; but due to poor weapons the German attacked Isike’s fort and destroyed it.
Chief Isike decided to blow up [kill himself] together with his family in the gunpowder magazine rather than being captured by Germany.
THE NYAMWEZI RESISTANCE 1891-1894
This was another reaction against Germany colonial rule which was staged by Nyarnwezi under Chief, Isike.
Initially the Nyamwezi had business relations with Germans, they conducted trade together.
But later on the Nyamwezi realized that the German’s intention of monopolizing their trade which passed through their land to important trading centres like Ujiji; and Mwanza, controlling land and ruling them.
In order to avoid the German control, Chief Isike organized his people to take up arms and closed the trade routes for number of months.
Due to poor weapons Nyamwezi were defeated by the well organized and equipped German forces.
In 1893 Chief Isike’s fort was badly destroyed by German forces. Chief Isike decided to blow up himself together with his family ·in the gun powder magazine rather than being captured by the Germans.
CAUSES OF NYAMWEZI RESISTANCE
The influence of Isike leadership: Isike was regarded as strong and powerful leader so he organized his people to fight against German
The land conflicts: Germany wanted to control the Nyamwezi’s land as they did in other areas in
Harsh rule of Germany: as a result Nyamwezi resisted against the German
Cultural interference: NyNyamwezi they wanted to protect their cultural
Racial segregation: Nyamwezi they wanted to avoid racism from
Economic exploitation: Through land alienation, taxation, forced labour, long working hours and low wages.
REASONS FOR THE FAILURE OF NYAMWEZI RESISTANCE
- Absence of strong
- Poor Organization
- Disunity among the
- Poor fighting
- Poor war organizations