MAJI MAJI WAR 1905 – 1907


Table of Contents

MAJI MAJI WAR 1905 – 1907

Refers to  the  war  which  was  waged  by  Southern  Tanganyika  tribes  against  the  German Colonial  rule. It was  the  large – scale  resistance  which  covered  South  – Eastern  part  of  Tanganyika.

The  war  involved  several  tribes  including  the  Zaramo, Ngindo,Luguru, Makonde, Matumbi, Mbunga  and  Ngoni  just  to  mention  the  few. This  ethnic groups  joined  together  to  fight  against  Germans  under  the  leadership of  Kinjekitile Ngware  at  the  area  near  Ngalambe  river.

MajiMaji  war  got  its  name  for  the  Swahili  word “ Maji” which  was  used  to  refer  to  magic  water that  was  used  by  KinjekitileNgware  from  Rufiji  River.

He  told  the people  that  after  drinking  and being  washed  by  that  water, the  bullets  of  the  Germans  could  not  harm  anyone

The  German  bullets  could  be  changed  into  water. The  magic  water  gave  the  fighter( Southern  tribes) the  confidence  of  fighting  against  the  Germans.


1. Africans wanted to defend their political sovereignty

The Germans invasion interfered the traditional political structures of Southern Tanganyika societies and  replaced  them  with rulers  such  as  Akidas  and Jumbes.

The  Matumbi  for  instance, hated  the  Arab  Akidas  who  the  Germans  gave  power  to rule  on their  The  Akidas  and  Jumbes  were  very  brutal  hence  MajiMaji  war.

2. The Introduction of Taxation

The natives were forced to pay tax  to  the  colonial government. The  Jumbes  and  Akidas  enforced  the  collection  of taxes  by  using  excessive  This  created  a lot  of  embarrassment  to  the  Africans  such  as  beating  men  in front  of  their  wives  and  children. This as  a  result  led  to the  outbreak  of MajiMaji  war

3. Introduction of Cash crops production

In 1902 the German governor in Tanganyika  Julius  Von  Sodden, ordered  that  every  Akida  must  establish  a  cotton  plot  where  the  people  would  come  to  The  Africans  faced  hardship  as  they  worked  for  long  time  and  were  low  wages. This eventually led to  MajiMaji  uprising.

4. Land alienation

The cotton program was introduced in African  areas  where  Africans  were  dispossessed  of  their  land  and  in turn  were  made  This situation made Africans  to wage  the  MajiMaji war  so  as  to  restore  their  land.

5. The character and conduct of Germans

The Germans  were  very  harsh, brutal  and  lacked  moral  consideration  and  For  instance, the  Ngindo  complained  on the  German  mercenaries  and  others  on  their  sexual  harassment  and  misbehaving  with  their  wives. This eventually led  to the  MajiMaji  uprising.

6. Cultural interference

The Germans  imposed  the  policy of  destroying  African customs. The African culture  was  The  Missionaries  condemned  the  initiation  ceremonies  and  circumcision  and  worse  enough  they  introduced  Christianity  religion. This  as  a  result  led  to  the  MajiMaji  war  so  as  to  restore  the  African  culture.

7. Good Leadership of Kinjekitile

Kinjekitile Ngware managed  to  join  and  mobilize  several  ethnic  group  magic  water  which  created  unity  among  the  Africans  and  finally  made  them  confident  to  wage  the  MajiMaji


1. Famine and starvation

Large famine and starvation broke out among the Africans. This was  due  to  the  fact  that, the Germans  attacked  the  farms  and grain  It  is  estimated  that  50,000  people  died  due  to famine  caused  by  the  war.

2. Large scale migration

Many Africans  migrated  from  the  areas  which  were  affected  by  the  They  were  looking  for  asylum  for  their  survival.

3. Provided a lesson to the Germans

The sacrifice  of  thousands  of  Tanganyikans  killed in  a  war  was an  important  lesson  to  colonizers  that  Africans  were  ready  to  die for  their  country’s

4. Provided a foundation for anti – colonial struggles.

MajiMaji war  acted  as  a  foundation  for  the later  anti – colonial  struggles  in  the  1940’s  and  1950’s.

5. It inspired other nationalist’s fighters.

MajiMaji war  inspired    other  nationalists like  MwalimuNyerere  to  unite  all  Tanganyikan  people just  like  what  Kinjekitile  did  in  order  to  fight  for  independence  later  in  1950’s.

6. Provided a lesson to other Africans.

Other Africans outside Tanganyika were inspired by Maji Maji  to  unite  together  as  a  way  to  fight  For instance the Kenyans  used  Mau Mau  movements  against  the  British  Colonial  government  in  order to demand  their  independence.

7. The Germans changed their system of ruling

The German Colonial government decided to change their system of  ruling  by  adopting  peaceful  approaches  rather  than  coercive


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