Tanzania & Zanzibar

Tanzania & Zanzibar

Skinner, Annabel


Book ID 607

See also

Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar, 2001
Page Number: 135b
Extract Date: 1898

the WaArusha

The people of Arusha - the WaArusha - had been long-established as a distinct tribe of Pastoralists and farmers when the colonial powers arrived. Their social structure was influenced by Maasai ancestors, with a central warrior class and status relating to age. Occasionally called upon to support Rindi, the great Chagga warrior chief (see pp.197-8) in his battles with other chiefs around Kilimanjaro, the Arusha were no strangers to fighting by the time the Germans began to get caught up in these altercations - but soon found themselves on the wrong side of both their former ally and the new colonial enemy.

Extract ID: 3541

See also

Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar, 2001
Page Number: 135c
Extract Date: 19 October 1896

Kurt Johannes approaches the Arusha

On 19 October 1896, a German captain, Kurt Johannes, approached the Arusha in an attempt to secure diplomatic relations with local chiefs, but the Arusha warriors, unable to forget a German raid of the previous year, attacked and killed two missionaries. Captain Johannes returned to his base in Moshi,where he persuaded Rindi to side with him and mobilize Chagga troops to retaliate.The Arusha were easily defeated by the punishing onslaught: their weapons and food reserves were confiscated and their houses were destroyed, until they were forced to bow to German control.

Extract ID: 3542

See also

Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar, 2001
Page Number: 135d
Extract Date: 1899

Construction of the boma

In 1899 the Germans began construction of a strong fortification, a boma, which they forced the Arusha to build. Maasai in Arusha still remember the humiliation of this task:the new colonists took pleasure in riding around on the backs of the Arusha and Maasai men, egging them on with whips. One Maasai recorded the growing resentment at this form of transport in his memoirs. He was particularly enraged by an unusually heavy cargo; passing the river with his charge set heavily across his back, his patience snapped and he tossed his 'master' into the water. Fearing the consequences, many Maasai went into hiding in the bush, until a Maasai chief was sent to find them.The chief explained to the mutinous group that he was acting as a mediator, and that if the group returned to work all would be forgiven.The runaways marched back into the new town in a column of about 400 men; as they strode down Boma Road, the entire troop was gunned down in the street - one of history's many warnings never to trust a 'safe conduct'. It is said that the 'mediator' was promptly promoted.The bloodstained fort was completed in 1900 and became a barracks for 150 Nubian soldiers, later being made the regional government offices until 1934. when it was turned into the Arusha Museum of Natural History.

Extract ID: 3543

See also

Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar, 2001
Page Number: 135e
Extract Date: 1899~

Influx of traders and farmers

A steady influx of traders and farmers into Arusha in the 19th century, notably Indian traders, private German farmers and immigrant Africans, stimulated economic growth, prompting the German administration to conceive an 'idealistic' vision of a vast white settlement of their own construction. The Germans came up with several schemes to import settlers-from bizarre backgrounds.

The first of these plans back-fired when the Boer farmers of German origin who had taken up the offer of free farmland proved too uncouth for the ideal community; they were mainly squeezed out into Kenya.

The grand scheme was revised: now 10,000 German peasants from settlements around the Volga Basin and Caucasus in southern Russia were to be imported. The four families who arrived as a test project were painfully disappointed to discover that Arusha did not have four harvests a year, as they had been led to believe, and soon made their way to Tanga begging to be sent back to Russia.

Extract ID: 3544