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“All People Were Barbarians To The Askari ...”: Askari Identity And Honor In The Maji Maji War, 1905–1907

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Chapter Summary

In the history of colonial warfare in East Africa, the Maji Maji conflict represented an intensification of tactics and strategies that had already been applied by the German Schutztruppe during the previous fifteen years in the conquest of German East Africa. This chapter attempts a deconstruction of the askari as mercenary, and investigates the content of the term mercenary as it applies to them. Many askari considered themselves Muslim. Contemporary observers, including missionaries, government officials, Schutztruppe officers and scholars, noted that Islam was a key element of being askari. Another key feature of askari culture and identity was their role as family men.Most askari had wives or women companions who were as important a part of askari culture and the colonial military as the askari themselves.

Keywords: askari ; German East Africa; German Schutztruppe; Maji Maji war; Muslim



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