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Were The Bena Traitors?: Maji Maji In Njombe And The Context Of Local Alliances Made

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Chapter Summary

The tensions which led to the confrontation at Yakobi in present-day Njombe District between the Bena chief, Mbeyela Mkongwa, and the Germans in September 1905 can be traced back to regional rivalries which emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. The northern Ubena areas of Ukilavungi and Usovi were left bare. Furthermore, according to Ndikwege, those who, in the eyes of the Bena rebels, did not participate in the rebellion were regarded as traitors because they sided with the Germans. This chapter attempts to link these earlier developments to what happened in Njombe during the Maji Maji Rebellion. It shows why the rebellion was fought by the Nyikolwe Bena under Mbeyela and his two sons. In the first years of Imperial German government control, the initial task was the conquest of areas of resistance. In 1893, German officials began constructing alliances aimed at encircling Mkwawa.

Keywords: Bena traitors; German officials; Maji Maji rebellion; Mbeyela Mkongwa; Njombe District; Yakobi



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