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Songs Of The Askaris (Conscripted Soldiers)

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Chapter Summary

The German Colonial Army employed native African soldiers, known as askaris, in its colonies. The askaris were well paid but harshly disciplined. Sukuma men were highly regarded as soldiers for their discipline and endurance. The musics most associated with Sukuma askari military life were the genres known as beni and pubha. The pubha dance has an interesting history in the Sukuma region, as all sources claim that it is the same dance as beni, yet few sources realize the nature of its true origin in militarism and colonial contact. The beni, pubha, and askari songs that the author collected were used in marching, brush clearing, and various other labor details. The two askari songs are about their German leaders, describing their strange clothes, and describing their shoes made of wood.

Keywords: askari songs; beni songs; pubha songs; Sukuma region

10.1163/ej.9789004184688.i-536.24
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