Saturday, May 14, 2011


Ngoni Rebellion 1898 -1899

  • Saturday, May 14, 2011
  • Samuel Albert
  •  In the late 19th Century Britain began to probe into Central Africa, both from the Indian Ocean through Portuguese East Africa and northwards from Southern Rhodesia. The motives for entering the region around Lake Nyasa, (declared the British Central African Protectorate in 1891 but later called Nyasaland and now named Malawi), were a mixture of public concern about the ruthless practices of Arab slavers as exposed by Doctor David Livingstone and other Scots Missionaries, and more pragmatic reasons of trade and commerce. In those days the British government frequently saved overseas costs by licensing trading companies to explore and develop new territories. These trading companies often possessed rather different principles and priorities than those of Doctor Livingstone, and very often local Chiefs and their tribes were taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders. In British Central Africa the African Lakes Corporation, an organization headquartered in Glasgow, was the dominant trading concern from 1884 until the Protectorate was declared in 1891.

    Living in an area of Northern Rhodesian land lying just west from the border and approximately level with the southern end of Lake Malawi was a tribe of Zulu descent that had migrated northwards from southern Africa. This tribe, the Angoni, had established and maintained itself here by conquest as its military skills and organization were superior to those possessed by its neighbours. Angoni warriors were organized into regiments and they carried a heavy stabbing spear, smaller throwing spears, a club or axe and an oval hide shield for protection. Angoni villages were not fortified but were located in hilly sites that were difficult to