Sunday, August 8, 2010


Interesting Oral History of The Maseko Ngoni Under Mputa

  • Sunday, August 8, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By William Perceval Johnson, Archdeacon of the Universities Mission to Central Africa

    Note from The moderator: I am of the opinion that the Zulu in paragraph 5 onwards was not the successor of Zwangendaba but rather broke away from the Zwangendaba's ngoni after his death. There are also other areas besides this where the author differs from the position of other historians. I guess it is all because all these are oral histories, It is therefore difficult to tell who is right or wrong.

    The Angoni were the first aggressors. They came up from the south with another clan, allied or akin, which was under a famous chief called Mputa, i.e. the Smiter, and the two parties separated near what is now Bulawayo. Mputa crossed the Zambesi low down — this is the Angoni account of him — and wandered about, going up to Mtonya and on to the Rovuma river and finally to the north end of the Lake, where he seems to have settled not far from Songea.

    As he went he brought desolation to the Lake side. The old men in various villages can remember this time of terror, and bring before us how the news flew from village to village that the Smiter was coming and how each village waited its turn in trembling. 'At Chilowelo,' said one man, ' we were well out of the way; not many of his people came down here.' An old man of Losefa said : ' When Mputa came we had heard that the Angoni cannot bear water and that if you are in the water,even up to your knees, they will not touch you. This was true, for we went in and Mputa passed us in the water ; but he burnt our village.' A headman of Mtengula told us : 'He took my mother as a slave, but I was a mere child.'

    Where there were no stockades built, the people could only escape to the reed-beds or to the rocks in the Lake. The village of Msumba, which had reeds and a marsh at the back, made a good stand. Mputa stayed some time near it, this gave the Nyasas time to gather, and after a battle or so he moved away. An old Ngoo man, still alive, is proud of having killed an Angoni on this occasion, and tells how he took his shield, his feathers, and his name, and Maendaenda of Pachia has the scar of a wound as a memento of the fight.

    It is certain that Mputa brought a rude awakening to the villages in the hills as well as to those on the Lake. Several old men tell of the good old days in the hills before he came to afflict them : 'We lived in our own villages quietly; each had its own burial ground and its own place for burning witches,' — and now their security was gone. Mputa, terrible as he was, did not stay long; he passed through the land like a comet. In judging of the resistance that the people of the Lake made to him, we must remember that they had no weapons but bows, while the Smiter had spears. Their archery was good — witness the fact that a man at Msumba had the reputation of having killed three Angoni with one arrow in the old days — but they were outmatched in arms.1

    Meanwhile the party of Angoni with whom Mputa had started on his travels had been going up the west side of the Lake and round the north end. On the west side their chief died and was succeeded by another called Zulu. Their progress was marked by destruction. 'We came by Waya to Sukuma, where we found people whom they call the Wa-Mapangwa continually playing the bamboo vilumbo (a musical instrument), said our Angoni authority. The Angoni soon put an end to this peaceful playing of the vilumbo.

    They settled near Mputa, at a place afterwards called Songea or Songela on the bend of the Rovuma river; the place chosen later on by the Germans for their headquarters and now occupied by our Government. The hill Ngolo'olo, where the Adonde (or Adendauli) seem to have lived before their coming, figures in any account they give of their country. Finding themselves near Mputa, they submitted to him.

    These Angoni were akin to Mputa, as we have said, but they were not of the same family. It is a custom among the Angoni to cry out some family name after sneezing or when they are excited, after drinking for instance. Zulu's people at such times shouted the name Gama (and the women Zinjama); Mputa's shouted Jere, both names of ancestors.2

    Mputa treated the Angoni with great severity and feeling against him grew. Nevertheless they went to raid with him near the river Lihuhu, by the place which is now called Wiethaven. The inhabitants drove them back and Mputa was killed.

    His funeral seems to have been the last united act of his people and the Angoni. It must have been impressive. They blocked the water of the upper Lihuhu with stones, put the body of the chief in the skin of a newly killed bull, and burnt it in the dry bed of the river. The Angoni stood in crowds on the banks, all silent till the heat of the fire made the bones of the corpse crack ; then together they beat their shields with their spears.

    A new chief was chosen. The candidate, apparently Mputa's next of kin, had to go through the ordeal of standing on one leg with his spear poised over his head from sunrise till the sun went down. (This is the only instance in which I have heard of this ordeal.) But the patience of Zulu's people was exhausted and they drove Mputa's people south to the hill Ngango, near the Rovuma river.

    There had been a little respite by the Lake, but now the raiders returned, driven south by the Angoni, Their leader was again named Mputa, and the Lake people believed him to be the same Mputa as before and assumed that he had met with a reverse, which was indeed the case.

    With this second Smiter, or following close behind, came Kaindi and other headmen. Kaindi made himself a name. He seems to have crossed the Lujenda river and to have attacked the clans on the river Meto, nearer the coast ; these Meto people had probably got gun-powder up from the coast,and Kaindi came back from the Meto with the name of 'Powder Eater'. He did not go away after raiding as the first Mputa did ; he lingered in the hills by the Lake, now here, now there, and everywhere he raided. 'We were after the time of Mputa,' said a man at Mbamba, 'but Kaindi caught me when I was keeping the herds, and killed my mother.' 'He meets, he kills,' it was said of him. At last he settled at Chisindo, the hill straight inland from Msumba, and made the Lakeside people pay tribute to him to escape being murdered by his men as they worked in their fields. The present chief at Chiwanga remembers carrying up food to him.


    1. The archery deteriorated; it was very feeble when we came to the Lake.

    2. The custom has spread to other tribes who have come under Angoni influence and extends south into Msumba and other villages where men from the north have married. It varies in different places, all who come from the west by the north using, apparently, only one name, while others say : 'Son of so and so, grandson of so and so'. Sometimes, as above, the name of one ancestor is uttered (the Chiongwe or Chiongo), sometimes the family name of the father or the maternal grandfather (the Chilawa). The natives from the south and east, who trace through the female line, lay most stress on a man's maternal male relatives. There is not infrequently one Chilawa for the men of a family and another for the women.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010


    The Date of The Crossing of the Zambezi by the Ngoni

  • Thursday, August 5, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • E.H. Poole
    Journal of the Royal African Society, Vol. 29, No. 115 (Apr., 1930)

    THE crossing of the Zambezi River by the Ngoni, a tribe of Zulu descent, on their northern migration after their dispersion by Chaka, has a certain historical interest on account of its far-reaching consequences. Geographically, this migration extended as far north as the Victoria Nyanza; ethnologically it introduced into that part of Central Africa, which they finally occupied, a tribe of patrilineal descent and pastoral customs among peoples matrilineal and agricultural by occupation; historically it led to the extermination or reduction to servitude of a population computed to be a million in number.

    The exact narrative of this migration is, therefore, not without interest. The best-known authorities give as the date of the crossing of the Zambezi the year 1825. It is determined by the Ngoni tradition that the crossing, under the leadership of their Chief Zongwendaba, coincided with a total eclipse of the sun. There is no reason to cast any doubt upon this tradition: it obtains both among the Ngoni of Mombera occupying the highlands of Nyasaland, and among the Ngoni of Mpeseni in the south-east corer of Northern Rhodesia. The occasion, moreover, has been recalled by the Ngoni at subsequent and recent solar eclipses.


    Wednesday, August 4, 2010


    Maseko Ngoni At Domwe 1870 to 19001

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By Dr. Ian Linden, Professor of Biology, University of Malawi1

    When the Maseko Ngoni settled in Domwe c.1870 their society had already been shaped by almost fifty years of warfare and migrations. The army, organized on an age-set principle, brought together 'captives from the march' with different tribal backgrounds. To avoid bids-for power by close relatives of the paramount alumuzana and izinduna, who occupied the positions of political power within the state, were chosen not from the royal family but from members of the aristocratic Swazi clans.


    Wednesday, July 28, 2010



  • Wednesday, July 28, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • From the writings of Sir Harry Johnstone First Governor of The Nyasaland Protectorate May,1913

    "The evidence of Livingstone and other travellers of the fifties, sixties, and seventies, brings home to us the wide- spread devastation caused by bands of Angoni-Zulus. These Zulu raids over East-Central Africa during the nineteenth century were one of the greatest disasters of its history. They had their origin in the convulsions caused in Natal and Zululand by the conquests of Chaka the Destroyer, and their effects long remained written on the surface of Nyasaland, North- east Rhodesia and German East Africa.

    "It was wearisome to see the skulls and bones scattered about everywhere; one would fain not notice, but they are so striking that they cannot be avoided," is an extract from Livingstone's journal as he comes in contact with the Angoni raids in South-west Nyasaland.


    Sunday, July 25, 2010


    War Songs of the Ngoni People

  • Sunday, July 25, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By Margaret Read. It also includes youtube videos and some explanations provided by the moderator of this blog.

    To the Ngoni war was man's work. Throughout their history as a separate people they were a nation under arms, and on the success of their arms depended their existence as conquerors. Their life was organised in every detail to make them efficient as warriors, and in the preparations for war, songs and dances played an essential part. There was one group of war songs, imigubo, sung before going out to fight, another, imihubo, sung on the return from the war. The imigubo are danced today in Gomani's country in full war dress with shields and spears, and only in the Paramount's village, the place of mobilisation of the army in the old days. The Ngoni women join in the dance, some inside the circle of men, some outside, and the tempo of the dance works up and up as it did in old days to inspire men with the lust of battle.

    It is in the group of war songs that I have found those which are common both to Gomani's and M'mbelwa's country, and which therefore point to a common source in the south. Though the songs appear brief in their wording, much of the tune is sung to 'sounds' such as inyo ho, zi, oya ye yayo, and accompaniment is varied with stamping the feet and knocking the shields either with spears or against the knees.


    Saturday, July 24, 2010


    Ngoni, Zulu and Xhosa Language Hymns From Izingoma Zobukhristu

  • Saturday, July 24, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • The following are songs from the Izingoma zobukhristu hymnal of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian. The hymnal was compiled in the late 1800s and comprises Ngoni, Zulu and Xhosa hymns. I am excited about this hymn because some of the songs are sung in the Ngoni language of my ancestors. Ngoni is a nguni family language which is a family of languages to which isiSwazi, isiZulu and isiXhosa belong. No wonder that even if you are like me who knows a little Zulu you will still have problems to know which song is purely Ngoni or Zulu or xhosa, for these languages are mutually intelligible.

    Iam looking forward to the day when the Ngoni people of Malawi will go back to their Ngoni language for it is the only language that can fully express who they are. Enjoy and try to sing the songs through the embeded youtube videos.

    MKONZENI UYESU NGWELE (Hymn No. 47 Izingoma zobukhristu)
    1. Mkonzeni uYesu

    Ngcwele! Ngcwele! Ngcwele! Ngcwele!

    2. Uyabiza lina. Ngcwele!

    3. Yelekani 'kunqaba. Ngcwele!

    4. uYesu useduze. Ngcwele!

    5. Hlomanini impahla

    6. Impahla, nginhliziyo.
    Zenu, zenu, zenu, zenu.

    NGIYONILE BABA (Hymn no.66 Izingoma zobukhristu)

    1. Ngiyonile Baba, phambi kwakho,
    Ngibuyenzile lobu bubi.

    2. Bheka, ngazalelwa ebubini,
    Nise 'koneni ngatatshatwa.

    3. Bheka, uyathanda iqiniso,
    Mawungazisi, iqiniso.

    4. Ungihlanzi, Nkosi ezonweni,
    Ungihlanzise, ngibe mhlophe.

    5. Fihl'ubuso bakho ezonweni,
    Ungihlangule ebubini.

    6. Mawungangilahli phambi kwakho,
    Ungasusi kimi Moya wakho.

    NGIZWE NKOSI (Hymn no. 61 Izingoma Zobukhristu)
    1. Ngizwe, Nkosi, kulumqango wami,
    siza mina,
    Izitha zami seziyangahlula.

    Ungangitshiyi ngingafi, siza mina.

    2. Wena wangaluka esiswini ka mame,
    siza mina;
    Amatumbu na matambo ayenzwa nguwe.

    3. Lapho ngiziboma ngiyahluleka,
    siza mina;
    Lapho ngizibamba senyamangala.

    4. Ngobalekelaphi ngisuke kuwe? Siza mina,
    Ngiye ezulwini, ulapho wena.

    5. Ngiye emhlabeni wonke, ulapho wena, siza mina,
    Ngingen'emgodini, na lapho nguwe.

    6. Ungivimbezel'emva naphambili, siza mina;
    Ubekil'isandhla sakho phambili kwami.

    NGOPHAKAMISELA AMEHLO AMI (Hymn no. 67 Izingoma zobukhristu)
    1. Ngophakamisela amehlo ami
    Ezintabeni phezulu.

    Ukusiza kwami ku kuye,
    uYehova owenzil'izulu nomhlaba.

    2. Yena uYehova akavumi
    Unyawo lwakho lutshelele.

    3. Bheka yena olondolozayo
    Akayozeli akalali.

    4. Nguye yena uMninimandhla.
    Usezulwini phezulu.

    5. Sidumisa yena thina sonke,
    Uyilanga lethu elihle.

    YESU YESU NKOSI YAMI (Hymn no. 128 Izingoma zobukhristu)
    1. Yesu, Yesu, Nkosi yami.

    Yiza-ke Nkosi, yiza.

    2. Nkosi, thumel' uMoya wakho.

    3. Afundise mina kahle.

    4. Hawu! mina 'muntu omubi.

    5. Nkosi, siza, nginge bube.

    6. Msizi, ungisize mina.

    Sunday, July 11, 2010


    Maji Maji in Ungoni: A Reappraisal of Existing Historiography

  • Sunday, July 11, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author(s): Patrick M. Redmond, 1975.

    The Maji Maji rebellion of 1905-19061 was Tanzania's most spectacular manifestation of the rejection of colonial rule. It joined numerous peoples of very diverse political, economic, and social backgrounds in a struggle to oust the German power which had recently subjugated them. Of those who participated, the Ngoni of Songea district were among the most determined, some continuing the fight till mid-1906, and most suffering heavily from massive reprisals at German hands.

    While the largely independent nature of the Songea rebellion has been acknowledged elsewhere,2 in general scholars have held that the Ngoni had the same reason for participating as had others who fought: the belief that the maji (Swahili, water) which their prophets were dispensing would protect their warriors from bullets, enabling them to throw off cruel and repressive German rule and regain their independence.3 The reappraisal of this interpretation which follows is based onthe supposition that the attitudes of different groups among the Ngoni toward both the Germans and the advantages of independence were variable. Not all felt either severely oppressed under German dominance or looked forward to a better life without them. Moreover, where possible this variabilityd eterminedc ommitment to rebellion. The Maji Maji among the Ngoni was not a united struggle against a hated enemy,but a conflict fomented by those whom its successful outcome stood to benefit.


    Tuesday, July 6, 2010



  • Tuesday, July 6, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • Author: P. H. Gulliver, 1974
    wangoni of Tanganyika

    Before he became a professional linguist, Wilfred Whiteley was employed in anthropological research by the then Government of Tanganyika in the Southern Province of that Territory (1948-51). In 1949 he was requested to investigate the customary law on chiefly succession in the Njelu Ngoni chiefdom of Songea District, where dispute had arisen over the appointment of a new chief. In 1952-3 I was asked to continue and to widen those inquiries, both as part of a general anthropological survey and because a succession dispute had developed in the other Ngoni chiefdom in the same District. Whiteley had left a brief memorandum and a few notes which I was able to use as a starting- point. Some of the resulting data have been published elsewhere (Gulliver, 1954, 1955, and 1971). It is fitting, however, to return to those materials in memory of my old friend and colleague, and as a reminder of his sustained interest in social anthropology.



  • Samuel Albert
  • By G. W. Hatchell, (May 1935)

    Tanganyika Wangoni warrior 1905
    There exist in Tanganyika Territory two groups of people known as Angoni. They reside the one in the Kahama District of the Tabora Province, and the other in the South. western area of the Territory, at and around Songea. Since the Angoni are popularly supposed to be of Zulu origin, it is of interest to consider how these people have come to be settled in places so far distant from Zululand.

    The writer first became interested in this question in 1920, and during the succeeding ten years had opportunity to make enquiries in various parts of the Territory, with the object of discoveringsomething about the wanderings of the Angoi. The following account has been compiled from information obtained from native sources. Of necessity, much of the true story has been lost in the passage of years, but it is thought that the information now placed on record is, in the main, correct.

    The Angoni were known to Livingstone and his contemporaries as the Mazitu and Watuta, and they have frequently been described as Zulus. This description, however, appears to be incorrect since they were not, it is thought, Zulu, but Abe-nguni who had been resident in Natal as far back as 1620. They continued there until towards the end of the reign of the Zulu King, Chaka, with whom they became embroiled, with the result that they migrated northward under the leadership of Zwangandaba and crossed the Zambesi in November 1835. Continuing their journey northward and to the east of Lake Nyasa, they finally reached what is now known as Tanganyika Territory, somewhere between Lakes Nyasa and Tanganyika.

    They were exceedingly able warriors and had, it is believed, adopted the Zulu methods of attack. Throughout their joumey north they raided and subdued the people along their route: amongst these were the Swazi. Tonga and Kalanga. On reaching the country to the west of Domira Bay on Lake Nyasa they rested, and Zwangandaba establshed a headquarters or base from which he made an expedition to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika with the object, it is stated, of advancig along its western shores. In this he was frustrated by the poor nature of the country and by tsetse fly. Nevertheless, the expedition produced repercussions farther north, to which reference will be made later.

    Zwangandaba retumed to his base, and having rested and reorganzed, agai set out northward, but this time his object was the country on the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika: through Ufipa and beyond. The chief of Ufipa, Nsokolo, hearing of the threatened invasion, succeeded in coming to terms with the enemy, thus saving his people from the terrors of an Angoni raid.

    Zwangandaba was accompanied on the expedition by his brother Ntabeni, and by his two wives, the senior of whom had borne him a son, named Mpenzi, while the junior, whose name was Qutu, had borne him a son named Mombera. Both these lads were with the expedition.

    Shortly after reaching Ufipa, Zwangandaba died and was buried at Chapota, where his grave, marked by a grove of trees, can still be seen. On his death, Ntabeni, who had quarrelled with the successor. Considerable friction and internal strife resulted in a general break-up of the force. Mom- bera and Mpezeni returned south into Nyasaland, but two sections of Zwangandaba's following remained in Tanganyika Territory, and it is with the subsequent wanderings of these that we are now concerned.

    No further information regarding Ntabeni seems to be obtainable and his fate is obscure, but much is heard of the activities of his sons Mtambalika and Mtambarara, and Mbonambi, the wife of the former, who were the leaders of one of the two sections. They are first heard of at Mpimbue, at the north end of the Rukwa valley; only some fifty miles north of Chapota. They raided and subdued the Wa-pimbue and appear to have settled in that country for some time, for it is known that from there they raided into Ukonongo and as far as Ukabende, near Cape Kungwe on Lake Tanganyika. The inhabitants of Ukabende were the Baholoholo, who had but recently crossed the Lake, having been driven to do so by pressure from the south, which had its origin in Zwangandaba's abortive expedition to the western shores of Lake Tanganyika.

    The Baholoholo were brave and capable warriors, and under their chief, Swima, actually took the war into the enemy's country and attacked the Angoni at Mpimbue. They were beaten off and Swima lost his life, but they seem to have put up a sufficiently stout resistance to persuade the Angoni that there was nothing to be gained by attacking them again, for, when Mtamballka resumed his journey, he avoided Ukabende and, passing to the east of it, struck the Malagarasi valley somewhere about Uvinza. He then launched a series of raids westward towards Kigoma and attacked the Arab town of Ujiji. Here he suffered a reverse and so turned north-east through Uhaa and reached the Runzewe country, north-west of Tabora, where he settled down and established a base from which he raided as far north as the southern end of Smith Sound on Lake Victoria.

    At this time, about 1870, the notorious Mirambo was busily occupied with raids into Unanyembe (Tabora) and against the Arabs of that place. He and Mtambalika joined forces and the Arabs, who had organized an expedition against them, were defeated at Issasa Magazi. It was in this expedition that Stanley took part. Mirambo and his ally were defeated eventually and Mtambalika retired to Runzewe.

    He had two wives: Mbonambi and Nwasi. The former bore him one son, who died in childhood, but Nwasi bore four sons: Mpangarara, Mvumba, Mini and Muvi. The first of these succeeded his father and was in tum succeeded by his son Mtambalika, the present chief.

    Mtambalika died at Mgomba and was buried there, while Mbonambi died at Kungene, where her grave is still treated with respect and reverence. In spite of her ill-success in the production of children, she seems to have been as famous as her husband, and her name is remembered to this day from the Rukwa to Runzewe.

    The descendants of Mtambalika's followers are now considerably inter-bred with the people of Runzewe, and it is stated that they are beginning to lose their Angoni identity.

    The wanderings of the second section of Zwangandaba's following which remained in Tanganyika Territory are of no less interest. The leaders were Mboanani and Zuru of the Gamma clan. It is pos- sible, however, that the latter was of the Njere clan, for some informants have stated that his ' grand- father' was Njere or Njeru.

    On the break up of Zwangandaba's force consequent on the election of Mombera, Zuru and Mboanani led their followers south-eastward through Usafwa and into Ukinga and Upangwa in the Livingstone Mountains, raiding as they went. They finally reached the plains, in the neighbourhood of the place where the town of Songea now stands, and proceeded to establish themselves. They were not, however, the first Angoni to reach the Songea area, for they found there another party of Angoni under the leadership of Mputa, sometimes called the Smiter. Mputa was a Swazi of the Mseko clan who had been a member of Zwangandaba's original force and who had apparently broken away from it, after it had crossed the Zambesi. He came north up the east side of Lake Nyasa, and crossing the Ruvuma River, settled at the hill of Mbunga, about forty miles north-east of Songea, where he settled down and absorbed the unwarlike Wa-ndendahaulh, whom he found there. From Mbunga he carried out many successful raids northward and into the Kilwa hinterland. It is stated that he even raided as far north as the Digo country, a few miles south of Mombasa.

    Zuru and Mboanani seem to have entered into some kind of agreement with Mputa and to have lived at peace with him until he treacherously murdered Mboanani and attacked and defeated Zuru and his followers. Shortly afterwards he proceeded on an expedition against the Yao, south of the Ruvuma, and suffered a reverse. In the subsequent rout he was captured by a party of Mboanani's followers who hanged him out of hand on the roadside. It is related that his body was taken to his 'great place' at Mbunga and there burnt, but another account states that his followers dammed the Ruhuhu River, wrapped the body in an ox-skin, burnt it in the bed of the river and allowed the waters to flow over the remains. There seems to be little doubt that Mputa's body was cremated, but whether at Mbunga or in the bed of the Ruhuhu needs further confirmation. At this late stage it seems doubtful if reliable information on the point can be obtained.

    On the death of Mputa the Zuru party reorganized, and delivered a successful attack against Mbunga. Mputa's followers were heavily defeated and fled in all directions. The pure-blooded Swazi fled south across the Ruvuma, while the half-bred Swazi-Wa-ndendahauli fled north into Mahenge, where they founded the tribe now known as Wa-mbunga. The Wa-ndendahauli serfs fled east into Tunduru, where they still cherish their acquired Angoni status.

    Mboanani was succeeded by his son Chipeta, and he and Zuru established a dual control over the country lying between the Pitu and Ruvuma rivers. They raided in Ukinga and Upangwa and on the shores of Lake Nyasa, where Zuru's third son, Muharule, is well remembered. At Kipingo, a few miles north of Manda on the lake shore, may be seen the remains of a pile village, which the Wakissi of those parts state was built by their fathers as a refuge from the Angoni, who were reputed to be averse from entering or crossing water if they could avoid doing so. Muharule also raided into Uwungu on the eastern shores of Lake Rukwa. He succeeded Zuru on his death, and was himself succeeded by his nephew, Chabruma, who was later deposed and replaced by Usangila, the son of Muharule.

    On the death of Chipeta, a dispute regarding the inheritance arose between his sons Mpepo and Chabrunia. In this Mpepo was defeated and retired with his followers to Mkasu, near Mahenge, where he founded an independent stub-division of the Angotni. Chabruma was an energetic and successfuil warrior and brigand, and with his brother Palango raided into the Kilwa area, whence he retuined with many Wa-ngindo slaves and much loot. He has sometimes been referred to as the 'killer by night.'

    In 1890, with the advent of the German administration, the Angoni of Songea were under the leadership of Chabruma and MuLharule. The next event of importance in the history of these Songea Angoni seems to have been the Maji-maji rebellion of 1905-6. They' drank the water with disastrous results, for, although they were successful against a small expedition sent out against them from Songea, they were eventually scattered with heavy loss by a force sent down from Iringa. The severest punitive measures were then adopted by the Governnment, and it is affirmed that many more Angoni lost their lives as a result of these than in the rebellion itself. Tlleir fighting spirit, however, was not extin- guished, for they fought bravely both for the British aiid for the Germans in the Great War. An Angoni company raised by the Germans and known as the 'W' Company was regarded as being in the category of ' storm troops.'

    After the rebellion a number of minor chiefs came into being in Songea. They were for the most part sons of the Zuru and Mboanani families, and although in the course of time they became semi-independent,the administration of the tribe remained largely in the hands of the alien native Akidas, appointed by the Government as its agents in the outlving districts. Among these minor chiefs or sultans, as they came to be called, was one who was not a member of the old ruling families. He was Songea, an Mkaranga Nduna of Muharule, and it was from hini that the town of Songea took its name.

    Since the war a policy of indirect rule has been inaugurated and the internal struicture of the tribe has been, to some extent, reorganized, giving the direct descendants of Zuru and Mboanani that recognition to which they are entitled, while the exact status of the minor chiefs has been defined.

    The Angoni continue to be wanderers, and large numbers of them leave the Songea and Kahama districts every year, making their way to the Tanga district, where they obtain employment on the sisal estates and where they are regarded as first-class labour. Many of them settle down and never return home, or only do so after a lapse of years. They retain, however, a marked pride of race and have no doubts whatever regarding the inferiority of other tribes in the Territory.

    Monday, July 5, 2010



  • Monday, July 5, 2010
  • Samuel Albert
  • By J. M. Winterbottom, B.Sc., Ph.D., Department of Native Education, Northern Rhodesia Aug, 1937.
    From Drop Box
    Mpezeni Ngoni warrior

    The rival claims of Mpezeni and Umbelwa to the paramountcy of the Angoni have never been decided to the satisfaction of those who are most deeply interested in the matter- the Angoni themselves. Thanks to the work of Dr. Elmslie,1 Dr Fraser2 and the Rev. T. Cullen Young,3 the history of Umbelwa's section of this tribe, and, with it, his claims to the chieftainship, are pretty well known and even Mr. Lane Poole4 has been content to follow them in his account of the tribe. The credit for unravelling Mpezeni's claim belongs to Mr. D. G. Lancaster, whose paper (in the press) on chronology and genealogy I have been privileged to see in manuscript. The story is told, from Umbelwa's point of view, simply and sufficiently in Midauko, a vernacular book published by the Livingstonia Mission (1933, pp. 135-136); and from Mpezeni's view- point in Maikol Jere's unpublished account, for which I am indebted to Mr. L. B. van der Walt, of the Dutch Reformed Church Mission, Tamanda, at which station Maikol Jere is an evangelist.