Wir haben nur sehr wenige Quellen aus der Hand von Afrikanern, die uns Aufschluss über ihre Perspektiven und Erfahrungen im Krieg geben könnten. Das macht es für Historiker nicht leicht, ein vollständiges Bild dieses Krieges zu zeichnen. In der Vergangenheit haben so Darstellungen des Krieges die Geschichtsschreibung dominiert, in denen die Afrikaner kaum eine Beachtung finden. Ausnahmen sind die Arbeiten von Geoffrey Hodges, Melvin Page und Lewis Greenstein.
Auch für die deutsche und britische Kolonialverwaltung war die Perspektive der Afrikaner auf den Ausbruch des Krieges eine große Unbekannte. Gegner des Krieges, wie der deutsche Gouverneur Heinrich Schnee oder sein britischer Gegenüber Henry Conway Belfild, verwiesen auf die Gefahr von Aufständen der afrikanischen Bevölkerung. Der Siedler Georg Gürich berichtet in seinen Erinnerungen, dass die Deutschen eine afrikanische Rebellion mehr fürchteten als eine britische
Invasion. Kaum ein britischer, belgischer oder deutscher Verantwortlicher war sich wirklich im Klaren darüber, wie sich die Bevölkerung seiner Kolonie verhalten würde Nervösität machte sich unter den Kolonialbeamten breit. Die koloniale Herrschaft war in keiner europäischen Kolonien Afrikas so fest etabliert, als dass es nicht genug Raum für Ängste unter den Europäern gegeben hätte. In Rhodesien befand sich die weiße Siedlergemeinde zu Kriegsbeginn in einem Zustand steigender Paranoia. Die Siedler befürchteten Aufstände der afrikanischen Bevölkerung, angestachelt durch deutsche Propaganda oder provoziert durch den Abzug der Polizeieinheiten an die Front. Die Kolonialverwaltung reagierte mit einem umfassenden Informationsstopp betreff der Vorgänge an den Grenzen der Kolonie und der Kampfhandlungen in Europa. Das machte es für die interessierten Afrikaner zwar schwerer, aber nicht unmöglich, an Kriegsnachrichten zu kommen Gerüchte von großen Rekrutierungskampagnen der Militärs machten allerorten die Runde, noch bevor die Werber an die Türen klopften. Vielfach waren die Bewohner dann bereits geflohen.
Vor allem die muslimische Bevölkerung der Küstenstädte war über die Vorgänge in Europa vergleichsweise gut informiert Zeitschriften aus anderen Teilen der muslimischen Welt standen den muslimischen Eliten seit geraumer Zeit zur Verfügung. Doch für einen Großteil der ostafrikanischen Bevölkerung blieben die Ursachen des Krieges im Dunkeln. Unter der Bevölkerung verbreitete sich eine Stimmung der Angst und Unsicherheit. Gerüchte begleiteten die ersten Nachrichten vom Krieg in Europa. Vielerorts machten Prophezeiungen über das apokalyptische Ende der europäischen Kolonialherrschaft die Runde.
Das Gouvernement von Deutsch-Ostafrika reagierte mit Flugblättern und öffentlichen Anschlägen, in denen der Bevölkerung versichert wurde, dass dies ein Krieg zwischen Europäern sei und dieser daher kaum Auswirkungen auf die Afrikaner haben würde Noch bevor die Anschläge in der Sonne vergilbt waren, erwiesen sich diese Versicherungen als leer, gab es durch die britischen Bombardements erste Todesopfer unter der afrikanischen Zivilbevölkerung, wurden die ersten Männer zum Dienst als Soldat oder Träger zwangsrekutiert und die ersten Afrikaner wegen Verdachts der Kooperation mit dem Feind verhaftet oder gar hingerichtet.
|Die Bevölkerung Dar es Salaams beobachtet die Einberufung von deutschen Siedlern zum Krieg|
Der Verfasser der Quelle, Martin Kayamba Mdumi, wurde am 2. Februar 1891 auf Zanzibar geboren. Seine Familie stammte aus der Gegend von Kilindi an der ostafrikanischen Küste. Sein Vater war einer der ersten christlichen Konvertiten der britischen Universities Mission to Central Africa. 1882 ging sein vater nach England, wo er eine Ausbildung an der Bloxham Schule nahe Oxfords erhielt. Nach seiner Rückkehr wurde er Lehrer am St. Andrew's Collge der UMCA auf Zanzibar. Es folgten Missionarstätigkeiten in Ostafrika und Verpflichtung für die King's African Rifles. Martin Kayamba Mdumi ging zwischen 1895 und 1896 auf die UMCA. Boys' School in Kihmani auf Zanzibar, später ging er auf die Schule der Church Missionary Society in Mombasa. 1899 wechselte er auf die Kilimani Schule. Nach dem Abschluss seiner Ausbildung wurde er als Missionar auf das Festland geschickt, wo er den Ausbruch des Krieges erlebte. Der folgende Auszug aus seiner Biografie beschreibt seine Erlebnisse in den ersten Monaten des Krieges.
The Story of Martin Kayamba Mdumi
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I made two trips in the interior, trading. On my second trip, whilst returning to Muheza, in the train at Korogwe I heard a rumour that there was war between the British and the Germans. Natives were talking about it. It was 2nd of August, 1914. On my arrival I hurried to the U.M.C.A. Station at Magila and reported the matter to my friend Mr. Russell. He did not believe me and said it was impossible for the British and the Germans to fight because they were friends and relations. I replied that I thought there was something in the rumour, and returned home. Then I heard the German troops were already on the move and Rev. Spanton, the Principal of Kiungani College, Zanzibar, who had come with his college boys from Zanzibar on vacation leave, had been arrested by Captain Hering and sent to Tanga under escort. This was the beginning of troubles. The natives were much excited to hear about the occurrence of war between the British and the Germans. Some of them thought they had prophesied its occurrence. Why and how they thought so it is difficult to explain, but there were some who even predicted its outbreak that year. The news of its outbreak did not appear to be very astonishing and in a few days it was a commonplace talk. I could not get my way to Zanzibar or Mombasa, where my father was, and this was really bad for me and my daughter. Brother John (Rev. Williams), who had gone to Tanga to try and get a dhow for Zanzibar, was unsuc-
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cessful. All roads to Kenya had been closed. German troops were already at Tanga and Moshi. I then heard that English missionaries and planters had been arrested and escorted to Morogoro for internment. Rev. Keates and a few mission ladies were left at Magila Mission Station. My daughter was very ill at the time. She had a bad sore foot. I took her to Magila Mission for treatment. A false allegation was fabricated against Rev. Keates that he was signalling to the British men-of-war near Tanga from a hilll near Magila by means of fire. It was the beginning of the persecution of the African Christians belonging to the U.M.C.A. I found my safety was jeopardized. Rev. Keates, mission ladies and African teachers of Magila were escorted to Morogoro, Kilimatinde and Tabora. On 12th January, 1915, my turn came; I was sitting at the farm of my relation when I was called to the village, ' which was about fifteen miles inland from Tanga. Jumbe Oman of Umba, who was my nurse when I was a small boy, came to see me with a message from Akida Sengenge of Ngomeni; I was required by the District Commissioner at Muheza. We walked there together. The District Commissioner asked me what I was doing and if I intended going anywhere. I replied I was trading and produced my licence, which he took from me. I said I had no intention of proceeding anywhere. He asked me where I had come from and when. I replied I came from Zanzibar, and delivered my passport from the German Consul, Zanzibar. I was informed afterwards that certain persons had reported to him that I was a spy and had come into the country one month before the outbreak of the war from the Zanzibar Government. This was disproved by my passport from the German Consul, Zanzibar. He asked me if I was a British subject and could speak English. I replied in the affirmative. He then said I would be sent up
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country to stay there till the end of the war as I might create trouble in the place. I said I was
not going to make any trouble and I had my trade property apart from my personal property, and what would happen to it? He said I would get it after the war, but I had to be sent up country to stay there till the war was over. I was then escorted to the prison. As I had only 20 rupees with me I asked my relations to send me another 80 rupees, in two instalments of 50 rupees and 50 rupees because I was afraid the German African soldiers might rob it from me if they knew I had money. They brought me 30 rupees and before I received the second instalment I was handcuffed with another Bondei Christian, named Geldert Mhina, and was escorted to Handeni. At the Muheza Station the German Assistant District Officer of Tanga abused us and said we would surely be shot because we were passing news to the British. At Korogwe we had the most terrible time. As soon as we got there, it was about 2 p.m., we were put in a prison gang and despatched to carry sand till the evening. We used to work with criminals from 4 p.m. till 11 p.m. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. we carried ammunition boxes from the train to the Police Station. We had our meal only once a day, at 4 p.m.; the meal consisted of boiled maize. We were kept with criminals and treated as criminals. After six days we were escorted to Handeni together with the wounded British soldiers of the Lancashire Rifles who had been captured in the battle of Tanga. The British soldiers were carried in hammocks by the native prisoners of war. On the way the British soldiers were well treated. We were joined by the Korogwe English missionaries, including Bishop Birley and Brother John, with African teachers of the U.M.C.A. We marched together to Handeni. There we met in prison over one
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hundred African teachers of the U.M.C. A. and Rev. Canon Petro Limo, an old African priest. These were afterwards sent to Kondoa Irangi, where they were brutally treated in prison. Some of them died as the result of the most atrocious treatment meted out to them by the German officer of Kondoa Irangi and his African prison warders. Our gang was sent to Kimamba. Some of us were made to carry the loads and hammocks of the English missionaries. I was fortunate to obtain a job of safari cook. I got myself engaged in this work in order to save myself from carrying loads and hammocks for nearly eleven days. I had never carried loads before in my life. I knew nothing about cooking as I had never done this work in my life, but I had to make the best of it. Having tasted European food while at Kiungani College and having often been dining with Miss Thackeray, etc., I had to form some idea as to how this food was cooked. It was a difficult job. For two days the cook of the German officer was doing the whole cooking and I was watching him. On the third day I was ordered to do everything myself. I do not know how I managed it, but somehow or other I made some sort of food which was fairly eatable. I remember one day I boiled three ox-tongues for three hours and yet they were as hard as a bone. I did not know the trick of getting them properly boiled. But to my surprise they were passed as eatable. I sometimes wondered if the food cooked by me could be eaten by anybody else other than missionaries. They probably knew I was not a cook and made concessions accordingly. I must have caused them bad stomachs, but I did not hear of any complaints. If I had cooked for the German officer I would surely have received some knocking for bad cooking. at Kimamba. On our way to Kimamba the German African soldiers who were escorting us were treating our gang very badly. They made us run and lashed the stragglers. Bishop Birley very often had to rebuke them for this. It was the road of the Cross. At Kimamba we entrained for Tabora and the English missionaries detrained for Mpwapwa. On our arrival at Tabora Railway Station we were despatched to the Prisoners of War Camp. There we found Indian soldiers who had been captured at Tanga and Jassini, about two hundred of them, and some African teachers of the U.M.C. A. who had been sent there before us. These are the teachers who were together with Rev. Keates. They related to us that when they got to Tabora they were sent to gaol and kept with criminals. They were so very harshly treated that they thought not one of them would survive. They were made to hoe from morning to evening without lifting their backs, and whenever they tried to do so they were severely flogged. They were all in chains and slept with chains round their necks. They did everything in chains. At last then condition was so bad that they had to choose between life and death. One day when they were returning from their daily toil they met the German Chief Secretary on the way with his wife. Apparently his wife was French. The leader pulled the whole chain gang and approached the German Chief Secretary in spite of the threats from their escort. The Chief Secretary asked them what was the matter with them, and they told him they were brought from Muheza by the Government and they did not know why they were not tried but were put in gaol with criminals and treated worse than criminals. He said he would go into the matter and they would hear from him later. …
(Quelle: Kayamba Mdumi, Martin. 1963. "The story of Martin Kayamba Mdumi, M.B.E., of the Bondei Tribe." In Ten Africans, hrsg. von Margery Freda Perham, 173-272. London: Faber and Faber.)