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Born in Menkwaneng the son of a Sotho leader Moshoeshoe began to gather together refugees from the upheaval in southeastern Africa known as the Mfecane in the early 1820s Retiring to an impregnable mountaintop known as Thaba Bosiu Sotho for Mountain of the Night he fought off several attacks but more often used his formidable diplomatic skills to defend his growing number of Basotho people In the early 1830s French missionaries arrived in the region While continuing to support the traditional customs and religion of the Sotho Moshoeshoe welcomed the missionaries and sought their advice in dealing with the British and the Afrikaner groups or Boers who were seeking to colonize southern Africa Fearing Afrikaner settlement on his lands he asked for British protection but an alliance with the government of the Cape Colony was not enough to prevent armed incursions by settlers into Basotho territory Fighting between the Basotho ...

Article

Chris Saunders

founder of the Basuto nation Relatively little is known of his early life though he probably acquired his name meaning the shaver from his success in capturing the cattle of his enemies Born near the upper Caledon River in what is now Lesotho Moshoeshhoe s success as a junior chief attracted to him refugees and victims of wars during the turbulent decades of the early nineteenth century and he gradually built up a sizeable following He established himself first at Buthe Buthe then at Thaba Bosiu mountain of darkness a mountaintop citadel that his enemies found impossible to capture When attacked by the Zulu he agreed to pay tribute to Shaka in return for being left alone From Thaba Bosiu he skillfully played off the British and Boers in the lands along the Caledon River from the 1830s and won the allegiance of Sotho speakers living as far west as ...

Article

Msiri  

Nathaniel Mathews

political leader in eastern and central Africa, was born Mwenda Msiri Ngelengwa Shitambi in Tabora (in present-day Tanzania) to an ambitious Sumbwa Nyamwezi trader. Msiri rose to become one of the most powerful of a new class of nineteenth-century African rulers who used firearms and long-distance trade to build up spheres of influence independent of clan linkages or hereditary inheritance. Msiri’s father Kalasa held a chieftainship under the great Nyamwezi ruler Mirambo and was also a very successful copper merchant. Known as the Yeke, Msiri and other Nyamwezi brought the peoples of the Katanga plateau coastal trade goods while providing a market for the heavy copper crosses molded in Katanga refineries.

Msiri s first political strategy was to ally himself with the Wasanga in their war against a Lunda regent Msiri was able to defeat the Lunda king earning the gratitude and subordination of the Wasanga He followed this victory ...

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Msiri  

Elizabeth Heath

Born with the name of Ngelengwa in Tanzania, Msiri was the son of a Sumbwa chief and trader. Msiri started his career on the trade routes forged by his father between East and Central Africa. In 1856 he negotiated with Mwata Kazembe, chief of the Lunda empire, for the right to settle and trade in south Katanga.

There Msiri used alliances with local ruling families and firearms acquired from traders to build his own empire, the Yeke or Garenganze. By 1870 Msiri’s empire extended throughout Katanga. He also built his trade networks by forging ties with Tippu Tip, a trader of the Swahili people. He forged ties with many other East African merchants as well. With these traders he exported slaves and copper, also working in the Ivory Trade, in return for cloth and firearms.

In 1880 after the death of his father Msiri proclaimed himself mwami or king ...

Article

Muchaparara Musemwa

founder and king of the Ndebele kingdom in what is now southwestern Zimbabwe, was born in central Zululand near the Black Mfolozi River, South Africa. He was the son of Matshobane (also spelled “Mashobane”), one of three chiefs who had seceded from the Khumalo clan, and Nompethu, one of the daughters of Zwide, chief of the neighboring Ndwandwe clan.

Because Nompethu was Matshobane s senior wife it followed that her first son Mzilikazi would be the heir apparent In keeping with custom Nompethu and her young child faced ritual death threats and were subsequently expelled from the territory of the Khumalo clan and Mzilikazi was obliged to live in exile for the duration of his father s reign or until his death This custom was observed in order to ensure the security of the chief s future successor from possible assassination and also to protect Mzilikazi from unnecessary influences from ...

Article

Sudanese warlord and politician, was born to an Arab family in Halfaya Al-Muluk, a village located close to Khartoum. His father came from the Sudanese kingdom of Sennar that the Egyptian forces of Muhammad ʿAli had conquered in 1821 and he served in the Egyptian military before creating his own business manufacturing bricks Rabih served in the Egyptian army like his father after attending qurʾanic school According to some accounts he first met his future patron Al Zubayr Rahma through a game of chess At this point sometime in the mid 1860s Al Zubayr was simply an ordinary merchant who purchased slaves and ivory in the southern Sudanese region of Bahr al Ghazal like so many other Khartoum based traders Al Zubayr later told English friends that the lure of the southern Sudan and points further south drew him like the American West had attracted so many pioneers in ...