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Godfrey Muriuki

warrior and leader, was born in Kenya, though the date is not known. However, by 1900 he was already a prominent individual in the Gichugu area of Kirinyaga District. His prominence was attributed to several factors. He was reputed to have been an intelligent and brave warrior who led Gichugu warriors in raids against their Kikuyu, Embu, and Mbeere neighbors. Through these raids, he was able to accumulate a great deal of livestock, which was regarded as the ultimate symbol of status and wealth.

By the middle of the nineteenth century Swahili and Arab traders had begun to penetrate into the area in search of ivory and the occasional slave Invariably they would befriend prominent individuals from the relevant trading area In Gichugu and its environs Gutu became their local middleman He owed this favor to the Kamba who were renowned ivory traders in this period The ensuing trade between ...

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Willie Henderson

also known as Khama the Great and Khama the Good, kgosi (king), warrior, lawmaker, diplomat, and consolidator of BaNgwato power in northeastern Botswana, was born Khama Boikanyo Sekgoma in Mashu around 1835. His father was Sekgoma I, who had been nominated as chief by his father Kgari; Khama was born during Sekoma’s second tenure as chief. Khama’s early conversion to Christianity in 1859 marked his life in significant ways. He set himself against paganism, polygamy, and other traditional practices, including circumcision, and vehemently opposed consumption of alcohol. In the 1860s Khama became the leader of pro-missionary groups within the BaNgwato. In 1862 he married a young convert to Christianity, Elizabeta Gobitsamang, the daughter of a warrior, Tshukudu, who had conspired to overthrow Sekgoma I. In accordance with Tswana custom, she became known as Mma-Besi, named for her firstborn child.

The invasion of Ndebele 1863 sent by Mizilikazi Khumalo under ...

Article

Rafai  

Richard A. Bradshaw and Juan Fandos-Rius

Bandia paramount chief of a Zande kingdom that straddled the Chinko River in what is now southeastern Central African Republic (CAR). Rafai was born c. 1855, the eighth son of Bayangi, who, according to oral tradition, was the son of Sangou, the son of Tossi, the son of Kassanga, the son of Ngubenge, the son of Kube. The Bandia, an Ngbandi clan from the southern bank of the Ubangi River region west of the Azande, spread northeast across Azande territory in the late eighteenth century. By c. 1800, the Bandia had become the rulers of a number of states on the forest margins north of the Mbomu River. The Bandia ancestors of Rafai came to rule an Azande population on both sides of the Chinko River.

Rafai was one of the youngest sons of Bayangi and so at birth he appeared to have little chance of ever leading ...

Article

Gabrielle Lynch

Kenyan spiritual and military leader (orkoiyot), was born around 1860 in Nandi. Koitalel was the youngest son of Kimnyole arap Turukat, an orkoiyot who could trace his lineage to the first unifying leader of the Nandi. Little is known of Koitalel’s maternal lineage or childhood, except that his father had over forty wives and that his family was relatively wealthy. As an adult, Koitalel also had around forty wives and lived at Kamng’etuny near Nandi Hills, where he led a prolonged resistance against British colonialism.

The position of orkoiik (pl.) refers to men with powers of divination, omen interpretation, prophecy, and medicine. These powers are inherited along clan lines, but are dependent on reputation. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century the orkoiik’s influence was limited to relatively small areas. However, in the mid-nineteenth century, a family of laibons (Maasai spiritual leaders) were welcomed and absorbed as orkoiik ...