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Maitseo Bolaane

Kgosi of the Bangwaketse, was born at Tswaaneng, southern Gangwaketse, in Botswana. The eldest son of Kgosi Gaseitsiwe’s senior wife, Bathoen I was heir to the Bangwaketse chieftaincy. His mother was of the Batlhware people. He learned to read and write at a London Missionary Society mission (LMS) school. As the son of Kgosi, he became leader of the Maisantwa regiment, initiated in 1864 (Ngcongco 1977: 277). Bathoen became chief of the Bangwaketse in July 1889 after the death of his father, Gaseitsewe. The key events of Bathoen’s life related to the growth of British colonial power in this period. In 1885 Botswana became a British protectorate. Khama of Bangwato, Bathoen of Bangwaketse, and Sebele of Bakwena were key players during the period (1890–1891 when Britain s control over Botswana developed from a vague protectorate over the southern part to a more clearly defined though still in practice ...



Stephanie Beswick

prominent Zande leader in southern Sudan, was born about 1860; his father was the Avongara leader Bazingbi (“conqueror of the world”) and his mother, a slave woman. He is also known as “Mbio” or “Yambio.” He gradually rose to leadership in rivalry with several half-brothers and numerous other Zande princes. As a young man he participated in his community’s conquests eastward across the Yubo River into Western Equatoria and the area of Yambio, the town that now bears his name. Attempts to extend the Zande conquests east to the White Nile, however, were repulsed by the Dinka and Bari. Because Gbudwe could no longer expand eastward, he planned new invasions toward the territories along his northern borders. These efforts brought him into conflict with the Turco–Egyptian regime in Bahr al-Ghazal that had succeeded at the fall of al-Zubayr Rahma Mansur in 1875. In 1881 Gbudwe obliterated a large ...


Known as Knainas (Khama the Good), Khama was baptized a Christian in 1860. In 1872 he attempted to seize the chieftainship from his father, Sekgoma I, because Sekgoma opposed Christianity, but he was forced into exile. Three years later, however, Khama overthrew his father and became chief of the Bamangwato. Khama was a reformer who embraced the new European values that were spreading through the region at this time. He abolished a number of old tribal customs that he considered anti-Christian, including circumcision, rainmaking, and bride-wealth (payment made by the groom to the bride’s family). He also allowed the London Missionary Society to establish a mission on his territory. Khama was opposed to Afrikaner attempts to expand into Bechuanaland from the independent Boer state of the Transvaal, and in 1876 he asked for British protection.

In 1885 Khama welcomed British general Charles Warren who established the Bechuanaland ...


Godfrey Muriuki

Kikuyu chief in Kenya, was probably born in 1865 at Kiria in Kandara, Murang’a, Kenya. His father was Wanugu wa Gathirimu. Thus, originally he was known as son of Wanugu, son of a monkey. This became the butt of cruel and humiliating jokes, which forced him to adopt his grandfather’s name, Gathirimu. He is alleged to have been disowned by his family due to his waywardness, particularly in making too many girls pregnant and thereby forcing his relatives to pay unbearable compensation. He fled to Kiambu where he attached himself to a distant relative, Waiyaki wa Hinga, a prominent and wealthy elder. Waiyaki made him a njaguti, servant. He was, therefore, a poor man who lived by sometimes hunting wild animals, a practice that was frowned upon by the Kikuyu.

However the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company IBEACo changed his fortunes He offered his services to ...


James Giblin

also known as Muhina Kisabengo Kingo was prominent in the political and commercial life of eastern Tanzania during the middle decades of the nineteenth century The settlement that he established became an important market center of political power and home to several thousand residents In the twentieth century it grew into the major city of Morogoro Situated on the primary trade route between the Indian Ocean and eastern Africa s Great Lakes it was visited by numerous European travelers who wrote admiringly about its stone fortifications finely wrought wooden gates spaciousness and good order In this way Kisabengo came to the attention of a worldwide reading audience Kisabengo s successor was Kingo a son by his wife Kitukira Because Kingo was very young when his father died Morogoro was ruled in the 1870s by Simbamwene a formidable leader and daughter by another wife Makombera Kingo died shortly after assuming office ...


Eric Young

Samuel Maharero, born Uereani Maharero, was the first son of Chief Maharero, who between 1860 and 1889 led the Herero in a series of wars with the Nama. Vehemently opposed to settlement by Europeans, particularly Afrikaners and Germans, in what is today Namibia, the elder Maharero repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested British “protection” during his reign. He finally gave in to German occupation in 1885.

Samuel and his brothers were educated at the Rhenish mission school in Otjimbingwe in the early 1860s. Samuel’s brother, Wilhelm, the chief’s second son and intended heir, was killed in battle with the Nama. Thus when his father died in 1890, Samuel Maherero assumed the chieftainship—a succession that divided the Herero, as some believed one of his cousins should have become chief.

For the next two years Maharero continued in his father s footsteps leading his people in wars against the Nama To gain ...



Stephen J. Rockel

the most famous of the Nyamwezi chiefs (mtemi, Kinyamwezi) in Tanzania, and perhaps the greatest of all nineteenth-century East Africans, was the son of Kasanda Mtula, mtemi of the small state of Uyowa in western Unyamwezi, and of Nyakasi, a daughter of the ruling family of neighboring Bukune. His birth names, from his grandfathers, were “Mtula” and “Mtyela,” but he became known as “Mirambo” (“corpses”) because of his widespread military conquests.

Mirambo grew up during the great expansion of long distance trade in East Africa based on exports of ivory and other African products and imports of manufactured goods especially cloth metal goods and firearms In the middle decades of the century an economic boom reshaped institutions and practices across the region as rising prices for ivory and the shrinking costs of manufactured cloth worked to expand market forces stimulating entrepreneurship accumulation and migrant wage labor Competition for ...


folk artist, community activist, and Mardi Gras Indian leader, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Alfred Montana, “Big Chief” of the Yellow Pocahontas, a leading Mardi Gras Indian organization, and Alice Herrere Montana, both natives of New Orleans. When he was young, one of his cousins nicknamed him Tootie, and the name stuck. Masking as Mardi Gras Indians ran deep in the Montana family. Tootie was a third-generation black Indian leader. His great-uncle Becate Batiste was the legendary founding Big Chief of the Creole Wild West, the city's first and oldest masking Indian society; his father Alfred Montana was a famous leader of the Yellow Pocahontas, which was an offshoot of the Creole Wild West; but Tootie eventually surpassed both by far in terms of craftsmanship, influence, and fame.

The Mardi Gras Indian culture developed as an expression of black resistance ...



Bizeck Jube Phiri

paramount chief of the Ngoni (in present-day Zambia), was the eldest son of Zwangendaba (Zongendaba); his mother was Nshlanze Sosera Ngumayo. It was during the migration of the Ngoni northward around 1830 that Ntutu Mpezeni was born. Ntutu Mpezeni was about nine years old when the Ngoni crossed the Zambezi River. Indunas are in agreement that he was carried across the Zambezi as was befitting of a paramount chief’s heir. Legend also has it that prior to crossing the Zambezi River, Zwangendaba had given Mpezeni a small shield and an assegai and that he had killed his first duiker buck. Zwangendaba continued his wandering until his death in 1945, after which Ntutu Mpezeni took over as leader of the Ngoni. Mpezeni led the group from Fipa country into what is now the Chipata district of Zambia.

Before leaving the land of the Bemba people Mpezeni captured Chanda Mukulu sister ...


coastal Gabonese leader, was the son of an Asiga clan leader living on the south bank of the Gabon Estuary. He was known to French visitors to the Gabon Estuary as Denis and to English visitors as King William. The Asiga comprised one of the leading Mpongwe Omyènè-speaking clans in the Gabon Estuary in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Rapontchombo profited greatly from the rise of slave exports from Gabon to the Portuguese colonies of São Tomé and Principe, Brazil, Cuba, and the United States after the Napoleonic wars. When the British navy began patrolling West African waters to stop the trans-Atlantic slave trade, many slave merchants turned to Gabon. With no formal European presence, it was relatively easy to acquire and smuggle slaves. As oga clan chief Rapontchombo acted as the leader of a council of officials and leading male free notables rather than an autocratic ...


Gabonese political leader, was born in 1844 on the southern tip of the Gabon Estuary across from Libreville, the colonial capital of Gabon. His father was Dénis Rapontchombo (c. 1790–1876), an Omyènè-speaking Mpongwe clan leader who signed the first treaty accepting French rule with naval officers in 1839. His mother, Ngué Mbinda, was a free Mpongwe woman. He was educated by French Roman Catholic missionaries in Libreville. His intelligence and royal lineage made him the hope of the Catholic mission personnel by the 1870s, who found polygyny and the continued allegiance of Mpongwe people to local spiritual traditions disappointing. With Dénis’s advanced age, Rapontchombo increasingly acted as the head political authority among Mpongwe people. He also worked as a clerk for the French navy in Libreville. When Dénis died in 1876, Rapontchombo became the chief oga Omyènè clan leader of the Mpongwe clans living in the ...


Lynda R. Day

leader of the Kpa Mende Confederacy who wielded greater authority than any other Sierra Leonean woman of her time, was born about 1849 near Taiama in Gbo. She was originally known by her birth name, Soma, and had three brothers named Ali Kongo, Lamboi, and Goba. Her father and maternal grandfather were leaders in the Kpa Mende expansion westward from the Gorama chiefdom. With both a father and a grandfather who were prominent war leaders, Yoko met one of the most important criteria for leadership in this era, descent from the ruling elite of Mende country.

As a girl, Yoko was initiated into the women’s society, the Sande also known as Bundu there she gained a wide reputation as an excellent dancer Some sources mention a first husband the warrior Gongoima who may have been her cousin her father s sister s son Other sources describe her first marriage ...


Jeremy Rich

warlord and slave merchant active in the region now known as the Central African Republic. His father, Tikima, was an influential Zande chief of the Nanga clan who married one of his daughters to the Sudanese slave trader and Egyptian official Abd Allab ibn al-Zubayr. This governor visited Tikima’s domains on the Mbomou River around 1860, and his brief visit helped to cement close ties between Tikima and the Khartoum-based slave traders who worked in southern Sudan and the eastern half of the modern Central African Republic. It is unclear how many children Tikima had, but given the common practice of Zande rulers to marry hundreds of women, Zemio Ikpiro must have had numerous potential competitors for the throne once Tikima died around 1872 With the scant amount of historical research on Zande communities in the modern Central African Republic it is unclear how Zemio Ikpiro took power ...