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Botswana leader, was born in Kanye to Seepapitso II, paramount chief of the Bangwaketse, and Mogatsakgari, daughter of Ratshosa, Khama III’s son-in-law. Bathoen’s grandmother, Gagoangwe, was the daughter of Kgosi Sechele of the Bakwena. Bathoen was thus of royal descent on both sides. In 1916, when Bathoen was eight, his father was murdered by his own brother, Moeapitso, in a palace intrigue. Moeapitso was jailed, and Kgosimotse Gaseitsiwe was appointed acting chief of the Bangwaketse until Bathoen reached adulthood. Bathoen spent much of his childhood in Serowe among his mother’s people, the Bangwato.

Bathoen studied at Kanye Hill School, now Rachele Primary School, beginning in 1918; subsequently, in South Africa at Tiger Kloof (1919–1922) and Lovedale (1923–1927 During this time two strong women served as regents the queen mother Gagoangwe and after 1924 Gagoangwe s eldest daughter Ntebogang After completion of his junior certificate ...

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Hassoum Ceesay

district colonial chief and master farmer, was born in Njau Village, in the Upper Saloum District of present-day Gambia in 1890. His name is also spelled Sise or Sisi. He was among the few formally educated Gambian colonial chiefs, having attended the prestigious Mohammedan School in Bathurst (now Banjul) in the 1910s before working as an interpreter for the Traveling Commissioner North Bank Province. Interpreters were central to the running of the colonial machinery. As the intermediaries between the local people who could not speak English and colonial officials, they wielded influence because of their perceived proximity to the colonial powers. European officials also did not always trust the interpreters, who were occasionally sacked or jailed for suspected treachery.

Unlike the French colonizers who completely replaced local chiefs with French officials the British in West Africa administered their colonies through preexisting traditional authorities and used local customary institutions ...

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Michael Kevane

Burkinan author, canton chief, and civil servant, was born in Sao village, about 60 kilometers northwest of Ouagadougou, in the Mossi region of the present-day country of Burkina Faso. His mother was Datoumi Yaaré, from the village of Kaonghin; and his father, Gueta Wagdogo, was the son of Yiougo, the naba (Mossi chief) of Sao. Naba Yiougo supported Mogho Naba Wobgo (Boukary Koutu), the principal king of the four Mossi kingdoms, against a rebelling vassal, the naba of Lallé. In 1896, Mogho Naba Wobgo supported Gueta Wagdogo to attain the chieftaincy (whereupon he assumed the name “Naba Piiga”) after the death of Naba Yiougo. The meaning of Dim Delobsom’s name, “The king has returned the favor,” acknowledged the relationship between the two rulers.

Naba Piiga was unable to help his suzerain when the French column led by Captain Paul Voulet seized Ouagadougou on 1 September 1896 Mogho Naba ...

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Stephen J. Rockel

Tanzanian political leader, was the last and most distinguished of a long line of mtemi, or chiefs, of Unyanyembe, including the great nineteenth-century chiefs Swetu, his namesake Fundikira I, and Isike. Abdallah Fundikira’s father, Saidi Fundikira II, was deposed by the British in 1929 and sent into exile in Bagamoyo after embezzling more than £10,000 of tax money. Unyanyembe was the most important chiefdom of the Nyamwezi, one of the largest ethnic groups in present-day Tanzania, and its nineteenth-century chiefs were central players in the development of commerce based on the caravan trade. Their capital village, Itetemia, lay just outside the city of Tabora, which was the largest urban center in Tanganyika (as the territory was then known), until it was overtaken by the colonial capital, Dar es Salaam, around 1920 Tabora remained an important provincial capital railway junction and military and educational center through the colonial period ...

Article

Willie Henderson

first prime minister (president) of independent Botswana, was born in Serowe, the principal town of the BaNgwato, in what is now the Central District of Botswana. He was the son of Sekgoma Khama and Tebogo Kebailele, grandson of Khama the Great, and hence heir to the kingship of the Ngwato. In 1923 Seretse’s father became, as Kgosi Sekgoma II, ruler in Serowe. In 1925 Sekgoma died of what is now suspected to be complications due to undiagnosed diabetes. The infant Seretse was proclaimed chief, subject to the regency of his uncle Tshekedi Khama. Tshekedi Khama became solely responsible for Seretse on the death of Tebogo in 1930. Tshekedi Khama grew in office to be a capable, powerful, and autocratic administrator and a frequent thorn in the flesh for the colonial administration.

Seretse was educated at Tigerkloof 1931 1934 and Lovedale 1937 1939 in what was then Cape Province South ...

Article

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 ...

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Michael Mwenda Kithinji

Kenyan scholar and politician, was the first-born son of Senior Chief Koinange of Kiambu. Mbiyu was named after his grandfather Mbiyu wa Gachetha, one of the earliest colonial chiefs in Kenya. His chiefly background provided him with an opportunity to pursue elementary education at an early age, joining the pioneer class of the Alliance High School in 1926. In 1927, he transferred to the Hampton Institute in Virginia. While at Hampton, Mbiyu noticed the absence of authentic African artifacts at the Hampton Museum and requested that his father address the problem. Koinange responded to his son’s request by shipping a container load of various African artifacts, which the museum used to establish the Koinange collection.

In 1930, Mbiyu joined Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, where he studied for a degree in political science. He graduated in 1934 the first Kenyan African to obtain a bachelor s ...

Article

Born in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Albert John Luthuli was educated at the mission school in which he later taught (1921–1936). The son of well-respected Zulu parents, Luthuli was elected chief of the Zulu Abasemakholweni ethnic group in Groutville in 1936. He joined the African National Congress, a black political group, in 1946 and took an increasingly active role in campaigns to abolish Apartheid, the system of racial segregation in South Africa. In 1952 he was removed as chief by the South African government, which opposed his activities, and was forbidden to enter major South African cities and towns for one year. That same year he was elected president-general of the African National Congress. Because of his continued political activities, he was restricted to his farm in Groutville for two years in 1953, and again in 1959 for five years For ...

Article

Dorothy C. Woodson

South African teacher, Zulu chief, political leader, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was born in Rhodesia around 1898 of South African (Zulu) parentage. His mother, Mtonya Gumede, was born and raised in the Royal Kraal of Cetshewayo, the Zulu king. His father, John Luthuli, was the elected chief of Groutville, home of the Umvoti Mission, an American Board of Commissioners station near Stanger, north of Durban, in what is now Kwa-Zulu Natal. He attended various local schools and was later awarded a two-year teacher-training scholarship at Adams College. Luthuli remained at Adams as a teacher, becoming one of only two African teachers at the school, the other being Z. K. Matthews (1901–1968). He married Nokukhanya Bhengu in 1927, and they had seven children.

In 1936 Luthuli reluctantly left Adams College and returned to Groutville after being elected to the chieftainship of the Umvoti Mission Reserve during which time he ...

Article

Matthew V. Bender

first Paramount Chief of the Chagga people, was born in Marangu, Kilimanjaro (in present-day Tanzania), on 12 June 1915. Born into the prominent Lyimo clan, he was the grandson of Marealle I and nephew of Petro Itosi, both long-serving chiefs of Marangu. After completing his secondary schooling in 1934, Marealle entered the colonial administration, working as a clerk in seven different district offices throughout Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania). Ten years later, he received the opportunity to further his studies abroad, spending two years in the United Kingdom at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth and the London School of Economics.

In 1946 Marealle returned to Tanganyika and took a position as a social welfare officer in the colonial administration Two years later he was appointed program manager of the Dar es Salaam Broadcasting Station Swahili service the predecessor of the Tanganyika Broadcasting Corporation While in Dar es Salaam ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Jonathon L. Earle

prominent chief and- historian of Buganda, was born in former Ssingo county, in central Uganda. His mother’s name was Nyakanzana, and his father Zakaria Ssensalire was an important Elephant clan (Njovu) leader and appointed chief by Kabaka (King) Muteesa I. At approximately the age of 12, Mukasa was placed by his father as a page (omugalagala) at the king’s palace, where his aunt was also one of the king’s many wives.

Mukasa s appointment to the royal palace coincided with Muteesa s early conversion to Islam As with other pages Mukasa studied Arabic and learned Islamic prayers and Qurʾanic texts by memory Not unlike his youthful colleagues Mukasa struggled to differentiate between Islamic and Christian teaching Reflecting on this perplexity Mukasa wrote I never knew at that time that there was any religious difference between the Arabs and Europeans Mukasa increasingly devoted his time and energy ...

Article

Ebenezer Ayesu

chief (traditional ruler), economist, business leader, university administrator, and philanthropist, was born Emmanuel Noi Omaboe on 29 October 1930 in Amanokrom, Akuapem in the eastern region of Ghana. His parents were Madam Mary Opibea Awuku of the royal Asona family of Amanokrom and Mr. Peter Nortey Omaboe, a prominent goldsmith resident at Mamfe and a citizen of Osu. He was enrolled in Mamfe Presbyterian Junior School from 1936 to 1942, completed his primary education at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior School in 1945, and from 1946 to 1950 studied at Accra Academy. There, he was a peer of several students who would be future leaders of Ghana, including Peter Ala Adjetey, who went on to a career as a noted lawyer and speaker of Ghana’s parliament (2000–2004). In 1951 he entered the University College of the Gold Coast now the University of Ghana to study economics ...

Article

Gloria Chuku

a local ruler in Nigeria, was most likely born in the late nineteenth century in the northern Igbo village of Umuida in Enugu-Ezike town, near present-day Nsukka. Her father, Ugbabe Ayibi, was a farmer and palm-wine tapper, and her mother, Anekwu Ameh, was a farmer and petty trader. As a teenager she moved to Igala country, perhaps to avoid being dedicated as a living sacrifice to the Ohe Goddess of Enugu-Ezike in payment for a crime committed by her father, or possibly because she was sold into slavery there. Or it may simply be that she sought the life of a “free woman.” Whatever was the case, what is certain is that Ahebi had some Igala connections prior to her disappearance from home. Members of her extended family and lineage were of Igala origin, aiding her integration into that community.

However Ahebi got to Igala country it is possible that ...

Article

Wongo  

Jeremy Rich

Gabonese clan chief and rebel leader is a figure often mentioned in the history of colonial Gabon despite the very limited information about him He was born at some point in the late nineteenth century in the village of Bembekani occupied by the Awendji speaking Boukondzo clan in the Beladi district located south of the Ogooué River in central Gabon Awendji clans comprised only several thousand people These communities had complicated trading relationships with their neighbors especially with their more affluent Adouma neighbors living directly north of them along the Ogooué River Awendji people spoke a language closely related to both Lidouma and Nzebi one of the most commonly spoken languages in southern Gabon Adouma and Nzebi people respected how Awendji men had mastered hunting and gathering in the rain forest even as they sometimes derided them as being merely poor people from the forest worthy of enslavement Awendji clans ...

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Jack Hogan

Paramount Chief of the Barotse Nation, was born in Likapai in what is now Zambia's Western Province in 1871. He was the first son of Lubosi Lewanika (c.1842–1916) and his first wife Ma-Litia. Prior to his accession to the throne, he was simply known as Litia. In 1883 attended the short-lived school established by the pioneer Scottish missionary Frederick Stanley Arnot (1858–1914) and fled with his father during the short rebellion against his rule between 1884 and 1885. In 1887 Litia attended the newly established school of François Coillard (1838–1904), leader of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (PEMS) mission to the kingdom. His father made him chief of Sesheke in 1891, a post he retained until he succeeded him in 1916. His accession had been assured in 1912 through an agreement made by Lewanika with the support of the British South ...