Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Malawi's World War I battles

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a talk on the above subject presented by Dr Du Mhango.( Whole talk organised by the Society of Malawi )

It was a brief but very informative talk. Of how the British defeated the Germans in Malawi. The fought two battles in Karonga and Nkhatabay.

1- NAVAL BATTLE - Nkhatabay

This war was won with no major skirmishes because of two simple reasons.
i - The Naval Commanders were buddies.
ii - The German vessel had broken down in nkhatabay & was
waiting for supplies.
After the capture of the German Captain, the two captains had Whisky together.

2- LAND BATTLE - Karonga

This Battle took place at the Karonga Boma which led to the loss of Malawian, Tanzania, British & German lives. Although the latter were much better prepared compared to the British they still lost.
The reason the British succeeded was because of the Kyungu influence, (FYI the Kyungu sphere run FROM LAKE MALAWI TIP TO LAKE TANGANYIKA). Which was split between the Fwerefwere ( Germans) and Angelezi (British).

Chief Mwakilima [ aNephew of Kyungu ] was paramount chief and Mwandindi was a junior chief. The latter was sent to spy on the British. But betrayed the Germans with the understanding that the Kyungu boundaries were going to be returned to the pre Scramble of Africa boundaries.

This resulted in the ambush of the Germans & Tanzanians because of the information provided by Mwandindi and Mwakilima.

In conclusion the speaker lamented the fact that the British never honored their side of the bargain.( So the Nigerian government is not so bad after all on Charlie Taylor i guess the learnt from their colonialists on agreements) Also the fact that the African soldiers on both sides werent given a descent burial, even after the rising water levels when the British and German remains in Karonga were moved to higher ground. But nothing was done for the African remains which have been lost to the lake.

My take on all this was that why havent the Africans shown interest in doing so themselves? I feel its the price we paid for blind loyalty.



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