What’s in a Name? A Brief History of "Askari" f

The African soldiers who fought in East Africa are mostly known through the archives left by the colonial powers for which they fought. These layers of mediation make it very difficult to know much about their interior lives. It all began with the name and title they were assigned: askari.

Where did it come from? How is it that “askari” was used by so many different colonial powers in the same way? And what does this word retain today of its tortuous history?

6wwiafrica, askari, uganda, kenya, tanzania, congo, belgium, germany, great britain, portugal, medium, othering,

World War I in Africa: An Interview with Kathleen Bomani and Jacques Enaudeau

On today’s podcast, I speak with Kathleen Bomani and Jacques Enaudeau, co-founders of the World War I in Africa project.

Through the World War I in Africa project, Ms. Bomani and Mr. Enaudeau seek not to commemorate the passing of the war, but to restore its meaning by challenging boilerplate narratives and highlighting new narrators.

As the project’s website explains, two million African soldiers, workers and porters participated in the war, yet their story remains largely ignored to this day. “Europe’s 20th century started in 1914, and the yoke of colonialism steered Africa along for the ride,” Bomani and Enaudeau write. “Battles between the French, British, Belgian, German and Portuguese colonial empires pitted Africans against each other on their own soil,” they continue.

Tens of thousands of African lives were lost, while migration trends were set, economies transformed, and borders redefined all as a result of “the war to end all wars.”

You can find more information about the World War I in Africa Project through the links below.

website: http://wwiafrica.ghost.io/
twitter: https://twitter.com/wwiafrica
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wwiafrica
tumblr: http://wwiafrica.tumblr.com/

To access more of my reporting, please visit ptinti.com (http://ptinti.com/) and Beacon reader (https://www.beaconreader.com/peter-tinti).

Source: SoundCloud / ptinti

Guns of August

Timeline of World War I’s first month in Africa

6WWIAFRICA, august, 1914,

BBC - History Hour- #WWIAFRICA f

Too short! a small segment on BBC’s The History hour podcast  featuring accounts by WWI Africa survivors from Kenya and Edward Paice director of the Africa research center discussing World War I in Africa.

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Black and White in Color is a 1976 war film and black comedy directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud in his directorial debut. It depicts French colonists at war with the Germans in French West Africa during World War I. The film adopts a strong antimilitaristic point of view, and is noteworthy for ridiculing the French side even more harshly than their German counterparts.

Though a comedy, the film’s portrayal is accurate with a light touch. Ironically this film is the first and only Oscar win for Cote d’Ivoire, as the film was enitrely filmed in Cote d’Ivoire. It won the 1976 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 

#FactsOnly As depicted in the Film: 

-The first shot fired by British troops in World War I is commonly attributed to sergeant-major Alhaji Grunshi of the Gold Coast Regiment in the Togoland campaign.

-Togoland (present day Togo) campaign lasted for 17 days, 9-26 August 1914, whilst the Kamerun (present day Cameroon) campaign lasted 1 year, 7 months and 4 days. 

-The Germans lost this war effort and colonies were divided amongst the Brits and French.  

-France recruited soldiers massively in its African colonies. According to historian Myron Echenberg, 170,000 soldiers from French West Africa (today’s Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) fought for France during World War I. Among them, 30,000 died in combat.

-The British recruited over 1 million Indians to fight in World War I in Europe and Africa.

- In the African campaigns however, though white Europeans were fighting each other, they met on the battlefield first and foremost as fellow colonists, who shared the view of their own superiority to the “indigenous”, the “natives”, the “savages”.

Visit wwiafrica to learn more

6film, black comedy, french west africa, Togo, cameroon, africa, wwiafrica, oscar,

A group of allied Prisoners of War. 8 different nationalities on display: Vietnamese, Tunisian, Senegalese, Sudanese, Russian, American, Portugese, and English on the Western Front.

Such images were used as propaganda by the Germans to illustrate to the German people that they were fighting not only a European war but a war of a global nature, whereby the allies employed their colonial troops, and in spite of this, they(central powers) were making gains.  A tool used to pump up morale amongst the Germans and central powers. 

Original image source: National Archive/Official German Photograph of WWI

More about #WWIAfrica on our website.

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Prisoners from the German steamboat ‘Hedwig von Wissmann’ guarded by a British serviceman. German East Africa, February 1916. Source: Imperial War Museum.

Forced labour was also very common in POW camps, whether in European or in African camps. In some cases, forced labour was actually a repraisal measure for sending captured soldiers to camps in Africa. In 1916, the Germans, considering that the detainment of their own troops in North African camps was demeaning and degrading, sent newly captured French and British prisoners to carry out forced labour on the Eastern Front.

In the African campaigns however, though white Europeans were fighting each other, they met on the battlefield first and foremost as fellow colonists, who shared the view of their own superiority to the “indigenous”, the “natives”, the “savages”. The resulting double standard in treatment of captured enemy combatants and civilians is best illustrated by the following two pictures and their original caption.”

Read more on http://wwiafrica.ghost.io

6POW, ICRC, RED CROSS, wwiafrica, wwi, prisoners, war, 1914-1918, nobel peace prize,

Dynamic Africa sounds off on The WWIAfrica Project

The World War I in Africa Project Sheds Light On An Often Forgotten Part of History.

As a student of history for all my years of secondary education, I can’t say that I never learned about World War I, the events leading up to it as well as the aftermath it had on Europe and to some extent the United States. Perhaps we never delved into it in quite as much depth as we did World War II, but even then, I’d be hard-pressed to think of time where my history teacher (bless her soul) ever mentioned the impact that the First World War had on Africa and Africans. Such a truth wouldn’t concern me if the circumstances were different; if I wasn’t at a school in an African country, if I weren’t an African myself, if I wasn’t one of five black students in a history class of over 20, if I didn’t come from a country that was colonized by the British (who, as history goes, love war).

But all these things were and still are a part of who I am, and it is for these reasons – and so many more, that the World War I in Africa project is incredibly important learning for me. Even beyond the personal connection of history and heritage, the ignorance of many to the involvement of Africans in World War I and the integral roles the played speak to a much broader concern of the omission and reduction of black people and Africans in many important events in Western history.

It’s been 100 years since the First World War began. 100 years since the first shot fired by British troops occurred in what is today known as Togo, on August 7th, 1914. 100 years gone by and still, the world is yet to actively include and universally commemorate the lives of the estimated two million Africans who in some way contributed to the efforts of their colonial empires during this bitter war of the 1910s. World War I was indeed what its title refers to it as – a war that saw involvement on a global scale.

From the Gold Coast to German East Africa, Algeria to the southernmost tip of Africa, a new initiative is bringing to light the forgotten ways in which European politics brought the Great War to African homes. Through the efforts of World War I in Africa project, we are provided with a multimedia database that both highlights and archives the ways in which African lives were affected by a war they had no agency in. Because what happens in Africa should be told around the world.” 

World War I in Africa.

(via katebomz)

Source: dynamicafrica

6wwi, africa, wwiafrica, dynamicafrica, history, medium,

"Native carriers about to trek a small part of their journey through a swamp", Nyasaland (now Malawi), circa 1916.

In 1911, the population of Nyasaland consisted of 970,000 “natives” and 760 Europeans (plus 460 Asians). The population of Nyasaland estimated to have been turned into porters during WWI: 260,000. Historians put the total figure of porters recruited by the British for the East Africa campaign at 1,000,000. One million. 

Service rendered, they say? Exploitation is more like it.

More info about #WWIAfrica on our website.

6WWI, WWIAfrica, WW1, Nyasaland, Malawi, porters, carriers, exploitation, large,

"The European conflict in 1914. Here are they are, the two who wanted to devour Europe."

Postcard depicting a tirailleur sénégalais with the captured Kaiser Wilhelm II and Emperor Franz Joseph.

The kind of stuff French general Mangin’s dreams, author of “The Black Force” in 1910, must have been made of.

More about #WWIAfrica on our website.

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