The Journal of African History



TRADERS, ‘BIG MEN’ AND PROPHETS: POLITICAL CONTINUITY AND CRISIS IN THE MAJI MAJI REBELLION IN SOUTHEAST TANZANIA


FELICITAS BECKER a1
a1 School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Article author query
becker f   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

This article places the origins of the Maji Maji rebellion in Southeast Tanzania within the context of tensions between coast and interior, and between ‘big man’ leaders and their followers, which grew out of the expansion of trade and warfare in the second half of the nineteenth century. Without discounting its importance as a reaction against colonial rule, the paper argues that the rebellion was driven also by the ambitions of local leaders and by opposition to the expansion of indigenous coastal elites. The crucial role of the ‘Maji’ medicine as a means of mobilization indicates the vitality of local politics among the ‘stateless’ people of Southeast Tanzania.


Key Words: Tanzania; rebellion; trade; politics.