Sunseri’s Article on Maji Maji

Sunseri’s Article on Maji Maji




The Maji Maji Rebellion in Tanzania was an illustration of the changes that begun to occur in African societies in respect to the attainment of independence and sovereignty. Despite the irrational nature of the opposition (illustrated by their belief that bullets could not impose any harm on them), the Maji Maji Uprising proved significant at the time due to the implications that it posed on German rule. However, the impact that it applied to German colonial rule in Eastern Africa is not a different nor a new aspect as far as African history is concerned. In the article, “Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion: Forestry and Social Control in German East Africa, 1874-1915”, Sunseri weaves a different dimension from the events that occurred during the time that the Maji Maji Rebellion occurred. In particular, he manages to argue from a new standpoint that the Uprising was the generation of a cohesive, interethnic resistance aimed at the dissipation of colonial reign in the African continent[1]. Indeed, the acts that were performed by the Maji Maji in response to German rule reflected the sentiments that most Africans experienced due to the effects of colonialism. After all, much of the continent was subjected to foreign oppression after the Scramble for Africa begun materializing in between the late 1800s and the early 1900s[2]. As such, the resolve exhibited by the rebellion towards the usurpation of colonial rule marked the commencement of collaboration among peoples from different ethnic tribes. Interestingly, even though the Uprising proved unsuccessful in the end, it inspired other members of African colonies across the continent, especially throughout the 20th century, to indulge in interethnic cohesion and establish resistance regimes against European colonial leadership. 


Asante, Molefi Kete. The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Sunseri, Thaddeus. “Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion: Forestry and Social Control in German East Africa, 1874-1915.” Environmental History 8, no. 3 (2003): 430-451.

[1] Thaddeus Sunseri, “Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion: Forestry and Social Control in German East Africa, 1874-1915,” Environmental History 8, no. 3 (2003): 433.

[2] Molefi Kete Asante, The History of Africa: The Quest for Eternal Harmony (New York: Routledge, 2015), 132.

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