Chief Mkwawa

Mkwavinyika Munyigumba Mwamuyinga (* 1855, † 19. July 1898 1), better admits than Chief Mkwawa was, a chieftain of the trunk of the Hehe in German East Africa, today's Tanzania, which offered large resistance against the German Besatzer. The name Mkwawa comes from the word Mukwava, which is again an abbreviation for Mukwavinyika, which means in for instance conquerers of many countries. Mkwawa was born in the year 1855 in Luhota as a son of Chief Munyigumba, which 1879 died.

In July 1891 the instruction was given to the German military-assigned Emil von Zelewski to attack with a battalion of 320 Askaris , officers and carriers of the Ethnie of the Wa hehe. To 17. August the German troops were attacked with Lugalo by 3000 men a strong Wahehe army under the guidance by Mkwawa. Although the Wahehe Krieger had been subject only with Speeren and few rifles equipped and with it to the German troops, it succeeded to overwhelm them fast their opponents and kill Zelewski.

To 28. Octobers 1894 attacked German troops under the new commander Colonel baron Friedrich von Schele Mkwawas fortress in Kalenga in the proximity of the city Iringa . Although it succeeded, the fortress to take over could escape from Mkwawa. Thereupon it began to lead a guerrilla war and escaped from the German Besatzern again and again, to it to 19. July 1898 suicide did not commit around its pursuers into the hands to fall.

After the corpse had been found, Mkwawas head was probably spent by second lieutenant Tom from Prince to Germany. In the year 1919 by the article 246 of the contract by Versailles was decided to send the head back to Africa what however only to 9. July 1954 happened. Today it is to be visited in the Mkwawa memory museum in Kalenga.

Article 246 of the Versailler of contract:
Within six months after the entry into force of the present Treaty [...] becomes Germany the head of the Sultan Mkwawa, which from the protectorate German East Africa was brought to Germany, which hands royally British government out.

See also: Maji Maji rebellion


1 some sources give as date of birth to the 19. June 1898 on ([1], [2]), others the 19. July ([3], [4]). In the report of the sergeant Merkl, which found the bodies Mkwawas and its last companion with some soldiers, becomes the 19. July as death date indicated.


  • Martin bear, Olaf Schröter: A head hunt. German in East Africa Berlin, Christoph on the left of publishing house 2001

Websites - Website of Is-Haka M. Mkwawa, great-grandchild of Mkwavinyika Munyigumba Mwamuyinga


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