Doing colonialism: reading the banishment of a »native chief« in the Tanganyika territory

Bettina Brockmeyer


This article takes a closer look at the »colonial situation« (Balandier 1970). It seeks to shed light on a multifaceted non-colonizing colonial biography during the time of European conquest. The focus lies on the interpretation of the banishment of a »chief« in the British-mandated territory of Tanganyika. This chief, Sapi Mkwawa (1879–1951), was an important figure within European colonization. He experienced two colonizing powers in a prominent but ambiguous position. I argue that through close analysis of the archival material on this banishment, colonialism becomes visible as an ongoing process, based on different forms of a »politics of belonging«. Class and »tribe« function as features of »belonging« that are consolidated by the authority of the Mkwawa family, in addition to being bolstered by colonial power relations.

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DOI: 10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v7-i1-151