Thursday, January 30, 2014

Images of Herero Leaders: Tjetjo Kandji and Traugott Tjetjo

Tjetjo Kandji in dark coat, center, and his son Traugott Tjetjo on the white horse
This is one of my favorite images of Herero leaders from the German colonial period in Southwest Africa.  I cannot find an electronic version of it online without watermarks, and if you expand this one you will see a faint white grid superimposed across the photograph.  Originals are in the United Evangelical Mission Archives, Wuppertal. There is also second variant of this image, in which the man next to the chicken has moved slightly and the riders are oriented on a slightly different angle.

The man on the dark horse at the center of the image, wearing a dark coat and with a kerchief under his hat, is Tjetjo Kandji, a leader of an eastern group of Hereros.  His son Traugott Tjetjo is also in the image.  He rides a white horse and wears a sash over his uniform.  There is no way to be certain in this black and white photograph, but it could be the red sash worn as a badge of office by those service as police in German Southwest Africa.   The photograph itself may have been taken in the mid 1890s, during the boundary dispute over which areas would be reserved for African settlement and those that would be restricted for the colonists.

These two men were central, tragic figures in the dispossession of the Herero in Southwest Africa, but also skilled military leaders who dealt the Germans one of their greatest battlefield defeats of the 1904 war.  

Tjetjo unsuccessfully opposed Governor Leutwein's elevation of  Samuel Maharero as paramount chief, contrary to Herero dual descent inheritance and clan structures. He inherited most of the wealth of Maharero Tjamuaha through matrilineal (Eanda) descent, and supported the old chief's half brother and war leader, Riarua , over Samuel Mahareo as Herero chief at Okahandja.  The Germans backed Samuel, however, and Tjetjo was eventually compelled to surrender other inherited cattle to Samuel in 1895 and to recognize him as his paramount chief. 

Following the German war in 1896 with the Otjiherero-speaking Ovambanderu people and their Namaqua allies the Khauas-Khoi, one of Samuel's lieutenant's, Kajata, moved into Tjetjo's territory on the Black Nossob and raided the cattle of his followers.  Traugott Tjetjo retaliated and rode with the Germans on cattle raids of their own.  Several hundred Mbanderu were disarmed and placed under his control after one raid.  These cattle raids were instigated to offset the devastating lose of Herero herds to the Rinderpest outbreak and were necessitated to pay off debts to European traders, which was a factor contributing to the tension and resentment that lead to the German-Herero war of 1904.  In 1899, the Germans moved to disarm Tjetjo and Traugott's people because they refused to register their rifles.

 In early January, 1904, Tjetjo was in the Gobabis district. On January 6th, less than a week before the opening of hostilities, Tjetjo met with Kurt Streitwolf , a German official who reported afterward to his superiors that he believed that war was not imminent. 

Tjetjo's people represented a considerable force, estimated in February by Streitwolf to have at least 1,000 men (with 500 rifles) moving from Kehoro toward the Onjati Mountains.  Governor Leutwein sent the Ostabteilung under Seebataillon Major von Glasnapp to prevent them from escaping to Bechuanaland.  Instead, Tjetjo and his band stayed ahead of the Germans, moving north.  Tjetjo ultimately rounded on them at Owikokerero, where an advance party of the Germans, including a large number of officers, suffered heavy casualties.  A second battle between Tjetjo's people and von Glasnapp's force at Okaharui ended the campaign for the Ostabteilung.

After the battle of Hamakari,  Tjetjo and Traugott and another chief called Mambo retreated along the dry Eiseb River into the Omaheke desert.  They travelled seperately from the main Herero groups under Samuel and his other followers, and were vulnerable both to thirst and to the pursuing Germans.  Major von Estorff's column attacked Tjetjo's people at Owinuau Naua and forced them to flee further into the desert.  Tjetjo ultimately died of thirst near a waterhole called Oruaromunjo.  Mambo is reported to have died of exhaustion, and Traugott Tjetjo is also believed to have died along with so many others trying to reach Bechuanaland.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Images of Herero Leaders: Mbandjo/Bandju.

from an 1897 woodblock engraving
One of the less well known African leaders from the period of the German - Herero War of 1904 was Mbandjo (Banjo/ Bandju), the headman of the Herero who lived in the vicinity of Otjombonde, a few days travel to the north of Omaruru. 

Mbandjo was the leader of a  northern Herero community that followed traditional practices rather than Christianity. The woodcut at left shows him as he appeared in 1897, wearing the regalia of a Herero headman, including a necklace of large white seashells.

Mbandjo is mentioned in the Journal of Gustaf De Vylder, a naturalist and trader who made several excursions in Hereroland in the mid 1870s.  During a trek made by ox wagon between Omaruru and Otjozondjupa near the Waterberg, De Vylder notes that while stopped at Ondombo:  "The chief, Bandju, came and begged as usual for everything he saw.  He selected a rifle that he said he wished to buy."  The next day De Vylder "bought a 'kru' bird from Banju for a rifled musket." 

Aside from illustrating the complex mercantile system that influenced and affected the economy of traditional  Herero communities during this period, De Vylder's account also shows that he had met Mbanjo before and that as a European trader he viewed the Africa leader's interest in receiving a gift of valuable trade goods with disdain.

Mbandjo was still the headman of the Otjombonde Herero at the time of the Rinderpest
outbreak in 1897, and is described in German accounts as allowing his herds to be vaccinated and his sick cattle shot for their gall to be used for inoculation.  Around this same period, most likely at the same time that the portrait was made, above, another image was taken of Mbandjo and his family,  later reproduced as the fancifully tinted German colonial postcard, at right.

I have not yet determined Chief Mbandjo's and his followers movements  prior to the battle of Hamakari at the Waterberg.  Possibly he fought against Captain Franke's 2nd Feldcompanie at Omaruru in February or against Estorff's Westabteilung at Otjihaenamaperero in March, 1904.  Captured Herero leader Zacharias Zeraua reported under interrogation that during the flight through the Omaheke, Mbandjo was among the Herero leaders who were gathered at Osombo Onjatu on the Eiseb River in September.  Subsequent margin notes on his testimony thought by historian Jan-Bart Gewald to have been made by Major Ludwig von Estorff indicate that Mbanjo was dead, and one of his sons, Moses Mbandjo or M'Buanjo, was among the leaders of the Herero survivors who returned to Southwest Africa after the South African invasion in 1915 and later headman in Omaruru. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

First Batch of Painted and Based Herero Figures

Mix of figures from Perry, Black Tree, Foundry. North Star, Askari and Empress
This is my first effort at painting up the very large number of figures from numerous manufacturers that I have pulled together for this project.  I'm still getting a feel for both painting and basing, and this includes everything from how to get the eyes right to finding the right mix of colors.  I decided to start with the Hereros, and these are the result.

I decided to paint up examples of each of the figures I am using to represent the Herero during the German-Herero War of 1904.  They range from Empress and Askari, which are closer to 25mm, all the way up to Tiger which approaches 30mm. I am using Vallejo paint and have given them simple bases.  One or two of them were actually cast as boers but make excellent Hereros in European clothing.  I'll describe the process further in subsequent posts, but for now, here they are to enjoy.
Black Tree (from a boer set)

Perry Mafeking and Askari Herero

Tiger, North Star, Brigade Games, Foundry, Black Tree, Redoubt

Tiger, Redoubt, Foundry (some of the largest figures)

North Star Africa! range  Matabele rebels make great Herero!
Brigade Games, Black Tree and Foundry.  The rider and kneeling figure are boer sculpts.