Mbadamassi of Lagos: a soldier for King and Kaiser, and a deportee to German South West Africa

TitleMbadamassi of Lagos: a soldier for King and Kaiser, and a deportee to German South West Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsJ.B. Gewald
Secondary TitleAfrican Diaspora
Pagination103 - 124
Date Published2009///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsbiographies (form), black soldiers, Cameroon, colonial forces, Namibia, Nigeria, World War I

In 1915 troops of the South African Union Defence Force invaded German South West Africa, present-day Namibia. In the north of the territory the South African forces captured an African soldier serving in the German army named Mbadamassi. Upon his capture Mbadamassi demanded to be released and claimed that he was a British national from Nigeria. In addition, he stated that he had served in the West African Frontier Force, and that he had been shanghaied into German military service in Cameroon. Furthermore, whilst serving in the German army in Cameroon, Mbadamassi claimed that he had participated in a mutiny, and that, as a consequence, he had been deported to GSWA. The article covers the remarkable military career of the African soldier, Mbadamassi, who between 1903 and 1917 served both the King of the British Empire as well as the Kaiser of the German Empire. In so doing, the article sheds light on the career of an individual African soldier serving in three colonial armies: the West African Frontier Force, the Schutztruppe in Cameroon, and the Schutztruppe in GSWA. The article argues that beyond the fact that colonial armies were institutions of repression, they also provided opportunity for those willing or condemned to serve within their ranks. Furthermore the article provides some indication as to the extent of communication that existed between colonial subjects in the separate colonies of Africa at the time. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]

Citation Key3001