Congolese young people who are involved in the wild jacquards that have bloodied the Democratic Republic of Congo are often unaware of the origin of Mai-Mai (or Maji Maji), that is to say "Water-Water" which is now a political party in the D.R.C.. In reality, it comes from Tanzania (then Tanganyika). It was the name of the rebellion carried out between 1905 and 1907 by the Medium Kinjikitile "Bokero" Ngwale, against the German colonialists.
Who was Kinjikitile Ngwale aka Bokero?
Kinjikitile Ngwale was born in Ngarambe, Matumbi, Tanzania, before the arrival of the Germans in East Africa. In 1904, he disappeared mysteriously from his village of Ngarambe. Returning to the village a few days later, he claims that during his disappearance he was possessed by the spirit of a medium named Hongo, which had turned into a snake, and that he had received the deity “Bokero” through the spirit of Hongo. He tells his followers that he had received from their ancestors the mission of fighting the German colonial empire. He tries to unify the men and women of different tribes to fight the Germans. He distributes to the fighters of the holy water (Maji) supposed to immunize them against the German bullets and bombs. In July 1905, the first rebels attacked crying "Maji Maji" Marumbi's colonial post and the residence of the German official. Kinjikitile is arrested by the German military troops. On August 4, 1905, he was sentenced for high treason and hanged publicly. This hanging instead of ending the rebellion, it excites it. His brother takes the head of the rebellion now called "Maji Maji" which continues the guerrilla until its total extension in 1907. The guerilla maji-maji makes hundreds of deaths in the German troops and 75,000 deaths among the rebels. The terrible German repression caused more than 100,000 deaths among Africans. A unique lesson of this anti-German revolt, the Tanzanians understood that they can together over tribal barriers, overthrow a foreign power and build a nation around a single leader. Professor Julius Nyerere Kambarage (1922-1999) assimilated the lesson and was this unifier of Tanzania without recourse to mystical fireworks!
When Laurent Désiré Kabila resurrected “Mai Mai” in R.D.C..
While Tanzanians regarded Kinjikitile Ngwale as the country's first nationalist, the former maquisard who became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Laurent-Désiré Kabila (1937-2001), to get rid of his Allies (Rwanda and Uganda) and display his nationalism outdated, resessed the old rebellion "Muleliste" in 2008. Between 1963 and 1970, it had bloodied the Democratic Republic of Congo from the Kwango. Under the cry of “Mulele Mai”, the maquisards ragged without faith or law conquers ¾ of the Democratic Republic of Congo. After drinking breastmilk from the old witch Mama Onema, they sprinkle themselves with mystical water and expose their breasts to the bullets of the Congolese National Army of General Jéseph-Désiré Mobutu. Stuffed with drugs and adorned with fetishes, their resistance to bullets sows the blue scum in the ranks of the soldiers of the Congolese Army. The Mulelism made over 500,000 deaths among the Congolese and the many Belgian victims.
“Maji maji” or “Mai Mai”, a same utopian dream!
Today Congolese rebels use practically the same ancestral rituals and above all the ablution with this famous mystical water, base of their identity "Mai Mai" before throwing themselves into the barbaric battle. As Kinjikitile Bokero Ngwale whose Tanzanians claim a street name in Berlin, the German capital, Laurent Désiré Kabila was the victim of his rebellion and is considered a nationalist hero by his followers. His son Joseph Kabange Kabila is the only true beneficiary of this bloody and absurd epic against Mobutu Sese Seko's (1965-2007) 32-year-old dictatorship.
Is not history an eternal beginning?
-Mapunda O.B. & Mpangara G.P., The Maji Maji War in Ungoni, East African Publishing House, dar es-Salam, 1969.
-Giblin James Leonard and Monson Jamie (eds), Maji Maji: Lifting the Fog of War, Briil., Leiden, Boston, 2010.
Kanyarwunga I.N. Jean, R.D.C.. Les générations condamnées. Déliquescence d’une Société capitaliste, www.NENA.Sen.