British Empire Article

Courtesy of OSPA

By Robert Wise
(Provincial Administration, Tanganyika 1954-62)
When Northern Rhodesia invaded Tanganyika
Abercorn Boma
It was 1955. Sumbawanga District in Tanganyika bordered upon Abercorn District in Northern Rhodesia. Officials in Sumbawanga had to pay regular visits to Abercorn to pay to the bank NR currency used to pay taxes. Rumours were heard that the DC in Abercorn had been murdered. This was not true but there was unrest in that District.

The unrest was due to an increase in their tax and had been fomented by a member of the NR African Congress whose name was Windy. He had urged some villagers not to pay their tax. As a result the DC went to the village with a police sergeant and a few constables. He found the villagers, led by Windy, armed with spears. Stones were thrown, injuring the sergeant, and the DC had to withdraw. DC Abercorn then called in a riot squad and a fully armed platoon of motorised police was deployed. Their presence caused the villagers to scatter into the hills around the area. Windy and some of his supporters went up to Mpulungu on the NR shore of Lake Tanganyika. There, Windy took a canoe going up the Lake to Kasanga, the first village (and steamer port) on the Tanganyika side. There he was arrested by the chief who notified his DC in Sumbawanga. In the meantime the NR armed police used the District motorboat to follow Windy to Kasanga. The chief told them that he had Windy under arrest and was awaiting instructions from his DC.

The NR police ignored the chief, threatened him, seized Windy and took him back to NR. The chief was incensed and immediately notified his DC who, realising that this incident could prove exceedingly embarrassing throughout the District, leapt into his pick-up truck and went to Abercorn. The Abercorn DC had already realised the consequences of the invasion and the illegal arrest of Windy. The Tanganyikan DC returned to Sumbawanga with Windy who was then dealt with appropriately and deported. The DC returned him to the border where he released Windy to whatever NR justice had in store for him. The chief at Kasanga was delighted that his honour had been upheld.

British Empire Map
Map of South-Western Tanganyika, 1949
Colony Profiles
Northern Rhodesia
Originally Published
OSPA Journal 104: October 2012


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