Monday, 23 November 2015

Germany's Africa: A Literary and Historical Disconnect

Volume 192, 24 June 2015, Pages 398–407
The Proceedings of 2nd Global Conference on Conference on Linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching
Open Access


Lukanga Mukara (1912), a young East African's letters written during his visit to the German interior and sent to his king anxiously awaiting news of his impressions of Germany. The letters are a social critique of pre-World War I Germany seen through the eyes of the young Lukanga Mukara. Never once does he refer to German colonial excesses on the continent where his king to whom he sends his letters lives. Hans Paasche, a young naval officer, author of Lukanga Mukara, son of the Vice Chancellor of the German Reichstag, arrived in Darussalam in 1904. In 1905 he led the Rufiji expedition, the German force that suppressed the Maji Maji Rebellion in German East Africa. The wholesale slaughter of Africans led to Hans Paasche's later conversion to pacifism and his eventual murder in 1920 at the hands of the Brigade Erhardt, ultra-nationalist forerunners of the Nazi Regime. Paasche's German East African experiences, his familiarity with Swahili, the knowledge he must have had of the effects of German colonialism, make his portrayal of the simple, naïve African character and his pastoral community untouched by Western civilization rather surprising. This paper examines African images dominating Lukanga Mukara and places these in the context of historical events and of literature written during and about this period of African history. It asks: What are the effects of images that form and inform the national consciousness.