Michelle MoydDec 4, 2014
African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa
Ohio University Press 2014
In her imaginative and scrupulous book, Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa (Ohio University Press, 2014), historian Michelle Moyd writes about theaskari, Africans soldiers recruited in the ranks of the German East African colonial army. Praised by Germans for their loyalty and courage, the askari were reviled by Tanzanians for the violence and disruptions the askari caused in their service to the colonial state. Moyd questions the starkness of these characterizations. By linking askari micro-histories with wider nineteenth-century African historical processes, she shows how the askari, as soldiers and colonial intermediaries, not only helped to build the colonial state but also sought to carve out paths to respectability and influence within their own local African contexts. Moyd offers a truly fresh perspective on African colonial troops as state-making agents and critiques the mythologies surrounding the askari by focusing on the nature and contexts of colonial violence, notions of masculinity and respectability.