Africans reacted to the European Scramble for Africa with horror, submission, and in some cases, rebellion.
One reaction to the Europeans taking control over Africa was conforming or submitting to the Europeans. One document that showed this was a contract from the Royal Niger Company that was commissioned by the British and was sent to every African chief in the Niger River
Delta. This contract allowed the British to take the rights to the African chief’s land and it benefitted only the British (Doc 1). This shows how the British made an attempt to forgo any fighting and gave the African chiefs a chance to submit their land. Another document that is in this group is from the Ashanti leader Prempeh I and it is in response to a British offer of pectorate status. He said that he won’t commit to handing over their power to the British, but he wants to be friends with them (Doc 2). Wanting to be friends is the first step in the direction of submitting to their rules and control.
Another reaction is a reaction of horror and disgust towards the Europeans taking control of Africa. One document in this group is a first hand account from Ndansi Kumalo, an African veteran of the Ndebele rebellion against British advances in southern Africa. He explains how the British were treating the Africans as slaves and how the rebellion started without organization. He then talks about how they were defeated and how four of his cousins died from the British (Doc 4). Ndansi Kumalo shows his disgust with being treating as a slave and then was horrified that four of his own cousins were killed in the fight to liberate themselves from the shackles of slavery. Another document in this group comes from Mojimba, an African chief
describing the battle on the Congo River in 1887 against British and African mercenaries, as told to a German Catholic missionary in 1907. In this text he describes how his people were murdered by the British and describes the anger towards the British (Doc 9). Showing anger towards the British for killing their men expresses how horrified that he was of his people getting killed and floating in the river. The point of view of Ndansi Kumalo is how he was a leader of people that were fighting for what they believed in and were killed by doing it. This angered him so much, because it wasn’t just anybody dying, it was his own people that he most likely loved and cared for.
Several documents show rebellion against the Europeans. One of these documents were from Menelik II, the emperor of Ethiopia, and it was being sent to Great Britain, France,
Germany, Italy, and Russia. This document expressed the impatience of the European forces treading on their land and would do what they could to defend themselves (Doc. 3). This letter is evidence of the force of Europeans trying to take control of Africa. Another document in this group is an Ethiopian painting of the Battle of Adowa in which the Ethiopians were victorious over the British troops. It clearly shows the Ethiopians winning and there have Jesus on a horse fighting for the Ethiopians (Doc 5). This document shows how the Ethiopians stook to their word and defended against the British for their own land. A third document in the rebelling group is a speech to the chiefs of west Africa…