At the first Zionist Congress in 1897, delegates agreed to pursue the colonization of Palestine. But at the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903, Theodor Herzl presented a proposal for a colony in East Africa – he presented it as a mere stepping stone to Zion, but it caused bitter divisions among the delegates. We tell the little-known story of the British negotiations with the Zionist movement for a colony in Africa, centering on the founder himself, Theodore Herzl (not to be confused with a contemporary Viennese colonialist utopian named Theodore Hertzka, whose novel also became the basis for a failed African colonization scheme…). Our last stop in the British Scramble for East Africa (West Africa’s next).
From the Imperial British East Africa Company to the British East Africa Protectorate, we trace the missionary mischief that led to the British taking Uganda and the many wars (called “expeditions”) that led to the British taking Kenya. In the process you’ll meet Mwanga of Buganda, Kabarega of Bunyoro, and the treacherously assassinated Arap Samoei of the Nandi.
Our fifth and concluding episode on the Scramble in South Africa is on the (Second) Boer War from 1899-1902. We talk about how it started and why, the military details, the concentration camps, the struggle to keep it a “White Man’s War” for fear of a Lincoln showing up, and the implications (it’s clear who won the war, but who won the peace?) As for who lost the peace, the answer is clear – the Africans. How it all happened, in this episode.
The Scramble for Africa cannot be encapsulated in the career of any single imperialist, but if it could, that imperialist would be Cecil Rhodes. From the Rhodes Scholarship to the falling statues, Rhodes’s impact is still ubiquitous today. We look at the words and deeds of the exemplar of the Scramble, from his beginnings to the Jameson Raid which made the Boer War inevitable.
Continuing the history of the Scramble for South Africa, we talk about the Boers, the Dutch settlers and their attacks on the Africans and then on the British conflicts with them, up to the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley that might just be the event that set off the entire scramble. South Africa’s unbelievable mineral wealth and what it did to British imperial minds; who’s responsible for apartheid; and more, in this episode.
Part 2 of our series on the Scramble in South Africa takes us back to the Zulu modernizer, Shaka, in the early 19th century, all the way to the end of the Anglo-Zulu War between the British imperialists and the Zulus ruled by Cetshwayo. The land theft and swindling you’ve come to expect from the Scramble for Africa combine here with some sharpening of white supremacist ideology, a lot of which it turns out was developed specifically to find a theory of how and why the British Empire should settle and rule South Africa.
The wealthiest and most powerful state in Africa is South Africa, and its fate has been pivotal to the whole continent. This was no less true during the Scramble for Africa, which is why this series will have multiple episodes on South Africa. In this one, the so called “frontier wars” between the Europeans and the Xhosa; the Cattle Killing Movement; how the Cape Colony fell into British hands, the Boers and the British Empire, the Dutch East India Company, Canada and other analogies…
This one is about the precolonial African powers in the Congo – Zanzibar’s representative Tippu Tip, Msiri of Katanga, and a few others (but mainly these two). We talk about their rise in the context of growing European power, and their eventual fall to Belgium – although as you’ll see it wasn’t exactly Belgium, but Leopold II and his British and German allies that made the theft of Congo possible. Another key piece – the centre of the board – falls in the Scramble for Africa.
After six episodes of preparation we are ready to talk about the famous Berlin Conference of 1884 where Africa was actually carved up. Along the way you meet some of the most legendary villains – Stanley and Leopold (though you still haven’t met Rhodes), also Livingstone and Brazza. We end in Berlin itself and at the Berlin Conference 1884.
The British imperialists take Sudan. First, they send Gordon, acting in the name of the Khedive of Egypt. That doesn’t go so well. The next expedition culminates in the brutal battle of Omdurman in 1898, the quintessential colonial military mismatch and the demonstration for the colonial use of the machine gun. We tell Gordon’s story in detail, and tell the story of the Mahdi and his successor the Khalifa, also in some detail, trying to get at least a little bit beyond what his British enemies (and captives) said about him.