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The Great Uprising: 10 Facts on the Maji Maji Rebellion

During the “scramble for Africa” that began with the Treaty of Berlin in 1885, European powers dominated much of Africa, carving out vast territories as their own and establishing often brutal regimes to enforce their rule. The Maji Maji Rebellion in Tanganyika (modern-day Tanzania), beginning in July 1905 and ending in July 1907, was the most significant African challenge to German colonial rule. The uprising lasted two years and involved people over 10,000 square miles.


A prophet, Kinjikitile Ngwale, emerged and claimed to know a secret, sacred liquid that could repel German bullets called “Maji Maji,” which means “sacred water.”



The “war medicine” Maji Maji was water mixed with castor oil, an oil once referred to as “The Hand of Christ” due to its healing abilities, and millet seeds.

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