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5 Unforgettable Traditional African Leaders Who Rebelled Against Colonialists (Photos)

These brave and fearless chiefs/kings stood their grounds and intensely opposed endeavors by ‘colonizers’ to superimpose their will on their kin. At the point when push came to push, they even waged war against them.

He was the last independent and traditionally enthroned King of the Dahomey Kingdom (present-day Benin). Béhanzin ruled from 1889 to 1894 and actively led his people in their resistance against French imperialists in the Dahomey War from 1892 to 1894.
The French, however, emerged victorious and deposed Béhanzin. He spent his later years in Martinique and Algeria but his remains were returned to Dahomey after his death.

Hendrik Witbooi

A national hero in Namibia, Hendrik Witbooi was the Chief of the ǀKhowesin people. Witbooi is famously known for leading his people in an armed resistance against German colonialists. He died on the battlefront on 29 October 1905. His picture is featured on a couple of Namibian banknotes.

Dedan Kimathi


Also a national hero in Kenya, Dedan Kimathi is famously known for spearheading the armed Mau Mau Rebellion against British colonialism in the 1950s. Albeit labelled a terrorist by the British colonial government, Dedan Kimathi played a key role in Kenya’s struggle for independence.
He was captured and executed on February 18, 1957, on weapons and ammunition charges then buried in an unmarked grave.

Samori Touré

A charismatic and revered leader in his time, Samori Toure was a Guinean Muslim cleric and the founder and leader of the Wassoulou Empire of West Africa. Besides south-eastern Guinea, the Islamic Empire stretched to parts of the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Mali. Samori Touré led an armed resistance against French colonial rule from 1882 until his capture in 1898. He was then exiled to Gabon where he died on June 2, 1900.

PS: He was the great-grandfather of Guinea’s first president, Ahmed Sékou Touré.

Nehanda Nyakasikana

A spiritual leader of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, Nehanda inspired her people to rebel against the British South Africa Company’s colonization of Mashonaland and Matabeleland (both are regions in Zimbabwe). She was captured by the British together with her ally Kaguvi, who was likewise a Shona anti-colonial leader and executed.


Written by How Africa

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