The adage that Africa is the forgotten front in WWI holds true for its treatment in literature. While there are several dozen novels and a great many published songs, poems, and memoirs dealing with the African campaigns, all except C. S. Forester’s (1899-1966) African Queen and William Boyd’s (1952- ) Booker Prize-nominated An Ice Cream War are relatively obscure. Scholarly treatment of this literature is equally lacking and tends to focus primarily on works related to the East Africa campaign. Regardless of format, literary treatments of the war in Africa are heavily Eurocentric and tend to focus on hardships endured and the logistical difficulty of fighting in the tropics where combat was often overshadowed by long marches and periods of inactivity. When Africa and Africans enter into the picture it is often in the form of stereotypes about the supposedly savage landscape and simplistic nature and unquestioning loyalty of African subjects forced into service to fight the white man’s war.
Memoirs by civilians who spent the war in Africa are rare. The best known of these, Isak Dinesen’s (aka Karen Blixen 1885-1962) Out of Africa, barely touches on the war and its effects on Kenya. Instead, she provides a series of vignettes depicting the perceived exoticism of Africa and how different its societies and peoples were from their European counterparts. Other British and German civilians produced war time memoirs detailing allegations of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of enemy forces as they were captured, interned and deported back to Europe. Their complaints include humiliation at being guarded by African soldiers, taunts, intimidation, looting, threats of violence, being forced to perform manual labor, and poor conditions in prison camps and aboard ships bound for Europe. These themes were given a new lease on life in the 1930s with the appearance of Hans Grimm’s (1875-1959) Der Ölsucher von Duala, a novel which the author claims was based on the diary of a German civilian who died in prison in Dahomey.
The bulk of memoirs by settlers who served in combat during the war were written by those who left Africa to fight in Europe. Of those who wrote about serving in the African theater of war, senior officers tended to focus on quasi-official histories emphasizing tactics, strategy, command decisions and macro views of battles. Most of these works speak only in general terms of casualties and the privations endured by the men under their command. More detailed accounts by figures like Heinrich Schnee (1871-1949) and Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (1870-1964) include discussions about the transition to guerilla war and the difficulties that entailed, such as the isolation of being cut off from mail and news, the chronic lack of supplies, and the development of bush industries to make cloth and tan hides for leather.
Memoirs by junior officers provide more detail and focus more on the daily reality of war, including boredom, long marches, dust, torn and rotting clothes, hunger, lack of water, and chronic illness. Some did so explicitly to challenge the notion that the African campaigns were a side show with better conditions than on the Western Front. Occasionally authors expressed respect for the enemy’s military abilities, while others complained that the Germans fought dirty citing encounters with mines, booby traps and poisoned wells as evidence. Junior officers were more likely than their commanders to describe battles and casualties in their memoirs, but kept the focus on the actions of Europeans and their losses. Africans show up rarely, usually as passing references to porters or soldiers who remain nameless and faceless. Walter Downes and Angus Buchanan are rare exceptions. Both recognized the contributions of individual NCOs and scouts in their memoirs. But even they engage in stereotypes, describing Askaris as simple, brave, obedient and loyal soldiers who nevertheless remain uncivilized. Others, like Max Yergan (1892-1975), openly worried about the wisdom of teaching Africans to kill and made a note of language problems which hampered communication between white officers and African rank and file soldiers drawn from across colonial Africa.
When it comes to the landscape and environment of the African fronts, European memoirs tend to describe it as an exotic, savage and inhospitable realm of swamp, desert and thorn filled scrub land. Heat, illness, and vast distances all exact a harsh toll on humans and draft animals. While most memoirs make a point of complaining about the ubiquitous mosquitos, jiggers, and scorpions, others delighted in describing the movements of wild animals found in the bush. Predictably, much of this appears in the form of extensive passages devoted to shooting game animals for sport and to supplement rations. In addition to hunting, European memoirs often note the prevalence of other entertainment to alleviate boredom and render the environment less alien. South African forces in Egypt engaged in soccer and rugby matches while those in Southwest Africa went swimming on the beach at Swakopmund. After taking Dar-es-Salam, British troops had a sports day with tug-of-war contests, foot races, and a race to collect and cut coconuts. On the more intellectual side, European forces also had access to concerts, lectures, and shows.
There are very few war memoirs written by Africans. Of those that do exist, nearly all focus on service on the Western Front with only small portions discussing their recruitment and early training in Africa. The best known of these is Bakary Diallo’s (1892-1978) autobiographical novel Force Bonté which chronicles the experiences of a young African soldier from enlistment through his war-time service in France. Central themes of Diallo’s book include acceptance of the stereotypical notion that Africans were childlike, gratitude to France for its civilizing mission, loyalty, and the fundamental equality of wartime experiences on the front. Other Africans who served on the Western Front noted that they enlisted for material benefits rather than loyalty to their colonial masters and spoke about conditions on the battlefield, the horror of seeing friends wounded or killed, their unease about killing white men, and their desire to go home.
Of the handful of memoirs by Africans who saw service in the Cameroon and East African campaigns, one of the most extensive is that of John G. Mullen, a clerk from the Gold Coast who was working at a British trading station in eastern Cameroon when the war broke out. Mullen fled home on foot, passing through prison camps at Ajoshohe and Yaoundé. Soon thereafter he published a serialized memoir in the Gold Coast Leader which only rarely touches on the progress or politics of the war. Instead, it reads as an “adventure-story filled with [cliffhangers,] vivid dialog and suspense” as Mullen recounts his journey and efforts to escape cannibals and German forces alike. Throughout it all, Mullen repeatedly self identifies as an educated British subject and makes use of colonial stereotypes when describing the ferocity and “savage” nature of Cameroonians. Germans who appear in Mullen’s account also fall into familiar tropes as large, masculine and violent men prone to seizing property, burning villages, meting out corporal punishment, and the use of military parades to generate fear and awe.
Memoirs by Africans who saw front line service in Africa also describe their enlistment and battles, but focus primarily on the privation and hardships endured by carriers and troops. While Mzee Ali, already a longtime member of the German Schutztruppe, claims to have been better informed about the nature and intensity of the war than newer recruits, the experience of most African veterans echoed that of Nwose, a Nigerian serving with the Carrier Corps during the Cameroon campaign, who reveals that he had no idea what to expect and was amazed and frightened by western technology. Like other African veterans, Nwose, Ali and Jakob Dosoo Amenyah describe the violence of the war, the sounds and smells of battle, casualties in the ranks, illness, the porters’ back breaking work carrying supplies, shortages of medicine, and chronic lack of food. Mirroring his European counterparts, Ali also complains about insects and wild animals while noting that as the war dragged on German forces routinely plundered villages and conscripted all men over the age of 16. Amenyah’s account repeats allegations of German atrocities ranging from the use of Dum Dum bullets to executing prisoners. Furthermore, it frequently references instances of racism that Askaris encountered at the hands of European soldiers. At the war’s end, Nwose and an Askari named Aibu Chikwenga were among the lucky veterans of the African campaigns in that they survived long enough to be demobilized, were paid off, allowed to retain their blankets, and in Nwose’s case, given guides to take them home. Many of their peers, including Mzee Ali, received no such assistance. Instead, they struggled to get promised wages and bonuses, and were essentially left to find their own way home.
Other than Hans Grimm’s Der Ölsucher, there are no fictionalized accounts of the war in West Africa. Similarly, the only novel set in Southwest Africa is Siegfried Stander’s The Fortress, which focuses primarily on the tensions between military and civil authorities at a frontier post over petty jealousies, how to maintain order, and the treatment of local Africans. The onset of the war, the Boer rebellion, and the impending invasion by forces near South Africa serve as the backdrop to the second half of the book in which German forces pursue a “Hottentot” who made off with cattle that had been requisitioned to feed the garrison.
The bulk of war fiction set in Africa concentrates on the East Africa campaign with a large proportion of novels based on the Naval Africa Expedition which sent motorboats from England via Capetown to Lake Tanganyika to take on and sink the German steamers Hedwig von Wissman and Graf von Goetzen. The earliest and best known fictional account of this expedition is C. S. Forester’s African Queen which is essentially an adventure story set in the mythical colony of German Central Africa where British civilians - a female missionary and a steam launch captain - attempt to sink the cruiser Königen Luise using a small boat and homemade torpedoes. While the novel is filled with references to real events in East Africa and has a German character clearly modeled on Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, other elements in the novel such as the use of homemade torpedoes and missionary involvement may have been inspired by events in Cameroon where a German missionary attempted to sink HMS Dwarf using tactics eerily similar to those described by Forester. The Naval Africa Expedition went on to inspire four more novels with varying degrees of historical accuracy and artistic license such as invented dialogue, name changes, and composite characters.
Other naval elements of the war in East Africa appear in Percy Westerman’s (1876-1959) Rounding up the Raider and Wilbur Smith’s Shout at the Devil which both offer fictionalized accounts of efforts to sink the German cruiser Konigsberg after it became trapped in the Rufiji delta. In Westerman’s retelling, a trio of British officers are taken prisoner by the German raider Pelikan which then takes refuge in the fictional Mahoro river where it becomes trapped by blockading British ships. Smith’s novel offers a different spin, centering on the feud between ivory poachers and the increasingly violent German campaign to stop them. As the war breaks out, the poachers begin spying on and raiding German forces while hatching a plan to sink the fictional German cruiser Blücher - a stand in for the real Königsberg - using explosives.
The land campaign in East Africa has received an even greater amount of literary attention. Several early novels like Gertrude Page’s (1872-1922) Follow After and Far from the Limelight, Owen Letcher’s (1884-1943) Cohort of the Tropics, and Balder Olden’s (1882-1949) On Virgin Soil examine the war’s impact on settler societies, their anxiety about being sucked into the war, labor shortages caused by conscription, colonial rivalries between South Africans and Rhodesians, and tensions among and between different echelons of colonial society. These early novels rarely take the conflict in East Africa seriously and tend instead to be adventure stories in which the local landscape and people serve as little more than window dressing. Worse, there are scant references to the very real suffering caused by the war to civilians and combatants alike due to shortages and labor requisitions. Instead, these novels highlight the long periods of waiting endured by troops in Africa, their boredom, marches through the bush, and problems with insects and vegetation. When combat does come up, even in works by veterans like P. C. Wren (1875-1941), Francis Brett Young (1884-1954), Balder Olden or Josef Viera (1890-1970), the events described are usually invented minor skirmishes with little impact on the overall war effort. While death and injuries occur, the violence described is muted and relatively bloodless. Other novels in this vein, including Westermann’s Wilhelmshurst of the Frontier Force and Herbert Strang’s Tom Willoughby’s Scouts, take the form of young adult adventure stories which quickly descend into caricature. Strang and Westerman depict the Germans as overly militaristic, cunning and cruel, thinking nothing of mass reprisals against Africans for minor mistakes, while the derring-do of British characters personifies their heroism, fair play and resilience.
Modern novels like David Bee’s Our Fatal Shadow, William Stevenson’s (1924-2013) Ghosts of Africa, William Boyd’s An Ice Cream War and Hamilton Wende’s The King’s Shilling tend to weave their plot lines around historical events and include some actual historical figures as characters. They also include more accurate depictions of real battles and the violence of war in east Africa. While Stevenson makes use of artistic license by adding American characters and altering parts of the historical record, such as marrying off Von Lettow-Vorbeck in the midst of his guerilla campaign against the British, he correctly depicts the conscription of German civilians, tensions between military and civilian authorities, German dreams of Mittel Afrika, the failed British invasion at Tanga, the entrapment of the Konigsberg in the Rufiji delta, the rapacious demand of colonial armies for porters, and the LZ-59 zeppelin mission to resupply German forces in the field. Wende’s novel touches on these same events with the same degree of accuracy and uses them as background for the central storyline of his novel which concerns failed efforts by British, African and Indian troops to hunt down a group of deserters who fled into the bush. Similarly, Boyd places his characters in the midst of these same events as he explores their various motives for taking part in the East African campaign.
As with memoirs, most fictional accounts of the Great War set in Africa tend to relegate Africa and Africans to the background. In tales like Forester’s African Queen, Christopher Dow’s Lord of the Loincloth, and Strang’s Tom Willoughby’s Scouts, the countryside, climate and animal life are brought up only to showcase their untamed and unforgiving nature, hardships endured, and give the white characters something to overcome. Depictions of Africans are similarly dismissive. While some early novels like Young’s Jim Redlake, Wren’s Cupid in Africa, Olden’s On Virgin Soil, and Westermann’s Wilhelmshorst of the West Frontier Force contain passages exploring relations between European, Africans and Indian soldiers - relations which the authors experienced first-hand during their own wartime service in Africa - later fictional accounts of the war in Africa like the Alpha Raid or An Ice Cream War either barely mention Africans or indulge in racist stereotypes depicting them as childlike innocents, fawning servants, or brutal savages. Smith’s Shout at the Devil even goes so far as to describe an African servant as having a monkey face. Works by Stevenson, Wende, M. G. Vasani, and Fred Khumalo are exceptions in that they feature non-European characters. In Ghosts of Africa, a Zanzibari princess named Lanni acts as a spy while the US educated Masaai named Cornelius Oakes who leads a rebellion against British rule is clearly based on the historical figure of John Chilembwe (1871-1915). Wende, on the other hand, not only makes frequent mention of African porters and non-commissioned officers, but turns Jemadar Kahn and corporals Juma and Akul of the KAR into central characters who are far better and braver soldiers than the Europeans commanding them. Vasanji’s The Book of Secrets and The Gunny Sack are multi-generational stories about the Asian community in east Africa, portions of which describe the war’s effects on the civilian population, including shortages, displacement, pressure from colonial officials to pass on messages, and violence at the hands of soldiers. The protagonist of Khumalo’s novel Dancing the Death Drill is a mixed race South African named Pitso Motaung who enlists in the South African Native Labour Corps (SANLC) and is one of the few survivors when their transport ship, the SS Mendi, is sunk in the English Channel after colliding with another vessel. In Khumalo’s account, SANLC recruits did not understand the nature or origins of the war, enlisting only for material rewards and to demonstrate their manhood. From the start of their enlistment through to their eventual service in France they were also, with few exceptions, subject to varying degrees of racism, ranging from harsh discipline, spoiled food, Britain’s refusal to arm them, and the requirement that they always be accompanied by a white officer.
The topic of African poetry from the Great War is largely unexplored and generally dismissed by scholars who relegate it to footnotes or appendices as examples of patriotic drivel driven by propaganda. Most colonial soldiers who wrote poetry served in Europe and consequently wrote about the Western Front and its futility. The bulk of poets who remained in African colonies during the war were amateurs who joined better known authors such as Francis Carey Slater (1876-1958) and Arthur Shearly Cripps (1869-1952) in focusing on comic verse or themes wholly unrelated to the war. Nevertheless, while it is true that the African theaters “produced no great poetic giants like Wilfrid Owen [1893-1918]...,” African poetry of the Great War was informed by local and international issues, routinely demonstrating fears from the home front, settler anxieties, and concerns about the future of empire.
Whereas British wartime poetry routinely vilified Germans as the other, in South African verse from the home front white authors tended to indulge in a Romantic focus on the local countryside and its geographic features, often depicting it as an unspoiled Eden. South African poets frequently invoked the bush and animals to make readers think of home, loved ones, and comfort. Meanwhile, female poets like Daphne de Waal (1896-1971) wrote patriotic verse emphasizing heroism, sacrifice, manhood, and invoking the Victorian cult of motherhood by depicting Springboks defending the mother country and longing to see their own mothers before death.
The imagery used in verse was much darker among those who served on the front lines in Southwest Africa or German East Africa. Here, the terrain was described as an inhospitable alien world which preyed on soldiers and shattered romantic illusions of war service as some kind of great adventure by inflicting severe hardships in the form of food shortages, difficult travel, illness and death. While serving in East Africa, the physician and novelist Francis Brett Young wrote poems which lamented the cold nights, thirst, death, and suffering of the march on Tanga. For many front-line poets, the only escape from the privations they endured was satire, a trend which reflected the white community’s preference for comic verse. Anonymous examples appeared on the pages of Karonga Kronical, a periodical published from 1915-1926 for British troops serving in East Africa. Typical pieces in the Kronical and similar venues mock efforts by officers to teach newly arrived British soldiers parts of the local language and use parody to vent their general discontent with the prevalence of bad food, diseases, insects and harsh terrain.
As with memoirs and fiction, poetry written by Europeans rarely mentions Africans. Even Robert Hellier Napier (1884-1918), an officer who oversaw African porters in the Transport Corps in East Africa, tended to focus on patriotic, nostalgic and fundamentally Eurocentric themes in his verse. On those occasions when he does mention Africans it is primarily to speak of their loyalty. Two other Nyasaland poets known only as T. A. J. and E. H. depicted carriers in similar fashion whilst simultaneously acknowledging their suffering, describing them as noisy, ragged, dirty, poorly fed, with blistered feet, but ready to die for British glory. Arthur Shearly Cripps provides a rare and more accurate view of African participation in the war. While he frequently invoked the familiar image of soldiers as suffering Christ figures, he did so by referencing the sacrifice of porters and criticizing the destructive effect of the war and its impact on Africans.
If African-inspired poetry from the Great War is rare, works by Africans like the Xhosa poet, journalist and novelist Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi (1875-1945) are rarer still. His piece The Black Army sarcastically expresses gratitude that African men were in a position to help the British monarchy in its hour of need by loading supplies on ships bound for Europe, as well as serving in the South African Native Labour Corps in France. As such, he exhorts men to work fast and hard, be brave, do their duty, follow rules, and enhance African prestige. His poem “The Sinking of the Mendi” references the loss of SANLC members after their transport ship sunk following a collision at sea. Mqhayi emphatically states that those aboard did not die for the King, Britain or material gain. Instead, they were a sacrifice to the future on par with Abel and Jesus whose martyrdom lets the world live on.
Songs, Theater and Music Hall↑
White civilians in Africa generally preferred plays and musical performances intended primarily to provide light hearted relief in the form of farce and musicals, but were also exposed to a steady diet of more overtly patriotic songs and plays performed at concerts, music halls and revues. These included songs like “Laddie in Khaki” and a reworked version of “Who killed Cock Robin” that was turned into “Who killed Kaiser Bill?” In July 1916, the Palace Theater in Bulawayo put on a play called “The Man who stayed Home” which dealt with spies and cowardice. Other similar theater performances demonized slackers who failed to “do their bit” for the war effort. These displays of patriotism were not confined to English speaking settlers. When French citizens in southern Africa were mobilized and dispatched to South Africa they spent their time en route drinking and patriotic singing of the Marseillaise.
Once in uniform, white soldiers from Africa - whether they served at home or on the Western Front - were far less patriotic in their choice of music. They generally preferred popular music hall tunes like “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and “Pack up your troubles in your old Kit bag” that expressed familiar visions of home such as girlfriends, pubs, family, and friends. Their favorite songs also indulged in the usual soldier gripes about poor food, army life, long periods of waiting, officers who had not seen combat, the strength and sprit of South African forces, and the longing to go home. Songs that focused on events in Africa were often rewritten versions of popular tunes like “It’s a long way to Tipperary” with lyrics modified to fit the local situation in Africa. For example, the tune for “The Boys in Palestine” was taken from a missionary hymn called “Greenland’s Icy Mountains” and had lyrics which complained about heat, sand, flies, and barren terrain. Similarly, the ditty “Here’s to the K.A.R,” which celebrated the virtues and prowess of African troops, was set to the tune “Follow the Man from Cook’s.” Songs like “The Long, Long Trail,” or “Sairie Marais” expressed the longing for home and extolled the virtues of South African women while referencing local icons like thorn trees and mealies (a kind of Indian corn). In songs like “A Recitation: German East” front line soldiers in Africa also added themes like boredom during long periods of waiting, chasing after Germans, terrible weather and sickness in the form of toenail fungus, jiggers, mosquitoes, and malaria.
Similar themes are explored in the “Chant of the Egyptian Labour Corps” and Askari marching songs, all of whose known examples come from the East African campaign. While white officers created patriotic marching songs for their African troops by setting Swahili lyrics to well-known British or American hymns like “Men of Harlech,” “John Brown’s Body,” or “What a friend we have in Jesus,” Askaris developed their own songs, often on the march, which drew on their own musical heritage and experiences during the war. Rather than the calls for loyalty, service and patriotism contained in songs crafted by their officers, the lyrics to Askari tunes reveal that they were often demoralized and depressed by the harsh realities of service including distance from home, concerns about family and crops left behind, uncertainty over when they would be paid, chronic hunger from short rations, and anger at white officers who huddled in safety at base camps while Askaris fought on the front lines. Not all Askari songs were sad. While waiting for battle they often relieved tension by singing songs which insulted the enemy as loudly as possible and recalled their own bravery and past victories. Similar themes infused the music and competitive dance competitions known as Beni both during and immediately after the war. Much more recently, William Kentridge’s play The Head and the Load and John Akomfrah’s film Mimesis. African Soldier, both of which were created to help commemorate the centenary of the war, revisit the suffering and valor of African soldiers, porters and laborers in powerful and all-too-rare visual formats.
While the literature of the Great War in Africa is neither well known nor frequently studied, the memoirs, fiction, poetry and songs linked to the African theaters serve as a potent reminder of the war’s global reach and that fighting in the tropics created its own horrors on a par with those of the Western Front. Aside from the perennial complaints about conditions whilst on campaign, literature penned by Europeans demonstrates the patriotism of settler communities even as some questioned the role of Empire. More importantly, despite their Eurocentrism and tendency to descend into adventure stories, these literary accounts add to the handful of works by African authors which provide occasional and all-too-rare insights into the experiences and participation of non-white populations in the war.
Kenneth J. Orosz, Buffalo State College
- Forester, C. S.: The African Queen. Boston 1935; Boyd, William: An Ice Cream War. New York 1982.
- Higgonet, Margaret R.: The 2005 ACLA Presidential Address. Whose Can(n)on? World War I and Literary Empires, in: Comparative Literature 57/3 (Summer 2005), pp. vi-xviii; Genis, Gerhard: South African Great War Poetry 1914-1918. A Literary-Historiographical Analysis. PhD dissertation, University of South Africa 2014; Shepperson, George. They Went Singing: Songs of the King’s African Rifles, in: Page, Malcom (ed.): A History of the King’s African Rifles and East African Forces. London 1998, pp. 257-263; Shepperson, George. Malawi and the Poetry of Two World Wars, in: The Society of Malawi Journal 43/2 (1990), pp. 9-19; Riesz, János and Aija Bjornson: The ‘Tirailleur Sénégalais’ Who did not want to be a ‘Grand Enfant’. Bakary Diallo’s Force Bonté (1926) Reconsidered, in: Research in African Literatures 27/4 (Winter 1996), pp. 157-179; Lunn, Joe: Memoirs of the Maelstrom. A Senegalese Oral History of the First World War. Portsmouth 1999; Barker, Anthony: African Queens and Ice Cream Wars. Fictional and Filmic versions of the East African Campaign of 1914-1918, in: Barker, Anthony et al (eds.), Personal Narratives, Peripheral Theaters. Essays on the Great War (1914-18). Cham, Switzerland 2018, pp. 225-238; Lewis, Simon: The Silence of the Askaris. William Boyd’s An Ice Cream War and the European History of the First World War in Africa, in: Lewis, Simon: British and African Literature in Transnational Context. Gainesville, FL 2011, pp. 75-90; Samson, Anne: Fictional Accounts of the East Africa Campaign, in: Löschnigg, Martin and Sokolowski-Paryz (eds.): The Great War in Post-Memory Literature and Film. Berlin 2014, pp. 397-410; Ita, J. M: The Image of the Duala People in Hans Grimm’s Der Ölsucher von Duala, in: German Life and Letters 38/1 (October 1984), pp. 30-44.
- Dinesen, Isak: Out of Africa. New York 1989.
- For an analysis of Dinesen’s text see, Page, Melvin E: The Myth of the Brass Serpent. Europeans and the Protection of African Civilians During the East Africa Campaign, in: Ruano, E. Benito and Burgos, M. Espadas (eds.), 17th International Congress of Historical Sciences Proceedings, vol. II. Madrid 1991, pp. 1044-1051; and Lewis, Simon: Culture, Cultivation and Colonialism. Out of Africa and Beyond, in: Research in African Literatures, 31/1 (Spring 2000), pp. 63-79.
- Stark, Rev. W. (ed.): The Martyrdom of the Evangelical Missionaries in Cameroon 1914. Berlin 1915; Vöhringer, G. Meine Erlebnisse während des Krieges in Kamerun und in englischer Kriegsgefangenschaft. Hamburg 1915; Norden, Heinrich: Der Fall von Duala und ein viertel Jahr in englischer Gefangenschaft in Afrika und England. Kassel 1915; Spanton, Ernest: In German Gaols. A Narrative of Two Years’ Captivity in German East Africa. London 1917; Close, Percy L: A Prisoner of the Germans in Southwest Africa. London 1916.
- Grimm, Hans: Der Ölsucher von Duala; ein afrikanisches Kriegstagebuch. Hamburg 1931; Ita, The Image of the Duala People, p. 31.
- Examples Walpole, V.: The Men in the Line. Sketches and Impressions, Western Front, 1916-18. Capetown 1929; Lawson, John A.: Memories of Delville Wood. South Africa’s Great Battle. Cape Town 1918) Warwick, George William: We Band of Brothers. Reminiscences from the 1st S.A. Infantry Brigade in the 1914-1918 War. Cape Town 1962; Barrett, Russell: A South African in France 1916-1917, in South African Military History Journal 8/2 (1989) http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol082rb.html.
- Clifford, Sir Hugh: The Gold Coast Regiment in the East African Campaign. London 1920; Fendall, C[harles] P[ears]: The East African Force 1915-1919. London 1921; Sheppard, S[eymour] H.: Some Notes on Tactics in the East African Campaign, in: Journal of the United Service Institution of India 48/215 (April 1919), pp. 138-157; Sheppard, S. H.: The East Africa Campaign 1914-1916, in: Journal of the Royal United Services Institution 87/545 (1942), pp. 71-76; Ayermich, Joseph Gauderique: La conquête du Cameroun 1er août 1914-20 février 1916. Paris 1933; Ferrandi, Jean: La conquête du Cameroun-Nord 1914-1916. Paris: 1928; Gorges, E. Howard Gorges: The Great War in West Africa. London 1930; Whitall, William: With Botha and Smuts in Africa. London 1917; Annet, Armand: En Colonne dans la Cameroun. Notes d’un Commandant de Compagnie, 1914-1916. Paris 1937; Dobell, Sir Charles: The Campaign in the Cameroons, 1914-1916, in: Journal of the Royal United Services Institution 67/468 (1922), pp. 697-716; Haywood, A. H. W.: The Cameroons Campaign 1914-1918, in: Royal Artillery Institution Journal 47/1 (1920), pp. 1-10; Seitz, Theodor: Südafrika im Weltkrieg. Der Zusammenbruch in Deutsch Südwestafrika, Berlin 1920.
- Schnee, Heinrich: Deutsch-Ostafrika im Weltkriege. Wie wir lebten und kämpfen. Leipzig 1919; Lettow-Vorbeck, General [Paul] von: My Reminiscences of East Africa. London 1920; and Lettow-Vorbeck: Heia Safari! Deutschlands Kampf in Ostafrika. Leipzig 1920. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_e3PRAAAAMAAJ
- Rainier, Peter W.: My Vanished Africa. New Haven 1940, pp. 164-172, 192-209; Buchanan, Angus: Three Years of War in East Africa. New York 1969. Young, Francis Brett. Marching on Tanga (with General Smuts in East Africa). London 1935, pp. 18-19; Dolbey, Robert V.: Sketches of the East Africa Campaign. London 1918; Suren, Hans. Kampf um Kamerun. Berlin 1931; Damis, Fritz von: Auf dem Moraberge. Errinerungen an die Kampfe der 3. Kompagnie der ehemaligen Kaiserlichen Schutztruppe für Kamerun, Berlin 1929; http://www.mandaras.info/MandarasPublishing/Auf_dem_Moraberge.pdf. Hennig, Richard: Deutsch Sudwest im Weltkrieg. Leipzig 1925; Oelhafen, Hans von: Der Feldzug in Sudwest 1914-1915. Berlin 1923; Daye, Pierre: Avec les vanqeurs de Tabora. Notes d’un colonial Belge en Afrique Orientale Allemande. Paris 1918; Coates, F.: On Safari. Experiences of a Gunner in East Africa, Cape Town 1917; Briggs, Martin S.. Through Egypt in Wartime. London 1918, 99. 53-56; Thornhill, Christopher J.: Taking Tanganyika. Experiences of am Intelligence Officer 1914-1918. London 1937, pp. 163-166, 231, 237.
- Buchanan, Three Years, 1919, p. 170; Rainier, My Vanished Africa, 1940, pp. 179-181.
- Downes, W[alter] D[ouglas]: With the Nigerians in German East Africa. London 1919, pp. 104-106; Buchanan, Three Years, pp. 43-45, 170, 200-202.
- Yergan, Max: A YMCA Secretary in Africa, in: Southern Workman 47 (1918), pp. 401-403, here pp. 401-402. While Yergan was a Non-Governmental Organization representative rather than a junior officer in the military, his work ministering to troops and members of the Carrier Corps put him on the front lines where he came under fire and observed harsh battlefield conditions firsthand just like colleagues who were commissioned officers. Anthony, David H.: Max Yergan. Race Man, Internationalist, Cold Warrior. New York, 2006, pp. 26-27.
- Langham, R. W. M.: Memories of the 1914-1918 Campaign with the Northern Rhodesian Forces, in: The Northern Rhodesia Journal 2/1 (1953), pp. 49-60 and 11/4 (1954), pp. 79–92 and 3/3 (1957), pp. 253-268 and 4/2 (1959), pp. 166-179 , here pp. 254, 262; Buchanan, Three Years, 1919, pp. 37-41, 158-162, 202-215; Dolbey, Sketches, 1918, pp. 142-168; Heye, Artur: Vitani. Kriegs-und Jagderlebnisse in Ostafrika 1914-1916. Leipzig 1922; Thornhill, Taking Tanganyika, 1937, pp. 83-9; Wynn, Wynn E.: Ambush. London 1937, pp. 102, 138-140.
- Langham, Memories, 1957, p. 266; Yergan, YMCA Secretary, 1918, pp. 401-403; Wynn, Ambush, 1937, p. 102; Thornhill, Taking Tanganyika, 1937, p. 25; Briggs, Through Egypt, 1918, pp. 65-66, 78-79, 89-91, 210-211; Ritchie, Eric Moore: With Botha in the Field. London 1915, pp 30-31. https://archive.org/details/withbothainfield00ritc; Miller, George J.: With the Springboks in Egypt. London 1916, pp 83-84. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002018459942;view=2up;seq=6
- On the dearth of African memoirs see Higgonet, Address, 2005, p. xiv; and Masebo, Oswald: The African Soldiers dragged into Europe’s War, BBC Magazine (3 July 2015). https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33329661. Regarding memoirs from the Western Front see Lunn, Joe: France’s Legacy to Demba Mboup? A Senegalese griot and his descendants remember his military service during the First World War, in: Santanu Das (ed) Race, Empire and First World War Writing. Cambridge 2011, pp. 108-124, here p. 108; Lunn, Joe: Remembering the ‘Tirailleurs Sénéalais’ and the Great War. Oral History as Methodology of Inclusion in French Colonial Studies, in: French Colonial History 10 (2009), pp 125-149, here p. 136; Lunn, Joe: Kande Kamara Speaks, in: Melvin Page (ed.) Africa and the First World War. New York 1987, pp 28-53, here p. 30.
- Although sometimes described as an autobiographical novel, Riesz and Bjornson argue that Force Bonté is actually an autobiography with a few fictional elements. Diallo, Bakary: Force Bonté. Paris 1926; Riesz and Bjornson. Tirailleurs, p. 159; Koller, Christian: The Recruitment of Colonial Troops in Africa and Asia and their Deployment in Europe during the First World War, in: Immigrants and Minorities 26/1 (March/July 2008), pp. 111-133, here p. 127; and Koller, Christian: “Colonial Military Participation in Europe (Africa),” in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-10-08. [DOI:%2010.15463/ie1418.10193. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10193.]
- Wiesner, Merry et al (eds.): Discovering the Global Past volume 2, 1st edition. Boston 1997, pp. 286-316, here 303-305.
- Newell, Stephanie: Newspapers, New Spaces, New Writers. The First World War and Print Culture in Colonial Ghana, in: Research in African Literatures 40/2 (Spring 2009), pp. 1-15; Newell, Stephanie: An Introduction to the Writings of J. G. Mullen, an African Clerk, in the Gold Coast Leader, 1916-19, in Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 78/3 (2008), pp. 384-400; Mullen, J. G. and Stephanie Newell: An Extract from ‘My Experience in Cameroons During the War’, in Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 78/3 (2008): 401-409. The complete text is available under the supplementary tab of the online article at https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/africa/article/an-introduction-to-the-writings-of-j-g-mullen-an-african-clerk-in-the-gold-coast-leader-191619/A0BE3E89482A226397DC4ACCF48C678E#.
- Newell, Newspapers, 2009, p. 5.
- Newell and Mullen, An Extract, 2008, p. 407.
- Matthews, James K: Nwose’s Tale, in: Der Angriff. A Journal of World War I History 15 (November 1981), pp. 8-11; Namonde, Twaya: The Story of Twaya Namonde. As told by himself, in: The Nyasaland Journal 16/1 (January 1963), pp. 49-61; Baker, C. A.: Aibu Chikwenga. An Autobiography, in: The Society of Malawi Journal 25/2 (July 1972), pp. 11-21.
- MacDonell, Broer. Mzee Ali: The Biography of an African Slave-raider turned Askari and Scout. Johannesburg 2006, pp. 167-220, here p. 168; Matthews, Nwose’s Tale, 1981, p. 10.
- MacDonnell, Mzee Ali, 2006, pp. 171-177, 183-4, 186; Matthews, Nwose’s Tale, 1981; Lawler, Nancy and Wilks, Ivor: The World War One Service of Jakob Dosoo Amenyah of Ada, in Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana, New Series 12 (2009-2010), pp. 1-34.
- MacDonnell, Mzee Ali, 2006, pp. 184, 189, 194-198, 204-209.
- Lawler and Wilks, World War One Service, 2009-2010, pp. 6, 11, 16, 21-30.
- Matthews, Nwose’s Tale, 1981, p. 11; Baker, Abu Chikwenga, 1972, p. 18.
- Killingray, David: Military and Labour Policies in the Gold Coast during the First World War, in: Page, Africa and the First World War, pp 152-170, here pp. 165-170; Page, Melvin E.: The Chiwaya War. Malawians and the First World War. Boulder 2000, pp. 162-165; MacDonnell, Mzee Ali, 2006, p. 211-213.
- Grimm, Der Ölsucher, 1931.
- Stander, Siegfried: The Fortress. Boston 1973.
- Forester, The African Queen, 1935. For more on the Naval Africa Expedition see Foden, Giles. Mimi and Toutou’s Big Adventure. New York 2004.
- Orosz, Kenneth J.: The Dwarf, the Goetzen, and C. S. Forester’s African Queen. A Reassessment of Naval Operations in WW I Africa, in: Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 44/4 (2016), pp. 592-621.
- McCann’s Utmost Fish and Sholefeld’s Alpha Raid are the most historically accurate in terms of replicating details of the expedition while Capus’ A Matter of Time focuses primarily on the expedition commander’s early career, ignores the overland portions of the expedition completely, and deals with the actual naval engagements on the lake in only a few pages. McCann, Hugh Wray: Utmost Fish. New York 1965; Scholefeld, Alan: The Alpha Raid. New York 1977; Dow, Christopher: Lord of the Loincloth. Houston 2007; Capus, Alex: A Matter of Time. Translated by John Brownjohn. London, 2009.
- Westerman, Percy F.: Rounding up the Raider. A Naval Story of the Great War. London 1916. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/36499/36499-h/36499-h.htm; Smith, Wilbur: Shout at the Devil. New York 1968; Samson, Fictional Accounts, 2014, pp. 400-401.
- Samson, Fictional Accounts, 2014, pp. 397-398; Page, Gertrude: Follow After. London 1915; Page, Gertrude: Far from the Limelight. London 1918; Olden, Balder: On Virgin Soil. A Novel of Exotic Africa. Translated by Lorna Dietz, New York 1930; Letcher, Owen: Cohort of the Tropics. A Story of the Great War in Central Africa. Johannesburg 1930.
- Barker, African Queens and Ice Cream Wars, 2018, p. 225; Samson, Fictional Accounts, 2014, pp. 403-405.
- Wren, P. C.: Cupid in Africa. London 1920 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37544?msg=welcome_stranger; Young, Francis Brett: Jim Redlake. London 1930; Olden, On Virgin Soil, 1930; Viera, Josef S. Deutsch-Ostafrika unverloren! Erzählung aus den deutschen Kolonialkämpfen im weltkrieg mit Kartenskizze und Bildern nach Federzeichnungen von Willy Planck. Stuttgart 1943.
- Westerman, Percy F.: Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force. London 1918; Strang, Herbert: Tom Willoughby’s Scouts. A Story of the War in German East Africa. London 1919 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/39912/39912-h/39912-h.html. Strang was a pseudonym for George Herbert Ely (1866-1958) and Charles L’Estrange (1867-1947). While neither appear to have had any personal connection to Africa, they were well known for producing pro-empire children’s fiction. Kazan, Lawrence: Victorian Writers and the Image of Empire. The Rose Colored Vision. New York 2001, pp. 39, 160; Cullingford, Cedric. Children’s Literature and its Effects. The Formative Years. London 1998, pp. 53-75, here p. 55.
- Bee, David: Our Fatal Shadows. A Story of German East Africa and Tanganyika (also known as The Curse of Magira). London 1964; Stevenson, William: The Ghosts of Africa. New York 1980; Boyd, An Ice Cream War, 1982; Wende, Hamilton. The King’s Shilling. Johannesburg: 2005; and Lewis, Silence of the Askaris, 2011.
- Wilbur Smith’s novel Assegai weaves a fictional German Zeppelin sent to support the Boer rebellion in South Africa into a larger tale of events in East Africa. Smith, Wilbur: Assegai. New York 2010. Smith’s inspiration for this plot device came from the aborted 1917 mission of zeppelin L59 to resupply Von Lettow-Vorbeck’s forces in East Africa. Contey, Frank A.: Zeppelin Mission to East Africa, in Aviation History 13/1 (September 2002), pp. 46-52, 72.
- Samson, Fictional Accounts, 2014, p. 399.
- Smith, Shout at the Devil, 1968, p. 75.
- Vasanji, M. G.: The Book of Secrets. New York 1994, here pp. 111-166; and Vasanji, M. G. The Gunny Sack. Portsmouth, NH 1989, here pp. 46-54.
- Khumalo, Fred: Dancing the Death Drill. Cape Town 2017.
- Genis, South African Great War Poetry, 2014, pp. 12-13; Shepperson, Malawi and Poetry, 1990, pp. 13-15; McLaughlin, Peter: Ragtime Soldiers. The Rhodesian Experience in the First World War. Bulawayo: 1980, p. 136.
- McLaughlin, Ragtime Soldiers, 1980, p. 136; Genis, South African Great War Poetry, 2014, p. 18.
- Genis, South African Great War Poetry, 2014, pp. 63-67.
- Ibid, 352.
- Young, Francis Brett: Poems 1916-1918. New York 1920, pp. 33, 48-53.
- Shepperson, Malawi and Poetry, 1990, pp. 13-15; Genis, South African Great War Poetry, 2014, p. 227.
- War-time satire also took the form of cartoons. See Lloyd, A. W.: ‘Jambo’ or with Jannie in the Jungle. Cape Town, 1917. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89069722429;view=1up;seq=13; Page, Melvin E.: With Jannie in the Jungle’. European Humor in an East African Campaign, 1914-1918, in: International Journal of African Historical Studies 14/3 (1981), pp. 466-481.
- Shepperson, Malawi and Poetry, 1990, pp. 13-15.
- Genis, South African Great War Poetry, 2014, pp. 98-101.
- Cope, Jack and Uys Krige (eds): The Penguin Book of South African Verse. Hammondsworth, Middlesex 1968, pp. 276-278.
- McLaughlin, Ragtime Soldiers, 1980, pp. 132-133.
- Rainier, My Vanished Africa, 1940, pp. 136-139.
- Naishstad, Sam: The Great War Parodies on the East, Central African, and Flanders Campaigns of Well Known Songs and Many Verses Written while on Active Service. 5th ed. Johannesburg 1919, pp. 2, 15, 19, 62; York, Dorothea, (ed): Mud and Stars. An Anthology of World War Songs and Poetry. New York 1931, p. 238. https://archive.org/details/mudandstarsanant001028mbp; McLaughlin, Ragtime Soldiers, 1980, p. 131.
- McLaughlin, Ragtime Soldiers, 1980, pp. 128-130; Naishstead, Great War Parodies, 1919, p. 2.
- York, Mud and Stars, 1931, pp. 242-244.
- T., H. R.: Here’s to the K.A.R!, in The African World (December 1915), p. 75.
- Naishstead, Great War Parodies, 1919, p. 19; York, Mud and Stars, 1931, pp. 239-241.
- Naishstead, Great War Parodies, 1919, p. 32.
- York, Mud and Stars, 1931, pp. 237-239; Clayton, Anthony: Communication for New Loyalties. African Soldier’s Songs. Athens, OH 1978, pp. 48-50.
- Shepperson,They Went Singing, 1998, pp. 257-260, 262-263.
- Page, Melvin E.: The War of Thangata. Nyasaland and the East African Campaigns 1914-1918, in Journal of African History 19/1 (1978), pp. 87-100, here pp. 95-96; Page, Chiwaya War, 2000, pp. 96-98; York, Mud and Stars, 1931, pp. 237-239, 241; Wiesner et al (eds.), Discovering the Global Past, 1997, p. 312; Gunderson, Frank: Kfungua Kinywa, or ‘Opening the Conest with Chai,’ in: Gunderson, Frank and Barz, Gegory (eds.), Mashindano! Competitive Music Performance in East Africa. Dar es Salaam 2000, pp 7-17, here pp. 342-344; Ranger, Terrence: Dance and Society in Eastern Africa 1891-1970. The Beni Ngoma. Berkeley 1975, pp. 66-67; Gunderson, Frank: Sukuma Labor Songs from Western Tanzania. ‘We Never Sleep, We Dream of Farming’ Leiden 2010, pp. 142-146.
- Page, Chiwaya War, 2000, pp. 101-102; York, Mud and Stars, 1931, pp. 237-239.
- Gunderson, Sukuma, 2010, pp. 147, 157-158; Ranger, Dance and Society, 1975, pp. 49-54.
- Farago, Jason: The African Toll of the Great War, in Song and Shadows, in: The New York Times (December 7, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/06/arts/design/william-kentridge-park-avenue-armory.html; Whyte, Murray: The Carnage Cabaret. Tate's high-octane tribute to Africa's forgotten war dead, in: The Guardian (10 July 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/jul/10/carnage-cabaret-tates-high-octane-tribute-to-africas-forgotten-war-dead-head-load-william-kentridge; Pies, Javier: How Artist John Akomfrah Used Archival Film Footage to Tell the Forgotten Story of African Soldiers in the First World War. ArtNet News (21 September 2018) https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/john-akomfrah-creates-an-epic-tribute-to-the-forgotten-men-of-the-great-war-1352521.
- Barker, Anthony: African queens and ice cream wars. Fictional and filmic versions of the East African Campaign of 1914-1918, in: Barker, Anthony / Pereira, Maria Eugénia Torres; Cortez, Maria Teresa et al. (eds.): Personal narratives, peripheral theatres. Essays on the Great War (1914-18), Cham 2018: Springer, pp. 225-238.
- Boyd, William: An ice-cream war, London 1982: Hamish Hamilton.
- Buchanan, Angus: Three years of war in East Africa, New York 1969: Negro Universities Press.
- Dolbey, Robert Valentine: Sketches of the East Africa campaign, London 1918: J. Murray.
- Forester, Cecil Scott: The African queen, London 1935: Heinemann.
- Genis, Gerhard: South African Great War poetry 1914-1918. A literary-historiographical analysis (thesis), 2014, University of South Africa.
- Gunderson, Frank: Sukuma labor songs from western Tanzania. 'We never sleep, we dream of farming', Leiden 2010: Brill.
- Higonnet, Margaret R.: The 2005 ACLA presidential address. Whose can(n)on? World War I and literary empires, in: Comparative Literature 57/3, 2005, pp. 6-18.
- Khumalo, Fred: Dancing the death drill, London 2017: Jacaranda.
- Lettow-Vorbeck, Paul von: My reminiscences of East Africa, London 1920: Hurst and Blackett.
- Lewis, Simon: The silence of the Askaris. William Boyd’s An Ice Cream War and the European history of the First World War in Africa: British and African literature in transnational context, Gainesville 2011: University Press of Florida, pp. 75-90.
- Lunn, Joe: France’s legacy to Demba Mboup? A Senegalese griot and his descendants remember his military service during the First World War, in: Das, Santanu (ed.): Race, empire and First World War writing, Cambridge; New York 2011: Cambridge University Press, pp. 108-124.
- MacDonell, Bror Urme: Mzee Ali. The biography of an African slave-raider turned askari and scout, Johannesburg 2006: 30° South Publishers.
- Mullen, J. G.; Newell, Stephanie: An extract from 'My experience in Cameroons during the war', in: Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 78/3, 2008, pp. 401-409.
- Naistad, Sam: The Great War parodies on the East, Central African and Flanders campaigns, of well-known songs and many verses written while on active service, Johannesburg 1919: S. Naishtad.
- Olden, Balder: On virgin soil. A novel of exotic Africa, New York 1930: Macaulay Co.
- Orosz, Kenneth J.: The Dwarf, the Goetzen and C. S. Forester’s African Queen. A reassessment of naval operations in First World War Africa, in: The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 44/4, 2016, pp. 592-621.
- Riesz, János: The 'Tirailleur Sénégalais' who did not want to be a 'Grand Enfant'. Bakary Diallo's Force Bonté (1926) reconsidered, in: Research in African literatures. 27/4, 1966, pp. 157-179.
- Samson, Anne: Fictional accounts of the East Africa Campaign, in: Löschnigg, Martin / Sokołowska-Paryż, Marzena (eds.): The Great War in post-memory literature and film, Berlin 2014: De Gruyter, pp. 397-410.
- Shepperson, George: They went singing. Songs of the King’s African Rifles, in: Page, Malcolm (ed.): A history of the King's African Rifles and East African forces, London 1998: Leo Cooper, pp. 257-263.
- Shepperson, George: Malaŵi and the poetry of two World Wars, in: Society of Malaŵi Journal 43/2, 1990, pp. 9-19.
- Stevenson, William: The ghosts of Africa, New York 1980: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
- Westerman, Percy F.: Wilmshurst of the frontier force, London 1918: Partridge.
- York, Dorothea (ed.): Mud and stars. An anthology of World War songs and poetry, New York 1931: Henry Holt and Co.