The Tawana’s military campaign into Kavango

In 1893 the Gciriku chief, Nyangana, obtained the aid of a Tawana force to destroy his enemy, the Shambyu prince, Kanyetu, who resided on the Kwito island of Malyo (Namibia). The Tawana expected an easy victory and a chance to expand their wealth, but since the island was a natural fortress, Kanyetu and his people delivered pertinacious resistance. The attackers suffered heavy losses – the climax of the conflict is called the ‘Lishora tragedy’ or ‘Lishora massacre’ – and won little in loot. Subsequently, the embittered Tawana turned against Nyangana, luring him and his warriors into a trap based on a witchcraft ceremony which resulted in the death of most of the Gciriku’s able-bodied men. They took Nyangana, along with more than one thousand women and children, into captivity at Lake Ngami. After one year, an English administrator arranged for their release, but the Gciriku were forced to pay heavy tribute to the Tawana until 1910. Based on a 1966 tape recording and interviews held in 1977-1979, this paper describes these events. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and German. [Journal abstract]

Title: The Tawana’s military campaign into Kavango
Author: Fisch, Maria
Year: 2007
Periodical: Journal – Namibia Scientific Society (ISSN 1018-7677)
Volume: 55
Pages: 109-131
Language: English
Notes: biblio. refs., ills., maps
Geographic terms: Namibia
Southern Africa
Abstract: In 1893 the Gciriku chief, Nyangana, obtained the aid of a Tawana force to destroy his enemy, the Shambyu prince, Kanyetu, who resided on the Kwito island of Malyo (Namibia). The Tawana expected an easy victory and a chance to expand their wealth, but since the island was a natural fortress, Kanyetu and his people delivered pertinacious resistance. The attackers suffered heavy losses – the climax of the conflict is called the ‘Lishora tragedy’ or ‘Lishora massacre’ – and won little in loot. Subsequently, the embittered Tawana turned against Nyangana, luring him and his warriors into a trap based on a witchcraft ceremony which resulted in the death of most of the Gciriku’s able-bodied men. They took Nyangana, along with more than one thousand women and children, into captivity at Lake Ngami. After one year, an English administrator arranged for their release, but the Gciriku were forced to pay heavy tribute to the Tawana until 1910. Based on a 1966 tape recording and interviews held in 1977-1979, this paper describes these events. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and German. [Journal abstract]