Germans exercising local Askari soldiers 1890 with music band

Germans exercising local Askari soldiers 1890 Music.

Germans exercising local soldiers (Askari) with music band.

Photo  taken around 1890. Many years later the Ashkari´s would even get a small German state pension!


 Antique photo Askari music band

Background to the Askari soldiers

Rare photo. Most enlisted ranks in the German "protection" forces in East Afrika were generally recruited locally. They became known as Askari. Askari is an Arabic word meaning "soldier" (Arabic: عسكري‎ ‘askarī). The first Askaris formed in German East Africa were raised by DOAG (Deutsche Ost-Afrika Gesellschaft - the German East Africa Company) in the 1880´s. Originally drawn from Sudanese mercenaries, the German Askaris were subsequently recruited from the Wahehe and Angoni tribal groups.These Swahili askaris were then incorporated into the Wissmanntruppe in 1889 to tackle the Arab (Buschiri) revolt.They were harshly disciplined but well paid and highly trained by German cadres who were themselves subject to a rigorous selection process.  Decades later the brave Ashkari´s received a German pension. To proof to German civil servants that they had been Ashkari´s, individuals had to demonstrate they could march like German soldiers (using a broomstick) and most were still able to demonstrate it perfectly!


  1. Slavernij en bevrijding in Oost Afrika in de 19e eeuw by Afrika museum Berg en Dal 2003.