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Author Topic: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Painted Central African Rifles for TMWWBKs  (Read 47338 times)

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Elephant Grass Scenery Again
« Reply #450 on: November 26, 2022, 06:18:10 AM »
Wow it's been a while since I posted on this thread. You know how it goes you're super into a project but at some point, you need to take a break from it. After some time dabbling with orcs and sci-fi and other stuff, I recently got the urge to come back to my Africa project I've been painting up a new army which hopefully I'll be able to share soon. One of the things I've done is finally put together a more detailed Field Force list for the Ngoni to use in the Men Who Would be Kings rules which has been on my to do list for years. I figured it might be of interest to someone, so I'd thought I'd share.

The Ngoni were one of several groups of people from southern Africa displaced during the Mfecane of the early 19th century. Following defeat at the hands of the Zulus Zwangendaba Gumbi led his Nawandwe followers on a migration that eventually took them west of lake Nyasa and would see them reach the shores of Lake Tanganyika and settle on the Ufipa Plateau. Following Zwangendaba’s death in 1848 the Ngoni split into several groups. Some stayed in and around Ufipa and became known as Mafiti. A second group moved further north reaching Lake Victoria becoming the Tuta. A third group moved, under a chief named Zulu Gama, east and then south down the east side of Lake Nyasa and became known as the Gwangwara. Two other groups both led by sons of Zwangendaba (Mpezeni and Mhlahlo) would head back south around Lake Nyasa settling in the Heng valley and what is now eastern Zambia.

A second group of Ngoni possibly of Swati (Swazi) origin also headed north in or around the same time as Zwangendaba’s Ngoni led by a Iduna called Ngwane. This group became known as the Maseko Ngoni, and they travelled northwest of Lake Nyasa settling at Songea in present day Tanzania. Sometime in the early 1860s the Maseko met the Gwangwara Ngoni moving back south and were defeated by them. This resulted in most of the Maseko Ngoni moving south into Mozambique and then west to settle near lake Nyasa in the 1870s.




When the Ngoni migrated north, they brought Zulu fighting techniques with them and this gave the Ngoni an advantage over the local peoples they encountered in battle. The early years of the Ngoni migration saw almost constant fighting in which the Ngoni were almost always victorious. The Ngoni would move into an area defeat the locals, enslave the men into their regiments, marry the woman and then raid their neighbours every dry season. Once an area was stripped of resources the Ngoni would move on and start the process somewhere else. This had two effects one was to give the Ngoni a psychological advantage over many of their enemies that lasted right up to the end of the period with many tribes living in abject terror of Ngoni attack. In reality this awe of Ngoni military power was probably not warranted in the closing decades of the 19th century. Certainly, Mpezeni’s Ngoni put up a very poor performance against the central African rifles compared to the resistance the Zulus and Matabele had shown in their wars against British.  The second effect was to spread the Zulu style of warfare to other groups like the Bena, HeHe, Mambwe and Henga to the point where the Zulu style shield and stabbing iklwa could be found all over east and central Africa.

Visually Ngoni warriors looked a lot like Zulus. The classic Zulu shield, stabbing spear called an Iklwa and tufts of a cow’s tail (amashoba) worn below the knee were all in use. There were also differences, as they migrated across Africa the Ngoni incorporated defeated local peoples into their groups. Local women were married off to Ngoni men, the young men were forced to serve in Ngoni regiments and others were turned into agricultural slaves. This resulted in the Ngoni language and traditions being supplemented with local customs and languages. Which gave Ngoni dress a style of their own. Red cloth was popular as wraps, belts or decoration. headdresses made of Zebra skin or black cock feathers were popular and not seen among the Zulus. The head ring (known as an isicoco and part of a man’s hair style) worn by married Zulu warriors seems to have fallen out of favour as the 19th century wore on. The Tuta around Lake Victoria took to fighting naked due to the climate. One interesting snippet in W.A.L. Elmslie book Among the Wild Ngoni is he reports Mhlahlo’s Ngoni daubing their faces with white clay as a sign they had killed a man battle. Throwing spears seem to have been more common among the Ngoni than the Zulus of Shaka’s time.



Ngoni military organization continued to be based on Zulu practices their armies were still called Impi and officers were still called InDuna even when other parts of the Zulu language dropped out of favour. It seems the Ngoni regiments came to be based on local villages rather than the military Kraals that the Zulus used. The Age set system was still used to recruit boys into the Ngoni armies but it’s not clear whether the regiments consisted of married men or unmarried men like the Zulus or just all warriors from the same locale. In at least one battle, against the Arabs, the young men (Amajaha) and the veterans (Amadoda) fought as two distinct groups. Regiments were organised into companies called Libuto by Lake Nyasa Ngoni. The number Libuto in a regiment nor the size of a Libuto seem to have been fixed.

Tactics wise the Ngoni seem to have continued with the time-honoured Zulu horns of the bull formation in open battle seeking to surround the enemy. Against stockaded villages Y.M. Cibambo mentions the Ngoni taking time to prepare an attack including the smoking of hemp and praise dances and not caring if their enemy knew they were there or not before rushing the stockade in the horns of the bull. Later in the century though the Ngoni had become far more cautious W.A.L. Elmslie describes two Ngoni attacks around lake Nyasa towards the end of the 19th century in both cases the Ngoni opted for surprise attacks at night on villages. Elmslie describes an attack on a Nkonde village where Ngoni warriors placed themselves at the entrance to each hut in the dark and called out to the inhabitants. As the men came out, they were speared by the waiting Ngoni while the women were grabbed to be kept as slaves. In the second attack described by Elmslie the Ngoni attacked several villages near his mission station at dusk catching the defenders by surprise and forcing many of them to flee to his mission house for safety.



Guns never became part a major part of the Ngoni way of war. At the end of Mpezeni’s war, in 1898, the British found around 3000 guns in the king’s Kraal unused by the Ngoni against their British enemies despite facing a British army armed with breech loading rifles, machine guns and artillery the Ngoni had continued to fight with spears. Given the success of the Ngoni way of war and the fact many of the tribes they victimized had little access to guns themselves it is understandable they Ngoni didn’t see any need to change their methods. Giacomo Macola in his book the The Gun in Central Africa also argues the gun went against the Ngoni cultural ideal of a warrior.

Whatever the reasons the Ngoni disdain for guns it contributed to their decline as enemies, like the Yao and Bemba, became increasingly gun armed.  The Ngoni could still fight and prevail against gun armed opponents Mpenzeni’s Ngoni, for example, destroyed an Arab caravan of 400 guns in a battle along the Bua River in the late 1880s. However increasingly it seems the Ngoni disliked facing gun armed opponents. In both the attacks described by Elmslie above the victims (or in the case of the Nkonde traders from Karonga) armed with guns gave chase and caught up with Ngoni raiders and in both cases the Ngoni fled as soon as the victims started shooting (sadly Elmslie says not before the Ngoni speared many of their captives) despite heavily outnumbering their gun armed opponents. In 1892 the British at Fort Johnstone mounted an attack on the Yao warlord Zarafi along with a large group of Maseko Ngoni. The Ngoni however fled as soon as the Yao opened fire leaving the British in a very sticky situation. The nomadic Tuta around Lake Victoria were apparently so afraid of guns that they would pack up and leave an area if they saw a caravan flying the red flag of Zanzibar. During Mpenezi’s war with the British his impi failed to stand their ground over several days of confrontation the warriors breaking every time they came under fire certainly this performance doesn’t measure up well to the resistance mounted by the Zulus and Matabele against Colonial forces.




To create a Ngoni Field force in TMWWBKs we are naturally going to be using a lot of tribal infantry units. I’ve decided to split them into Amajaha (young men) and Amadoda (older veterans). On top of that I’ve split them into three time periods to represent the change in quality of the Ngoni as the century wore on and added two special rules to give some flavour.

Ngoni Field Force

1+ units of Amajaha – Tribal infantry 3pts

1+ units of Amadoda – Tribal infantry veteran (+1 Discipline) 4pts

The following options are available (but not compulsory) depending on time period

Migration period 1820 to 1848. (Early Migration from Natal until up until Zwangendaba’s death at Ufipa)

Upgrade any unit to fierce + 1pt

Upgrade Amajaha to veteran +1pt

Upgrade Amadoda to Elite + 1pt

Succession Period 1849 – 1885 (The period after Zwangendaba’s death that resulted in the Ngoni splitting in several groups and the rise of Ngoni kingdoms across central east Africa)

Upgrade Amadoda to Fierce + 1pt

Upgrade Amadoda to Elite +1pt

Downgrade Amajaha to represent conscripted non-Ngoni tribesmen (like Chewa or lake Tonga) to Unenthusiastic -1pt

Colonial Period 1885 to 1905 (The end of the Ngoni hegemony and subjection to the European powers)

Downgrade Amajaha to represent conscripted non-Ngoni tribesmen (like Chewa or lake Tonga) to Unenthusiastic -1pt

Theatre specific rules

Regardless of which time period you are using all Ngoni units are subject to the following rules

Character for Invincible Courage – All opposition Tribal Infantry not upgraded to fierce suffer -1 Discipline if any Ngoni units are on the table.

Fiendish Firesticks – All Ngoni units suffer an extra -1 Discipline whenever the take pinning tests caused by shooting from Irregular infantry or Regular infantry



Offline FifteensAway

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #451 on: November 26, 2022, 04:14:49 PM »
Glad to see this thread getting active again.  One of my favorite threads in the Colonials realm.  Maybe it will get me refocused on my own stuff - much work done but stalled a bit the last couple of months for the humans, plenty of progress on the beasts (vast throngs of those!). 

Offline Plynkes

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #452 on: November 26, 2022, 06:54:42 PM »
Very interesting stuff, Jon, and very comprehensive. The hard work you've done on that field force list hopefully won't be in vain, because I have a mind to steal it all when I get back into African gaming.  :)


Loving that photo of the warrior in warpaint. It's one I've never seen before, and I thought I'd seen all the photos of Ngoni that were out there.



With Cat-Like Tread
Upon our prey we steal...

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #453 on: November 27, 2022, 08:47:50 AM »
Glad to see this thread getting active again.  One of my favorite threads in the Colonials realm.  Maybe it will get me refocused on my own stuff - much work done but stalled a bit the last couple of months for the humans, plenty of progress on the beasts (vast throngs of those!).

Thank you, sir, appreciate it. 

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #454 on: November 27, 2022, 09:08:01 AM »
Very interesting stuff, Jon, and very comprehensive. The hard work you've done on that field force list hopefully won't be in vain, because I have a mind to steal it all when I get back into African gaming.  :)


Loving that photo of the warrior in warpaint. It's one I've never seen before, and I thought I'd seen all the photos of Ngoni that were out there.

Thanks mate. The warpaint one is interesting because I'd not seen any evidence of the Ngoni wearing warpaint but the HeHe and the Bena both painted their faces and there was certainly some cultural crossover between them and the Ngoni. I found the photo while trawling online but it was only when I read W.A.L. Elmslie mentioning the lake Nyasa Ngoni painting the faces with clay that the picture kind of made sense.

Offline miltiades

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #455 on: November 27, 2022, 04:01:37 PM »
What a wonderful project! Amazing pictures and so many interesting historical data. Congratulations!

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #456 on: November 28, 2022, 08:46:43 PM »
What a wonderful project! Amazing pictures and so many interesting historical data. Congratulations!

Thank you 👍

Offline FifteensAway

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #457 on: November 29, 2022, 03:45:46 PM »
I've just scrolled through the whole of this thread (not read everything, just select bits) and I'm aghast!   :o

You have yet to show us your painted zebras and giraffes - and all those other African animals stuff you just need to do for when your games are set in other parts of Africa.

You know you want to do it.  You probably already have a stash of figures waiting for paint.  Come on, now, let's get to it.

(Says the man with 120+ 15 mm horses and mules waiting to get painted as zebras, mules work better just don't have enough of them.  Actually have some Pendraken 10 mm zebras in the mix for younger animals.  If I can face this task - maybe painting them in December (or maybe the Quagga from Museum Miniature onagers, 96+, maybe both), you can paint a few zebras.  Just remember if you have younger animals, their stripes are brown, not black.)

 o_o lol :D ;)

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - Ngoni Field Force for TMWWBKs
« Reply #458 on: December 03, 2022, 07:18:04 AM »
When I created my generic European Exploring expedition for TMWWBKs I painted up a number of Europeans and a flag bearer for each of the major nationalities who explored Africa to lead the expedition. All except for the French who only got a standard as I couldn’t find some miniatures that felt right for the Europeans. I finally found some French I liked in the Artizan miniatures French foreign legion range in their Senegalese Tirailleurs command pack. The miniatures have sat in my lead pile for some time but the other day I painted them up on a whim just for something a little different.

Unlike most of the other Europeans French explorers were rare in east and southern Africa and mostly stuck to west and central Africa places like the western Sudan, Chad, French Congo and Gabon. Some French explorers included Paul Du Chaillu an early explorer of Gabon in the 1860s. Pierre de Brazza (actually an Italian in the French navy) who explored the Ogouwe River and lower Congo River in two expeditions. Crampel and Dybowski both lead expeditions up the Ubangui River in the 1890s towards Lake Chad. One of the more famous French expeditions was the Fashoda Expedition because it caused an international incident with Britian. Captain Jean- Baptiste Marchand marched in 1897, with a force of less than two hundred men, from French Gabon to Fashoda in the Sudan (at the time under the rule of the Mahdists) with the aim of claiming the Sudan for France. The journey took two years across a vast swath of Africa that hadn’t yet been explored by Europeans.

Du Chaillu’s expedition was privately funded but he took 250 muskets, 12 better muzzle loaders and a breech loading double barrelled gun and revolvers for himself and recruited locals from the Commi river area as porters and bodyguards. De Brazza’s first expedition in 1876 consisted of 4 Europeans, 10 Senegalese laptots and 150 local boatmen in 10 canoes armament wise they only had 14 shotguns, several revolvers and some Winchester repeater rifles. For his second expedition into the Congo in 1879, he managed to con King Leopold of Belgium into funding it but planned to claim the territory for France. De Brazza took 87 Europeans and 291 Africans including European officers and NCOs, soldiers and sailors 27 Algerian volunteers with two French officers and the rest made up of newly recruited Senegalese laptots all armed with Remmington rolling block rifles. the Laptots wore an interesting uniform which Chris Peers in his Central African book shows as a version of French naval uniform complete with pompom beret. Marchand’s Fashoda expedition consisted of a 154 regular Senegalese tirailleurs with 12 French officers and were armed with 1892 French Berthier Artillery Musketoon which was a three round magazine carbine. Marchands porters were often just press ganged at the point of the gun rather than being paid workers like earlier explorers to the point that when left the French Congo he left the territory to deal with a number of rebellions caused by his actions.

The last two expeditions show how blurred the lines between exploring expeditions and military conquest became towards the end of the 19th century. On a wargaming note I would use my African explorer list for TMMWBKs (available on page 21 of this thread if you are interested) for Du Chaillu’s or De Brazza’s 1st expedition with no problem. The latter expeditions would probably need a new list given their military nature and large numbers of regular troops used. Any way time for the pictures.










Offline Golgotha

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #459 on: December 03, 2022, 08:11:39 AM »
Love this thread and the new additions.

Offline JBaumal

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #460 on: December 04, 2022, 02:48:40 AM »
Agreed, Love this thread and the new additions.

Offline OSHIROmodels

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #461 on: December 04, 2022, 09:13:31 AM »
Great stuff  :)

Offline CapnJim

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #462 on: December 04, 2022, 05:14:07 PM »
Well, I must say, those guys sure look the part...
"Remember - Incoming Fire Has the Right-of-Way"

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #463 on: December 05, 2022, 07:42:54 AM »
Thanks for the nice comments chaps 👍

Offline Diablo Jon

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Re: Diablo Jon does Darkest Africa - French African Explorers
« Reply #464 on: December 19, 2022, 06:50:29 AM »
A rather long post to introduce some a few miniatures I painted but I thought it helped illustrate the fun/frustration of trying to research the many native peoples of 19th century Africa so TLDR the pictures are at the bottom  :)

Another group of tribesmen for British Central Africa. These miniatures were inspired by a single line in Chris peers Central Africa book where he describes what he calls the battle of Fletcher’s Boma. During this engagement a small British colonial force are attacked by a much larger fore of Yao and allied Nguru tribesmen. My first stop was go to Sir Harry Hamilton Johnston’s book on Central Africa he also mentions the fight “Mr. Sharpe sent a small force of Sikhs and Atonga under Corporal William Fletcher, and an Atonga sergeant named Bandawe, to defend Malemia’s principal village where the Scotch missionaries were. This expedition, which only consisted of six Sikhs and a few Atonga, built a boma to protect themselves against any sudden attack from Kawinga. It was fortunate they did so, because a day or two afterwards he descended on them with 2, 000 men, many of them recruited from amongst the warlike Anguru of the countries east of Lake Chilwa” other than that sir Harry only mentions the Anguru twice more in his book. This kick started my journey down another rabbit hole trying to research an African tribe. My initial google searches weren’t proving very helpful I found a village in Nigeria and a tribe of Australian Aboriginals with similar names neither seemed very likely allies for the Yao. What it highlighted is how tribal names in Africa can be a real headache for researchers. Firstly, some tribes have more than one name the one they gave themselves; ones other Africans gave them and ones the Europeans gave them. Then there are the spellings which aren’t always the same in European sources and can vary depending on weather the source uses prefixes like Wa, A and Ba in front of the name. In the case of the Nguru research was particularly difficult due to some issues with the name in colonial Nyasaland. It took me a long time to finally pin down who the Nguru were so here is a little background on the naming.

The term Nguru (or Anguru) seems to have found use among the Colonial British authorities though I haven’t been able to pin down its exact provenance. In S.S. Murray’s A Handbook of Nyasaland (1922). Murray comments on the vagueness the term ‘Nguru’. The Nguru are, he explains, a number of different peoples loosely allied in the Makua-Lomwe language group but bearing separate designations like Atakwani, Akokola, that refer to different districts of origin in Mozambique. As they migrated into the Shire highlands the local people sometimes referred to them as Akapolo which in the local language meant “slaves”.
 In 1915 there was an incident called Chilembwe Rising this short but violent raising against British rule in the southern districts of Nyasaland mostly involved people of Nguru origin. After the rising was put down the term Nguru took on very negative connotations and persuade the British to move forward with plans for indirect rule using the Yao chiefs, who hadn’t supported the uprising. The term became so negative that Lewis Mataka Bandawe formed the Lomwe Tribal Society in 1943 which succeeded in stopping the colonial government using the word Nguru in its correspondences and adopt the word Lomwe (or Alomwe) which is the name used today. Interestingly in her 1906 book The Natives of British Central Africa Alice Werner describes the Lomwe, Anguru and Akapolo as being different tribes based on language and tatu patterns.

Once I had finally figured out the naming issue I could research a little more effectively for information and managed to dig up some photos and a bit more history. The Lomwe/Anguru moved, from what is modern day Mozambique, into the area east of and the edges of the Shire Highlands in four major migrations but I’m only really interested in the first two migrations that took place in the 19th century. The first happened in the later 19th century before the arrival of the British and seems to have been driven by drought the Lomwe, being an agricultural people, searching for better land to farm. The second migration took place in the 1890s, at the same time the British arrived in the area, this second migration seems to have been sparked by increasing Portuguese control of the original Lomwe homelands, including forced labour and heavy taxation, which the Lomwe were keen to avoid. These migrations weren’t on a tribal scale but rather in large family groups. The local Yao and Amang’anja (the southern branch of the Chewa people) welcomed the Lomwe groups into their lands often giving them land to farm this may seem odd but both the Yao and the Amang’anja chiefs were in a power struggle for control of the area before then having to deal with the arrival of the British so the extra man power was useful to them. Secondly the three groups shared some common cultural traits especially matrilineal descent and their languages, while different, were close enough to make communication possible. Despite this it obvious reading British sources the Anguru/Lomwe were still instantly recognisable from the other tribes of the area rather than being absorbed in the local cultures and that although they were subservient to local chiefs whose land they entered they formed their own settlements.

I found three period photos of Lomwe/Anguru one in Sir Harry Johnston's book of Anguru porters which I haven't found online. a second of a Anguru family which might be NSFW due to the presence of some 130 year old boobs so I won't post thatone up here and this one of a young Anguru man taken around 1906



Alice Werner proves helpful with some descriptions on appearance of the Lomwe/Anguru in her 1906 book on British Central African tribes (both the above pictures come from her book). Referring to the picture above she says “we find that he wears his hair fairly long and divided into strands, with beads tied to the ends of them” she also goes on to mention tatus (really more scaring than conventional tattoos) among the natives saying “The Lomwe tribes have various patterns — one a crescent, turned downwards, just between the eyebrows, others a series of from three to six crescents in the same position. The Akapolo have a mark on each side of the chest, consisting of a crescent turned up, and two short, vertical cuts below it.” The wearing of the pelele, a type of upper lip piercing, by women was common to the all the tribes of the area according to Werner “The Akaplolo women, not content with the pelele, wear a brass nail, two or three inches long, in the lower lip as well.”

Of course as a wargamer my main interest was in the military side of the Lomwe/Anguru and how they fought as allies along side the Yao and here again my research was turning up very little info. Alice Werner has this small snippet in her book “The Lomwe country was for many years harassed by slavers, and its people were continually at war with one another — so much so that, in 1894, the villagers did not know the names of hills more than a day’s journey from their own homes, and travellers could not get guides except to the next village ahead of them. Perhaps this state of things accounts for the comparatively poor physique of the Akapolo”. The main question I couldn’t find an answer to was weather the Lomwe used guns obviously Werner’s picture above shows the young man with a spear and she also mentions hunting was carried out with spears, bows being the hunting weapon of the Amang’anja. Another strike against guns is that if the Lomwe were preyed on by slavers, most notably the Yao and the Makua both who took to using guns, they probably lacked many guns of their own, as it seems common practice for gun armed slavers (either Arab or tribal) to pick on victims without guns. If the Lomwe did lack guns then the assumption has to be spear and shield were used but what did they look like? Werner again has this little snippet when discussing the tribes of the Shire Highlands  “The bow was used as a weapon of war (with or without poisoned arrows) before the Angoni introduced the shield and stabbing spear”. The Ngoni in question are the the Maseko Ngoni. The Maseko were a separate group Zwangendaba Gumbi’s more famous Ngoni, and they migrated from Swaziland, travelling northeast of Lake Nyasa before settling at Songea in present day Tanzania. Sometime in the early 1860s the Maseko met the Gwangwara Ngoni who had migrated North up the western side of lake Nyasa before moving back south, down the eastern side, of lake Nyasa and were defeated by them. This resulted in most of the Maseko Ngoni moving south back into Mozambique through the lands of the Makua, Lomwe and Yao before settling on the southern end of lake Nyasa under king king Cikusi in the1870s. and then annually raiding the Shire highlands and surrounding areas. This would have put the Lomwe/Anguru (along with the other tribes in the area) in a position to have had plenty of interaction with the Ngoni these interactions, all across east Africa, frequently saw the adoption of Ngoni military equipment by the Ngoni's victims and this is one of the reasons the Nguni style shield is so iconic in areas far from the Nguni homelands.

So at this point I have to admit I was reaching and with a lack of anything concreate on the Lomwe at war I had to just make some best guesses based on what little I did know and so I came up with these miniatures to act as allies/subjects of the Yao army I’m building. In the end I decided to plump for spears and shields because if nothing else they would be a nice counterpoint to all my musket armed Yao during games.












 

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