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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Death of a Colonial Agent: Gustav Conrau and Fontem Asonganyi, 1898-1903
Author:Nzefeh, P.S.
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue d'histoire africaine
Geographic terms:Kamerun
Subjects:colonial conquest
biographies (form)
History and Exploration
Abstract:Late in 1898 Gustav Conrau (alias Manjikwara), agent for the Deutsche Plantations Gesellschaft in Barombi, Cameroon, visited Bangwa, where the Fontem Asonganyi agreed, on certain conditions, to give him one hundred men. In less than a year, Conrau returned to Fontem to ask for more labourers. A latent controversy surrounds this second visit, Conrau's relationship with Fontem Asonganyi, and the circumstances and exact date of Conrau's death. His diary, published in 1977 in English by Robert Brain, provides grounds for reexamining the events that occurred in Fontem between 1898 and 1903. The author deals first with the circumstances surrounding Fontem Asonganyi's accession to power in Lebang (which the Germans subsequently called Fontem), secondly with the reasons for Conrau's first visit in 1898, and finally with Conrau's second and fateful visit and the events leading up to his death sometime between May and October 1900. He concludes that Conrau was a victim of the vicious competition between traders, plantation owners and the government for labourers, which led to the use of brutal methods and subterfuge, including Conrau's own failure to keep the promises he had made on his first visit to Fontem. The Germans subsequently used Conrau's death as a pretext for invading Fontem. Notes, ref.