2014 is my 16th year of working on the African campaigns, in particular those in East, Central and Southern Africa. During this time, the number of people working on the campaign has increased phenomenally. This is noticeable by the number of people registered on the Great War in Africa Association website which I manage (www.gweaa.com), the number of discussion links and participants in online forums, and the number of hits which come up on a world wide web search.
But, what has struck me most significantly over the past year, has been the different forms of remembering the war in Africa. Books and articles have been the traditional form, both academic and enthusiast. There have even been about 5 films (including documentaries) made. The number of novels published since 2000 has almost exceeded the number written in the previous century. Medal, postage stamp and other ephemera collecting has grown in popularity with prices of items increasing as others become aware of the value of the items and their scarcity.
For a while it looked as though there would be an attempt at a re-enactment of some aspect of the campaign, however this idea thankfully morphed into battle field tours. Routes have been plotted and some have already started to take place. The number of conferences with a specific focus on the African theatre has also increased.
My most unusual discovery to date, though, must be War Games! Within the last 14 days I discovered a number of these, specifically on the November 1914 Battle of Tanga and another on Mimi and Toutou (the two boats which travelled overland from Cape Town to Kalemie on Lake Tanganyika to defeat the German lake flotilla).
This makes me wonder, what other forms of remembrance are still to come to light?