The resisters were mobilized and united against the Germans in 1904 through religion by their leaders: Kinjekitile Ngwale, Abdala Mpanda and Ngamea. Kinjekitile appealed to the resisters by telling them that their ancestors would be resurrected.
He assured them of immunity to German bullets by sprinkling magic water (a mixture of millet and maize flour and water drawn from River Rufiji) on the forehead of each fighter, who he then committed to war. Kinjekitile‟s ideas spread rapidly and secretly through a whispering campaign called Njwiywia or Jujila by the Matumbi.
In July 1905, Matumbi workers boycotted cotton picking in their region. The Pogoro followed by uprooting cotton from an Akidas farm at Nandete. They then attacked government posts and officials.
Rapid spreading of news caused the people of Kichi, Uzaramo, Uluguru and Ungindo to join the war. The fighters combined Guerrilla tactics and open battles.
In August 1905, the town of Samanga was burnt down. European farms, offices and missions were attacked while a number of Arabs, Swahilis as well as the Germans themselves and Africans working for the Germans were killed.
In the very August 1905, the Germans began killing Africans, especially the leaders of the revolt.
In 1907, the Germans, under Governor Graf Von Gotzen, got reinforcement from Germany and from other German administered African regions. The Germans then adopted a Scorched-Earth policy, destroying all property on sight.
The resisting Africans either surrendered or fled to Mozambique since the magic water failed to protect them from bullets, leaving them demoralized due to the defeat they suffered. Earlier on, the Nyamwezi, the Chagga, the Gogo and the Hehe revolted but suffered enormously in the hands of the Germans, which explains why they did not join the Maji-Maji rebellion