REVIEWS

Compiled by Michael Wise and John Budge

Paul J. KAISER, structural adjustment and the fragile nation; the demise of social unity in Tanzania, and, Sayre P. Schatz, The World Bank’s fundamental misconception in Africa. Two articles in Journal of Modern African studies, 34 (2), 1996.

The most powerful economic institutions in the world, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been, and continue to be guilty of serious errors of judgement and practice, in the opinion of two American investigators. In the opinion of Paul Kaiser, of Mississippi state University, their structural adjustment policies as applied to the Third World, especially Africa, are largely responsible for the destruction of the essential virtue of social cohesion. Any visitor to Tanzania since the two institutions’ loan conditions were reluctantly accepted will probably agree with him that, in one of the few African countries to have remained relatively calm ever since independence, “a long history of ethnic, racial and religious cohesion has begun to fray”. He believes too, that the terms imposed and the burgeoning debt crisis may represent a “new dependency” for many African countries unable to acquire capital from other sources.

He points to religious and racial tensions directly related to the process of economic liberalisation, a matter which was argued between President and World Bank for almost six years. For example, when parastatals were being sold off, it was not long before racially motivated questions began to be asked about who should be allowed to move into the rapidly expanding private sector. At the same time the quality of life of the majority of Tanzanians was declining, as incomes became devalued and the costs of necessities of life escalated.

The welfare state, built up over 30 years witnessed a partial demise, with the people, especially urban workers, being called upon to share the costs of education and health at a time when their incomes were inadequate even to meet food costs.

Although Nyerere’s policies may not have entirely achieved some of the intended goals, Kaiser comments: “A potentially divisive array of social groups achieved a degree of cohesion that surpassed each and every neighbouring country” .

In the second article, Sayre Schatz of Columbia University reinforces this by reproducing data showing that the World Bank’s attempts to demonstrate the policy’s efficacy “not only failed to support its conclusions but actually bolstered the contrary thesis, namely that its implementation most often caused poorer economic performances”. He attributed this to the “objective difficulty of promoting development in Sub-Saharan Africa, a formidable and obdurate problem”, but also to the “mistaken view that the basic cause of Africa’s economic stagnation was poor government performance”.

He concludes: “The only way to generate a satisfactory rate of growth in Africa’s least developed economies is through government intervention to nurture investments. We should also remember that governmental activism has been associated with economic success in many developing countries”.

This promotes in this reviewer the horrifying thought that perhaps IMF/World Bank policies may have played a part in undermining the social cohesion of Rwanda and Burundi, and thus contributed to the recent escalation of conflict, which in turn has cost Tanzania heavily as a host neighbour to refugees.
JB

A. Charles LANE, Pastures lost: Barabaig economy, resource tenure, and the alienation of mainland Tanzania. Nairobi: Initiatives Publishers (P.O. Box 69313, Nairobi), 1996. 216p., US$18.

Charles Lane cannot be other than highly commended for his very detailed study of the Barabaig of Hanang District, Tanzania. It is also a most useful contribution to the cause of pastoralists generally in East Africa.

Lane’s detailed research was carried out in 1986-88 and he continued after this to work closely with the Barabaig, particularly on their land campaign. The method used was “participatory research”, that is to say he lived in a traditional Barabaig community for about 18 months and involved them in actual research. This says much for his skill and dedication, as well as, I am sure, ingenuity. It seems he had to learn much Tataga language, to the extent of the names of many species of grass, herbs and trees. I am glad he had help from the East African Herbarium for this. The result is a comprehensive socio-economic and historical account of the Barabaig people, and it reveals a national customary order of life to cope with the circumstances of nomadic pastoralism contradicting some misconceptions generally held. Lane describes their social rank formation and wealth control system; their land tenure methods and customary tenure; care of their cattle; grain production; food consumption; levels of income; their beliefs, culture and other social details.

The book is however, much more than a social study. Lane contends throughout that policy-makers from colonial times have misunderstood pastoralism. The last three chapters deal with the present considerable problems and developments, which have arisen since the appropriation of 100,000 acres of their land in the 1970s by NAFCO for the Canadian Wheat Project. New Tanzanian Government policies on land tenure are discussed. Lane concludes:

Ways need to be found to integrate traditional Barabaig leaders and institutions with state structures. For this to be achieved, government administrators will have to view this representation (i.e. the Barabaig’s) as a complement to effective government and not a threat to their authority, and traditional leaders will need to be convinced of the benefits from such integration.

I do recommend this book and hope it can be made freely available where it is most needed.
Christine Lawrence

Emmanuel J. E. MAKAIDI, EMMA’S encyclopaedia tanzaniana of national records 1497-1995. Dar es Salaam: Sunrise Publishers (P.O. Box 352), 1995. 279p. Tshs 7,500

The first entries in this strictly chronological and rather intriguing record of events in Tanzania over a period of 498 years give some flavour of the style of the book and the presentation of the events recorded:

1497: On April 15 Tanganyika is for the first time infiltrated with white men. This was the occasion of the arrival of portuguese, purportedly on business exploits.

1498: On June 2, leading a large group of Portuguese, Vasco da Gama arrives in Tanganyika. It was largely due to Vasco da Gama’s greed and influence, that led to the establishment of Portuguese settlements on the coast of Tanganyika and later, the initiation of their rule in the country.

1500: On July 16 Kilwa residents wake-up only to find themselves under alien rule. The first Tanganyikans to be colonised by white men …

There are only five more entries before we jump to 1843 when, on September 29, The British national flag is hoisted high in Zanzibar, amidst colonial pomp and pageantry.

As we proceed further, particularly after 1980, the entries become fuller and more comprehensive and thus begin to fulfil the stated objectives of the book – to be a student’s companion, a researcher’s pathfinder, a teacher’s reference, a politician I s compass and a diplomat’s guide. The final entry dated December 31, 1995 records part of President Mkapa’s new year message to the nation.
DRB

Ali A. MAZRUI and Alamin M. Mazrui, Swahili state and society: the political economy of an African language. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers; London: James Currey, 1995. 171p., ISBN 0-85255-729-9, £11.95.

The focus of this book is the relation between Kiswahili and economic, political and social conditions in East Africa. This is a two-way relation: the development and spread of Kiswahili has been and continues to be dependent on social, political, and above all economic factors, whilst at the same time helping to shape (to various degrees) the social, political and economic characters of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zaire. The book consists of three sections and two appendices, each of which can be read in isolation (there is in fact a considerable overlap between the three sections) . The first and third sections of the book cover the same topics, but from different perspectives. Kiswahili is discussed in relation to detribalization (not eradication of ethnic identity, which remains strong, but the overlaying of ethnic loyalties with national, political, class and religious identity), class formation, popular political participation, secularization, and science and technology. The first section provides a concise but comprehensive account of Kiswahili’s role as an agent of change in East Africa, from the perspective of economic history (for example, the role of Kiswahili as a ‘proletarianizing’ force is traced back to the facilitation of dockers’ strikes in Mombasa (1939, 1947, 1955, 1957) and Dar es Salaam (1947). The third section is more of a manifesto, sketching the contemporary socio-linguistic scene and proposals for the ‘decolonization’ of Africa, in which the promotion of Kiswahili should play a prominent role. The second section (‘The History’) also concludes with suggestions for pan-East African co-operation in the development of Kiswahili, but focuses on the historical spread of the language, starting with the Maji Maji rebellion in Tanzania. Section 2.3 provides a fine account of Tanzania’s educational language policy.

The two appendices are: ‘Social engineering and language policy in East Africa’, by Ali A. Mazrui, and ‘African languages in the African-American experience’ by Alamin M. Mazrui. Each of these is reprinted from previously published sources.
Steve Nicolle

Magdalena K. RWEBANGIRA, The Legal status of women and poverty. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1996, 58p. (Research report; no.100), ISBN 91-7106-391-9, £5.95 (SEK60). Distributed by Almqvist & Wiksell International, Stockholm.,

This book provides a review of existing laws relevant to the title, with legal developments of the last twenty years being dealt with separately. The principle laws that are considered in depth are the Law of Marriage Act, 1971; inheritance laws, and land laws. The issues concerned are described clearly, accessible to those without any knowledge of the Tanzanian legal systems. The section on significant changes to relevant laws in the last twenty years is interesting, not only as a review of the actual legal developments, but also because reference is made to legal changes which did not address gender issues in areas where this could have been productive.

The ‘poverty and the Legal status of Women’ section, although not mentioned in the introduction, briefly mentions some of the wider social influences which reduce the effectiveness of the legal systems in terms of gender equality. A ‘Women’s Law approach’ is mentioned but not elaborated on (worthy of several volumes as a debate topic in its own right). This section, and others on background and conclusions, highlight the need to view the role of the legal system in a realistic and holistic way, rather than assuming that the simple process of a law will ensure that its purpose is fulfilled. Social issues affecting the effectiveness of the legal system are mentioned, including the ever important areas of education and media.

The presentation of the report may be found to be misleading in some respects. For example, although the objectives are described clearly in the ‘Executive Summary’, they are lacking in the ‘Background and Objectives’ section. In this, and elsewhere in the text, a stricter proof reading might have improved the ‘flow’ of the report.

For anyone with little knowledge of the subject area, this book introduces some of the issues involved in a largely accessible way, and puts forward recommendations on ways to improve women’s legal status. Its size, dictated that only selected issues and legislation could be discussed in any significant detail.
Kenneth Dawe

Nancy SPALDING, The Tanzanian peasant and Ujamaa: a study in contradictions. Third world quarterly, 17 (I), 1996, p.89-108.

The writer of this article pays tribute to Nyerere for his, unusual among African leaders, integrity and devotion to his people, but notes how his policies were failures, leaving the country still “desperately poor despite high levels of aid” .

Asking the question; “How much can or should political agendas and rhetoric be measured against historical reality?”, she employs a ‘culture theory’ from anthropology, constructed by Mary Douglas and based on African social ritual and religion.

This led to the conclusion that the essential characteristics of Tanzanian society are non-centralisation, with the family as the unit of decision, high levels of interaction between communities, especially in trade, and pronounced individualistic cultural tendencies. She believes this culture was “incompatible with Ujamaa and Tanzanian socialism” . However, Nyerere in his essays and speeches never concealed that he had few illusions about the individualism of Tanzanian peasants.

On the one hand, in this article, Spalding asserts that “natural change in response to significant contextual shifts” is different from “engineered change, which is notoriously difficult” and feels that further research on this is necessary. Nyerere, on the other hand, could quite justly respond that changes in human nature and culture, “engineered!’ through the progressive reform of human institutions, has been chiefly responsible for the advancement of civilisation over the course of history. However, such engineering can only succeed when the time and conditions are ripe.
JB

Werner VOIGT, 60 years in Africa: the life of a settler 1926-1986. Published by the Author, 1995. Obtainable from General store Publishing House, 1 Main Street, Burnstown, Ontario, Canada KOJ IGO. CAN$24. 95, plus $10 for shipping and handling.

This book is a rare gem. For anyone with the slightest pang of nostalgia for the Tanganyika of the old days, and even for those who cannot be nostalgic but have a trace of curiosity about what life was really like then in an expatriate community, this book is not to be missed. It is the adventure-packed, gentle and moving personal story of the 60 years the author (who is now 92 and lives in Canada) spent in Africa most of them in Tanganyika/ Tanzania. A short review cannot do justice to the richness of this tale. Werner Voigt grew up in Leipzig and studied tropical agriculture. He went to Tanganyika in 1926 and started work on a coconut/ cotton plantation near Bagamoyo. He nearly died of malaria; one year his crops were totally destroyed by locusts; he panned for gold in the Lupa goldfields; he eventually got his own farm at Mufindi and took his bride on a 1,000 km foot safari for her honeymoon; he became a skilled builder and constructed houses for the groundnut scheme; he imported a lifeboat for his fishing expeditions at Bagamoyo and then converted it into a cabin cruiser. He remembers all the extraordinary stories he heard about exotic personalities he met and recounts them with humour and an original but highly readable and rather elegant writing style. There are a lot of references to ‘the war’ but it is the 1914-1918 war he is writing about Werner Voigt must be good natured. There is hardly a word of criticism of anyone in the book except his neighbours who became rabid Nazis in the 1930’s. His relations with Africans seem to have been excellent. Even the British colonial administration is never attacked – something very unusual among settlers in fact the British are hardly mentioned at all in the first part of the book, as the Germans seemed to be a self-contained group.

During and after the second world war Voigt was interned for eight years. When he tried to buy back his farm which had been taken from him, many of his British neighbours were resentful but later, when he was growing tea at Mufindi, he seems to have become part of a largely British community. The final chapter entitled “The Dream Fades” is sad but very brief. The eightyodd snapshots which illustrate the text are remarkably clear considering that most of them were taken fifty years ago. I am grateful to reader Michael Carr for letting me know that this book exists. Do not start reading it when you are expecting visitors – you might resent their intrusion. Do not start reading it late at night (as I did) – you will miss a night’s sleep! And watch out for the film which will surely follow.
DRB

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Tyler BIGGS and Pradeep Srivastava, structural aspects of manufacturing in Sub-Saharan Africa: findings from a seven country enterprise. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1996, ix, 67p. (World Bank discussion paper; no.346; Africa Technical Department series), ISBN 0-8213-3807-2.

Assesses the result of a survey of firms in seven countries, Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and deals with issues of entrepreneurship, labour markets, technological capabilities, financial markets, infrastructure, regulation, and conflict resolution mechanisms.

COTTON, colonialism, and social history in sub-Saharan Africa; edited by AlIen Isaacman & Richard Roberts. London: James Currey, 1995. xi, 314p., ISBN 0-85255-619-5, £14.94 Includes several chapters dealing specifically with German East Africa/ Tanganyika.

Colin CREIGHTON and C.K. Omari, Gender, family and household in Tanzania. London: Avebury, 1995. 327p., £39.90 Peter J. DAVIS, East African: an airline story. Thirty years of the international airline of Africa. 2nd ed. Egham:
Runnymeade Malthouse Publishing, 1996. 485p., ISBN 0 9523047 08 £20

L.G. “Bill” DENNIS, The Lake steamers of Egham: Runnymeade Malthouse Publishing, 1996,
9523047 1 6, £16 40 East 280p. , Africa. ISBN 0

KONIGSBERG – A German East African Raider by Kevin Patience
This new book of 100 pages and 150 illustrations, many never before published, is the result of 25 years of research and tells the complete story from 1906 to the present day of the German cruiser Konigsberg. This ship destroyed the British cruiser HMS Pegasus at Zanzibar in 1914 before seeking shelter, pursued by the Royal Navy, in the Rufiji Delta. Special pre-publication offer to readers of Tanzanian Affairs – £14 inc. p&p Obtainable from the author at P 0 Box 669 Bahrain.

Also obtainable:
Zanzibar and the Shortest War in History: A narrative of events leading up to the destruction of the Sultan’s Palace at Zanzibar on 27th August 1896. 32pp illustrated. £4 inc. p&p. Zanzibar and the Bububu Railway: A history of the two railway systems built on the island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 32pp. Illustrated. £4 inc. p&p.

Zanzibar and the Loss of H.M.S. Pegasus. The story behind the destruction of the British cruiser sunk at Zanzibar by the German raider Konigsberg on 20th September 1914. 48pp. Illust. £5 inc. p&p. Steam in East Africa: A pictorial history of the construction and development of railways and lake services in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar from 1893 to 1976. 140pp.hb. £15 inc. p&p. Steam Twilight. A nostalgic look back at the last years of steam on Kenya Railways. 64pp. Illustrated. £8 inc. p&p.

Alex DIANG’A, Where native fish face extinction September 21, 1996. Daily News,

A study of Lake Victoria, carried out by World Watch Institute, has shown that as a result of the introduction of exotic, i.e. non-native fish and the commercialisation of fishing activities, 60 per cent of the native fish species are extinct, and the remaining 40 per cent are at risk. From time immemorial the native fish of the lake were harvested by artisan fishermen and processed for local consumption. The harvesting of fish by large, open water vessels, with destructive gear, prior to large scale commercial processing operations for the export. market, has brought about this change.

China has experienced the virtual extinction of fishing on the Yangtze River in 40 years since the 1950s. The World Watch report considers that a major cop-operative effort between the three East African countries could still restore Lake victoria, as well as preserve the less degraded other lakes, Malawi and Tanganyika. will anything effective be actually put into action?
MW

Peter DUMBAYA, Tanganyika under International mandate, 1919- 1946. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995. no price stated.

Klaus FIEDLER, Christianity and African culture: conservative German Protestant missionaries in Tanzania, 1900-1940 .. Leiden: Brill, 1996. 250p. (Journal of religion in -Africa supplements; 14). NLG125.

The FUTURE of Tanzania. Conference report; deliberations and recommendations, ESAURP (Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Programme), December 1995. Dar es Salaam: Tema Publishers Co., 1996, 81p., ISBN 9987 25 010 6, no price stated.

Includes the summary of a paper by Dr. M. Hodd, a member of Britain-Tanzania society and occasional contributor of reviews.

Seyoum Y. HAMESO, Ethnicity in Africa: towards a positive approach. London: TSC Publications (P.D. Box 12879, London W13 8WS), 1997. viii, 120p., ISBN 0 9530204 0 I, £11. The author’s preface draws attention to the tendency of historians and nationalists, during the first half of this century, to concentrate on state nationalism, and to bypass the significance of more localised expressions of ethnicity in the African continent. This short study includes quite lengthy case studies of selected studies, including Tanzania and its neighbours.

C. George KAHAMA, The Twelve tasks. Dar es Salaam: Tema Publishers Co., [1995?]. 12p., no price stated. Described by the author as being derived from his book, Tanzania into the 21st century, this short statement on his view of the way ahead ends with a punchy acrostic of twelve points for development into the next century. They read: Government: Education: Overseas visitors: Rates of currency exchange; Guidance for the private sector; Exports; Karibu visitors: Alleviation of poverty: Health: Accumulation of savings; Management; Asset restructuring.

Juhani KOPONEN, Development for exploitation: German policies in mainland Tanzania 1884-1914, [Helsinki]: Finnish Historical society, 1995. 49), ISBN 951 710 005 1, £19.95.. 741p., (Studia Historica; Has been described as being the first major survey of the period since the works of John Iliffe and Rainer Tetzlaff twenty five years ago.

Gwynneth LATHAM and Michael Latham,Kilimanjaro tales: the saga of a medical family in Africa. 1995, ix, 220p. London: Radcliffe Press,

A double narrative (Mother and son) about two generations of a medical family in Tanzania, from the 1920s to the 1960s. The larger part of the book is made up of a narrative by Michael Latham, based on his Mother’s journal up to the end of the 1940s.

LIBERALIZED development in Tanzania.; edited by Peter Gibbon. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1995.

Georges LOIRE, Sea people in Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House, [1996?]. 170p. Tshs 7,000.

This is an account, by Fr. Georges Loire of to Seamen, of his attempts to organise help return home of “fishermen”, and other sea stowaways who have become stranded far from during the 1980s. the Missions towards the people or home shores

M.H. MULOKOZI, The last of the bards: the story of Habibu Selemani of Tanzania, c.1929-93. Included in Research in African literatures, Spring 1997, published by the Journals Division of Indiana University Press.

1 Comment »

  1. Tanzanian Affairs » LETTERS said,

    October 3, 2010 at 9:34 am

    […] LOST’ I was delighted to read the kind review of my book about the Barabaig in your last issue. I am pleased to advise the reviewer, Christine Lawrence, that the book was published in […]

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