Few African countries can match Tanzania’s good record in census enumeration. There have been three censuses since independence – in 1967, 1978 and 1988. In spite of some organisational difficulties mainly concerned with lack of transport to carry enumerators to the more remote areas, the degree of accuracy and the facilities of the census office are now quite impressive. What a change from the 1931 census when ‘headmen of villages were required to produce seeds of four different plants to indicate the men, women, boys and girls respectively in their areas’! The preliminary report of the 1988 census was published in mid- 1989 and some significant features emerge from it.

It revealed that the total population was 23,174,336, almost a million less than the 1987 forecast of 24,000,000:

………………1978 ….1988
Mainland 17,048,329 (+3.3%) 22,533,758 (+2.8%)
Zanzibar 479,235 (+2.7%) 640,578 (+3.0%)
Total 17,527,564 (+3.3%.) 23,174,336 (+2.8%)

Figures in brackets refer to the average annual growth rate for the previous ten-year period.

There are more females than males in the total population. giving a male/female sex ratio of 96 per 100.

This is significant because it represents a slowing down in the rate of population increase for the first time since records began. However, even this ‘slower’ rate of 2.8% per annum is rapid by world standards and, if continued, would lead to a doubling of the country’s population in only 25 years. Furthermore, in Zanzibar, the population growth rate has increased slightly compared with the previous period.

Coast, Mara and Ruvuma regions grew faster between 1978 and 1988 than they did In the previous inter-census period. The sharpest decrease in the growth rate was experienced in Dar es Salaam, Tabora and Kagera regions. Other regions showed a slight decrease or no change. These variations between regions are the result of migration rather then natural increase. It is at the smaller scale of districts that significant trends can be observed.

It could be argued that the outstanding demographic characteristic of Africa today is rapid urban growth, which is occurring at a rate unparalleled in any other world region. Migration and natural increase contribute equally to the process in Africa’s case. The situation in Tanzania is that the overall rate of urban growth has slowed down during the decade, largely because of a slowing down of Dar es Salaam’s growth.

The figures for urban population growth are as follows:

TOWN 1952 1957 1967 1978 1988
———~~,- — –”
DAR ES SALAAM 99,140 128,742 272,821 757,346 1,234,754
MWANZA 13,691 19,871 34,861 110,611 182,899
ZANZIBAR – – – 110,669 157,634
TANGA 22,136 38,053 61,058 103,409 138,274
MBEYA 5,566 6,932 12,479 75,505 135,614
MOROGORO 11,501 14,507 25,252 61,890 117,760
ARUSHA 7,598 10,038 32,452 55,281 117,622
MOSHI 9,079 13,726 26,864 52,223 96,838
TABORA 14,031 15,361 21,012 67,392 93,506
DODOMA 12,262 13,435 23,559 45,703 88,473
IRINGA 8,013 9,587 21,746 57,182 84,860
KIGOMA 11,600 – – 50,044 77,055
MTWARA 8,074 – – 48,510 76,632
MUSOMA 4,937 – – 32,658 63,652
SHINYANGA 2,480 – – 21,703 63,471
SONGEA 990 – – 17,954 54,830
SUMBAWANGA 2,116 – – 28,586 47,878
LINDI 11,330 – – 27,308 41,587
SINGIDA 3,125 – – 29,252 39,598
BUKOBA 3,570 – – 20,430 28,702

Dar es Salaam’s growth rate was down from 8.1% to 4.8% p. a. But this slower rate could give Dar a population in excess of 3 million by the year 2004 with further demands on the city’s infrastructure. Some other towns are growing very rapidly, for example, Moshi, 6.2% p.a. and Mbeya, now the fastest growing town in Tanzania, 6.7% (giving a doubling every eleven years). The table above indicates the huge gap between Dar es Salaam and the second town, Mwanza. It is also apparent that, in spite of government policies to promote Dodoma as the capital, its growth has been modest. It was the fifth largest town in 1952 but was ninth in 1988. Changes in the relative size of towns may be partly attributed to changes in Tanzania’s external relationships. For example, the strengthening of political and transport links with Zambia and SADCC countries seems to have had a positive impact on Mbeya while the collapse of sisal exports may underlie Tanga’s relative decline.

Urban growth in the past was due largely to migration of males in search of work, resulting in high urban sex ratios. In 1978 for example, there were over 120 men for every 100 females in Arusha, Bukoba and Moshi. The 1988 census reveals that this male dominated urban sex ratio has declined in nearly all towns from an average of 110 in 1978 to 105 in 1988 but this is still higher than the average of 96. This unbalanced sex ratio is not caused by differential fertility between districts, but by migration from rural to urban areas. Whereas in the past this movement was male dominated, the declining urban sex ratios reveal that now it is increasingly female dominated. Indeed, in the case of some towns like Mbeya there are now more females than males. Its sex ratio of 95 is below the national average. Only three towns, Zanzibar, Kigoma and Mtwara went against the national trend and showed an increase in sex ratios because of inward male migration.

The effect of migration upon rural areas has been to produce a divided Tanzania, at least in terms of its sex ratios. Two broad areas of the country are male dominated. The first extends from the coast between Dar and Tanga and extends inland to Morogoro and from there to Arusha and the Kenya border, with an offshoot from Morogoro to Kilombero district. The second lies further west and extends from Chunya northward through Tabora to Kagera and the Uganda border. Both these areas offer prospects of wage employment for males, in cash crop production or in small industrial enterprises like mining, as is the case in Chunya. Adjacent to these are the female dominated rural districts. The largest forms a huge belt of the country extending from the Mozambique border northwards through Iringa, Doodoma and Singida to Mara. There is a smaller female dominated pocket In the Pare and Usambara mountains of the north-east. These areas experience male outward migration because their harsher environments or more peripheral position have depressed the opportunity for economic activity.

Two broad points can be made in conclusion. Firstly, it would appear that government policy since 1967 – villagisation, decentralisation, capital city relocation – which potentially had large scale implications for the distribution of population, has not had a major impact upon the demographic situation in the country. Migration to urban areas continues, and even if the growth of Dar es Salaam has slowed down, that of many regional centres has not. Dodoma’s growth is less than one might expect and reveals that central location may be insufficient to offset other perceived disadvantages.

Secondly, although the rate of growth has slowed down, the annual addition of some half a million people to the country’s population is still considerable and increases the pressure on resources such as cultivable land. Furthermore, the youthful population structure, with 45% of the population below sixteen years, places an enormous burden upon health and education services.

The Economic Survey for Tanzania (1988) recorded a growth rate for the economy of 4.1% compared with a population growth of 2.8% As a result, the average per capita income showed an increase for the first time in a decade. Of course it does not mean that the benefits will be felt by the average Tanzanian immediately but at least it is a move in the right direction.
Clive Sowden

Mr CLIVE SOWDEN is a Senior Lecturer in Geography at Newcastle Polytechnic and has also, on three occasions, been a Visiting Lecturer in the University of Dar es Salaam. From 1958 to 1964 he was an Education Officer mostly at Tabora Boys’ Secondary School.


The Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs regrets to inform its readers of the death on June 4th 1990 of Sir Bernard de Bunsen after many years spent in the service of East Africa. He is chiefly remembered for his work in connection with the setting up of the Makerere University College through which so many subsequent leaders of Tanzania passed. His association with Tanzania continued until 1975 because of his involvement with the establishment of the University of East Africa of which he became the Vice Chancellor and which included the then Dar es Salaam University College.

In 1972 together with Roger Carter, he visited the then Tanzanian High Commissioner in London, Mr George Mhigula, to discuss the possible creation of a voluntary organisation linking Tanzania and Britain which resulted, in January 1975, in the setting up of the Britain Tanzania Society. Sir Bernard served the society first as its Vice-Chairman and, after his eventual retirement in 1985, as Vice President.


UNESCO GENERAL HISTORY OF AFRICA. ABRIDGED EDITION. Volumes I, Il and VII. Editors respectively J. Ki-Zerbo, G. Mokhtar and A. Adu Boahen. Different editors for each volume. James Currey Publishers. May 1990. £4.95 each volume.

This history, which is being undertaken as a result of an instruction given to the Director General of UNESCO at its 16th General Conference, ‘does not seek to be exhaustive and is a work of synthesis avoiding dogmatism’ according to the International Scientific Committee set up in 1970 to organise its production. Two thirds of the thirty nine members of the committee are African. ‘The aim is to show the historic relationships between the various parts of the continent’. The fact that the history seems to achieve this aim means that those interested primarily in Tanzania may be disappointed.

Volume I which covers Prehistory might well prove the most satisfying to a Tanzanian readership. Much prominence, with illustrations, is given to the 1.8 million-year-old fossils of hominid form found in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge. It is useful to have them placed in the context of all the other fossil forms discovered around the world including even older ones in South Africa. At Olduvai, and also in Kenya, Indonesia and China, excavators have discovered what is now known as Homo erectus which were more advanced on the evolutionary scale than any of their forerunners. As this history, in which there is a refreshing absence of the ‘triumphalism’ of which the Leakeys have been accused, puts it, ‘whether Homo erectus was the final stage of development leading to Homo sapiens remains uncertain’.

Tanzania is mentioned as one of the homes of the earliest known humanly fashioned tools – 3 to 1 million years ago – small quartz fragments showing signs of cutting and wear. Tanzania’s well known rock paintings of the Late Stone Age also get a mention as well as do tools of the Acheulian industrial complex 190.000 years B.C.

Volume II – The Ancient Civilisations of Africa – is less informative on Tanzania – if the index is complete! The small separate groups of Sandawe and Hadza peoples of North Central Tanzania are described under the heading ‘The Southern Savannah Hunting Tradition’. There is also extensive coverage of the Kushitic pastoral tradition of Lake Victoria and the crater highlands of Northern Tanzania and what is described as the ‘now rejected Hamitic Myth’ is briefly debated. ‘The point is that, while the more illogical and romantic aspects of the various and vaguely stated Hamitic hypotheses do derive from prejudiced European scholarship and grotesque attitudes towards Africa, the factual bases of these views were not entirely fictitious. Some of the observations were acute and certain of the historical interpretations very judicious’

Readers of the Bulletin are likely to be more familiar with the history of the period covered in Volume VII – Africa Under Colonial Domination 1880- 1935. To them therefore this volume will be less satisfactory. There are however numerous scattered references to ‘Tanganyika’. ‘The methods of European advance varied from place to place … on the whole they were characterised by the use of force combined, where possible, with diplomatic alliances … The response of Tanganyikans also varied. The coastal people clashed with the Germans in 1888, the Hehe in 1891. But the Marealle and the Kibanga near the mountains of Kilimanjaro and Usambara, allied with the Germans in order to defeat their enemies’.

This volume treats issues of interest to Tanzanians with extreme brevity. The ‘Missionary Factor’ in Southern Africa is covered in half a page and the Tanganyika African Association, which was founded as long ago as 1929, gets a paragraph. The whole area of ‘Politics and Nationalism in East Africa 1919-35’ is covered in nine pages and most of these concentrate on the situation in Kenya. There are scattered items here and there which may be debatable such as that ‘the Africans in several highland areas of Tanganyika won against the colonial authorities (in the planting of coffee) faster than the administration could destroy the trees’.

To sum up, these volumes are highly readable and contain a vast amount (1,106 pages) of interest to historians, professional and amateur alike. The volumes are also quite remarkably good value for money – DRB.

FAMINE IN EAST AFRICA: FOOD PRODUCTION AND FOOD POLICIES. Ronald E Seavoy. Greenwood Press, New York. 1989. £ 38.70.
(This review appeared first in the International Journal of African Historical Studies’ – Editor)

The intention of this book is to provide new insights into the centuries old problem of famine in East Africa. The reader is informed in the Preface that the author has already established the ‘revolutionary distinction between subsistence and commercial social values’ in a previous book. Bracing oneself for further mind-expanding revelations, one is not left in suspense for very long. In Chapter 1 the differences between peasants and the rest of the world are outlined. According to the author, the view that peasants are poor, lack income and employment, and are dominated by non-peasant classes, is thoroughly false. This view overlooks the essential truth, namely, that peasants are ‘indolent’. The rest of the book is primarily an exercise in citing literature to illustrate this point. Dr Seavoy has a fairly large bibliography and there are many authors who would cringe to see their work interpreted in this way. Because the boundaries of East Africa are never clearly established, the reader is bombarded with citations from all directions. Looking at the maps, however, one assumes that the book’s focus is Tanzania. Indeed the argument centers on Tanzania.

One important qualification to the argument relates to gender. Dr Seavoy equates ‘peasants’ with male peasants. Wives and children of ‘peasants’ are extremely hard working. High fertility is a clever strategy on the part of the peasants to avoid more work. It is never explained why wives and children are not gripped by a commercial weltanschauung despite their successful triumph over indolence.

The author seems unaware that he 1s not the first to rail against ‘lazy natives’. The theory of backward sloping labour supply curves and target workers is portrayed as a reality of the present day. The author bemoans the fact that development economists, marxist social scientists and senior political leaders of East African nations have all overlooked the essential truth. Both Nyerere (p. 178) and McNamara (p. 225) lack understanding of the fundamental indolence of peasants. As far as the author is concerned, Nyerere’s villagisation programe did not go far enough and the World Bank is completely wrong to suggest that peasants should receive higher producer prices since they are, after all, target earners. It seems that the only way that peasants are going to experience a ‘commercial revenue’ is through more forceful coercion. In the author’s words: ‘A policy of creating and rewarding commercial cultivators thus requires large investments In full-time police, paramilitary units, and an army …. Contrary to what most development economists believe, investment in armed force (sic) is one of the most productive investments that can be made by the governments of peasant nations …. All armed forces must be prepared to enforce commercial policies on peasants with maximum amounts of violence if necessary (p. 26).

One has visions of Dr Seavoy in a tank mowing down all those misguided development economists and Marxist social scientists who are ‘devotees of the cult of the peasant’ (p. 221), clearing the way for his single-handed conquest of peasantdom.
Deborah Fahy Bryceson

TANZANIA: AN AFRICAN EXPERIMENT. Rodger Yeager. Second edition, revised and updated. Dartmouth publishing Co. Aldershot. 1989.

The first edition of this book, published in 1982, received warm praise; this present second edition is no less meritorious. Dr Yeager’s ability to write clearly and with the minimum of technical jargon will recommend this text to the general reader, while the African specialist will find a great deal of well-researched and -referenced material for study.

As the author points out in his preface, much has happened since the first edition went to press. He singles out two events in particular, the ‘near collapse’ of the Tanzanian economy find the retirement of Mwalimu Nyerere from the Presidency. ‘These turning points have caused me to re-examine the Tanzanian experiment and to record the result in this new edition’ he explains (p. xi).

The substantial part of the revised text deals with the economic crisis resulting from Tanzania’s balance of payments difficulties in 1979 which led to the country’s approach to the IMF the following year. Dr Yeager reviews the debate that opened up in the ‘party government’ between the pragmatists and the idealists, between those prepared to accept elements of the IMF’s free market/private enterprise medicine, and t hose who remained committed to the principles of Ujamaa socialism even when they involved considerable material sacrifice.

While the author has presented both sides of the debate with a measure of objectivity, his own preference for a pragmatic solution, ‘without sacrificing the larger goal of an equitable and democratically integrated social order’ (p. 150), emerges strongly in the concluding chapter, where he rejects ideologically-motivated social engineering projects such as the villagisation scheme of the mid- 1970’s and ‘resource draining benefits’ such as the subsidisation of urban food prices (pp 150-51).

However, Dr Yeager does not show how the politics of pragmatism will make Tanzania less dependent on developed countries, and in on earlier chapter devoted to its international position, sets out the goal of ‘interdependence (between Tanzania and its trade/aid partners) under acceptable terms’ (p 141) without indicating how this can be achieved. As his book demonstrates, Tanzania has become more dependent on outside aid and investment throughout the 1980’s, with loans from the international agencies like the IMF, further aid from donor nations, the return of transnationals like Lonrho and a series of currency devaluations to assist exports. Events since this text went to press, such as the December 1989 $1.3 billion international aid package, provide further evidence of this trend.

Of course, one must appreciate the fact that Tanzania’s options are severely circumscribed, as event s before the 1980’s crisis – dealt with fully in this revised edition – indicate.

The Tanzanian experiment, launched by the Arusha Declaration (1967), had won the sympathy of many doctrinaire leftists (and moderates too) in the West, who hoped that ‘self reliance’ would enable Tanzania to lessen, possibly end, its dependence on the developed world. Its highly publicised shortcomings have been explained in terms of (inter alia) climatic and environmental problems, policy and planning mistakes and an excess of zeal by party activists associated with villagisation. All of these factors are discussed in some detail by Dr Yeager.

His book is less successful when it comes to the macroeconomic factors responsible for the country’s poor performance in the 1970’s and 80’s: the ‘scissors effect’, the steady deterioration in its terms of trade with the ‘North’ – expressed in Mwalimu Nyerere’s reference to the increasing quantity of sisal the nation had to sell to keep up with the rising prices of Western tractors; the widening economic gap between North and South highlighted in the Brandt Report; a continuing crisis in the global financial system following the breakdown of fixed exchange rate mechanisms in the early 70’s; and the international debt crisis of the 1960′ s.

It is true that these global factors – mentioned for the most part only cursorily in this book – cast a different light on the mistakes made in the past by the Tanzanian Government. But it is also true that resolution of these structural problems in the world economy is beyond the ability of anyone government (whether in the North or South).

In the meantime, immediate and pressing economic problems demand immediate solutions. Whether or not President Mwinyi and his colleagues will discard the Tanzanian experiment along the way only time will tell, but few readers will dissent from Dr Yeager’s conclusion that so long as advances continue to be made in health, education and other social services, roads and marketing facilities, agricultural credit and cooperat1ves, and local government institutions, the nation and community-building core of the Tanzanian experiment will remain intact.
Murray Steele


This paper states that its aim is to facilitate improved communication between Farming Systems Research personnel and national policy makers; it points out that the long-term success of any farming systems approach is dependent upon effective cooperation with government. The paper then compares and contrasts the two different approaches in a Tanzanian context during recent years.

It writes that since independence Tanzania has embarked upon a wide variety of rural development initiatives including the introduction of communal production systems, the massive resettlement programmes, price controls and the establishment of parastatal marketing agencies. These policies were formulated to achieve specific societal goals such as greater equity, the provision of social services and the feeding of the urban population. In contrast, the Farming Systems Approach focuses on understanding the problems and opportunities of individual family units and on setting in motion a process of technology generation that will increase the productivity of these families.

In the early years these approaches were far apart. Recently, however, although Tanzania has been adopting a variety of new more liberal agricultural policies it is still not clear whether the state’s involvement in the country’s economic life will change since no clear commitment to a change in the overall ideology of state control has yet been articulated. The current phase may represent an attempt to maintain donor financing by acceding to external demands for reform rather than through a fundamental reduction of the role of government.

Because the current era is more friendly to the farming systems approach, policy makers are displaying a growing acceptance of the wisdom and rationality of farmers and hence an interest in the collection of data that can assist in determining farmer reactions to infrastructure investments and policy actions. The government’s decision to rely increasingly on the carrot rather than the stick meshes closely With the farming systems approach philosophy.


According to a review in the ‘Overseas Pensioner’ this 200,OOO-word 400-page book covers the period between 1948, when the largest public transport under taking in the whole of the British colonial administration was inaugurated, through the merger of the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours and the Tanganyika Railways and Port Services into a single organisation, and 1961 when the inter-territorial East African High Commission underwent its metamorphosis into the East African Common Services Organisation. For the rail way buff the book is said (in the review) to represent a veritable encyclopaedia of professional details, technical data and the minutiae of institutional history. There are three dozen illustrations and numerous maps, diagrams, tables and the names of over 150 locomotives – Editor.

TANZANIA: SURVIVING AGAINST THE ODDS. A CAFOD Report by Seamus Cleary. 1990. £1. 0
This is a 36-page booklet of seven chapters in which the author writes concisely about the geography, the history and the people of Tanzania as well as its relations with Southern Africa and the current state of its economy.

HERE BE DRAGONS. A TV Channel 4 ‘Survival’ Film June 6 1990.
A young piano pupil played a gentle pastoral piece with brisk determination until her interpretation became tender at the thought of eating lemon ice cream in the bath. I wonder if a Grumeti crocodile has tender thoughts. He probably thinks of his last banquet which may have been months ago. He and his companions seem too large and too many for the meagre reserves of fish, frogs, nestlings or small mammals that they can catch, scavenge or steal.

The first part of this film concentrated on these crocodiles. The tiny Grumeti river flows westward through the Serengeti to Lake Victoria. By the end of the dry season it has shrunk to 8 series of pools. Before that an army of wildebeest thunder towards it during their migration. They stop to drink. The nearly submerged predators are waiting. All is quiet until a thrashing crocodile leaps up and drags a wildebeest into the water. Other crocodiles join in and the carcass is torn to pieces. Of the thousands of wildebeest, the crocodiles kill a few dozen. The rest continue their journey. The crocodiles are satiated and live off this banquet until the same time the following year.

The next part of the film takes us across Lake Victoria, over the tumultuous Murchison Falls to the waters of the Nile below. Beyond the torrents crocodile mothers come to land to lay their eggs. In so doing they not only provide for the future of their race but for the future of many other creatures. They are unwilling providers of food. Predators wait until the dangerous mothers are away to steal and eat some of the eggs. When the mothers are present they have no chance. In fact the monitor lizard lives dangerously and is so nervous that he can be scared by the aggressive display of a dikkup. The dikkop chooses the crocodile beach because of the unwitting protection the crocodile can give, and she can deceive her by feigning injury and luring her away from her nest if the crocodile shows interest in it. Weaver birds live overhead protected from snakes by the presence of the crocodiles. The mother crocodile digs to free her babies when she hears them chirping and, as soon as they are hatched, carries mouthfuls of them down to the river. Equal numbers are snapped up at the nest by eagles, monitor lizards, the marsh mongoose and others. When the mother crocodile has rescued all she can she stays with them in the river. They often rest on her back and are utterly charming, but, in spite of all her efforts, only one or two will survive into adulthood.

The team of Alan Root, Mark Deeble, Victoria Stone and the officers and scientists of the National Parks of Tanzania and Uganda deserve our thanks.
Shirin Spencer


The following appeared in TA issue 37 (September 1990)

The following are extracted from the Tanganyika Standard in the last quarter of 1940 – Editor

A Government statement announced that persons in enemy occupied territories wishing to reply to letters received from persons living in Tanganyika should address the letters via P.O. Box 506, Lisbon, Portugal.

The Arusha correspondent reported that women there had knitted over 3,000 pairs of socks for the troops during the previous six months. Mrs Baldwin had knitted 73 pairs closely followed by Mrs Bailey with 56.

Under this heading there was a long article describing how Liebigs, the Kenya Meat Processing Company, was now working 24 hours a day. When the factory had first opened in 1938 they had been slaughtering 30 beasts every night. By the beginning of the war in September 1939 the figure had reached 75. And on August 19th 1940 it was up to 300. 80% of all the beef was being converted into corned beef – 20,000 tins a day all destined for the troops.

‘And every day, unhonoured and unsung, a northward migration Comprising a caravan of some 250 to 300 cattle is wending its way 600 miles from Tanganyika to Kenya to keep the factory supplied. The journey takes 30 days and is not easy. There are East Coast Fever, tsetse flies, hungry lions, irritable rhinos (the herdsmen frequently have to rush to the nearest tree to escape) – but, in spite of everything, normally only 5% of the animals are lost en route.

There were 1,000 fewer cases of crime during 1939 than in the previous year. Of the various people dealt with by the Police during the year 636 were Europeans, 1,471 Asians, 153 Arabs, 55 Somalis, 709 Alien Africans and 6,890 ‘Aboriginal’ Africans. There were 98 cases of murder (30 convictions obtained).

Huntley and Palmers Biscuits Ltd took the unusual step of publishing a full-page advertisement in the Standard on November 8, 1940 – the first time in the year the paper had presented such a prominent advertisement :

Some people may be surprised that it is still possible to buy ENGLISH BISCUITS in Tanganyika even though they are rationed at home. But biscuits furnish a good example of the kind of manufactured article Britain particularly wishes to export. The UK imports wheat, sugar and butter …. Hand these over to one of our famous biscuit manufacturers and their value increases enormously; workers have earned wages, manufacturers have made a fair profit and, because the whole world recognises the supremacy of the ENGLISH BISCUIT, the money that goes back to Britain is much greater than the money she originally paid for the wheat, sugar and butter. So, in buying Huntley and Palmers Biscuits, you are helping to finance Great Britain’s WAR EFFORT.