Archive for Reviews


by Martin Walsh

REMEMBERING JULIUS NYERERE IN TANZANIA: HISTORY, MEMORY, LEGACY. Marie-Aude Fouéré (editor). Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2015. xiv + 337 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-753-26-0. £25.00.

I enjoy edited volumes on a particular theme or topic for three reasons: first, they sometimes include excellent work by previously unpublished researchers, edited by scholars with specialised knowledge of the theme or topic; second, they are a useful forum for established authors to account for this emerging scholarship in their own treatments; and third, read together, the bibliographies attached to each essay serve as an excellent cross-referencing tool to guide further research.

This collection is a good example of such a publication, gathering together a good deal of new research from emerging scholars on the topic of remembering Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president. Keen to develop a new perspective on this topic, the contributors’ essays explain their collective determination to break from an enduring scholarly tradition of valorising Nyerere, his political works and his significance in the history of African democracy. As Marie-Aude Fouéré points out, the essays she has edited in this volume focus instead on the production of a usable past for a contemporary (re)imagination of nationhood, in which ‘Nyerere’ becomes a ‘floating signifier’, that is, an unfixed political metaphor that is deployed in different ways in the course of debating and acting upon the present.

Many of the chapters in the book document and discuss this issue as it applies to Nyerere and his works. For example, Emma Hunter’s chapter suggests how the Arusha Declaration and Ujamaa were Nyerere’s way of winning back political power for himself and his party by formalising a pervasive anticapitalist and anti-corruption discourse in post-colonial Tanzania. Despite the failure of Ujamaa as a socioeconomic model for prosperity and equality, the policy allowed Nyerere to cement his reputation as an incorruptible figure of righteousness and social justice and, following his death, allowed others to transform him into a contemporary symbol of a more moral time in the past.

The essays by Kelly Askew, James Brennan and Mary Ann Mhina are all to some degree concerned with what might have been or might still be concealed or occluded by Nyerere’s shadow as it figures in literary, academic and poetic engagements with him in his guise as the hardworking, modest, self-effacing schoolteacher and as the august and preeminent torch-bearer of Tanzanian – and African – political self-determination and independence. After all, we must wonder about the reasoning behind Nyerere’s decision to establish a foundation named for himself that, according to Olivier Provini’s chapter, pays him a permanent tribute by disseminating his political thought through various media and the publication of his speeches.

In her chapter, Mhina points out that our view of discourse – and the signifiers and symbols it deploys – must not neglect the ability people have to perpetrate, penetrate, transcend or ignore it, depending on context and their own particular needs. Fouéré extends this point, explaining that whoever and whatever Nyerere the man might have been during his lifetime, the signifier/symbol called ‘Nyerere’ has become a polyvalent means of both operating upon the past in the present and of deploying the past in operations upon the present. Individual and corporate efforts to claim Nyerere in this fashion are also telling: those who vie for power over Nyerere’s meaning do so in the knowledge that their particular signifier can, through the power of the symbol, become a mirror that reflects the virtues they ascribe to it back upon them. If the signifier/symbol they have created is powerful and widely accepted, they may, by associating or affiliating with their symbol, draw upon its power to legitimate their own authority and projects.

The chapters by Aikande Kwayu and Kristin Phillips, for example, each present research data to explain how political legitimacy is appropriated by those who can present themselves as lineal descendants of whatever politically expedient version of Nyerere they successfully posit, while Provini and Sonia Languille consider how Nyerere’s educational legacy is honoured or ignored in the administraton of contemporary university and secondary education.

The essays in this book all touch on what I see as a particularly Tanzanian syllogism: Nyerere was all that was best about Tanzania in the past, while Tanzania remains all that its greatest son made it. Whether the conclusion of this logical expression is true or not, I expect that this volume is only the beginning of a much deeper study of the symbolic power of Nyerere-as­metonym-for-Tanzania, as well as a more wide-ranging consideration of his significance(s) in East Africa and further afield.
Gavin Macarthur

Gavin Macarthur graduated with a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester in 2009. His doctoral research suggests that the islands of Zanzibar are imagined in multiple cultured modes, continuously resituating the Isles in differential historical, geographical and socio-political relations with the Tanzanian mainland and other places around the globe. He is currently developing a health-focused eco-adventure tourism project to implement certain of the UN’s sustainable development goals in Jeju island, South Korea.

A MONUMENT TO CHINA-AFRICA FRIENDSHIP: FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF THE BUILDING OF TAZARA. Compiled by the Policy Planning Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People’s Republic of China. English translation by Chen Feng and Jarrod Williams. World Affairs Press, 2015. 256 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-7-5012-5084-4. (No price given.)

A detailed report on the planning and construction of the TAZARA railway, from a Chinese perspective, is very welcome. For this was one of the largest and most complex infrastructure project constructed in Africa in the 1970s, and by far the largest turnkey project undertaken abroad by China at that time. As this book, compiled from interviews with the key people involved, shows, it was an eye-opener and learning experience for all involved.

The speed of construction was incredible. The project was discussed by President Nyerere during his visit to China in 1965, only a few months after Ian Smith had declared UDI in Zimbabwe and prevented Zambia exporting its copper by the quickest route to Beira. Construction started in 1970 and was completed in October 1975. 50,000 Chinese and even more Tanzanians and Zambians worked on the project. The challenges were unbelievable. There were no recent engineering studies, no usable maps for parts of the route, the alignment had to be decided, there were problems causes by geology (including the risk of earthquakes, the difficult climb up into the Southern Highlands at Makambako, and the difficulties of construction in swampy land along the Kilombero Valley and elsewhere), sickness and especially malaria, wildlife in and near the Selous Game Reserve (the Tanzanian army arranged for the construction teams to be issued with guns), and the provision of supplies and
materials for such a large project.

This book shows how these challenges were overcome. It will interest students of the relationships between China and countries in Africa, and anyone interested in railways. But because it is based on reminiscences, it is also a fascinating study of relationships, and the meetings of cultures both in some of the most isolated places in the world and in the palaces and offices of world leaders.
Andrew Coulson

Andrew Coulson is the author of Tanzania: A Political Economy (second edition, 2013), and Chairman of the Britain-Tanzania Society.

PAINTED DEVILS AND THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE. Tuan Marais. Storyline Studio, Western Cape, South Africa, 2016 (paperback). ISBN 978-6-620-60019-4. R185 (and various prices online)

This memoir is prefaced by Shakespeare’s ‘tis the eye of childhood / That fears a painted devil’ (Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2). Memoirs are precious stories, carrying the words of ordinary people living through historically interesting times. Young Tuan Marais went to live in Zanzibar with his mother and her new husband. This was Zanzibar of 1956, when the popular Sultan Seyyid bin Khalifa still ruled a diverse population before the rush to independence had taken hold. Painted Devils is Tuan’s profoundly sensitive story of his childhood and young adulthood.

Tuan became immersed in the island’s exotic life. His halcyon days were spent learning the life of the seas. Local Zanzibaris befriended him and guided him in the traditional ways of fishing and negotiating the coral reefs. Soon he was a natural, weaving fishing traps and speaking Swahili. The family home was next to the Sultan’s Kibweni country palace and one of his memories is of rescuing the Sultan’s yacht during a storm. He recalled seeing the great dhow fleets arriving with the monsoon.

The English culture of Tuan’s family prescribed formal education and religious passage as necessary steps to adulthood. Most colonial children suffered the wrench that was boarding school. It was profoundly formative. It would be interesting to know what reflections those children would later have if, instead, they had been enrolled into local schools. Zanzibar before the Revolution had excellent primary and secondary schools based on the British system of O- and A-levels, and a rich and diverse cultural milieu. Tuan’s parents were not part of the British colonial administration and had no sense of the pull of ‘back home’ that characterised those families regarding their sojourn in Zanzibar as temporary. Tuan became conscious of racism, both in Zanzibar and at his Kenyan boarding school. Racism was taught to him through shame and ridicule. This was also the time that emerging political parties in Zanzibar, and across Africa, were demanding independence – Uhuru! The Cold War intensified this struggle. Tuan was hardly aware of the political wrangling, the escalating violent rhetoric as opposing sides grappled for the popular vote. The presence of Swahili, Shirazi, Manga Arabs, Goans, Indians and mainland Africans was taken as natural by his young self. Meanwhile the British were slipping away, having lost the will to invest in a troubled island. Tuan planned his future in Zanzibar: to offer diving and deep-sea fishing tours from a traditional fishing dhow. This was not to be. The Revolution of 1964 intervened. His parents were attacked on the day of the revolt when the infamous John Okello directed brutal mobs. They were taken to Okello’s headquarters and bound. Around them were the bodies of murdered Arab Zanzibaris. It is likely that they were saved by Okello’s order that no whites were to be killed – for fear of British intervention. Instead Okello whipped up his supporters into a genocide of Zanzibari Arab people. This is the dark history that the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has never acknowledged.

The last section of the memoir is the story of Tuan’s life in South Africa. He was conscripted into the army and for a brief while groomed to be a South African spy. The Apartheid secret police wanted information on the Frelimo camps supposedly located in Zanzibar. He turned down this offer but did visit Zanzibar in 1966, finding the island miserable under the grip of its own brand of oppression.

In 1997, in his late middle-age, Tuan returned to Zanzibar but his Eden had disappeared and he struggled to find acceptance and resolution. Tuan’s memoir is poetically written, filled with the sense of those magic years when anything seemed possible. His years of youth were in Zanzibar and his depiction of life in the pre-revolutionary Sultanate is a charming tale of self-discovery. And perhaps it is with nostalgia that we might imagine how Zanzibar might have been had it not suffered the violence and despotism of those years.
Anne M. Chappel

Anne M. Chappel was born in Mwanza, Tanganyika, in 1947 and moved to Zanzibar in 1956 when her father worked for the British colonial administration, finally occupying the position of Permanent Secretary to Mohammed Shamte, the Prime Minister for the brief period of Zanzibar’s independence. Anne has written a novel, Zanzibar Uhuru, covering the last 50 plus years of Zanzibar’s history, as well as a biography of her father, Time Past in Africa. Anne lives in Adelaide, Australia.

Also noticed:
MIKIDADI WA MAFIA: MAISHA YA MWANAHARAKATI NA FAMILIA YAKE NCHINI TANZANIA. Pat Caplan. Translated into Swahili by Ahmad Kipacha. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2014. xxi + 162 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-08-295-7. £17.95.

Anthropologist Pat Caplan’s fascinating account of the life and times of a villager on Mafia and their friendship over nearly four decades from 1965 until his untimely death in 2002. Describing her book as a cross between biographical history and historical biography, the author must be lauded for making it available to a wider readership. The longer and more scholarly English version has now been published under the title Mikidadi: Individual Biography and National History in Tanzania (Sean Kingston Publishing, 2016), and will be reviewed in a future issue of Tanzanian Affairs.

ON CALL IN AFRICA: IN WAR AND PEACE, 1910-1932. Norman Parsons Jewell. Gillyflower Publishing, Hove, 2016. 416 pp., with 145 photographs and 16 line drawings (hardback). ISBN 978-0-9931382-0-1. £35.00.
Described by William Boyd as “An absolutely fascinating memoir of a doctor’s life in Africa and an evocative and wholly authentic account of the East African campaign, 1914-18, a forgotten corner of the Great War”, this book comes highly recommended. It is based in part on Jewell’s personal diary and extensive photographic collection, and covers his wartime experiences in German East Africa as well as his colonial service in the Seychelles and Kenya (some readers will be familiar with his son John’s Dhows at Mombasa, 1969, revised edition 1976). The book’s website provides much more information (see



by Martin Walsh

CRACKS IN THE DOME: FRACTURED HISTORIES OF EMPIRE IN THE ZANZIBAR MUSEUM, 1897-1964. Sarah Longair. Ashgate, Farnham, 2015. xvi + 322 pp. (hardback). ISBN 9781472437877. £75.

Beit-el-Amani in 2010 - photo Jonathan Stonehouse (wikimedia)

Beit-el-Amani in 2010 – photo Jonathan Stonehouse (wikimedia)

Museums are extraordinary institutions, and it is not surprising that they are sometimes likened to places of worship. The Zanzibar Museum is no exception. It was opened in 1925 as the Peace Memorial Museum, named in commemoration of those who had lost their lives in the First World War. Its faux Arabic name, Beit el-Amani, was clearly intended to echo those of Zanzibar’s royal palaces, most notably the Beit el-Ajaib or House of Wonders. It was built in hybrid Saracenic and Byzantine style with a large dome, leading locals to dub it ‘Msikiti wa Bwana Sinclair’, ‘Mr Sinclair’s Mosque’, after its British architect. In the early days it was also referred to as ‘Nyumba ya Mizimu’, ‘the House of Spirits’, a fair rationalisation of its apparent purposes. It is now generally known as ‘Makumbusho’ (sometimes ‘Makumbusho ya kale’), the contemporary Swahili term for museums as sites of historical memory.

Sarah Longair’s Cracks in the Dome is a compelling account of the Zanzibar Museum’s rise and fall, weaving together critical history and biography to show how its functions were contested and ultimately undermined by officialdom in the colonial period. Following an introduction that provides historical and interpretive context, the first two chapters examine the prehistory and construction of the museum in detail. Three central chapters describe the museum in its heyday, when it was curated by Dr Alfred Henry Spurrier (1925­35) and Ailsa Nicol Smith (1935-42), both of whom were driven, in their different ways, to innovate and make the museum into an educational resource that was of value to the whole community. Smith in particular was frustrated by the lack of funds and colleagues who shared her vision, and eventually resigned her post. A final chapter outlines the resulting decline of interest in the development of the museum, and its replacement by a decolonisation-inspired focus on the selection and collection of the materials that were to be housed in the Zanzibar National Archives – and have made the writing of this history possible.

Although the archives survived, the museum did not fare well after the Zanzibar Revolution. The building and displays fell into disrepair, with the natural history specimens in the museum annexe looking particularly worse for wear. More recently, though, funds have been found to repair and restore the museum, and it was re-inaugurated under its original names on the 18th of May this year, International Museum Day. The Peace Memorial Museum is not quite what it was in its first two decades – some its contents, including the library, are now in the House of Wonders, itself closed for repair – but it is encouraging to see that its educational potential is being recognised once again. Let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, at least not in all of the ways that this fascinating study reveals.

Martin Walsh

Lucian A. Msambichaka, John K. Mduma, Onesmo Selejio and Oswald .J. Mashindano (editors). Dar es Salaam University Press, Dar es Salaam, 2015. xxiv + 436 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978 9976 60 586 0. (no price given).

It is most welcome to find no fewer than 22 Tanzanians, mainly economists from the University of Dar es Salaam, engaging seriously with the challenges Tanzania faces in seeking to move towards middle income status. The broad approach is to frame the problem as a need to achieve structural transformation by moving away from relatively low productivity activities (notably agriculture, which currently occupies some 70% of the labour force) towards higher productivity activities (particularly manufacturing industry, currently about 10%).

Following an Introduction, the book is arranged in four parts: I. ‘Why Industrial Transformation Has Failed in the Past’ (Chapters 2-5); II. ‘Lessons from Other Countries’ (Chapters 6-12); ‘Utilising Natural Resources for Socio-economic Transformation’ (Chapters 13-15); IV. ‘Synthesis’ (Chapters. 16-20), leading to the final Chapter 21 ‘The Way Forward: Lessons and Recommendations’. In this review I will briefly summarise the key points emerging from the various contributions and then consider how far the final chapter offers a coherent blueprint for Tanzania to indeed progress from poverty to prosperity.

In Part I, the editors kick off (in Chapter 2) with a rather critical review of previous industrialisation efforts. There follows a substantial contribution (Chapter 3) by Joseph Simbakalia, an engineer and Director General of the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA). Flora Kessy (Chapter 4) reviews poverty reduction strategies, concluding that there was a set-back during the low growth period during the 1980s and 1990s, while subsequent better economic performance has been accompanied by rising inequalities. David Nyange (Chapter 5) then considers the contribution agriculture might make to economic transformation and job creation. He notes in particular the negative impact of rapid population growth but also potential positives if agriculture can respond to rising demand from urban areas and if more agro-processing can be developed. Overall this part of the book provides a useful overview. However, I missed any reference to John Sutton’s An Enterprise Map of Tanzania (2012), which documents major elements of the industrial development that has been achieved despite the difficulties.

In Part II we find a search for lessons from the experience of other countries: Vietnam (Blandina Kilama, Chapter 6); South Korea (the Editors, Chapter 7); Japan (Faustine Bee, Chapter 8); Brazil, India & South Africa (Jehovaness Aikaeli, Chapter 9); China (Suleiman Serera, Chapter 10); Malaysia, Singapore & Dubai (Abu Mvungi and Riziki Nyello, Chapter 11). The emphasis here is on how these countries have achieved industrialisation starting from a low base. While the disappointing results of some countries’ socialist industrial policies are noted, there is a divergence of opinion as to whether market liberalisation, central planning, strong leadership or other factors are what drives success, possibly because the range of countries considered is perhaps too diverse and not all appear immediately relevant to Tanzania’s own predicament. Also in this section is Chapter 12 by Damian Gabagambi and Andrew Coulson who argue persuasively for a more positive view of small farms in the Tanzanian context.

Part III addresses the potential of natural resources to drive economic transformation, with Tanzania’s recent natural gas discoveries in mind. Joseph Simbakalia (Chapter 13) considers how to avoid the ‘resource curse’, pointing to opportunities to develop upstream and downstream linkages, if Tanzania can address skill shortages and other constraints. Aloyce Hepelwa (Chapter 14) reaches similar conclusions, viewing Tanzania in a world energy market context. However, neither of them comments on the still considerable problems to be overcome in converting discoveries to viable production, not least the current weakening in world energy markets, with the risk of counting chickens not yet hatched. Nor do they give consideration to possible lessons to be learned from Tanzania’s own experience with gold and gemstone mining. Also in this section, Kenneth Mdadila (Chapter 15) reviews world industrialisation from a historical perspective, perhaps better read in conjunction with Part II.

Part IV explores a wider range of factors which may have a bearing on Tanzania’s economic transformation. Raphael Chibunda (Chapter 16) makes the case for a National Science, Technology and Innovation System for Tanzania. Jehovaness Aikaeli and Barney Laseko (Chapter 17) suggest that tackling informality in its various forms is hampered by lack of systems for registering people, land and businesses, although they may underestimate the size of the task. Reinforcing this point, Bashiru Ally (Chapter 18) documents the rise in land conflicts in Tanzania despite government reform efforts. Ally sees this as primarily a rural issue but equally important may be how to manage the acquisition of land to meet the needs of expanding urban areas. In a thoughtful contribution, Joel Silas (Chapter 19) takes up the theme of the impact of population growth on socio-economic development, concluding that policies to reduce fertility are needed if Tanzania is to reap any demographic dividend. Finally, Christian Gama (Chapter 20) argues that economic diplomacy also has a contribution to make.

Which brings us to the final chapter, ‘The Way Forward’. This is difficult to summarise. Nine ‘Key Observations’ lead to 15 ‘Key Messages’ and then 29 ‘Recommendations’, covering ‘Strategic Thinking’ (4), ‘Policy’ (13), ‘Good Governance’ (2) and ‘Human Capital and Infrastructure’ (10). Most of the points have some validity but many of the recommendations are pitched at a rather high general level and so need further fleshing out to become operational. The rather large number of observations, key messages and recommendations also suggest that prioritisation has proved difficult – indeed, in the Introduction, the editors state that “they are all of equal weight and importance”! Given that resources and government capacity are limited, the government may need to focus, as far as industrial policy is concerned, on those things that only government can do – macro-economic stability, good governance (including appropriate decentralisation), law and order and infrastructure provision, thereby creating a framework within which domestic as well as foreign enterprise can prosper. Related to this, it is only intermittently that one glimpses ‘the real Tanzania’ beneath the generalities, and what should be the proper balance between industry and agriculture remains unclear. To make an even greater impact, the authors perhaps need in future work to grapple more directly with the current situation in Tanzania so that their recommendations can be more precisely targeted.

Nevertheless, the volume provides much food for thought and it is to be hoped that Tanzania’s policy makers will take notice of it.
Hugh Wenban-Smith

Hugh Wenban-Smith was born in Chunya and went to Mbeya School. His career was as a government economist (mainly in Britain, but with periods in Zambia and India). He is now an independent research economist, with particular interests in infrastructure, urbanisation and transport.

THE WINDS AND WOUNDS OF CHANGE: THE MEMOIRS OF DICK EBERLIE. PART 3: 1961-65. Dick Eberlie. Privately printed, 2016. viii + 266 pp. (paperback). Available from the author.

This is the third volume of Dick Eberlie’s memoirs and the second dealing with Tanganyika, subsequently mainland Tanzania (Part 2, dealing with the period 1950-60, was reviewed in TA 111). Returning from UK leave in January 1961, Eberlie had hoped to be posted as a District officer to a rural district, instead of which he found himself pen-pushing in Dar es Salaam. This was a time when government and politics were moving rapidly. Sir Richard Turnbull, having been appointed Governor, was negotiating with both Julius Nyerere and the Colonial Office. It emerged in the end that Nyerere was pushing against an open door to achieve independence for the country.

With all the changes in government, many European civil servants were departing. So Eberlie, served in different ministries – Commerce and Industry, and Legal Affairs. During this time, he volunteered to help young District Officers pass their law exams; indeed references to his voluntary work occur throughout these memoirs, as, for example, when helping the Society for the Blind to raise funds, and later on, as editorial member of the Tanzania Society.
At last he got away from the enclosed atmosphere of Dar es Salaam and was posted as Staff Officer in Morogoro, effectively acting as Deputy to the Provincial Commissioner and being closely involved in the organisation of famine relief and local government developments. Pleased to be posted to Kisarawe again, he put much energy into applying government policies to ensure that famine relief was regulated and basic funds or food-in-kind paid out, as well as carrying out court and administrative duties.

Amidst all this vital work Eberlie was quite suddenly called to Dar is Salaam to be Aide de Camp (ADC) to the Governor, who, together with Lady Turnbull, he had already had contact with. Events crowded in as Tanzania became a Republic, Turnbull’s office closed, Eberlie’s parents came on a memorable visit, and Eberlie himself left the country when his job ended. There is some account of the Zanzibar Revolution and then the Tanganyika army mutiny in 1964. Characteristically, Eberlie offered himself as acting ADC to the British Army commander who had just landed to restore order in Dar.

Eberlie, however, had been invited by the Tea Growers Association to be its Assistant Secretary and completed a first contract with them. Despite being hospitalised in London mid-term, he was offered a new contract, which he reluctantly declined. Later he accepted an invitation to be Private Secretary to his old boss, Turnbull, who was then Governor of Aden. In an Appendix there is a detailed and interesting description of the tea growers scattered about the Usambara Mountains, Mufindi, Njombe, Tukuyu and Mount Rungwe. Being the third largest employer of labour in Tanzania, the tea producers were up against many difficulties including the changing political climate and Union pressures.

The book ends with a gloomy epilogue assessing the Tanzanian government at that time. But there is a good selection of maps and illustrations, all attractively wrapped in a panorama of Dar es Salaam harbour and redolent of his sailing and social days there.
Simon Hardwick

Simon Hardwick was an Administrative Officer in Tanzania, 1957-68, and Chairman of the Britain-Tanzania Society, 1995-2000.



by Martin Walsh

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AID AND ACCOUNTABILITY: THE RISE AND FALL OF BUDGET SUPPORT IN TANZANIA. Helen Tilley. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, 2014. x + 157 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-40946442-6. £95.00.

This short book adopts an institutionalist or functionalist approach to foreign aid, in which governments are controlled by corrupt elites, donors make resources available to support their domestic agendas or to achieve foreign policy objectives, and procedures and practices have grown up to facilitate this while largely concealing what is going on from the public in both donor and recipient countries. The formal processes of accountability, including monitoring missions and end-of-project reports have little impact when the recipients have different objectives from the donors. This theory is supported by two chapters on the politics of foreign aid in Tanzania, mainly in the Mkapa and early Kikwete years, drawing on the author’s experiences as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Finance and as a consultant working for various donors.

The author follows Mustaq Khan who shows that corruption can sometimes be functional, but gives little attention to its downsides – cynicism and a loss of faith in the capabilities of the state and of politics generally. There are indeed possible benefits, in the short term, if corruption leads to economic activity which otherwise would not take place. But if resources are syphoned off and little or no investment in productive activity takes place, there are no benefits from corruption, only disbenefits, and a general loss of morale in which the whole political class becomes discredited. The author is much too generous to the aid professionals (both academics and consultants in the private sector) who have connived in this and made it possible for government-to-government transactions to continue when they were aware that they were achieving little that could be described as development.

The analysis is strangely static. It does not deal well with the pressures that build up on a political party that has ruled for 50 years, the creation of structures and movements outside the formal political processes, or the abilities of populations to grow and survive, and sometimes prosper, without much useful support from the state. It made me long for more specific case study material, for example the stories of a small number of aided projects or programmes told from both sides of the divide (together with the perspective of the supposed recipients) showing how weasel words and low-key reports and presentations were used to cover up or play down failures, or the distribution of the spoils from what was presented as good works, and how this was justified. Studies of that sort would have been fun to read, if still depressing, and at least have offered some hope and challenge for whoever gets involved in these activities in the future.

Democracy is presented as a process in which political parties survive by making promises to voters which they will deliver if elected. Since most taxes are indirect – import and excise duties – voters are not made aware of the consequences of more government spending rather than less. So accountability passes to external agencies – donors and bankers. But their leverage is less when interest rates are low, banks and donors are looking for opportunities to place their money, and where a new tranche of donors from the East are less demanding. But the experience of elections in Tanzania shows that it is also a judgement on the past, especially if promises made last time have not been delivered, and even the most entrenched elite cannot take victory for granted.

The case study does not present statistics showing the quantities of budget support (or its cousin, basket funding) negotiated in Tanzania, and focuses on the relative power of the two parties in a bargaining situation. But a note in passing demonstrates the limitations of this kind of functionalism. The author notes that “allowances and workshops, with the associated benefits of per diems, meals and transport funding” were in 2009/10 estimated to cost “the equivalent of one third of the government wage bill and 11 per cent of the government’s total recurrent spending” (p. 112), and then comments that the Government was unable to control this. No doubt that was how it appeared at the time. But cutting this kind of posho was one of the first acts of President Magufuli – showing that at least one leading figure could see the contradiction and was willing to take the political risk of trying to do something about it. Aid that does little more than prop up dysfunctional and often oppressive regimes is a fraud on the publics in both donor and recipient regimes, and academic writers should take care not to give the impression that this is inevitable or acceptable to any of them.
Andrew Coulson

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD – LAND, AGRICULTURE AND SOCIETY IN EAST AFRICA. A FESTSCHRIFT FOR KJELL HAVNEVIK. Michael Ståhl (editor). Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, 2015. 240 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-91-7106-774-6. £13.90. Also available for download at

Rural communities in East African countries face many challenges: high population growth, increasing land scarcity, intensification of land conflicts, climate change, persistent food insecurity, rural-urban migration, and largely stagnant agricultural productivity levels. After decades of neglect, the question of agricultural transformation in Africa is back on the policy agenda, and there is a heated debate on whether this should be based on developing the productive capacities of smallholder farmers or on enrolling foreign direct investments to nurture large-scale farming. This holds true for Tanzania, which has been one of the prime frontiers of what has been labelled the “global land grab”. At the same time, it is an exemplary case for the rise of a commercially oriented agricultural policy agenda in Africa, which manifests itself in pro-large-scale farming initiatives such as Kilimo Kwanza, SAGCOT and Big Results Now.

Against this backdrop, it is welcome that several of the contributions to this book, published as a Festschrift for renowned agrarian scholar Kjell Havnevik, focus on the issue of agrarian change in Tanzania. Most outstanding here are the historically rich contributions of Deborah Bryceson (‘Reflections on the unravelling of the Tanzanian peasantry, 1975-2015’) and Andrew Coulson (‘Small-scale and large-scale agricultures: Tanzanian experiences’), on which the remainder of this review will focus. Both deal with the changing positionality of smallholder farmers (or “peasants”) within the politico-economic and agricultural policy landscapes of Tanzania. Both agree that promotion of large-scale farming favoured by sections of the Tanzanian political and business elite may lead to new enclosures of land and the dispossession of rural populations. However, they differ on how they imagine the future of the “peasantry”. Bryceson provides us with a rather pessimistic agrarian history of Tanzania, which starts with the “Tanzanian nation-state […] originally founded on and designed with peasant’s political, economic and social aspirations in mind” (p. 10) and ends with the “disintegration” (p. 24) and “self-liquidation” (p. 26) of the ‘peasantry’. After three decades of neoliberalisation that did away with Nyerere’s egalitarian vision of development, as well as in the wake of the neomodernist promotion of large-scale farming, Tanzanian peasants seem to be bound to become a “distant memory” (p. 26). The recent discovery of natural gas and the shifting policy priorities potentially associated with it will only accelerate this decline. This pessimism is familiar from Bryceson’s earlier work on the same subjects.

Coulson is equally critical, but much more optimistic about the potential effectiveness of a smallholder-oriented development strategy. The strength of Coulson’s contribution is twofold. First, unlike Bryceson, he engages critically with the term “peasant”, dismissing it as an empty signifier that is anachronistic and imbued with developmentalism. Second, he tests the theory that “small farms can, in appropriate circumstances, compete with or outperform large [farms]” (p. 65). Given past experience, he cautions us about the current craze for large-scale farming schemes: “Tanzanian planners have exaggerated the potential of large farms and the easy availability of land, and underestimated the challenges they face. In particular, they have exaggerated the potential for irrigation” (p. 67). Coulson argues that farm productivity levels could be increased significantly by ensuring that farmers have access to sound marketing arrangements that provide them with fair prices, credit, inputs and agricultural expertise. Cases such as Vietnam or China, which heavily relied on a smallholder-oriented development strategy, could serve as models.

Both authors make valid points, but Coulson’s nuanced account is much more useful for constructive thinking about the current agricultural impasse in Tanzania and other African countries. However, two crucial issues seem to be largely absent from every Tanzania-focused contribution to the book. First, I miss an account that addresses the question that Prosper Matondi raises in her excellent chapter on ‘Land reform, natural resource governance and food security’: “What type(s) of governance institutions and mechanisms will lead to improved livelihood outcomes and environmental sustainability in rural Africa?” (p. 209). Second, we still need a more thorough engagement with the question of how the shift towards large-scale farming in Tanzania is related to changes in national class relations and how in turn these relations shape the dynamics of agricultural policy-making, implementation, and investment. The frictional implementation of Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT suggests that such relations are much more multifarious than a crude political economy analysis suggests.
Altogether, this book is a mixed bag. The contributions differ in scope and depth, and many do not match the quality of Bryceson’s and Coulson’s chapters. Several of them also lack a clear theoretical framework.
Stefan Ouma

THE GROUNDNUT LINE: THE STORY OF THE SOUTHERN PROVINCE RAILWAY OF TANGANYIKA. David Burton. Published by the author, Telford, 2014. 48 pp. (paperback). £8.99. Available directly from the author at 53 New Church, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 1JX (UK cheque or postal order), or via eBay (item no. 131689627186).

Illustration on the cover of “The Groundnut Line”

Illustration on the cover of “The Groundnut Line”

The Groundnut Scheme planned for Tanganyika in the late 1940s has gone down in history as one of the worst financial decisions made by the British government in its overseas colonies. Following the end of the Second World War there were severe shortages of consumable oils and fats, and a proposal to clear and farm large areas of bush to produce groundnuts in Tanganyika was pushed forward with little idea of the difficulties involved. Poor planning, unsuitable equipment and incompetent personnel compounded the poor choice of location and lack of rainfall. The major site chosen for the planting was Nachingwea, 90 miles inland and with no communication either by rail or road. A railway was planned with the initial starting point at Mkwaya at the top end of Lindi town creek, but this proved unsuitable for the planned port, which was later built at Mtwara, 40 miles away. Tanganyika Railways were tasked with the construction of a metre gauge railway which was begun in 1947.

The massive expenditure of £35 million on the Scheme with little return caused the government to abandon it on 9 January 1951. Despite this, Mtwara port was built and the new rail link between there and Nachingwea completed in 1954. This used steam and diesel locomotives and became known as the Southern Province Railway (SPR). The two major types of steam locomotives were the NZ Indian 4-8-0 Class built in 1915, and the 22 (G) 4-8-0 Class dating from a year later. The diesel locomotives were shunters seen in other parts of the East African system, namely the 80, 81 and 83 Class as well as three Wickham passenger railcars. The latter had been ordered by the Kenya and Uganda Railways before the war but the Swiss Saurer engines did not arrive until after its end. After use on a line in Kenya they were transferred to the SPR. The envisaged tonnages of groundnut and other freight on the line never materialised and despite the backing of the East African Railways organisation and an additional extension to Masasi the line was closed on 1 July 1962 with a huge loss.

The Groundnut Line by David Burton is an excellent addition to the East African railway enthusiast’s library and tells the story of the earlier Lindi tramway built by the Germans before the First World War and the background to the SPR and its expansion until its closure in 1962. It includes numerous illustrations and maps and three specially commissioned works by the railway artist David Charlesworth, including a delightful colour cover depicting an NZ 4-8-0 steam locomotive running along the shoreline near the town of Mikindani. The book is divided into two sections, the history of the scheme and the railway up to its closure and subsequent dismantling, and an appendix of diagrams and photographs of the steam and diesel locomotive motive power. A detailed glossary of names, bibliography, additional reading and index complement a well-produced and interesting history of one of the lesser known railways in East Africa.
Kevin Patience



by Martin Walsh

WOMEN, LAND AND JUSTICE IN TANZANIA. Helen Dancer. James Currey, Woodbridge, 2015. xxiv + 192 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-84701­113-8. £45.

Having seen the author of this book present her work, I had high expectations, and they were not disappointed. This is a well-grounded and carefully thought through study of the difficulty women experience establishing and defending their rights to land in present-day Tanzania. Focused on material from Mount Kilimanjaro, it provides useful reviews of the literature on a number of urgent current issues, relevant far beyond Tanzania: the evolution of land rights in Africa in the context of increasing demand and ‘land grabs’; the rhetoric of human rights and women’s rights in the NGO sector, the internal diversity of that sector, and (more country-specific) the functioning of the court system from local dispute settlement mechanisms upward.

Dancer demonstrates the dearth of easy answers to the many difficult issues raised, such as how to mediate between plural understandings of law and how to ensure equitable outcomes from under-resourced legal institutions. She notes, for instance, that while empirical studies indicate that land titling campaigns often work to the detriment of women’s land claims by vesting land formally in male family heads and marginalising women’s ‘customary’ entitlements, feminist lawyers in Africa are among those who continue to lobby for the use of formal legal mechanisms, such as titling, to assert women’s rights. At the same time, the conclusion makes clear that there are ways of legislating constructively and of working with flawed institutions.

Following a sample of cases through the courts, the book makes clear that the Tanzanian government’s commitment to furthering gender justice is not purely rhetorical; that legislation has over the years succeeded in providing certain legal means for women to assert their rights, and that legal disputes concerning land may well be decided in favour of women claimants. At the same time, it also emerges clearly that it takes guts and perseverance on the part of a woman plaintiff for her case even to reach court. Formal judicial proceedings are typically a late stage in a dispute that has probably already been through several rounds of mediation, formal or informal. The pressure exerted on women to settle, quite possibly to their detriment, within these forums can be great, extending all the way to physical violence. The book brought to mind the Swahili saying kikulacho kiko nguoni mwako; what bites you is in your clothes. The people most likely to imperil a woman’s claim to land are typically close relatives, of her own or of a deceased husband.

The historian may take particular interest in Dancer’s exploration of the interaction between successive layers of legislation. The colonial ethnographer Hans Cory’s summary of patrilineal customary law, for example, remains the official interpretation of customary law for areas considered to be patrilineal, and women have to mobilise the more recent constitutional commitment against gender injustice against it, with varying success. One point that it would have been nice to see pursued further is the connection between land claims and economic stratification, or class. But one book cannot do everything, and this one does quite a lot as it is.
Felicitas Becker
Felicitas Becker is Lecturer in African History at the University of Cambridge, and author of Becoming Muslim in Mainland Tanzania, 1890-2000 (Oxford, 2008), as well as articles in African Affairs, the Journal of African History, African Studies Review, and the Canadian Journal of Development Studies.

IN SEARCH OF PROTECTION: OLDER PEOPLE AND THEIR FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL IN TANZANIA. Helmut Spitzer and Zena Mnasi Mabeyo. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2011. 141 pp (paperback). ISBN 978-998708-080-9. Available from African Books Collective, £17.95.

Older people in Tanzania tend to be invisible – and the poorer and more rural they are, the less of a voice they have. Not only is it clear that many older people are marginalised by their own communities, but also their plight has been neglected by NGOs and international agencies, who may prefer to concentrate on more immediately appealing areas such as children, women, water, health, forests, and so on.

This book lifts a corner of this invisibility, providing an informative summary of the situation of older people in Tanzania, against a backdrop of the largely ineffective global, regional and national policy environment. It contains a detailed account of fieldwork done in two locations in Tanzania which usefully highlights rural-urban differences and brings out the considerable gender-based disparities. While older people are generally marginalised, discriminated against and socially excluded in their communities and further afield, older women face even greater discrimination and difficulties. Older people are vulnerable to chronic poverty and in recent years this has been exacerbated by the additional burden thrust upon them by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, that of looking after sick family members and in particular taking on orphaned children.

Spitzer and Mabeyo’s account resonates with the research I did in Tanzania with older people over a decade ago, depressingly showing that not much has changed. However, I was disappointed not to see greater coverage of more nuanced social aspects of old age for women, such as widowhood, polygyny (when the older wife is pushed aside in favour of a younger one), and the significant issue of witchcraft, with its links to inheritance of property rights, and HIV/AIDS, and where older women (as witches) may be blamed for untimely and apparently unexplained deaths.

The book ends with a range of recommendations. Older people in Tanzania lack adequate formal social protection, and are experiencing diminishing family and community support, but the authors argue convincingly that the introduction of a universal non-contributory pension is both fiscally affordable and sustainable, and could play an important role in poverty reduction, if there were ever the political will to implement it.
Kate Kibuga Forrester
Kate Kibuga Forrester lived in Tanzania for 15 years, working as a freelance consultant chiefly in social development. She carried out several research assignments for HelpAge International, focusing on the situation of older people in different locations in the country. She now lives in Dorchester, where she is active in community and environmental affairs.

BUILDING A PEACEFUL NATION: JULIUS NYERERE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SOVEREIGNTY IN TANZANIA, 1960-1964. Paul Bjerk. University of Rochester Press, Rochester NY, 2015. xvii + 374 pp (hardback). ISBN 978-1-58046-505-2. £75.00.

The immediate tasks facing those African governments which took power of newly independent states during the 1960s were to establish political control and limit neo-colonial interference; in other words to establish sovereignty. This was not easy. Economic and administrative capacity was limited, and creating a stable political consensus was difficult in the absence of unpopular colonial rule. To complicate matters, external threats were posed by instability in neighbouring countries and by increasingly interventionist superpower policy in the context of the Cold War. The way in which the TANU government under the leadership of Julius Nyerere was able to negotiate these challenges and create a foundational sovereignty during the period 1960-64 is the subject of this new book by Paul Bjerk, an assistant professor of history at Texas Tech University.

One major limitation facing any researcher investigating post-independence Tanganyikan government policy is that many of the official records from this period remain confidential. In addition to interviewing dozens of key protagonists, Bjerk has attempted to bridge this gap by presenting the contents of a wide range of diplomatic correspondence in which key issues are often discussed frankly. Indeed, the fact that the references and bibliography in this book run to almost 100 pages is testament to his substantial archival research across several countries.

In the introduction, Bjerk states that his book is not intended to be a biography or evaluation of Nyerere. However, sections on Nyerere’s education and his development of Ujamaa ideology – and indeed the book’s subtitle – at times create a contrary impression. Although other figures such as Oscar Kambona and Rashidi Kawawa receive plenty of attention, Nyerere is firmly situated as the book’s key figure, perhaps inevitably given the central role he played in policy formation during this period.

Bjerk’s work is structured thematically, starting with a focus on domestic sovereignty. He evaluates, in turn, measures to limit the threat posed to Nyerere’s government by opposition parties and labour unions, the origins of Ujamaa ideology, early attempts at villagisation, the 1964 mutiny and, finally, the creation of the national youth service. Throughout this section, Bjerk skilfully shows that sovereignty is not simply imposed from above but rather it is the product of social mediation in which both elite and non-elite discourses play important roles.

Bjerk then turns attention to the projection of external sovereignty through foreign policy. He discusses the way in which the Tanganyikan government sought a balance between its principled positions, for example its support for independence movements in Southern Africa and its desire to maintain a non-aligned position in the Cold War. This section also contains a chapter on the Zanzibar Revolution which shows that an American intervention had been imminent before Union with Tanganyika was finally agreed.

Casual readers may find the more academically complex parts of this book off-putting, for example the theoretical sections contained in the introduction and conclusion. However, Bjerk’s work will provide an invaluable resource for those engaged in the academic study of the immediate post-independence period in both Tanzania (Tanganyika) and Africa more broadly.
Robert Macdonald
Robert Macdonald is a PhD student at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh. He is currently in the final stages of writing up his thesis on voter behaviour in Tanzania.

Also noticed:

THE STORY OF SWAHILI. John M. Mugane. Ohio University Press, Athens,
OH, 2015. xiv + 324 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-0-89680-293-3. £20.99. This vibrant overview by the Director of the African Language Program in Harvard University has something for everyone interested in the development of Swahili language and literature, including sections on kanga sayings, Swahili soap operas, and the use of Swahili in African American life.

ALISI NDANI YA NCHI YA AJABU. Lewis Carroll. Translated by Ida Hadjivayanis. Evertype, Portlaoise, 2015. xv + 135 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-78201-122-4. £10.95.
Undaunted by the linguistic inventiveness and sheer Englishness of Lewis Carroll’s classic, Ida Hadjivayanis has produced the first Swahili version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to appear in 75 years. This is a must for all lovers of Swahili translation, and with any luck it will find a good market in Tanzania too.

POCKET GUIDE: INSECTS OF EAST AFRICA. Dino J. Martins. Struik Nature, Cape Town, 2014. 152 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-77007-894-9. £7.50.
Dino Martin’s pocket guide is the first of its kind, illustrated with superb colour photographs of the insect groups and species that it describes. So little is known about insects in the five East African countries it covers that readers are encouraged to send in their own observations, photographs and records.

THE KINGDON FIELD GUIDE TO AFRICAN MAMMALS (Second edition). Jonathan Kingdon. Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 2015. 640 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-47291-236-7. £27.00.
Kingdon’s handsomely illustrated field guide, first published in 1997, has now been revised and updated to take account of new information, including developments in the classification of African mammals. Both despite and because of its various idiosyncracies, it is perhaps the best guide to carry around Tanzania.

Publishing, Kew, 2015. 520 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-84246-371-0. £80.00. Described as “a record of some 2,700 people who have collected herbarium specimens in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, […] a supplement to the now complete Flora of Tropical East Africa.” This comprehensive survey of East Africa’s plant collectors is accompanied by line drawings and more than 250 black and white photographs.

Comments (1)


by Martin Walsh

MOBILIZING ZANZIBARI WOMEN: THE STRUGGLE FOR RESPECT­ABILITY AND SELF-RELIANCE IN COLONIAL EAST AFRICA. Corrie Decker. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2014. xiv + 254 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-137-46529-0. £62.50.

Those familiar with Decker’s earlier publications will know the rich oral his­tory she has accumulated through extensive research with women of various generations in Zanzibar. This book builds upon her previous work to present a thorough investigation into the development of women’s education and pro­fessionalisation in 1920s and 1930s Zanzibar and the emerging significance of women within the public sphere in the post-war and late colonial period.

Central to the argument is an exposition of the processes by which women, and female teachers and professionals in particular, shaped prevailing notions of heshima (respectability) in the early colonial period into what was by the post-war period ‘a symbol of the publicly active, self-reliant, middle-class profes­sional women’ (p. 2). Women’s literacy was a key element in their manipulation of heshima. That many Zanzibaris describe the late colonial period as the time of maendeleo ya wanawake (women’s development) underscores the indispensabil­ity of women’s education and professionalisation to more general social and economic development the 1950s and 1960s. Decker uses the term ‘self-reliance’ to encapsulate the Swahili concepts of faida and nafuu (benefit or profit) and other factors to describe ‘the goals – economic and social, individual and com­munal – that professional women set out for themselves and their families’ (p. 13). Women’s mobility and action is contrasted throughout the book with the attempted ‘mobilization’ of women in male-authored discourses, including those by the colonial government, elite Arab figures and nationalists.

The decision by the colonial government to support women’s education in the late 1920s was related to the drive to improve standards of living. Although the colonial government sought ‘to produce “good wives and mothers” not profes­sional women’ (p. 80), generations of educated women delayed marriage to continue to work as teachers or nurses. Decker demonstrates that this was far from a top-down movement – aspirant scholars and educated women reshaped notions of heshima to gain greater social and economic freedom. Furthermore they were essential mediators who established acceptable methods for dissemi­nating colonial policies, such as those related to health, which were often seen as invasive interventions into the domestic sphere.

These insights into the domestic alongside the official make this a particularly engaging study, as Decker interweaves of archival records and oral history. Al­though these sources are used in tandem throughout, each chapter has a pe­nultimate section focusing upon an individual whose experiences provide a personal perspective on key issues. As such we learn of the diverse outcomes of women who through education gained greater ‘self-reliance’ and also the ways in which they articulate these memories. These narratives elucidate how such women negotiated the public and private sphere – we cannot understand their professional experiences without also locating them in the domestic setting as daughters, sisters and mothers.

This book is vital reading for scholars of 20th century Zanzibar, and education and development in the global perspective. Decker’s final point clearly demon­strates the wider significance of this work. Evident in her interviews with men and women was the ‘refusal by women to see explicit political gains or losses as the only lens through which to understand their history. Instead they high­lighted the continuities in women’s education and work between the colonial and postcolonial period as the message to take away from our conversations.’ (p. 161). Such fresh perspectives, which occur throughout the book, challenge the prevailing histories of colonial, revolutionary and post-colonial period in Zanzibar and as such the book makes a vibrant and important contribution to scholarship on East Africa and beyond.
Sarah Longair
Sarah Longair is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the British Muse­um, where she has worked for 10 years. Her research explores British colonial history in East Africa and the Indian Ocean world through material and visual culture. Her monograph, Cracks in the Dome: Fractured Histories of Empire in the Zanzibar Museum, 1897–1964, will be released in August 2015. She has also published several book chapters, articles and edited volumes, including Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience (2012), co-edited with John McAleer.

GROWING UP WITH TANZANIA: Memories, Musing and Maths. Karim F. Hirji. Mkuki Na Nyota, Dar es salaam, 2014. 302 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-08-223-0. Available from African Books Collective, £17.95.

Karim Hirji grew up during the dramatic years before and after independence. He is an Ismaili whose parents came from the Indian subcontinent and this memoir provides a rare view of how Indians made the future Tanzania their home. Hirji begins by depicting provincial life in Lindi during British colonial rule where many Asians of different communities were engaged in trade and commerce, and he reflects on the hierarchical relationship between the colonial rulers, the Indians and the Africans. The family moved to Dar es Salaam when he was in his teens in 1961. The Ismaili community were mainly living in Upan­ga where their Jama’at Khana (mosque) was located and he describes playing cricket and attending the Aga Khan Boys’ school. This is when Hirji fell in love with numbers, anticipating his later life as a professor of mathematics in the US. The memoir is sprinkled with mathematical concepts, presented in a thought­ful but fun way (readers who are not mathematically inclined can readily skip these pages: they are not essential to the story).

Hirji went to Dar Technical College for his secondary education and found him­self in an environment where the majority of students were Africans. This had a transforming effect on his outlook, and he began to see himself as ‘a member of an emergent nation unified and guided by a noble leader’. During this pe­riod he attended a ‘nation-building’ camp at Kinondoni for a month, where the majority of students were again African. At that time not many Asians were exposed to the wider world because they tended to remain segregated within their own communities. His discovery of mathematics led him to move next to a boarding school at Kibaha to complete his schooling. Ujamaa was in full swing and all school leavers had to do national service prior to going to university. Hirji attended Ruvu camp for six months and during this period he reflected further on social and racial equality.

This was a challenging time for Asians in the country, and they did not always perceive the transition from colonial rule as positive. Hirji manages to capture how many of his friends reacted to these changes. Asians had come from India to Africa under the umbrella of British colonial power, and cultural separation from the local population was embedded in their mindset. Africanisation in the 1970s led to the mass exodus of many Asians because they felt insecure. The nationalisation of property after the Arusha Declaration led the Aga Khan to negotiate with the Canadian government to allow the Ismaili community to leave Tanzania and resettle in Canada. Hirji captures the early euphoria be­fore nationalisation and reflects thoughtfully on its consequences. He notes that many of his family and friends (of Indian origin) are scattered all over the globe, including in the US, Canada and England. He himself spent 20 years in aca­demia in the US, but does not reveal how this came about.

This memoir is very much a personal journey seen from the eyes of an Asian growing up in Tanganyika/Tanzania during a period of great change. It pro­vides a rare glimpse of the Ismaili community and its cohesiveness. The Aga Khan has played a fundamental role in directing the life of its followers and there is no doubt that Hirji is very much a product of that community. There is much to recommend his account, particularly his musings on education and mathematics.
Shamshad Cockcroft

Shamshad Cockcroft grew up in Zanzibar and is a professor of Cell Physiology at University College London.

The Development State: Aid, Culture and Civil Society in Tanzania. Maia Green. James Currey, Woodbridge, 2014. xi + 227 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-84701-108-4. £19.99.

Readers familiar with Tanzania will find much of interest and much to ponder in this book. Tanzanian development and development politics has a long, rich tradition from the socialist policies and experiments of the Nyerere years to the changes heralded by structural adjustment and beyond. Notwithstanding some excellent historical work, there have been very few book-length studies of development in Tanzania in recent years. For this reason Maia Green, a social anthropologist with considerable knowledge of contemporary Tanzania, is well placed to write a comprehensive study.

The Development State comprises an introduction, eight chapters (all but one pre­viously published) and a conclusion. The introduction sets out her general ap­proach, which focuses on the effects of neoliberal development on forms of gov­ernance. This donor-driven ‘discourse’ legitimises and supports a very specific agenda of trade liberalisation, macro-economic stability and fiscal discipline. It has important consequences for developing countries like Tanzania: aid rela­tionships are framed in the language of partnership and local ownership, which in turn are underpinned by limited forms of donor support in the expectation that a state will empower its citizens to achieve development. This is a world away from the 1970s when the state was the political actor which defined and implemented development.

Green argues that Tanzanians have, for a variety of reasons, come to accept and pursue a neoliberal vision of development even though this has delivered very little for the majority of citizens. In Chapter 1 she defines ‘development states as those that are materially and ideologically sustained through development re­lations’ (p. 15). That Tanzania is such a state is reinforced by her view of the his­tory of development from the British mandate to the present. Chapter 2 looks at the ‘participatory’ rhetoric which has dominated Tanzanian development from the 1990s, and argues that participatory planning is the form through which development is organised at all levels. Chapter 3 examines the ubiquitous plan­ning workshops that rely on logical frameworks and participatory methods to identify and agree ‘manageable projects’. In the next chapter Green critiques notions of participation, which, she argues, is a tool ‘to enrol divergent inter­ests’ into supporting a common enterprise.

While Green states that there is little evidence that participation delivers real benefits, she does not ask why Tanzanians fail to question this way of thinking and pursuing development. Subsequent chapters focus on civil society actors who claim to represent local ‘communities’ to ‘anticipate development’, obtain funding and become development agents. Green argues that this process cre­ates inequalities because these people, who have tenuous links to communities, are in fact ‘privatising development’ even as they attempt to enrol local people into a project through workshops aimed at ‘capacity building’.

Chapter 7 provides a fascinating account of ‘anti-witchcraft services’ which, Green argues, are modelled on modern, neoliberal forms of governance and ser­vice delivery. Chapter 8 examines the cultural logic of neoliberal development for Tanzanians, by which she means the small urban-based middle class. This class is largely the product of policies which created and maintains the public sector; in Green’s view it is parasitic in that its access to education, modern housing, IT technology and modern forms of consumption are underpinned by exploitative arrangements with poor rural households. Green concludes, rather unsatisfactorily, that the state has prioritised forms of development which pro­mote the capitalist transformation of the economy (which will benefit very few Tanzanians), while using participatory planning to reinforce the message that ordinary citizens are responsible for their own development.

This book is problematic for several reasons. The various chapters do not fit together to provide a coherent analysis of development, and despite the book’s claim to speak about the whole of Tanzania, Green’s research and analysis is largely focused on Morogoro region. While her insights are interesting, we learn very little about how ordinary Tanzanians participate in or experience development. Finally, the terms and language used by the author make the book difficult to read and her arguments hard to comprehend. Her focus on ‘discourse’ obscures an understanding of the complex social and political re­lations and networks that underpin development, the diversity of actors and institutions with an interest in development, and, critically, what two decades of pursuing neoliberal development policy has or has not delivered.
John R. Campbell

John R. Campbell taught sociology in the University of Dar es Salaam in 1980-84, following which he worked at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he was involved in development in Ethiopia, Botswana, and Kenya. In 2000 he joined the anthropology department in the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.



by Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh has taken over as editor of the TA reviews section from John Cooper-Poole. The editorial team would like to thank John again for the wonderful job he has done since 2002. Correspondence about past, pending and future reviews should now be addressed directly to Martin (kisutuvirginmediacom).

COTTON IN TANZANIA: BREAKING THE JINX. Joe C. B. Kabissa. Tanzania Educational Publishers, Bukoba, 2014. 338 pp. (paperback). ISBN 9789987070077. Available from African Books Collective, £24.95.

The right strategy for cotton in Tanzania has been a key issue for the agricultural sector both before and after independence. The question is complex and many observers and participants have contributed analyses which were specific to their time. Dr Joe Kabissa has now written a comprehensive account of the growth of the industry since German times up to the present day. Kabissa is uniquely qualified for this task, being an entomologist who has served both as head of cotton research at Ukiriguru and Ilonga and as Director of the Tanzania Cotton Board, retiring in 2012, He has a very broad knowledge of the global cotton sector and is also that rare ex-civil servant who is prepared to criticise in public his former political masters.

The challenges facing the industry have always been both scientific (pests, viruses and yields) and institutional. Alongside these has been the critical issue of farm-level cropping options: what are the relative margins of cotton, maize, and rice in an ever-changing world and domestic market? These issues have not prevented nearly half a million small farmers growing cotton in a ‘good’ year, such as 2005/6 when a record total of 376,000 tons of seed cotton was achieved.

The potential value of the crop to the national economy was first recognised by the German colonial government which saw the eastern belt (Moshi to Iringa) as the principal home of the industry, with plantations linked to compulsory labour. The British government pushed the industry into the Lake Zone, focusing research at Ukiriguru, managed by the British (later Empire) Cotton Growing Association. In the1950s, with high commodity prices, this policy was largely successful, with rising yields and an increasingly viable institutional structure in the Victoria Federation of Co-operative Unions (VFCU). This owned its own ginneries, exported most of the crop to the UK and was led by luminaries like Paul Bomani.

For the first decade after independence this format was preserved and production continued to rise. However, the big changes mandated by CCM in the structure of co-operatives in the 1970s proved immensely debilitating to the VFCU (now the Nyanza Co-operative Union, NCU). The donor-led ultra­liberal reforms of the late 80s and 90s reduced the NCU to a rump organisation and created destructive competition between about 30 ginners, eventually leading to a five per cent discount on the world price for Tanzanian cotton lint. A parallel history had taken place in textile manufacturing, with substantial investments in joint ventures by the National Development Corporation and seven foreign companies, nearly all of which were privatised in the 1990s with similarly disappointing results. However, at least two new private companies have emerged and perform impressively.

Kabissa deals with both the detail and the broader policy issues in an impressive way. He is very clear that high quality research in the 1950s and 60s facilitated the development of improved varieties with resistance to the critical pest and viral threats from bollworm and Fusarium wilt. This created a potentially powerful springboard for the sector. However, the national co-operative reforms of the 1970s were disastrous for the NCU and its members and underinvestment by government in research and development from the mid-1970s was grossly negligent. The lack of a policy on genetically modified cotton, embraced by Tanzania’s competitors, was an opportunity lost (for the time being). He shows how the cotton growing and textile manufacturing sectors have not been developed in recent years with any form of real interdependence in spite of a long-standing goal that 70 per cent of cotton should be spun and woven within Tanzania. In practice the low quality of lint supplied by the ginners and with its implications for yarn quality has locked the three or four weaving companies into production of kanga and kitenge cloth for a largely captive market.

Kabissa’s central point is that the huge potential of the cotton sector both from the point of view of farmers and the national economy has not been realised over more than a century of opportunity. With regard to the recent past he blames the lack of an effective strategy on government with its failure to build up the Tanzania Cotton Board as a regulator and driver of change. In particular he shows how repeated changes in the system for distributing inputs has created disillusionment among farmers who depend on an efficient system and for whom this a matter of economic survival. His conclusion, captured in the book’s subtitle, is that there seems to be a ‘jinx’ on real change, although he sees major possibilities in recent shifts to contract farming. Cotton in Tanzania is not only a courageous book, but sets an excellent precedent for seasoned professionals in Africa to take apart the failures of agricultural policy which continue to hold back output and rural security. This is a pioneering study, which deserves to be replicated in other sectors and countries.
Laurence Cockcroft

DISTRICT OFFICER IN TANGANYIKA: THE MEMOIRS OF DICK EBERLIE. PART 2: 1956-60. Dick Eberlie. Privately printed, 2014. 309 pp. (paperback). Available from the author (eberlie@vigomews.orangehome.

This book about Dick Eberlie’s colonial service in Tanganyika is the second volume of his memoirs (the first was about his early life). He attended the Oxford Devonshire Course in 1956 when there were eight of us on the course, and towards the end of the year we held a riotous dinner in Oriel College at which we gave ourselves the whimsical name Haidhuru, ‘it doesn’t matter’. What none of us knew then was that Eberlie was minutely recording his daily life, and from this he has skilfully put together a coherent and interesting narrative of the period up to 1960 and the work that he did as a young District Officer.

We sailed to Tanganyika in July 1957 before dispersing to our various districts. Eberlie spent some months in Handeni District, where he had an amusing encounter with Governor Twining. He describes the extraordinary responsibilities given to him as a new DO when he was left on his own at district HQ. He then moved to Nzega District, where his work included the development of local water supplies, trading centres and the development of local government.

Then his health began to fail and he was moved to Ocean Road Hospital in Dar, having been diagnosed with TB. From this point on his account reads more like pages from the Tatler than that of a recovering patient. He began to get involved with Government House, and describes his first meetings with Lady Turnbull and later the Governor. When pronounced reasonably fit, he was posted to Kisarawe District, 1,000 feet higher than Dar and healthier. Reading about his safaris there I particularly admire the thoroughness of his work, which makes me feel quite idle. At different times he and I were presiding officers in the national elections at Shungubweni. In 1958, I waited all day for the twelfth registered voter to turn up and read the whole of Robert Graves’ Good-Bye To All That; Eberlie had much more usefully employed himself dealing with the sub-chief and local people.

This book will have a much wider appeal than to those of us who served together (only five of our original group of eight Overseas Service Course students now survive). It has been printed privately, has an attractive wrapper depicting palm trees, and includes excellent maps and numerous photographs.
Simon Hardwick

CAPITALISM AND CLOVES: AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF PLANTATION LIFE ON NINETEENTH-CENTURY ZANZIBAR. Sarah K. Croucher. Springer New York 2015. 256 pp (hardback) ISBN 978-1-4419-8470-8. £90.00.

Nineteenth-century European visitors to Zanzibar were wont to wax lyrical as they described the approach to Unguja (Zanzibar) by sea. First the scent of cloves, which had the explorer Richard Burton quoting from Milton’s Paradise Lost (“Sabaean odours from the spicy shore”); then the verdant island itself, which in the words of the second British Consul, Lieutenant-Colonel Rigby, “presented the appearance of an unbroken forest of cocoanut, mango and other trees, with the clove plantations on the hills forming the background”. Rigby continued to enthuse over the beauty of the rural landscape, though he left no doubt that this was a man-made scene in which the “country-houses of the Arab proprietors, and the huts of their slaves, are thickly dotted over the surface”. The larger part of his Report on the Zanzibar Dominions (1860) was about the iniquities of the slave trade and the need to suppress it. Happily, this was eventually achieved, though slavery has left an indelible mark on the society and politics of Zanzibar as well as the agricultural landscape of the islands. The smell of cloves still lingers around Zanzibar’s wharves.

As the Zanzibar government struggles to revive the fortunes of a crop that once dominated the economy, this is as good a time as any to begin digging into its past. Sarah Croucher’s Capitalism and Cloves is a brave book. It is based primarily on a surface survey of clove plantations in four areas of Unguja and Pemba islands, and the excavation of an Arab plantation owner’s house near Piki on Pemba. Chapters describe the regional context, Zanzibar’s plantation landscapes, the archaeology of slavery, plantation households, and the global trade and local ceramics associated with them. Croucher’s central argument is that the plantation economy of Zanzibar has to be understood on its own terms, not least because of the way in which slaves assimilated into Swahili society.

Croucher found that slavery is now relatively invisible in the archaeological record, while the presumed descendants of slaves have mostly forgotten the fact, and can only recite generalised narratives about the bad old days. As a result, she had far too little material to work with: the archaeology is thin, its interpretation often too speculative. The book is padded out with more information (and jargon) about the archaeology of the Atlantic world than many readers will be comfortable with. The author might have made much more use of recent anthropological and agricultural research on the islands. I was also surprised to find no reference to historical sources like Henry Stanley Newman’s Banani: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Zanzibar and Pemba (1898), or Robert Nunez Lyne’s Zanzibar in Contemporary Times (1905), which includes a nice description of the house of one of his Arab neighbours in Dunga. That said, Capitalism and Cloves is an original study that has much to recommend it. It raises important questions about Zanzibar’s past and its interpretation, is replete with interesting observations, and will no doubt be consulted by students and researchers for many years to come.
Martin Walsh



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

John Cooper-Poole, who has run the TA reviews section since 2002, covering 38 issues, has decided it is time to hand over the role to someone new. The TA editorial team wishes to express its gratitude to John, who – as we’re sure you will agree – has done a wonderful job.

This means we are now in need of a volunteer to take on the role of reviews editor. Please contact David Brewin or Ben Taylor if you are interested.

UJAMAA – The hidden story of Tanzania’s economic development from the grassroots Ralph Ibbott, Crossroads Books £15.99 In the 1960s the Ruvuma Development Association (RDA) was formed by new villages that were being run as genuine cooperatives. The villagers grew their crops by collective work and the villages were run democratically through open meetings and elected officials who had no payment.

Development in the RDA villages was slow but real, with improvements in food supply, health and education and most significantly in the confidence of the villagers as they learned to manage their affairs. The villages exemplified the policies that Julius Nyerere was expounding in his ‘Socialism and Rural Development’ and he gave the RDA his personal support.

RDA villages were probably the most successful of the various forms of collective farming being attempted across the country and the RDA attracted support from international aid agencies.

Although collective villages and cooperative farming were party and government policies, in 1969 the TANU National Executive decreed that RDA be dissolved. Why? Andrew Coulson gives an explanation in his ‘Tanzania, A Political Economy’: TANU regional and national politicians became fearful that their position and power would be undermined if independent, politicised villages became the norm. Ibbott provides detailed experience to support this conclusion. In addition he has evidence that at least one minister and member of TANU National Executive was not just opposed to the RDA but also to Ujamaa, which was supposedly party and government policy.

Ibbott was an advisor to RDA and lived in Litowa, the first RDA village. He was closely involved with the work and life of the villages until the dissolution of RDA and on his return to Britain was invited by the Commonwealth Secretariat to write a report of his experience with RDA which they intended to publish. However, his report was never published, perhaps because the Commonwealth Secretariat did not want to offend the government of a member state or possibly it was the victim of a change in personnel. The report has been available to academic researchers, and now becomes accessible to a wider readership.

Ujamaa is Ibbott’s record of events, reports by visitors to RDA villages, sections on specific topics and Ibbott’s letter to Nyerere after the dissolution decision (to which there was no reply). He has added a recently written Epilogue which brings together later research on the subsequent history of the ex-RDA villages.

The original report “The Origin, Growth & Disbanding of the RDA” has severe criticism of successive Ruvuma Regional Commissioners. They did not understand the philosophy on which the villages were based and became opposed to something that they could not control.

The last of the sections on specific themes is a profound critique of Nyerere’s failure to turn his political ideas into practical policies. He passed implementation over to party and government officials who had no understanding or experience of promoting voluntary small- scale collective villages. They wanted quick results from large state-organised schemes and were all too ready to fall back on compulsion. Nyerere must have known this.

This is a report prepared to inform and guide those involved with rural development and is probably a unique source for researchers and historians. The general reader who is not familiar with the background might struggle with, for example, the references to Peramiho, the Catholic mission complex near Songea.

Ujamaa makes uncomfortable reading for those of us who uncritically and enthusiastically championed Tanzania through the 70s and 80s. It also has a harsh message for those who are “not interested in politics, I just want to help” – effective development is always political.
John Arnold

(John Arnold, was Regional Secretary, Ruvuma Region, 1963-4.)

NYERERE – The Early Years, Thomas Molony, James Currey 2014. ISBN 9781847010902 £25.00

This book from the pen of the Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh aims to present “the first truly rounded portrait of Nyerere’s early life”. There has been little opportunity to learn accurately about the development of Mwalimu’s early thinking and this is a valiant effort to fill the gap.

Even here descriptions of the background to his early upbringing rely on much anecdotal evidence. The need to include even the smallest detail, in an effort to lend more substance to the narration, can give the early pages the air of a doctoral thesis.

This improves in value as the narrative progresses, so that the inferences which are dependent on other studies of the social mores are increasingly replaced by facts more relevant to Nyerere’s particular circumstances. Nevertheless there are many statements asserting that much more evidence about incidents cited must exist somewhere.

The key question that is always asked about great men from humble and at first sight unpromising origins is “Who first realised that this exceedingly bright, above-average young person was not after all destined to blush unseen?” With hindsight we might say that Nyerere would probably have fought his way out anyway, but this book reveals how he caught the eyes of the White Fathers, with their paramount influence and encouragement, and followed this when in relatively privileged positions in Kampala and in London.

The final chapter of this book, titled “Legacy and Reappraisal” is lucid and authoritative. After several pages which may appear “sparsely informed and predominantly uncritical”, the author can rightly claim that this is a valuable piece of research which clearly amplifies the little that was previously published about Nyerere’s early progress. Ending as Nyerere moved away from teaching to active politics, it lays the basis of our understanding of what he came to regard as significant for his country: education, agriculture – and independence.
Geoffrey Stokell

(Geoffrey Stokell first went out to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1953, serving there for thirteen years as an “old-style” merchant trader. After qualifying as an accountant and building an internationally-successful career, in 1983 he went to Tanzania as a missionary with the Moravian Church and was later head of finance for the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service. He became Treasurer of the Tanzania B-T S Chapter and on his return to the UK in 1996 and was TDT Treasurer.)

HADZABE: By the Light of a Million Fires, Daudi Peterson, with Richard Baalow and Jon Cox. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2013. ISBN 978-9987­08-212-4, 230 pp paperback (with music CD). Tsh50,000

It is difficult not to be fascinated by the Hadza, speakers of a unique click language and one of the last remaining groups of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. It is easy to sympathise with their struggle to retain control over their customary lands in the Lake Eyasi basin, near Ngorongoro. By the same token, it is not hard to like this handsome volume, which is much more than a coffee table book with excellent photos; it strives to give the Hadza a voice and support their right to choose their own future. The window it opens onto the world of the Hadza is enough to make you envy the ethno-tourists and researchers who visit Hadzaland , if not the hapless folk who have to entertain them.

Hadzabe: By the Light of a Million Fires was compiled by Daudi Peterson with the help of a number of Hadza and Hadzaphiles, including the venerable anthropologist James Woodburn. A limited hardback edition has been sold to raise money for the Dorobo Fund and Ujamaa Community Resource Trust, established by the Peterson family’s eco-tourist enterprise. The paperback and accompanying CD of Hadza music that have now gone on sale are very good value. They are not without their flaws: a tendency to romanticise the Hadza and to demonise their neighbours and an uneven mixture of topics and styles, including a Swahili paean to Nyerere and villagisation on the CD. But I would much rather possess this engaging book and its vibrant music than not.
Martin Walsh

(Martin Walsh is Oxfam GB’s Global Research Adviser. His seminar presentation to the Britain-Tanzania Society on ‘Tanzania’s (agro)pastoral headache’ is available online at

VIOLENT INTERMEDIARIES – African Soldiers Conquest and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa, by Michelle R Moyd, Ohio University Press, 2014; ISBN 978 08214 2089 8, 328 pp, softback.

The author of this exhaustive and authoritative account of the German colonial years in East Africa was indeed an acknowledged expert on the period even before this book was published. Now the reader has the full story of those years from 1891 to 1918, with the emphasis on the locally-recruited askari, who fought for the Germans almost as if they were of them.

The askari take centre stage throughout the book, indeed from the cover onwards, with an askari, rifle on shoulder, about to take his leave from his family to return to the Schutztruppe, the German colonial army. Chapters show how and where the askari were recruited; the military training and “socialization”; the wars fought by the askari (such as the Maji Maji conflicts of 1905-7); life on the stations within the country; and the inadvertent role of the askari in German colonialism. We learn, among myriads of facts, how many Sudanese initially became askari but how eventually all tribes became merged within the askari hierarchy; how the “legal” wives of askari detained for transgressions were given an allowance for their “household stability”; and how the scorched-earth policy adopted by the Schutztruppe during Maji Maji rebellion disrupted crop cycles and led to labour movement away from the Southern Highlands.
The author takes us through the 1914/18 War from the first campaign to the final 1,200 askari who surrendered to the British in November 1918, effectively closing a definitive chapter in the history of German East Africa and signaling the end of the Schutztruppe.

Although the book is, relatively speaking, hot on the heels of Anderson (2004), Paice (2007) and Samson (2013), it provides not only a great read but a quite different slant on the history of the period. The three maps – produced by Brian E Balsley, an American cartographer – are very illustrative and useful. An extremely full bibliography is of considerable fascination in itself. The index runs to a mere six pages, this being more an observation than a criticism. This work is a marvelous example of how long-term research can come to fruition in a superlative way.
David Kelly

(David Kelly has been involved with East Africa since he wrote the first history of cricket in the region in the 1960s. He is now a book dealer, with Africa a speciality subject; still researches cricket; and is a director of a Dar-based company in the beverage sector.)

TRANSITIONS OF A LIFE, printed and published for private circulation by J K Chande KBE

I first met Sir Andy Chande in the late 1980s, since when, though we now meet less frequently than before, he has become a close personal friend. Transitions is his own collection of speeches on an immense range of topics, all reflecting the dedication he continues to bring, even in retirement, to the management, in its widest sense, of enterprises and organisations with which he has been connected.

The volume is self-published, and to that extent it could probably be classified as a vanity publication; but it deserves none of the sneers which that title often evokes. It naturally lacks the fascination and raciness of his autobiography A Knight in Africa, but it underlines the way the author has been able during his lifetime, modestly but effectively, to participate in and influence some significant social decision-making. Sir Andy has been appointed to at least 100 public positions; his support for the Britain-Tanzania Society has been exemplary; and it comes as no surprise that the most significant chapters reflect his summons to all to dedicate themselves to community service. This is a celebratory volume exemplifying the practical application of two battle-cries of great public principle: Rotary’s “Service above Self” and Freemasonry’s “Love, Charity and Truth”.

TANZANIA; Strength in Unity, Strength in Diversity, published to mark the 50th Anniversary of the United Republic of Tanzania by FIRST Magazine 2014., 56 pages.

This is a glossy publication which the publisher tells me “was promoted by the Tanzanian Government and High Commission in London but financed by FIRST via advertising sponsorship. It is being distributed by the High Commission/Foreign Ministry and agencies such as the Tanzania Tourist Board. It is intended for presentation to VIP guests, distribution at investment fora/conferences etc. It will also be printed in FIRST magazine which is made available, on a complimentary basis, to first class passengers on British Airways and other airlines”. I quote this at length to explain why, unless you fall into one of these rarefied categories, you are unlikely to see a copy. Which is a pity.

There are articles by many different people, ranging from President Kikwete to the manager of the Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar es Salaam – who incidentally is still an expatriate 40 odd years after the hotel was built. (Not the same person!). Some contributors rely heavily on unexplained TLA’s*. None the less, a proud story can be extracted, which is perhaps best summed up by John Malecela when he says “During the 50 years of existence, Tanzania has been a centre for peace and liberation in Africa. All in all, the role played by Tanzania in international and African affairs has been commendable beyond imagination”. Malecela’s piece is perhaps the best of the lot, as one might expect from someone who was at or near the centre of affairs for most of the relevant period.

Professor Mwesiga Baregu writes a thought-provoking piece about the challenges to be faced in working out a new constitution. Another is the last in the booklet, by Walter Bgoya and appropriately titled “The Last Word”. He warns of the dangers currently facing publishing in Tanzania, particularly of school text books; he fears a possible return to the state monopoly arrangements of the 1960s to 1980s, when in rural areas there could be one text book for every 15-20 pupils, and even in urban areas there might be one book for three pupils.

Our own David Brewin has a useful feature about the army mutiny and the Zanzibar revolution of 1964, the “two shocking events which triggered unity”. Incidentally it is a pity that throughout the publication the Britain-Tanzania Society does not get a mention.
*three lettered acronyms, in case you wondered.

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edited by John Cooper-Poole

RACE, NATION AND CITIZENSHIP IN POST-COLONIAL AFRICA: THE CASE OF TANZANIA. Ronald Aminzade, Cambridge University Press, 2013. £65.00

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF TANZANIA: DECLINE AND RECOVERY. Michael Lofchie, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. £39.00

TOXIC AID: ECONOMIC COLLAPSE AND RECOVERY IN TANZANIA. Sebastian Edwards, Oxford University Press, 2014. £35.00 These books report in contrasting ways on Tanzania’s experiences since Independence in 1961. Aminzade’s book is as a study of race and nation-building, starting with the tensions between those who wanted immediate Africanisation before and after Independence and the ambiguous positions taken by Nyerere and other leaders towards Asians and expatriates, and ending with the grand corruption of the last 15 years or so, in which Africans worked closely with Asian businessmen. Lofchie describes his book as a political economy, in which he interprets much of what happened in the 1980s and later from the financial interests of the “political-economic oligarchy” who could gain from maintaining an overvalued exchange rate in the 1980s (and therefore were not committed to devaluation) but by the late 1990s discovered that they could gain even more from unrestricted trade and an open economy – they were making the transition to becoming a business class.

Edwards uses a study of the relationships between Tanzania and its aid donors to capture what was happening at the centres of economic power. It turns out that the “toxic aid” of his title refers to the period from the Arusha Declaration of 1967 up till the early 1980s when foreign aid, particularly from the Nordic countries and the World Bank, kept the country afloat. He castigates them for uncritically maintaining Nyerere’s brand of socialism, and uses words such as ‘irresponsible,’ ‘arrogant,’ ‘misguided,’ ‘gullible,’ ‘ineffective,’ and other equally tough terms to describe their behaviour. In contrast, he grades Tanzania’s current donors as B+, for having spoken out against corruption, and worked to increase transparency and democracy.

All three authors are academics in American universities, but from different backgrounds. Aminzade is a sociologist and historian who studied the emergence of nationalism in France for 20 years and first came to Tanzania in 1995. Lofchie, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is best known for his authoritative tract on the revolution in Zanzibar which led to the union with the mainland, published as long ago as 1965. He has written widely on development, especially in Africa. Edwards is a Chilean economist, trained at the University of Chicago, also at UCLA where he is professor of International Business Economics. He first went to Tanzania in 1991, when the country was at one of its lowest ebbs, employed by the World Bank and given a desk in the Bank of Tanzania, returning in 2009 and subsequently. His perspective is that of a Latin American specialist who has turned his hand to an African country.

Anyone writing about Tanzania has to take a view of Nyerere. Aminzade is the least clear-cut. He portrays Nyerere as an honest and intelligent leader constantly fending off demands for rapid Africanisation, but often only with compromises. Lofchie provides the most sympathetic interpretation of what Nyerere was trying to achieve in the 1960s. He sees him as a thoughtful, well intentioned, humanist, Fabian in terms of his uses of state power, but suggests that he got carried away after the banks and major industries were nationalised in 1967, and did not realise the dire consequences of the industrialisation strategies of the Second Five Year Plan and the attempts of the state to take over trade and the purchasing of maize and other food crops from farmers. Edwards, in contrast, sees Nyerere as a misguided but plausible ideologue, unwilling to listen when told there was no alternative to devaluation in the 1980s.

The core of both Edwards’ and Lofchie’s accounts is the structural adjustment that took place between 1979 and 1996, and the economic policies which have led to rapid growth since. Edwards interviewed many of those closest to Tanzanian economic policy-making: Cleopa Msuya, Gerry Helleiner, Sam Wangwe, Ibrahim Lipumba and Benno Ndulu. He draws on his experiences in the Bank of Tanzania and especially his friendship with Edwin Mtei, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania from its foundation in 1966 to 1974, Minister of Finance from 1977 till Nyerere sacked him in 1979, and chairman of the political party CHADEMA from its foundation in 1992 until 1998.

Both Edwards and Lofchie situate what happened in Tanzania in terms of developments in economic theory, drawing on the seminal work of Robert Bates, also from Los Angeles, who explored various ways in which surpluses may be drawn from agriculture and invested in industry. Both are particularly critical of so-called “development economists”, even though they were the mainstream at the time, advised governments all over the world, with many of them awarded Nobel Prizes for economics. They were part of the movement inspired by Keynes which maintained growth and stability in Europe and America for at least 20 years after the Second World War; it was not unreasonable for them to conclude that industrialisation was an essential part of development, given that all countries which up to that time had achieved rapid growth, starting with the industrial revolution in Britain, but including the USA, Germany and Japan, and in a very different way the Soviet Union, had done so on the basis of industrialisation. Edwards briefly mentions the influence of the “dependency theorists” such as Samir Amin and Andre Gunder Frank; but not the ideas which derived from socialist economists such as Maurice Dobb, who criticised import substitution because they recognised that it would lead to continued dependence on inputs of semi-manufactured goods. The “basic industries strategy” of Tanzania’s Third Five Year Plan was an attempt to create the integrated economies achieved by the pioneers from the USSR or Japan – though the attempts at implementation bore little relation to the theory.

All three books include blow by blow accounts of the attempts to mediate between the IMF, who were insistent that devaluation was necessary from 1979 onwards, and Nyerere, who was determined to resist it. Nyerere was supported by Kighoma Malima, who moved from Minister of Finance to Minister of Planning and back to Finance. He was one of the first Tanzanian economists to get a PhD (from Princeton), but he was not alone. Papers opposing devaluation were written by Ajit Singh, from Cambridge England and Reg Green, by then at the University of Sussex. Devaluation was widely discussed in the Economics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam; the argument was that if the Bank of Tanzania controlled all allocations of foreign exchange, the Ministry of Agriculture set the prices paid to farmers for their crops, and the Price Commission set the prices for manufactured goods, it was not necessary to devalue since the government could set prices to give whatever economic signals it wanted. However, while that might be correct for an exchange rate slightly out of line with black markets, if you can get 4 or 5 times as many shillings for a dollar unofficially as legally, any such system is bound to break down. The reality was devastating: a parallel economy, often illegal or semi-legal, was quickly created; corruption broke out almost everywhere; and more and more of Tanzania’s trade was not shown in the official accounts.

Edwards describes the Tanzania he found when arrived in 1991: “There was almost no public transportation—people of every social condition walked for miles to get to work and back home—every road was an infinite collection of potholes, school children had no textbooks, blackouts were recurrent, there were (almost) no spare parts for machines or vehicles, and shops were almost empty. It seemed to me that the only cars that circulated belonged either to expatriate aid officials—most of them drove very large, shiny, four-wheel drives—to well-placed civil servants, or to high officials of the ruling party. In spite of the fact that there were basically no cars, there were parking meters in a number of downtown streets. Some were bent, most were rusting, and not one was operating. When I asked about them I was told that they were part of a donor’s project to deal with urban gridlock. I argued that there were no cars or buses and, thus, no traffic, let alone bottlenecks. The Treasury official that was with me smiled and said that the aid agency in question had concluded that, when it came to traffic jams, it was important to be proactive, to take pre­emptive measures.”

In this situation, as Lofchie shows, almost all Tanzanians on government salaries were forced either to seek bribes or to engage in “parallel activities” (i.e. some other way of making money) to survive. He points out that an over-valued exchange rate is very attractive for anyone who can get hold of foreign exchange, who can import goods, sell them at the unofficial rate, and then convert the resulting shillings to dollars at the official rate, and repeat the process. He suggests that this was exactly what large numbers of Tanzanians in senior positions did, and that it explains why the Bank of Tanzania ran short of foreign currency. However, little detail on this is provided; it is not clear if almost the whole ruling elite was complicit in this, whereas it might just have been a few big fish doing it on a grand scale, or even (in line with some of Aminzade’s descriptions) a few Asian businessmen.

It could not continue, and massive devaluations occurred from 1986 on, after Nyerere stood down as President. Import restrictions were removed. The currency found its own level. Exports rose, especially of gold but also of some manufactured items. Tourism flourished. And from about 2000 Tanzania had one of the fastest reported growth rates in the world. Lofchie’s political economy suggests that at some “tipping point” the interests of the elite changed from supplementing their incomes from corruption to earning profits from economic activity; the elite which at first opposed the reforms, then accepted them.

That is, if we can believe the figures. But Edwards in particular doubts the veracity of Tanzania’s economic statistics, especially for the subsistence and informal sectors. For example, in 2006, following a year of drought, for which declines in production were reported for many crops, agriculture as a whole was reported as growing at 4%. It is however, a little odd that he places this section of his book immediately after he has reported in depth using the official statistics – thereby joining other good company who have criticised Tanzania’s statistics while continuing to base their conclusions on them. But even official figures suggest that poverty remains a major issue, especially in the countryside, and that the benefits of rapid growth are flowing to the towns and cities, and to an elite within them.

All three writers discuss the promises of successive Presidents to resolve the issue of corruption, and the failures of any of them to have much impact. Aminzade provides the most detail about individuals and the involvement of Asians who were MPs or close to the administration (pp.337-349). Lofchie quotes the economist Jagdish Bhagwati who has argued that corruption can be beneficial if it undermines the siphoning off of resources through protection and an over-valued exchange rate. None of these writers quotes the broader discussions of Mushtaq Khan who points out that corruption can sometimes allow a single producer to get established in a market and become globally competitive, which may not happen if markets are completely open – pointing out that most of the Asian tigers, not least China, have well-documented high levels of corruption. Looking, finally, at the contributions made by these three books, Aminzade has read widely and his bibliography will make his book of great value for many years to come, though it is regrettable that the index does not include references to much of the material in his footnotes. He reports the views of journalists and MPs who had racialist stereotypes of both Asians and expatriates, and campaigned for a very rapid Africanisation. But Lofchie provides more detail as to why this did not happen. With hindsight this was surely for the better, because a country that gains independence with around 100 graduates cannot run hospitals, schools, railways, factories and the rest of public administration without outside help – and if it had tried would almost certainly have become a failed state.

Lofchie’s early chapters, in which he sets out his theory of an over-valued exchange rate and how this can enable a well off elite to improve their position, invite further research. Edwards has the greatest insider detail; but his dichotomy between aid before 1980 as toxic, and aid in more recent years as relatively benign, lacks detail. He criticises the Nordic countries, especially the Swedes, for supporting Tanzania in the Nyerere years; but aid for small industries such as a paper mill, forestry, rural water supplies and grain silos did not provide explicit support for villagisation or the use of force. The World Bank’s programmes to support the main agricultural crops, through subsidised inputs such as fertilizers, can be criticised on technical grounds but they were not tied to villagisation. Edwards’ claim (p.88) that the number of people living in villages was 9 million by 1975 and 13 million (nearly the whole population) by 1977 is sloppy; people living in the coffee producing areas did not move, nor in the cities. Lofchie’s figure of 1.6 million by the end of 1974 is nearer the mark.

Edwards gets carried away by the slogan of his title. The aid itself was not toxic: his real complaint (and fair comment) is that in the late 1970s the donors did not use their aid to put more pressure on the Tanzanians to review their policies of villagisation and excessive nationalisation. In the more recent period, as he points out, the donors have been vehement in their criticisms of corruption; but that has not led to much action by the Tanzanian government, or a withdrawal of the aid.

All three books lack a sufficiently robust theoretical underpinning. Thus Aminzade’s “contentious politics” is not sufficient to give direction and meaning to the mass of information he presents. “Toxic aid” without detailed studies of what that aid involved leaves the author open to wild swings in which aid was toxic in a period in which he compares Tanzania to countries in Latin America which also attempted socialist paths, but rather beneficial in a period when he finds the politics more congenial (even though the country is in real danger of being overcome by endemic corruption). Lofchie is right to attempt to use the tools of political economy, but lacks the detailed information to be sure that what he asserts as facts are not in reality well-informed surmises.

None of them discusses what could be the most contentious issue of all. If Tanzania wanted industries, it did not have to invite multinational companies to establish them. There was another option. Industrialisation had accelerated in the years before and after Independence. Much of it is still visible in the Chang’ombe area of Dar es Salaam, where many Asian-owned businesses either processed locally produced raw materials or supplied consumer items. If the Tanzanian leadership had worked closely with this group, as it did with a few individuals, such as Andy Chande, it would not have had to find the capital or supply the protection demanded by multinational companies. Aminzade would no doubt argue that this would have been politically unthinkable. Lofchie might also argue, from his knowledge of race relations, that this would be a difficult policy to sell to the Tanzanian people. But joint work with this group could have led rapidly to the creation of a Tanzanian business class. Even now businesses such as these are contributing substantially to Tanzania’s rising exports of manufactured goods to neighbouring African countries. They should not be almost entirely written out of the story.
Andrew Coulson

Andrew Coulson worked in Tanzania first in the Ministry of Agriculture and later in the Department of Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam. Since 1984 he has worked at the University of Birmingham. A second edition of his book Tanzania: A Political Economy was recently published by Oxford University Press. He is Vice-Chair of the Britain Tanzania Society.

THE NATURE OF CHRISTIANITY IN NORTHERN TANZANIA: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CHANGE 1890-1916. Robert B. Munson. Lexington Books ISBN 978 0 7391 7780 8 h/b pp378. £70.00.
This book is an exploration of the introduction of new plant species by missionaries in German East Africa, and the effect this had on the spread of Christianity among people of Chagga, Meru and Arusha ethnicities around Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru, This is an area that attracted Protestant missionaries, such as the Leipzig Mission, as well as Catholics known as the Spiritans. The timeframe of the book is that of German colonialism, and the work makes extensive use of German archival sources. Indeed, one of the greatest values of a work such as this is making these sources available to an English-speaking audience.

The title is unfortunate and does not reflect the content, as it is not clear that it is a pun: “the nature of Christianity” refers to the nature (i.e. plants) introduced by Christian missions.

The new plants brought to the landscape, Munson argues, went hand-in­hand with Christianity . He calls this botanical proselytization, a term that “emphasizes the mutual dependence of the landscape, botanical and Christian changes”. His argument is based on a view of African religion that is all-inclusive, with no division between the sacred and secular; thus, the “landscape changes reinforced the Christian worldview and vice versa, strengthening and deepening each in turn.”

The origins of the work as a PhD thesis are clear, yet the writing style is engaging. Unfortunately, the dozen photographs are badly reproduced. The book places the evolution of the missions in the context of German imperial attitudes towards its colony, arguing that the Maji Maji rebellion in the south made the Germans more aware of the impact that their policies were having. The next chapters focus on three central themes – Places, Plants and People. In exploring place, the author examines the spatial transformation of landscape through surveying, producing maps and establishing forest reserves to divide “people” from “nature”. In one of the most interesting sections he also explores the establishment and development of Moshi and Arusha.

Turning to plants, the book examines the botanical introductions made by the missionaries, and how they were integrated into African society. He goes beyond the usual discussion of coffee to explore various species of tree and the potato. The chapter entitled “People: Christianity and Botanical Proselytization” explores how the introduction of Christianity led to social change.

A short final chapter briefly outlines the changes since the British took control of the region in 1916, but in effect this raises more questions than it answers. An inherent problem with the book is the abrupt end of German rule; the consequences and impact of the subsequent botanical and social changes fall outside of the timeframe of the work. The tight focus enables greater historical depth, but more direct engagement with a broader theoretical literature would have been welcome. A more detailed exploration of theories of appropriation, for example, would have given the work relevance beyond the region it covers. As it stands, the work is a valuable contribution to the history of northern Tanzania.
Tom Fisher

Tom Fisher has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh exploring politics and ethnicity in Kilimanjaro. Until recently he lectured in history at St Augustine University of Tanzania, Mwanza.

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE LARGER MAMMALS OF TANZANIA (PRINCETON FIELD GUIDE 2014). Charles and Lara Foley; Princeton University Press 2014 320pp £19.95 (pb).
After spending a good few years working in the field of African conservation and tourism, it is normally difficult to get excited about the release of a new field guide; after all, how different can it be? But not this time, as the new Field guide to the larger mammals of Tanzania is an excellent addition to the literature and is a ‘must buy’ for both seasoned safari-goer and first-timer.
The authors behind this edition are all practising ecologists with a great many years of experience working in the national parks and protected areas of Tanzania. What is evident is that they know what previous field guides were missing. This book has been structured in a way that makes it easy to use, both when grabbed quickly in the back of a Land rover or when consulted at leisure in the cool of your tent. Most importantly, the ongoing challenges and threats to the long-term conservation of the species included remain clear throughout.

The bulk of the book is made up of ‘Species Accounts’, each of which lists the common, scientific and Swahili names; a species description; notes on similar species: ecology and social behaviour; distribution in Tanzania ; population size and conservation status assessment; a distribution map and colour images. The images are particularly useful as they are a mixture of professional photographs and images produced by camera-traps, which display the animals as the safari­goer may have seen them.

The guide concludes with quick-reference species images complete with essential diagnostic data and an introduction to the major national parks and protected areas of Tanzania (complete with species list).

So whether you are into the big cats, primates or whales, this guide is for you. Finally, all author royalties received from the sale of this book will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society and used to support the Tanzania Carnivore Project or other wildlife conservation projects in Tanzania.
Mark Gillies

MANAGING TAX REGIMES IN TANZANIA: EXPERIENCES, CHALLENGES AND LESSONS. Edited by Harry Kitillya, Tema Publishers, P O Box 63115, Dar es Salaam, 2014.

TANZANIA GOVERNANCE REVIEW 2012: TRANSPARENCY WITH IMPUNITY? Policy Forum, P O Box 38486, Dar es Salaam, 2013.

Karim Hirji. Media Council of Tanzania, 2012. These three publications from Dar-es-Salaam will be of interest to researchers. In the first, Harry Kitillya (Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority from 2003 to 2013) has commissioned a set of articles to provide a bible of information about all aspects of tax collection in Tanzania. Overall the authors are well informed and optimistic – though no doubt more could be said about tax avoidance and especially about corruption in the tax gathering regime. Transparency with Impunity surveys the state of governance and corruption in Tanzania. Almost all aspects of government activity are covered. The tables, charts – and the cartoons – draw on an exceptionally wide range of official and NGO publications. This report should be a major source for researching the Tanzanian economy.

Statistics in the Media is a study of the misuse of statistics written as teaching material for journalists and to provide them with an introductory text in basic statistics. Much of it is constructed around topical case studies of exam results, alternative medicine, deaths from malaria etc. The author suggests that the resulting bias is not random, but reflect or reinforce the interests of those who own the media.



by John Cooper-Poole

SURGEON OR JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES? A Mission Doctor in Tanganyika 1949 – 90. Marion Bartlett MB FRCS. Published by Words by Design, ISBN 978-1-909075-13-9(colour), ISBN 978-1-909075-14-6 (b&w): £19 (colour) or £12 (b&w) + p & p £3. Order online from, or through Revd Timothy Fox, 40 Lakeber Avenue, Bentham, Lancaster, LA2 7JN. (Please make cheques payable to ‘Marion J. Bartlett’). Email:

Tales of missionary heroism are unfashionable; they refer to a time when sacrifice, commitment and an unquestioned loyalty to a disciplined way of life were expected and accepted. While describing a lifestyle familiar to missionary personnel and their supporters, such narratives threaten current mission agencies. While accepting the importance of aid programmes, local development and self-sufficiency, nothing can justify the loss of the personal partnerships which informed and inspired personal and church commitments, generated finance and fostered vocations. So this book is both an inspiration and a reproach. Combining loyalty both to the Hippocratic Oath and to her personal beliefs, Marian Bartlett writes that medical services “must be open to all, of whatever creed or colour, and with no ‘preaching to captive audiences’ or other unfair pressure towards conversion”. The book records the story of two people doing the ordinary things of missionary life extraordinarily well.

While appealing to anyone who has worked, or supported work in East Africa, overseas medical programmes, or UMCA or USPG, it is essentially a personal story of one woman’s work, ministry and life, shared from 1967 with her husband David, a long-serving priest in the diocese of Masasi. I knew both Marian and David, before they were married, and later who could forget their hospitable Sunday suppers? The narrative reflects the personality of its author, remembered always as a calm presence regardless of external chaos, focused and dedicated.

More widely it adds an important perspective on the impact of independence on voluntary agencies at a time when educational and medical work were being handed over to government departments and, contrary to popular assumptions, a creative and increasingly important partnership was being developed. It says a lot for the new government that it felt secure enough to build on structures, established by foreign agencies and using the skills and experience of existing staff. It also says a lot about the grace and commitment of the voluntary ethos that the transition was so successful. The book makes a serious contribution to the literature of developing Independence.

The book also indicates the significance of links between Tanzanian and British dioceses – a valuable expression of partnership allowing former supporters to maintain relationships of prayer, mutual support and practical engagement.

Of course I have a few criticisms; the use of apostrophisation of Swahili vocabulary, the questionable use of Tanganyika in the title, the episodic nature of the later pages, but these reflect editorial preconceptions and preferences and should be disregarded in the overall heroic tale of a life, of two lives, totally committed to the tasks they confronted in God’s mission through the church in that unique part of Tanzania, Masasi.
David Craig

MARA! Africa bridges the gap between Church and Life; Bill Jones, Aliquid Novum, 2013, p/b 213 pp, ISBN 978-0-9926806-0-2 £10.99

This handsomely illustrated book is the story of the Anglican Diocese of Mara, situated between Lake Victoria and the Serengeti. From its creation in 1985, its twelve parishes have become 135, and the one diocese has become three. The author writes from his experience of developing its link with the Diocese of Wakefield, England.

Mara’s first priority is ‘Evangelism’. But the way this is implemented differs sharply from the way it is often understood in England. Christians in Mara do not worry about how to get people into church. On the contrary, the church gets itself involved in life outside, with its problems and opportunities.

So the church asks: ‘Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How can we get there – together?’ Think of the characteristic challenges of Tanzanian life: agriculture and animal husbandry, malaria, HIV-Aids, clean water, nutrition, health, education, disabilities, gender issues, and much more.

All these form the church’s agenda. It has departments to embrace all these facets of life, led by laity as much as clergy, by women as much as men. The church brings ideas and experience. It shows people how they can do it – for themselves – in ways that are local, sustainable and accountable. The problems are discussed with those who face them. For example, secondary school girls are expected at home to spend time not with homework but with pots, pans and 1001 other ‘women’s’ jobs. So Mara is building a new Girls’ High School where they will board and so get a better chance in life.

The church does not ask people to change their religion or give money. But people see what it is doing and ask ‘Why?’ Before long they may say, ‘Could we do that here?’; ‘Can we be Christians too?’ Then the Church Planting Department responds by sending a team to visit and teach. If they are well received, an evangelist may go to live there, supported by the Diocese. A growing group of Christians may want a pastor and eventually a building. It is up to them, but the Church is essentially people, not structures.

The Church in Mara has become a mini welfare state, widely appreciated and motivated by love for God and neighbour. The phrase most commonly heard in Mara is Bwana asifiwe (Praise the Lord)! Out of gratitude, they aim to transform lives, their own and others’. But where does the money come from? Partly from overseas partners; partly from income-generating projects; essentially by self-reliance, as Nyerere, born in the region, taught us all. But Bishop Omindo says that often he just does not know. If they feel sure God is leading them, they start a new project and slowly, as they pray, funds materialize.

Members of the B-T Society know how much small sums achieve in Africa. But this book describes a two-way partnership. We get at least as much from Mara as they get from us. Tanzania is now Africa’s third biggest producer of gold, mined in Mara and elsewhere. How, asks Chapter 15, are Tanzania’s peas­ants affected for good or for bad by the extraction of this colossal wealth from beneath their feet? This topic warrants another book, as does the big question: In what pressing issues of life should Churches get involved – and how – if they are once again to have a transforming impact in our world?
Roger Bowen

MINING AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICA- Mineralizing and Democratizing Trends in Artisanal Mining. Edited by Debora Fahy Bryceson and others. Routledge 2013. ISBN 978 0 415 833707, h/b 217 pp. £80.

This collection of eleven research papers on artisanal mining in Tanzania represents a most welcome addition to the literature on mining in Africa. Its theoretical frameworks for artisanal mining also have possible relevance in other parts of the developing world. Unlike most studies of artisanal mining (AM) with their focus on matters such as conflicts with large-scale mining, legal arrangements, environmental side effects and the like, this work drills down minutely into the social and cultural changes that are associated with the growth of AM. It develops an important central proposition that growing settlements of artisanal miners result in new shared economic and social norms including occupational norms and codes of conduct designed in large part to address the endemic risks in artisanal mining activities. A parallel proposition is that this process of change also has strong democratizing tendencies but that it can distance the artisanal miners from the established arrangements in the agrarian economy and from those in both mainstream and traditional governments.

The Introductory paper by Bryceson and Jesper Bosse Jonsson concisely outlines the main lines of the argument and also the Tanzanian historical and mining backgrounds. Part I in five chapters probes the motivations of the Tanzanian artisanal miners as well as their migration patterns, their career progressions and their family and gender relations within newly establishing AM settlements. Chapter 4 on the sexual mores and gender relationships and Chapter 6 on mining, magic and murder in Sukumaland provide fascinating insights about how traditional practices (e.g. the use of “healers”) have been amended by the social dynamic introduced in newer settlements of artisanal miners.

Part II in four chapters looks at the institutional arrangements in AM settlements to address matters such as ethical trading arrangements, and the distribution of product and of returns. Chapter 7 by Jonsson and Niels Fold starts from the proposition that top-down policy approaches to “embrace” AM have failed globally and have certainly been very inadequate in Tanzania. The authors claim that this is partly because the AM industry is far less tidily structured than is assumed by most mining legislation, such as Tanzania’s new Mining Act of 2010. Their argument provides extremely valuable evidence to back this up.

Part III is a single chapter by Bryceson and Eleanor Fisher assesses the possible future contributions of AM in Tanzania and elsewhere. Their central argument is that artisanal miners cannot be stereotyped in the manner often employed as “adventurers transgressing the boundaries of acceptable society” but as groups with the potential at least to “uplift their local communities and stimulate democratic principles” (pg179). As one part of a many stranded argument to develop this central proposition, the authors point to the potential advantages of AM (relative to large-scale mining) in averting the so-called “mineral resource curse” which in so many ways is inimical to democracy. But here they tantalize by not really addressing the central question of how large-scale mining (crucial in Tanzania for the huge investments needed for deep and other complex mineral extraction) can best co-exist with the potentially expandable AM sector (with its own positive characteristics of much higher levels of job creation and superior democratizing tendencies). Further since both large-scale mining incursions and expanding AM create deep, but different patterns of social and cultural change, how can the two together co-exist with the prevailing mores of an established agrarian economy as well as with traditional mainstream governance arrangements which themselves may often be only weakly “democratic”?

Overall this is a scholarly, well –structured, clearly written, and very interesting volume which should be essential reading for anyone designing policy for artisanal mining in countries such as Tanzania.
Alan R. Roe

LETTERS FROM EAST AFRICA; Christopher Gallop, Grosvenor House Publishing, 28-30 High St, Guildford GU1 3EL; ISBN 978 1 78148 628 3, p/b 232pp

It must be hard for the younger generation to imagine a time, a mere half century ago, when immediate communication with family and friends across the globe, was virtually impossible – no mobile phones or emails. Certainly no Skype. Tearful goodbyes at dockside or airport could be a prelude to two or three years of separation with only those blue air letters to look out for when the postman called.

Christopher Gallop has made this period in post-colonial history very real by giving the reader an insight into correspondence between his parents during a short period in January 1964, which coincided with an insurrection in Dar es Salaam, later known as the Dar Mutiny. The author’s father, Robin, an export manager, was posted to Dar at this time to search out lucrative finance con­tracts in post-independence Tanganyika. Robin’s wife, Jill, and their young son Christopher (the author, then aged two), were to remain at home in England, chiefly because another pregnancy was underway.

Robin and Jill wrote lovingly to each other almost every day, her letters full of cheerful domestic detail: the “TV has gone mad tonight … the kettle also packed in … I mended it beautifully but have one mysterious screw left over… Christopher sends big, big hugs”. Robin in return would describe his new environment and daily routine: “the faithful Bunga appears with tea punctually every morning … the tea is a reddish glutinous stew, and the milk tinned”.

As Robin became involved willy-nilly in the army insurrection, he was con­cerned to let Jill know that he was all right, though not knowing what news if any had reached her. And, of course, the situation was unfolding on the ground all the time. The author, with hindsight, is anxious to give us a balanced assessment of what the insurgence was about, pointing out that for many Tanganyikans the pace of change since independence was not fast enough. Among the troops especially, it was felt that the British Officers in charge ought to go home, leaving Tanganyikans to run the show.

In Zanzibar a far more horrendous revolution was taking place, not only anti-Imperial but also anti-Arab. It is estimated that possibly 50,000 Arabs were killed. With things increasingly getting out of hand, Nyerere found himself in the invidious position of having to request help from the British Government. With the arrival of the Royal Navy, peace was finally restored and the Republic of Tanzania was eventually formed.

The author has interleaved his parents’ letters with helpful explanatory chap­ters. He also brings in his own early family memories including the sometimes tricky relationship he had with his parents. Jill, in her turn, also had problems with her parents whilst she remained in England. The book, sub-entitled a Brief Family Memoir, will also appeal to those interested in post-independence Tanganyika.
Jill Watson

BUSINESS, POLITICS AND THE STATE IN AFRICA. Tim Kelsall et al. Published by Zed Books. ISBN 978 1 78032 421 0; p/b pp190

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa there have seen a significant improvement in their macro-economic performance since 2000, with Tanzania at the forefront. IMF figures show that real GDP growth averaged only 2.9% a year in the period 1991-2000, but in the decade 2001-2010 averaged 7% a year. After a very modest dip to 6.4% in 2011, growth quickly rebounded to around 7% in 2012 and 2013, and looks set to stay at this level in 2014.

For most economic observers, these are not just paper numbers. Anyone visiting Dar es Salaam and other major urban areas can see the new shopping centres, tower blocks, hotels and the increasing traffic congestion. It is most visible in Dar, and the anecdotal evidence is supported by the recently published 2011/12 Household Budget Survey.

But what does this mean more widely? Despite the talk of an emerging middle class, is this actually occurring and is the growth translating into sustained poverty reduction? And is this growth leading to structural transformation of the economies? It is this second question this book is really looking at. In particular, it asks whether countries have the political and state structures to implement a more comprehensive industrial policy to drive the type of transformation seen in East Asia in the latter half of the 20th century and to sustain growth over the next decade. Although the authors are broadly in favour of countries adopting a pro-active industrial policy, they are very aware of the problems that this approach can lead to – such as how to balance the potential benefits (rapid private sector growth) and pitfalls (monopolies and corruption).

The authors develop a model to show the best political structure for an inter­ventionist industrial policy, which is likely to be most effective in countries characterised by developmental patrimonialism.

Centralisation Low, Time Horizon Short – Competitive clientelism
Centralisation Low, Time Horizon Long – Ineffective development state
Centralisation High, Time Horizon Short – Non-development kleptocracy
Centralisation High, Time Horizon Long – Developmental patrimonialism

While it is relatively easy to find periods when East Asian countries did follow this broad approach, the book arguably does not provide enough evidence to show where this model worked best . In order to examine which countries fit the model, the book draws on examples from Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda, with other examples in earlier chapters from Kenya and Malawi. For myself, the wide scope of the book is hugely interesting and the compare- and -contrast element highly illuminating.

In particular, the chapter on Tanzania is worth reading, as it is based on the work of Brian Cooksey and his vast knowledge of the country. The depth of anecdotal knowledge is something I really enjoyed, although for those of a more academic bent it may lack rigour. The balanced nature of the argument throughout the book is also clear in the discussion on the need for state intervention, and for the state to step aside, in the two case studies – the gold and horticultural sectors. The Tanzania chapter is summed up in a couple of lines in the conclusion: ‘Growth has been steady, and macroeconomic management, with a few blips, has generally been sound. However, the country seems stuck in a state of moderately high growth without entering take off, while poverty reduction remains poor. Recently there has been some progress in manufacturing, but it is too soon to say whether or not this will be sustained. We are inclined to be sceptical.’

Others are not as sceptical for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. The Economist on 8 February ran a good summary – Manufacturing in Africa; An Awakening Giant. The drawback with this article, and some other research, is that Ethiopia is held up as a prime example of where this change is happening. Tim Kelsall argues in this book that Ethiopia, along with Rwanda, may well have the right political structures where real change is a plausible possibility in the coming years. As the chapter on Ethiopia concludes, the new manufacturing enterprises being set up in the country ‘have a reasonable chance of success and they will in time make a significant contribution to structural transformation which is lagging behind growth and poverty reduction’.

This focus on the importance of manufacturing in driving growth and structural change is hardly new – witness Roger Riddell’s book Manufacturing Africa (1990). The argument that Africa needs a manufacturing revolution – or at least a deeper structural transformation – to maintain the growth momentum is becoming more pressing. As the demographic transition really hits Africa in the coming decade, the young will need employment – and only the manufacturing sector can feasibly absorb the number of new entrants to the job market. This is the only option, but it seems the most likely at this point.

And this in turn takes us back to the questions the book tries to answer. What political structure can best foster this? And can enough countries get the ball rolling to give momentum to the whole continent? Can Tanzania be in this first wave? On balance, this book’s answer is ‘probably not.’ I suspect that this may well the case; but sometimes it can be better to be a late front runner in a long race.
David Cowan

RETURN TO ZANZIBAR. Roger Webber. Matador, ISBN 9781783061211 p/b 429pp

Roger Webber’s book opens with a map of Africa with a spider’s web of travel routes covering the whole continent, and I felt that I was in for a treat of travel.

Roger’s early life was spent in Zanzibar and his descriptions of the island and its history are wonderful. In the early days of East African Airways he flew between Zanzibar and Nairobi to attend boarding school and I was reminded of my own schooldays when he describes picking fruit to subsidise the monotonous diet.

Returning to a cold England, Roger was always thinking about a return to Zanzibar and his attempt at the overland route in the school holidays was thwarted by thieves who stole his belongings in Sicily. When he finally made his trip back, his account reads like a Boys Own Paper story. After qualifying as a doctor, Roger spent the next twenty years in the Solomon Islands before eventually returning to work in Mbeya.

Roger then goes on to describe his travels throughout Africa. His exploits cover 66 years and are truly amazing. His descriptions of the places he visits are very evocative and make this book a cracking read – and may keep you up late.
David Holton



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

THE THREAT OF LIBERATION: IMPERIALISM AND REVOLUTION IN ZANZIBAR. Amrit Wilson: Pluto Press: London, 2013. ISBN 13 978 0745334073. £18.99

Zanzibar is a small-scale society, with a population, even today, of less than a million people, dispersed between three islands, Unguja, Pemba and Mafia. For hundreds of years its strategic significance rather than its intrinsic value has driven its history. Occupied by a succession of overlords, from Portugal and Oman to Britain, it has been the hub of trade routes for slaves and ivory from Africa’s hinterland, a centre from which to exert political power over semi-autonomous city states along the East African coast, and later a plantation economy focussed on cloves. Each set of rulers has left its divisive mark in a complex, racialised social order and shifting class formations.

Making sense of the political trajectory of Zanzibar has exercised many intellectuals as well as politicians and diplomats. Amrit Wilson draws on her own first-hand knowledge, interviews with participants and existing literature (especially Lofchie, Chase, Babu and her own publications), bringing the story up to date, the Wikileaks revelations. Her interpretation of events and their significance is based on one of the key actors in this political maelstrom, Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu, a lifelong Communist and revolutionary.

In December 1963 Zanzibar gained independence from Britain as a constitutional monarchy under a Sultan. Liberation from colonial rule promised progressive social transformation, but Zanzibar tore itself apart and remained the subject of imperialist concern. Within a few months, a series of political battles had put ‘liberation’ in question. In January 1964 a bloody revolution overthrew the Sultan; Wilson does not estimate the numbers killed, but they were primarily of Zanzibar’s ‘ruling class’ – Omani Arabs and Asians – who had prospered from the plantations or from trade, and their political allies. She claims that the uprising was fomented by disaffected youth and ‘lumpen’ elements, people who saw no change in their abject circumstances by virtue of ‘liberation’.

Although the revolution was not initiated by Babu, he had formed a Marxist left wing party (called Umma or ‘Community’) just before independence. This drew on the support of union workers in the docks and in transport, as well as intellectuals. Umma played a strategic role in the revolution and became part of the Revolutionary Council, with Abeid Karume of the Afro-Shirazi Party as President. Zanzibar’s numerous political parties cannot be neatly subsumed into class or racial conflict. Most represent opportunistic alliances of different class groupings. So-called ‘right-wing parties’ have left wing factions and the language of race/ethnicity permeates all political discussion. Wilson’s account does not make this much clearer – and maybe the chaotic reality is not susceptible to easy analysis.

The question now raised is a challenging one. As a Communist and leader of a party dedicated to achieving socialism, what scope did Babu have, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a ‘Revolutionary’ government dominated by increasingly reactionary elements? Wilson makes a brave case for Babu’s initiation of policies to restructure the economy with an integral link between agriculture and industry, and to learn from China. But she describes it as a ‘Zanzibar that might have been’. In April 1964 (only four months after the revolution) whilst Babu was absent on a mission to link Indonesia and East Germany into his plans, a merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was engineered by Karume and Nyerere without any vote in the Revolutionary Council. Thereafter, Zanzibar descended into despotism with political scores being brutally settled and many activists murdered. Babu was removed to Dar es Salaam and sidelined as a minister of state without any real power, his only achievement (at Nyerere’s behest) the Chinese involvement in building the Tazara railway.

Nearly a decade of violence and arbitrary rule in Zanzibar led to the assassina­tion of Karume in April 1972 by two ex-Umma members. They were killed in the ensuing melee but mass arrests led to a lengthy Treason Trial. Umma activists in Zanzibar, together with Zanzibari politicians on the mainland (including Babu), were accused on flimsy grounds of being involved in the killing of Karume and the trial was marked throughout by anti-Communist rhetoric. Torture was used to extort confessions, and most of the accused were sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Babu received a death sentence after a trial in absentia. He was detained on the mainland when Nyerere refused to extradite him to Zanzibar and he was eventually released in 1978.

Wilson’s book will be notable to some for its critique of Nyerere. Basically he is presented as a stooge of the West, particularly in respect of Zanzibar, with both Britain and the US bringing pressure to bear to neutralise what they saw as a potential ‘African Cuba, from which sedition would spread to the continent’ (quoting Frank Carlucci, Reagan’s Defense Secretary 1987-9). The revolution and the Revolutionary Council were seen as evidence of a Communist takeover. Wilson notes that some have seen the merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar as evidence of Nyerere’s ‘pan-Africanism’, but she rejects this. Nyerere was beholden to the British for rescuing him after the army mutiny in Dar es Salaam and the Zanzibar revolution was shortened by the appearance of a US destroyer.

Wilson compares Nyerere’s claim to ‘African socialism’ with Babu’s more Marxist-oriented projections for development. She derides the Ujamaa policy as failing to confront colonial economic structures and being more marked by ‘austerity and control’ than ‘self-reliance’. Self-sufficiency in food production led to food shortages and growing imports, and there was no serious policy of industrial development. Babu’s recipe was to develop agriculture, not for export but for people’s basic needs, and to establish industries based of modernising agriculture and exploiting Tanzania’s reserves of coal and iron.

In the last section of the book, Wilson traces Zanzibar’s history to the present, with emphasis on the implications of the merger. A shift to neo-liberal policies and the rise of tourism and other services superseded the clove industry as the major determinant of Zanzibar’s economy, though still on a foundation of subsistence and export agriculture. A major shakeup of the kaleidoscope of political parties reflected the fading political autonomy of Zanzibar. All this against the backdrop of western imperialist intervention – now directed at the growing politico-economic might of China and the representation of Zanzibar as a source not of communism, but of Islamo-terrorism.

Whilst these final chapters lose their keen focus on Zanzibar, the bigger picture is that the merger with Tanzania is still a contested political issue, about to be voted on in a national referendum. Wilson has usefully reminded us of the promise of liberation for Zanzibar, as well as its betrayal.

Janet Bujra

Dr Janet Bujra is an Honorary Reader and Senior Research Associate in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. She is the author of books and articles on gender, domestic service and HIV/Aids in Tanzania.

TANZANIA: A POLITICAL ECONOMY (2nd EDITION) Andrew Coulson: Oxford University Press. 2013. ISBN 10 0199679967. p/b 432pp.

The appearance of a new edition of Andrew Coulson’s classic study will be welcomed by admirers of the first edition, which came out more than 30 years ago. Apart from corrections and minor revisions to the main text, there is a new Preface in which the reader is reminded how well-qualified Coulson was to write the original book – being acquainted with many of the players and having a ringside seat at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) when he was not himself right in the fray. And there is a substantial new Introduction in which the author reflects on what he said previously in the light of subsequent developments.

The scope of the book is wide, aiming to cover the whole history of Tanzania from earliest times up to c.1980. Thus, after a couple of short introductory chapters, we have three chapters on the period up to 1900, covering particularly Zanzibar, the slave trade and the early German period. Six more chapters cover the colonial period, starting with German colonisation (and the resistance to it), the disruption caused by the First World War, the award of Tanganyika to Britain under a League of Nations mandate and the virtual freezing of development during the 1930s depression, followed by further disruption during the Second World War.

More than a third of the book is taken up before we reach the post-War period, the nationalist take-over and developments post-Independence. It is clear that Coulson wants to rub in Tanzania’s difficult inheritance, particularly during the 19th and early 20th century. Inter alia, this serves as a corrective to the rosier picture, post-WWII, of a peaceful but backward country taking slow but positive steps towards a brighter future under the guidance of a well-meaning but cash-strapped administration – as attested in the memoirs of some of those involved. It also underlines that this is as much a political history as an eco­nomic one.

Inevitably, these early sections of the book are highly condensed, but Coulson provides good summaries of the main episodes, together with judicious obser­vations on their consequences – for example, balancing accounts of the brutal­ity of the German conquest with their more positive contributions, so that “the economic structure laid down by 1914 was in all but detail that handed over in 1961”.

Having set the scene in this way – and those unsure of Tanzania’s early history, and looking for a short pithy introduction, could do far worse than take Coulson as their guide – the real meat of the book is contained in two hefty sections covering ‘The Early Years’ (1961-67) and ‘Harsh Realities’ (1968­80).In retrospect, the Early Years appear rather benign, the economy making reasonable progress of a conventional kind, propelled by post-independence enthusiasm and by the remarkable growth of export crops produced by progressive smallholder farmers. ‘Kulaks’ Coulson dubs them, imparting a whiff of the radical thinking prevalent at UDSM at the time – a colourful but somewhat chilling term when one recalls the treatment meted out to this class of producers elsewhere by the likes of Stalin and Mao. But tensions were building up, notably frustration at the slow progress of Africanisation, reflected in clashes with the unions.

The turning point was of course the Arusha Declaration in 1967. Coulson documents well the set of radical transformations towards a socialist future set in motion by this and the related policy statements. It was certainly widely welcomed, acting as a lightning rod for the frustrations of ordinary Tanzanians and checking the more materialistic ambitions of some of Nyerere’s colleagues. However, execution of the new policies quickly exposed a disconnect between aspiration and outcome – the ‘Harsh Realities’ that make up the final section of the book. The disastrous effect on agricultural production of villagisation, the inefficiency of the parastatals set up to replace the cooperatives and to take over nationalised enterprises, and the over-expansion of budgets relative to resources (as relations with external donors soured) are all discussed.

Coulson tries hard to be even-handed, drawing attention also to the parallel extension of education and (to a lesser extent) health services to rural areas.

Even so, the kindest verdict might be “Good intentions, bad effects”. The sad truth is that in Tanzania, as in pretty much every other country in the world, whether developed or developing, capitalist or socialist, human nature is much the same: put someone in a position where opportunities can be exploited to feather one’s own nest and most will probably do just that. The task of policy then should be to provide an institutional framework which minimises such opportunities. This means competition rather than monopoly, active democracy and good laws applied impartially. Not easy, particularly with limited manpower and other resources; but, after 1967, under the influence of Nyerere’s somewhat puritanical anxiety about inequality and his distaste for capitalism, Tanzania headed in more or less the opposite direction – and has paid a high price.

Against this background, it is not surprising that Coulson ended his first edition on a pessimistic note: “Talk of ‘Tanzanian socialism’ … does not provide a clear economic strategy … The result was a failure ruthlessly to pursue any single class interest (apart from the bureaucracy’s interest in expanding the functions of the state). The worst results were in rural policy, a series of despairing dashes for freedom, with what seemed like short cuts actually leading further and further into the mud.” “Can the future offer something better?” Coulson asks, sadly concluding: “On the basis of the performance of the 1970s, the answer is no.”

But that was 1980. Since then, there has been the long confrontation with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the structural adjustment programmes and the new problems and opportunities arising post-2000. We turn to the new Introduction to learn how Coulson sees things now.

Retrenchment in the early 1980s set back progress in education and health, but also reined in government and parastatal excesses. When growth resumed, Coulson notes that it was accompanied by more corruption, with the benefits “mostly going to the salaried elite – with little impact on poverty in most parts of the country”. At the same time, opportunities for political competition were opened up, civil society activity grew stronger, particularly NGOs. Tanzania became more attractive to foreign investment, and more urbanised. In the light of these developments, Coulson appears less confident that dependency theory and Shivji’s concept of a ‘bureaucratic bourgeoisie’ provide a sufficient framework for understanding the political economy of post-colonial countries such as Tanzania, indicating room for fresh thinking here. Insights from the new economic geography school and Collier’s The Bottom Billion might help.

Looking to the future, Coulson notes that the 1999 Development Vision and the 2012 Five Year Plan point to a more capitalist development path, as does the ambition to become a middle income country by 2025. While new opportunities have indeed been opened up by the remarkable growth of the mining sector, and the prospect of major oil and gas development, the challenges, as Coulson notes, remain formidable. These include: getting mineral taxation right; how to foster manufacturing with only a small domestic market; the enormous backlog in urban infrastructure investment (electricity, water supply and sewerage); and improving transport (notably ports and railways). As if that were not enough, he adds “Agriculture is even more challenging”, with long-standing questions – large scale vs small scale, transformation vs improvement – still unresolved. He concludes with an appeal to the Tanzanian elite to show the leadership and vision needed.

One measure of Coulson’s achievement is that no comparable work has appeared since 1980. There have been books and articles on particular aspects of Tanzania’s development and bits of the story could be pieced together from these (many appear in the expanded bibliography), and from reports by the Tanzania Government and agencies such as the World Bank, but no-one has attempted a comprehensive overview of Tanzania’s post-Independence economic development to bring the story up to date.

In case someone is contemplating taking on this daunting task, it may be worth drawing attention to some aspects which appear (to this reviewer at least) not to have been given their due weight, either in Coulson’s book or elsewhere. First, there is the regional dimension. There are enormous differences in climate, topography, natural resources and ways of life between the different parts of Tanzania: attention to these differences and their effects would make for a more rounded account. Secondly, population growth at around 3% p.a. right up to the present time has made the development challenge immensely more difficult but receives very little attention in the literature. Only about a third of the increase in the rural population has been absorbed into towns, so that the pressure of population on land and other resources in the rural ares has approximately trebled, compounding the problems attributable to poor policies.

Thirdly, the urban development that has occurred has been rather unproductive, raising questions both about the quality of local administration and about strategies for non-agricultural employment. Finally, on a more positive note, an up-to- date economic history of Tanzania will be able to document the unexpected surge in mineral exploitation, starting with artisanal mining of gemstones in the 1980s, moving to larger scale mining in the 1990s, and (prospectively) oil and gas production in the near future. Hopefully, our future historian will record that these new opportunities have been put to good use, resulting in a better future for all Tanzanians.

Hugh Wenban-Smith

Dr Hugh Wenban-Smith was born in Chunya and went to Mbeya School. His career was as a government economist – mainly in Britain but with periods in Zambia and India. He is now an independent researcher, with particular interest in infrastructure, urbanisation and transport.