Drawing on a wide range of oral and written sources, this book tells the story of Tanzania's socialist experiment: the ujamaa villagization initiative of 1967-1975. Inaugurated shortly after independence, ujamaa ('familyhood' in Swahili) both invoked established socialist themes and departed from the existing global repertoire of development policy, seeking to reorganize the Tanzanian countryside into communal villages to achieve national development. Priya Lal investigates how Tanzanian leaders and rural people creatively envisioned ujamaa and documents how villagization unfolded on the ground, without affixing the project to a trajectory of inevitable failure. By forging an empirically rich and conceptually nuanced account of ujamaa, African Socialism in Postcolonial Tanzania restores a sense of possibility and process to the early years of African independence, refines prevailing theories of nation building and development, and expands our understanding of the 1960s and 70s world.
Priya Lal is an Assistant Professor of History at Boston College. Her work has been published in the Journal of African History, Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, and Humanity.