brings together the various threads of the struggle commencing
with the ' Anthrax Revolt' or Vita vya Ngombe (Cattle Riot) of 1951,
and surveys the changing balance of class forces within the
political parties that culminated in the violent overthrow of the
month-old independent government of Zanzibar in January 1964. Babu argues that although the revolution was 'a lumpen-proletarian
affair', it was transformed into a revolutionary insurrection which
heralded a new era in African politics.
One last word about the ethnic factor which has hitherto
mesmerised social scientists and historians dealing with Zanzibar.
Many of them have tended to adopt the racist ideology used by the
colonial rulers to obscure class contradictions and misdirect class
struggle. As Flint writes, 'the population was labelled by race, and
race denoted function'.
7 Challenged by the Marxist method and the
need for class analysis, some eclectic historians have taken a short
cut by boldly asserting that Zanzibar society was 'divided into a
number of exclusive classes differentiated mainly by race'.
chapters in this volume demonstrate that classes cut across racial
boundaries and political alignments. Bowles rightly argues in his
chapter that ethnic identities are images people have of themselves
or of others, and to use these skin-deep identities to analyse history
is 'to write the history of images'.
L. W. Hollingsworth, Zanzibar Under the Foreign Office, 1890-1913, London, Macmillan, 1953, p. 6.
Such as R. Coupland, East Africa and Its Invaders, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1938; R. Coupland, The Exploitation of East Africa, London, Faber and Faber, 1939; J. Gray, History of Zanzibar, London, Oxford University Press, 1962;
and C. S. Nicholls, The Swahili Coast, London, Allen and Unwin, 1971.
The proceedings of the 1974 conference, edited for the Historical
Association of Tanzania by M. H.Y. Kaniki, were published as Tanzania
Under Colonial Rule, London, Longman, 1980.
A large proportion of government records were then scattered in
various ministries, often in a very poor state of preservation. Most of
these have since been transferred to the archives and catalogued.
For further discussion of the Marxist method and concepts see Bade Onimode
, An Introduction to Marxist Political Economy, London, Zed Books,
Ltd, 1985. For original texts see H. Selsamet al. (eds), Dynamics of Social
Change, New York, International Publishers, 1970.
See A. Sheriff, Slaves, Spices and Ivory in Zanzibar: Economic Integration of EastAfrica into the World Economy
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Zanzibar under Colonial Rule.
Contributors: Abdul Sheriff - Editor, Ed Ferguson - Editor.
Publisher: James Currey.
Place of publication: London.
Publication year: 1991.
Page number: 7.
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