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'. 8 But 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'.
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Publication information: 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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