© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved

Prologue

At the time of my first journey into Africa, I was ignorant of much of what is contained in this prologue. Had I been aware of the pre-colonial, colonial, and recent history of the area, it would have helped me to make sense of much of what I saw. It has helped me to make sense of the journey in retrospect, and it has certainly helped me to understand events that occurred in east and south Africa after the trip.

Prehistory

The Cradle of Man

By 1972 East Africa had been recognized as the cradle of man. A series of early hominid fossils had been found by Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. These culminated in 1960 with the discovery of Homo habilis, considered at the time to be the oldest known member of the true human genus. Despite what is probably the longest period of human habitation in the world, the pre-European contact history and culture of eastern and southern Africa was largely unknown.

Origins of Diversity

To say that the number, diversity, and history of ethnic groups in Africa are confusing is to oversimplify. Individual groups may share language with one or more other groups, social organization with others, and belief systems and values with yet others. The cultural and political pattern evident by 1900 was the product of adaptation to diverse environments ranging from lush tropical forest, to fertile subtropical highlands, to semi- arable and non-arable Savannah and desert. This was further complicated by numerous migrations and the merging of the migrating cultures with the indigenous cultures encountered during the migration. The lack of written language has made unravelling the history of the area difficult. Most peoples of eastern and southern Africa spoke one of two major language groups. By far the most extensive were speakers of the Bantu related languages. Surrounded by numerous Bantu languages were the Nilotic language speakers of southern Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Northern Tanzania.

Pre European Contact

Beginning in the 8 th  century, Arab traders began establishing settlements on the east coast of Africa. By the 13 th  century, an urban culture centred in city-states and comprising a mixture of Bantu and Arabic speakers had developed. The resulting fusion of Arabic and Bantu languages evolved into Swahili (the lingua franca of modern eastern Africa). Throughout the 15 th  century Swahili moved inland with Arab traders and slavers who shipped slaves to Arabia, Persia, and India. In the interior, complex states are believed to have begun in the 14 th   century. They are thought to have risen from domination of the indigenous Bantu peoples by Kushites from the Ethiopian highlands. These states flourished until supplanted by a wave of migrant Luo peoples from the Sudan. A number of states, including Bunyoro and Buganda, developed from this mixing of cultures. Bunyoro held dominance until the latter half of the 18 th  century at which time Buganda (modern day Uganda) gained dominance. Buganda was a sophisticated centralized bureaucracy answering to a king. Further south in Rwanda, a pastoral aristocracy ruled by descendents of the original Kushites (modern day Tutsi) held ascendancy from the 16 th  century onward. In southern Africa, the civilizations of Luba (in modern Malawi) and the Shona (in modern Zimbabwe) formed the basis for the Malawi and Monomotapa kingdoms that were encountered by the Portuguese in the 16 th  century.  In the arid Great Rift Valley, the Bantu interacted with the Nilotic pastoralists and although much of the region eventually spoke a Bantu related language the pastoral culture survived. The dominant form of government was the chiefdom, but unlike other areas, the chiefdoms never amalgamated into larger kingdoms. The ancestors of the modern day Masai of Kenya and northern Tanzania retained much of their Nilotic language base.

Post European Contact

By 1498, the Portuguese had rounded the southern tip of Africa and established a presence in Zanzibar. The Malawian empire which was based on trade did not survive the arrival of the Portuguese and the resultant shift in trade routes. During the 15 th  and 16 th  centuries, the Portuguese wrested control from the Arabs but by the 18 th  century the Arab sultanates of Masqat and Oman had regained control. In the 19 th  century, Swahili spread inland as a result of Arabic slave and ivory trading expeditions. Swahili reached as far north as Uganda and as far west as Zaire but the political systems of the interior remained a mixture of small kingdoms and scattered settlements that  recognized no authority above the clan. The Omani ascendancy marked the peak of the eastern and southern African slave trade (1780-1810). Mortality of the slaves during transport was directly related to the duration of the trip. As a result, most eastern African slaves were used as forced labour in Africa or sent as agricultural workers to Arabia, India, Indian Ocean islands, or Madagascar although many Mozambican slaves were sent to Portuguese and Spanish colonies in South America. To deal with the profound impact of slavery on the African population would require a major treatise. Suffice it to say that conservative estimates suggest that up to 20 million men and women between the ages of 15 and 30 were either killed or sold as slaves. The impact on African populations was not as large as might be expected since women were usually kept to expand lineages and the men either killed or shipped overseas. Thus about twice as many men as women and few young children reached the new world. A steady increase in trade with the United States, France, and British India reduced the Omani dependency on the slave trade to the extent that the sultan was finally willing to sign the Hamerton Treaty of 1845 forbidding the export of slaves.

The Modern Era

The latter half of the 19 th  century saw an influx of missionaries to east Africa. Although Islam was firmly established on the coast, Christian missionaries made significant inroads in the interior and Christianity was spreading outwards from the Lake Victoria area. Evangelical zeal was quickly replaced by philanthropic, commercial, and eventually imperialistic ambitions. In 1885 the German East Africa Company was chartered and revived European imperialism in East Africa. The Anglo- German agreement of 1886 divided east Africa into German and English spheres of influence approximately along the current Tanzanian-Kenyan border.

Kenya

In Kenya, the British built a railroad from Mombassa to Lake Victoria and began encouraging settlement of the fertile Kenyan Highlands by white settlers. In theory, only unoccupied lands reverted to the crown and were made available for settlement. The railway also left a legacy of Indian railway workers. Denied access to land by the British,  many stayed and lay the foundation of a mercantile class in Uganda, Kenya, and to a lesser degree Tanzania. Three issues were to lead to trouble. The native reserves set aside for indigenous peoples were never gazetted. This led to unease among the indigenous population. Some lands claimed by the Kikuyu were annexed to the crown over the objections of the Kikuyu. This left a legacy of bad feeling. Finally, the reserves eventually proved inadequate to the indigenous population. The Kikuyu, unable to acquire additional land and not reconciled to the loss of their original lands became restive. This culminated in the Mau Mau uprising of the early 1950s during which about 100 Europeans, 2000 non Kikuyu loyalist Africans, and 11,000 Kikuyu were killed. An additional 20,000 Kikuyu spent years in concentration/detention camps. Only the Kikuyu tribe had participated in the uprising.

Malawi

European involvement began in the 1870s with Scottish church missions. In the 1880s, the British were at war with Arab slave traders and fearing Portuguese expansion negotiated a series of treaties with local rulers that resulted in the 1891 creation of a British protectorate called the Nyasaland Districts Protectorate. This later became the British Central African Protectorate, and finally in 1907 the Nyasaland Protectorate. Nationalist sentiment increased after the second world war, but in 1953 Nyasaland was joined with Northern (Zambia) and Southern (Zimbabwe) Rhodesia into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the future president of Malawi, actively opposed the white dominated federation and was eventually imprisoned by the British.

Tanzania

In Tanzania, the Germans invested heavily in establishing coffee and tea plantations but the first world war put an end to their plans. After the war, Britain controlled Tanzania under a League of Nations mandate. Unlike in Kenya, the British Administration discouraged colonization thus forestalling many of the race problems that later developed in Kenya.

Uganda

In Uganda (then Buganda), the missionary zeal of the latter half of the 19 th   century created a number of Protestant and Roman Catholic factions which led to civil war. The collapse of the Buganda government opened the door for the British East Africa Company to put down the civil disturbance and by 1896 Britain had established a protectorate (called Uganda) over most of the region. For the next 70 years, Uganda was ruled by a centralized European bureaucracy superimposed on a federation of kingdoms and tribes.

Independence to 1972

By the late 1940s, Britain had been exhausted by two world wars. They had mobilized the empire to support the war effort but promises made to secure this support hastened the independence movement in most countries. In addition, the cost of administering the empire was significantly greater than the return and Britain was looking for a graceful exit from her responsibilities. Where it was possible to effect a transfer of power to a friendly government, with no loss of prestige, the British government did not oppose and even encouraged independence. This set the stage for a rapid disintegration of the African Empire. Sudan (1956), Nigeria (1960), Sierra Leone (1961), Tanzania (1961, formerly Tanganyika), Uganda (1962), Kenya (1963), Zambia (1964, formerly northern Rhodesia), Malawi (1964, formerly Nyasaland), The Gambia (1965), Botswana (1966), and Swaziland 1968) gained independence with relatively smooth transitions and became members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Kenya

In 1963, Jomo Kenyatta became the first head of government for the Nation of Kenya. Once imprisoned by the British for complicity in the Mau Mau uprising, Kenyatta led a moderate, pro-western government. By 1964, Kenya was a functioning single party republic. Under Kenyatta, land reform addressed the historical grievances of the Kikuyu, and the feared backlash against white settlers never materialized. Despite his greater trust of Kikuyu (as evidenced by increasing dominance of Kikuyu military officers) and ideological differences with Vice President Odinga (who was from the Luo tribe), Kenyatta maintained internal peace between the different tribes and nations by the equitable distribution of patronage appointments to all ethnic groups. In addition, redistribution of smallholdings defused the charge that he was ignoring the poor in favour of capitalism. Odinga ultimately formed his own party and in 1969, he and several of his leading party members were arrested and the new party banned. This combined with the assassination of Tom Mboya, another Luo cabinet minister, led to suspicions of pro Kikuyu and anti Luo sentiment in the government. In addition, many of the smallholdings had failed and a transfer of 1.5 million hectares of land to a group of wealthy Kenyans (dominated by Kikuyu) fueled the suspicions that Kenyatta was promoting Kikuyu at the expense of the Luo. By 1971, a suspected Army coup had been forestalled by increased pay and better working conditions, and Odinga had been released from prison but there was a strong undercurrent of Kikuyu-Luo tension. By 1972, the apparent political stability offered by Kenyatta was attracting significant foreign investment. An industrial area developed near Thika, Nairobi was being modernized, and tourism was flourishing. The future looked bright.

Malawi

Like Jomo Kenyatta, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda (the first leader of independent Malawi) was imprisoned by the British for pre-independence agitation. He was released from prison in 1960 and assisted with the transition to independence. He was made Prime Minister when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyassland dissolved, and he retained the post until independence in 1964. Shortly after independence, a dispute between Banda and his other ministers resulted in the dismissal of 3 ministers and the resignation of 3 others. The dispute was over Banda’s autocratic methods and his tolerant policies towards Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa. Malawi was declared a republic in 1966 and Banda elected president by the National Assembly. Banda’s regime was severe, autocratic, and ruthless. He exerted strong control over all aspects of government and political opponents were either imprisoned or executed. In 1970, Banda amended the constitution to make himself President for life and insisted on the title His Excellency, Ngwazi (beloved), the Life President, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda. In the 1970s, Banda concentrated on building up the countries infrastructure and on increasing agricultural productivity. Unlike his east African neighbours, Banda maintained friendly relations with white-ruled South Africa, Mozambique, and Rhodesia and supported his pursuit of aid with decidedly pro-western policies. Despite his pro-western sentiments, Banda was concerned that the liberal attitudes of western youth might undermine his authoritarian regime and instituted strict dress codes to discourage western youth from travelling or working in Malawi. The economy was doing well in the early 1970s. This was in large part due to foreign aid and capital investment in the country. Despite Banda’s sympathetic relations with the Portuguese, Malawi became a haven for antigovernment rebels from Mozambique.

Tanzania

Tanganyika gained independence in 1961 and was admitted to the United Nations. A year later Tanganyika became a republic with Julius Nyerere as president, but it remained in the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1964 Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. Britain’s role in Rhodesia and its supply of arms to South Africa caused Nyerere to break-off diplomatic relations with Britain from 1965 to 1968. The loss of aid from Britain was more than offset by increased aid from the east bloc. In particular, China funded the construction of a railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia. Tanzania was committed to a policy of non- alignment but east-bloc involvement in Zanzibar (Nyerere had no control over this) and his pursuit of eastern aid to counter-balance western influence caused misgivings in the west. Under Nyerere, the Arusha Declaration of 1967 established the Tanzanian commitment to socialist economic development. The declaration stated that the resources of the country were owned by the people and held in trust for their descendents. Though fair compensation was given to the shareholders, the banks and the more important commercial companies were nationalized. In an attempt to increase agricultural productivity, cooperative villages were established and people moved to these cooperatives. By 1972, difficulties were emerging. The people did not support collectivization and the nationalized industries were beginning to suffer from mismanagement. Despite this Nyerere’s popularity remained high.

Uganda

When Uganda achieved independence in 1962, the traditional kingdom and tribal structures remained. The former kingdom of Buganda retained special federal powers under the kabaka (king) within the new country of Uganda while the other smaller kingdoms and chiefdoms were subsumed by the Ugandan government. This arrangement proved untenable. Milton Obote, a Lango tribesman, became Prime Minister and in an attempt to cement an alliance with the Ganda tribe he appointed the kabaka Mutesa II as president to replace the British Governor General. The attempt failed and the Ganda leaders were increasingly disgruntled by their inability to dominate a government made up of other ethnic groups. In addition, the other elected members owed their allegiance to the ethnic group that had elected them rather to their political party. In an attempt to control an increasingly hostile Buganda and increasing dissatisfaction among his followers, Obote dismissed five ministers and suspended the constitution. He sent troops into Buganda and declared a new republican constitution with himself as president. He abolished all kingdoms and divided Buganda into administrative districts. From this point on internal friction grew rapidly and Obote’s control of the opposition became increasingly oppressive. Obote had been relying heavily on Idi Amin to maintain the support of the army but Amin, who was a Kakwa tribesman, had been building support for himself by replacing the army officers with Kakwa. In 1971, Amin staged a coup while Obote was out of the country and immediately slaughtered all senior army officers loyal to Obote. The Bugandans welcomed the coup because of their hatred of Obote. In 1972, Amin sought to further his popularity by ordering the expulsion and the confiscation of property of some 70 thousand Asians who maintained the middle levels of the country’s economy.

The Year of the Trip

In 1972, Eastern and Southern Africa were in transition yet again. The nations of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi had achieved independence in 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964 respectively. After a long period of European rule, native Africans were again responsible for their own destiny. By 1972 the euphoria of independence enjoyed by native Africans had dissipated. Independence had not been the magical cure for poverty and the trials of daily subsistence that many had expected. Instead daily life had not changed much. To be sure there was a sense of Africans at last controlling African destiny but the new nations were artificial constructs of colonial administration. The tribal and political divisions masked during European colonization and administration still existed and any sense of common nationhood was strongly subordinate to tribal loyalties. The people were ill prepared for nationhood and the international obligations and responsibilities attendant on nationhood were far removed from the internal issues of daily survival. Despite this, many of the people still had a sense of optimism and a belief that the future was bright. However, they were confronted with tremendous political, economic, and social problems and only a very few of the people were equipped with the tools necessary to address them.

Prologue

At the time of my first journey into Africa, I was ignorant of much of what is contained in this prologue. Had I been aware of the pre- colonial, colonial, and recent history of the area, it would have helped me to make sense of much of what I saw. It has helped me to make sense of the journey in retrospect, and it has certainly helped me to understand events that occurred in east and south Africa after the trip.

Prehistory

The Cradle of Man

By 1972 East Africa had been recognized as the cradle of man. A series of early hominid fossils had been found by Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. These culminated in 1960 with the discovery of Homo habilis, considered at the time to be the oldest known member of the true human genus. Despite what is probably the longest period of human habitation in the world, the pre-European contact history and culture of eastern and southern Africa was largely unknown.

Origins of Diversity

To say that the number, diversity, and history of ethnic groups in Africa are confusing is to oversimplify. Individual groups may share language with one or more other groups, social organization with others, and belief systems and values with yet others. The cultural and political pattern evident by 1900 was the product of adaptation to diverse environments ranging from lush tropical forest, to fertile subtropical highlands, to semi-arable and non-arable Savannah and desert. This was further complicated by numerous migrations and the merging of the migrating cultures with the indigenous cultures encountered during the migration. The lack of written language has made unravelling the history of the area difficult. Most peoples of eastern and southern Africa spoke one of two major language groups. By far the most extensive were speakers of the Bantu related languages. Surrounded by numerous Bantu languages were the Nilotic language speakers of southern Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Northern Tanzania.

Pre European Contact

Beginning in the 8 th  century, Arab traders began establishing settlements on the east coast of Africa. By the 13 th  century, an urban culture centred in city-states and comprising a mixture of Bantu and Arabic speakers had developed. The resulting fusion of Arabic and Bantu languages evolved into Swahili (the lingua franca of modern eastern Africa). Throughout the 15 th  century Swahili moved inland with Arab traders and slavers who shipped slaves to Arabia, Persia, and India. In the interior, complex states are believed to have begun in the 14 th  century. They are thought to have risen from domination of the indigenous Bantu peoples by Kushites from the Ethiopian highlands. These states flourished until supplanted by a wave of migrant Luo peoples from the Sudan. A number of states, including Bunyoro and Buganda, developed from this mixing of cultures. Bunyoro held dominance until the latter half of the 18 th  century at which time Buganda (modern day Uganda) gained dominance. Buganda was a sophisticated centralized bureaucracy answering to a king. Further south in Rwanda, a pastoral aristocracy ruled by descendents of the original Kushites (modern day Tutsi) held ascendancy from the 16 th  century onward. In southern Africa, the civilizations of Luba (in modern Malawi) and the Shona (in modern Zimbabwe) formed the basis for the Malawi and Monomotapa kingdoms that were encountered by the Portuguese in the 16 th  century.  In the arid Great Rift Valley, the Bantu interacted with the Nilotic pastoralists and although much of the region eventually spoke a Bantu related language the pastoral culture survived. The dominant form of government was the chiefdom, but unlike other areas, the chiefdoms never amalgamated into larger kingdoms. The ancestors of the modern day Masai of Kenya and northern Tanzania retained much of their Nilotic language base.

Post European Contact

By 1498, the Portuguese had rounded the southern tip of Africa and established a presence in Zanzibar. The Malawian empire which was based on trade did not survive the arrival of the Portuguese and the resultant shift in trade routes. During the 15 th  and 16 th   centuries, the Portuguese wrested control from the Arabs but by the 18 th  century the Arab sultanates of Masqat and Oman had regained control. In the 19 th  century, Swahili spread inland as a result of Arabic slave and ivory trading expeditions. Swahili reached as far north as Uganda and as far west as Zaire but the political systems of the interior remained a mixture of small kingdoms and scattered settlements that  recognized no authority above the clan. The Omani ascendancy marked the peak of the eastern and southern African slave trade (1780-1810). Mortality of the slaves during transport was directly related to the duration of the trip. As a result, most eastern African slaves were used as forced labour in Africa or sent as agricultural workers to Arabia, India, Indian Ocean islands, or Madagascar although many Mozambican slaves were sent to Portuguese and Spanish colonies in South America. To deal with the profound impact of slavery on the African population would require a major treatise. Suffice it to say that conservative estimates suggest that up to 20 million men and women between the ages of 15 and 30 were either killed or sold as slaves. The impact on African populations was not as large as might be expected since women were usually kept to expand lineages and the men either killed or shipped overseas. Thus about twice as many men as women and few young children reached the new world. A steady increase in trade with the United States, France, and British India reduced the Omani dependency on the slave trade to the extent that the sultan was finally willing to sign the Hamerton Treaty of 1845 forbidding the export of slaves.

The Modern Era

The latter half of the 19 th  century saw an influx of missionaries to east Africa. Although Islam was firmly established on the coast, Christian missionaries made significant inroads in the interior and Christianity was spreading outwards from the Lake Victoria area. Evangelical zeal was quickly replaced by philanthropic, commercial, and eventually imperialistic ambitions. In 1885 the German East Africa Company was chartered and revived European imperialism in East Africa. The Anglo-German agreement of 1886 divided east Africa into German and English spheres of influence approximately along the current Tanzanian-Kenyan border.

Kenya

In Kenya, the British built a railroad from Mombassa to Lake Victoria and began encouraging settlement of the fertile Kenyan Highlands by white settlers. In theory, only unoccupied lands reverted to the crown and were made available for settlement. The railway also left a legacy of Indian railway workers. Denied access to land by the British,  many stayed and lay the foundation of a mercantile class in Uganda, Kenya, and to a lesser degree Tanzania. Three issues were to lead to trouble. The native reserves set aside for indigenous peoples were never gazetted. This led to unease among the indigenous population. Some lands claimed by the Kikuyu were annexed to the crown over the objections of the Kikuyu. This left a legacy of bad feeling. Finally, the reserves eventually proved inadequate to the indigenous population. The Kikuyu, unable to acquire additional land and not reconciled to the loss of their original lands became restive. This culminated in the Mau Mau uprising of the early 1950s during which about 100 Europeans, 2000 non Kikuyu loyalist Africans, and 11,000 Kikuyu were killed. An additional 20,000 Kikuyu spent years in concentration/detention camps. Only the Kikuyu tribe had participated in the uprising.

Malawi

European involvement began in the 1870s with Scottish church missions. In the 1880s, the British were at war with Arab slave traders and fearing Portuguese expansion negotiated a series of treaties with local rulers that resulted in the 1891 creation of a British protectorate called the Nyasaland Districts Protectorate. This later became the British Central African Protectorate, and finally in 1907 the Nyasaland Protectorate. Nationalist sentiment increased after the second world war, but in 1953 Nyasaland was joined with Northern (Zambia) and Southern (Zimbabwe) Rhodesia into the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the future president of Malawi, actively opposed the white dominated federation and was eventually imprisoned by the British.

Tanzania

In Tanzania, the Germans invested heavily in establishing coffee and tea plantations but the first world war put an end to their plans. After the war, Britain controlled Tanzania under a League of Nations mandate. Unlike in Kenya, the British Administration discouraged colonization thus forestalling many of the race problems that later developed in Kenya.

Uganda

In Uganda (then Buganda), the missionary zeal of the latter half of the 19 th  century created a number of Protestant and Roman Catholic factions which led to civil war. The collapse of the Buganda government opened the door for the British East Africa Company to put down the civil disturbance and by 1896 Britain had established a protectorate (called Uganda) over most of the region. For the next 70 years, Uganda was ruled by a centralized European bureaucracy superimposed on a federation of kingdoms and tribes.

Independence to 1972

By the late 1940s, Britain had been exhausted by two world wars. They had mobilized the empire to support the war effort but promises made to secure this support hastened the independence movement in most countries. In addition, the cost of administering the empire was significantly greater than the return and Britain was looking for a graceful exit from her responsibilities. Where it was possible to effect a transfer of power to a friendly government, with no loss of prestige, the British government did not oppose and even encouraged independence. This set the stage for a rapid disintegration of the African Empire. Sudan (1956), Nigeria (1960), Sierra Leone (1961), Tanzania (1961, formerly Tanganyika), Uganda (1962), Kenya (1963), Zambia (1964, formerly northern Rhodesia), Malawi (1964, formerly Nyasaland), The Gambia (1965), Botswana (1966), and Swaziland 1968) gained independence with relatively smooth transitions and became members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Kenya

In 1963, Jomo Kenyatta became the first head of government for the Nation of Kenya. Once imprisoned by the British for complicity in the Mau Mau uprising, Kenyatta led a moderate, pro-western government. By 1964, Kenya was a functioning single party republic. Under Kenyatta, land reform addressed the historical grievances of the Kikuyu, and the feared backlash against white settlers never materialized. Despite his greater trust of Kikuyu (as evidenced by increasing dominance of Kikuyu military officers) and ideological differences with Vice President Odinga (who was from the Luo tribe), Kenyatta maintained internal peace between the different tribes and nations by the equitable distribution of patronage appointments to all ethnic groups. In addition, redistribution of smallholdings defused the charge that he was ignoring the poor in favour of capitalism. Odinga ultimately formed his own party and in 1969, he and several of his leading party members were arrested and the new party banned. This combined with the assassination of Tom Mboya, another Luo cabinet minister, led to suspicions of pro Kikuyu and anti Luo sentiment in the government. In addition, many of the smallholdings had failed and a transfer of 1.5 million hectares of land to a group of wealthy Kenyans (dominated by Kikuyu) fueled the suspicions that Kenyatta was promoting Kikuyu at the expense of the Luo. By 1971, a suspected Army coup had been forestalled by increased pay and better working conditions, and Odinga had been released from prison but there was a strong undercurrent of Kikuyu-Luo tension. By 1972, the apparent political stability offered by Kenyatta was attracting significant foreign investment. An industrial area developed near Thika, Nairobi was being modernized, and tourism was flourishing. The future looked bright.

Malawi

Like Jomo Kenyatta, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda (the first leader of independent Malawi) was imprisoned by the British for pre- independence agitation. He was released from prison in 1960 and assisted with the transition to independence. He was made Prime Minister when the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyassland dissolved, and he retained the post until independence in 1964. Shortly after independence, a dispute between Banda and his other ministers resulted in the dismissal of 3 ministers and the resignation of 3 others. The dispute was over Banda’s autocratic methods and his tolerant policies towards Portugal, Rhodesia, and South Africa. Malawi was declared a republic in 1966 and Banda elected president by the National Assembly. Banda’s regime was severe, autocratic, and ruthless. He exerted strong control over all aspects of government and political opponents were either imprisoned or executed. In 1970, Banda amended the constitution to make himself President for life and insisted on the title His Excellency, Ngwazi (beloved), the Life President, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda. In the 1970s, Banda concentrated on building up the countries infrastructure and on increasing agricultural productivity. Unlike his east African neighbours, Banda maintained friendly relations with white- ruled South Africa, Mozambique, and Rhodesia and supported his pursuit of aid with decidedly pro-western policies. Despite his pro-western sentiments, Banda was concerned that the liberal attitudes of western youth might undermine his authoritarian regime and instituted strict dress codes to discourage western youth from travelling or working in Malawi. The economy was doing well in the early 1970s. This was in large part due to foreign aid and capital investment in the country. Despite Banda’s sympathetic relations with the Portuguese, Malawi became a haven for antigovernment rebels from Mozambique.

Tanzania

Tanganyika gained independence in 1961 and was admitted to the United Nations. A year later Tanganyika became a republic with Julius Nyerere as president, but it remained in the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1964 Tanganyika merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. Britain’s role in Rhodesia and its supply of arms to South Africa caused Nyerere to break-off diplomatic relations with Britain from 1965 to 1968. The loss of aid from Britain was more than offset by increased aid from the east bloc. In particular, China funded the construction of a railway from Dar es Salaam to Zambia. Tanzania was committed to a policy of non-alignment but east-bloc involvement in Zanzibar (Nyerere had no control over this) and his pursuit of eastern aid to counter-balance western influence caused misgivings in the west. Under Nyerere, the Arusha Declaration of 1967 established the Tanzanian commitment to socialist economic development. The declaration stated that the resources of the country were owned by the people and held in trust for their descendents. Though fair compensation was given to the shareholders, the banks and the more important commercial companies were nationalized. In an attempt to increase agricultural productivity, cooperative villages were established and people moved to these cooperatives. By 1972, difficulties were emerging. The people did not support collectivization and the nationalized industries were beginning to suffer from mismanagement. Despite this Nyerere’s popularity remained high.

Uganda

When Uganda achieved independence in 1962, the traditional kingdom and tribal structures remained. The former kingdom of Buganda retained special federal powers under the kabaka (king) within the new country of Uganda while the other smaller kingdoms and chiefdoms were subsumed by the Ugandan government. This arrangement proved untenable. Milton Obote, a Lango tribesman, became Prime Minister and in an attempt to cement an alliance with the Ganda tribe he appointed the kabaka Mutesa II as president to replace the British Governor General. The attempt failed and the Ganda leaders were increasingly disgruntled by their inability to dominate a government made up of other ethnic groups. In addition, the other elected members owed their allegiance to the ethnic group that had elected them rather to their political party. In an attempt to control an increasingly hostile Buganda and increasing dissatisfaction among his followers, Obote dismissed five ministers and suspended the constitution. He sent troops into Buganda and declared a new republican constitution with himself as president. He abolished all kingdoms and divided Buganda into administrative districts. From this point on internal friction grew rapidly and Obote’s control of the opposition became increasingly oppressive. Obote had been relying heavily on Idi Amin to maintain the support of the army but Amin, who was a Kakwa tribesman, had been building support for himself by replacing the army officers with Kakwa. In 1971, Amin staged a coup while Obote was out of the country and immediately slaughtered all senior army officers loyal to Obote. The Bugandans welcomed the coup because of their hatred of Obote. In 1972, Amin sought to further his popularity by ordering the expulsion and the confiscation of property of some 70 thousand Asians who maintained the middle levels of the country’s economy.

The Year of the Trip

In 1972, Eastern and Southern Africa were in transition yet again. The nations of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi had achieved independence in 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964 respectively. After a long period of European rule, native Africans were again responsible for their own destiny. By 1972 the euphoria of independence enjoyed by native Africans had dissipated. Independence had not been the magical cure for poverty and the trials of daily subsistence that many had expected. Instead daily life had not changed much. To be sure there was a sense of Africans at last controlling African destiny but the new nations were artificial constructs of colonial administration. The tribal and political divisions masked during European colonization and administration still existed and any sense of common nationhood was strongly subordinate to tribal loyalties. The people were ill prepared for nationhood and the international obligations and responsibilities attendant on nationhood were far removed from the internal issues of daily survival. Despite this, many of the people still had a sense of optimism and a belief that the future was bright. However, they were confronted with tremendous political, economic, and social problems and only a very few of the people were equipped with the tools necessary to address them.
© David E. Moon, 2014  All rights reserved