Accepted paper:

Past Futures: a developmental history of the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania


Jono Jackson (University of Cologne)
Maxmillian Chuhila (University of Dar Es Salaam )

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers the evolution and legacies of development plans and possibilities for this 'rich and fertile' area of Tanzania. Focusing on settlement processes, it explores conceptualisations, successes and shortcomings against the changing political and economic landscapes.

Paper long abstract:

The Kilombero Valley has seen multiple development interventions in the past and been the focus of a number of unrealised visions. The considerable fertility of the region is cited in early colonial literature, yet by the late 1960s despite 'no lack of effort' it had proved 'impossible to make proper use of the potential.' Subsequent connected and disconnected initiatives over the past five decades continued attempts to realize this potential. The sparsely populated nature of the area was key to its suitability for development and yet also a barrier to this same development. Throughout this period, settlement and resettlement can be viewed as a continuous theme and pivotal to the success or failure of interventions. This historical approach views the true legacies of development interventions as most acutely experienced and expressed by the communities at their centre. A cross-generational examination can provide valuable insight into intend and unintended outcomes and whether there was 'progress' or have past experiences merely led to a worse future. Through this focus a general historical introduction to the development of the Kilombero Valley is told. The movement of people through resettlement and concentration of populations is as much the creation of communities as their disruption. This process is also seen as connecting disparate problems such as improving agricultural productivity, advancing infrastructure, improving administrative effectiveness, urban clearances of the poor and unemployed and their resettlement to rural areas and schemes to combat tsetse fly and sleeping-sickness.

panel His31
Rural transformations in Sub-Saharan Africa - histories of future-making