EAST AFRICA by Lawrence Fellows


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Behind the opening rhetoric which promises a ""land of quick and vivid contrasts,"" a quiet and probing piece of political history which traces the Portuguese/Arab rivalry that dominated the earliest centuries of recorded history, the German/Anglo incursions which came later, and studies in some detail the course of the three nations -- Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania -- into which the territory is presently divided. In comparing this trio of nations, the similarities far outweigh the contrasts; the shared problems -- economic stagnation, tribalism and the post-colonial search for a truly African identity (as in Tanzania where the ""Afro"" has been condemned as an importation of American decadence) have led to parallel experiments with one party socialism under the nationalist leaders Kenyatta, Nyere and Obote. Fellows deals openly, but candidly, with some of the less savory aspects of recent political turmoil -- Tanzania's Green Guards, the persecution of Masai tribesmen, the anti-Indian discrimination in Kenya, presenting them against a background of frustration and bitter memories (Kenyatta's own father was arrested as a ""witch doctor"" at the instigation of missionaries). The responsible and balanced reportage is on a far higher plane of political sophistication than, say, Edna Kaula's The Land and People of Kenya (1968), and aimed at readers a few years older.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
Publisher: Macmillan