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“Mimi ni Mtanzania ”: An Analysis of Post-Colonial Nation Building and the Emergence of National Identity in Contemporary Tanzania

Author:

Nneoma Enyi Nwankwo

Virginia TechNone
About Nneoma
My name is Nneoma Nwankwo. I'm a senior majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Public and Urban Affairs and Creative Writing. I'm an international student from Lagos, Nigeria.
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Abstract

The United Republic of Tanzania, an East African nation of about 45 million people[1], has been overwhelmingly successful in establishing a strong and conscious national identity amongst its citizens. When asked whether they identify more with nation or ethnic group, 88% of Tanzanian respondents chose ‘nation.’ On the other hand, 50% respondents from Senegal, 31% of respondents from Uganda and a mere 17% of respondents from Nigeria chose ‘nation’ (Afrobarometer, 2009; Robinson, 2009).  This paper explores the role of colonialism and post-colonial nation building in the establishment of nationalism in contemporary Tanzania. Overall, I argue that while colonization played a role in nationalism in Tanzania, strong national identity is majorly a result of deliberate post-colonial nation building.  The paper maintains that the presence of Swahili as a native national language in Tanzania is both a positive by-product of colonization and a reward of persistent post-independence nation building. Post-colonial nationalist efforts such as the 1960s ‘Swahilization’; the 1970s socialist politics, policies and rhetoric; and the cessation of all forms of ethnic politics were all salient factors that critically and emphatically established the Tanzanian[2] national identity.



[1] 2012 Population and Housing Census. Tanzanian National Bureau of Statistics (Ministry of Finance). Exact figure provided: 44,928,923.

[2] For the purposes of this paper, I use “Tanzania” and the context of nationalism in reference majorly to the mainland (formerly Tanganyika). In the course of the paper, I explain the reason for so doing. However, Zanzibar is often referred to, and discussed.

How to Cite: Nwankwo, N.E., (2016). “Mimi ni Mtanzania ”: An Analysis of Post-Colonial Nation Building and the Emergence of National Identity in Contemporary Tanzania . Philologia . 8 , p . None . DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/ph.v8i0.141
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Published on 14 Apr 2016.

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