Burying, Unearthing and Archiving German Colonial Records in Tanganyika, 1914-1960s

Reginald E. Kirey


The article is about the intricacies involved in the handling of government records, with particular
reference to German colonial records in Mainland Tanzania during and after the First World War. It provides an account of how the Germans hid their official records before departing from their East African colony upon defeat by the allied forces, and how the records were eventually uncovered and used by both the British colonial regime and the post-colonial administration. The author explains the manner in which official records were handled during and after the War in terms of cultural symbolism, which ultimately contributed to the shaping of state power, collective memory and national identity. This explanation leads to the author’s main argument; that besides the direct and practical functions they are
intended to serve, archival records also function as cultural objects which eventually contribute to the shaping of collective memory and national identity.


Germany, Britain, archives, memory, national identity, Tanzania

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