Whose History is our History? Six Decades of the Production of Historical Knowledge in Tanzania.

Maxmillian Julius Chuhila


This paper examines the historical significance of the histories we research, publish, and teach in Tanzania in the past six decades of active historical scholarship. By using a qualitative approach, it looks at curriculums and education policy documents to see what patterns were emerging in the teaching of history, with a particular focus on secondary schools and university histories. The main argument is that little progress has been made to teach our history in Tanzania at all levels. Schools and universities place greater emphasis on the colonial content than on the pre- and post-colonial contents, and on general African issues at the expense of issues particular to Tanzania. History instruction would be more significant if it demonstrated African-centred history rather than European-centred history or the impersonal impact of western capitalism. If this is not done adequately, Hugh Trevor-Roper's observations in the 1950s that Africa had no history will still be valid today. As we consider the topics and methodologies of historical scholarship in Tanzania during the last six decades, the question of whose history is ‘our history’ becomes crucial. As pacesetters, rather than passive victims of global trends and actions, we should write and teach our own history.


Knowledge decolonisation, African history, Tanzania, Teaching curriculum

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