Ujamaa in the Kilombero Valley: Msolwa and Signali Villages as Symbols of a National Project, ca. 1967 – 1990s

Emma Athanasio Minja, Maxmillian Julius Chuhila


In central southern Tanzania, the Kilombero Valley is a potential economic zone. Villagers in this area have witnessed the changing landscape of development efforts from colonial to postcolonial times. Kilombero's development story is one of government initiatives as well as local people's processes shaped by environmental and policy factors. This study explains how development was conceived, implemented, and impacted the valley's production and land use systems. We indicate that distinct circumstances resulted in different outcomes when Ujamaa was implemented. The paper uses the cases of Msolwa and Signali to show how the two communities stood out as success stories amid a larger concern about Ujamaa's ineffectiveness not only in the valley, but also in Tanzania as a whole. This research examines the dynamics of development initiatives in Msolwa and Signali villages using archival and oral sources.


Rural transformation, Ujamaa, Land use, Kilombero Valley, Local Agency, Msolwa, Signali.

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