Mona N. Mwakalinga


Through a national cinema theoretical framework, this article interrogates
how cinema aided the Tanzanian government in the invention of a national
culture identity during the country’s nation-building phase of the 1960s
and 1970s. It is argued that in its initial stage of nation formation after
Independence, the government used cinema as an apparatus to construct a
national identity that confirmed and adhered to the ruling class’s interests
and idea of a nation. Thus by controlling how cinema was produced,
distributed, and exhibited to the masses through the 1960s and 1970s, the
government did not bring about unification of the people; rather it helped
in solidifying the primacy of the government. The cinema produced by the
government was a cheer leading cinema which provided no space for
analysis of issues; further, it was a cinema that denied freedom of
expression to its filmmakers and to its audiences.
Key words: National Building Project, national cinema, national identity,
social engineering, Tanganyika African Nationalist Union
(TANU), Ujamaa

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