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Africa and the Cold War - Term 1 Week 7

Revolution in Zanzibar, 1964

In the aftermath of events in Congo, the United States and its allies were alert to any potential signs of communist revolution in Africa. When the recently independent government of the tiny island archipelago of Zanzibar was overthrown in January 1964, many in the West perceived the emergence of a ‘Cuba in Africa’. Just a hundred days after the seizure of power, Zanzibar joined mainland Tanganyika in forming the state of Tanzania. What caused the violent revolution? Were the West’s fears of a communist plot justified? Was the union the embodiment of pan-African sentiment? And what was the broader significance of these events? Gleijeses and Speller tackle them from a mostly Western perspective, Wilson and Burgess add Zanzibari voices.

Essay/Seminar questions

1. What motivated the revolt in Zanzibar in 1964?

2. To what extent did Zanzibar represent 'a communist bridge into Africa', as American commentators feared?

Class readings (*are compulsory)

*Piero Gleijeses, Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington and Africa, 1959-1976 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002), 57-60. E-book

*Ian Speller, An African Cuba? Britain and the Zanzibar Revolution, 1964, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 35:2 (2007): 283-302

*G. Thomas Burgess, Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar: The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad  Introduction

Amrit Wilson, The Threat of Liberation: Imperialism and Revolution in Zanzibar (London: Pluto Press, 2013), 46-61. E-book

G. Thomas Burgess, 'A Socialist Diaspora: Ali Sultan Issa, the Soviet Union, and the Zanzibari Revolution' in Maxim Matusevich (ed.), Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: Three Centuries of Encounters (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007), 263-91.

Further reading

A. M. Babu, 'The 1964 Revolution: Lumpen or Vanguard?', in Abdul Sheriff and Ed Ferguson (eds), Zanzibar under Colonial Rule (London: James Currey, 1991), 220-47.

James R. Brennan, 'Radio Cairo and the Decolonization of East Africa, 1953-1964', in Christopher J. Lee (ed.) Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and its Political Afterlives (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010), 173-95 [e-book].

G. Thomas Burgess, ‘An Imagined Generation: Umma Youth in Nationalist Zanzibar’, in Gregory H. Maddox and James L. Giblin (eds), In Search of a Nation: Histories of Authority & Dissidence in Tanzania (Oxford: James Currey, 2005), 216-49.

G. Thomas Burgess, ‘Mao in Zanzibar: Nationalism, Discipline and the (De)construction of Afro-Asian Solidarities’, in Christopher J. Lee (ed.), Making a World After Empire: The Bandung Moment and its Political Afterlives (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010), 196-234 [e-book].

Anthony Clayton, The Zanzibar Revolution and its Aftermath (London: Hurst, 1981).

Marie-Aude Fouéré, ‘Reinterpreting Revolutionary Zanzibar in the Media Today: The Case of Dira Newspaper’, Journal of Eastern African Studies, 6 (2012), 672-89.

Jonathon Glassman, 'Sorting out the Tribes: The Creation of Racial Identities in Colonial Zanzibar’s Newspaper Wars', Journal of African History, 41 (2001), 395-428.

Jonathon Glassman, War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011) [e-book].

Michael Lofchie, Zanzibar: Background to Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965).

John Okello, Revolution in Zanzibar (Nairobi: East African Publishing House, 1967).

Timothy H. Parsons, The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2003), 101-48.

Don Peterson, Revolution in Zanzibar: An American’s Cold War Tale (Boulder CO: Westview Press, 2002).

Ethan R. Sanders, ‘Conceiving the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union in the Midst of the Cold War: Internal and International Factors’, African Review, 41 (2014), 35-70.

Ethan R. Sanders, 'A Small Stage for Global Conflicts: Decolonization, the Cold War, and Revolution in Zanzibar', Canadian Journal of History, 52 (2017), 479-508.

Issa G. Shivji, Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism? Lessons of the Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union (Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota, 2008) [e-book].