This book derives from a concern with the contemporary African situation. It delves into the past only because otherwise it would be impossible to understand how the present came into being and what the trends are for the near future. In the search for an understanding of what is now called “underdevelopment” in Africa, the limits of enquiry have had to be fixed as far apart as the fifteenth century, on the one hand and the end of the colonial period, on the other hand.
Ideally. an analysis of underdevelopment should come even closer to the present than the end of the colonial period in the 1960s. The phenomenon of neo-colonialism cries out for extensive investigation in order to formulate the strategy and tactics of African emancipation and development. This study does not go that far, but at least certain solutions are implicit in a correct historical evaluation, just as given medical remedies are indicated or contra-indicated by a correct diagnosis of a patient’s condition and an accurate case-history. Hopefully, the facts and interpretation that follow will make a small contribution towards reinforcing the conclusion that African development is possible only on the basis of a radical break with the international capitalist system, which has been the principal agency of underdevelopment of Africa over the last five centuries.
As the reader will observe, the question of development strategy is tackled briefly in the final section by A.M. Babu, former Minister of Economic Affairs and Development Planning, who has been actively involved in fashioning policy along those lines in the Tanzanian context [n.b.: not included in this reprint]. It is no accident that the text as a whole has been written within Tanzania, where expressions of concern for development have been accompanied by considerably more positive action than in several other parts of the continent.
Many colleagues and comrades shared in the preparation of this work. Special thanks must go to comrades Karim Hirji and Henry Mapolu of the University of Dar es Salaam, who read the manuscript in a spirit of constructive criticism. But, contrary to the fashion in most prefaces, I will not add that “all mistakes and shortcomings are entirely my responsibility.” That is sheer bourgeois subjectivism. Responsibility in matters of these sorts is always collective, especially with regard to the remedying of shortcomings. My thanks also go to the Tanzania Publishing House and Bogle L’Ouverture Publications for co-operating in producing this volume as simply and cheaply as possible. The purpose has been to try and reach Africans who wish to explore further the nature of their exploitation, rather than to satisfy the ‘standard, set by our oppressors and their spokesmen in the academic world.
(click the title of the book to get the full pdf version)