The European Journal of Development Research

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 935–937 | Cite as

Street Archives and City Life: Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania

By Emily Callaci, Duke University Press, Durham, USA, 2017, 296 pp., $94.95 (Cloth)/$25.95 (Paperback)
  • Ben Jones
Book Review

Street Archives and City Life looks at urbanites in post-independence Tanzania, a time when Nyerere’s ideology of development, a policy of “rural socialism” and “villagisation”, fixed its sights firmly on the countryside. Ujaama and rural socialism imagined the rural as the engine of development and cast the city (Dar-es-Salaam) as a negative; a place that was decadent, un-African, and increasingly unplannable (cf. Lal 2015). Callaci shows how those migrating to the city nonetheless found something meaningful and even moral in the city. She looks at a range of texts—self-published novels, Christian advice literature, song lyrics (what she calls “street archives”—to show ways in which the cultural domain offered a space for thinking about new ways of living and getting by. The city represented, for many who moved there, a place where you could ‘search for life’, kutafuta maisha.

A brief introduction locates the study at the intersection of scholars interested in African popular cultures...


  1. Lal, Priya. 2015. African socialism in postcolonial Tanzania: between the village and the world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of International DevelopmentUniversity of East Anglia, Norwich Research ParkNorwichUK

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