Ujamaa's Villagization and Gender Dynamics in Selected Tanzanian Fiction
Between 1967 and 1975, Tanzania implemented an ambitious project of Ujamaa villagization. According to official discourse, villagization was both a resettlement and production project, through which villages were to become schemes in which people lived and worked communally. This paper analyses the representation of Ujamaa villagization and gender dynamics in Ruhumbika's [1969. Village in Uhuru. London: Longman] and Ndunguru's [2004. The Lion of Yola. Dar es Salaam: E & D Publishers]. By placing the texts in their historical contexts, reading them against the official discourses about villagization, and situating villagization within the state's fascination with modernization, the article examines the representation of gender dynamics against a backdrop of Ujamaa's core principle of equality of all human beings. It argues that the two novels portray gender relations in the fictionalized Ujamaa villagization period as both monoglossic (in that they reflect the state and Ujamaa's ideal of human equality in some aspects), and heteroglossic (because they show contradictory relationships to Ujamaa's ideal of human equality). The novels suggest that this 'doubleness' leads to rural modernization that is contradictory in terms of gender relations.