African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403

Book Review

Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism? Lessons of Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union

M. A. Katundu
  • M. A. Katundu
  • Department of Community and Rural Development, Faculty of Cooperative and Community Development, Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), Tanzania.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 26 November 2018
  •  Accepted: 20 December 2018
  •  Published: 31 January 2019


In his book on, “Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism? Lessons of Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union”, Shivji presents an account of issues, dramas, and politics surrounding the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. He also includes an account of the January 1984 Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)’s Conference held in Dodoma that toppled President of Zanzibar, then Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi. This book brings back the debate on Pan-Africanism. Throughout the six chapters, the author emphasized that the stresses and tensions in the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar since its formation 54 years ago are not showing any sign of abating. He also argues that, imperialism under new forms and labels continues to bedevil the continent in ever-aggressive, if subtle, ways. The political federation of East Africa, which was one of the main spin-offs of the Pan-Africanism of the nationalist period, is reappearing on the political stage, though in a distorted form of regional integration. In his words, Shivji argue that, “the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar was born in the midst of debates on Pan-Africanism and in the thick of cold war. To this day, the Union carries its birthmarks, more of the latter than the former. The Union is the only surviving example of a political association of African sovereign states. Friends and foes alike often cite it as an exemplar of Pan-Africanist unity or an illustration of its failure” (P xv).