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  • Yazarın fotoğrafıMoussa Hissein Moussa

The book "Ujamaa: Social Policy Experience of Africa"


As is well known, the 1960s coincided with the dawn of independence in Africa. These suns, which are often thought to have ushered in political days, in fact also ushered in economic and social days. Since then, from the north to the south and from the east to the west of the continent, serious initiatives have been taken in the socio-economic and socio-political spheres as well as in politics. These include the Rastafarianism movement in Ethiopia and later Ghana; social and cultural revolutions in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic; the World Black Art Festival in Senegal, the Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival in Burkina Faso, the Ubuntu philosophy in South Africa and the Ujamaa policy in Tanzania. This analysis will focus on the Ujamaa experience. It is a concept developed by Julius Nyerere, the first president of independent Tanzania, to guide the economic and social development of his country in the 1960s and 1970s. In conclusion, African states' current social policy challenges will be addressed.

Ujamaa: Not an African Socialism, but an African Social Policy

In the 21st century, when airspace is being divided, the concepts of brand and ownership are of vital importance. No matter how much a country or a nation produces or invents, it cannot be its own unless it brands and nationalizes it. We know that Africa as a continent produces very dynamic footballers today. However, they are not counted as Africans because they have not nationalized them. We see that the national teams of France, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are made up of over 90% Africans. However, even though we know that they are Africans, they have been nationalized by the aforementioned countries, which have made them tear off their African identity. The same is true for political and social issues. Why should the Ujamaa policy, developed entirely by Africans, be called "African Socialism"? The moment such a description is accepted, especially by Africans, the value of Ujamaa as it is, will be lost. Just as socialism is a policy and theory in itself, Ujamaa is also a social theory and policy. Coexistence is not just a way of life that socialism promotes, especially in Africa. It has always existed in different forms in various states and structures centuries ago. Therefore, it would be wrong to fit Ujamaa into socialism.

Socialism, like Ujamaa in Tanzania, aims at equality and social justice, but represents two different political and economic philosophies. Socialism is a general economic and political philosophy that advocates social ownership of the means of production, the distribution of wealth and the end of class struggle. There are many varieties of socialism, from democratic socialism to revolutionary socialism. Ujamaa, on the other hand, is a social philosophy unique to Tanzania. Ujamaa means "extended family" or "brotherhood" in Swahili and advocates social cooperation, solidarity and equality. It emphasizes community and self-sufficiency and has encouraged the practice of collective farming in their villages. The difference between the two policies can be seen more clearly in the following points:

● While socialism generally advocated social ownership of the means of production, Ujamaa focused more on community-level cooperation and self-sufficiency;

● Ujamaa was a particularly Tanzanian philosophy and was strongly rooted in African traditions and cultural identity. Socialism, on the other hand, is a broader ideology that can be applied in many different cultural and national contexts;

● While socialism may involve a revolution or political reform to bring about social change, Ujamaa was more peacefully integrated into Tanzanian society through state policies.

As Cheikh Anta Diop put it, Africa must identify the realities in every field and protect these realities by taking the necessary measures until they are accepted by all. Otherwise, it will continue to be a laboratory of socio, cultural, political, economic and even technical knowledge and systems developed by others.

Ujamaa's Core Principles and Objectives

When thinking about the promotion of Ujamaa, it is important to understand that this cannot be achieved immediately. There may be many stages in achieving this. However, there seem to be some basic principles that we need to keep in mind. Consideration of these principles should inform what the first steps might be.

The term "Ujamaa" means "family" in Swahili, but Nyerere used it to describe a form of African socialism. Nyerere's Ujamaa socialism draws inspiration from African tribal traditions where the idea of community and equality, the benefit of the community takes precedence over individuality. For Nyerere, socialism is not only a matter of redistributing wealth but also of how that wealth is produced. He advocated an economy that benefits everyone, not just the elite.

Ujamaa is an economic and social concept developed by Nyerere to support Tanzania's economic and social development. Developed in the 1960s, it has been the mainstay of Tanzania's economic policy for many years. Ujamaa is based on the idea of community ownership and cooperation. It encourages the creation of cooperatives and collective enterprises to improve the economic conditions of rural communities. The basis of the idea of Ujamaa is to create an environment in which people work together to improve their economic and social well-being, rather than relying or relying on outside help or foreign companies. The concept of Ujamaa has also been used to strengthen social and cultural ties between community members by encouraging people to live and work together in collective villages called Ujamaa villages. The relocation of rural people to these villages is an important aspect of the implementation of Ujamaa.

The basic structure of the Ujamaa community is based on the idea of community ownership and cooperation, which aims to improve the economic and social conditions of rural communities in Tanzania. The community is built on four basic principles:

● Cooperatives and collective enterprises: Ujamaa encourages the establishment of cooperatives and collective enterprises to improve the economic conditions of rural communities, and these cooperatives and collective enterprises aim to create an environment where people work together to improve their economic and social well-being;

● Collective villages: Ujamaa encourages people to live and work together in collective villages called Ujamaa villages, where members cooperate in activities such as agriculture, animal husbandry, and community service, and share land and resources;

● Community planning: Ujamaa involves identifying community needs and priorities and developing projects to meet them. This includes ensuring that communities in collective villages are involved in decision-making and project management;

● Expropriation of enterprises: Ujamaa also aims to nationalize businesses to bring them under state control in order to support Tanzania's economic and social development.

Ujamaa was mainly funded by the Tanzanian state. The government has invested in development projects such as the construction of roads, community buildings, and infrastructure for collective villages, as well as in cooperatives and collective enterprises created. The government has also invested in agricultural and rural development projects such as improved seeds, tools, and irrigation, as well as in education and health. In addition, members of rural communities contributed to Ujamaa's financing by donating part of their income to cooperatives and collective enterprises, which were then used to finance community projects. Members of collective villages were also asked to contribute to the construction and maintenance of community infrastructure such as roads, schools, and health clinics.

Despite public funding and community contributions, Ujamaa has suffered from financing and management problems that have hampered its ability to achieve its economic and social goals. Lack of infrastructure, underinvestment, mismanagement of cooperatives and collective enterprises, misallocation of resources and corruption have hindered the community from achieving success. In addition, economic challenges such as the country's economic hardship due to the decline in commodity prices, dependence on foreign aid, and difficulties in attracting foreign investment have hampered efforts to increase income and employment for rural communities.

Despite public funding and community contributions, Ujamaa has not been completed due to financing and management problems. Ujamaa remains the community's idea, one of the rare original development projects conceived by Africans. However, as an experiment, it has been far from successful.

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