Cementing Uneven Development: The Central African Federation and the Kariba Dam Scheme

Tischler, Julia. (2014) Cementing Uneven Development: The Central African Federation and the Kariba Dam Scheme. Journal of Southern African Studies, 40 (5). pp. 1047-1064.

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Using the Kariba dam project as a case study, this article examines some of the biases and interdependencies of development planning in 1950s Northern Rhodesia in order to consider Zambia's trajectory into independence. The Kariba dam, a highly controversial hydroelectricity scheme in the short-lived Central African Federation, crystallises the ambivalent practices of building nations - materially, politically and ideologically. Colonial imbalances of development planning, most notably its 'urban bias', were bound to have a profound effect on the postcolonial period. I illustrate this, first with regard to Kariba's materiality. Given that infrastructures remain long after the planners and decision-makers leave, one must explore their potential for pre-structuring social change, including some types of change and excluding others. Secondly, Kariba is a prime example of the priorities in development politics that characterised both the colonial and postcolonial eras, particularly the neglect of rural populations in remote areas. At a more ideological level, the final section discusses how the dam project was contested by nationalist leaders and the resettled Gwembe Tonga peasants, drawing out the intricacies and ambiguities involved in 'resisting' a large-scale development project that promised to bring 'light and power for a nation'.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Geschichte > Bereich Geschichte Afrikas > Geschichte Afrikas (Tischler)
UniBasel Contributors:Tischler, Julia
Item Type:Article
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:08 Oct 2019 08:16
Deposited On:08 Oct 2019 08:16

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