The border lies here and beyond: Datoga pastoral land claims in British Northern Tanzania, 1916 to 1950s
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The concepts of demarcated land in colonial Tanganyika were colonial creations. From 1911 onwards, ethnic communities began to live on demarcated land whose borders were drawn on maps and approved by the colonial governor in Dar es Salaam. However, such borders had an enormous impact on communities in the Northern and Central Provinces of Tanganyika. This study, which puts the Datoga societies in the center, revisits issues of land conflicts in the Central and Northern Provinces that came about as a result of changing meanings of land ownership. Although the land border issue aimed to serve colonial needs for labor and social order in the territory, it produced other unexpected results for the Datoga. Among the consequences were the creation of new dimensions of land consciousness that were associated with marks and certain symbolic measures of ownership. Also, transfer in land custodianship from the chief to the governor was itself a problem. Given the fact that the markings were fluid, temporal, and geographically unsustainable their bureaucratization gave some other communities a way to maneuver around the accepted boundaries to increase their acreage and occupancy of the common land. The cases in the Mbulu-Singida border conflicts exemplify the insignificance of the ethnic borders for the Datoga, since the British selectively allowed agro-pastoral communities to migrate while restricting the Datoga pastoralists. Using archival materials, especially the evidence from government reports, letters from communities and memoranda, we expose the debates and conflicts.
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