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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Race and Class in the Politics of Zanzibar
Author:Sheriff, Abdul
Year:2001
Periodical:Afrika Spectrum
Volume:36
Issue:3
Pages:301-318
Language:English
Geographic term:Zanzibar
Subjects:political change
political conflicts
elections
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
History and Exploration
Abstract:The prevailing interpretation of the recent history and politics of Zanzibar has been based on the contention that race and class coincided on the isles. The 1964 revolution was therefore seen as the overthrow of an Arab landowning minority by the African majority. The massacre and expulsion of a large number of Arabs, and the nationalization and redistribution of large landholdings following the revolution should therefore have solved the problem. However, the history of post-revolution Zanzibar has been punctuated by repeated recurrence of political unrest and a persistence of deep political division. The hackneyed racial labels are still touted to explain this political divide. This article examines the 1961, 1963 and 1995 elections, showing that the voting behaviour of the electorate cannot be explained in such terms. The article argues that only a much more nuanced analysis, taking into account regional and local divisions, does justice to the complexities of political conflict and civil strife in Zanzibar. Bibliogr., sum. in English, French and German.
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