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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Becoming wealthy: the life-history of a rural entrepreneur in Tanzania, 1922-80s
Author:Rizzo, MatteoISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
agricultural trade
biographies (form)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531050902972634
Abstract:This paper analyses the life history of a rural entrepreneur of humble rural origins from the Nachingwea District in late colonial and postcolonial (1922-1980s) Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Julius Mtenda, born in 1922. Based on oral and archival evidence, including Mtenda's own diaries and private papers, the paper examines the historical events that allowed him to move from poverty to relative prosperity, the rationale behind his investments, and the way in which he negotiated the challenges to accumulation that confronted him in the rural environment of Nachingwea. The paper takes the reader through the early years of Mtenda's career, when he accumulated the initial capital which he invested in small-scale trade, showing how historically contingent forces helped his capital to grow in size and value. Next it examines Mtenda's vulnerability through his reliance on capital in the sphere of circulation, and his decision then to combine this with investment in productive capitalism in agriculture, and the factors that eventually allowed him to succeed as a large-scale farmer. The paper argues that the ad hoc convergence between the agenda of Mtenda and that of local government officers (both colonial and postcolonial), evident in many of Mtenda's most significant investments, was the critical factor in his capacity to sustain his accumulation over time. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]