Africa's Freedom Railway

Africa's Freedom Railway

How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania
Jamie Monson
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/11/2011
Format: Paperback 21 b&w illus., 2 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22322-7
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The TAZARA (Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority), or Freedom Railway, from Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast to the Copperbelt region of Zambia, was instrumental in fostering one of the most sweeping development transitions in postcolonial Africa. Built during the height of the Cold War, the railway was intended to redirect the mineral wealth of the interior away from routes through South Africa and Rhodesia. Rebuffed by Western aid agencies, newly independent Tanzania and Zambia accepted help from China to construct what would become one of Africa's most vital transportation corridors. The book follows the railroad from design and construction to its daily use as a vital means for moving villagers and goods. It tells a story of how transnational interests contributed to environmental change, population movements, and the rise of local and regional enterprise.

Author Bio

Jamie Monson is Professor of History at Macalester College. She is editor of Women as Food Producers in Developing Countries.


“An extremely nuanced and textured history of negotiated interests that includes international stakeholders, local actors, and—importantly—early Chinese policies of development assistance.”
 — James McCann, Boston University

“Blessedly economical and unpretentious . . . no one else is capable of writing about this region with such nuance.”
 — James Giblin, University of Iowa

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction

Part 1. Freedom Railway
2. Railway Visions
3. Building the People's Railway
4. Living along the Railway

Part 2. Ordinary Train
5. The Ordinary Train
6. Landscape Visions
7. Conclusion

Appendix 1. Eight Principles Governing China's Economic and Technical Aid to Other Countries
Appendix 2. Parcel Shipments to and from Selected Rail Stations
Appendix 3. Land Cover Change, Kilombero Valley Study Area

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