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Hidden voices of Empire

Participation in development and other activities

A wealth of material within the periodicals and beyond describes the activities of Africans in relation to their local development projects. Most comes from British accounts, although there is the occasional African intervention. Photographic evidence further attests to the participation of Africans with development projects.

Though the insights into participation evidence very little in terms of the viewpoints of those involved, they are recorded here as further findings from the research. Participation is itself a valid response to development, and also demonstrates a willingness at least to accept the reality of the policy, if not necessarily support of it.

Photographic scenes of a boat being loaded with produceAn article entitled: Self-help in eastern NigeriaManual work

Advertisements in the West African annual for modern ploughs attests to the involvement of its readership in British-guided agricultural techniques. Likewise, many images (such as the one reproduced here of an African student taking part in a soil survey) show Africans at work in development projects.

Education and employment

Uganda review had a particularly noticeable habit of boasting about schools and colleges and the numbers in attendance. For example, in 1950, Makerere had ‘one more student from Kenya than from Uganda (91 to 90)’, ‘over 50 students from Tanganyika, and others from Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland’.

Frequent destinations for Makerere graduates also seem to evidence how development plans were working as they were intended. Men ‘leave the College as doctors, as veterinary officers, as agricultural officers, or as teachers’, while women ‘have mostly gone into teaching and into welfare work’.

See also the section on Infrastructure and education for information on Makerere College

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