East African intellectual community
Reeves, Geoffrey Warren
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This thesis sets out to examine the East African intellectual stratum in terms of its origine, institutional bases, membership, relations with government, party and society, cultural debates and! socio-political thought, within the overall framework of colonialism, underdevelopment and persisting neo-colonial economic and cultural relations. It posits a definition of the intellectual which, by focussing on qualitative thought, cultural validation and social activism, takes into account not only the nature of the intellectual's thought and the structures and contexts in which it is articulated and disseminated, but his relationship with structures of discontent or dissent in society as well. It is argued that while East Africa possesses a certain cultural homogeneity which is the product of the subjection to the rule of a single colonial power, the development of inter-territorial institutions such is Makerere, and the diffusion of Swahili culture, different socio-economic and political systems in Kenya and Tanzania in particular have affected intellectual life deeply. The differences have affected not only intellectual debates about the nature, redefinition and role of institutions such as the press and universities, but thought about the nature of postinde; endence state and society as well. Universities, newspapers, journals, publishing houses and theatre are examined as employers of intellectual personnel, channels of articulation and dissemination, and the debate about their redefinition and role In the light of African traditions, European cultural domination, and development requirements is explored. The social backgrounds of intellectuals are examined as a way of showing how thought, occupational choice, perceptions of role, and position in society have differed in terms of generation and to some extent country, and it is suggested that the wedge between pre- and post-independence generations is crucial in explaining the importance of different intellectual influences and ideological orientations. Many of the problems which complicate intellectual role definition are considered. Most have their roots in the changes wrought by colonialism, and include language, literacy, and cultural factors, the intellectual's position of marginality and lack: of recognition in his own society, and the problem of relating to intellectual traditions. The debate about the nature of intellectual role is examined, and three strands which loosely correspond to cultural nationalist, scientific socialist, and individ¬ ualistic positions are identified. Intellectual ooncerns with the recovery of initiative in history and cultured reassertion are examined, and an attempt is made to show how these concerns tend to underplay the importance of the colonial impact and the integration of African societies into the international capitalist system. The three major critical responses to cultural nationalism, African socialism and African humanism are examined, especially the Marxist critique which seeks to undermine the claims of African socialism and to establish the relevance and applicability of a flexible Marxist thought. In the final section of the thesis, intellectual interpretations of the post-independence situation are briefly examined, with a special emphasis being given to the Tanzanian radical intelligentsia.