'We hold it in Trust’: The College of African Wildlife Management and the end of Empire

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Journal of British Studies






In the early 1960s, the College of African Wildlife Management opened in northern Tanzania. The institution was designed to lessen the impact of decolonization by training the first generation of African wildlife wardens in the tradition of their European predecessors. The product of racialized narratives about African violence and the growth of international conservation organizations, the college could be understood as a straightforward neocolonial institution designed to perpetuate British and western influence over land and animals in East Africa. In contrast, this paper pays close attention to the circumstances and context of the college's founding, the debates over funding and control, and its institutional culture. These aspects all suggest that African governments sought to use the college as a vehicle for pursuing the Africanization of the civil service and for formalizing a contractual relationship with international organizations about mutual obligations not only to Tanzania's wildlife sector but also the country's political economy. This focus on a conservation institution created in the early days of independence demonstrates that the work of decolonization continued after independence, and that expatriate personnel and culture remained embedded in new nations, informing our narratives of decolonization, conservation, and nationalism.



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