Abstract

For most of the 1960s, Kweupe served as the official printed mouthpiece of the Zanzibari Revolution. Appearing in Swahili, the newspaper repeatedly claimed the revolution would only succeed if islanders were willing to transform their thoughts, values, and routines. Through analysis of such rhetoric, this article sheds new light upon the relationship between nationalism and socialism in the Indian Ocean during the Cold War. It argues that nationalists frequently perceived in socialism a series of anchoring principles by which to obtain meaningful as opposed to illusory sovereignty. And while socialism proposed ways to resist and reshape global structures faulted for perpetuating neocolonial domination and inequality, it also presented cultural solutions to poverty and powerlessness on the world stage. Indeed, the socialist concept of cultural revolution appealed to nationalists of the 1960s because its effectiveness appeared to be indisputable—and because the concept licensed nationalists to critically evaluate inherited cultural norms in terms of their perceived conduciveness to national progress and sovereignty. Such critique was not exceptional to nationalists of the Indian Ocean searching for means by which to complete the process of decolonization. Rather, it was inherent to nationalist thought since at least the early nineteenth century and was inspired by a series of sentiments and emotions that call for further scholarly examination.

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