3. RESISTANCE: We don't want terraces!

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We don't want terraces!

Pamela A. Mack


In 1995 an estimated 4, 000 inhabitants of the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania began hurling insults, sticks and stones at their natue authority chied and British rules. They were pretesting aganst a way of life which increased hard work and did not bring increased rewards. They were struggling to deal with colonial policies based on assumptions of Waluguru methods of agriculture. The colonial governemnt had implemented soil conservation strategies which strained social relations and pressuriesed the already fragile soil. The implemented five schemes, only two of which were reviewed as successful. The scehemes required a lot of African labour and thuis their success depended upon cooperation. Gvernements assumed that Africans would get on board because it was for their own benefit. Yet only two schemes succeeded. 

The Uluguru Land Usage Scheme was initiated in 1947 after a report by Savile which read that the decrease in the amoutn of fallow time, depletion in soil fertility and deforestation had lead to rapid runoff and flooding. 

This has abeen an overpopulated area 'for as long as many informants could rememeber'There was not enough land to support the people, so land was over cultivated before WW1. This overcultivation resulted in soil erosion and ultimately, famine. At this, the Uluguru began to move down the mountain in search of land. It was not until after the second WW that the British became concerned with conservation.  --> they were concerned with development, and they saw modernity as a way to approach the soil erosion. 

ULUS  decided that terracing the sloping land and treeplanting would be their plan of action. They began work to train the Waluguru in the construction of bench terraces. 

The suitability of the scheme was questioned by officers and locals alike throughout: it was never tsurveyed to see which land might benefit. Initial tests in the area showed that bench terracuiing so disturbed the topsoil that it made the terraces sterile. 

Trash burning and burning the fields was made illegal, and terrracing became…


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