African Underclass examines the social, political, and administrative repercussions of rapid urban growth in Dar es Salaam. The origins of an often coercive response to urbanization in postcolonial Tanzania are traced back to the colonial period. The British reacted to unanticipated urban growth by attempting to limit the process, though this failed to prevent a substantial increase in rates of urbanization. Instead, official policy marginalized the growing numbers of Africans who failed to fit colonial criteria for town residence. An underclass emerged whose rights to urban citizenship were eroded by a policy response to urbanization that criminalized not only many of the economic activities adopted by Africans, but often their very presence in the town. This was influenced by entrenched attitudes among official, settler, and elite African opinion that linked the phenomenon of urbanization with social disorder.
African Underclass: Urbanization Crime & Colonial Order in Dar Es Salaam 1919-61