Evelyn Waugh in East Africa

By considering the refreshingly candid insights to be found in A Tourist in Africa (1960) — Evelyn Waugh’s last book of travel — we may also thereby shed valuable light on the current challenges and limits to be faced by discordantly multi-cultured and overloaded Europe, given the stark underlying realities of geography and of demography (births, deaths, and migrations).

In order to keep manageable proportions, however, I shall concentrate in this essay on Waugh’s revealing visits to Zanzibar and the Tanganyika Territory. For, these two East African entities themselves, especially Tanganyika, had not only once been a part of German East Africa (1891-1919), but also later — after World War I and after the League of Nations Mandate and the extended United Nations Trust-Protectorate — were both placed under the British Imperial Administration (1916-1961). Moreover, they finally became politically united (on 26 April 1964) in the new nation of Tanzania, whose first President was the well-respected, British-educated, Roman Catholic, Julius Nyerere. The Zanzibar Archipelago had been a separate British colonial jurisdiction and had attained its own independence and sovereignty only in 1963, whereas Tanganyika had become independent slightly earlier, on 9 December 1961.

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