ghosts of lumumba

ghosts of lumumba

Books and texts
May Joseph

ghosts is a childhood memoir of the first decade of Tanzanian socialism. Written by a Tanzanian Asian, ghosts is a book of mourning, of lost lives, forgotten revolutions, and disrupted childhoods. ghosts is a journey into the junctures between memory and history, between remembering and forgetting. It is a poetic excavation that disentangles the fractious history of Asians in Tanzania and their relationship to the possibilities of African citizenship. Through snapshots of a revolutionary youth lived under African socialism, Joseph explores the condition of decoloniality and its residual undercurrents; of living through the process of decolonization while still bearing the mentalities of the colonized. ghosts straddles the space between East Africa and South Asia; between Swahili and English; between the struggle to assimilate in the newly independent socialist state, and the tensions of a multi-racial African society. ghosts is an elegy to a lost era of socialist dreaming, and an unofficial accounting of a period in Tanzanian history little written about.


It offers insights into the everyday banalities of the first decades of decolonization and its utopian socialist hopes. Amongst its pages are Instagram vignettes of tragic-comic episodes - a minor history of peripheral lives lived, through which Joseph’s love for Dar-es-salaam, her home, emerges.


Tanzania 1960-1970s Archive

Below is a video archive of international influences popular in Dar es salaam of the 1960s-1970s, as well as amongst Tanzanian Asians. These documents-- never seen in Tanzania at the time-- offer a visual history of what was only an audio experience delivered by radios, records or tape recorders.

Julius Nyerere and Léopold Sédar Senghor
Dar es Salaam Image Archive1
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