The Interface between Land Tenure and Land Use Systems in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, ca. 1850-1980s


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This historical study seeks to explore land tenure systems and its influence on traditional land planning and use on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Northeastern Tanzania. Specific objective is to understand motives that have shaped settlement, production systems and mobility between 1850-1980s on the kihamba (highlands) and shamba (lowlands). Kihamba and shamba form the main tenure systems and have determined land use overtime by allowing switching between the two landscapes at different times and for different purposes. Through analysis of Landsat images, aerial photographs, archival research, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, the proposed study examines the socio-cultural attributes that determines patterns of land tenure and use including choices of where to settle, farm and practice socio-cultural functions. Unlike previous studies that have concentrated on government interventions, this study draws mainly from peasants’ articulations of their lived experiences in interacting with the mountain space.