Anastasia Banshchikova and Oxana Ivanchenko: Abolition of the 19th Century Arab Slave Trade in the Current Views of Christian and Muslim Afro-Tanzanians


Memories of the so-called Arab slave trade are quite vivid in Tanzania. Those Tanzanians whose ancestors were enslaved or belonged to communities affected by the slave trade, as well as carriers of the oral history still tell about it. We present the results of recent field studies in Tanzania to reveal these memories of the slave trade and especially of its abolition, their impact on current Afro-Tanzanian approaches to Arabs, and the differences between Christian and Muslim Afro-Tanzanians regarding the trends of their attitudes towards these topics (the Christians often say that the main reasons of slavery abolition were humanitarian ones and stress the contribution of missionaries; the Muslims usually named other and various factors: drop in the slave trade profits, industrial revolution in Europe, British-French rivalry, etc.) as well as their attitudes towards the Arabs. The impact of current political debates on this divergence between Christian and Muslim Afro-Tanzanians is dealt with, too.

[Tanzania, Afro-Tanzanians. slave trade, Muslim-Christian relations, cultural trauma]

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