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Basic concepts:-

1. Human labour

2. Means of labour

3. Objects of labour

4. Relations of production

5. Mode of production

1. Human labour: – Is a purposeful activity directed at the production of necessary product. Human labour includes personal factors in the production process such as skills, experience, scientific and technological knowledge. Labour is therefore the primary condition for human life because for man to survive he must satisfy his wants.

2. Means of labour: – These are things people use in production that is the tools of production. These tools include machines, hoes and more. Production is aided by the instruments of labour.

3. Objects of labour – These are things that are subjected to man‟s labour or they are things upon which man‟s labour is applied land being the most common object.

4. Relation of production – is the process of production people act on nature and the same time enter into relations with one another. The relations of production are determined by the form of ownership of the means of production and distribution of the products of labour. That is to say is the absence or existence of classes and exploitation in the society.

5. Mode of production – This is the combination of productive forces and the relations of production. The productive forces include human labour, means of labour and objects of labour. The modes of production are communal, slavery and feudal modes.


The modes of production in pre – colonial Africa included:-

(a) Communal mode of production

(b) Slave mode of production

(c) Feudal mode of production


This is the oldest system of social relations and preside all the other modes of production. It marked the rise of society from sheer animalism to human society. The main activities were hunting and gathering.


This is the earliest form mode of production in human history where evolution of society started, people were powerless before the environment and depended on whatever nature gave them for food; such as insects, roots and tools involved were; stones, arrows etc

Examples of societies practicing communal mode:-

Maasai of East Africa

Fulani of West Africa

Khoikhoi of South Africa


1. Collective ownership – There was collective ownership of major means of production. E.g. Land was owned by the whole society. It led to absence of exploitation because means of production were not owned by few people.

2. Low level of production forces – It was characterized by low level of production forces because the tools were mode out of stones.

3. Absence of trading activities – absence of surplus lead to absence of trade because whatever produced was consumed.

4. Low level of production – This was due to low level of tools of production, that means non surplus and whatever produced was consumed.

5. No exploitation – There was no any exploitation because of collective ownership.

NB: – This mode changed within time depending of discovery of iron tools which increased production leading to surplus which transformed to exploitative modes to exploitative modes.


This is the first exploitative mode of production. Here a person became an absolute Property of another man. Slaves dominated by slave masters. It should be noted that many African societies transformed directly from primitive communalism to feudalism as a result slave mode was not well developed.

It was highly practiced in Egypt, Slaves built pyramids.


1. Existence of two antagonistic classes.

There was existence of two antagonistic classes, that is slaves and slave masters. Slaves were producers of their own material requirement‟s and surplus products for their masters.

2. Private ownership. There was private ownership of the major means of production, whereby means of production are slaves and are owned by slave masters.

3. Existence of exploitation.

It was characterized by exploitation of man by man, because Slaves were the ones who were involved in production and whatever they produced was appropriated by the slave masters.

4. Relatively advanced tools.

The level of productive forces was still low but relatively advanced than under communal mode of production. Production relatively advanced leading to surplus.

5. Relatively high level of political institutions.

This is due to the use of better tools of production which increased production which supported increase in population leading to formation of states or Kingdoms.

NB: – The slave mode of production later declined due to conflicts between the slaves and slave masters over exploitation of the slaves by slaves masters. The decline of this mode, paved way for the rise of another mode known as feudal mode of production.



The Following are the reasons showing clearly that the pre-colonial Africa did not develop slave as mode of production:-

1. Slavery existed in few parts of Africa as an institution and not as a mode of production these areas were;

• In Zanzibar; where by slavery existed after Sultan Seyyid Said shifted his capital from Muscat-Oman to Zanzibar in 1840, so slaves were taken from Central and East Africa to perform various activities or tasks in Zanzibar island like domestic activities such as cooking, mopping, fetching water, keeping gates (watch), taking care of elders and children and others offered labour in cloves and coconut plantations.

• In Egypt; where by slaves were taken from western Sudan and forest areas to perform various activities during Pharaoh‟s regime (Period)(rule), these activities were such as constructing canals, making calendar, building tombs, performing various domestic activities.

• Maghreb societies (Morocco,Tunisia and Algeria); slaves were taken from various parts of Western Africa And Northern East Africa to perform various activities in Maghreb societies, for example they were taken to offer their labour in Agriculture like palm dates and domestic activities.

2. Slavery co-existed together with feudalism in many parts of Africa. In Africa slave mode of production was not noted as the mode of production simply because the only mode of production in those areas was feudalism for example in Zanzibar the mode of production was feudalism however slavery also existed there.

3. In Pre -colonial African societies there was no slave masters or class of slave masters which showed clearly that the mode of production existed in pre -colonial African societies was not slavery and rather it was feudalism.

4. The level of development of productive forces used during the transition from primitive to feudalism showed that the slavery (Slave mode of production) did not exist in Africa for example some societies which were in transition to feudalism decided to use hoe to cultivate on the land which showed as the mode of production existed was feudalism based on land ownership.


The Major factors for the decline of slavery and the emergence of feudal mode of production were as follows:-

1. Improvement of productive forces during the slavery; changed the social and technical relation of production and geared to the decline of slave mode of production and the rise of feudalism.

2. Existence of class struggle in slavery. The series of slaves uprising against the masters at the end of the day led to collapse of slave mode of production and hence emergence of feudalism.

3. The Failure of the productive forces to correspond with social and technical relational production (relation of production). According to Karl Marx (1818-1883) pointed out that if productive forces and social and technical relation of production in a certain mode of production are not going hand in hand with the existing mode of production then such mode of production will collapse and pave a way to another mode of production.

4. Slaves lacked interest in labour; they frequently destroyed the equipment of production owned by slave masters hence slavery collapsed.

5. The cruel exploitation of slaves and ruthlessness and oppression done by the save masters to slaves led the slaves to revolt against the slave masters hence slaves became free from being controlled by the slave masters this led to the collapse of slavery(slave mode of production).

6. The Slave owners (slave maters) with vast number of slaves were not interested in including the tools of production; they continued to use the old productive forces which automatically led to the collapse of slave mode of production.

7. The constant military campaigns led to the number of slaves to drop down and the prices to get slaves increased this led slave masters to fail to continue with this mode of production (slavery).



This was the second exploitative mode of production based on private ownership of land. It was common in Africa since 14th to 19th century.

Example of societies practiced feudalism:-

– Haya in Tanganyika

– Zulu in South Africa


1. Existence of two dominant classes; there were dominant classes that is the feudal lords and peasants. The feudal lords / land lords controlled/owned land and peasants were employed by them.

2. Private ownership.

It was characterized by private ownership as in the major means of production were controlled by the feudal lords. Example: – Land and cattle were property of the feudal lords. If peasants wanted to use the land, they had to pay.

3. Exploitation

It was characterized by exploitation of man by man because major means of production were controlled by a few people who are the feudal / land lords. Peasants were exploited through payment of rent.

4. Advanced tools of production.

The level of productive forces was advanced which led to high level of production; this led to availability of surplus.



At the time of colonization, most of pre–colonial African societies were in the communal mode of production but in transition to the feudal mode of production. Some societies were in the feudal mode of production. The slave mode of production was not well developed because most of the Africa societies transformed from the communal mode directly to the feudal mode of production.

There were various characteristics of pre – colonial African societies

1. The family was the basic unit of production. This limited the division of labour and it was a hindrance to the development of science and technology, consequently agricultural production was always low in pre – colonial Africa.

2. The level of productive forces was very low because the tools used were made of stones. The use of primitive tools led to low levels of production which in turn contributed to the absence of surplus.

3. Land was the commonest object of labour; its distribution was on cultural values and traditions. In clan organization land was distributed by the clan head on customary laws.

4. There were some class societies in pre–colonial Africa. For example under the slave mode of production; there was a class of slave masters and the slaves and in feudal mode of production was characterized by a class of land lords/ feudal lords, and peasants.

5. The major economic activities were agriculture and pastoralism. Agriculture was mainly carried out by feudal societies and it was common in the interlacustrine region. Pastoralism was mainly practiced by societies that level in the rift valley region for example the Maasai of East Africa.

6. The pre–colonial African societies were pre–capitalist because there are three modes of production. I.e. communal, slavery and Feudal modes of production. The capitalist mode of production was introduced during colonialism.


7. Production in pre–colonial Africa was mainly for consumption and not for the market. Production for the market was introduced during colonialism whereby Africans were producing raw materials for the export market.

NOTE: – It should be noted that the pre–colonial African societies were not at the same level of development.


The Pre–colonial African societies were not static or unchanging they went through various transformations that were influenced by the nature of the environment, climate and soil fertility.

Some factors enabled some African societies to be able to transform from other modes of production to the feudal mode of production.

There are various factors that contributed to the rise of feudalism in Africa:

1. Nature of the environment

Those areas in African that had fertile soils and received enough rainfall throughout the year supported agriculture on a large scale thus leading to the increase in production which facilitated the rise of feudalism.

2. Advancement of science and technology

The development of science and technology which was due to the making and using of iron tools led to drastic changes in agricultural production, this played a crucial role in the rise of feudalism in Africa.

3. Increase in population

The increase in population was due to increase in food supplies and standard of living. The increase in population resulted into shortage of land that facilitated the rise of feudalism due to private ownership of land.

4. Existence of strong political institutions

The existence of strong political institutions for example states; played a big role in the rise of feudalism in Africa, these political institutions led to private ownership of land that led to the rise of feudalism.

5. Shortage of land

The shortage of land and its increase in value contributed to the development of productive forces since the people were conditioned to use small plots of land. Such factors threatened the existence of communal mode of production consequently paved a way to the increase of feudalism.

6. Strong and well disciplined army

The Strong and well disciplined army led to the establishment of feudal societies and feudal states because the army was used by their leaders to go and conquer the areas of their neighbouring kingdoms hence increase the land for their societies for example in Buganda, Kabaka used army to conquer Bunyoro-Kitare under Kabalega also in South Africa were Shaka used army with establish Zulu Kingdom by conquering small kingdoms.

7. Growth and control of trade

Trade was one among the reasons which led to emergence of some feudal societies. Societies which engaged in trade acquired iron tools and guns and these were used in agricultural production and expansion and consolidation of feudal societies/states. For Example the Buganda kingdom which engaged in trade got iron tools which helped them to get involved in permanent agricultural production of crops such as Banana that ensured constant supply of food and led to the establishment of permanent settlement.




Mfecane is a Ngoni word used to refer to the wars and disturbances which accompanied the rise of the Zulu state under Shaka from 1818. The Mfecane can also be defined as the time of trouble in South Africa. It was a great upheaval which affected areas as far as Western part of Tanzania. The Mfecane dominated the first hold of the 19th century in South Africa.

Causes of the Mfecane:-

1. Population pressure

Zulu land is part of the Eastern corridor of South Africa between the Drakensburg Mountains and the Indian Ocean. Due to the favorable climate and absence of diseases such as malaria, its population tended to increase rapidly. As the population increased conflicts between those societies became common and intensified leading to the Mfecane.

2. Land shortages

The people who occupied Zulu land were farmers, but the existing land was not enough due to population pressure, therefore the search for more land caused conflicts that later contributed to the outbreak of the Mfecane.

3. The coming of the Boers

During the Boer Trek, the Boers left Cape Town away from British control and moved into the interior of South Africa, the penetration of the Boers into the interior of South Africa intensified the pressure on land which led to conflicts that caused the Mfecane.


4. The role of Shaka

The outbreak of the Mfecane can also be attributed to the role of Shaka. Shaka pursued an aggressive and expansionist policy to expand his Kingdom, Zulu state. He attacked many states in the attempt of expanding his state, this action created conflicts that contributed to the outbreak of the Mfecane.

5. Control of profitable trade

The need to control trade along the Delgoa Bay is one of the factors responsible for the outbreak of the Mfecane. Trade contacts with the coast were very important because it was associated with acquisition of guns that can be used for conquest and expansion.

Effects of the Mfecane in East and Central Africa

The Mfecane had a tremendous impact in East and Central Africa; some of the effects had a far reaching impact to Africa.

1. Formation of states

The Mfecane led to state formation because the severity of these wars led to formation of strong armies for protection, but these armies were later used for conquest and expansion thus forming states. Examples of these states are the Shangani states in Zimbabwe.

2. Spread of Ngoni speaking people

The most permanent results of the Mfecane were the spread of the Ngoni speaking people. These people were called various names in different parts of Africa. They were called the Ngoni in Tanzania, the matebele in Zimbabwe and Kololo in Zambia.

3. Introduction of Military techniques

The Mfecane led to the introduction and spread of new military techniques such as the cow horn style which involved surrounding the enemy.

4. Introduced of new weapons

The Mfecane led to the introduction of new weapons for example the short stabbing spears called the Assegai; these weapons were introduced by the Ngoni from Africa who came to East and central Africa.

5. Depopulation

The Mfecane led to depopulation because many people lost their lives due to the frequent wars, the most affected region was veld where by many people lost their lives.

6. Famine

The Mfecane led to widespread of famine in East and central Africa. The frequent wars caused insecurity that disrupted agricultural production and finally causing famine/hunger.


The Mfecane was a great upheaval in the history of Southern Africa because it had far reaching effects in the region.


The Mfecane refers to the wars and disturbances caused by Shaka and the rise of the Zulu state in South Africa. The Mfecane is also referred to as the time of trouble or turbulence in South Africa.

The origin of the Mfecane was Shaka‟s expansionist policies that led to the conquering states.


The Mfecane played a great role in state formation in Southern Africa.

1. Political transformation

The Mfecane led to political transformation in Southern Africa, the former age group communities were transformed into strong centralized states. The Mfecane also forced people to form strong armies to protect themselves from Shaka; these armies were later used for conquest and expansion hence forming states. Zulu is a good example of a state formed due to the Mfecane.


2. Military advancement


The Mfecane contributed to the introduction of new military weapons such as the short stabbing spears and the cow horn style. These weapons were used for conquest and expansion thus forming states.


3. Emergency of strong leadership

The Mfecane contributed to the rise of strong leadership; this was needed for protection from the Mfecane. Strong leadership had a big role to play in state formation because the leaders united the people to form states.


4. Migrations

The societies through which they passed were forced to form strong states to protect themselves from the Mfecane. The movement of the Ngoni from South Africa was not a peaceful process; it involves wars that necessitated unity among the people.

NOTE: – The Mfecane was a great upheaval in history of Southern Africa; it dominated the first half of the 19th century in Southern Africa.



The long distance trade in East Africa refers to the type of trade that took place between the people of the interior of East Africa and the ones from the coast. The main participants were the Yao, Kamba, Nyamwezi and Baganda from the interior and the Arabs and Swahili traders from the coast. The main items traded were guns, beads and glassware that came from the coast and slaves, ivory, tortoise shells and copper from the interior of East Africa.

The main medium of exchange was batter trade system, which is exchange of goods for goods.

The long distance trade provided a crucial role in the formation of states in East Africa as follows.

1. Accumulation of wealth

Those African chiefs who monopolized trade in pre–colonial African accumulated a lot of wealth that was used to build state in East Africa such as Buganda and Bunyoro. Kings such as Mutesa of Buganda, Kabalega of Bunyoro and Nyungu ya Mawe of Ukimbu accumulated a lot of wealth that was used to build strong states.

2. Introduction of guns

The long distance trade led to the introduction of guns into the interior of East Africa. These guns were used to strengthen armies that were used for conquest and expansion.

Most of the states in East Africa were established through conquest and expansion.

3. Active participation in agriculture

The long distance trade encouraged people to participate actively in agriculture to produce goods that can be exchanged during the trade. Active participation in agriculture increased agricultural production which accommodated in high population, this contributed to the formation of states. States such as Buganda, Karagwe and Bunyoro were formed in those areas where agriculture was active.

4. Emergency of strong leaders

The long distance contributed to the emergence of strong leaders such as Mkwawa of the Hehe and Mutesa of Buganda. These leaders played a fundamental role in the emergence of states in East Africa by uniting the people

5. Migrations

The long distance trade encouraged migrations in East Africa. People moved from one place to another to take part in exchange of goods. The migration of people contributed to permanent settlement that had a role to play in state formation.

6. Development of towns

The long distance trade contributed to the development of towns in East Africa, these include Ujiji, Tabora and Bagamoyo. These areas acted as trading centers therefore they attracted many people thus contributed to the state formation.

7. Growth of trade routes

The long distance trade contributed to the development of trade routes in East Africa. These routes opened the interior of East Africa.



A Jihad is a holy war in Islam. Jihads were one of the most significant events that dominated in West Africa during the 19th century; they were mainly led by Othman Dan Fodio. Jihads can be traced back as far as the 10th century when young Fulani immigrates with Islamic knowledge in politics influenced other people to start holy wars.

Jihads under the umbrella of Islam played a fundamental role in state formation in West Africa, states such as Sokoto, Mandika and Tokoro were a result of Jihads.

How, Jihads as an islamic war contributed to state formation in Pre–colonial Africa

1. Unification

The Jihads acted as a unifying factor that brought people together under one umbrella. Islam became the official ruling ideology of the state. The unity provided by Islam was very crucial in state formation. The Islamic law „sheria‟ proved the alternative model of government with which to compare and attack their rulers. Conversion of nonbelievers was an essential duty of all Muslims.

2. Formation of strong armies

The Jihads were characterized with the establishment of strong armies; these armies were later used for conquest and expansion thus forming states. This was responsible for the formation for states such as Sokoto caliphate and Hausa states.

3. Emergency of strong leaders

Jihad contributed to the rise of strong leadership; these leaders were seen as Muslim reformers who managed to create strong leadership under their leaders like futa Djallon in Guinea in 1725 and the Sokoto caliphate.

4. Control of trade routes

The Jihads led to the control of trade routes by the Jihad leaders. These trade routes attracted many people. The wealth accumulated was used to build strong states. Trade also accumulated guns that were used for conquest and expansion thus forming strong states such as Sokoto caliphate.

5. Consolidation of Feudalism

Jihads contributed to the consolidation of Feudalism as a mode of production, land was controlled by the Fulani, and the weapons accumulated were used to build states in West Africa.


Culture refers to the total way of life; it includes education, science and technology, political systems, and traditions. Education refers to the transformation of norms, skills and knowledge from one generation to another. Under normal circumstances, education must grow out of the nature of the environment; therefore the most outstanding feature of pre– colonial education was its relevance to Africa.

Education is one of the pivotal roles in any type of society for the preservation of the uses of the members and maintenance of the social structure.

These are two types of education namely

1. Formal education

2. Informal education

1. Formal education:-

Formal education is that type of education that follows specific programs; there is a defined syllabus and curriculum.

2. Informal education:-

This refers to that type of education whereby young people acquire knowledge and skills by imitating the elders. It is based on one‟s observations. Informal education is characterized with the absence of a syllabus but it involved active participation of the learners in games and plays.

It was progressive as it involved all the stages of the physical emotional and mental development of the child.

It should be noted that there was formal education in pre–colonial Africa to a limited extent. Literacy was concentrated along Nile, North Africa and Ethiopia. This type of literacy was connected with religion, it was mainly found in universities such as Al

– Azhar in Egypt, Fez in Morocco and Timbuktu in Mali.




(i) It produced a well rounded personality who could fit well in society in all aspect of life.


(ii) It enabled the young to abide to the culture of the society such as good moral and social conduct, loyalty and respect to all.


(iii)Pre-colonial education moulded the young people to accept, practice and perpetuate the traditions and culture of the society.


(iv) Pre-colonial education prepare graduates to assume the duties and responsibilities of adult, through at low social level, in accordance with their age and merital status.


(v)Pre-colonial education also brought up children to value the wisdom of their

elders, a vital component pre-colonial oral culture, and much of what they absorbed from their elders was instilled by role-learning.


(iv) Furthermore, pre-coloial education helped children to learn the history of their ancestors and the oral traditions and customs of their community or nation.

Features of pre–colonial education in Africa

1. Informal

Pre–colonial education in Africa was mainly informal; the young acquired knowledge by imitating the elders. In many African societies elders told stories around the fire places in the evening. These stories and all the information that the young received are what are called informal education.

2. Relevant to the society.

It was relevant to the society because it was born out of the environment of the concerned society. It produced well rounded individuals who could fit in their societies; it targeted self community and survival of the society. These was nothing from the alien community because everything stormed from the traditional and customs of the society in question.

3. It was progressive.

Pre–colonial education was progressive because it involved all stages of physical, emotional and mental development of the child. The young people were taught various specialist skills which followed a definite pattern starting from the simple to the complex ones.

4. It put emphases on moral and social conduct. Pre–colonial education aimed at instilling good morals and social conduct to the young people. African societies had some accepted core valves and elders used to condemn strongly any action or behavior that tended to undermine the promotion of the accepted valves.

5. Encouraged specializations.

Pre–colonial African education encouraged specialization in certain fields. It aimed at preparing the young members of the community for specific responsibilities in future.

People trained in activities such as medicine, iron working basketry and pottery.

6. Aimed at procreation

Pre–colonial education aimed at procreation of production. The existing education system in the society shaped and stimulated production within the society. All activities aimed at production as to sustain the society.

7. Lacked uniformity

Pre–colonial African education lacked uniformity. It varied from society to society depending on the economic, social and environmental conditions of a given society. Each society had its own customs and traditions depending on the environment of that given society.


1. The programs of teaching were restricted to a certain period in the life of the individual especially at the time of initiation. The education system did not have specific program for older people.

2. It relied so much on memory and oral traditions; there was no way newly acquired knowledge, skills could be recorded or preserved for the future. Dependence on memorials led to loss of vital information that could be passed on the young people.

3. Pre–colonial education did not have a specific and organic syllabus; each society had its own education which was based on the culture of that society. It should be noted that the environment determined the nature of occupations in pre -colonial Africa; this also shaped the content of education given to that particular society.

4. Pre–colonial Africa education was characterized by parochialism because it was centered on a particular tribe and clan units. It readily responded to

the needs of that particular tribe or region in question therefore it did not address the issues of the whole nation at large.

5. Pre–colonial African education lacked a social philosophical base that could have introduced a sense of uniformity and conformity. There was absence of a common language that could have united all the tribes thus ensuring skills are not confined within one particular tribe.

6. Pre–colonial African education was too mythical, it relied on oral traditions; whereby many of the stories given by the elders cannot be proved scientifically. The elders had a tendency of being bias towards their tribe.

NOTE: – It should be note that despite its limitations. Pre–colonial African education paved a crucial role in development of African societies.


In these societies the power is centralized to a single person and the system of leadership was hereditary in nature.

The examples of centralized societies are Toro, Buganda, Bunyoro of East Africa, Asante, Dahomey, Benin, Oyo, Tokolo and Sokoto of West Africa.

Characteristics of centralized societies:-


1. They extended over larger areas for the reason that territories were annexed and put under the governor who ruled on behalf of the King e.g. Zulu state and Buganda Kingdom.

2. The Kings wielded political power that represented state authority. The centralization of power ensured national unity among the members of the society. As the King had supreme power, then he commanded wealth loyalty from his subjects, respect and prestige.

3. The throne (power) was hereditary in nature that Kings named their successor from among their children or relatives. It was the custom of the King to nominate his successor from amongst his children (family members) when he was living, if he died without appointing him, the elders and other important official have to take the responsibility of appointing the best child to take the throne.

4. The internal stability of the Kingdom and defense from external aggression of neighboring states forced these societies to set up stable military machinery. This was aimed at maintaining the homogeneity of the Kingdom.

5. Despite the hierarchy in administration the Kings and their officials exercised authoritarianism rule (Absolutism) towards the subjects or followers. The council of elders whose role was to adult the king. They assisted him.

6. The King was vested with juridical authority. His courts arbitrated all disputes and misunderstanding within the Kingdom as the King was the highest court of appeal.

7. The King controlled the wealth of the Kingdom. He directed on how land should be used by all members of the society, for example land for agricultural activities and animal husbandry. He looted property and controlled foreign trade, through these means Kingdom accumulated much wealth in his state and he was expected to share generously with his subjects.

8. The expansionist policy of conquest and raids accumulated much wealth for the Kingdom. The war captures were distributed to faithful servants and his hard working soldiers to make the harder and become braver.



The Buganda Kingdom was geographically on the shores of Lake Victoria; that means it is found in the interlacutrine region. It grew to its apex by the mid of the 19th C. This was highly centralized monarchy and was one of the daughter states that came into existence after the collapse of the vastly expanded BunyoroKitara Kingdom.

By the second half of the 19th C Buganda became one of the strongest and largest Kingdoms in the interlacustrine region. They conquest and controlled several Kingdoms. Buganda Kingdom was under the leadership of Kabaka Mutesa.

Factors responsible for the rise of the Buganda

1. Centralization of power. The Kabaka governed the political organ and was considered as overall ruler. All political power was concentrated in his hands. He appointed all leaders on merit and dismissed all chiefs. His decision was final and binding. There was a hierarchy in administration, whereby there were a number of chiefs below the Kabaka. They helped to spread Kabaka‟s authority throughout the Kingdom. The Kabaka‟s throne was hereditary but there was no royal family / clan

2. Organized Administrative System. The Kabaka governed the Kingdom with assistance of advisory council (Lukiiko). The council constituted the Prime Minister (Katikiro), the treasure (Muhanika) and the Chief justice (Mugema) as well as country chiefs; all these were Kabaka‟s nominees. The legislative council gave advice to the Kabaka and enacted laws.

3. Stable military machinery.

Kabaka established strong and well disciplined army for the sake of maintaining political stability in the state and defend the kingdom from external aggression. The Kabaka used army to maintain law and order, to pin down the rivals powers and pursued expansionist policy.

4. Bureaucratic system of government.

The Bureaucratic system was employed in order to ensure effective administration of the Kingdom; whereby the whole of Buganda was divided into two countries (Gomborola), the sub–countries into parishes (Miluka) and finally perishes into sub–parishes. At all level the chief were Kabaka‟s appointees.

5. Kabaka’s marriage in each clan.

The Buganda Kingdom had approximately 52 clans, each with its own leadership. These provided the basis for the political unity for the whole administration of the Kingdom. For the sake of political harmony in the Kingdom, Kabaka married almost from every important clan. Hence intermarriages were a political weapon and created the possibility of getting Kabaka from any clan.

6. Agriculture.

Good climate and fertile soil favored crop cultivation. Due to the availability of goods, the population of the Kingdom began in tinkles and became flooded. Also some of them engaged in livestock keeping (pastoralism).

7. Trade

The Buganda Kingdom developed trading contacts with he neighbors that were under governance of Kabaka. Because the Buganda were excellent bark clothes manufactures they participated in commercial activities by exchanging bark clothes for items such as iron tools and with the Bunyoro and cow , cattle, groundnuts and simsim with the iteso , langi and Ankelo.

NB: It is clear stated that the second half of 19th C, Buganda was one of the highly centralized Kingdom in the intercontinental region, Kingdom that had sound organization in the field of politics economic and social set up.


In decentralized societies, basic unit of political organization was a clan, various clans constituted a tribe. These societies were clan head loyal clan authority. The clan head was chosen from among the elders when they merited the qualities of leadership such as his influence, wisdom and age, wealth.

Decentralized societies, had the following characteristics or attributes:-

1. With equal rights to other members of the clan, the ruler had the responsibility of leading the clan but his position was hereditary. He resigned from power after the election of a new clan head, which took place whenever the former clan head became unpopular and was too old to perform his responsibilities.

2. There were no outstanding armies; the defense of the clan was carried out by all able bodied people (men). This was due to the fact that these societies did not involve in expansionistic policy and wars were scarce.

3. The clan elders works to solve internal conflicts but if they become difficult they were transferred to the general Assembly, voting made the final decision compared to the centralized societies in which the Kings made the ultimate decision and was final court of appeal.

4. Society was responsible to impose the disciplinary measures to the wrong doe‟s society. Society administrated punishment to help criminals to reform in character.

5. Decentralized societies / states had no control of the economy. They communally owned the major means of production.

6. Intermarriage occurred. Those of the same clan were prevented to marry each other instead; the emphasis was placed upon those of different clans, aiming to prevent the inheritance of disease.


The Nyamwezi

The Nyamwezi was located in the central part of Tanzania and often the best example of a decentralized society in East Africa.

The Nyamwezi did not develop well organized political institution as those of centralized states of Kingdoms instead they evolved segmented system.

The Nyamwezi were dominant in the long distance trade since they were involved in that trade and this was supported so much with their geographical location.

The prominent leaders of the Nyamwezi society were Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe.

The following are the factors that contributed to their strength.

1. Nyamwezi society was comprised of various Chiefdom that cash was autonomous from each other. It is the historical fact that the formation of chiefdom depended on the number (volume) of the people each could hold. In the 1880‟s eminent political leaders like Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe attempted to mobilize the Nyamwezi into strong and centralized political institution rooting into commercial enterprises.

2.Ntemi chiefs. They governed small states in them and administered law and order. The Ntemi chiefs were not trained leaders as they are in to date systems of administration but they were mostly elders, who were elected rulers because of their age, knowledge and experience in the daily life. A council of elders and lesser chiefs counseled and supported the Ntemi chief in their governance.

3. Military machinery. Chiefdom established its own small and well disciplined army in order to ensure political harmony in the chiefdom. That army was entrusted the duty for executing the law, order and security within the chiefdom. Through their trade with the Arabs, the Nyamwezi accumulated fire arm, ammunitions and were armed with local weapons within these circumstances. Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe developed an outstanding army which enable them to expand the Nyamwezi chiefdom.

4. Agriculture. The Ntemi organized and motivated people to involve themselves in crop production in order to avoid famine. They cultivated mainly grains also the Ntemi controlled the major means of production for the benefit of all clans, if any member of the society used the land illegally would interfere by imposing disciplinary measures.

5.Trade. Between the 18th and 19th century, the Nyamwezi supplemented there agricultural activities with the involvement in the long distance trade with coastal Arabs and Swahili traders. The Ntemi chiefs supplied ivory in great Amount as there area was considered as paradise of ivory. They also provide copper which was extracted in Katanga region in the present country known as DRC and iron equipment, including hoes, axes and spears. The Nyamwezi too traders slaves, which were raided from the neighboring Kingdoms that were highly demanded by Seyyid Said.

Nyamwezi commanded and supervised three caravan routes particularly from Tabora to Ujiji in the west, to Katanga in DRC, from Tabora to Karagwe Kingdom in the northwest, to Buganda and Bunyoro, from the Tabora to Lake Tanganyika in the South and from Tabora to the coast.











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