chapter  8
Town planning in British Southern Africa
Pages 22

It is true that town planning in British colonial possessions was derived from British town planning legislation, principles and practice. However, it is erroneous to extrapolate from this basic fact that there was uniformity in town planning practice and legislation throughout the British colonies. In fact, Robert Home (1990) has drawn attention to the fact that signifi cant differences characterized even the manner and process by which authorities transferred planning legislation from Britain to the colonies. Apart from procedural differences, we are safe to expect substantive differences as the colonies varied markedly in terms of climate, geography, population density, settlement patterns, history and/or levels of urbanization, and disease etiology and contagion. The fact that West Africa had a pre-colonial history of authoritative states (e.g. city-states), kingdoms and chiefdoms facilitated the functioning of the indirect rule colonial administrative model in the region. On the contrary, the absence of indigenous large-scale political units rendered the functioning of this model impossible in southern and eastern Africa. Sir Donald Cameron, Governor of British East Africa from 1925 to 1931, found this out when he attempted to rule Tanganyika ‘indirectly’.