18 Pages

Mtunya: Famine in Central Tanzania, 1917–20*

ByGregory Maddox

Famine, the acute lack of food for a population which leads to starvation, can be caused both by a failure in production and by structural inequalities in entitlements to that food which is available. In the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania the people called Wagogo name a famine that struck between 1917 and 1920 the Mtunya — 'The Scramble '. The Mtunya was the most deadly of the many famines that have visited Ugogo. The hardships that culminated in the Mtunya began with the war. The Mtunya began during World War I when a drought followed hard upon both German and British war-time requisitions that had drained the arid region of men, cattle and food. As the famine continued after the end of the war, the British colonial government began to try to bring some order to the disorganized central region of their new territory.