The Berlin curse in Tanzania:(re)making of the selous world heritage property

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Pervasive border-making processes continue to produce territories and new borders within independent African states. Yet, current African border scholarship does not pay enough attention to the ongoing colonial dominance in post-independence practices in sub-national borders. This paper examines both colonial and post-independence mechanisms that support the creation and governance of the Selous Game Reserve: a World Heritage Property of significant ecological and economic importance within Tanzania’s national jurisdiction. The paper draws attention to how past and present border processes depend on both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms. It argues that there are similarities between the way borders in Selous Game Reserve are being redrawn and colonial-style border making practices sanctioned at the Berlin conference. The case study of Selous Game Reserve challenges the current pre-occupation of African scholars and technocrats with state borders and their artificiality by highlighting the material impact of internal border-making processes. The paper calls for a critical analysis of sub-national borders in post-independence Africa, especially the ways in which internal and external forces produce them.




Noe, C. (2019). The Berlin curse in Tanzania:(re)making of the selous world heritage property. South African Geographical Journal, 101(3), 379–398.

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