The development of film in Tanzania

dc.contributor.authorMponguliana, Joe Adelhelm
dc.description.abstractThe study looks at the development of film in Tanzania Mainland, and analyses how this medium of communication is employed in the country. The years covered in this study date from 1922, when the colonial government introduced the medium in the then Tanganyika and ends in the first part of 1980. The years are divided into two periods. First is the colonial period from 1922-1961, and secondly, the post independence period, 1961-1980. In the study, the development of film is discussed in relation to its production, distribution, screening as well as its role. The films covered include those locally produced as well as those imported from other countries. The types dealt with include newsreels, documentaries, educational and feature films. The dissertation starts with literature Review. The review is followed by Chapter One which begins with a analysis of what is meant by film or the motion picture, and types of film to be included in the dissertation, namely newsreels, educational, instructional, documentary and feature films. The Chapter also discusses the impact of film on the viewer as well as the characteristics of film that make it a unique medium of communication vis-a-vis other information media in Tanzania, such as newspapers, books and the radio. The development of film is discussed in detail in Chapter Two and Three. Chapter Two opens with a discussion of the development of film during the colonial period in relation to the first types of film produced after World War Two. The discussion centres on the background to their production, their intended role and the actual role the films played. The system of distribution and screening of the films is also discussed to show how much they determined the development as well as the role of film. Chapter Three deals with the development of film during the post independence period. It starts with the production of film during the period and the changes brought by the independent government in the film industry. The changes include the creation of the Tanzania Film Company (TFC) and the Audio-Visual Institute (AVI), both based in Dar Es Salaam. The Chapter discusses the development of film as well as its role taking into account the workings of the two organisations in relation to the production of films, importation of the 35mm film undertaken by TFC, and the production and distribution of the 16mm film by AVI. The methodology used in the collection of data include library research which was mainly conducted at the University of Dar Es Salaam, The National Film Library (NFL) at the Audio-Visual Institute (AVI). Data collected at the Tanzania National Archives concerned the introduction of film in Tanzania and the subsequent development of the medium in the early years of the colonial period. The National Film Library provided films included some of the 16mm educational, documentary and newsreel films discussed in the study. These films are those mostly produced during the post independence period. The NFL stock also includes a new prints of films produced during the colonial periods. Most of the films however are worn out. The NFL also provided data on reports filed by film van operators throughout the regions of Mainland Tanzania on film distribution and screening, and the problems and successes they encountered. Besides the NFL, the National Censorship Board provided data on 35mm feature films that are currently being screened in the country. Another method of collecting data was through discussions, formal and informal, with members of staff of AVI, TFC, National Censorship Board, Ministry of Agriculture and people from different walks of life. This last group included film audiences in both urban and rural areas. Cineogoers in urban areas provided information and comments on 35mm feature films, while the rural audiences provided information on 16mm educational, documentary and newsreel films. Informal discussions with film van operators also contributed data on 16mm films. Discussions were also conducted with some retired employees of the film unit when it was still in the department of Co operative Development during the later years of colonialism and early years of independence. Other data is based on personal viewing of 35mm films in cinema hall chiefly in Dar ES salaam. Informal comments of the viewers plus their reactions during these shows provided me with some insight into the feelings of the audience. The scarcity of films produced during the colonial period, however, together with the scarcity of data on those films was a big handicap during the research. As a result I had to rely heavily on personal opinion and interpretations from the scarce data available. This problem also applied to the post-independence period in the sense that written material on film in Tanzania as a whole is not enough. In most cases only film prints together with their synopsis, year of release and the director of the film is available in the NFL. Data on the reaction of the audience to the films is not available.en_US
dc.identifier.citationMponguliana, J. A. (1982) The development of film in Tanzania, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (
dc.publisherUniversity of Dar es Salaamen_US
dc.titleThe development of film in Tanzaniaen_US