Colonial social services these were services that provided in Africa by colonialists in order to ensure colonial exploitation and improve the welfare of colonial civil servants during colonial period services. Social services involved the provision of education, health, water, housing, electrical services, and transport and communication in the colonies with the creation of colonial economy and administration. This does not mean that no services were provided for Africans.
  1. The major aim of colonial social services was to facilitate the ambitions and motives of the imperialists in Africa.
  2. To enable extensive exploitation of Africa’s wealth.
  3. It also aimed at supporting those few Europeans who happened to be in Africa.
  4. It also aimed at preparing few Africans to assist colonial administration.


  1. Establishment of settlers in the colony led to the establishment of some social services so as to meet for the white settler’s interest. Example, school and medical facilities were introduced in such area.
  2. Due to the existence of production. This means that some developments of social services were established near, plantations, so as to attract the laborer and facilitate the production. For instance, workers quarters for accommodation and transport net – work like roads and railways were established.
  3. Areas with raw – materials encouraged the establishment of transport network such as railways roads, in order to facilitate the transportation of raw – materials to the coast. Example in colonial Tanganyika all railways roads were running down to the coast.
  4. Areas where missionaries had dominated things like schools, medical centers were established to help them 9missionaries) and to convert the indigenous people having been attracted them.
  5. Due to the status of the colony itself. This mean that, the colony that was under trust ship of UN like Tanganyika, they were given few social services this was a case due to the fact that the colonialists never see a need to develop such colonies but in those mandatory colonies they were given many social services.
  6. Areas with migrant laborers, which preserved as labor zone, in these areas, infrastructures like railways, were established in order to transport laborers to the areas of plantations example rail line from Kigoma to Tanga was built so as to carry workers in sisal plantations.
  7. Existence of peasant agriculture like in Buganda and Kagera, This made possibility of establishing social services like schools  so as to encourage the peasants to carry out with agricultural activities because with agricultural sectors they were able to get money that would be used to pay school fees for their children. 
Colonial Education was a process by which people get knowledge, skills and values that were necessary for the mastering of social, political and economic situation under colonial rule. Colonial education was provided in schools and colleges belonged to either the colonial governments or the missionaries in areas that mainly produced raw materials. It replaced informal or traditional education which existed before colonialism.
1. To expand the market for the manufactured goods from Europe.
2. It aimed at creating African staff to work in the white color jobs such as clerks and foremen.
3. It aimed at creating elite who had to be loyal to the colonialists.
4. It aimed at providing the knowledge which could help Africans production of the raw materials.
5. It aimed at fulfilling the aims and ambitions of the imperialistic nations.
6. It also aimed at destructing African culture and introducing the western culture
7. Colonial education aimed at creating classes amongst Africans so as to bring about disunity this delayed Africa’s independence.


i. It was pyramidal in shape. The colonial education was pyramidal provided. This means that the number of pupils decreased as the pupils reached the upper educational standard.
ii. It was segregative in nature. This education was segregative in the sense that only the sons of chiefs were given education while girls were not given education. School were runkers according to races. e.g There were special for the sons of chiefs.
iii. It was bookish in nature It was mainly theoretical education.
iv. It was for the white colar- Jobs education.
v. It was irrelevant to the African environment. The education taught the learners what was present in Europe and not in Africa.
vi. It was religions biased. This was because, in the missionary schools non – Christians could not attend the missionary school, for instance Muslims and those who had not been converted to Christianity missed education.
vii. It was un-even distributed This mean that, areas where production was high education was improved, where as in labor receives these were no schools, thus regions that produced cash crops for instance in Tanganyika regions like, Tanga, Moshi got many schools.
viii. It was discipline oriented. Because it aimed at producing royal and obedient students to the colonial government. Those who received the education were supposed to obey without questioning, this aimed at avoiding many questions to the existing colonialism.
ix. It was taught in foreign languages and not in African vernaculars. (Local language).
Impact of Colonial Education.
Although this education led to the improvement in African lives in many aspects, its impacts are enormous.
(i) Many Africans were left illiteracy due to the small number of Africans that were benefited with the education provided. Educated people were alianated from the society. Many people turn their back of African traditional since they adopted cultural values of European society example, ways of dressing and dancing, language as well as eating mannerisms.
(ii) Deduction of patriotism among the Africans. Those Africans who received the colonial education denounced the Africans and hence become suro-Afro descendants. This mainly happen in French colonies in West Africa where the elites denounced their fellow Africans simply because they had received colonial education.
(iii) Prepared Africans for colonialism. Africans to accept colonialism. In their areas for example the elites psychologically were prepared to accept the colonial administration as they were given chances in the colonial government as party and parcel of the colonial administrators.
(iv) Colonial education created hatred between the educated and non-educated people. This happened when the educated people segregated and used defamatory language to non-educated.
(v) Colonial education created the base of disunity and tribalism in Africa.
(vi) Led to the spread of Western civilization. Motives for Provision of Water and Housing Services.
(vii) Provision of water and housing services during colonialism was to facilitate the economic interests of the metropolis.
(viii) These services were provided on racial bases where the Europeans were given the best quality as opposed to Africans who received poor housing and water services.
(ix) Provision of water and housing services during colonialism was meant to encourage the European settlement.


The structure of the colonial education consisted of levels, which were in form of a pyramid. Its structure on the pyramid as follows.

  1. Primary education acted as elementary education, which mainly prepared children to remain peasant cash crops producers or farm laborers. It started from standard 1 to 4 in Tanganyika.
  2. In secondary or middle level (school) this was a post primary education; it had only few children who could offer services in colonial offices and industries a low wages. In Tanganyika they built, Tanga School, Tabora boy’s school, secondary schools started at standard 5 up to 8, in Uganda, Mengo day school and Kings College, Bodo and Kisubi area etc.
  3. Colleges like teachers and technical colleges n East Africa, makerere technical college in 1921, which offered vocational training in medicine, agriculture, mechanics, carpentry and teaching professionals, others were, Ukiruguru in Morogoro in 1939, Achimota in Ghana in 1924, Yaba higher college in Lagos in 1934.
  4. Higher education (University level) this was provided by universities, in this way few people who managed to get university education had to be taken abroad. 


  1. The syllabus based largely on Europe and nothing about Africa.
  2. It promoted inferiority complex among the Africans that even Africans were punished when spoken their local language and everything evil has a black face and white is an angel.
  3. It produced job seekers and not job creators.
  4. On primary level, concentration was put on agricultural education and school gardens so as to teach Africans how to cultivate cash crops.
  5. It was not free; school fees were to be paid that is why very few acquired education white the majority did not.
  6. Learning was too bookish emphasizing on cram work, which was impossible for application in African situation.

QN. Compare and contrast between pre-colonial African education and colonial education



Pre-colonial African education

Colonial education

A. Existed in Africa before the intrusion of colonialism

A. Brought in Africa during colonialism 19th C

B. Offered to all members of the society

B. It was offered to the sons of chiefs only, i.e. it was discriminatory on one’s status

C.  African oriented

C.  Western oriented

D. It was more practical as it emphasized “learning by doing”

D. It was more theoretical it emphasized on three R’s i.e. 3R’s only (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic)

E. It prepared youths to be productive  members of the society

E. It emphasized on brain-washing and prepared a few class of Africans who could become loyal to the colonial governments officials

F. It was relevant to African culture since it emphasized on development and promotion of African cultural aspects

F. It was irrelevant to African culture since it was western oriented.

G. Offered in African vernaculars

G. Offered in Western languages like English, French, etc.

H. It had no specific programs, syllabus, curriculum

H. It had specific programs, structure, syllabus and curriculum

I. All members attained education  I. It was pyramidal in shape (Students decreasing to higher level)

J. No exams

J. Examinations were used the means of reducing the number of students who would ascend to the top of the pyramid

K. It was based on the society’s culture

K. It was based on religious (Lutheran, Catholic and Muslim schools. E.g. Pugu sec. school – R.C, Tabora boys – R.C, Kigurunyembe – R.C, and Seminary schools etc

L. Produced Africans to be able to undertake all forms of tasks especially physical and practical tasks

L. It produced people for white collar jobs or office clerkships

M. It aimed at utilizing African resources for community development

M. Aimed at exploiting African resources both natural and human resources

N.  It did not

N. Aimed at creating puppet leaders and elites who were to be loyal to the imperialists


  1. Both aimed at imparting skills, knowledge and valves to the members of the society
  2. Both were practice in Africa.
  3. Both forms of education were accompanied by ceremonies upon completion of the specified programs/teachings/level. In Africa-Traditional ceremonies /Graduation.


Political administrative and economic functions determined the nature of housing and water service provided to the residents. Many Africans were attracted to move to urban centers after the World War.
In Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, some 4000 African male workers and unknown number of women and children were reported to have been housed in squatter settlement by late 1930. Africans lived in slums and were scattered in different parts of the capital city. Such slums were made using cheap materials poles, grass and tins. Dar-es Salaam encountered unemployment problem. The population increased but the number of houses did not increase. Many slums emerged at the begging of colonialism. Example in Nairobi Kenya slums were scattered while the Europeans settled in better- drained neighborhoods.
Conditions of living in the rural areas were becoming difficult especially in the white settler colonies. Where a lot of African land was alienated. There also was great pressure for Africans to pay taxes. Africans who lived in urban centres were overcrowded, the wages paid were much better than in the rural areas.
Improvement in transportation also encouraged mobility to the urban centres. The introduction of passenger buses and train coaches facilitated the movement towards the urban centres especially in colonial Tanganyika.
(i) Africans viewed urban centers as a place for temporary settlement after which one would go back to the rural areas as most of the service were provided for the Europeans.
(ii) Due to fewer houses in urban centers, Enterprising Africans construct logging houses.
(iii) Slums emerged due to lack of adequate shelter. In these houses, illicit activities such as the sale of illegal liquor, theft and drug trafficking take place All these contributed to the emergence of nationalism against colonial injustice. example, Mau mau liberation war.
(iv) African civil servants in the colonies got better housing and water services after the second World War.
(v) Racial discrimination in the provision of water and housing services contributed to the emergence of African Welfare Associations in Urban centers like Dar- es -Salaam.
(vi) Diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria affected Africans due to poor water services and housing available for African communities. Many Africans died as a result of poor condition of living in colonial urban centers. Also prostitution became widespread in colonial urban centres result to move social problems such as spread of sexually transmitted diseases. 
This involved the provision of medical needs to the white men and colonial subjects it was affected by the construction of government and missionary hospitals, dispensaries in the colonies mostly were found in key forces stations like;
Armed forces stations
In production areas
Urban centers
1. Health services aimed at giving medicine to Africa peasants and labors in order to maintain the labour power.
2. Were designed in order to improve the living standards of the whites since they received the best services than the other races.
3. Aimed at destroying the African medication services.
4. Aimed at preventing and cure the white imposed diseases such as tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases etc.
5. Aimed at maximizing the interests of capitalism in Africa.
i. Many hospitals or dispensaries were built in urban areas, plantations areas and in areas which had settlers farms i.e. Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Bukoba
ii. Had racial discrimination i.e. the whites received the best health services followed by Asians and Africans.
iii. The hospitals/ dispensaries only provided western medication.
iv. Highly medical personnel were the whites e.g. the British, French, Portuguese, Belgians etc Africans served as dressing sweepers and other lower rank jobs.
v. They were religious biased i.e. there were catholic hospitals, Lutheran hospitals etc.
i. Expanded the market of the western capitalism industry in Africans consumed various medicine from Europe.
ii. They maintained the labor power for peasantry settler and mining sector of colonial economy.
iii. Provided employment to their people in Africa.
iv. African herbs were almost replaced by the consumption of western medications.
v. Strengthened classes during the colonial period i.e. the white civil servants, settlers and managers got high quality health services while the African received poor health services.
Trading activities in Africa was nothing as it involved for a long time. The pre-colonial African trade was also based on exchange of goods for goods.
So after colonial trade, the trading activities was characterized by the following points
It was organized and colonial conducted the government and the imperial trading companies for example;
Imperial British East African Company (IBEACo) 
Germany East African Company (GEACo).
British South African Company (BSACo) 
Royal Niger Company (RNCo)
The following were the characteristics of Colonial trade and commerce 
i. Land international association.
ii. The dominant of colonial trade was Arabs and Indians in east Africa and Syrians and Lebanese in West Africa other than Africa.
iii. It based on exploitation of raw materials such as minerals and agricultural products.
iv. Money became the means of trading this was replaced the pre-colonial barter trade.
v. It established marketing boards – So as to control trade transaction and prices of the commodities.
vi. It based also on creation of storage facilities aims to store commodities and raw material. 
After the colonialists to exploit African resources; the next was to setup modern transport systems including railway lines, ports and roads. This was to simplify the transportation of products from mining and farming activities. I.e. 1890-1926 many railway lines, roads and ports were built in Africa.
Mombasa-kisumu line to Uganda (1904)
Uganda built Jinja to Masangali line in (1902)
Dar es salaam line from Tabora to Mwanza. 


  1. They ran perpendicular to the coast. This was done so as to ease importation of manufactured goods from Europe and exportation of raw – materials from the interior to Africa.
  2. Roads and railways were very few only covered short distance concentrated in the areas of production and not much developed
  3. Construction of these roads/ railways was done through forced labor but under the supervision of white man.
  4. There was no international linkage in transport. Colonial infrastructure did not run from one territory to another except where only the colonies belonged to the same colonial master e.g. Uganda and Kenya shared railway because they were under British.
  5. They were seasonal. This means that, most of the roads were mostly used during production and harvest season only hence in effectiveness roads and railway.
  6. They experienced frequent reconstruction. This was because, in some areas Africans used to destroy them more especially during night e.g. Nandi and Masai, thus frequent repair became very important to make it function able.


  1. To facilitate transport of raw materials from the interior to the coast for easy shipment to Europe. E.g. cotton, minerals and coffee.
  2. To facilitate the transportation and distributed imported European manufactured goods from the coastal areas to the interior.
  3. To easy the transportation of African laborers from one colonial economic sector to another.
  4. To interlink various important colonial centers or zones such as colonial districts, provinces, projects, e.g. plantation and mines.
  5. To easy transportation of colonial officials and solders from one place to another in running and administering the colonies.
  6. To easy the colonial states to collect revenue from communication system in form of taxes from goods and raw – materials.
  7. To open up the interior of Africa for exploitation of cheap labor, markets and raw – materials.


This was the railway, which was constructed by the British colonial government. It ran from Mombasa in Kenya to Kampala in Uganda in 1896 to 1907.


  1. In order to transport raw materials. Especially copper from Kilembe, cotton from Uganda. In addition, it transported coffee and tea both from Kenya highland through Mombasa.
  2. To transport manufactured goods. The manufactured goods from Europe were to be transported from Mombasa harbor to the interior of Kenya and Uganda.
  3. To travel military troops. This was the case because these troops needed to supervise African resistance. For example, British travelled military troops for suppressing Nandi resistance in Kenya.
  4. Transportation of laborers. The African laborers especially migrant labors were taken from their home in various parts in Kenya and Uganda to the producing centers like in mining and agricultural centers.
  5. To transport administrators. The colonial administrators or official were transported in various areas so as to supervise colonial economic projects.


Most of the roads and Railways in colonial Africa were directed towards the coast. This was due to the following reasons.

i) Roads and railways were directed to the coast so as to transport various raw – materials such as cotton, sisal, tobacco from the interior to the coast for easy shipment to Europe.

ii) They were constructed perpendicular to the coast so as to take manufactured goods from Europe like, clothes and distributed them in the interior of Africa.

iii) They were directed the coast so as to transport African migrant laborers to the various economic projects which were established along the coast e.g. Sisal in Tanga

iv) They were constructed towards the coast so to transport colonial officials who could supervise colonial economic projects, which were established along the coast.

v) They were constructed towards the coast so as to facilitate transportation of European soldiers to the economic projects, which were constructed along the coast. These soldiers were sent mainly to ensure that all economic activities went on smoothly.

1. Using concrete examples of any East African country show how the pattern of the physical and social infrastructures was largely determined by the system of the colonial economy. (NECTA-2000)
2. Briefly analyse the pattern of colonial infrastructure in mainland Tanzania and show how it facilitated exploitation of the country. (NECTA-2010)
3. “Colonial social services consolidate colonialism in Africa.” Justify this statement by giving six points. (NECTA-2013)


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