Andrew Burton is an honorary research associate of the British Institute in Eastern Africa, currently based in Addis Ababa. His publications include African Underclass: Urbanisation, Crime & Colonial Order in Dar es Salaam and the coedited volume Dar es Salaam: Histories from an Emerging African Metropolis.
Contemporary Africa is demographically characterized above all else by its youthfulness. In East Africa the median age of the population is now a striking 17.5 years, and more than 65 percent of the population is age 24 or under. This situation has attracted growing scholarly attention, resulting in an important and rapidly expanding literature on the position of youth in African societies.
African Underclass examines the social, political, and administrative repercussions of rapid urban growth in Dar es Salaam. The origins of an often coercive response to urbanization in postcolonial Tanzania are traced back to the colonial period. The British reacted to unanticipated urban growth by attempting to limit the process, though this failed to prevent a substantial increase in rates of urbanization.