The Changing Practices of Kibarua Employment: A Case Study of the Sagara, Tanzania

by Kazuhiko Sugimura


This article analyzes the process in which the “economy of affection” in rural Africa transforms the nature of wage labor and thereby induces a phenomenon we may call “communal sharing of cash” among African peasants, through a case study of Sagara society in Tanzania. In Sagara society, which is now deeply involved in the money economy, a form of wage labor employment (called kibarua in Swahili) is frequently arranged by the rich at the request of the poor for cash. Contrary to the general view that wage labor is evidence of rural differentiation, kibarua reproduces an egalitarian world within the society by functioning as an effective social leveling mechanism.

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Kazuhiko Sugimura has a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Kyoto University. He is currently Professor at the Center for Arts and Science, Fukui Prefectural University, Fukui, Japan. His research interests include the African peasant economy, the moral economy and mixed cropping systems.