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In the early 1960s, three pilot agricultural and settlement schemes were set up along the shores of Lake Victoria in the north-western region of Tanzania with the involvement of Israeli development agency Agridev. One of these sites was Mbarika, where the experimental project ran for three years and had mixed results before being discontinued by the young Tanzanian government. This article explores the story of that scheme and its long-term legacies some 50 years on. Unpacking the representational and material ruinations that outlived the project's official timeline, we examine the memories and rumours that continue to haunt the site to this day and their entanglement with successive development experiences and shifting political ideologies. Through interviews, ethnographic observations and archival research, we shed light on the complex, deeply ambiguous legacies and ‘afterlives’ of a development intervention set between expectations of modernity and a sense of exclusion.
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