Interweaving threads of credit and debt: Trading (through) textiles in colonial Dar es Salaam
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History, Africa, East Africa, Dar es Salaam, economy, business, credit, debt, twentieth century, entrepreneurship
Tracing the modus operandi of textile traders in colonial Dar es Salaam, this article makes a case for viewing the availability and extension of credit in the form of textiles as a central aspect of traders’ lives. The versatility of textiles in the local context of Dar es Salaam not only contributed to their high demand, their use as the main medium of exchange and the basis on which credit was extended; it also shaped the local conceptualisation of entrepreneurship. For textile traders in colonial Dar es Salaam, it was of economic, social and cultural importance to always be both in debt and have others in debt to them.