University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Designing the Post-Colonial Car: a Bumpy Road for Personal Transport in Africa.

Hazell, Paul (2013) Designing the Post-Colonial Car: a Bumpy Road for Personal Transport in Africa. In: Design History Society Annual Conference Towards Global Histories of Design: Postcolonial Perspectives, 5 - 8 September 2013, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. (Unpublished)

Text (Designing the post-colonial car: A bumpy road for personal transport in Africa.)
Paul Hazell-Designing the post-colonial car(WRaP).pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


The history of the car in Africa engages with many of the colonial interests in the region but the topic has remained largely ignored by design historians. This article explores three attempts made to develop a post-colonial car for manufacture in Africa.

In the 1980s the Englishman Tony Howarth designed the ‘Africar’, a vehicle intended specifically for rural Africa, constructed with a wooden body and an engine borrowed from the Citroën 2CV. The 1990s saw the ‘Uri’ design, initially developed by a Namibian farmer as a simple and robust 4x4. Currently the ‘Mobius’, an inexpensive yet rugged car, is under development in Kenya. Success for all of these vehicles has been problematic however. Despite various attempts, and a growing demand for personal transport in Africa, there is as yet no indigenously designed and manufactured car addressing the continents needs.

This article explores these examples and asks what factors have prevented the creation of an indigenous car for post-colonial Africa. The recent ‘centre-periphery’ debate is applied to the case, the notion that there is one solution for an entire continent, and the intra-African factors that have inhibited the emergence of an African car industry are also explored.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Africa, car, indigenous, transport, upcycling, centre-periphery
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Paul Hazell
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2014 10:38
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:03

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.