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This article explores the continuing hold that colonial categories still exercise in contemporary constructions of African urbanism-even in the context of a city being profoundly transformed by globalizing forces and processes. Since the mid-1980s, urban plans and programmes have advocated conserving Mji Mkongwe, Zanzibar as cultural property-a historic 'asset' or national 'treasure'. Pressured by structural adjustment and external donors, the state has pursued a restoration strategy thatdoi:10.1080/14725840701403416 fatcat:6txrck57szbipfgqucwaksu2ta