Primary Source

Legal Protection for Scout Uniform, 1935: Tanganyika Government Ordinance


Many African boys, teachers, and community leaders were genuinely inspired by scouting and founded their own unauthorized independent troops. In other cases, individuals dressed as scouts to claim the benefits of belonging to the movement. Scout leaders and government officials in East Africa paid little attention to these informal adaptations of scouting, but they became alarmed when dance societies in Mombasa began to use Scout uniforms in the early 1930s. These decidedly adult celebrations often included drinking and other forms on inappropriate revelry. Scout leaders lobbied the colonial authorities to crack down on scout impersonators, but at the time there were no laws against the unauthorized use of scout materials in the East African colonies. This legislation from Tanganyika (modern Tanzania) gave the territorial scout association sole legal control over the scout uniform and badges. From 1935 on, Africans who impersonated scouts or formed unauthorized troops faced a stiff fine and one month of jail time at hard labor.

This source is a part of the African Scouting (20th c.) teaching module.


An Ordinance to Further and Protect the Activities and Interests of the Boy Scouts Association of the Tanganyika Territory, 5th July 1935.
1. This Ordinance may be cited as the Boy Scouts Ordinance.
2. In this Ordinance. . . "Association" means the Boy Scouts Association incorporated under the Royal Charter granted to the fourth day of January, 1912.
3. It shall not be lawful for any person, not being under the Rules of the Association duly authorized and entitled so to do, publicly to wear, carry or bear any uniform, badge, token or emblem which under the said Rules are specifically adopted for use under the authority of Association or which could reasonably be held to be an imitation of the same in such a style or manner as to convey an impression that such person is under the said Rules entitled to so to wear, carry or bear such uniform, badge, token or emblem.
4. No person shall sell, or offer for sale, any article bearing a badge token or emblem specifically adopted for use under the authority of the Association, to which could reasonably be held to be an imitation of the same, unless he shall have first obtained authority from the Commissioner in writing to do so.
5. It shall not be lawful for any Boy Scout, not being otherwise thereunto lawfully entitled and authorised, to pretend to be, or to pass himself off as, or to arrogate to himself the authority, position or powers of, or to claim to be or to act as –
(a) a member of the Tanganyika Territory Police Force, or
(b) an officer exercising police functions in the service of any native Authority
(c) an agent or officer of the Government or of any native authority or tribunal.
6. It shall not be lawful for any person to form, organise, or work in connection with, or be concerned in forming, organising, or working in connection with, any corps or body of persons who without due authority granted in accordance with the Rules of the Association claim to purport to be Boy Scouts or otherwise to be connected with the Association or who hold themselves out or pass themselves off, as Boy Scouts or as otherwise connected with the Association.
7. Any person contravening any of the provisions of this Ordinance is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for one month or a fine of two hundred shillings or both such penalties.


Tanzania National Archives, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. ACC 71. Annotated by Tim Parsons.

How to Cite This Source

"Legal Protection for Scout Uniform, 1935: Tanganyika Government Ordinance," in World History Commons, [accessed February 21, 2024]