Inspired by Eastern European precedents, Zanzibar's revolutionary regime in the 1960s and 1970s established the Young Pioneers as an institution through which to inculcate the sort of discipline perceived as necessary for nation building. I argue that through an emphasis on Pioneer parades, revolutionary elites allowed themselves to be persuaded by forms and appearances. They prized marching bodies of young men and women more for their visual effect than for the discipline they produced. Parades provided periodic evidence of good citizenship and conformity; they functioned as a strategy of display and a ritual of citizenship, more than as a discipline in the Foucauldian sense. This distinction explains how a rare accumulation of power on the part of a postcolonial elite in Africa could be both spectacular and ephemeral at the sametime.