Edited by John Cooper-Poole (UK) and Marion Doro (USA)
TREVOR HUDLESTON – TURBULENT PRIEST. Piers McGrandle. Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0 8264 7123 4 h/b £16.99.
‘Trevor meant nothing to people of my generation; he is as relevant to them as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the three day week’
So Piers McGrandle starts his biography of Trevor Huddleston. It was a sentence that brought me up short. To people of my generation, Trevor was a household word, the scourge of apartheid, a highly political presence in Stepney and subsequently Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. He was also an unyielding critic of anyone who could not recognize that the one subject which could not be discussed objectively was the sin of apartheid. In spite of some 30 years of friendship, I fell victim to his wrath when treading the BBC’s path of objectivity at the World Service.
‘I want to show why he matters and why he should be remembered’ McGrandle goes on, and in many ways that is what his book does. Unlike the deeply unsatisfactory biography by Robin Denniston with its host of inaccuracies, and its obsession with the all too few years spent in South Africa, this does attempt to evaluate the variety and effectiveness of Trevor’s ministry and explain how he could move from a high profile in Sophiatown through the confining atmosphere of Mirfield to a Bishopric in Tanganyika. It makes a serious attempt to show how each stage was enabled and informed by the earlier.
The coverage of Trevor’s early years is episodic but perceptive, drawing on early friendships, letters and personal reminiscences. Reference to a pilgrimage in 1935 when Trevor spent Holy Week in the Holy Land ‘ in the footsteps of his hero Charles de Foucauld’ – explained for me why the only reliquary in Masasi Cathedral contained not a relic of an African martyr but the Greek Testament of Charles de Foucauld, himself no easy a character!
Sophiatown was for Trevor, ‘ one of the most vital places on earth,, I think that the main characteristic of the African people is this extraordinary zest for life at all kinds of levels. I loved every minute of my life there’. Perhaps it was this passion which made his commitment so absolute and which ultimately drove the weak Bishop Clayton to demand his withdrawal back to Mirfield. Curiously McGrandle writing about Trevor’s time in Sophiatown reflects ‘Trevor was never a good preacher, but he was able to spread the message’: curious because anyone who heard Trevor preach could not be but influenced by his delivery and its content and passion. He was no academic exegete but his use of scripture was effective and the stories he told, magnetic.
It is sad that McGrandle reproduces some of the irritating errors of the Denniston biography, referring to Rosettenville as Rosenville, and his predecessor as Bishop of Masasi as Bishop Wilfred Mark. His predecessor was Wilfrid Lewis Mark Way, but known as Mark Way, a distinguished and gracious missionary who succeeded to the see in 1952 and whose widow, remains an active Anglican in the diocese of Durham. He also makes reference to the problems in the diocese of Masasi where ‘clergy are paid at £5 an hour’. Possibly £5 a month in 1960 – if they were lucky and if the money could be raised by the local congregation! His predecessors, Bishops Stradling and Way, both complained of the inability of local Christians to pay for their clergy.
One suspects that Trevor was always one of those people who was happiest in the job before last – his frustrations with Masasi and his reaction to the problems it offered suggest that ANYwhere else would have been better, but it was a place where he was loved, admired, able to function as a Bishop and, politically to be engaged with the development of an independent African socialist country in a positive and realistic way. His friendship with President Nyerere was manifest in many ways and his input was respected at many levels.
McGrandle is not afraid of confronting the question of Trevor’s sexuality, the allegations of misconduct in Stepney which led to his ultimate removal to the Indian Ocean. He looks at the power and influence of South Africa’s Bureau of Social Security BOSS and its concern to damn anyone involved against the apartheid movement. It was not only Christians who were muddied, a high ranking Muslim cleric had to take refuge in Europe as a result of the
malefactions of BOSS. He concludes, with the evidence of none less than the Archbishops Desmond Tutu and Walter Makhulu – ‘we shall probably never know the full truth’
McGrandle is the first writer to consider Trevor’s management of the church in the Indian Ocean. It had a febrile inbred churchmanship which needed exposure and development, he was not afraid to face the issues of theological education, of parish mismanagement and of a lack of serious churchmanship. It was also the place where Trevor’s engagement with other faiths became important and influential. Gone was the introverted Anglican of Mirfield, Swindon and even Masasi; in was a priest concerned with working out how people of faith could live together, work together and enjoy their specific expressions of religion. If not sunset years, the Indian Ocean was a time for a broadening and expanding his agenda making new friends.
Retirement was never on Trevor’s agenda and when, finally he returned to London, it was to rooms above St James’ Piccadilly from which he marshalled his uncompromising opposition to the apartheid movement in South Africa. McGrandle is a good analyst evaluating the powerful rhetoric and charting the tidal changes in public opinion. He identifies the impossibility and lack of reality in Trevor’s attempt to retire in South Africa. Who, present in Trafalgar Square on that day in 1996, could forget Mandela’s challenge that Trevor was needed still in the United Kingdom to continue the struggle for which he had devoted his life?
Prelate brethren were always held in some suspicion by the ordinary brethren of the Community of the Resurrection. Trevor, never one to do things quietly, recognising that he would find Mirfield as difficult as they would find him, only returned to the Community at the end of his life, effectively to die.
At the end of my review of Denniston’s biography, I wrote that Trevor was a great man who deserved a proper appreciation. I think McGrandle’s work does that: there is objectivity and understanding, compassion and criticism. I suspect Trevor would have approved.
CONSERVATION AND GLOBALISATION: A STUDY OF NATIONAL PARKS AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES FROM EAST AFRICA TO SOUTH DAKOTA, by Jim Igoe. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2004. xii + 183 pp. p/b. ISBN 0 534 61317 9.
Good authorship requires two things – a story to tell and good way of communicating it. Jim Igoe has both in buckets. Conservation and Globalisation is a clear and challenging story of how conservation practices can disrupt local lives and how apparently straightforward solutions to the problems resulting are riven with complexity and difficulty.
The book is based primarily on fieldwork in East Africa and Prof Igoe enlivens his account of the problems of understanding the worlds he encountered there with a down to earth uncomplicated style that takes the reader right out to the towns and plains where the work was conducted. This is a must-read for any student contemplating ethnographic or anthropological fieldwork. But its scope is far more than merely East Africa. Prof Igoe’s pen takes us to England before the Industrial Revolution and to the latest developments in National Parks in the US, Australia, Nepal, Brazil and Panama. He quite clearly shows how the problems of conservation and civil society are global in their origins and nature and have to be understood through a multitude of sites.
One of its greatest strengths is its analysis of civil society, local movements and non-governmental organisations. At a time when much hope and expectation is vested in democratisation and local empowerment this work is a sanguine wake-up call to the problems that these notions bring with them. It quite clearly demonstrates how these ideas are manipulated by local actors, often with very different agendas from global organisations, and transformed by the perpetuated dysfunction typical of the institutions implementing global development and conservation ideals.
I would, therefore, recommend this book to students, conservationists and development workers in all situations. Its language and style are accessible to all. Its questions and challenges will inform expert practitioners, university teachers and PhD students. This is an excellent book.
TO AN ISLAND IN AFRICA: WORKING, WALKING AND PAINTING IN TANZANIA 1951-4. Dr Vivian Usborne Child (as told to Julie Savage Lea). Philadelphia 2004. 80 pages. ISBN 1 4134 4124 5 h/b. ISBN 1 4134 4123 7 p/b. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org US$32.99 and US$26.99.
This is a most attractive and entertaining book. The author, a Senior Registrar at a London hospital, decides to join the Colonial Medical Service and is posted to Ukara Island in Lake Victoria. Arriving in October 1951, she falls in love with the local people, their way of life and their unusual methods of farming, which she records in charming paintings and drawings. Then she is moved to Ngudu in Sukumaland, which she finds less attractive (“there wasn’t much to see, but there was a lot of it”). Becoming bored with the East African Medical Survey work and fearing that she is losing her medical skills, she takes a post as a locum at the Anglican Mission hospitals at Lulindi and Newala, in the far south of the country. She undertakes the safari from Lake Victoria to the Ruvuma River in a battered Ford Consul, via Dodoma and Mbeya. When the hand brake comes away in her hand near Njombe, she is forced to wait two weeks for spare parts and stays with the District Medical Officer (“Dr Woodman is tall and scholarly looking … slightly like Rex Harrison might look at 53”). She finally arrives at Lulindi in July 1953 and spends six months there, caring for her patients and painting the local people and the countryside. She finds the High Anglican (sic) nuns at Newala stricter than their Roman Catholic counterparts at Ndanda! At the end of 1953 she is transferred to the West Indies and her African adventure ends.
What gives this book it’s special appeal is the author’s punchy and no-nonsense style of writing and her remarkable powers of observation and sense of colour. There are excellent reproductions of forty-three paintings – eighteen depict Ukara and its people, five are of Ngudu and eleven show Lulindi, Newala and Masasi. Views of the cross on the hill at Mkomaindo and the old German boma at Newala, as well as the snowy summit of Kilimanjaro, will revive memories among BTS members. Altogether a delightful book and an ideal Christmas present – only make sure that you read it yourself first!
A KNIGHT IN AFRICA: Journey from Bukene. J.K Chande.
ISBN 1- 894131-83-5. Penumbra Press, Canada www.penumbrapress.ca (My bookshop tells me that the publishers have no distributor in U.K. ed.)
The book is an invaluable account of Tanzania’s transition from colonial rule to independence and of the growing pains of a nation that plays a vital role in the future of Africa.
J.K. (Andy) Chande was brought up in a close-knit Asian trading family – learning business the hard way even when he was still at school (Ch. 3). At independence in 1961 and even when he was made bankrupt though the nationalisation of his milling business six years later, he chose to stay because of his attachment to Tanzania and his determination to support the country of his upbringing. He was a close friend of President Nyerere for more than forty years, though they often differed on the best route to take to ensure economic growth and equity.
He recounts how, in the heyday of parastatals he sat on innumerable boards endeavouring to bring a commercial perspective to institutions lacking business know-how (Ch.11). He developed a huge network of friends in Tanzania and internationally. He also brought African concerns and needs to the attention of Rotary International and Masonic circles in both of which he played an active international role.
The continuity of Andy’s involvement as both participant and observer in the development of Tanzania comes out strongly in the book. He notes that Tanganyika, unlike India was singularly ill equipped for independence by the colonial power (page 38). Again, in the chapter on the Mwinyi Years he says, speaking of Ujamaa: “I have had twenty years to think of what went wrong” (page 171). And, he is critical of the international development community that too often used Tanzania as a test-bed for new ideas but failed to ensure sustainability.
The book gives an authentic picture of the process of change, the centrality of his respect and concern for ordinary people, and how Andy, with the strong support of his wife, Jayli, has enjoyed it all.
THE STORY OF MINAKI. P M Libaba Second edition 2005, with additions by Peter White. Printed by Imberhorne School East Grinstead: 71 pp. £2. Available from Peter White tel.01622 673466. Doreen.Peter.White@talk21.com
‘The Story of Minaki’ was written to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of Minaki Secondary School (1925-2000). The history of the school can be traced back further than this, however, since the school, as St Andrew’s College, was originally founded in 1869 at Kiungani in Zanzibar as a UMCA mission school for freed slaves. The anniversary marked here celebrates a watershed in the history of the school with its transfer to the mainland in 1925.
As ‘towering giant’ among the early schools in Tanzania, Minaki richly deserves a history of its own. Not only does Minaki predate all other present-day schools but it has also enjoyed a particularly distinguished academic history. As nucleus of the early UMCA venture, the history of the school is also intriguingly bound up with the beginnings of medical education and of teacher-training.
The narrative is based on oral accounts by distinguished alumni (many of whom went on to hold important positions in national life, as documented in an appendix), on written histories, including an earlier account by J E F Mhina, the first African Headmaster, and on back-copies of the school magazine Twende. The author regrets the lack of archival material from the Zanzibar days (possibly available via the UMCA in London?), but a useful bibliography is provided. The history of the school is usefully framed within three distinct phases (Kiungani in Zanzibar 1869-1925, the time of expansion on the mainland 1925-1970, and the period after 1970 when St Andrew’s became Minaki Government School). The early years were closely bound up with the wider mission enterprise and a map would have been useful. It is a pity that poor reproduction of the many original photographs detracts from the visual impact of this booklet.
Much of the material, such as domestic detail about individuals, timetables and examination results, will be of greatest interest to alumni. Others, if familiar with Tanzania, will read this as an account of how a particular school responded to the local situation. While Chapter 1 provides the general reader with a useful backdrop to the early ‘empire-builders and evangelists’, in later chapters external tensions and pressures, religious, educational, and political, make tantalisingly brief appearances – mentioned rather than described or analysed. But while space limitations have understandably precluded much discussion of wider issues, the author clearly laments the recent academic decline of Minaki and ends with his own manifesto for selective education, including a plea for Minaki to re-establish itself as a new sixth-form college: for Minaki to be once again, as in the past, a national centre of excellence.
HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY OF BAGAMOYO: EXCAVATIONS AT THE CARAVAN-SERAI. Felix Chami, Eliwasa Maro, Jane Kessy and Simon Odunga. Dar es Salaam University Press Ltd.: Dar es Salaam, 2004. vi + 109pp (paperback / hardback). ISBN 9976604025. £9.95/£12.95 (distributed by the African Books Collective Ltd., Oxford, email@example.com).
Bagamoyo is currently enjoying something of a renaissance. The new road from Dar means that it can now be reached with ease by tourists and day-trippers escaping from the hustle and bustle of the city, and likewise by workshop organisers and participants eager to collect their out-of-town allowances.
The folk etymology of Bagamoyo (Swahili bwaga moyo) alludes to the origin of the mid-nineteenth century settlement as the place where caravans from Zanzibar were assembled before setting out for the interior – and where the slaves that they returned with were held (and in some cases “fattened up”) before being shipped to the slave market. This is where slaves “threw down their hearts” in despair (or where the returning porters “lay down the burden” of theirs, depending on which translation you prefer).
Bagamoyo’s caravanserai or ‘caravan inn’ is a surviving monument to this history. In 2001-02 Felix Chami, Tanzania’s most active archaeologist, directed excavations designed to uncover the history and purpose of this rectangular structure and associated buildings on what was once the edge of Bagamoyo. Chami and his colleagues conclude that the caravanserai was, as its name suggests, a place where caravan owners and others rested. The evidence for this is presented in this slim but informative book, which discusses many different aspects of the historical development of Bagamoyo. Visitors to the modern resort could do worse than taking a copy with them.
THE HISTORY AND SOME TRADITIONS OF THE MAASAI. National Museum of Tanzania, Village Museum, Dar es Salaam, 2004. 109pp (paperback). ISBN 9987683045. £5. Available from Richard Wood, 15 Church Street, Wymondham, Norfolk, NR18 0PH. Tel 01953 600800.
On 7-8 November 1998 a Maasai Cultural Festival was held at the Village Museum in Dar es Salaam – one (or rather two) of a number of Tanzanian Cultural Days organised by the National Museum of Tanzania. A video cassette was made and a Swahili booklet produced which compiles the speeches and papers that were given during the event. The booklet was published under the title Historia na baadhi ya Mila za Maasai.
This has now been translated into English by Victor P. Kimesera. The main body of the book comprises papers on a variety of topics: ‘Brief History of [the] Maa people’, ‘Beliefs and Religion of the Maasai’, ‘The Female Child’, ‘The Male Child’, ‘Security and Defence’, ‘Betrothals and Marriage’, ‘Curative Health and Medicaments of the Maasai’, ‘Maasai Diet and Nutrition’, and ‘Prospects and Expectations for the Future’, one of four contributions by the translator himself.
The 1998 festival received a lot of publicity at the time – much of it reproducing existing stereotypes about the Maasai. It is probably fair to say that middle-class Tanzanians are as fascinated by a certain image of the Maasai as many overseas visitors are. The value of this collection is that most of the papers were written by Maasai themselves, and much of what they write forms a useful antidote to popular imagining. We need to see more works like this in which Tanzanians write about their own communities, and the National Museum and its sponsors are to be congratulated for making this particular one accessible to a wider audience.
DHOW CHASING IN ZANZIBAR WATERS. Captain G. L Sulivan, R.N. (edited by Gemma Pitcher). The Gallery Publications, Zanzibar, 2003. 233pp (paperback). ISBN 998766704X. £12.99.
Dhow Chasing in Zanzibar Waters and on the Eastern Coast of Africa: Narrative of Five Year’s Experiences in the Suppression of the Slave Trade first appeared in London in 1873. It was reprinted in 1967 by Dawsons of Pall Mall, together with a useful biographical introduction. The full title and original date of publication have been unaccountably omitted from this new edition of Sulivan’s text produced by The Gallery (a.k.a. Javed Jafferji) in Zanzibar, as have the map and some of the illustrations. Nonetheless it is good to see this work now available in paperback and for sale in Tanzania.
Captain Sulivan’s book is an awkward cross between personal narrative and dry reporting on the state of the slave trade in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. Sulivan did his dhow chasing throughout the western Indian Ocean and he recounts his adventures with wry humour as well as the robust prejudices of his day. The second half of the book comprises parliamentary and other records relating to contemporary debates about the nature of the slave trade and the future course of British government policy. This material may be of use to scholars, but will be of less interest to the general reader.
Sulivan’s own proposal was that liberated slaves be settled on the coast near Dar es Salaam, a first step in the establishment of an English colony on the mainland, with its headquarters eventually to be sited somewhere in the mountainous interior. The worst place to settle ex-slaves, he thought, was Zanzibar, where they would remain in the employ of a local population that had no interest in their “moral improvement”, i.e. conversion to Christianity. As Sulivan intimated, the slaves that were freed in Zanzibar did indeed become the mainstay of the islands’ economy, though no one could have predicted the long term political consequences that this would have.
Just occasionally, because of pressure of other work, reviewers fail to produce a review which they have undertaken to provide. Our readers may therefore be unaware of something which might be of interest to them. Here are two such items:
SERVING THE COMMON GOOD: A POSTCOLONIAL AFRICAN PERSPECTIVE ON HIGHER EDUCATION. Nkulu Kiluba L. Pub. Peter Lang AG , Switzerland. www.peterlang.net. ISBN 0-8204-7626-9. h/b £35. It has six chapters, three of which are of a general nature about education in Africa, followed by three on Tanzania. These are, Nyerere and Social Transformation in Tanzania, The Dar es Salaam Model of Higher Education, and Nyerere and the Idea of Higher Education in a New Century.
THE IMPACT OF CIVIL WARS ON BASIC EDUCATION IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION OF TANZANIA. William A.L. Sambo. 43 pages. In the OSSREA Social Science Research Series, 2004. Further details from African Books Collective Ltd, Unit 13 Kings Meadow, Ferry Hinksley Road, Oxford OX2 0DP. 01865 72668. www.africanbookscollective.com . It tells how primary education suffered in Karagwe District as a result of disruptions caused by the influx of refugees. There were armed criminals among them who drove out the locals and destroyed the means of livelihood.
Marion Doro writes:
Tanzanian related faculty and graduates presented thirty-six of the 933 papers offered at the November 17-20 meeting of the US African Studies Association in Washington, DC. Eight of these were by Tanzanians, currently teaching or studying in the United States. Paper topics varied greatly, ranging from specific issues, e.g., water, to religion particularly Muslim related, gender, health, and aspects of the colonial era. Politics was the most frequently offered topic, including Goran Hyden’s paper on Tanzania’s one party system, and Roger Southall’s analysis of Julius Nyerere’s presidency. In addition to individual papers there were three Roundtables, which dealt with a) aspects of civic life, b) the Maji Maji War, and c) popular culture. Apart from topic or country focused panels the Tanzanian Studies Association organized a gathering of Tanzanian related faculty and students. This was one of six specific country related ‘studies association’ meetings, as well as numerous regional or topic membership groups. Readers interested in obtaining a copy of the titles of the various papers should e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Those seeking further information about the ASA annual meeting should see: www.africanstudies.org