Archive for Obituaries


Father Vincent Bailey (69) who was brought up in a council house in Glasgow and never forgot his roots, has died. He worked in Tanzania from 1976 to 1985 at Catholic missions in Kigoma, Mulera and Kabanga. He also taught at the seminary at Kahangala, Mwanza and served for a few years as Assistant Regional Superior for the western part of the country – Thank you John Sankey for this from ‘White Fathers – White Sisters’ – Editor



The Chairman of the University of Dar es Salaam Academic Staff Assembly (UDASA) and Head of the Sociology Department, PROFESSOR SETHY CHACHAGE died on July 9. His colleagues praised him for his critical thinking when presenting papers and discussing various academic issues within and outside university platforms. President Kikwete was among hundreds of mourners people who paid their last respects.



ROGER CARTER, who died in December, was one of the founders of the Britain Tanzania Society (BTS) and built it up over the years into the significant organisation it has now become. He originally graduated in Natural Sciences and Economics from Cambridge and then, in the 30’s, worked with an educational settlement during the depression. He later helped the Quakers in Germany to assist people wanting to leave the country and was himself on the last train from Berlin before the second world war began. From 1964 to 1976 he was in Tanzania, firstly as an Educational Planner in the Ministry of Education, and later at the University, helping in the development of the Department of Engineering.

(Thank you Nick Carter for giving me this information. A much fuller obituary has been published in the BTS Newsletter. Readers wishing to see this are invited to contact the editor, Julian Marcus at e-mail address: xxomitted to avoid spamxx – Editor).

DR FREDERICK THOMAS KASSULAMEMBA (61) who had a long career in secondary education in Tanzania from 1971 onwards took his PhD at Reading University. He then became a lecturer in the Foreign Languages and Linguistics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam and later worked on education with underprivileged ethnic minority children in England. He died on October 3. (Thank you Ken Mpopo for this – Editor).

MRS RUTH JASON KESSI (68) died in a hospital in Geneva on 26th October from breast cancer which she had been battling against for two years. She was a teacher and had taught in many countries including Russia where she married her husband Jason. She was also a member of the Britain Tanzania Society. Prof. Esther Mwaikambo writes that she was a woman of strong character, courageous and highly principled. Her body was cremated in Geneva and the ashes were spread in the gardens of her homes in Marangu and Dar es Salaam and in the Indian Ocean near her beach plot.

MRS SOPHIA MUSTAFA (82), one of the most famous freedom fighters of Asian origin in the 1950s died in Toronto on September 1 after a short illness. Known in Tanzania as ‘Mama Sophia’ she lived in Arusha from about 1950 to 1980 and played a huge role in helping nationalists led by Mwalimu Nyerere to gain independence for Tanzania in 1961. She was elected an MP in the 1960’s, representing both Arusha and Moshi districts – Guardian.

FATHER GEOFF SWEENEY, who died in December 2004, first went to Tanzania as a missionary in 1945 and worked in the country for 50 years. He was essentially a pastoral man in Bukoba and Singida dioceses where his little white Suzuki became a familiar sight on the rough roads of the area. He grew to love the people and they loved him. From 1987 to 1990 he took over as guestmaster in the Regional House at Nyegezi. (Thank you John Sankey for sending this – Editor).



A nominated Member of Parliament, MARGARETH BWANA (49) died of a heart attack in June. She held a Diploma in Social Sciences, which she obtained in the former USSR in 1985, and a Diploma in Economics (1990) from a Bulgarian university. She is the fifth Member of Parliament to die in the past 12 months – Guardian.

NICK JAGO (69) was an entomologist and taxonomist whose main research work was on locusts. From 1965 to 1968 he was in Tanzania as a Senior Lecturer in the University of Dar es Salaam. He collected a huge number of insects, many of them new to science and, together with his detailed descriptions and drawings, these remain an invaluable scientific archive. The East African grasshopper (Afrophlaeoba Jago) is named after him. His 100 odd publications include a four-volume pest identification handbook for use in the African field which will be published posthumously – – Thank you John Sankey for sending this item from the Daily Telegraph – Editor.



A veteran of the independence struggle in Tanzania and one of its first cabinet ministers, Ambassador PAUL BOMANI (80) died on April 1. He had been Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam since 1993 and was also chairman of Tanzania Breweries Ltd and Tanzania Distilleries Ltd. He obtained a diploma at Loughborough College in Leicester in 1954 and later, a Masters Degree at John Hopkins University in the USA. His first post was as Minister of Natural Resources and Co-operative Development in 1960. He was subsequently Ambassador to the United States and Minister for Mineral Resources. But perhaps his greatest achievement was to mastermind the establishment of a huge and highly successful cooperative movement in the Lake Victoria Region in the 1950’s which became responsible for marketing the rapidly increasing cotton crop. President Mkapa led hundreds of mourners at the burial at Capri Point cemetery in Mwanza.

Good Governance Minister in the Zanzibar Government and former diplomat, AHMED HASSAN DIRIA (68) died on March 14 in a German hospital. He first joined the government as a Labour Officer in Zanzibar. After the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964, he was appointed Area Commissioner for Pemba. He became Tanzania’s ambassador to Zaire before he was transferred to West Germany and later to Egypt, Japan and India. He was appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting in 1989, a position he held up to 1994. He was then moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. He was a staunch defender of the Union between the mainland and Zanzibar.

Sir JAMES FARQUHARSON KBE (101) who died on 17th February, dedicated virtually his whole working life to the development of railways in Africa. He came to Tanganyika in 1937 and remained there through the war years as District Engineer and then Chief Engineer of the Tanganyikan part of the then the East African Railways and Harbours (EAR&H). It was in Dar es Salaam that he began the work that pleased him most, the expansion of railway systems. Expansions completed during this period were the Mpanda line in western Tanzania (131 miles) the southern line (168 miles) built to serve the UK Government’s disastrous groundnut scheme and the Singida line (65 miles). In 1957 he became General Manager of the EAR&H and became involved in establishing a link line between the central and northern lines in Tanzania (425 miles). This was a difficult time for labour relations as the new trade unions flexed their muscles. Farquharson was a hardliner in such matters, believing that the railway staff enjoyed better pay and conditions than most other workers. He faced out several strikes, walking through the picket lines to his office; a newspaper report from the time quoted a union leader advising that there was to be a great party when the General Manager retired. The split of the railway system in East Africa into its three component parts saddened Farquharson but did not daunt his belief that the railways could still play a key role in the country’s development (Thank you Hugh Leslie for sending this from The Times – Editor).

GREVILLE FREEMAN-GRENVILLE (86) who died in February, was described in the Times obituary as ‘a gentleman-historian of the old school’ and a fearless campaigner to preserve the archaeological remains of Africa and the Middle East. He was in Tanganyika from 1951 to 1961. Amongst the 26 books he wrote were ‘The Medieval History of the Coast of Tanganyika’ (1962) and ‘The East African coast: select documents from the first to the earlier 19th century’. His interest in the copper coins that were minted at port cities offered the possibility that their dynastic history could be reconstructed from their surviving chronicles. For many years he was the only person able to identify the coins of the Sultans of Kilwa and Mogadishu. He frequently pointed to the importance of Kilwa as a site for research.

MARY PEAKE (104) served as a teacher and as a School Supervisor at the UMCA’s Diocese of Masasi for 32 years from 1937. When Trevor Huddleston became Bishop in 1960 he transferred Mary, by then aged 60, to the less physically arduous work as a teacher at the boys’ secondary school at Chidya. In 1969 she moved to Dar es Salaam to teach English at the new St. Mark’s Theological College. Her dining rooms served as a refectory for other expatriate church workers, not to mention a constant stream of visitors to what became known as ‘Mary’s Guest House’. During her final years from 1995 she was cared for by the Tanzanian sisters of the CMS next to the cathedral at Ilala – from Rev. Canon Paul R Hardy. (Thank you Mary Punt for sending this on – Editor).

BRUCE RONALDSON (87) who died on December 2 2004, was a District Commissioner in Tanganyika after the Second World War. He took a particularly close interest in sport and captained Tanzania at cricket. He also trained John Akhwari, who entered the marathon at the Mexico Olympics. Akhwari fell during the race and finished hours after the rest of the field but became an overnight celebrity and symbol of the Olympic spirit when he told reporters: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start this race. They sent me to finish it.” In 1961 Ronaldson moved to Britain and became Company Secretary of Oxfam – The Times.



JOAN WICKEN (79) former Personal Assistant to the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, died on December 5th of pneumonia after six weeks in hospital.

Joan WickenJoan Wicken with the Queen and the late President Nyerere

The funeral ceremony at Keighley in Yorkshire was presided over by Maggie Blunt, a Funeral Officiant of the British Humanist Foundation – Ms Wicken did not want a religious ceremony. Mrs Blunt spoke of Joan’s unique character and how she had faced death in a calm and philosophical manner. Her father had been a strong trade unionist. After school she joined the ATS and worked during the Second World War on anti-aircraft radar. At Oxford University she had studied politics, philosophy and economics and later, wisely for her future career, became proficient in secretarial skills. She was a dedicated socialist all her life and spent 30 years as a member of the Labour Party Read the rest of this entry »

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The singer, musician and composer PATRICK BALISIDYA (58) died on August 7 last year. He made his name through the hit Harusi (wedding) which is played at nuptial ceremonies around Tanzania. Like his better-known colleague, the late Hukwe Zawose, he was a member of the Gogo tribe from Dodoma. He began his musical career playing guitar for the Dar es Salaam Jazz Band in 1967. By 1970 he had formed his own group ‘Afro 70’. He shied away from the Congolese soukous sound then dominating East African music, instead drawing inspiration from the thumb piano and vocal melodies of Gogo tradition. At the height of his popularity in 1979 he visited Sweden and collaborated with the progressive rock group ‘Archimedes Badkar’ on their album Bado Kidogo (not yet). As an early example of world music fusion, it was notable mostly for the way the headliners were relegated more or less to the role of backing band on their own recording by their African guests. (Thank you Trevor Jagger for sending this obituary from the Independent – Editor) .

Dr. AUGUSTINE MACHA has died. He was the first Tanzanian to achieve a PhD in Animal Genetics. He resisted the temptation to earn big money working overseas and returned home to seek work. After completing his BVM&S at Edinburgh University he was appointed Regional Veterinary Officer in Kagera Region. There he saw people starving from lack of protein, while he was busy treating sick cats and dogs. His dream was to make the local breeds of cattle better producers using local husbandry methods. The Mpwapwa breed is now an internationally registered and recognised breed and is a living monument to his life’s work. He became Director General of Tanzania’s Livestock Research Organisation and subsequently undertook several international consultancy assignments (Thank you Nancy Macha for sending us these details about your late husband – Editor).

NDALA KASHEBA died in Dar-es-Salaam in October 2004. A veteran of the East African music scene, Kasheba was an important musical force in Tanzania since the 1970’s when he first immigrated to Dar Es Salaam from the Congo. He was known as one of the greatest African guitarists, appointed the title “Maestro” by his fans. Ndala Kasheba’s music bore the stamp of his Congolese roots. With his booming tenor voice and big band ambiance, one inevitably thought of Franco in his prime. But Kasheba had a number of distinguishing qualities in his Swahili rumba sound, most notably his use of an electrified, 12-string acoustic guitar, which he overdubed to create a gorgeous, chiming ambiance. With his own group “Zaita Musica” he wrote songs such as “Dezo dezo” and “Kokolay” which were later massive hits for Tshala Muana. The group toured Europe in 1991 and Kasheba continued to perform as a solo guitarist as well as with his colleagues – Nguza Viking, King Kiki, Kassongo Mpinda Clayton, Kibambe Rhamadhan,
Delphin Mununga, and others on multiple nights a week in various Dar es Salaam clubs. He most recently came to London in 2003 and performed at several events wearing a trademark straw hat.



The RIGHT REVEREND GEORGE BRIGGS (93) was a missionary priest in Tanzania for 36 years. He died on March 15. He had belonged to a company of unmarried Anglo-Catholic clergy and, in the years before the Second World War, felt drawn to sacrificial service in the Universities Mission to Central Africa. From 1969 to 1973 he was Warden of St Cyprian Theological College in Masasi where many future African bishops passed through his hands. In 1960 Father Trevor Huddleston was elected Bishop of Masasi and they worked closely in helping the Church and the nation to prepare for independence two years later. From 1964 to 1969 Briggs was Rector of St Albans, Dar es Salaam. In his will he left £1,000 to the Britain Tanzania Society – from the obituary in the Daily Telegraph – Editor.

SIR HORACE PHILLIPS KCMG (86) died on 19th March. He spent four years in Tanzania as British High Commissioner from 1968.

ROBIN THORNE (86) who died on May 11 was a District Officer in Tanganyika from 1948 to 1958 before moving to a very troubled Aden for nine years where he was badly wounded by a letter bomb. (Thank you John Sankey for sending this information – Editor).

DR. HAROLD WHEATE OBE (86) died on 19th April. He was first in charge of the Makete Leprosarium, near Tukuyu (1954 – 58) and then of the Chazi Leprosarium, near Morogoro (1958 – 72). As Senior Government Leprologist, he developed a nation-wide leprosy control scheme which brought government and missionary medical workers together, an effective co-operation which dramatically improved the rates for early diagnosis and treatment of leprosy around the country. (Thank you Mike Wheate for sending this – Editor).



Former Inspector General of Police HAMZA AZIZ (73), who died after a short illness, fought in the Second World War and was the second indigenous Tanzanian to hold the position of Inspector General since independence in 1961. He served the country in several other capacities locally and abroad. He was buried with full military honours.

When W A (BILL) DODD CMG (81), who died on February 5th, first went out to Tanganyika in 1952, he was posted to the Teacher Training College at Butimba in Mwanza. From there he went as District Education Officer to Bukoba, then Mtwara, Songea, Moshi and Dar es Salaam. He was finally elevated to the post of Senior Education Officer (Training) in the Ministry of Education until he left Tanzania in 1965. His many books include ‘A Map Book of Exploration’ in English and Swahili, ‘Primary School Inspection in New Countries’, ‘Education for Self-Reliance in Tanzania’ and, with John Cameron, ‘Society, Schools and Progress in Tanzania.’ (Thank you David Connelly and Peter Hill for contributing to this item – Editor).

JOHN CAMERON OBE (89), who died in December, served in the education department in Tanganyika/Tanzania from 1948 until 1964. Following involvement in teacher training, he became Principal of the Government teacher training colleges in Butimba and Mpwapwa. From 1960 onwards he was Assistant Director of Education in which capacity he supervised the amalgamation of the hitherto separate systems of education – the African and the “non native”. (Bill Dodd sent this item on December 12 not long before, sadly, he himself passed away – Editor).

BERNARD GILCHRIST spent 20 years of his life helping to preserve the forests of Tanganyika. He established a large escarpment forest reserve at Mufindi, prepared a vegetation map for much of southern Tanganyika and helped to create Engurdoto Crater National Park. Most of the forest reserves he worked in had large numbers of elephant, rhino and buffalo and he was attacked by elephants on several occasions. While on these foot safaris he enjoyed collecting botanical specimens and photographing plants with his ancient Leica. He subsequently became Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests in Tanzania – (Thank you Jill Bowden for sending this item – Editor).

JUDGE JOSEPH MWAKIBETE, who died of heart problems on January 17, was born in the early 1930s at Mabonde, Tukuyu. He worked as an administrative officer in various districts in the country, later joining the University of Dar es Salaam for a law degree. He joined the Judiciary and worked in different positions until his appointment as Judge of the High Court in 1972.

Former chief of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces GENERAL ABDULLAH TWALIPO who died at the end of 2003, spent 41 years of his life from 1947 to 1972 in military service and then served as Minister of State in the President’s Office in 1984 – Sunday Observer.

HUKWE ZAWOSE (65), who died on December 30, was a Tanzanian singer with an astonishing range; he eventually became a star of world music. As a boy he sang as he herded the cattle across the plains of Ugogo and then, as his voice dropped, he retained a high sweetness of tone and was eventually able to boast a five octave range. He was also a remarkable instrumentalist, learning and researching the traditional instruments of the Wagogo people. Later he wrote songs celebrating the late Julius Nyerere and the independence struggle and helped to establish the ‘National Musical Ensemble’ of Tanzania. In 2002, with his nephew Charles, he went on a sell-out tour to some of the biggest stadiums in America and Europe. He reputedly fathered 15 children by four wives. (Thank you Liz Fennell and Debbie Simmons for sending the obituary from the Times of 12th January on which this note is based – Editor).



MICHAEL DOREY OBE (80) who spent 12 years in Tanganyika from 1948, became a DC in 1953. Following service with HM Inland Revenue (1962 -71) he returned to Dar es Salaam for two years as a Senior Assessor in the East African Income Tax Department. He died on 28th January 2003.

RAYMOND INSKEEP (76) an archaeologist who spent most of his life working on African archaeology died on 3rd August. He first went to Tanzania as a young man at the invitation of Louis and Mary Leakey to excavate at the painted rock-shelter of Kisese 2 where he established the surprisingly early date of the first art there -The Times.

ALAN LINTON (83), who died on June 3 last year, was the son of the then Anglican Bishop of Persia and served for 15 years in Tanganyika from 1947 becoming a District Commissioner in 1955 (Thank you Simon Hardwick and John Sankey for sending this item -Editor).