Archive for January, 1942

50 YEARS AGO

The following news items appeared in TA issue 41 (Jan 1992) and are taken from issues of the Tanganyika Standard in the first three months of 1942:

MASAI MUNIFICENCE
Following on an agreement reached between the government and Masai elders at the Kiama or Annual Council Meeting held in August 1940 the Masai are subscribing 6,000 cattle (1% of the 600,000 total) each year for the duration of the war. The cattle are sold to Liebigs Cannery in Kenya and the proceeds are then divided into three equal parts: 1) a contribution to Britain for the purchase of armaments; 2) investment in interest-free War Loan; and , 3) used for the development of Masai land.

ODE TO MASIKA
Extracts from a letter to the editor (with apologies to Keats) from reader H. P Griffiths (March 1942) :
Season of mists and multi-mouldiness;
Close bosom friend of March’s moist monsoon;
Conspiring with her how to cause distress;
By washaways and floods, a doubtful boon;
To warp and swell our doors and rust the keys;
To fill with Tembo each palm tree flower;
And stimulate each fungus long and dark;
And rapid spreading weeds and grasses rank;
Where are the songs of summer? Where are they?
Think not of them – thou hast thy music too;
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying days;
Touch Msasani beach with rosy hue;
Then in a baleful choir mosquitoes hum;
And would-be travellers mourn with grumbling tune;
The boggy, slushy roads, now closed till June;
The thunder rolls; torrential showers come.

NEED FOR RUBBER
All of us must know the calamities which have fallen in the Far East (collapse of British forces in rubber-rich Malaya, fighting in the Dutch East Indies) wrote Mr Malcolm Ross of Tanga in response to an urgent appeal by the Director of Agriculture for owners to clear the land in derelict Ceara rubber plantations in Tanga and Eastern provinces so that tappers can get to the trees. The Agricultural Department said that tapping ‘needs no great skill and is well within the capabilities of the average African once the method has been demonstrated to him’.

Mr Ross went on to describe the rubber boom in Tanganyika in 1910-12 when as much as Shs 8/- per pound was paid for best quality rubber in London. The Germans had been planting ,up every available spot with Ceara rubber and there were over 50 plantations in Tanga district alone although the land was often entirely unsuitable. But by 1914 there had been a slump and rubber had fallen to Shs 1.2 per lb. The majority of the German planters would have become bankrupt but for the First Great War and when the Germans were eventually defeated in Tanganyika and the plantations were taken over by the British authorities, plantations were rarely worked. Later, sisal was planted instead.

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