The comments made in the extracts from the media which follow – and indeed articles in other sections of the bulletin do not necessarily represent the views of the Britain-Tanzania Society. They are published to illustrate the impressions of various writers on what they have seen and heard about Tanzania. – Editor

Africa Events in it’s January/February issue referred to what it described as the agonising dilemma facing Chairman of the CCM Julius Nyerere. “It is as excoriating as that of Deng Xiaoping;, Not quite though. Deng at least has Chairman Mao to point an accusing finger at. Nyerere hasn’t. He is both his own Mao and his own Deng all rolled into one.

What could he say to justify his new pro-IMF stand after years of a gallant, well articulated campaign against the Fund? But shrewd politician that he is, he has not said a word in public on the agreement as yet. He has left it to President Mwinyi to sell it to the country, conservative ministers to implement it, and the disciples of the New Enlightenment of Hayek and Friedman at the Economics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam to rationalise it.”

In Volume 1 Number 3 of the Oxford University Press publication “Information Technology for Development” 1986, Christopher Ndamngi traced the history and indicated the present status of computers in Tanzania.

The first modern electronic computer (an ICL 1901 magnetic based system) was installed in 1968 at the Ministry of Finance. Since then expansion has been rapid.

Analysts have broadly identified four stages of computer activity development:
(1) Inception Stage: Very little knowledge and understanding of computer technology.
(2) Basic Stage: Reasonable understanding in the use and application of computers at the operational level of management.
(3) Operational Stage: Wide understanding and application of computer technology in most administrative activities at top management level.
(4) Advanced Stage: Extensive managerial dependence on computers for decision making as well as strategic planning.

Tanzania is at stage (3) the operational stage of the computer activity development.

A fair guess at the number of computers in Tanzania in 1976 around 400 units with the following approximate distribution:
Micro computers 64%
Mini computers 23%
Mainframe computers 10%
other (Terminals etc.) 3%

The table below shows the approximate suppliers market share.

Supplier Product Type %Micro %Mini %Mainframe %Overall
B.M.L. Olivetti Computers Apple Computers Agents 55% – – 36.8%
CCTL Agents for Wang Computers and Osborne Micros 21.8% 14.1% 27.3% 20.5%
ICL ICL computers – 31.5% 63.6% 14.1%
NCR NCR computers 7.0% 31.5% – 13.2%
IBM agents IBM computers 7.7% 7.0% – 6.8%
others 7.9% 15.9% 9.1% 8.6%

(N.B. BML = Business Machines Ltd. CCTL=Computers Corpn. of Tanzania Ltd)

Amongst the latest applications of computer technology are;

– The Fujitsu Fedex 100, installed by the Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications. It is an automatic telex message switching system for the control and routing of all message traffic to, from, and via the Tanzania Telecommunications System.

– The on-line traffic control and passenger reservations system operated by Air Tanzania via a hook-up to the International network based in the USA.

– The weather forecasting system in the department of meteorology.

– The on-line wagon control system developed by Tanzania Railways Corporation as phase one of the larger and more complex Railways Traffic Control System. The wagon control system is due for implementation in the second half of 1986.

The ‘Independent’ in its February 6th Issue. under the heading “Tanzania Pays the Price of Stability” wrote that: “One year after stepping down as President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere has seen the country embarking on a course radically different from the one he steered since leading Tanzania to Independence. Some Tanzanians see these changes as a rejection of the high ideals for which Nyerere gained world-wide respect; others are relieved to see curtailment of policies which they believe turned Tanzania into one of the poorest countries in the world.

Even Mr Nyerere’s critics, however, do not see the shift in the country’s priorities under President Mwinyi as an occasion to blame the former President for the dire state of the country’s economy.

Mr Nyerere is regarded by many Tanzanians as a man who managed to establish a degree of political stability in his country that contrasts sharply with the chaos and unrest that reigns in some of its neighbours. However this unity does not appear to have produced many economic benefits. The poverty of Tanzania is startling.

But if poverty and debt are the legacy of Mr. Nyerere’s socialist experiment, few blame him for it. Twenty five years after independence he is still seen as the Mwalimu or teacher.

“Malaika” is one of the most famous songs to come out of East Africa. The Kenyan, Fadhili Williams claims to be the author of the legendary lyrics. But, as ‘New African’ in its January 1987 issue pointed out, a Tanzanian, Adam Salim, now claims to be the original lyricist. He claims that his “inspiration” came from 60 year old Halima Marwa. Salim said that a passionate love affair with Halima had ended dismally when he discovered that she was his uncle’s daughter and kinship laws forbade marriage with close relatives. Later, a wealthy Indian proposed to and married Halima. Heartbroken, Salim found solace in composing the now historic lines of the song.

Halima confirmed that the story was very much part of her past and recalled that Salim had composed it between 1945 and 1946. If this is true, how did Fadhili Wllliams come to claim authorship?

Adam Salim explained that he once led a band in Nairobi and here he met Williams, “Williams was only a kid at the time’; he joined my band briefly to play the mandolin. At this time we were already playing Malaika in dance halls and bars” he said. Salim, who worked as a motorcycle mechanic during the day, said he made a recording of the song with the now defunct Columbia East African Music Ltd. “I was paid a flat fee of Shs 60. There was no copyright”

Some time later, an accident at the workshop left him with deep burns and he had to spend three years in a Nairobi hospital. On his return home to Moshi his musical career was at an end and he worked at the Kilombero Sugar Factory until his retirement last January.

Adam Salim, now 70 years old, says that he bears Williams no grudges. He has however, charged Halima’s grandson, Hanif Aloo, to legally represent him in a late bid to claim the copyright from Williams.

So, two decades later, the elusive Malaika is still being ardently pursued by her suitors.


‘Africa Events’, in its December 1986 issue revealed that it had located (to its surprise) some Zanzibaris in Durban. Where had they come from? Apparently they are descended from slaves of Makua origin who had been liberated by the British navy along the East African coast. They initially disembarked in Zanzibar. During their time with the Swahili and Arab Muslims they had adopted the religion of Islam. Through an arrangement between the British Consul General at Zanzibar and the Lieut. Governor of Natal they had then been sent to Natal rather than being resettled within the domains of the Sultan of Zanzibar where it was thought they might be recaptured by other slave traders. The real reason however seems to have •been the serious labour shortage on the new plantations in Natal. The documents show that the liberated slaves were intended for these plantations, partially to replace the programme of indentured labour from India which had been set up in 1860 but had run into problems.

Being under contract of indenture under the Protector of Indian immigrants the new arrivals quickly discovered fellow Muslims among the Indians who had arrive before them. Their contracts were similar but differed in details. Thus their free accommodation, food rations and income were the same. Neither group was able to chose its employer. But whereas the Indians were restricted by the pass system, the Zanzibaris were free to go wherever they wanted. The contracts for the Indians were for five years; the Zanzibaris three. Gross injustices were perpetrated against both groups. It was therefore natural that these people who often worked together, developed an affinity for one another.

As their contracts expired and they were able to settle down where they wanted their background and contact with Swahili society proved important. In Swahili society the village is the focal point as is religious allegiance. These two aspects combined to develop in the Zanzibaris a strong sense of community, which led them to establish a separate community at Kingsrest on the Bluff south of Durban. Here they concentrated on market gardening or accepted employment as domestic servants.

The manner of their original arrival from the domains of a Sultan considered “Asiatic”. their identification with the indenture system and their close association with Indians, but above all their Islamic faith, distinguished them from the local Bantu. The first Zanzibari families moved to Chatsworth (where the majority of Indians were resettled) at the end of 1962.

Today the Zanzibaris form a clearly definable group at Chatsworth with their own Mosque, their own religious leaders. Their faith and practice is coloured by their background. They retain many of their Makua practices, particularly those relating to rites of passage. At the same time their “Zanzibari” identity is discernible in their dress, language and law. Whereas the Indian Muslims follow the Hanafi school of law, the Zanzibaris are Shafi’i. The most obvious form of their identity is seen in the retention of the distinctive Zanzibari kanzu, kofia, kimau and kanga. Perhaps more important still is their claim and ability to speak and understand good standard Swahili.


‘Business Traveller’ continues its series of articles on costs of goods in different parts of the globe. Concerning the price of a roll of film it wrote: “Tanzania seems to have it in for business travellers. It has already figured prominently at the very head of previous lists comparing the costs of taxi rides and whisky around the world. Now it adds another scalp to its collection. Anyone who has decided to invest in ammunition for his trusty sure shot in Dodoma or Kilwa Kivinje (an undeniably picturesque part of the World) at the time of the survey, would have found himself paying close to $1 per shot for the privilege in film costs alone.

In fact however, such is the weakness of most major African currencies including the Tanzanian shilling, that film and other costs have probably dropped between then and now”. At the time of the survey the cost of a roll of film was estimated to be seven times the British price.


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