TOO MUCH POLITICS
I am not particularly happy with the Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs. While retaining a great interest in Tanzania, Tanzanian politics, evidently the main preoccupation of the Bulletin, are to me the least interesting aspect of the country. In any case, policies which, while aiming at prevention of inequality in income, lead in practice to everyone becoming equally poor, do not have my support.
Stories concerned with economic rather than political activity would interest me more, particularly reports on the state of the infrastructure without which significant economic activity cannot take place.
If the Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs could tell me how the lightweight highways built in the ’50s and ’60s have performed, or how the Tanzanian railway system operates nowadays, I should be fascinated. Or how the water supply and sewerage systems of Dar es Salaam have coped with the influx from the countryside. How have the air services of the country fared in the last 20 years? Do container ships use the ports, and if so how are containers handled? So many questions .
Undoubtedly socialism and self-reliance will have affected the infrastructure. Surely its present state is a matter of concern to a wider field than merely Yours sincerely,
We accept your point and would welcome contributions from readers on the issues you mention – Editor
MANAGEMENT OF NATIONAL PARKS
I am writing in response to the letter from Mr Imray in the May issue, about the Ruaha National Park. At this time many organisations at home and abroad are having to re-think their management problems, to which you drew attention.
I wonder what efforts the park management has made to enlist the cooperation of the surrounding local communities. Do the young people understand the aims of the park, and why it exists? Is it seen as a place only for rich tourists, and of no benefit to them? Are any of the rangers employed in the park local people? In some regions it has been found possible to provide planned income supplementing activities for the community in the work of the national park. This can create a sort of protective buffer area for the park where it is in the interest of local people to protect the area from poaching by outsiders. But maybe this has already been tried.
Friends of Ruaha might like to consider ordering an extremely valuable and practical book published by IUCN/UNEP ‘Managing Protected Areas in the Tropics’ by J&K Mac Kinnon, Graham Child, and Jim T Horsell. It is obtainable from: IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre
219c Huntingdon Road
Cambridge CB3 ODL Price £18.50
This may give useful ideas for the Ruaha management and lead to opportunities for raising the funds needed for infra-structure improvements.
A SECOND EXTINCTION!
I was most interested to read the note in your January 1987 issue of the research by Mrs.F.A. Mturi into the Zanzibar red colobus. Your readers will be interested to know that this is the second time in the last hundred years that this animal has faced extinction.
Writing in April 1884 H. H. Johnston records the following incident concerning .. a handsome monkey. the Colobus Kirkii. This as its name implies was brought to light by Sir. John Kirk; it was also extinguished by his means. Like most great men who have helped to extend the British Empire, Sir John has one dark blot on his escutcheon. Warren Hastings exterminated the Rohillas, Governor Eyre was accused of too summarily suppressing the Maroons; Sir. John Kirk, more, perhaps, in the interests of British science than of British rule, has entirely destroyed an innocent species of monkey. The Colobus Kirkii had disappeared from nearly every part of the island of Zanzibar, but a rumour prevailed that it still lingered in a clump of forest as yet unvisited by hunters. Thither Sir John sent his chasseurs to report on the monkey’s existence. After a weeks absence they returned, triumph illumining their swarthy lineaments. “Well did you find them?” asked the British Consul General. “Yes,” replied the men with glee, “and we killed them everyone!” Wherewith twelve monkey corpses were flung upon the floor and Colobus Kirkii joined the Dodo, the Auk, the Rhytina and the Moa in the limbo of species extinguished by the act of man.
It is to be sincerely hoped that by the means which Mrs. Mturi and the Zanzibar authorities advocate, this interesting and unique species will avoid the extinction which it allegedly suffered over a hundred years ago.
THE KOPJE AT OLD SHINYANGA
I refer to the Article ‘A Queen’s Scarf’ which appeared in the May issue of the Bulletin, In German times Old Shinyanga was of course just Shinyanga and came under Tabora District. Their 8th Company (162 men) were stationed in Tabora at the outbreak of war together with 110 Police, and 30 Police were stationed at Shinyanga. Shinyanga had a well- built German Boma (Fort) which was to become the Headquarters of the Department of Tsetse Research. The avenues which radiated out from the Boma were typical of German planning. The road to the kopje turned left off the Old Shinyanga-New Shiyanga road just beyond Old Shinyanga village. About half-way to the kopje, on the right, was a large hollow baobab which had once been the abode of an eminent witch doctor; indeed some of the remnants of his paraphernalia were found therein. At the foot of the kopje there was a well-kept ‘spirit hut’; these were common in the area.
The view from the top of the kopje was magnificent and covered the experimental area where the officers of the Tsetse Department had carried out such stalwart work. The bodies of C.F.M. Swynnerton, C.M.G. and B.D.Burtt, the botanist, were buried at Singida after the air crash. On top of the kopje was a huge granite outcrop to which was attached a bronze plaque bearing the well-known words from the epitaph to Sir Christopher Wren in St. Paul’s ‘si monumentum requiris, circuspice’ (if you seek his memorial, look around you).
The Captain mentioned in the article, Captain Victor A. C. Findlay, had been a regular officer (Woolwich) and was, I believe, a godson of Queen Victoria. He was on duty at Kitalala in August 1946 when he considered he should finish off a rhino which had been wounded by one of the A.A.s. He was charged at close quarters in a thicket and knocked down, suffering severe internal injuries. He was taken to Mwanza 100 miles to the North on a mattress in the back of a station wagon. He was buried near Swynnerton and Burtt on the kopje.
One likes to think that the descendants of the helmeted guinea fowl and of the dik-d1k, always in pairs, continue to live on that kopje. Also perhaps the descendant of the leopard which used to keep the Fire Watcher company. And that kopje must remain dear to many memories.
S.E. Napier Bax
SHEIKH THABIT KOMBO
Herewith cheque for £2.80 for another years subscription to your excellent and well informed Bulletin.
In connection with your recent obituary on Sheikh Thabit Kombo you may be interested to hear that I was in Zanzibar last year before he died. Our meeting in his house was hilarious as he told anecdotes about the desperate battles he had been engaged in in the 50’s with the Zanzibar Nationalist Party. In fact, it was in my office in December 1956 (I was then Assistant Superviser of Elections), in my presence, that Mwalimu Nyerere, Sheikh Thabit Kombo and Abeid Karume discussed the amalgamation of the then African and Shirazi Associations into what became the Afro-Shirazi Party.
I thought he was a wonderful man. I liked his simple and direct smile. I remember on one occasion he met me at the airport which was crowded with people, whisked me quickly through the controls and said with a cheerful smile “They must think you are very important because you are with me”.