EDUCATION AND CULTURE OF TANZANIAN TEACHERS: RE-DEFINING EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL MILIEU. B. Lindsay. Comparative Education. Vol 25. No. 1. 1989.
This article is an outline review of the attempts by American educators to influence the Tanzanian system of education since independence. It pretends, in its introduction, to be a deep and searching investigation into all sorts of socio-cultural questions affecting education in Africa, but when the writer drops most of the sociological jargon (which really gets us nowhere very fast) her case is essentially fairly basic.
In 1968 Julius maintained that ‘the purpose of education is to transmit wisdom and knowledge of the society from one generation to the next, and to prepare young people for their future membership in the society by active participation in its maintenance and development’. From the early seventies therefore, the Americans were denied access to Tanzanian education. The national language, Kiswahili, was used within schools and tertiary education mainly to foster cultural and national identity and unification. In addition, Kiswahili became the only language of instruction for all primary schools. American Peace Corps teachers and various Agency for International Development programmes were dropped, because they did not seem to foster indigenous educational and cultural development.
In the nineteen-eighties, however, things changed fairly dramatically. Tanzanians recognised that secondary school students no longer had enough grasp of English to make sense of the various subjects (including technical subjects) they had to handle. One would not have thought this very surprising in view of the fact that they had received virtually no English at primary level. But the Americans, at the direct invitation of their Tanzanian hosts, set up courses for the training of staff from the Dar es Salaam College by educationalists from the Universit y of Massachussets, and indeed, some of the Dar staff took Masters degrees in Massachussets. Workshops followed, great success was encountered, and, the writer concludes, in very verbose and highsounding paragraphs (and at considerable length) that this proves that ‘if a sense of identity with specific policies is maintained, then external influences need not threaten the original cultural ideology’.
In fact the writer ducks the two absolutely basic educational points which stand out from the Tanzanian experience in the last twenty five years. The first is that the so-called Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange which the Americans set up in the sixties (the Fulbright-Hayes Act) quite unashamedly saw education and culture as directly related and looked upon American help for education as enhancing U. S. foreign policy. In such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that the Tanzanians turned i down and wanted none of it. Nor would any self-respecting nation.
But the second point of enormous importance is surely this. The whole concept of education at depth is that it is a sharing of ideas, a mingling of cultures, a constant borrowing from traditions in one’s own country and many other countries. The finest education systems in the world have never been afraid or ashamed to borrow from other countries.
The recent American programme in Tanzania has doubtless given much practical help to Tanzanians, but it is only the beginning of a road which Tanzanians should be encouraged to walk – with many other systems and nations, not just one, and as free as possible from all political dogma and dictation.
Noel K. Thomas
APARTHEID TERRORISM. The Destabilisation Report. A Report on the Devastation of the Front Line States prepared by Phyllis Johnson and David Martin for the Commonwealth Committee of Foreign Ministers on Southern Africa. James Currey Publishers. November 1989. Hardback £19.95. Paperback £5.95
This book of 163 pages contains only nine pages on the way in which Tanzania has been affected in recent years by what it describes as the ‘consistent and continuous economic and military pressure to which the Frontline States have been subjected’ by South Africa (and its regional surrogates) during the long anti-apartheid struggle.
But this limited coverage is of considerable historical interest. The authors recall that Mozambique’s liberation movement, Frelimo, was first established in Dar es Salaam on 25th June 1962 and that the actual liberation struggle began on 25th September 1964, So Tanzania became the first of the Frontline States to be subjected to destabilisation, albeit on a much lesser scale than the other Frontline Stales. For example, the Portuguese authorities set up in the 1960’s an intelligence network in Tanzania in which Major Vitor Alves, subsequently a key figure in the Portuguese coup d’etat, was involved together with a Portuguese lieutenant-colonel whose cover was assistant manager on a tea estate in southern Tanzania, not far from Frelimo’s main training base at Nachingwea.
The book also reports that Tanzania’s former Foreign Minister, Oscar Kambona, was at one time in Lisbon at the side of Jorge Jardim, a godson of the then Poduguese dictator, Antonio Salazar. In December 1971 and July 1972 pamphlets were dropped from a Portuguese aircraft over Dar es Salaam in support of Kambona, The Portuguese apparently also set up a military training base for Kambona in north-western Mozambique. On February 3rd 1969 Frelimo’s first President, Eduardo Mondlane was killed by a Portuguese book bomb at a beach house where he was working just outside Dar es Salaam.
Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) is described in the book as ‘of massive consequence for Tanzania’. Zambia became reliant on it for desperately needed lifelines to the sea. Most of the emerging liberation movements and the OAU’s Liberation Committee were based in Dar es Salaam, The cost of all this to Tanzania has never been quantified but has amounted to several million dollars a year for over 25 years – ‘a remarkable sum for a nation of such modest means’.
The authors go on to describe the effect on Tanzania of the more recent activities in Mozambique of the dissident movement MNR. Tanzania had sent 4,000 troops to help the Mozambican authorities to combat the MNR in 1986. They stayed until November 1988, The cost of this has been estimated at some US$120 million, but, more importantly, 60 of the 4,000 Tanzanian soldiers are now buried in Mozambique. Between late 1987 and April 1989 there have been five cross border MNR incursions into Tanzania in which one Tanzanian was killed, 68 were abducted and large amounts of property, food and money were stolen from poor border area villages.
The book finally quotes Mwalimu Nyerere – described as the chair and driving force of the informal grouping Frontline States – as having congratulated the people and governments of the victim states ‘who have kept the beacon of freedom alight by their endurance, their courage and their absolute commitment to Africa’s liberation’- DRB.
BARABAIG LAND TENURE; RISKS, RIGHTS AND WRITS, Review of talk given by Dr Charles Lane to the Royal African Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies on November 20th 1989,
Dr Lane has been a volunteer in VSO and also Director of OXFAM in Tanzania, He has lived with the Barabaig people for some eighteen months in total, Some 30,000 – 50,000 Barabaig people now live in Hanang district south of Arusha. They are a Nilotic race and a pastoral people living, for the most part, as nomads. They have some thirty herds of cattle in which the mortality rate is as much as 40% largely from tick-borne diseases. Local dips have not operated for ten years.
The Barabaig are a marginal group leading a tough life where cattle theft and ritual murder have been common. Infant mortality is as high as one in five – twice that pertaining in other communities. The rate of literacy is less than 2%,
Development has largely passed them by and Tanzanian agricultural policy has tended to emphasise crop production rather than pastoralism and dairy production for which the cattle are most suited. It is unfortunate that there has been a gradual invasion of Barabaig territory from the north resulting in there being driven out of some of the best grazing land. Crops such as wheat are now being grown in the area.
In 1970 the Canadian aid agency CIDA, encouraged by the Government, took over an area for wheat production which has now grown to 100,000 acres. This is a highly mechanised scheme involving much sophisticated machinery such as combine harvesters. It has gone a long way to satisfy the aim of the Tanzanian Government self-sufficiency in wheat production.
But the development of this programme has had very serious implications for the Barabaig people since the area under wheat cultivation probably represents as much as half of the total grazing land in the district. Tanzanian policy is not to provide compensation for non-cultivated land; payment has been made only for the house areas and no allowance has been made for the private land around the house, cattle compounds, wells, burial mounds etc. Sacred trees such as Acacia and Ficus species have been cut down to make way for further cultivation. Cattle have been confiscated and the Barabaig denied rights of way on areas which were previously theirs. Land has become increasingly eroded, fertility has declined and more productive grass species have been replaced by less productive types and weeds.
CIDA and the Government have now been challenged on the basis that the total of one hundred thousand acres is thirty thousand more than the originally agreed 70,000, However, the Prime Minister’s Office, has recently decreed that these areas are not held by customary rights. It has stated that it is now recognised that all customary rights to land should be extinguished.
The present situation is that this is being contested with the help of the Legal Aid Committee of the University of es Salaam.
URBAN PRIMACY IN TANZANIA. Larry Sawyers. Economic Development and Cultural Change. Vol 37. No 4. July 1989. Pages 841-859.
This article explains how Tanzania has been one of the few countries to take steps to resist the dominance (primacy) of its largest city. The article evaluates urban and regional planning aimed at reducing the dominance of Dar es Salaam. It begins with a historical survey of the extent and causes of primacy; next is a review of the components of Tanzania’s spatial programme. Various measures of urban primacy are used to judge the effectiveness of anti-primacy policies. The conclusion is that Tanzania has been largely unsuccessful in preventing or even slowing the growth of the city this for reasons not ostensibly spatial in nature but which have overwhelmed the Government’s efforts.
SMALL TOWNS AND DEVELOPMENT: A TALE FROM TWO COUNTRIES. Charles Choguill. Urban Studies. Vol 26. 1989. Pages 267-274.
This paper is summarised as follows: Urban centralisation within the developing world has created problems such as congestion, migration, poor housing, unemployment and environmental deterioration. Urban analysts have therefore directed attention to the development of small and intermediate cities as one means of providing the necessary counterbalance. This paper analyses the economic potential of small town development through a study of the regional development programmes in Malaysia and the Ujamaa village development programme in Tanzania. The study concludes that necessary ingredients for a small town development programme include an appropriate agricultural policy, adequate consideration of the economic base of the small town and some element of self-reliance in the provision of local urban services. Without these components such programmes are unlikely to have any significant effect on rural to urban migration flows.
POLICY REFORM AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE. L. Kleemeir. Public Administration and Development. Vol 9. No. 4. September-October 1989.
In this ten-page article the author explains that for a long time Tanzania refused to reform its economic policies along the lines recommended by the World Bank and the IMF. Eventually the foreign exchange crisis forced the Government to make changes. The reforms were necessary but not a panacea for all the problems which had plagued rural development programmes over the past decade ie: the limited capacity of the Government administration to manage or back-up programmes; shortage of funds; and, the failure of rural residents to compensate for these deficiencies through their own participation and contributions. The article looks at two basic-needs programmes in the rural water supply sector to illustrate how these long-standing problems continue to affect implementation. Both programmes are funded and implemented by donors. The conclusion is that donors have not been self-conscious and innovative in grappling with the more intractable problems facing rural programme assistance in Tanzania.
THE CRUNCH – A FABLE ABOUT THE DEBT CRISIS
The Tanzania ‘Theatre In Education’ Project (first referred to in Bulletin No. 34) is based on a play (“The Crunch”) specially devised by a cast of Tanzanian and British actors brought together by the Commonwealth Institute in London. It links strongly with GCSE and ‘ A’ level Drama and Humanities syllabuses. The play, which uses both fable and metaphor to get its message across, focuses on the situation facing developing countries today and the role of ‘developed’ countries, banks and international companies in the independence and governing of ex-colonies. Through the lives and experiences of four bridge builders and the people they encounter in their work, “The Crunch” explores the factors affecting development past present and future. The play subsequently toured nationally and for performances in schools and colleges there was an accompanying workshop.
The play’s script was formed during rehearsal and at the time of the first performance was unavailable in print.
The central character is Monya, a bridge builder who has been killed while making repairs to the all important bridge which links countries to the North across a wide river with his own poor country in the South. Monya’s three colleagues, also from the South, are desperate to keep the bridge open for trade in order that their country does not suffer substantial hardship. Monya’s ghost keeps interrupting proceedings and making comments about his own feelings – mostly feelings of joy at having been liberated from the arduous repair work which appears to him to be fruitless. The bridge really needs to be pulled down as, according to Monya’s work-mates, it is totally unsafe. The trouble is that the link with the North will be broken for some considerable time until a replacement is built. There have previously been plans for a replacement (the Uhuru Bridge) but this is only a quarter complete and now there is no money to sort out the mess. The three workers decide to continue repairing the unsafe bridge as best they can and hope for the best. Unfortunately the state of the bridge suddenly deteriorates when its foundations shift and the workers are faced yet again with an insuperable problem.
After much argument they agree to go to Mr Boyle, the banker in the North, to ask for a massive loan to start again and build a completely new bridge. Other than suggesting that they rely on the setting up of a disaster fund to get them out of their difficulties, Boyle does not offer any help, the workers having previously rejected his idea that they start from scratch with a few boats to maintain the lifeline.
Unknown to the bridge workers, Boyle himself has financial problems and needs a substantial loan to keep his own head above water. When Boyle is refused this loan, he is so eager to clinch a deal with the Southerners that he sets off for the bridge and the South with his vehicle laden with steel bottomed boats – but the bridge cannot support him and as he crosses it, encouraged by the mischievous, laughing ghost of Monya, bridge, boats, vehicle, Boyle and original old bridge take a tumble into the waters below – and everybody loses.
Credit has been seen to turn into debt, hope into despair and partial success into total failure. Monya is well out of it all.
The performance was imaginative and required little in the way of scenery and props. The change from narrative to reflection and the commentary by Monya was most effective with the characters of the narrative freezing while Monya made his comments. Perhaps the play could have produced more laughs (important for secondary schools) if the actors had been more confident in their roles but overall this was an enjoyable performance with much to recommend it to schools. Hugh Jones
As the play had been designed for schools we asked a school student to let us have an additional review from her point of view. Aldyth Thompson and her mother attended a ‘Focus on Tanzania’ day session designed for teachers (with others welcome to join them) at which the play was per formed and then discussed together with the actors. Aldyth Thompson wrote as follows – Editor
On October 27th my Mum and I went to see ‘The Crunch’ at the Commonwealth Institute in London. The play was introduced to us by the director who said that normally a workshop would take place before watching the play. This would be to see how much people already knew about Tanzania, its problems as well as its geography.
The actors put over a lot of points through the play that I hadn’t actually thought of before, such as the fact that everybody is in debt to someone higher up the scale.
We were given a handbook for teachers which gave a lot of very interesting background information both about the play and about Tanzania. In our discussion we covered a lot of points we had wanted to ask. We discussed how the play related to the real life situation in Tanzania today. The way in which the white people depend on the black, as well as the black people on the white is portrayed in the play as both South and North depending on each other. This discussion also brought out people’s views, such as “Well, people aren’t going to give up their profit are they?” – meaning that we all look after Number One. I was sorry that the role of non-government aid agencies was not brought out. I found the discussion very interesting and it made me think about the different views people have of all subjects. As a student I would like to get my school to see this play in the near future.