GIVING UP MARXIST FANTASIES
‘At Tanzania’s National Museum in Dar es Salaam a mouldy exhibit depicts a 1958 speech by Julius Nyerere in which he proclaimed the birth of a new band of socialism’. So began an article in the October 10th issue of the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE which went on to state that, nearly three decades later, socialism in Africa is all but dead, a victim of economic failure, abuses of power and political oppression. And with it an age of ideology appears to be dying as well – an impassioned era of dreams and promise … when socialism, Marxism and other leftist beliefs largely fuelled political thought and governance’ .
‘Today Africa is a far different place. Mr Nyerere now softly recommends that his people build a multiparty democracy on the wreckage of his socialist wasteland ….
THE BAGHDAD OF EAST AFRICA
In a recent full-page travel article in the SUNDAY TIMES under the title ‘Out of Slavery’ Anthony Sattin recalled Stanley’s description of Zanzibar as the ‘Baghdad of East Africa’. The slave trade had guaranteed Zanzibar a place in our collective memory…. ‘There is still the coronation portrait of Elizabeth II mouldering in the museum with the bones of a dodo and a milestone in town announcing ‘London – 8,064 miles …. ‘ ‘Later I came to the House of Wonders and the seaside gardens laid out to celebrate the silver jubilees of a British king and a Zanzibar sultan. This is a popular place at sunset … it was a likely place for a rendezvous or a chance meeting, and beside me, watching the sun go down, sat a Syrian trader, sipping sweet tea and smoking a chain of cigarettes. I asked him about his trade and he said that, as his ancestors would have done, he moved this and that between his own country, the Gulf and Zanzibar. The Syrian and I drank tea and watched the sunset; the Southern Cross in the enormous red sky, dolphins playing around the returning dhows, their sails barely arched before the slack breeze … it occurred to me that for thousands of years, from the ancient Egyptians to famous explorers and forgotten captains, people have looked out on similar views before leaving the safe harbour for the farthest flung parts of the world.
FAMILY PLANNING USER RATE
In a special report on German aid activities in Africa the September issue of NEW AFRICAN described ‘mother and child health services’ (MCH) in Zanzibar where there are now 88 MCH clinics. 85% of these offer family planning services but the user-rate of such services in rural areas is only 3% Research into the work of ‘Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA’s)’ showed that only 2% of those interviewed had attended primary school, only a third mentioned the importance of boiling their delivery equipment and 56% had never advised mothers on family planning. A training’ programme has now started.
A second article quoted the case of one woman in Bagamoyo who had been advised by a TBA, after her 5th child, to use a ‘ Pigi’ , one of the traditional contraceptive methods – a small piece of wood tied to a string and worn round the woman’s waist. The woman soon had her 6th and 7th pregnancies !
Continuing its comparison of costs of products in different countries the October 1991 issue of BUSINESS TRAVELLER revealed that the price of an alcoholic drink at a bar is only some $2.41 in Tanzania which makes it the second cheapest place out of 36 countries quoted. Only South Africa had cheaper drinks. The most expensive drinks were are found in Sweden ($15 . 20). The November 1991 edition of the same publication dealt with the cost of a ‘business dinner’ and again Tanzania came out as one of the cheapest places in the world ($33). Pakistan ($15) was the cheapest and Japan far and away the most expensive ($136).
AIDS: AFRICA’S FAMILY DISEASE
Under this heading NEWSWEEK in its issue of September 16, 1991 pointed out that in much of Africa AIDS is a family disease. Sub-Saharan Africa has roughly equal numbers of men and women infected with the HIV virus. One of the illustrations was of a Tanzanian with his 13 grandchildren all of whose parents were said to have died from AIDS.
DOING THE RIGHT THING
Britain’s Overseas Aid Minister Lynda Chalker was the subject of a lengthy interview by Derek Ingram in the September 1991 issue of NEW AFRICAN. She commented on a number of places in the world where there had been problems with human rights (Sri Lanka, Somalia, Sudan) and was then asked, when it came to development, where in Africa was she most optimistic about. She answered that she was much more hopeful about Tanzania. President Mwinyi and his government were trying very hard to do the right thing. She was also hopeful about Ghana and Nigeria.
The next 1942 1946 Lushotonian meeting will be held in Lugano, Southern Switzerland on August 22 , 1992. Whoever attended Lushoto School during those years please try to make it and contact Versa and Ursi Engler , Via Cattedrale 15, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland (Phone .. .. 91 23 36 79)
RECYCLING THE RUSSIANS
Under this heading the ECONOMIST in its August 24th issue wrote about recent changes in the Soviet embassy in Dar es Salaam. Once this large embassy was stuffed with technicians, doctors and students of Marxism/Leninism. That was when the dictatorship of the proletariat…. was beating back capitalist monopoly imperialism in the exploited Third World. These days Soviet diplomats have other concerns. “We are looking for profit making … and trying to set up joint ventures” said a spokesman. But profit making was proving harder than expected. The article went on to describe the ferry link for the forty miles between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar (‘but the Sea Express keeps on breaking down’), a transport company using 25 trucks imported from Minsk and a Latvian fishing boat with a few sailors• … ‘Cost cutting will be the next stop. Some Western embassies have been approached about employing Soviet technical advisers, paid a tenth as much as western expatriates’.
The DAILY TELEGRAPH published a lengthy obituary on Major-General Kenneth van der Spuy in its issue of August 17. 1991. The Major General, who had just died at the age of 99 and who, in his earlier years, had taken a prominent part in setting up the South African Air Force, was summoned to the Kilimanjaro area of Tanzania in 1916 and immediately found himself involved in a war on two fronts – one against the German enemy and the other against the climate. malarial mosquitoes and local wildlife. He operated from an airstrip which became known as ‘Daniel’s Den’ because of the large number of lions that roamed around it.
REFORMS IN THE FINANCIAL SECTOR
WORLD BANK NEWS in its November 21st issue stated that Tanzania has received an IDA Credit of US$200 million to ‘help in creating a financial system that operates on market oriented principles, is efficient in mobilising and allocating resources and fosters longer-term economic growth’.
“WE STILL SEE THE BONES OF THE BIRDS …
“We still see the bones of the birds when we mine the phosphates” said geologist Iryana Mwambete, working with the Minjingu Phophates Company some 100 kilometres south-west of Arusha and quoted in the October 1991 issue of NEW AFRICAN. The phosphate deposits are the remains of bird droppings and dead birds which lived in the area many. many years ago. There are 2.6 million tons of soft phosphates and 5. 2 million tons of hard phosphates in the area which surrounds Lake Manyara. The Minjingu phosphates were discovered in 1956 by an International Atomic Energy team while searching for uranium and the mining plant was installed with Finnish help. But today, according to the article, the Swahili saying ‘Ng’ombe wa masikini hazai na akizaa huzaa dume’ seems to be true of the Minjingu phosphates. The company employs 150 workers but had to stop production for two months due to lack of market. The plant has a capacity to 100,000 tons per annum but since its inception in 1983 has been producing only 20,000 tons each year. In 1990 however, for the first time, some 3,000 tons were exported to Kenya and large, but not small, farmers in Tanzania are now showing increased interest in using the fertiliser.
THE SERENGETI AND HOLLYWOOD
Hollywood’s finest were said, by the DAILY TELEGRAPH in early September (in an article headed ‘Animal Crackers’) to be off on safari to the Serengeti and Kenya for charity. It was to be an unusual melange. Roger Moore, actress Anne Jackson, George Hamilton and ‘that delicate conservationist Sylvester Stallone’ were to be joined by veteran US newscaster Walter Cronkite, fashion designer Pierre Cardin, the Duke of Northumberland, conservationist Richard Leakey and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The fee paying members of the party would each be shelling out £13,250.
CHICKENS ON THE PILL
Dar es Salaam’s hospitals report that their shelves are being stripped bare of contraceptive pill s according to the December 1991 issue of NEW AFRICAN. ‘The story doing the rounds is that chickens grow faster if you add contraceptive pills to their food. According to distributors the pills are working wonders and every street now has its chicken and chip shop’ . .’
Tanzania, or at least its Zanzibar segment, achieved the unachievable as far as the British media are concerned on November 25th 1991. It found itself mentioned in huge full-page spreads in the SUN, DAILY MIRROR and STAR, repeatedly on virtually all channel s of TV and radio, and, in more sober style in the TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, INDEPENDENT, GUARDIAN, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE and, no doubt, countless other newspapers and periodicals around the world . The occasion? The death (as a victim of AIDS) of Rock ‘Superstar’ Freddie Mercury. In every case considerable prominence was given to the fact that he had been born in Zanzibar under the name Frederick Bulsara. His father, who is of Persian origin, had been an accountant in the Zanzibar civil service.
PRESIDENT BANDA IN TANZANIA
AFRICA CONFIDENTIAL in its October 11th issue reported on President Kamuzu Banda’s first ever state visit to Tanzania from October 3 – 6 1991. ‘While it did not result in the sort of rapprochment that followed Banda’s triumphant appearances at Zimbabwe’s 10th Anniversary celebrations in 1990 progress was made on transport links’.
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY FOR MOSQUITO CONTROL
Writing in a recent issue of MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL NEWS, Dr C. F Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine stated that up to 70% of Tanzanian children have malaria parasites in their blood at anyone time and people receive up to four malaria infective mosquito bites per night. He then went on to write about the highly successful use of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets and, in Zanzibar, of a floating layer of expanded polystyrene beads to prevent mosquito breeding in pit latrines and cess pits.
144 INVESTMENT APPLICATIONS
The November 1991 NEWSLETTER of the TANZANIA/UK BUSINESS GROUP in London reported on a speech given to the group on October 10th by Mr George Kahama, Director General of the Tanzanian Investment Promotion Centre. Mr Kahama had said that the Centre had become one year old in July 1991. It had compiled an investment register with profiles of some 90 companies and projects and had instigated investment promotion programmes in such countries as Thailand, Malaysia, Ghana, Kenya and the UAE. So far, 144 investment applications had been received and processed to a value of some 400 million US dollars. At the same meeting Mr Aziz Nasser was elected Chairman of the Group.
DROUGHT ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO
In its January 1992 issue NEW AFRICAN reported on the latest climb of Mount Kilimanjaro by Major-General Mrisho Sarakikya, Tanzania’s Ambassador to Nigeria. The Maj-Gen has climbed the 19,340 ft mountain 30 times. But for the first time he found that the ‘last water point’, a stream high up on the mount ain was dry. “There is serious prolonged drought on the mountain now” he said. Tanzanian hydrologists were quoted as saying that the cause of the reduced water flows was not climatic change but because of rapid run-off of water as t e result of the loss of trees and plants. Last season the staple maize crop was destroyed in parts of Rombo district by rainwater rushing down the bare mountain side.
UN PRETRE ‘UJAMAA’
URAFIKI TANZANIA, the journal of the Franco-Tanzanian Association in its issue No 49, wrote about the White Father Georges Paquet whom it described as a modest fifty year old full of drive. He was said to have two families: the White Fathers and the Tanzanian people – ‘those rare people in Africa who resolve their problems without violence’. The article went on: ‘That which attaches George to the Tanzanians, of whom 30% are Christians, is their spirit of solidarity, the way in which they use body language to express themselves and their ‘appetit religieux’. ‘ We have talked disparagingly about their traditional religion but these people do not love their traditional carvings any more than we love the statues in our churches’ the article said.