AFRICA EVENTS had a six-page special feature on Tanzania in its March 1992 issue. In the introduction it wrote that ‘Informed Tanzania watchers … point to fresh sprigs sprouting off the economy, distinctly hinting that a new spring of surging prosperity is finally approaching. Economic growth, for example, has regained its lead over population growth. Standards of living, long frozen, are stirring towards modest improvement. Record export crops are reaching outlets on upgraded roads. Donor confidence and foreign investor interest are both on a cheery upturn. Monopoly politics is giving way to reforms which should stiffen up the benefits of this economic change. In broad measure, the sense that something good has happened is fair enough. Equally fair must be the sense of optimism that tinges the future. However, Zanzibar might turn out to be a gadfly ….

The Johannesburg WEEKLY STAR (April 1, 1992) announced on its front page that Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Diria, had stated that Tanzania was to lift sanctions on air travel and sports relations in recognition of the changes brought about by President de Klerk. Economic sanctions would continue for the present he said.

BRITISH OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT had an article on Bagamoyo in its January 1992 issue. It recalled how David Livingstone had died in 1873 in what is now Zaire. His heed had been buried in Africa end his embalmed body had been carried to Bagamoyo on a journey which took nine months. The last resting place of the body on the African mainland (before burial in Westminster Abbey) had been the Bagamoyo Catholic Mission. Britain is now paying for the restoration of the tower of the mission.

The Johannesburg STAR gave publicity to a recent statement quoting Tanzanian Prime Minister John Malecela to the effect that South African tourists might soon be basking in the sun on Tanzania’s Indian Ocean beaches. “Don’t be surprised to see Boers coming here or Tanzanians going to South Africa” he had said in Parliament. Air Tanzania subsequently announced agreement on the start of a regular service to South Africa.

Tanzanian Customs authorities have seized 5.5 tons of illicit drugs according to AFRICA EVENTS (April 1992). The authorities in Dar es Salaam were said to be worried that Tanzanian drug traffickers might begin to play a role similar to that of their Nigerian counterparts in West Africa by acting as a conduit for drug transfers to Europe and North America. Police records showed that in the past six years more than 10,000 people had been arrested for alleged involvement in drugs.

In its series ‘A Memorable Wine’ the WINE SOCIETY’S BULLETIN for February 1992 contained a story by a Dr C. Granger in which he exercised some poetic licence in recounting a tale of many years ago. He had carried a quarter bottle of champagne in his rucksack – first by air (with the bottle in the decompressed hold), then across two frontiers by train, then by bumpy road for 18 hours to join his wife, who was working in Tanganyika, to celebrate their first anniversary of wedded bliss. The destination was Lushoto ‘a small verdant valley which the British Governor of the then Tanganyika had tried to buy (!) as a summer refuge from the heat’. ‘Our hotel’ he wrote’ overlooked the town, which, with its German missionaries and Bavarian churches, might have been in the foothills of the Alps. On the day of our thirteenth (month) anniversary we walked along the mountain crest to a spot known as ‘The View’ and sat on a rock overhanging a plunging cliff. Far below, the plains of Africa stretched away under the great sky …… I pulled the bottle from my rucksack triumphantly. My wife whooped with delight, I ceremoniously unwound the wire cage. Jill dug out our plastic mugs. I popped the cork. Only there was no pop, no bubbles. Just a hollow plop, and an evil smell. The champagne, like the anniversary, was overdue. It had probably undrinkable for a decade. (Thanks to reader Patrick Duff – Editor).

In a colour illustrated article in the April issue of NEW AFRICAN, the origins of Tanzania’s famous ‘Tinga Tinga’ paintings was told. Former fisherman Edward Said Tinga Tinge (who died in 1972) had started painting in his distinctive style using household gloss paint, rescued from abandoned tins, end commonplace surfaces such as hardboard, plywood or tin instead of costly canvas. The result? ‘A riot of multi-coloured images of African life; animals, birds, butterflies, flowers and tropical vegetation’. Now, one of the persons he taught, Rashid Bushiri, is teaching others in Swaziland under a project supported by the European Community; later this year, he has been commissioned to do murals on the wall of a hotel in Denmark.

Many newspapers around the world catalogued the ill-fated visit to Africa of the American mega star Michael Jackson. For example, the BOTSWANA DAILY NEWS reported on its front page that Jackson had arrived in Tanzania on February 17th after visiting Gabon and Cote d’Ivoire where he had been greeted by tens of thousands but had upset Many of them. ‘On arrival in Dar es Salaam, the paper wrote, the singer ran to a waiting car, clutching his nose and hiding his face with a handbag, ignoring Tanzanian Foreign Minister Ahmed Diria who was waiting to welcome him’.

The DAILY NEWS in Tanzania gave many more details of the visit. Michael Jackson had visited the Sinza Centre for Mentally Retarded Children where he had left fond memories and had, later, met President Mwinyi who had asked him, after his proposed visit to the Serengeti, to become Tanzania’s envoy abroad and explain about the country’s tourist potential. However, the Singer suddenly cut short his visit and left for London, leaving thousands of admirers in Arusha and Kenya disappointed. The apparent reason was that he could not fly in any plane other than his own (which was too large for the Serengeti airstrip) and could also not drive in a car for more than one and a half hours. He was said to be allergic to dust.

The general response in Dar es Salaam was said to have been ‘good riddance’. Others agreed with earlier comments from Abidjan which had described Jackson as ‘a recreated being, bleached, neither white nor black, so delicate, so frail …’

The London TIMES in its March 24th issue reported that former African Presidents had decided at a meeting in Tanzania to form a Council of Elders to tackle the continent’s perennial conflicts. The meeting was attended by former presidents Pereira of Cape Verde, Kaunda of Zambia, Obassnjo of Nigeria and Nyerere of Tanzania.

WORLD BANK NEWS in its February 13 issue stated that Tanzania is to obtain an IDA Credit of US$ 18.3 million in support of a project to stop rapid deforestation through preparation of maps showing forests, agricultural areas and grazing lands and establishing a National Resource Information Centre to coordinate the collection of information on resources, land use and environmental conditions. The project would also support measures to improve land tenure systems, and, in the Mwanza and Tabora regions, help improve the management of 45,000 hectares of forest.

Air Tanzania has been suspended from membership of the International Air Transport Association because of its financial problems according to the March 16 issue of the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE. The paper said that the IATA members would not now honour Air Tanzania tickets. The Tanzania DAILY NEWS reported on February 22nd that the Government had ordered the Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) to cancel flights to Europe and India following serious losses on these routes using a plane leased from Ethiopian Airlines. The newspaper reported that ATC had had to ground its planes on April 1st because it apparently could not renew its insurance cover. It is also understood that the Government has decided to privatise the airline.

In an article on shipping services between East Africa and Europe the AFRICAN ECONOMIC DIGEST (February 24) quoted Steve Barlow, Commercial Director of the ZAMCARGO organisation, as saying that, of the East African Ports, Dar es Salaam generally gave the most satisfactory performance. “The port itself functions quite efficiently following recent heavy Investment” he said. Similar comments in AFRICA EVENTS (April 1992) which reported that Mombasa’s efficiency had somewhat slumped and That it was meeting robust competition from Dar es Salaam which was fast modernising.

In its February 15th issue the DAILY TELEGRAPH gave considerable prominence to an apparently insatiable appetite for cheese which had suddenly developed amongst Tanzanians and others. So great was this demand for cheese, in fact, that Dutch customs officers had become suspicious. Thousands of tons of Dutch dairy products had apparently been shipped outside the European Community but had later found their way back to traditional market such as Germany thus allowing certain persons, now being investigated, to obtain attractive export subsidies from the Community.

The first issue in 1992 of HABARI, the Journal of the Svensk-Tanzeniska Foreningen in Stockholm, revealed that Swedish aid policy is in the process of change. Tanzania, Mozambique and Vietnam have had their allocations reduced. A change in ideological course in Sweden was said to be plainly evident. In the case of Mozambique, the reduction was attributed to poor uptake capacity. The same was said to be true of Tanzania, which was considered to have had too large a programme. The reduction would be of the order of £5.5 million. The State Secretary responsible had said that in his opinion the whole Tanzanian aid programme had been too greatly dramatised. He dwelt long on the question of democracy. ‘The Government unmistakably equated democracy with a multi-party system irrespective of the considerable differences in historical, political, social and economic circumstances of the different countries’ the Journal wrote.

NEW AFRICAN (March 1992) reported that drinkers in Dodoma are up in arms about a blanket ban on locally brewed liquors. The ban had been imposed following a cholera outbreak which had caused 200 deaths between November and January. Local producers of ‘Wanzuki’ – a fermented honey liquor – had got around the ban, however, by putting the liquor into commercial wine and beer bottles end pretending it was something else. This had confused the health inspectors (and presumably also the customers) for a time, but then the Police found out and began to seize illicit stocks. But the brewers showed considerable ingenuity. They started hiding the liquor in other ways. In one case alcohol was stored in a coffin. Customers were told to join the ‘funeral procession’. Others soaked nuts for a long time in illicit grain (gongo). It was said that people could get drunk on just a handful of nuts.


The SOUTHERN AFRICAN ECONOMIST in its December/January issue featured Dar es Salaam’s well known Kigamboni fish market. ‘The fish and food vendors have been supplying meals at the affordable price of Shs 70 for some time. But they noticed that their clients often had to go away to answer the call of nature, usually not to return. They therefore raised Shs 50,000 to build a latrine. At Shs 2/- per shot the clients were happy but the project lost money for lack of management’. Now the Tanzania youth Development and Employment Foundation has undertaken a feasibility study designed to improve overall hygiene at the Ferry Fish Market.

In a lengthy article on the man it described as the ‘Einstein of bee breeding’ the SUNDAY TIMES

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