‘I BEGAN TO WRITE A NOVEL….’
I would like to thank you for renewing my subscription to the Bulletin. In my opinion it is improving with each issue. I would hardly call it ‘glossy’! (But then again, nor would I call it big-print).
I was especially impressed by the obituary of the Rev. Canon R G P Lamburn whom I met – like many others – on a brief trip to Kindwitwi in 1987. So impressed was I with the place, the people and the man, that upon my arrival in Spain in the summer of 1989, I began to write a novel set in Tanzania with Canon Lamburn and his two young British assistants as major characters! Upon reading of Robin’s death, it was obvious to me that a great soul had passed away.
Paul Isbell Munch
THE NAME OF A MOUNTAIN
I am a staunch Tanzania-phile and I thought that you might be interested to hear about climbs I made last year of the Mguru Mountain which lies 10 miles North of Morogoro. During a first attempt at Easter three of us succeeded in climbing about two thirds of the way up the northern end. The terrain was harsh; many thorns, biting flies, inconspicuous rock faces and loose boulders. In August we tried again. We walked along the Southwestern ridge of the horseshoe to where (from the West at least) appears to be the highest point. At first a woodcutter’s trail eased our path, nevertheless, towards the top there was very dense bush and a steep gradient.
We tried to uncover more information about the origin of the mountain’s name – in KiUluguru ‘the foot of the bird’. We learnt a number of intriguing hypotheses from our Uluguru friends. These revolve around three central themes. First, that the large rock faces resemble the digits or talons of a bird’s foot. Second, according to legend, a very large bird sent by God is said to have landed on this mountain. Third, from behind this mountain the first aeroplane to be seen in Morogoro was said to have come. Could this plane, as was suggested to us, have been involved in the fierce fighting in the Morogoro region during the First World War? We wonder whether anybody can throw light upon the name of this mountain and we should be interested to hear tales of other people’s adventures on her slopes.
Volcano Veterinary Centre
B.P. 105, Ruhengeri, Rwanda.
BLACKSMITHS AND BLACKSMITHING
I read with much interest the report – sent out to members of the Britain-Tanzania Society with the January Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs – of the seminar ‘Down to Earth With Appropriate Technology’. I am sure that such technology is not only far more cost effective and less wasteful than large and grandiose projects, but is of more benefit to ordinary people. I would however like to question a point made in the discussion suggesting that during the German and British Colonial periods blacksmithing was made illegal in order to protect the market for imported factory-made tools.
I served as a district officer from 1950 to 1952 in several districts and never heard of any laws or restrictions on blacksmiths who, as I recall, operated in small numbers in many areas. Indeed district officers were keen to promote any economic activity which would increase people’s wealth. With the encouragement of the district administration an attempt was made in 1956 to revive the traditional skills of Wafipa iron-smelters and blacksmiths at Sumbawanga. The hoe produced was said to last at least twice as long as factory made hoes. I remember hearing that the whole process was so labour and time consuming that it could not be made at a price people could afford to pay, or in sufficient quantity. If, at any time, there were restrictions on blacksmiths, I think it more likely that their intent was to prevent the repairing of weapons e.g. muzzle loaders. However, in the mid- 1950’s there were more than 3,000 muzzle loaders in Mpanda district.
CHANGES IN THE WEATHER
The following is part of a letter from Dr. Esther Mwaikango dated April 25, 1994 which explains vividly the vagaries of the Tanzanian climate; earlier drought in many parts of the country has been followed by violent storms in Dar es Salaam: ‘We are a bit tired of the torrential rains. We pray for rain, and then we pray for it to end. Saturday, on the bus, one man complained bitterly at getting wet from cold rain blowing in the window which couldn’t be closed. A woman answered him smartly – “This rain is a blessing from God. Shame on you for fussing about a small thing. No lives have been lost. That would have been a disaster”. Looking at the roadside, water pouring over the verge as if a cataract, one could wonder at this blessing. And yesterday, a small cyclone blew roofs off in Kariakoo (the centre of the town) and killed at least two people, one a small boy. Over a thousand people have no homes now. It seems like a very comfortable and homely trouble compared with what is going on in Rwanda and Burundi – and one which commonsense and kindness can take care of. Kindness for now and commonsense in city planning in the future……’