THE NAME OF A MOUNTAIN
Re the article in Bulletin No 48 about the mountain, I thought you might wish to know that between 1943 and 1961 I was able to gaze from four different houses over Morogoro and the Wami plains and the three northern outcrops of the Uluguru mountains: Mindu, Igala and Nguru ya Ndege. The last was the name given to the most northerly of the three by the local people and by the 1:50,000 Ordanance Survey map; not Mguru as in Maxwell Cooper’s fascinating letter.
‘Nguru’ could have slipped into use by association with the Nguru mountains, about 60 miles North of Morogoro. Or it could be a Kiluguru form of ‘Nguu’ (Summit in Swahili) which would probably be pronounced ‘Ngulu ya Ndege’. Or again a variant of ‘mguu’ (foot).
I never heard tell of Cooper’s stories but there was, among hill Waluguru and townsfolk alike, a strongly believed tradition that Mindu, the hill nearest to Morogoro and itself well over 3,000 feet, was the home of a large and malignant snake. There was no enthusiasm for an expedition up Mindu, although so near, mainly because by the dry season, when the hill could be more easily tackled, the area was defended by ‘upupu’, the Macuna bean. Those of your readers who have been attacked by this beast will understand the general reluctance. But full marks to Maxwell Cooper for his initiative.
Thank you for including my son’s letter ‘The Name of a Mountain’ in the May issue of the Bulletin. However, you omitted the all important word ‘ndege’ (Mguu Ndege) from the name of the mountain. You also gave our Rwandan address and it will not be possible to contact us in Rwanda for some time. Our current address is 8 Sotchel Green, Pewsey, Wilts SN9 5AU. Also please note that the letter was from three persons – Maxwell Cooper, Livio Zill and John E Cooper.
J E Cooper
THE NEED TO KNOW MORE
There were a number of items in the last issue on which I think readers would like to have known more. For example the recall at short notice of Mr Anthony Nyakyi from his post as ambassador to the United Nations. One wonders what the reasons could have been. The fascinating article on John Okello leaves us in midair. What happened to him eventually? On the issue of mines laid by Tanzanian troops in Mozambique you wrote that no maps were left behind when Tanzanian forces left the country. Surely Tanzania was not so irresponsible as to sow land mines in a foreign country without making a record of where they were positioned. In the article on child labour and in other articles earlier I notice your tendency to convert sums given in Tanzanian shillings into US dollars. Would it not be more appropriate, as this is a publication of the Britain-Tanzania Society, to give the equivalents in pounds sterling?
Concerning Mr Nyakyi the Tanzanian High Commission tells us that his contract ended in April this year and he returned home at that time. Stories to the contrary in the media were incorrect. Perhaps readers can help on the later career of John Okello. No information is available on the mines. On the matter of currencies, your point is taken but the Bulletin is read in more the 20 countries around the world, in many of which the dollar is the better understood currency – Editor.
You recently published an article by my son Benjamin on his Rufiji expedition. He is now back in Tanzania researching into the use of sail compared with power for fishing as so many of the fishing boats are unable to be used because of lack of spare parts etc. They are just starting to build their first wooden boat – English fishing smack design…. If you were to know of anyone going to Tanzania who could take things out to them (unusual things connected with the work) I would be most grateful.
Clare Freeth, Woddgate Farm, Borden,
Sittingbourne, Kent ME9 8JX