LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

SPELLING
Regarding the spelling of my book ASANTE MAMSAPU reviewed on page 34 of Tanzanian Affairs No. 54 by Ben Rawlence, I would be grateful if you could print a correction in your next issue pointing out that the title was spelled wrongly and should have been as above and not Asante Masapu. E Cory-King
Apologies for this error – Editor. (Corrected in online version)

THE MUSIC CONSERVATOIRE OF TANZANIA
Since the unexpected death of Mrs Crole-Rees on May 3 the Music Conservatoire of Tanzania has been without means of support. Her earnings were meeting the entire costs of keeping the Conservatoire running.

The service offered by the Conservatoire is a serious and greatly needed one. From the beginning one of the aims was to further music knowledge. The Conservatoire’s Theory of Music exams Grades I to IV are now sat at every secondary school with a music curriculum in the country – over 80 institutions have used them. The Conservatoire makes arrangements for external practical exams and orders music and books for teaching which are available nowhere else. One of its first pupils, Senior Music Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam Dionys Mbilinyi, was knighted by Pope John Paul I1 in recognition of the music he wrote upon the occasion of the Pope’s visit.

Another aim of the Conservatoire has been to preserve local music. It has published a book – ‘Traditional Musical Instruments in Tanzania’ – many of these instruments and the music played on them are history now, existing only in the memories of a few and in the book.

The Conservatoire has never emphasised profit-earning, recognising the earning capacity to be severely limited by the number of tutors and the availability of musical instruments, particularly pianos, and has been dependent on grants and donations. In the past, the Ministry of Education and Culture gave a grant-in-aid but this has not happened recently for obvious economic reasons.

With the passing of Mrs Crole-Rees, need the Conservatoire also come to an end? Surely not. We must find some means to keep the doors open. We require Shs 100,000 (about £100) per month to retain the premises on Sokoine Avenue and meet other costs. The Board of Directors would welcome your support.

Mrs Nancy Macha
Music Conservatoire of Tanzania
P 0 Box 1397, Dar es Salaam.

EBONY CARVINGS
Brian Harris in TA No. 54 throws doubt on the correctness of using the word ‘ebony’ in connection with Makonde carvings. I am sure this word has been traditionally used for many years but no doubt a botanist might be more particular. J Anthony Stout in ‘Modern Makonde Sculpture’ (1966) consistently writes of ebony carvings. The Makonde carvings exhibition held in Oxford in 1989 refers to ‘African blackwood (a type of ebony)’. The Standard Swahili Dictionary translates ‘Mpingo’ as ‘the ebony tree – Diospyros ebenum and Dalbergia melanoxylon’ .

However, it does seem that the Mpingo tree has not been properly studied and this may account for some ambiguity in using the term ‘ebony’. Now steps are being taken to investigate the tree, particularly because the makers of clarinets and such musical instruments have become alarmed at the dwindling supply of Mpingo wood. In November 1995 Flora and Fauna International organised a workshop in Maputo to discuss the plight of the tree and as a result, a Cambridge University expedition is now under way in Lindi Region. They are researching all aspects of the tree with a view to producing a management plan for its sustainable commercial development. They have formed a charity called ‘Tanzanian Mpingo ’96’ and still need financial help. If readers are interested they should please contact Huw Nicholas. Christine Lawrence

CHUMBE ISLAND CORAL PARK (CHICOP)

With much interest we have read your well informed issue No. 54 but one note on page 19 needs correction. While we welcome and appreciate any progress made by the Mafia Island Marine Park Project (which enjoys a lot of donor support!) we would like to inform your readers that the Chumbe Reef Sanctuary in Zanzibar was finally gazetted as such on December 24 1994 and has thus become Tanzania’s first marine park.

Our project unfortunately receives little publicity through the government and donor community as it is based on a private initiative and is still to a large extent funded privately. Though our work is non-commercial, CHICOP had to be registered as a Ltd. company as there existed no legal base for NGO’s in Zanzibar before the end of 1995. We now try to get much needed donor support but may be affected by most donors1 reluctance to get involved in Zanzibar at this stage.

Visitors are welcome on Chumbe island to enjoy the nature trails in the forest, climb up the historical lighthouse built by the British in 1904 and, above all, snorkel in one of the most amazing and well preserved reefs in East Africa! Sibylle Riemiller (Managing Director)
CHICOP. P 0 Box 3203. Zanzibar.

BILHARZIA
On page 18 of TA No. 54 you mentioned TANNOL HOLDINGS and their Mr. John Mole in connection with bilharzia. I know quite a lot about bilharzia and would be obliged if you could let me know how to get in touch with him.
E G Pike. Oxford

Regret have mislaid address. Over to you Mr Mole – Editor.

MORE EXCITEMENT THAN ANTICIPATED

Two parties of British visitors had unpleasant experiences during recent visits to Tanzania. Founder of a school link between Cumberland and Rungwe, Roger Shipton-Smith, told TA that while his group were staying at the Lutengano Secondary School near Tukuyu the adult leaders of the group were awakened at 1.30 am by a loud crash when four men armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a pistol and knives invaded the room. “Give us money” they demanded. While each victim was forced to lie in bed the robbers then helped themselves in a leisurely way to money, wallets, boots, hats, and cameras. Mr Shipton Smith praised the action of the police who rapidly put up a roadblock and within the hour three of the raiders had been caught; later they got the fourth one too. Next day people walked in from all over the district to offer sympathy. Mrs Josie McCormack who is connected with the Redditch ‘One World’ link with Mtwara told TA that she was bruised and lost her handbag and glasses when she was knocked down by a mugger while walking in Mtwara in broad daylight.

NEIGHBOURS ENVY, TANZANIA’S PRIDE

This was the heading of an article by Ajay Jha in the ‘Express’ on July 25. It began: ‘What does one get when vision, capital, state of the art technology and good administration are blended in the right proportions? Serengeti beer of course.

Way back in 1988 when Tanzania was still experiencing hangover of the socialist brew … a local businessman responding to the name of Meghani was dreaming of setting up a private sector brewery …. the fermentation of the dream took nearly six years. And when it ultimately hit the market as Serengeti Lager Beer about a month ago it was lapped up by connoisseurs like the proverbial hot cake. … the investment is something like $6 million and the installed capacity is 70,000 bottles per day. The plant is in Changombe. The beer is pure barley which is fermented at specific temperatures. No alcohol or sugar is added. Malt comes from France; hops come from Germany ‘.

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