(In order to make this part of the Bulletin as interesting and representative as possible we welcome contributions from readers. If you see a mention of Tanzania in the journal, magazine or newspaper you read, especially if you live or travel outside the UK, please cut out the relevant bit, indicate the name and date of the journal, and send it to the address on the back page. If you do not wish your name to be mentioned please say so. We cannot guarantee to publish everything we receive but if your item gives a new or original view about Tanzania we certainly will – Editor)

The NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL devoted a full page in its September 1 issue to ’74-year old African elder statesman Julius Nyerere’ who was visited at his house in Butiama (Musoma); several of his 24 grandchildren were around. Nowadays he spends many of his mornings working in his maize fields and returns to the house at 2pm to have lunch with his wife of 43 years. Most afternoons he spends time in his library reading history, writing essays and later he often plays ‘bao’ with the best players in the village. He always wins! Every evening he attends Mass at the Roman Catholic church. (Thank you Elsbeth Court for this item – Editor).

A report by the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has noted that Swedish aid to Tanzania since independence had totalled $3 billion but that the aid had ‘deterred rather than enhanced development and had led to aid dependency’. It should be reduced and then ended. Head of the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA) Bo Goransson said he was extremely surprised by the report. “We do not think it is OECD’s task to make suggestions as to what an individual donor does with its aid. He said that the Tanzanian leadership must share the blame for the ‘failed vision’ of self-reliance but he admitted that in dealing with Tanzania “we did take more responsibility than was necessary. The effect was that Tanzanians were moved from the driver’s seat to the back seat in development planning …… We have now started a new process of co-sharing in decision making to ensure that projects are owned by recipient countries” he said – EAST AFRICAN, October 21.

During a recent long interview in the French magazine ‘PARIS MATCH’ Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye was asked whether he thought that Tanzania’s image might have been affected in French-speaking countries (where Tanzania was described as having been previously I qui te unknown’) due to the travails of Burundi and Rwanda. He replied “I don’t think it has damaged our image …. Tanzania has been praised by the international community for what it has done for refugees …. when you have a district like Ngara with 200,000 inhabitants and then, within one month, you get 500,000 people coming in you can imagine the pressures …. schools had to be used to accommodate the refugees, forests were destroyed …. if refugees passed though your farm they would cut your bananas or take your maize …. many had terrible wounds and our dispensaries were greatly affected …… ”


To coincide with its East African seminar in London the FINANCIAL TIMES (November 5) published a six-page supplement. It said that if East African co-operation reached fruition no one would be able to claim more credit than President Benjamin Mkapa. The recent rapprochement between the Kenya and Uganda presidents, who had been barely on speaking terms, had been largely due to his unrelenting mediation efforts. However, such commitment verged on the chivalrous because, while landlocked Uganda’s interest in sweeping away the barricades blocking its access to international trade seemed clear, Tanzania’s was far less obvious. Its lumbering bureaucracy remained a brake on development and the country was running trade deficits with both Uganda and Kenya.

However, the article went on: ‘Yet Mr Mkapa’s behaviour is not so foolhardy as it may seem. While the short term might be risky, the long-term benefits could be enormous’. Tanzania had huge tracts of unsurveyed and unexploited land; there was gold and minerals and the country was just beginning to recognise its failure to market its extraordinary tourist attractions; it would soon be exporting power to Kenya.

Two Ugandans and four Tanzanians put on an art exhibition in Kampala in August: Elaine Eliah writing in the EAST AFRICAN (August 26) contrasted their art. The Ugandan prints were ‘explosions of colour’ but there was a ‘softness about the Tanzanians’ styles’ probably due to their greater maturity: the Tanzanians were all significantly older. George Lilanga, from Newala ranked as one of Tanzania’s ‘master artists’ and was proficient in sculpting, pen and ink and batik painting as well as being an expert printmaker. Robino Ntila from Mdanda in Mtwara Region was described as pre-eminent in etching techniques and Francis Inmanjama’s work (he comes from Zanzibar) was said to show detailed realism in its depictions of wildlife and humans; his soft pastels ‘resembled illustrations in old books’.

In what its editorial described as ‘bad news’ the LANCET (September 14) said that the very promising malaria vaccine known as SP166 which was tested in Tanzania last year had been found to offer no protection following a three year study in Thailand. ‘Any notion of actually eliminating the disease I , the Lancet wrote, has long since been abandoned; the operative term is still ‘control’.

Under the heading ‘Tanzania: a second garden of Eden’ PEOPLE AND THE PLANET (Vol. 5 No. 1) featured the ‘tree gardens’ of the Chagga people of Mount Kilimanjaro. It described them as an inspiring model of how tropical rainforest could be sustainably managed. Chagga farmers cultivated up to 60 different species of trees on areas of land typically the size of a soccer field. Known locally as vihamba the farms comprised multi-story tree gardens. They originated on patches of forest land where useful species remained standing while other parts were gradually replaced by what was now the main cash crop – coffee. Coffee had arrived at the Kilema mission from the island of Reunion in 1885. Long before the colonial period the Chagga tapped water in steep, remote gorges, digging canals and hollowing out tree trunks to conduct it as irrigation water to settlements on mountain ridges.

An article in the EAST AFRICAN (September 30) compared attitudes to TV advertising in Kenya and Tanzania. In Kenya advertising was throwing off its previously staid image and now testing viewer’s tolerance in hitherto taboo areas such as sex and politics. A very successful Barclays Bank advert had featured a robot dancing to a Zairean-style kwasa kwasa beat; the dancing cash machine was a great hit but some people hated it because the robot danced in a physically suggestive manner. Despite protests, this and other similar advertisements had remained on the air in Kenya.

But in Tanzania things could have been different. A range of factors including a long period of socialism was said to have rooted in the people a deep multi-cultural sensitivity. with its rural and conservative nature, Tanzania was difficult to handle for a globally inclined industry like advertising. A Mr. Sam Madoka was quoted as saying that Tanzania’s resistance to some commercials from Kenya was a commendable insistence on the country’s own identity and protection against the dumping of western concepts. Another advertiser said that “lack of a tangible knowledge of our cultures by expatriates results in the misrepresentation one sees on commercial TV in Kenya”. Others disagreed. Africa could not live in isolation from the rest of the world they said.

Kenyan journalist John Githongo has been writing in the EAST AFRICAN (October 21) about his long love affair with Tanzania. Extracts: ‘Nyerereism has made Tanzania an extremely refreshing place to visit ….. it is miles ahead of Kenya in political culture; notably absent from the recent by-election was the fierce abuse and threats that are typical of Kenya … then there is the refreshing way the media covered the Dar poll; the ITV went out and interviewed supporters of all parties …… both of Tanzania’s presidential transitions had been carried out peacefully and President Mkapa’s predecessors have not been aggressively marginalised in any way …… but there are two sides to the coin; Kenyans complain that everything takes too long in Dar especially financial transactions … the hunt for profit just isn’t taken seriously …. there is a subsistence mentality …. but I’m an optimist about Tanzania’s future and we in Kenya have a lot to learn from the country’.

The London TIMES ran a series of articles on feminism and masculinism in mid-October and Lotte Hughes, who said that she had had a long romance with one of them, wrote about the ‘real men’ the Maasai. ‘Warriors dance, sing, cry (I’ve seen warriors weep and shake when their mothers shave off their locks at the Eunoto ceremony), show tenderness, laugh, fight a little, talk a lot to their sweethearts, take care of their families ….. they may look tough but they are true gentlemen with perfect manners ….. sex is guilt-free for both men and women and though Maasai society is patriarchal and polygamous I found that women have a fair amount of power …. these men are attractive because they are “centred”, self-assured without arrogance …. unlike British men who hang back when the going gets tough, these warriors defend their territory and their girlfriends …. to my surprise I rather liked it!’

The first issue of a quarterly newsletter entitled UMOJA has been published by the Tanzania Association in London. The members of the association, which elected a new Executive committee in 1995 (the chairman is Dr. G Mutahaba) are Tanzanians resident in Britain and Ireland. The newsletter contained an article on the increasing numbers of Tanzanians applying for political asylum in Britain. It said that in 1955 about 1,500 people from Zanzibar, including 43 unaccompanied children, had claimed that they were political refugees. Some 800 Tanzanians had been turned away by the immigration authorities. It was this influx that had prompted the British government to impose tighter visa restrictions. The article quoted Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete as telling the Britain Tanzania Society earlier that there was no political crisis in Tanzania to justify people fleeing the country.

In an article critical of the arrangements being made for the trial of Rwandans on charges of genocide, Michela Wrong wrote in the FINANCIAL TIMES (September 25) that the choice of Arusha as a venue had proved a bone of contention. ‘A sleepy base for tourists climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the town is a five-hour drive from the nearest capital Nairobi and communications range from patchy to nonexistent’. Cells and bullet proof partition walls reinforced to withstand terrorist attack had to be built from scratch ….. only 21 people had been indicted and Judge Richard Goldstone, chief prosecutor for both the Yugoslav and Rwandan tribunals, had admitted that the total might never exceed 40. That would turn Arusha into a symbolic forum rather than a realistic attempt to mete out justice to the thousands who had tried to eliminate a troublesome minority. But for those trying to rebuild Rwanda, such symbolism still had its value.’

The TIMES reported on November 19 that documents left behind by the fleeing Hutu extremists in Zaire had revealed plans to attack the Arusha centre to free three of the accused; they were said to be staying in conditions which resembled a four-star hotel. Tanzanian soldiers guarding the centre were said to have shown an ability to be corrupted and a Maasai spiritualist, who had access to the prisoners, might have been prepared to help (Thank you Andrew Gaisford for the first item – Editor).

BBC WILDLIFE (December 1996) reported that mass vaccination of some 10,000 dogs living on the western borders of the Serengeti National park (around Musoma and Mwanza) would commence shortly. It would prevent a repeat of the 1994 distemper epidemic that had wiped out a third of the 3,000 lions.

A story about three human lives saved in Tanzania’s north Masailand recently was related in the November’96-January ’97 issue of MISSION AVIATION NEWS which described the apparently very difficult problem of obtaining a licence for an airstrip in Tanzania. It was said that it could take years. Forms have to be filled in by villagers who have cleared the strips and these then have to be approved by the village authorities, the District Commissioner – up to 50 miles away, the Regional Commissioner in Arusha and then, finally they have to go to Oar es Salaam. In January 1995 an airstrip at Buga had been opened which had been first identified four years earlier; 50 women had initiated the action which had led to the opening of the airstrip. Instead of a journey of six hours by road, serious medical conditions could now be reached within minutes.

Pilot John Clifford had identified 135 Tanzanian airstrips which could have a claim to exemption from the long licensing process as they were not used for tourism but only for medical and charitable work. Three new airstrips were recently licensed but seven were closed at the same time because licenses are for only two years. (Thank you Christine Lawrence for these two items – Ed.)

Under the heading ‘The rise and rise of Reginald Mengi’ NEW AFRICAN recently featured Reginald Abraham Mengi, the Tanzanian ‘media mogul’ who had risen from an impoverished childhood and who now owned a chain of other businesses in manufacturing (soap, chinaware, cold drinks and paper). ‘Two years ago he launched new radio and TV stations to add to his two national daily papers and three weeklies …. though his cri tics say he is expanding too fast and spending too much, his media is booming …. his success has made him many enemies and he has received hate letters …. though he says he has no political ambition ….. few doubt that deep down he has presidential ambitions’.

Under this heading OASIS, the journal of water Aid, recounted in its Autumn/Winter 1996 issue the story of Chololo village in Dodoma region. water Aid’s programme in Dodoma was said to have enabled 622,000 people to improve the quality of their lives through the provision of improved water supply coupled with sanitation and hygiene education. In Chololo the people began work on their new water supply with great enthusiasm; they established a water fund, formed committees and took part in the initial survey but later, concerns over aspects of management of the supply caused them to lose confidence in the project. It took a visit to Ng’omai village, which had successfully completed its project 18 months earlier, for the villagers of Chololo to be convinced through discussions with their peers on the issues about which they were concerned. (Thank you Roy Galbraith for this item Editor).

This is how the INDEPENDENT on a recent obituary page described Brother Adam (Dom Adam Kehrle): monk, bee breeder and beekeeper; born Germany 1898; died Buckfast Abbey, Devon September 1 1996. The obituary, by Lesley Bill, said that he was known in all beekeeping circles from the small market trader selling his honey on a stall in a French provincial town to the big commercial apiary owners in America and he was also well-known in academic circles in every continent. His aim had always been to create a cross-breed of bees with resistance to disease; bees that were gentle to handle, that swarmed rarely and were abundant honey producers. He had travelled 82,000 miles by road and 7,800 miles by sea plus many further miles by air in his search for appropriate bee characteristics. His travels culminated in a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in search of the black honey bee (Apis Mellifera Monticola) when he was 89. The result of all this work had been the distinctive tan-coloured ‘Buckfast Bee’ which was still produced commercially on both sides of the Atlantic.

The story of a group of British tourists trying to snorkel off the coast of Zanzibar was given prominence in THE TIMES in its October 14 issue. Mrs Joan Garratt from Derbyshire described how she, three other Britons and two Africans, came into heavy weather; as they turned for shore the skipper got a line snagged round the outrigger and the small boat capsized. “The skipper gathered up the floating snorkel masks and started swimming for a distant sail and we assumed he was going for help” Mrs Garratt said. “But after he had reached it and climbed in, it set sail for the shore and we never saw him again. I think he was scared he was in trouble …. It was getting colder and colder in the water … and we expected to die. It was only when a fellow tourist began waving his brightly coloured shirt that we were spotted from the coast by a fisherman …. he had a dinghy and came out to rescue us. It seemed as though his boat would capsize too. I have never been so grateful to be on dry land”. After they returned they saw a map of the area with the words ‘white sharks’ written across it!

The October-December 1996 issue of the Tanzania Tourist Board’s publication TANTRAVEL is so filled (in its 72 pages) with interest that it is impossible to do it justice in the limited space available in this section of TA. It is a very fine production filled with beautiful illustrations, enticing advertisements and engrossing short articles. The main subject in this issue is slavery. The early history of slavery is recorded followed by Livingtone’s eyewitness account of a slave massacre, an article on Tippu Tip (the King of the slavers), on Zanzibar, the hub of the whole trade and on Bagamoyo, the slave port. Other articles feature a family’s journey from Abu Dhabi to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and the ‘best fishing in the world’ at Mafia Island.

The CHURCH TIMES of October 17 stated that the Rt. Revd Simon Chiwanga, Bishop of Mpwapwa has been elected Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) one of the Anglican Church’s instruments of unity, which meets every three years. At its most recent meeting in Panama in October 1996 it discussed the next Lambeth Conference scheduled for 1998 and the future role of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Thank you Mr E G Pike for this item).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.