LETTERS

WHY IN THE WORLD DAR ES SALAAM?

Greetings from Tanzania. I enclose a translation I have done of an article about the closure of the Goethe Institute in Dar es Salaam written by Bartholomaus Grill in Die Zeit on December 5 1997 which might be of interest to some of your readers. Extracts from the article:

In four months it will be all over. A movie in December symbolises this final act: Der Totmacher (the Dead-Maker); and there can be no doubt whom Tanzanians identify it with: the Minister of Finance in wealthy Germany. His money saving measures put an end to this episode which began in 1962 when the grandchildren of German colonialists founded a branch of the Goethe Institute in Tanzania, not far from the military cemetery where for 100 years their heroic grandfathers had found their rest. It was not meant as an apology as Germany was then busy enough forgetting her most recent past. With the passage of 35 years, however, the project became some kind of compensation. At least, that’s the way many Tanzanians see it. “Through this cross-cultural exchange programme, Germany has shed her colonial reputation” says painter Robino Ntila….. “With the closure of the Institute, the finest period of German-Tanzanian cross-cultural communication ends” palaeanthropologist Charles Saanane complains…. “If you were seeking to meet with Tanzania’s artists, writers and intellectuals, just sit in the institute’s foyer and wait.” Situated at Dar’s most popular spot, the city’s geographical centre, it had been integrated into the host country, unlike other Goethe branches. By comparison the Institute in Johannesburg, placed in the sterile white shopping quarter of Rosebank, looks like an alien spaceship landed by accident in the new South Africa. ….” Why in the world Dar es Salaam?” asks Shafi Adam Shafi, author of that mysterious story from Zanzibar ‘The Slavery of Spices’ who gave his very first lecture at the institute.. . . “in Munich, where the decision was taken, it’s a mere movement of the pen. For us in Tanzania it’s a catastrophe’ remarks Shafi…… Germany’s financial and technical aid for community development in Tanzania for one year would suffice to finance the Goethe Institute for 184 years.”

Oliver Stegen, Box 21, Kondoa

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE

I served as Park Warden Tourism in the Serengeti from 1965 to 1967 and was able to return about once a year for some time but have not seen it for 12 years. I have some 6,000 slides of the Serengeti, many of which have been published.

After school in 1955 I went to Tanzania to stay with a school friend, Jonathan Kingdon, now an established and internationally acclaimed wildlife artist/cientist. Jonathan’s father was Provincial Commissioner, Central Province, so I stayed with the Kingdon family at Dodoma and photographed several bird of prey nests on the Dodoma Golf Course! This trip was extensively photographed, sadly only in black and white. I am wondering now about making the entire trip again, covering exactly the same ground, (Arusha -Dodoma -Mbeya). I am keen to ascertain whether anyone can advise me on the safety and otherwise of making this trip, probably driving alone, with photographic equipment aboard.

I have just learned of the death of former Minister of Wildlife Soloman
ole Saibul. I shall greatly miss his smiles, his wit and his help -but above all his friendship. I would like to contact his family; can anyone help me with the address?

Grahame Dangerfield,
The Grahame Dangerfield Wildlife Trust, Bowers Heath,
Harpenden. Herts, AL5 5EE.
Telephone and Fax: xxxxx


SEED TREATMENT

I started travelling to East Africa as a consultant to UNIDO, developing seed treatment technology suitable for rural farmers. When the project finished we had shown that yields of maize and beans can be substantially increased by treating the seeds before planting and that the low cost machines we developed worked well. We found a general awareness among villagers that treated seed grew better than untreated. However, we did not disseminate, so our prototypes were in line to join the many other workable ideas abandoned because their dissemination was not properly tackled.

I therefore decided to spend a few years in Tanzania to try and luck start a seed treatment system for rural farmers but I have faced a number of problems. There is now no legal and available seed treatment available in Tanzania. The registration authority, TPRI in Arusha, charges $5,500 for registration which is beyond my means and is also too high to be justified by any agro-chemical company. The market is quite small and speculative. The recently re-vamped pesticide formulation plant at Moshi is now developing a formulation using some active ingredients imported by UNIDO at the end of their project but they are devoid of funds. I also have problems with a resident’s permit.

The reason I am writing to you is because I believe the matter may be of interest to the Britain Tanzania Society and also to ask if you have any ideas regarding my problems.

J E Elsworth. E-Mail: xxxxx

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