It is difficult to recall any occasion in recent history during which Tanzania has received so much international media attention as it did in the days following the setting off of a powerful bomb near the US embassy in Dar es Salaam at 10.45 am on August 7. Ten people were killed and scores injured. The bomb, whose explosion was heard six kilometres away, destroyed the Eastern side of the embassy and seriously damaged five adjacent buildings. Twenty two cars, three motor cycles and five bicycles were destroyed. It damaged the Nigerian Embassy and the residences of several Ambassadors and High Commissioners. Senior reporter Kajubi Mukajanga wrote in the Dar es Salaam ‘Daily Mail’: ‘The wreckage, the screeching Red Cross ambulances, the stern paramilitary unit, the hordes of reporters and TV crews, the sombre atmosphere, made the vicinity of the embassy like a war zone ….. Dar es Salaam, once called the rumour capital of the world by Mwalimu Nyerere, ….. succeeded in proving him right. Theories were flying all over. It was revenge by the Oklahoma bombers …. a missile had been fired from the Indian Ocean …. .it was the work of Saddam Hussein …… ‘
The South African BUSINESS DAY quoted on March 23 a report from Dar es Salaam to the effect that Tanzania had deported illegal aliens from several countries including Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia in a move to check increasing Muslim fundamentalism (Thank you David Leishman for sending this item -Editor).
THEFT BLAMED ON MALARIA DRUG
A court case which received wide publicity in the London EVENING STANDARD and other British newspapers in April concerned a geography master at Harrow School who was found guilty of stealing £35,000 paid by parents for a school trip to Tanzania in 1996. The accused said in court that he began to behave oddly after taking the anti-malaria drug Larium. Part of the money had been used by the teacher to get fit before facing a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
The ‘star’ readers letter in the July-September issue of the BBC’S FOCUS ON AFRICA came from a reader in Handeni who complained bitterly that Tanzania was always in the international limelight during the Nyerere years and during his crusade against colonialism but that Focus’s cover of Tanzania nowadays was insignificant. He went on: ‘You may consider Tanzania boring and its people weak-willed and timid. Well, I have news for you. Our nation is engulfed in economic chaos and decline. …. Our health and education sectors are failing. The majority of our people are pathetically poor. And yet ‘Focus on Africa’ still finds nothing of interest to say about us!’
NOT FAR AWAY FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN!
Adam and Eve saw the light of day among the savannahs and the forests of Africa. This announcement from the Vatican, where an international conference on human genoma was held earlier this year, was quoted in the April 30 issue of the Italian daily LA REPUBLICA. The article went on: ‘Father Angelo Serra, a Jesuit at Milan’s Catholic University, explained that the Garden of Eden, where human beings appeared for the first time approximately 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, should be in one of the regions of South or East Africa. Lay scientists already knew this, but hearing it proclaimed by the Vatican makes a definite impression.
Q: “Padre Serra, was Eden really in Africa?”
A: “Yes, between South Africa and Tanzania.”
Q: “How did you come to this conclusion?”
A: “We did so by studying the genetic information contained in the chromosomal nuclei. Scientists have been analysing the sequences of the molecules since 1989. There are 6,000 million of them in a human being; 3,000 million in an ovum or in a spermatozoon. It is like reading backwards through the pages of an enormous volume. Studies made on the DNA of several different populations show that it is possible to trace back beyond mutation, to an ancestor of Homo Sapiens who lived in Africa. From there the descendants of Adam and Eve emigrated to other continents’.
Q: “Any theological problems?”
(Thank you Ugo Fornari in Rome for sending us this item – Editor)
The OXFORD TIMES (July 31) claimed that a team of Oxford researchers had returned from the Mkomazi Game Reserve after discovering thousands of previously unknown insects and even mammals plus up to 1,500 plants. They were uncovered during a ten-year study by Dr Malcolm Coe on behalf of the Royal Geographic Society (Thank you Brian Costeloe for this item – Editor).
In an unusually Tanzania-friendly article in its May 30 issue THE ECONOMIST noted that, in the rest of Africa, Tanzania is seen as Mr Nice Guy. In the 1970’s and 1980’s it paid a heavy economic price for backing liberation movements in other African countries. ‘Some of Africa’s most influential leaders spent their formative years in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam’s little hotels are still crowded with Africans from elsewhere. Tanzania has never exploited its continent-wide contacts. But one day these grateful friends may play a part in waking up this somnolent old socialist’. (Thank you Philip Clarke for this item – Editor).