JOURNEY TO REPUBLIC. Randal Sadleir. Foreword by Julius Nyerere. The Radcliffe Press. 1999.384 pages. £24.50 (hardback).
Randal Sadleir’s book is neither history, nor politics, nor straight autobiography, although historical and political events and Randal Sadleir himself are the stuff of it. The author refers to it as his memoirs, but it is not spasmodic, nor solemn, nor about earth-shaking events -except perhaps at national or local events. It is really a story -and a narration of intertwined seriousness, hard work, and laughter, with the bulk of the book covering his work for twelve years before Tanganyika’s independence, and twelve years after.
The story is told by an Irish citizen with a deep love for the country where he was born and where his family had lived for 300 years, a loyal British Colonial Civil Servant who in practical terms ignores Tanganyika’s Trusteeship status, and a dependable public servant of Tanganyika after uhuru and later of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The early chapters, about Sadleir’s childhood and life before he began work in Tanzania, are not only interesting in themselves; they also do much to Illustrate his motivations and approach to the opportunities and challenges met in the following twenty-four years. In particular they depict how deeply imbued he was with the principle that ‘privilege entails responsibility’ -or, in army terms, that ‘the first duty of an Officer and a gentleman is concern for the welfare of his men’.
That saying carries shades of feudalism and of the class structured society from which he came, and indeed which he appears to take as natural. But the principle itself is surely valid everywhere; high office is always a privilege -and inevitably gives personal privileges too. Certainly it was valuable for the country when interpreted -as it was by Sadleir and many other District and Provincial Officers -to mean concern both for those working under his leadership and for the people generally.
The accounts of his life and work as a British Colonial Servant from the time he was posted as a ‘Cadet District Officer’ to Western Province are given in some detail in this book. The author clearly kept a precise diary of what he did, and the people met; this makes for easy reading most of the time, but some of the lists of names could, with benefit, have been edited out! There are, however, frequent little comments about the persons (both African and British) with whom he worked or came to know through work; these are never unkind, and often evocative and amusing.
It has to be understood that Sadleir tells the pre-and postindependence story through accounts of his personal experiences; little inaccuracies sometimes creep in when he talks of events in the background of what he was doing -as, for example, when he says that under the 1962 Republic Constitution “the President would rule for seven years”. His activities, however, often serve to explain in an interesting way the workings of the colonial system in practice; they give life to dry analyses of admin structures and political happenings.
Further, the comments in the book (especially around and after independence) show a degree of administrative and political understanding which was not shared by all colonial officers. These could even be helpful now in the face of some current political comments about Africa’s poverty and ‘inefficiency’. Yet some of Randal’s other comments are likely to grate on the sensitivities of those with different cultural backgrounds or ideological convictions!
Among these I would include the practice of almost always referring to the tribe of the Africans he met, and using descriptive words in a way which, in other hands, are the basis for cultural or racial stereotyping. For example, when he refers to someone being one of “the highly intelligent Nyakyusa people” my own reaction is to ask which is the ‘highly unintelligent people?’ something Sadleir is clearly too nice a person ever to say! There are also phrases like (when on the summit of Kilimanjaro) “We were aware of standing literally on the top of the great unknown continent itself’ which reminds my generation at least of being taught about the ‘discovery of the Victoria Falls’.
The kind of work done ‘up-country’ by Randal Sadleir was probably not untypical of the manifold serious responsibilities and challenges faced by the young District Officers and Commissioners all over the country and probably in other parts of the British Empire too. It explains much about how successful empires were governed throughout recorded history, and why they ultimately died. However, the chapters on the Handeni famine and an air crash in the Bush, as described here, were more unusual experiences for a young man. And the very personal accounts are compulsive reading.
Sadleir’s later posting to Dar es Salaam to be responsible for ‘Public Relations’ was also unusual, but I suspect not as much so as his decision that it required his attendance at great TANU rallies in the capital (where his excellent Swahili was an immense advantage) as well as visits to TANU HQ to meet Mwalimu Nyerere. It is clear that both enjoyed the acquaintance -and gained from it, although naturally neither converted the other! For the sake of accuracy, however, it is necessary to stress that Mwalimu was not educated in a Roman Catholic school; he attended a Local Authority primary school in Musoma, the Govermnent Tabora Boys Secondary School, Makerere College, and Edinburgh University. His conversion to Christianity arose through the accidental combination of a particular school friend and his own curiosity! After Makerere he did teach in Roman Catholic secondary schools.
After independence, Randal Sadleir was one of the British Colonial civil servants who agreed to continue working in Tanganyika. That required an acceptance of political direction from elected Africans -very few of whom had a formal education comparable to that of the British Officers, and some of whom had experience of racial discrimination under British rule. It is a tribute to both sides that Sadleir continued to work for the post-independence governments for twelve years -for it is clear from this book that he was always frank with his superiors, and never kow-towed to anyone.
He was given some very responsible and challenging as well as new tasks to do. He appears to be particularly proud of his contribution to the success of the Tanzanian pavilion at EXPO 70 in Japan. But most people would judge that, more important even than that, was his valuable role in helping and supporting the expansion of education and training for the Cooperative Movement, with particular reference to the Cooperative College set up in Moshi.
Randal Sadleir was also involved in the training of African Administrative Officers, including some of those scheduled to work overseas. But it is the manner in which he was given full control of dealing with the 1967 famine (mostly in Kilwa District as well as around Handeni) which most clearly indicates both the Government’s high opinion of, and its trust in, Sadleir. And incidentally, the book is one of the few on Tanzania which pays proper tribute to Rashidi Kawawa’s ability and services to the country.
There are many petty ways in which this book can be criticised, and there are sections (e.g. about his home leaves) which could have been severely cut. But it is easy as well as pleasant reading -and the author loves words! True, there are times when the author gets carried away and in his graphic descriptions of places, and slips into ‘fine writing’ which made this reader smile -such as talking of a stream in certain moods as ‘mossily murmuring’. But it is a good change to have a book which errs when it errs -on the side of grammatical but not pedantic English, and on a love of language.
For despite all justified criticisms, this book is of greater enjoyment, and is likely to be of wider interest, than the title suggests; titles are always liable to be a problem for books which do not fit easily into any routine classification. Therefore, although in the present publishing environment it might have been quite brave of O.U.P. to publish it, I hope they will follow through by advertising it intelligently so that it attracts buyers without special interest in Tanzania.
This book is basically a story, written by a sympathetic foreign participant, about the peaceful birth of an independent African country, about its early ambitions, and something of its endeavours. It does not replace any other book about the period, but it adds some flesh to bones and helps to emphasise that such political and economic events are by, for, and about People. Among those who were in Tanzania over the relevant period, it might well start some discussions; I can only suggest that it be read first. And in any case -it is a ‘Good Read’!
Joan E Wicken
LIVINGSTONE’S TRIBE: A JOURNEY FROM ZANZIBAR TO THE CAPE. Stephen Taylor. Harper Collins. 260 pages. £17.99.
Born in South Africa of English parentage the author left for Britain at the age of 22 ‘sickened by the malevolence of apartheid and the dour resentful racists and zenophobes.’ When he took his family to live in Harare for four years the idea of an African journey ‘in search of his own tribe’ was conceived. He located many of the few remaining white people still living in Britain’s former territories.
Recounted in a highly readable style with great sympathy and understanding of the strengths and frailties of human nature, his travels through Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia bring to life the history, as well as the beauties of the scenery and wildlife, especially the birds, of the countries through which he passes.
His comments are often challenging in their frankness. He considers, for instance that during colonial times Europeans, exhibiting ‘a vapid smugness’, tended to see Africa as ‘either Elysium or an abyss, bringing out extremes of idealism or cynicism.’ Horrified by the slave trade, he adds: ‘Far more damaging than the physical abuse suffered by Africans at the hands of the odd individual sadist was the system which created the borders of modem Africa’ as they carved it up ‘with set-squares and compasses. ‘
Despite everything Africa’s ‘resourcefulness and humanity’ had endured. Her people were ‘frontiersmen who had colonised an especially hostile region of the world on behalf of the human race’ and while outsiders thought of it as the most fragile continent a case could just as well be made out that it was the most resilient.
By means of the ‘Five-bar test’ he first learned about the Africans’ ‘awesome capacity for detachment’ in a Dar eating-house, after being driven crazy by a faulty CD system which kept slipping back after every five bars of ghetto-blasting music with no-one seeming to take any notice. With many petty irritations lying ahead he realised that ‘for enduring in Africa this was a starter.’ He also concluded that while the Western belief that we can control our destinies might be deluded in Africa acceptance of mortality ‘goes deeper than mere fortitude’ and that Aids may even have compounded the tendency to fatalism.
The courtesy of Tanzanians surprised him most. It was not only ‘the grace of the humble’ that was touching but the politeness and ‘an even rarer quality, kindness’. Many services were all the more unexpected for being offered without any hope of reward.
He met with several celebrated whites including Garfield Todd and his daughter Judith in Zimbabwe and Richard Leakey and Lord Delamere in Kenya and in a small white-washed cottage near Kunduchi beach in Dar es Salaam Daudi Ricardo, descendant of the owners of Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, now living in ‘genteel poverty’, who happily confessed to having learned ‘a new cultural language.’ A Tanzanian taxidriver fervently referred to him as ‘a good man.’
During a whirlwind tour of Zanzibar on the back of Cannon David’s motorbike he learned about missionaries ‘of the old school’, including Marion Bartlet, a surgeon, who performed the relatively simple operation to release contracted leg tendons on children with polio so that many Tanzanians were only able to walk because of the skills of ‘a small, frail, shy and unassuming woman.’ Caroline Thackeray, East Africa’s first woman missionary and a cousin of William Makepeace Thackeray, went to Zanzibar to teach and stayed there for the rest of her life, while Frank Weston, another missionary, and a ‘lone voice’ recognised that for Africans to benefit from European influence and not be damaged by it, ‘the institutions of tribe, family and custom needed to be nurtured and not destroyed. ‘
Randal Sadleir, a former district officer, told the author how, in the Cosy Cafe in Dar, the youthful Nyerere had declared: “The most important thing in the lives of people in Dar is ‘witchcraft”, and an American pastor also stated: “Our biggest mistake is that we have failed to address the Africans’ terrible fear of being bewitched.”
What the author describes as ‘the worst bit of doggerel I can recall’ nevertheless seems to say something about the cheerfulness and optimism of the Tanzanian character:
Always remember to forget the things that made you sad
But never forget to remember the things that made you glad.
With several interesting photographs this book is a revealing and thoughtful account of contemporary African concerns, many of which readers of Tanzanian Affairs will recognise with nostalgic affection.
KAMUSI YA VISAWE. SWAHILI DICTIONARY OF SYNONYMS. Mohamed A Mohamed and Saidi A Mohamed. Obtainable from African Books Collective (Tel: 01865 726686). 1998. 267 pages. £13.95.
The publication last year of the first ever Dictionary of Synonyms is an important milestone in the history of this rich and beautiful language with the finest poetry in Africa.
Great credit is due to the industry and scholarship of the two Zanzibar authors who state in their excellent introduction that ‘they worked day and night for five years to complete their task! Small wonder, since they listed some 14,000 words with 71,000 synonyms.
The dictionary well illustrates the variety and flexibility of Swahili and its constant reinforcement by modem words and expressions often borrowed from other languages.
In a foreword, former President Mwinyi, himself a Zanzibari, points out the great value of this novel dictionary not only to schoolchildren but also to university students, teachers and Swahili scholars as well as to beginners and those who already speak it fluently but wish to broaden their knowledge of its growing vocabulary.
The book is a literary and linguistic delight. Old favourites are there like angalau on p-7 with synonyms walau, ijapokuwa, ingawa, japo, hata kama all roughly meaning ‘although’. SambaSamba on p-198 with no less than 23 synonyms including the magical TangaTanga translated in my local dictionary to ‘frig about like a goat’ was popular in the old KAR -yugayuga, chugachuga, hangaika, tapatapa, all meaning ‘screw up’ in the modem idiom. I’m not so keen on sensa = ‘census’ on p -200 and many like it such as sentensi, semina, setla on the same page but, after all, ‘imitation is the sincerest from of flattery!. However, takriban (p-216) an Arabic word, I had never heard before is glorious and means ‘nearly’ or ‘about’. Finally, I have no hesitation in recommending this work as an essential reference book for all lovers of Swahili.
SELECTED CASES AND MATERIALS. Chris Maina Peter. Publisher: Rudiger Koppe Verlage, Cologne. 1997. 893 pages.
Quoting from Justice Roberts Kisanga’s foreword the Dar es Salaam Guardian describes this book as a serious study of the human rights situation in Tanzania and a meticulously written legal masterpiece. The book is said to ‘attack vitriolically’ the Court of Appeal as being insensitive to justice; it also criticises the Chief Justice for issuing a directive during the villagisation process stating that all cases involving ujamaa villages should be sent to him directly and for openly siding with the government on such cases. He writes that in matters of bail persons are treated differently for the same offences depending on the court to which they go. The author, who is Associate Professor of Law in the University of Dar es Salaam, is against the death penalty and corporal punishment considering them to be serious infringements of human rights.
TREVOR HUDDLESTON – A LIFE. Robin Denniston. Macrnillan £20.00
Without question .Trevor Huddleston was one of the great Christian influences on the twentieth century on events, on churchmanship and on people, particularly young people but this is a deeply disappointing book. True, the author inherited the project from Canon Eric James who had for some years painstakingly chronicled the life of Trevor Huddleston, spending regular Friday afternoons interviewing his subject. He had also visited South Africa, Tanzania and the Indian Ocean in search of the ‘real Trevor’ and had done some considerable work on the book before illhealth forced him to give up the project.
Robin Denniston, once an editor at Collins and responsible for the publication of Nought for your Comfort, went on to become one of the most distinguished figures in British publishing as publisher to Oxford University Press which makes the many inaccuracies in this book more curious. Scarcely 200 pages long, Denniston pads his work by a further hundred pages with Nicholas Stebbing’s account of Trevor’s last and unhappy days as an invalid back in Mirfield, and then, what seems to be a random collection of lectures and sermons given by Trevor on various occasions.
Of course the book is an account of Trevor’s life. There is Trevor the undergraduate, the novice, the priest, the activist. There are accounts of his work in South Africa and of his relations with the South African authorities, together with an account of the reasons for his recall to Mirfield. There is some account of his time at Masasi and of the period at Stepney with reference to the accusations of improper conduct, and an analysis of his affection for and relationship with good-looking boys. But the book makes no suggestion that such character assassination remained part of the South African Bureau Of State Security’s agenda until the fall of Apartheid and many honourable Christian and Muslim activists were discredited.
However the whole book is a fish-eye biography. It is as if everything is seen through the South African perspective and, while at one level this is understandable, with Trevor’s lifelong commitment to the fight against the injustice of the apartheid system, at another it is unforgivable. It gives an almost unhealthy perspective, reducing the rest of his life to second best. Trevor was in South Africa for only ten of his 85 years -from 1943 to 1953; he was in Masasi from 1960 to 1968, in Stepney from 1968 to 1978 and Bishop of Mauritius and Archbishop of the Seychelles from 1978 to 1983.
Without wishing to diminish Denniston’s analysis or evaluation of Trevor’s achievements, there are so many inaccuracies in the text which suggest some disturbing proof reading by the editor. The chapter about Trevor’s episcopate in Masasi is disfigured by distortions and inaccuracy.
One of Trevor’s concerns while there had been the so-called poaching of Anglicans by the more affluent Roman missions, but it must be acknowledged that there was, and to some extent still is, exchange between the two Churches. Ndanda, a German Benedictine centre close to Masasi, is described as being staffed by African monks. While there were a few African brothers there in the 1960s, by far the majority of resident brethren were expatriate Ottilian Benedictines, most of whom had been in the country for many years. Their constant generosity to the poorer brethren of UMCA was legendary and good relationships were enjoyed between Masasi and Ndanda despite the theological and social differences.
Denniston writes about ‘the arrival of the Newcastle team of doctors’ inspired by Trevor’s charisma; for the casual reader one could believe that there had been no medical work worth speaking of before their advent. Their expertise developed technologies but they had the pioneering work of C. Frances Taylor and Leader Sterling to build on. The Newcastle team were the first for whom special financial arrangements were made which ruffled the unquestioned acceptance of the traditional poverty by the former UMCA missionary staff! Trevor’s policy of never explaining or apologizing to his staff did nothing to help this.
There is reference to taking ten children to Lulindi for a swim -a somewhat unlikely excursion as Lulindi is a small inland town. Lindi is the seaport where the modest hotel sits on the beach opposite the Anglican church. Kilwara is mentioned up the coast. One assumes the author refers to Kilwa, one of the earliest centres of Swahili culture and the source for the Kilwa Chronicle, a seminal source of utenzi literature.
While the account of Trevor’s concern to reduce the expatriate representation in the church is made, there is no reference to the response to Trevor’s final synod address to the clergy at Mtandi, when at least one clergyman came up to him and told him it was improper of him to tell them there would never be another expatriate Bishop. It was, he was firmly told, the business of the diocese to propose names’ (Indeed Hilary Chisonga’s immediate successor was Richard Norgate, a UMCA missionary who had for years been chaplain at Mkomaindo, and, although a Tanzanian citizen, definitely an expatriate!)
Bishop Chisonga his successor as Bishop of Masasi is curiously mis-spelt twice in the earlier pages of the Masasi section as Kisonga. I worked for him for three years and saw the enormous care he exerted to heal the rift in the diocese caused by Trevor’s appointment of an Assistant Bishop in 1963, who assumed he would naturally succeed Trevor as the next Bishop. So divided was the diocese that when Bishop Hilary set out for confirmations in certain parts of the diocese he was sent death threats. There is little reference to the legacy Trevor bequeathed to his old diocese.
Such inaccuracies in one section undermine confidence in the rest of the text and this writer, at least, hopes that one day there may be a book which reveals the real man behind the various titles he had.
HARAKA, HARAKA…LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP. Magdalena Rwebangira & Rita Liljestrom. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet. 1998. 271 pages. £19.95. A compilation of nine studies from the Reproductive Health Study Group at the University of Dar es Salaam. They highlight the erosion of customary institutions that regulate procreation and express the meaning of gender and marriage. They show that without an understanding of the dynamics of local customs change initiated from without becomes ineffective and unsustainable.
SPREAD OF HIV INFECTION IN A RURAL AREA OF TANZANIA. (Boerrna/Urassa/SenkorolKlokke/Ng’weshemi). AIDS 1999 University of North Carolina. Vol13. No 10. 7 pages. This article is concerned with research assessing the spread of HIV in Kisesa, Mwanza using a ‘Demographic surveillance system’. Data was collected on mobility, bars and commercial sex through confidential interviews and blood tests on a range of individuals. The general conclusion was that HIV was found to be more prevalent around trading centres than in surrounding areas, sometimes 3-4 times higher than in the villages. Most of the article is concerned with explaining methods of data collection and listing data, which makes much of the reading laborious. However, the main point comes through that the trading centre is the major factor in the high levels of HIV in the district. The authors argue this is due to a number of factors including the high incidence of promiscuous sexual behaviour, prostitution, travelling workers and the high consumption of alcohol in ‘pombe’ bars. Furthermore they point out that HIV prevalence is underestimated as many tests are carried out at “Sentinel Antenatal clinics” ~ Roy Wilsoll.
BETWEEN THE STATE AND CIVIL SOCIETY: MEDICAL DISCIPLINE IN TANZANIA. John A Harrington. Journal of African Studies, 37, 2 (1999) pp 32. Cambridge University Press. Despite the drastic changes in the last decade which forced a broad shift in policy from the general provision of services by the state to a mixed system with private providers making up the increasing shortfall in public resources, doctors in Tanzania have maintained a relatively privileged position. The writer, a member of Warwick University’s Law School, discusses in some detail the origins and development of the medical profession, from ‘the capture of the state by African elites’ in the first two decades of independence to the reduction in the state’s size and functions under external pressure in the last 15 years. The colonial medical service, he writes, was by and large aimed at the European population and administered by medical officers and missionaries. With only 14 African doctors at independence the demand for ‘Africanisation’ began with the setting up of a medical faculty in 1963 at Dar es Salaam University. By 1991 the number of doctors had increased to 1,265, still only one per 21,423 people.
As part of the ‘bureaucratic bourgeoisie’ doctors were able to attract a disproportionate degree of overseas aid when compared with non-curative public health programmes aimed at improving the health of the rural majority. The current costs of urban hospitals and clinics are still a major drain upon the health budget and foreign currency reserves. Progress suffered a severe economic setback in the 1980′ s. When, in 1986, the government was forced to accept World Bank and IMF conditionalities on further aid, severe cutbacks led to a collapse in the morale of health care workers and a ‘brain drain’ of Tanzanian-trained physicians, of whom 26 per cent left the country. During the villagisation programme in the 1970’s peasants were urged to leave their existing settlements for ujamaa villages with the promise that improved medical facilities would be available there. According to the writer tIns indicated that ‘health care could be said to have been both an end and a means of development.’ Resources such as water and medicine were directed to ujamaa villages in preference to others ‘as a means of pressurising the population to comply’. One of the features of ujamaa was a more or less complete takeover of non-governmental institutions by TANU in the interests of development, but later, with the backing of international organisations, attempts were made to undo this process. ‘Democratisation’ and broad liberalisation were linked to aid so that sectional interest groups were given a role in the political bargaining process ‘often at the behest of international bodies and foreign NGOs’. Many doctors responded by entering into private practice, while others ‘attempted to position the profession within the notional sphere of a non-market civil society’.
The writer believes that commercialisation, with the introduction of private clinics and ‘the parallel economy of bribery’ undennine the status of medical practice and that the Medical Council of Tanganyika was ‘forced to shore up professional ethics in the face of structural alTangements which tended massively to undennine them’. The writer concludes: ‘If medicine becomes a commodity its producers are forced to compete with purveyors of other substitutable commodities, such as traditional African medicine and the practice of so-called ‘injection doctors.’ As well as professional autonomy all semblance of disinterested service would be lost’. And a leading doctor warned: ‘The imposition of structmal adjustment programmes is having a profound effect on the doctor/patient relationship at the same time as reducing the quality of health services and the access to them by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups’ -John Budge.
INCORPORATING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE INTO AFRICAN URBAN PLANNING: A CASE STUDY WITH CHINESE CONNECTIONS. Garth Myers. Hong Kong Papers in Design and Development. Voll 1998.9 pages. This paper is one of several by Garth Myers on the Kikwajuni neighbourhood of Zanzibar’s Ng’ambo area. East of Stone Town across the former tidal creek, this area (‘the Other Side’) began to be settled in the 1850s, largely by African and Swahili slaves, servants and peasants, on the land of their owners, employers and patrons. The land belonged to the Omani royal clan and its allies and rivals, or to Indian merchants. Most of Kikwajuni belonged to Abdullah bin Sallam al-Shaksi, a wealthy Omani trader and slave holder, and the settlers included both islanders and a number of mainland groups. Development and administration was left in the hands of overseers or locally chosen imams, and an indigenous urban form developed, based on the concepts of uwezo (power), imani (faith) and desturi (custom).
Residents lacked uwezi, in the form of either material wealth or land ownership -even in the 1960s the Shaksi clan controlled most of the land and it was subsequently nationalised. Occupants of the area were and still are almost all Sunni Shafi’i Muslims, a school of Islamic thought which emphasises consensus in religious and social affairs. Organised into areas around mosques, the imams helped to force a sense of belonging and consensus amongst the neighbourhood’s diverse African cultures. Much of the detailed spatial organisation was based on custom, for example, houses were arranged along pathways kept clear of buildings and clean by cooperation between neighbours, and social life focused on spaces where the area’s social cohesiveness was reproduced (maskani, small meeting places for men, and baraza, porches on the front of Swahili houses).
Amongst the many expatriates who produced plans for Zanzibar were planners from the Peoples Republic of China, who produced a Master Plan in 1982. Influenced by Chinese attempts of the time to develop a planning system suitable for the new push for economic growth, the group prepared a master plan (which completely neglected issues of finance and implementation) and detailed area plans, including one for the upgrading of Ng’ambo which entailed the superimposition of a grid road layout, considerable demolition and installation of waterborne sewerage.
Indigenous planners involved in implementation modified the proposals slightly, but still gave priority to improving roads, despite low vehicle ownership, relatively good access to existing houses, and local priorities for lighting along existing paths, drainage and improvements to latrines. The subtext, in the eyes of many residents, had to do with the state using road construction for security purposes. The upgrading plans provided for a few large private houses in each ward. In practice, these were the only physical aspect of the improvement schemes to be carried out and the plots were allocated to members of the CCM-allied political, bureaucratic and business elite, who continued to ignore the needs of most residents. Dependent on their own resources, only the better off house owners, especially those who can call on overseas funds, have been able to make the significant physical renovations the houses need. Collectively consumed goods, such as shared taps, schools and drainage, have continued to deteriorate. Moreover, the transition to multiparty rule has been marked by the politicization of community spaces. The resulting association of particular spaces with rival parties has reduced their function in conflict resolution and enhancing social cohesion. The parallel role of the mosques has also been undermined by increased religious conservatism, following competition between Saudi Arabian and Iranian assistance agencies.
Upgrading sensitive to indigenous physical and social organisation has, therefore, been undermined not only by Chinese planners who considered the area’s physical fabric poor quality and disorderly and provided no framework for dealing with conflictual planning decisions, but also by the technocratic approach and security concerns of the one-party state, the spoils-oriented politics of the Mwinyi regimes, and the political rivalry which has accompanied multiparty politics. Myers concludes that the opportunity for appropriate upgrading has been missed. He asserts, contrary to his own evidence, that the Chinese planners of the early 1980s “began to ‘hear’ the indigenous planning system, but not to listen to it”. He also suggests that the “team took no account of conflictual land rights that have been at the heart of the 1982 plan’s lack of success in implementation”, but does not adequately analyse this issue. Finally, his prognosis for upgrading based on dialogue with residents, managed through forms of social organisation which are able to produce consensus, and resulting in physical improvements appropriate for the poor majority of residents, is gloomy ~ Carole Rakodi
RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND WOMEN: WHAT ARE THE BEST APPROACHES TO COMMUNICATING INFORMATION? Joyce Otsyina & Diana Rosenberg. Gender and Development. Vol 7 No
2. July 1999. 11 pages. This article focuses on research in Shinyanga region from the ‘Hifadhi Ardhi Shinyanga’ project (HASH!) which was aimed at introducing new development ideas into a rural community. The authors cite the ‘lack of effective communication strategies and methods’ in bringing about these technological ideas to rural Tanzania. They suggest that the technologies are available but rather the problem lies with cultural factors preventing women from taking part in awareness of these new technologies. They claim that most development programmes meet with little success because these schemes often neglect the participation of women. For example, timetables for seminars and film shows are arranged at inconvenient times for many women. Cultural seclusion of women can also be another factor, which stops them from contact outside the community. However, many local women were also noted as being suspicious of outsiders such as the UWT (Umoja wa Wanawake wa Tanzania). Conclusions made by the authors include the lack of education among women of their rights, the importance of the initiative and control being in the hands of locals, the information gap between men and women in a community and the fact that women rely more on ‘informal information networks’ for knowledge of what is happening. No attempts have been made to challenge the crucial factor of gender division of labour -Roy Wilson.
BUDGETING WITH A GENDER FOCUS. Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP). 1999. 46pp. The TGNP is an NGO formed in 1993 to facilitate gender equality and women’s empowerment. This book reports on the results of research on macro-level budgetary processes in the ministries of Finance, Education and Health and in the Planning Commission and illustrates in clear and simple terms, with many imaginative drawings, photographs and charts, the theory and practice of budgeting and how it can contribute to the objectives of the NGO. (Thank you Strata Mosha for sending us a copy of this book Editor).
A GERMAN GUERILLA CHIEF IN AFRICA. David Rooney. History Today. November 1999. David Rooney has skilfully condensed the story of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, commander of the German army in German East Africa during the 1914-1918 war, into seven pages, illustrated by a useful map and ten photographs. Von Lettow-Vorbeck realised that he had no chance of beating the British, with their command of the sea, and decided instead to tie down as many British troops as possible in order to prevent them from being used against Germany in other theatres of war. In this he was remarkably successful, and his small army (170 Germans and 1,400 African askaris) was still fighting for some days after the Armistice was signed in Europe on November 11 1918. Rooney gives a graphic account of the various phases of the campaign including his defeat of the British at Tanga and his brilliantly conducted retreat, first to the Rufiji valley, then to Masasi and Mozambique and finally to Northern Rhodesia. Readers will spot one error: C S Forester’s African Queen was not based on the scuttling of the German light cruiser Konigsberg in the Rufiji Delta but on the sinking of the Graf von Goetzen in Lake Tanganyika.
DOORS OF ZANZIBAR A Mwalim Mwalim. 1998. 143 pp. 95 plates. £14.95. A photographic study of the famous decorative doors of Stone Town including a map of door locations and sepia photographs. Obtainable from African Books Centre. TeI: 0171 497 0309.
PASTORALISM, PATRIARCHY AND HISTORY: CHANGING GENDER RELATIONS AMONG MAASAI IN TANGANYIKA 1890 -1940. Dorothy L Hodgson. Rutgers State University of New Jersey. CUP. Journal of African History, 40 (1999). pp 24. This painstaking and careful analysis of the effect of German and British colonialism on the Maasai people, shows how the whole nature of the people’s pastoral life and culture was drastically transformed and wellnigh destroyed. A tolerant and tmly interdependent tribe became an intolerant patriarchal society, in which women were thought of as ‘property’ and ‘possessions’ owned and controlled by men. ‘Commodification’ of livestock, the monetisation of the economy and incorporation into the colonial system reinforced and enhanced male political authority and economic control shifting the contours of malefemale power relations. Even after the Second World War the pace and zeal of these interventions only intensified as British and then Tanzanian governments tried to encourage, bribe or force the Maasai to sell their cattle and perceive them as commodities. Men usurped women’s role as traders. The article argues that the new forms of property relations had important consequences for gender relations. Taxation classified women as property to be paid for by men and the incorporation into the colonial state extended the formal political power of men in general and older men in particular. ‘Instead of mutual respect men and women scorn one another’ the writer says. She concludes: ‘Unlike Static a historical analysis of pastoral gender relations that posit women’s subordination as an inherent feature of pastoralism, thereby assuming that Western notions of private property and ownership are culturally and historically universal, my historical analysis demonstrates that patriarchy must be understood as a consequence not of cows but of history’ John Budge