TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

A wildlife conservation scheme started by an American conservationist and a professional hunter has brought benefits worth more than £50,000 to 18 villages according to an article in the DAILY TELEGRAPH (January 3) which explained that, when Tanzania banned game hunting from 1973 to 1983, there was no one in the reserves to police them against poachers. Maswa District lost 15,000 animals a year and long lines of snares would cover every gap in the bush. Now, local people are paid £3 for each snare and much higher rewards for help in the arrest of armed poachers. Hunting clients are invited to pay up to £2,500 on top of their bills to benefit the villagers who accompany game rangers on anti­poaching patrols. Long-line snaring has become a thing of the past.

In what the CHURCH TIMES recently described as possibly the largest wide span structure to be built by the local people, a new 20 x 45 metre cathedral is taking shape in Musoma -‘the fruit of a living link: between Tanzanian Christians and the congregation of st. John’s Church, Blackheath, London’. Last July 15 church members from Blackheath went to Musoma to help erect the first of the cathedral’s 11 seven-ton roof trusses. The arched Gothic window frames were made on site by gluing and clamping together 13 separate strips of wood (Thank you Ron and Liz Fennell for sending this item and the one above -Editor).

Asha Mtwangi writing recently in the BBC’s FOCUS ON AFRICA featured Dar es Salaam’s informal trade sector: ‘There is no escaping it. Or, rather there is no escaping the machinga, the energetic young hawkers who have overrun the streets of Dar. Their talents are remarkable. They know the tastes of different kinds of potential customers. How about a sleek cordless telephone, or a handy self-wringing mop with bucket or a Rado 21 jewel watch for your girlfriend? …. the Ministry of Labour and Youth Development says that it has the interests of the machinga at heart and promises to make soft loans available … but the machinga are not interested. They get all the loans they need from the Indian merchants who lend them fancy merchandise; no financial hassles, no paperwork, no demands for collateral. Just trust and confidence in the machinga’s innate trading nous … .it certainly feels that the machinga are here to stay. The word has been extended to all petty businessmen. And that’s a tribute to the enterprise of the original machinga from the south of Tanzania’ .

London’s TIME OUT magazine (March 22) published a critical review of the new play ‘The Man With the Absurdly large Penis’ showing at the Young Vic Studio. The reviewer said it was difficult to resist saying that it was ‘bollocks’. ‘The play is a fictional monologue from a man with a 102cm penis caused by Proteus Syndrome. The play’s author, Rob Young, was quoted as saying “I am always asked if it’s autobiographical. I based the play on a visit to Tanzania where some men had testicles the size of carrier bags, after malaria caused elephantiasis”

One of the participants in a group researching the rain forests in the Udzungu Mountains, Iringa is Jennifer Walker. Quoted in the NEWCASTLE JOURNAL (April 7) she said that the forests have exceptional bio-diversity value and her research will feed into a study to develop forest management based on active community participation
(Thank you Jane Carroll for sending this item Editor).

A 16-page supplement on Arusha (‘Tanzania’s most endowed region’) in THE EAST AFRICAN (March 27) included an article pointing out that the region had the largest variety (50 different kinds) of minerals including the famed Tanzanite which represents 80% of the region’s gemstones exports. Other minerals mentioned included decorative stones like anyolite, crystalline marble, aventurine and amazonestone. Other minerals include high quality graphite, kyanite, limestone, and phosphates.

A three page article in the April issue of NEW AFRICAN by Henry Gombya, a Ugandan, headed ‘How Uganda led to Nyerere’s downfall’ presents a new angle on the Uganda-Tanzania war of 1978 and its aftermath. Extracts: ‘The Tanzanian People’s Defence Force that assisted Ugandan exiles to attack the Amin regime was mainly made up of secondary school students, school dropouts and village militias. Having spent more than a decade living under Nyerere’s failed socialist system, their entry into Uganda, a capitalist state even under Amin, was to prove a cultural shock for them …. What they found was an affluent, well-dressed society living not in … mud houses but in concrete block houses with corrugated iron roofs … this shock was first translated into envy when the Tanzanians …. went on to raise to the ground any building or house that looked beautiful. One such was the Masaka Town Hall, the most elegant building in South Uganda ……(later) Nyerere perhaps made history when he became the only African leader ever to rule another independent African country ….. one of the most important things missed by the media in its adulation of Nyerere was the effect his interference in Uganda had on his own people. In 1985 the soldiers returned home with the spoils of war. These ranged from massive stockpiles of weapons to cars and trucks loaded with household goods and they returned with loads of money. Nyerere was soon to realise that he had made a mistake by sending a peasant army into another country. He knew they had been exposed to riches his polices could not give them. He decided to abandon his polices and eventually to hand over power to another leader …… ‘

’11-year old Ledida, went with friends to draw water from a local water point. On their way back home a rogue hyena suddenly appeared and attacked the children mauling them in turn. The children’s screams and their attempts to ward off the hyena made the beast more aggressive. Ledida’s face was particularly badly mauled and she suffered fractured upper and lower jaws. She was taken to Loliondo Hospital which called the FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE for a mercy flight to Nairobi. During the journey her face was all bandaged up leaving only a breathing tube. Ledida will be in hospital for some time to undergo all the phases of re constructive surgery’.

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