OBITUARIES

A veteran of the independence struggle in Tanzania and one of its first cabinet ministers, Ambassador PAUL BOMANI (80) died on April 1. He had been Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam since 1993 and was also chairman of Tanzania Breweries Ltd and Tanzania Distilleries Ltd. He obtained a diploma at Loughborough College in Leicester in 1954 and later, a Masters Degree at John Hopkins University in the USA. His first post was as Minister of Natural Resources and Co-operative Development in 1960. He was subsequently Ambassador to the United States and Minister for Mineral Resources. But perhaps his greatest achievement was to mastermind the establishment of a huge and highly successful cooperative movement in the Lake Victoria Region in the 1950’s which became responsible for marketing the rapidly increasing cotton crop. President Mkapa led hundreds of mourners at the burial at Capri Point cemetery in Mwanza.

Good Governance Minister in the Zanzibar Government and former diplomat, AHMED HASSAN DIRIA (68) died on March 14 in a German hospital. He first joined the government as a Labour Officer in Zanzibar. After the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964, he was appointed Area Commissioner for Pemba. He became Tanzania’s ambassador to Zaire before he was transferred to West Germany and later to Egypt, Japan and India. He was appointed Minister for Information and Broadcasting in 1989, a position he held up to 1994. He was then moved to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation. He was a staunch defender of the Union between the mainland and Zanzibar.

Sir JAMES FARQUHARSON KBE (101) who died on 17th February, dedicated virtually his whole working life to the development of railways in Africa. He came to Tanganyika in 1937 and remained there through the war years as District Engineer and then Chief Engineer of the Tanganyikan part of the then the East African Railways and Harbours (EAR&H). It was in Dar es Salaam that he began the work that pleased him most, the expansion of railway systems. Expansions completed during this period were the Mpanda line in western Tanzania (131 miles) the southern line (168 miles) built to serve the UK Government’s disastrous groundnut scheme and the Singida line (65 miles). In 1957 he became General Manager of the EAR&H and became involved in establishing a link line between the central and northern lines in Tanzania (425 miles). This was a difficult time for labour relations as the new trade unions flexed their muscles. Farquharson was a hardliner in such matters, believing that the railway staff enjoyed better pay and conditions than most other workers. He faced out several strikes, walking through the picket lines to his office; a newspaper report from the time quoted a union leader advising that there was to be a great party when the General Manager retired. The split of the railway system in East Africa into its three component parts saddened Farquharson but did not daunt his belief that the railways could still play a key role in the country’s development (Thank you Hugh Leslie for sending this from The Times – Editor).

GREVILLE FREEMAN-GRENVILLE (86) who died in February, was described in the Times obituary as ‘a gentleman-historian of the old school’ and a fearless campaigner to preserve the archaeological remains of Africa and the Middle East. He was in Tanganyika from 1951 to 1961. Amongst the 26 books he wrote were ‘The Medieval History of the Coast of Tanganyika’ (1962) and ‘The East African coast: select documents from the first to the earlier 19th century’. His interest in the copper coins that were minted at port cities offered the possibility that their dynastic history could be reconstructed from their surviving chronicles. For many years he was the only person able to identify the coins of the Sultans of Kilwa and Mogadishu. He frequently pointed to the importance of Kilwa as a site for research.

MARY PEAKE (104) served as a teacher and as a School Supervisor at the UMCA’s Diocese of Masasi for 32 years from 1937. When Trevor Huddleston became Bishop in 1960 he transferred Mary, by then aged 60, to the less physically arduous work as a teacher at the boys’ secondary school at Chidya. In 1969 she moved to Dar es Salaam to teach English at the new St. Mark’s Theological College. Her dining rooms served as a refectory for other expatriate church workers, not to mention a constant stream of visitors to what became known as ‘Mary’s Guest House’. During her final years from 1995 she was cared for by the Tanzanian sisters of the CMS next to the cathedral at Ilala – from Rev. Canon Paul R Hardy. (Thank you Mary Punt for sending this on – Editor).

BRUCE RONALDSON (87) who died on December 2 2004, was a District Commissioner in Tanganyika after the Second World War. He took a particularly close interest in sport and captained Tanzania at cricket. He also trained John Akhwari, who entered the marathon at the Mexico Olympics. Akhwari fell during the race and finished hours after the rest of the field but became an overnight celebrity and symbol of the Olympic spirit when he told reporters: “My country did not send me 7,000 miles to start this race. They sent me to finish it.” In 1961 Ronaldson moved to Britain and became Company Secretary of Oxfam – The Times.

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