OBITUARIES

Christine Lawrence - thank you to Mrs Hilary Herbert for this - Editor

CHRISTINE LAWRENCE died on January 7 aged 80.
She played a pivotal role in the early days of the Britain- Tanzania Society when she did an immense amount of work on the administrative and financial side working with Bishop Trevor Huddleston and Roger Carter. She kept closely in touch with very many BTS members and with others connected to Tanzania and proved invaluable in locating and recruiting people to contribute to Tanzanian Affairs. She herself wrote numerous book, film and TV documentary reviews about Tanzania on a wide variety of subjects. She was present at virtually every meeting of the Society and was an active member of the committee. She played a leading role in organising society meetings and plying participants with refreshments.

At her funeral, Society member Keith Lye read out a tribute he had written:

‘Christine Lawrence made a massive contribution to many disadvantaged and impoverished people, particularly in Africa and Britain.

After completing a two-year course to become a child welfare officer, she went to run the Mahiwa Young Farmer’s Training Centre, in southern Tanzania, which had been set up by Bishop Trevor Huddleston, then the Bishop of Masasi. One of Christine’s most remarkable achievements, long before Women’s Lib, was to introduce courses at the centre for girls, the college having previously been exclusively for boys.

On her return to Britain in 1970, she worked for 20 years at Friends House, where she made many friends among the Quaker community. They shared the same ideals, especially in supporting projects to help people in what we then called the ‘Third World’. She made a return visit to Tanzania in 1972 and worked at a farm school on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

When we were working together, she was a stickler for detail. Like others, I got my knuckles rapped whenever I generalised or was imprecise. Christine was a most able and efficient person. Inspired by her deep Christian faith, she touched the lives of many people and she will be very much missed.

The funeral was held at the small and very attractive Gospel Oak Methodist Church in London. The BTS was represented by the Fennells and David Brewin.

The popular satirist ADAM LUSEKELO, whose columns in various newspapers over the years amused and sometimes shocked readers has died aged 56. The Citizen on Sunday said that he had a way with words and the use of simple and entertaining language. ‘Look at the names of his columns – Light touch (Sunday News), Punch Line (Daily Mail), Eyespy (This Day) – they all smacked of naughtiness. He rebuked the men in power and got away with it… he had no qualms about describing some of the politicians as ‘Bull crap,’ ‘trash comedy’, ‘baloney’, ‘empty talk’. Lusekelo was the BBC correspondent in Dar in the 80s and 90s and he had in recent years established himself as a Radio 4 presenter (for programmes including Africa’s Fourth Estate, 2005; the Living With Aids series, 2006; A Voyage On Livingstone’s Lake, the story of the MV Ilala boat on Lake Malawi, 2009; and Africa at 50: Wind of Change, 2010). He was buried with a chief’s honours, next to his father’s grave in Rungwe.

Emeritus Professor MICHAEL LATHAM OBE was born in Tanzania in 1928 and studied medicine at Trinity College in Dublin. One of his books, Kilimanjaro Tales: The Saga of a Medical Family in Africa, combined his and his mother’s accounts of their early life in Tanzania. From 1955 to 1964 he was a district medical officer and director of the nutrition unit of the Ministry of Health in Tanzania, and was awarded the OBE in 1965 for distinguished service. He joined Cornell University in 1968 after four years at Harvard, and remained there for over 40 years as a highly respected nutrionist. He was a cofounder and co-chair of the advisory group of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action and one of the first people to recognise the risks and campaign against the widespread marketing of powdered baby formula milk in developing countries. In 2007, the African Nutrition Graduate Students Network presented its first lifetime achievement award to Dr. Latham for his work to improve nutrition in Africa, and in 2008 he was awarded an order of merit from the United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition.

The EARL OF OXFORD AND ASQUITH (94), the grandson of Prime Minister HH Asquith, died on January 16 , 2011. After serving in Libya he was moved to Zanzibar in 1963. He said later that it had been a mistake to grant independence to the country in 1963 as it was clear that it had been suffering from underlying instability due to racial antipathies. He found the Arab politicians unreliable in both judgement and in action – The Times.

The Anglophile German historian and diplomat FRITZ CASPARI (96) died on December 1. After a distinguished career in Germany, Britain, Portugal and America, one of his final jobs was responsibility for German diplomatic relations with the Third World and the UN. In the Obituary in the Times (Thank you John Sankey for this – Editor) reference was made to the death in a plane crash in Tanzania of his eldest son Hans Michael who was serving in the UN. Thank you John also for the note you sent following the death on December 12 2010 of FATHER KIT CUNNINGHAM who spent 10 years at a Rosminion School in Tanzania.

Jonathan Hill, son of the Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs immediately before and after the independence of Tanganyika, has written to us to record the death of his father, DENYS CHALLMERS HILL OBE. He was in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika from 1940 to 1962 and, while holding various positions in the administration, he was involved in the Groundnut Scheme, a road to the (then) new Serengeti National Park, the distribution of famine relief during the war period and surveying the Ruaha Game Reserve.

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