MARIUS DEMETRRIUS GHIKAS, Greek adventurer and coffee farmer, died in Moshi on June 10. He was buried at Korfovoun, the farm he owned for many years near Oldonyo Sambu. He attended the then Greek School in Moshi before going to Oxford for his higher education. His extraordinary life was described in Shelby Tucker’s book, ‘The last Banana’ published in 2011 and reviewed at the time in TA (highly recommended – Editor.). The book describes him as follows: ‘With his fierce hazel eyes and Yul Brunner dome that he boasted was his best feature, he belonged to an elite minority at Oxford who came from ‘the colonies’ and dressed better than most undergraduates… their English, manifesting the peculiar veneration they felt in ‘the colonies’ for the ‘home country,’ was more precise grammatically , cleaner and more poised that that spoken by most of their British contemporaries’. He ran the family coffee estate and the family financed the construction of the Moshi Hotel, the largest privately-owned hotel in East Africa at the time. Ghikas became quite rich. But all this wealth evaporated when foreign- owned properties in Tanzania were nationalised in the sixties and early seventies. Ghikas lost everything and became what is described in Swahili as fukara hohehohe (destitute beggar). Almost all the other 150 Greeks in Moshi left the country as did the many other Greeks who were prominent in the very successful sisal industry at the time. In his final years he led a penurious, hand to mouth existence. (Thank you Shelby Tucker for letting us know about this – Editor).

CAMPBELL WHALLEY, who was born in 1937 in Peru, became a Game Warden when Tanzania was Tanganyika. At the age of 22 he had been the first man to follow on foot the epic trek by John Hanning Speke which established to the outside world that Lake Victoria was the source of the White Nile. He later pointed out to the young Jane Goodall the use by chimpanzees of tools, an observation which she developed to win eventually a reputation as the world’s greatest expert on the primates. After working in the deepest gold mine in South Africa, Whalley joined a team of geologists employed by the Canadian millionaire Jack Williamson, who was challenging the De Beers monopoly in diamond mining. He later established the Mwadui Mine which still produces diamonds today. He gained such a reputation as a wildlife expert that he later escorted many celebrated visitors around Tanganyika’s game reserves, including Ernest Hemingway, John Wayne, James Stewart and Elsa Martinelli. He came to know George and Joy Adamson when they came to the Serengeti, amidst much publicity, to release into the wild the three orphaned cubs of Elsa the famous lioness. On arrival Joy had started to shoot game just before the young lions were released. Whalley pointed out to her that this was no way to teach the young lion cubs to fend for themselves and confiscated her gun. He was rewarded by her reference to him in her best selling book ‘Living Free’ as ‘an obnoxious game warden’ – From the Daily Telegraph via the ASAUK Newsletter.

IAN BUIST, who died on 27 October 2012, spent most of his career working for the economic and social development of the Third World, with a particular emphasis on East Africa. Born in 1930, he joined the East African Department of the Colonial Office in 1952 and remained in that department for nine years, with a two-year gap in 1954-6 when he was seconded to pre-independent Kenya. There he served as deputy secretary to the first multi-racial Cabinet, before being posted to Kitui as a district officer, where he acquired a life-long love of Africa. In 1961 he transferred to the newly-formed Department of Technical Cooperation and in 1962 was posted to Dar as First Secretary (Technical Cooperation) in the British High Commission. Tanganyika had become independent a few months previously and one of Buist’s tasks was to help organise the transition from the former British administrators to their African successors. He was in Dar during the army mutiny and recalled the critical moment when the then Prime Minister, Rashidi Kawawa, delivered a hand-written note to the High Commission requesting British military intervention.

Buist was involved in the talks with Kenya and Uganda about the future of the East African Common Services Authority and in 1964 was posted to Nairobi again, to help negotiate the treaty which established the East African Community in 1967. He returned to London in 1969 and was Under Secretary at the Overseas Development Administration (now the Department for International Development) from 1976 until his retirement in 1990, when he was awarded a CB (instead of the more usual CMG or CBE). (Thank you to John Sankey for this – Editor).

ANTON TURNER (38) a former Army Captain, died instantly when he was charged by a bull elephant as he led an expedition in Tanzania three years ago. On November 9 2012 his father collected his Queens Gallantry Medal at Buckingham Palace from the Queen. It had been awarded in recognition of his heroism in saving the lives of a film crew which included three children. His father recounted how his son had refused to move out of the elephant’s path. He shouted to try to drive it away but the elephant did not give up. Because Turner stood there, it gave the others the opportunity to get away and hide or take cover. He had been working for the CBBC series ‘Serious Explorers’ in which was recreating Dr David Livingstone’s journey across Africa – London Evening Standard.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.