Archive for Issue 123

TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

by Donovan McGrath

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day

Two Dart buses operating in Dar es Salaam

(Guardian online UK) Could Dar es Salaam’s experiment with Africa’s first ‘gold standard’ bus rapid transit system offer an alternative to a future dependent on private cars? … Extract continues: Dusk falls in Dar es Salaam, and for hundreds of thousands of people in this African megacity-to-be the daily chaos and frustration of the journey home begins. People cram themselves into daladala minibuses … So far, so normal for a sprawling megalopolis of 6 million with virtually no public transport and only eight lanes of major road heading to and from the centre. Dar es Salaam, the de facto capital of Tanzania, is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Its population has increased eightfold since 1980 and swells by half a million people every year… But Dar es Salaam is pinning its hopes on a solution that could offer a different model for Africa’s megacities … Unlike many cities on the continent, Dar es Salaam isn’t trying to build a metro… but a more achievable route: the bus… Outside the city centre many rely on boda boda motorbike taxis … Their safety record is notorious… The Dart system boasts bus lanes separated from other traffic … ticket payment and control takes place at stations rather than on board … The average journey time from the centre to the terminus at Kimara has been slashed from two hours each way to just 45 minutes, according to sustainable transport group the ITDP … The ITDP awarded the system Africa’s only “gold standard” bus rapid transit (BRT) rating… (8 January 2019)

Tanzanians with albinism embrace a life beyond stigma and superstition
(Guardian online UK) In a country where myths about albinism can have deadly consequences, an organisation set up to battle discrimination is having a profound impact. Extract continues: Paschal Merumba has suffered prejudice from the day he was born. His mother refused to breastfeed her “cursed” baby, the second child in the family born with albinism; the first had already died of neglect… In 2013, Merumba was attacked by men who tried to kill him… He was saved when a neighbour ran screaming towards the group with a torch… “My life was spent in darkness,” says Merumba… Now 54, his life changed after meeting with Alex Magaga, who had worked on the BBC documentary, In the Shadow of the Sun, which tells the story of two Tanzanians with albinism… In parts of Tanzania, up to one in 1,400 people has albinism … Many die of skin cancer before the age of 40 … The myths and misperceptions surrounding albinism in Tanzania are “almost too numerous to count”, says [Sam] Clarke [Standing Voice’s communications manager – an organisation that defends the rights of people with albinism]… In Tanzania, 75 albinos were killed between 2000 and 2016… (23 January 2019)

Chimpanzees develop distinct local cultures, and we’re destroying them
(Washington Post online USA) Extract: The chimpanzees of Tanzania may be the most famous tool users in the animal kingdom. Famed primatologist Jane Goodall first observed them in the 1960s using grass sticks to “fish” for termites in their mounds. But since Goodall, other scientists have discovered that chimps have more than one way to catch a termite. Those in Congo, for instance, gnaw on the end of their tools of choice to turn them into paintbrush-like instruments, which seem able to catch even more termites than straight-tipped rods. In Uganda, some chimpanzees simply break into termite mounds with their hands. Everywhere chimpanzees roam, scientists are uncovering more fascinating behaviours such as harvesting algae with long poles, mining honey out of the ground using sticks and accessing hidden reserves of water inside trees with sponges fashioned from chewed-up leaves. These and other behaviours make up the basis of what scientists increasingly describe as chimpanzee “culture” – learned traditions that vary by location. And humans might be killing it, according to a study . . . in the journal Science. The study suggests that people and their disturbances of ecosystems may be hindering the transmission of chimpanzee culture, and in some cases, destroying it altogether. . . [M]ore than 75 scientists and other researchers compiled data from 144 chimpanzee communities found across 15 countries in West and Central Africa. . . Chimpanzees living in areas with the most human disturbance had less varied behavioural repertoires, the study found… The idea that chimpanzees possess distinct cultures is still relatively new … (7 March 2019)

Meet Tanzania soccer freestyle queen who earned praise from President Trump

Hadhara Charles


(CNN online USA) Extract: Tanzania rarely features in discussions of Africa’s soccer hotspots. But that perception might be changing thanks to the skills of soccer freestyle queen Hadhara Charles, which are winning plaudits from celebrities across the world including US President Donald Trump. A viral tweet of Charles displaying her range of flicks and tricks in a dress and flip-flops has been watched more than 10 million times, earning 125,000 retweets and more than 400,000 likes. President Trump was among those impressed, tweeting “Amazing!” just after a message in which he accused former FBI director Andrew McCabe of treason. British television host Piers Morgan also shared the clip with the comment “Brilliant.” The star herself was pleased to receive acclaim from such high-profile quarters. “It feels good that Donald Trump shared the video,” Charles told CNN.

“Here I am not paid. Sports doesn’t pay.” Charles, a mother of two, is a specialist in the art of freestyle soccer, which is based on juggling and tricks with the ball using any part of the body. Freestyle has become a popular pursuit around the world and the leading exponents compete in prestigious international championships… The freestyler has won acclaim in her home country and represents Tanzania in events in Gabon, Cameroon, South Africa and Ethiopia. In 2018, Charles came third in the first African Freestyle Football Championship. But prestige has not been accompanied by financial rewards for Charles, who still struggles to support her family. “I get these opportunities to travel but no pay,” she says. “If only I had sponsorship or some deal to support myself it will work form me (and) my two children will have enough for food and basic needs.” … Recognition from President Trump offers a moment of satisfaction for Charles. But her true ambition is to make those magical skills deliver a more comfortable life for her family. (26 February 2019)

Tanzanian ref banned for life by Fifa for taking bribes
(BBC online UK) Extract: One of Tanzania’s top referees has been handed a life ban from football after Fifa found him guilty of taking bribes. The case, opened in July 2018, was handled by Fifa’s Ethics Committee which ruled Oden Charles Mbaga had breached the Fifa Code of Ethics. Fifa told Reuters that the ban relates to bribes “to manipulate several national and international matches between 2009-2012” … Speaking from Dar es Salaam, Mbaga told the news agency he was questioned by Fifa in 2010 but had not heard anything since and knew nothing about match-fixing. “This is shocking news to me,” he said… Mbaga has also been fined $200,000. He has been banned for life from all football-related activities, not just refereeing, at national and international level… [F]ormer international referee Ibrahim Chalbou from Niger was also banned for life and fined $200,000 after being found guilty of taking bribes … (27 February 2019)

Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread
(BBC online UK) A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision – a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Extract continues: Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure. Her suggestion divided opinion among her colleagues. HIV is seen as a major threat to public health in Tanzania. Around 70% of the male population is circumcised. Around 5% of Tanzania’s adult population is believed to have been infected by HIV – giving it the 13th highest rate of infection in the world, according to figures from 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%. Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis. Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament … Her suggestion was backed by MP Joseph Selasini… However, MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani’s proposal, describing it as uncouth and invasive. (6 February 2019)

Unique Tanzania forest granted official protection after research reveals it is on brink of collapse

The Endangered Magombera Chameleon. Photo by Andrew Marshall


(Independent online UK) ‘When I first began work in the forest 15 years ago it was clearly a biologically important place, but it rang with the sound of axes and machetes,’ says project leader. Extract continues: The Tanzanian government has agreed to set aside a unique forest as a new nature reserve after research revealed it was about to be wiped out for good. Magombera forest is home to a recently discovered species of chameleon and threatened animals including bush babies and elephants. But illegal logging and poaching have pushed the valuable ecosystem to the brink of destruction, with some estimates predicting it was on the brink of total destruction… Tanzanian authorities has reached the $1m (£0.78m) required to protect the land. The value of the forest has been recognised for many years. . . Thousands of trees are already growing back in areas of forest that had been stripped bare. The newly created 6,463 acre Magombera Nature Reserve houses an enormous amount of species within a relatively small area, and is considered among the most biodiverse forests in Africa… (17 January 2019)

Mnyamawamtuka: Scientists discover new dinosaur with heart-shaped tail

Reconstruction of a pair of M. moyowamkia in a rainstorm in Tanzania during the Cretaceous Period. (Mark Witton)


(Independent online UK) Extract: The plant-eating dinosaur was discovered in Africa and reportedly lived 100 million years ago. . . Apart from its vast size, the 30-foot dinosaur also displayed another fascinating feature – heart-shaped bones in its tail. Researchers named the dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka Moyowamkia from Swahili for “animal of the Mtuka” and “heart-shaped tail” and joked that the animal “wore it’s heart on its tail.” In addition to its unique bone structure, the discovery of the dinosaur’s remains, which were found in a riverbed in the East African Rift system of Tanzania, allows scientists to piece together information about how ecosystems evolved in Africa during the Cretaceous period. Previously, titanosaurs were identified in South America, but the new species discovered in Tanzania, Egypt and other parts of the African continent offer a more complex picture of their evolution… The new dinosaur … is one of three new titanosaurs to be found in the area… The fossilised bones of the dinosaur … suggests the animal also shared similarities with another dinosaur “Malawisaurus, from just across the Tanzania-Malawi border,” according to Dr Gorscak [research associate, and professor at Midwestern University]. The researchers also discovered other animals in the East African Rift, including relatives of early crocodiles and evidence of “insect farming” from fossilised termite nests, as well as clues about the evolution of monkeys and apes. “The African story is far from over …” (13 February 2019)

Canadians bring solar power to off-the-grid Africa

A couple enjoy clean electric lighting and television powered from a solar energy system (M-Kopa)


(Global and Mail online Canada) M-Kopa and Jaza Energy take different approaches, but their founders agree there is plenty of room for expansion in East Africa. Extract continues: Jaza Energy and M-Kopa, both started by Canadians, are bringing small-scale solar energy to communities in Tanzania and, in M-Kopa’s case, to Kenya and Uganda as well. Their main line of business is similar, and it’s one that the long term may be potentially disruptive for utilities in developed countries. Both firms deal in distributed generation – providing on-site, off-the-grid electricity that can be installed cheaply and quickly and which doesn’t necessarily require giant infrastructure such a power plants or transmission lines… “Our customers pay the equivalent of about 50 cents a day, making payment by phone. Over time, within a year or two, they are buying their solar system from us, in the same way as you would take a mortgage from a bank and buy your house,” [says Jesse Moore, M-Kopa’s CEO]. M-Kopa … has connected more than 700,000 homes in East Africa to solar power, with 500 homes added every day. The company says that by using solar power to light homes, its customers save the equivalent of 75-million hours of kerosene that would otherwise be burning, emitting fumes and contributing to climate change. Jaza, started in 2016, is smaller than M-Kopa, powering about 2,000 households, or about 10,500 people in Tanzania. It sets up its power units through small-scale retail hubs, often run by women, which are both sales points and solar-powered recharging stations. Customers take their removable power batteries to the local hub each week to swap… Unlike M-Kopa, Jaza doesn’t rely on mobile phones for payment … Swapping Jaza’s batteries costs households the equivalent of 55 cents Canadian each week, so it is indeed cheaper than M-Kopa’s panels… (17 January 2019)

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SPORT

by Philip Richards

National football team through to AFCON 2019 finals
The national team, Taifa Stars, led by captain Mbwana Samatta (see article below) reached the finals of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 finals later this year by securing a superb 3-0 win over the Uganda Cranes in front of a packed home crowd at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam. This is the first time they have reached the finals of a major competition since 1980. In attendance at the game was President Magufuli who lauded the team’s efforts as part of the post-match celebrations (see picture below).

Goals from Simon Msuva, Erasto Nyomi and Aggrey Morris ensured that they achieved second spot in the qualifying group, behind Uganda Cranes themselves, who will join Taifa Stars in Egypt for the 24-team final stages taking place between 21 June and 19 July.

They have been drawn in Group C at the finals, and will compete with Algeria, Senegal and Kenya for a second-round berth.

More broadly, Tanzania has recently moved up 6 places in the FIFA global rankings to 131st. We wish the team every success in the finals in the summer, and hope to report further positive news in the next edition.

Captain leads by example – on and off the field

Mbwana Ally Samatta being interviewed after the AFCON finals


At 26 years of age, Mbwana Ally Samatta is one of the few Tanzanian footballers to make it in Europe, currently playing as striker for Belgian side Genk and captaining Tanzania’s national team, (reports BBC Sport website (6/11/18)). Having moved to Genk from Congolese side TP Mazembe in 2016, the number 10, who started his career with Simba SC, has become a positive influence both on and off the field in Tanzania.

On the field, he has recently led his country to their first AFCON finals for 28 years (see previous article). However, he has also been voted Tanzania’s most influential young person, encouraging young aspiring sportspeople to focus on education and schooling as well as cultivating their talent.

Samatta has registered 57 goals in 142 games for the Belgian club across four seasons, and with 20 goals thus far is currently the top-scorer in the Belgian top league in the 2018-2019 season. Genk look likely to win the league and earn automatic qualification for Champions League football next season.

His future may lie elsewhere, however, as Samatta has reportedly attracted the interest of larger European clubs, including Cardiff City, Leicester City and Everton of the English Premier League. We will watch his development and proud representation of his country abroad with great interest.

A short video of Samatta being interviewed is available on the BBC Sport website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/africa/46030892.

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REVIEWS

by Martin Walsh

TAKEN FOR A RIDE: GROUNDING NEOLIBRALISM, PRECARIOUS LABOUR, AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN AN AFRICAN METROPOLIS. Matteo Rizzo. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017. xx + 216 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-0-19-879424-0. £55.
Much like Matteo Rizzo, one of the most abiding memories of my first trip to Dar es Salaam (in 2006) was the seemingly endless network of patched-up, dilapidated minibuses emblazoned with colourful messages (that I was unable to understand at the time). And yet Taken for a Ride gives the reader a chance to demystify the mass transportation system in Tanzania’s major port and commercial city, and should appeal to anyone with a passing interest in major conurbations in sub-Saharan Africa.

This book draws on rich ethnographic accounts over at least seven separate periods of fieldwork, between 1998 and 2014. It goes into forensic detail to offer a rich historical tapestry of the provision of transport in Dar es Salaam. This begins with a discussion of the socialist period after Tanzanian independence (1961), and subsequently outlines the impact of the deregulation of what was previously a tightly regulated, state-run transport system in 1983. An explosion of private alternatives to cover an unmet demand saw the emergence of the daladala (minibus) system, a significant focus of the book.

One of the more impressive aspects of this book is that it manages to situate the opening up of transport in Dar es Salaam in two ways: 1) as part of the broader global ascent of neoliberalism, and 2) as part of the more specific political economy of Tanzania. For example, argues Rizzo, the speeding and overloading of daladala is a result of deregulation, as well as the economic reality of exploitation of bus workers by bus owners who demand high fees and leads the former to work very long hours. Yet a lack of viable employment alternatives leads Rizzo to connect this specific discussion of transport workers in Dar es Salaam to Mike Davis’ famous text Planet of Slums (2006) and his description of urbanisation in the Global South as marked by the creation of ‘cities without jobs’ (p. 3).

Rizzo’s historical overview also demonstrates that while daladala provide a vital service in light of chronic shortages in public transport provision by the state, they serve to question the neoliberal logic that favours private operators in unregulated markets. The process of deregulation, of course, went far beyond the transport system and represents a broader shift in Tanzanian political economy during the 1980s. Rizzo, however, goes beyond generic analysis by ‘grounding neoliberalism’ within the specific context of public transport provision in Dar es Salaam. It is noteworthy that the book concludes with a discussion of the Bus Rapid Transit Project, a recent public-private initiative that presents the latest attempt to change the dynamics of transport in Dar es Salaam.

Aside from the specifics of the transport system, Rizzo also details the complexities of labour mobilisation and the different class positions and identities held by drivers, conductors and fare collectors within daladala. While each of the chapters remain refreshingly concise, they still offer incisive analysis of: the differential experiences and related class positions of bus owners and workers; successes and failures of unionisation; and the specific and varied work trajectories of daladala workers. Rizzo sees the main contribution of the book is ‘the investigation of how “classes of labour” fare in the context of bus public transport’ and in order to do so he draws from what he describes as ‘undogmatic Marxist work on informal labour’ (p. 14).

The deliberate emphasis on the material and the economic realities of the transport network and its workers, and the laudable commitment to Marxist analysis perhaps leaves a rich period of longitudinal ethnographic research underexplored. This also leads to a bit of ‘straw man’ argument when it comes to the discussion of postcolonial theory, obscuring some the contributions made to the discussion of African cities that are not always divorced from material reality (especially in the work of Achille Mbembe). Not only does the text ‘ground’ neoliberalism, but it also emphasises a truly ‘grinding’ set of economic realities for most people in Dar es Salaam today. Indeed, I wholeheartedly embrace Rizzo’s general view that being exploited by (global and local) forms of capitalism is generally preferable to being excluded.

This book contributes a great deal to broader discussions about the politics of labour, informal economies, and class formation in African cities and is embedded and specific to the context of Dar es Salaam. While clearly an academic text, this is an easy book to read and will be of interest to a wide audience. It is a ‘must read’ for anyone engaging in urban life in Africa, and especially in Tanzania.
Rob Ahearne

Rob Ahearne is a Senior Lecturer in International Development at the University of East London. He has years of experience of living and working in the Mtwara region of southern Tanzania. He first spent a year there in 2006-07, where he helped to establish a small NGO working closely with three rural primary schools. He conducted fieldwork in Mtwara region in 2009-10 and was awarded a PhD at the University of Manchester in 2011 for a study of alternative life histories among older people. Rob has continued to conduct research in southern Tanzania, with a focus on incipient processes of natural gas extraction. He has published in various academic journals and regularly contributes pieces about contemporary Tanzanian politics to The Conversation.

TRACES OF THE FUTURE: AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF MEDICAL SCIENCE IN AFRICA. Paul Wenzel Geissler, Guillaume Lachenal, John Manton and Noémi Tousignant (editors). Intellect Books, Bristol, 2016. 256 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-78320-725-1. £21.50.

Material studies, African history, and medical anthropology merge in this unique text, which is best be described as an archaeology of colonial biomedical research and futures in sub-Saharan Africa. Historians and anthropologists who study Africa have tended to engage with healing, medicine and bioethics in one of two ways: through stories of imposed colonial medical knowledge and systems on African societies or through the entanglements of Western-style medicine and traditional African healing in modern therapeutics. This volume is different, even playful, in that it successfully treats the material debris of, and present memories about, colonial medical programmes and projects to reflect on time, temporality, past failures, and contemporary disenchantment.

The book further addresses how underemphasised sources – materials and reflections from interviews – can make intimate and powerful stories that imbricate the past, present, and future to grapple with the metaphorical excavation of “past futures”. By doing so, the editors and contributors confront standard academic ways of knowing the world that emphasise linear histories dependent on purely archival sources. What they discover is what many archaeologists have known for some time: that materials (including their durability and wear), when considered alongside other historical sources, help to democratise pasts (contra the top-down perspective of French historian Pierre Nora) and to collapse time on itself (so there is a presence of many times at once).

The lead section of the book (pp. 9-38) outlines the volume’s theoretical foundations and its approach. To achieve the collective goal, the editors and authors articulate five case studies, one each from Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and Tanzania. They build collages of evidence from architectural ruins, laboratory equipment from the 20th century, formal texts, field notes, interviews, and photographs. From this, they make narratives that are intended to elicit emotions about ‘progress’ and life-and-death in the tropics. The book is an interrogation of time and power, à la Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, a well-regarded book edited by Ann Laura Stoler.

The lieux de mémoire captured by the authors of Traces of the Future subverts Nora’s treatments by bringing into clear relief Africans’ expectations of modernity across a tumultuous period. In Traces, most interviewees frame colonial medicine as a failed intervention. In many ways, the overall volume is illustrative of “dark heritage”. Its primarily visual orientation, including numerous glossy colour photographs, helps the reader to understand medical research and bioethics in Africa during the period from the 1940s to the1960s. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the chapters motivate the audience to reflect in affective ways on the roles that states, institutions, and scientists (may) play in past and future vulnerabilities.

The chapter on Amani Hill Research Station in northeast Tanzania addresses how the site’s roles and representations of it have been appropriated and negotiated through time up to the present. From 1902 onward, the Amani facility was shaped by German, French, Soviet, East African, and then Tanzanian influences and interests. Past African participants and their descendants hold conflicting memories of it as a symbol of potential decolonised futures where Africanised medicine was anticipated to better meet the needs of patients and citizens. Images of dilapidated buildings and objects – as if frozen in time – in ruined laboratories at Amani accompany documents intended to elicit emotion and stir reflection in the reader. As the authors demonstrate well, material traces carry forward glimpses of stories to be renegotiated in present and future circumstances. These traces also often become the subject of rumour and innuendo.

The editors and authors of this chapter and the whole volume accomplish their goals, but there are also some concerning discordances and absences. It is worth considering whether the text treats objects as the perfect postcolonial subject, in that materials are interpreted in a way that validates the interpretations of Western-trained scholars. Why, instead, is there not a more substantial engagement meaningfully linking materials to people? The two primary types of sources – materials and oral reflections – in most instances seem to be overly disconnected rather than more fully entangled. Does this tendency in practice replicate a colonial gaze instead of critiquing it?

Two other observations deserve mention. It is unfortunate that the book does not quote more from archaeologists who work in Africa, and especially Africans who are archaeologists. There is a substantial global literature on entanglements among materials, memories, temporalities, and futures authored by archaeologists, including Shannon Lee Dawdy, Joost Fontein, Webber Ndoro, Ferdinand De Jong, and Alfredo González-Ruibal. Secondly, it is interesting that the historians and anthropologists who guide the volume promote “being with the past”. Archaeologists have long practised their craft in this manner. They work on landscapes, interact with people and materials, and so forth, while historians have tended to remain in archives, often never visiting the places or communities which they write about.

In fact, “archaeology” was considered a bad word among historians decades ago, including in the History Department at the University of Dar es Salaam. To Marxist historians there, archaeology was not considered a topic that engaged the present and future needs of Tanzanians. Moreover, in general archaeology was treated as a handmaiden to history. During the last two decades, historians and cultural anthropologists have begun to recognise the importance of materials to remake historical interpretations and representations from more inclusive perspectives.

In Traces of the Future, colonial science and its future orientation take on new meanings under changed circumstances in five areas of the continent. Under the deft artistry of the editors and authors, readers will realise the potential role of contemporary archaeology to dig deep in an era of disenchantment.
Jonathan R. Walz

Jonathan R. Walz, PhD, is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair at the SIT-Graduate Institute in Vermont, USA. His scholarly interests include the history and anthropology of eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean. He is currently stationed in Zanzibar, where he leads graduate and undergraduate programmes on human livelihoods, coastal ecology, and climate change.

Also noticed: THE SWAHILI WORLD. Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette (edi
tors). Routledge, London and New York, 2018. xxv + 672 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-138-91346-2. £136.

Let me begin by declaring an interest: I received a copy of this doorstopper because I contributed one of its numerous chapters. I’ll therefore confine this unsolicited notice to a broad outline of its contents and a few additional observations.

According to the publisher’s enthusiastic blurb, “The Swahili World presents the fascinating story of a major world civilisation, exploring the archaeology, history, linguistics, and anthropology of the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. It covers a 1,500-year sweep of history, from the first settlement of the coast to the complex urban tradition found there today. […] This is the first volume to explore the Swahili in chronological perspective. Each chapter offers a unique wealth of detail on an aspect of the region’s past, written by the leading scholars on the subject. The result is a book that allows both specialist and non-specialist readers to explore the diversity of the Swahili tradition, how Swahili society has changed over time, as well as how our understandings of the region have shifted since Swahili studies first began.” And that’s just an extract.

The introductory chapter by the editors, archaeologists Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette, is followed by 55 others. Part I, “Environment, background and Swahili historiography”, comprises seven chapters including discussions of Swahili identity, genetic ancestry, and the early history of the Swahili language. Part II, “The Swahili Age”, is divided into sections on “Origins and early emporia”, “Swahili urbanism”, “Daily life”, “Trade and connectivity”, “Objects of exchange”, and “Swahili architecture”. While some of the 36 chapters in this part of the book are thematic, others deal with particular locations, including different settlements on the Tanzanian coast and islands. The third and final part, “The early modern and modern Swahili coast”, includes 12 chapters, divided between sections on “Colonial domination and the rise of Zanzibar” and “The contemporary coast”.

The Swahili World is one of a series of such tomes in the “Routledge Worlds” series. The publication of large multi-authored collections of this kind is a growing trend. Although the original recommended retail price was a wallet-shrinking £170, new hardback copies can now be bought online at not much over a third of this price, and the e-book is cheaper still. This is still a lot of money, and I must admit that one of my incentives for contributing to volumes like this is so that I don’t have to pay for them. The book was actually in my hands at the start of November 2017: Routledge, like other commercial publishers, have adopted the annoying practice of forward-dating so that their books seem to be hot off the press even as they are cooling down. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading it.

Martin Walsh
Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

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OBITUARIES

by Ben Taylor

Ruge Matahaba
Media and entertainment entrepreneur, Ruge Mutahaba, died in a South African hospital in February at the age of 49, following kidney failure. Officially, Ruge was Director of Strategy and Programmes Development at Clouds Media Group, but he was much more than this. He had played a leading role in transforming the popular music and entertainment industry in Tanzania over the past two decades.

Ruge co-founded Clouds Media with his long-time collaborator and business partner, Joseph Kusaga. The new radio station arrived into a music scene dominated by decades-old Tanzanian classics and stars and their music imported from the DRC or USA, and up-ended it. Ruge promoted local acts, enabling young Tanzanians to develop a musical style and culture of their own. Bongo Flava may draw heavily on American hip-hop, but it combines this with elements from taarab and dansi music as well as the creativity and imagination of street Swahili to create something uniquely and recognisably Tanzanian.

Ruge didn’t invent the style, but he enabled it to flourish. And with Ruge at the helm, Tanzanian youth culture became cool again. As social and political commentator, Elsie Eyakuze, notes, “we youth went from being nobodies to a real demographic with a voice and power. And all this because one young man decided to dedicate his entire life-force to what he loved and to do it in the country he loved. That’s why nowadays anything youth is possible.”

“We believed there was room for us to make some money in the most unconventional ways, and to promote local content because some young men had started making music,” Ruge said. Besides Clouds Media, Ruge played influential roles in establishing the Fiesta concert series, Primetime Promotions, the Smooth Vibes record label, the Sauti za Busara festival, the Fursa campaign, and Tanzania House of Talent.

Ruge Mutahaba was born in Berkeley, California in 1970. He studied primary school in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, before progressing to Forodhani Secondary for O-level and Pugu High School for A–level studies. He later joined San Jose University of California for degrees in marketing and finance.

Perhaps the best evidence of Ruge’s impact on popular culture in Tanzania is to witness the response to his death. Thousands lined the streets in mourning, first in Dar es Salaam and later in Bukoba when his body returned from South Africa.

“It is with great sadness that I received the news on the passing of my son Ruge Mutahaba,” said President John Magufuli on Twitter. “I will forever remember him for his huge contribution in the media and entertainment industry as well as his efforts in mentoring the youth. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said he was at a loss for words. “My heart bleeds and is filled with sadness after receiving news on the death of Ruge Mutahaba. The nation has lost a young visionary and patriot. He helped me during and even after my presidency. May he rest in peace,” Kikwete posted on Twitter.

“I do not like small dreams, I like big dreams,” Mutahaba said while delivering a lecture at University of Dodoma. “You need to be aggressive and please do not stop until you are a star.”

Hatim Amir Karimjee
It is with profound sadness that the Karimjee Jivanjee family announce the passing of Hatim Amir Karimjee on 12 January, 2019 at the age of 73, in London, England, surrounded by family and close friends. He was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania on 27 July, 1945 to the late Amir Yusufali Karimjee O.B.E and the late Kulsum Amir Karimjee.

Hatim leaves behind a deep-rooted legacy of professional and philanthropic achievements honouring his family, his community, and his country. Hatim will be deeply missed and forever cherished by his wife, Razia, his son, Yusuf, his daughter-in-law Aran, his adored grandchildren Kaleem and Danyal, and his two siblings, Zamy and Mahmood Karimjee.

He will be greatly remembered for his generosity, his sharp wit and booming spirit; his appreciation of art, and his fervent love for food, wine and travel. Hatim’s appetite for life will live on through those who knew and loved him.
Hafiz Khandwala

Peter Le Mare
Soil scientist, woodworker, yoghurt maker, occasional needleworker and environmentalist, Peter Le Mare, has died aged 95. Peter worked on the Tanganyika groundnut scheme at Kongwa in the 1940s, initially living and working in tents until houses were built.

When the scheme, intended to supply vegetable oil for the UK’s post-war diet, folded in 1952, Peter moved to Uganda, before returning to Tanzania in 1963. Peter worked on fertiliser use for tropical soils at Ukiriguru, where, in 1965, he had the honour of escorting President Julius Nyerere, for whom he had great respect, around the research plots.

Peter went to Friends’ school, Saffron Walden, in Essex, and Leighton Park school, Reading. A conscientious objector during the second world war, he was instructed to “work full-time on the land”. He went first to Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, where he assisted with field experiments to improve soil fertility and the wartime production of food.

In 1945 he began working at the ICI Research Station near Bracknell, Berkshire, where he met Joy Smallwood, a horticulturalist. They married in 1946, before moving to east Africa the following year. While there, Peter sailed on Lake Victoria in a dinghy he had built himself and climbed Kilimanjaro.

The family returned to the UK in 1969 where, back at Rothamsted, Peter wrote his PhD based on his overseas work. In 1973 he became a research fellow at Reading University specialising in tropical food crops.
Margaret Le Mare

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