Archive for Issue 124

EDUCATION

by Naomi Rouse

Tanzanian schools face shortage of 80,000 teachers
Deputy Minister of State, Mr Waitara responded to questioning from a Mwanga District CCM representative about how the government plans to fill the acute shortage of teachers in his District. Mr Waitara said that the country is currently short of 66,000 primary teachers and 44,000 secondary school teachers, and that during May 4,549 new teachers had been recruited, of which 26 were assigned to Mwanga District.

According to UNESCO, Tanzania is among the top ten countries with teacher shortages, and needs to recruit 406,600 teachers by 2030. (The Citizen)

National Examination Council of Tanzania releases 2019 Form Six results
91,298 candidates registered for the exam, of which 42% were female and 58% were male.

The pass rate had gone up by 0.74% from 97.6% in 2018 to 98.3% in 2019.
Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Tabora and Coast Regions continued to take the top slots, with regulars Feza Boys, Feza Girls, Kibaha Secondary School and Tabora Boys appearing in the top 10 list of schools.

Seven of the 10 worst performing schools in the country are in Zanzibar and Mara. (The Citizen)

What do Tanzanian parents want from primary schools and what can be done about it?
A new survey from Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE) shows that distance to school and exam results are significantly more important to parents than the pupil-teacher ratio and desk avail­ability, when selecting a primary school for their children. The research outlines the importance of better understanding parental preferences, as these preferences influence accountability pressures on government.

Parents were asked to make a choice of school based on information about the school’s pass rates, class sizes and infrastructure in order to see whether parents would theoretically be prepared to walk further to access better quality education.

Major findings of the survey are that average exam score and proximity are significantly more important in household decision-making than the pupil teacher ratio and desk availability. Parents’ willingness to walk for learning outcomes – their trade-off between distance and quality – also varies significantly by region.

Each school was characterised by four features: distance from the respondent’s home, learning outcomes, pupil-teacher ratio, and avail­ability of desks (a measure of infrastructure quality). Hypothetical schools’ characteristics were then randomly chosen from the following options:
• Distance from home in kilometres: 1 km, 4 km, or 7 km;
• Average Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE) score, out of a total of 250 possible points: 80, 140, or 200;
• Pupil to teacher ratio: 30, 60, or 90;
• Number of available desks: all students have desks, desks in every classroom but students must share, or some classrooms do not have
desks.

Each respondent with primary-aged children was presented with deci­sion tasks comprising a pair of hypothetical schools with attributes drawn at random from the above distributions. For example, in one choice task a respondent might be asked to choose between a school that is 4 kilometres away, with 30 pupils per teacher and shared desks, and an average PSLE score of 140, as compared with a school that is 1 kilometre away, with 60 pupils per teacher and some classrooms that do not have desks, and an average PSLE score of 80. Respondents made two such choices, and information from across these parental decisions is aggregated to estimate representative preferences.

On average, parents are willing to send their children an extra 1.16 km for a school that scores 10 points more on average on the PSLE.

The findings suggest scope for investments in the performance of existing schools over the expansion of the stock of schools, in order to promote grade completion and learning; these are trade-offs that policy-makers must weigh in the application of a finite budget to these goals.

There was significant regional variation. Households in Mara, for example, reveal a willingness to walk 1.86 km for an improvement of 10 points in average exam score. At the other end of the spectrum, respondents in Pwani reveal they are only willing to walk 0.64 km for the same improvement. Parents’ relative weight on learning outcomes versus school construction varies by nearly a factor of three across regions.

Willingness to walk also varies among other characteristics. For exam­ple, urban households are willing to travel 1.41 km for a 10-point improvement, while rural households are only willing to travel 1.08 km for the same improvement. Households with fewer children are willing to travel farther than households with more children, as are households with more male students than females.

Strong parental preferences for education quality are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for effective ‘bottom-up’ accountability in situ­ations where choice mechanisms do not operate.
Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE)

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HEALTH

by Ben Taylor

Precautions in place as Ebola outbreak spread in eastern DRC

DRC affected health zones and ebola cases as of July 31, 2019; Uganda cases as of June 21, 2019 – Information from Reuters

Dr Faustine Ndugulile, the Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, said the government has taken measures to install scanners in all entry points including airports and borders to prevent Ebola from entering the country.

More than 1,800 people have died and more than 2,700 have been infected in the latest outbreak of Ebola in central Africa, which began in August 2018. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the crisis a public health emergency of international concern.

The outbreak is the second-largest in the history of the virus. It follows the 2013-16 epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people. It took 224 days for the number of cases to reach 1,000, but just a further 71 days to reach 2,000. About 12 new cases are being reported every day.

“The government has embarked on training to health personnel to pro­vide them expertise on how to attend such patients,” said the Minister. “Surveillance systems have been set at the borders and airports. Motor vehicles from outside the country will be tracked, and isolation centres, laboratory systems and tourist monitoring systems have been put in place to ensure the country is ready for the fight against the disease,” he added.

The current 12-month epidemic began in the eastern region of Kivu in the DR Congo and cases have since been reported in neighbouring Ituri.

A case in late July in the border transport hub of Goma is of particular concern to authorities, as it is the first case in the city to be confirmed as transmission within the city. The two previous cases were patients who travelled to Goma after contracting the disease elsewhere. It is far harder to isolate patients and trace contacts in major cities, where large populations live in close proximity. Goma also adjoins the city of Gisenyi in Rwanda, and people travel between the two places every day.

Rwanda has stepped up border monitoring and has urged its citizens to avoid “unnecessary” travel to DR Congo, while some 2,600 health workers had also been vaccinated. Ugandan health officials are also screening travellers at the border to check their temperature and dis­infect their hands, and some mass gatherings including market days and prayers have been cancelled. Three people died in Uganda in June, though the country has since been declared Ebola-free.

The WHO, however, stressed that no country should close its borders or place any restrictions on travel or trade, adding that the risk of the disease spreading outside the region was not high. WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “we need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system.”

The fatality rate from Ebola is high – up to 90%, according to the WHO, and there is no proven cure as yet. However, rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids and the treatment of specific symptoms can improve survival – especially if the virus is caught early.

A multiple drug trial is currently under way in DR Congo to fully evaluate effectiveness, according to the WHO. An experimental vaccine, which proved highly protective in a major trial in Guinea in 2015, has now been given to more than 130,000 people in DR Congo, and thou­sands of health workers across the region have also been vaccinated.
(BBC, Al Jazeera, The Citizen)


Dengue fever outbreak

An outbreak of dengue fever, centred on Dar es Salaam, has caused widespread concerns and prompted a concerted government response.

“Dengue fever is here,” confirmed the Deputy Minister, Dr Faustine Ndugulile, in April. “We have started diagnosing some people, who suffered from the disease in Dar and Tanga regions. So I would like to advise health service providers to test patients, who, if diagnosed with the disease, should be provided with proper treatment,” he added.
By mid-May, the Ministry had confirmed 1,901 people had been diag­nosed with the fever since it was first reported in January this year, 95% of whom are in Dar es Salaam.

Chief Medical Officer Prof Muhammad Kambi said the government has also increased surveillance in other regions, which have not been hit by the viral disease. He further said the government has ordered more test kits with capable of diagnosing 30,000 patients.

Dar es Salaam Regional Medical Officer Dr Yudas Ndungile said the regional authorities have taken various measures to fight the disease, citing destruction of mosquito breeding sites and public awareness about the disease particularly in the hardest-hit wards.

By July, the number of cases had dropped significantly, aided by end of the rainy season: 2,759 cases were recorded in May, which fell to 790 in June. Four cases were reported to have resulted in fatalities.

The disease is caused by Aedes Egypt mosquito that bites in daylight and harboured in stagnant water. (The Citizen)

Unsafe abortion: A silent killer of young women
Abortion in Tanzania is illegal. This makes it harder for girls and women to get access to safe abortion. Despite this, women still find their own ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Women use various methods including herbs and sharp instruments.

The problem of unsafe induced abortion is reflected in hospital statis­tics, which show significant numbers of alleged miscarriage. Given the legal restrictions associated with abortion, it is difficult to obtain reliable information on its prevalence and to assess the magnitude of the mor­bidity and mortality associated with it.

Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, 16 percent of maternal deaths are due to complications from abortion.

Further, in a nationally representative study of the incidence of abor­tion and the provision of post-abortion care in Tanzania, researchers found that clandestine abortion is common and is a major contributor to maternal death and injury. Tanzania’s national abortion rate—36 per 1,000 women of reproductive age—is similar to that in other East African countries.

The Penal code provisions on termination of pregnancy are frequently misunderstood as a total prohibition on abortion. Under section 230, it is stated that termination of pregnancy is lawful where it is done to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman. Nevertheless, any person who assists in an illegal abortion breaks the law, including the pregnant woman herself, anyone who assists her to procure an illegal abortion, and the supplier who provides drugs or equipment used to induce an illegal abortion.

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SPORT

by Philip Richards

Taifa Stars disappoint at AFCON 2019
The national team’s appearance at the AFCON finals in Egypt failed to live up to optimistic expectations as they went crashing out at the first-round stage conceding 7 goals and only scoring two, the latter com­ing in their 3-2 defeat to rivals Kenya. Team captain Mbwana Samatta conceded that “our best is not good enough. We still have a long way to go. It’s not good enough at all for this level.” Other well-known com­mentators such as ex-South African international Shaun Bartlett was quoted (Daily News, 5/7/19) as saying that too many defensive mistakes were made and that the team need to learn how to re-group quickly after losing the ball. Despite having little time to prepare – a 20 team domestic league was still competing up to the end of May and there was only one pre-AFCON friendly – the axe fell swiftly on coach Emmanuel Amunike shortly after the Stars’ exit from the tournament. Tanzanian Football Federation held an emergency meeting to announce Etienne Ndayiragije, the Burundian coach of Azam FC, to take up the role on an interim basis.

Tokyo Olympics 2020

The Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) and the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese city of Nagai to host Team Tanzania in preparing for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Japanese city will provide various training facilities and programmes. However, it was reported (Daily News, 2/8/19) that this is as “wake up call” for Tanzanian athletes to earn qualification for the Games as only a small number have already done so.

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

by Donovan McGrath

Tanzania caught in a spiral

Fishermen pull up the nets in waters off Dar es Salaam in September 2018. Photo: Peter Caton/The Observer


(Guardian UK) Illegal operations and overfishing are taking a toll despite rich seas. Extract continues: .. According to global species database FishBase, Tanzania has some of the world’s richest fishing grounds … Tanzania should not need to import fish, but overfishing is depleting stocks, rais­ing prices and threatening food security. “It is a disgrace for a country like Tanzania to import fish, while there are plenty of species that could meet fish demand in the country,” says Abdullah Ulega, deputy minister for livestock and fisheries. Despite the number of fishing boats increasing by nearly 20% in five years to 66,000, the country recorded a sharp decline in catches, from 390,000 tonnes a year on average, to 360,000 tonnes in 2017, says the government… Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by artisan, commercial and deep-sea fishing is thought to be taking as much as 20% of the country’s fish, costing the economy $400m a year, says the UN… The easiest method used by illegal fishers is “blast fishing”, using dynamite or homemade bottle bombs made from fertiliser and kerosene. A single explosion can kill as much as 400kg of fish in a radius of 30.4 metres, worth up to $1,800, but will also destroy the reef. California-based conservationist group Sea Shepherd Global is now working with Tanzanian government agencies to patrol Indian Ocean waters with a new 55km/h cutter-class ship, the Ocean Warrior… (21 September 2018) Thanks to Rev J R & Mrs M W Bowen for this item

‘It’s God’s plant’ – the man who dreams of chickens
(Guardian Weekly UK) A US mega-farm, a Christian backer and an industrial producer are trying to reform central Africa’s food market. Extract continues:
… Tyson, the world’s second-largest food company, has set up with Irvine’s, Africa’s oldest industrial chicken producer. With the backing of a devout Christian businessman, Donnie Smith, the three partners aim to revolutionise food production in Central Africa and “save” people from hunger by growing chickens on an American scale… “Why Africa? The need is tremendous. I have travelled in sub-Saharan Africa and in the largest population centres you see fairly rapid progress, but [not] in rural areas. All my experience tells me that God wants me to work in Africa,” [says Smith]… Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for unchecked corporate concentration and the pollution and potential animal welfare problems that have plagued production in Europe and the US? Yes, says the Tanzanian government, which struggles to feed its fast-urbanising population and is a target for chicken imports from Europe and Brazil. . . “Definitely we are ready,” says Rose Sweya, a young Dar es Salaam chicken farmer who is eager to buy thousands of Donnie’s day-old Cobbs to fatten up. Her company, Kingchick, is investing heavily in four poultry farms and a processing plant… (11 January 2019) Thanks to Rev J R & Mrs M W Bowen for this item

Why is an African chief’s skull mentioned in the Versailles Treaty?
(BBC UK – online) Extract: The Treaty of Versailles, signed exactly a century ago, reshaped Europe in the wake of World War One. So why, within its many hundreds of clauses, does the treaty refer to the decapi­tated head of an African anti-colonial hero? Extract continues: Chief Mkwawa’s skull now sits on a plinth, protected by a glass box, in a tiny museum in a small town in central Tanzania. But like a trophy, it once adorned the house of a colonial official in Germany’s administrative centre in Bagamoyo, before being spirited away to Germany at some point at the beginning of the 20th Century. The skull was used as a sym­bol to intimidate the Wahehe people, who the chief had led in a fierce rebellion against the German colonisers. So successful was his campaign in the 1890s that a bounty was put on his head by the Germans. He is believed to have taken his own life in 1898, rather than submit to the humiliation of being captured, as he sheltered in a cave that was encircled by German soldiers… The Treaty of Versailles … detailed the reparations Germany had to pay for starting the conflict … And so under a section headed “special provisions” and sandwiched between demands from France and Belgium sits article 246: “Within six months. . . Germany will hand over to His Britannic Majesty’s Government the skull of the Sultan Mkwawa, which was removed from the Protectorate of German East Africa and taken to Germany.” However, the skull was not returned within six months – it took another 35 years for this to happen… At the ceremony that saw the return of the skull to Kalenga, [British governor Edward] Twining did not dwell on the chief’s anti­colonial credentials, instead speaking of honour being restored and how he felt the skull had come back to the Wahehe as a source of protection. But then he struck his bargain: “I hope too that you and your people will continue to give your unstinted loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs and successors.” For Twining that loyalty extended to fighting in Britain’s colonial force known as the King’s African Rifles (KAR) – a military and security unit that was recruited from East Africa… While at one time colonialists may have hoped Chief Mkwawa’s skull would help curry favour, it served as a symbol for an independent and proud Tanzania – and still sits in its own museum in Kalenga… (28 June 2019)

Tanzania’s President Magufuli shops with basket after plastic bag ban
(BBC UK – online) Extract: Tanzanian President John Magufuli has made a surprise visit to a fish market sporting a wicker basket in a move to support a new plastic ban. It is unusual for a man to carry a shopping basket in Tanzania, especially someone of the president’s status. His defiance of convention is likely to give more weight to the ban … Those found with plastic bags now face fines of up to $87 (£68) or up to seven days in jail, local media reports. For anyone caught manufacturing or importing plastic bags, the fine could be $430,000 or up to two years in prison. Tanzania is one of more than 30 African countries to have brought in a ban on single-use plastic. Travellers arriving in Tanzania – a tourist hotspot – are now being asked to surrender plastic bags at the airport… “In a few years time the country will be safe from the effects of plastic bags,” the president said… (4 June 2019)


Tanzania row over wig and hair extension tax

(BBC UK – online) Extract: A row has broken out in Tanzania over the government’s decision to impose a tax on wigs and hair extensions. Many male and some female MPs applauded and thumped their desks in approval when Finance Minister Philip Mpango announced the tax in parliament. Supporters of the levy say it will help women keep their hair natural. But there has also been public outrage, with women say­ing they are being punished for wanting to look good in wigs and hair extensions. Tanzanians tend to uphold traditional values, but society is changing and many women now wear wigs and extensions … In his budget speech in parliament … Mr Mpango announced a 25% tax on imported wigs and hair extensions and a 10% tax on those made locally as part of a series of measures aimed at increasing government revenue… Mr Mpango also scrapped the exemption on value added tax placed on sanitary towels, saying consumers had not benefited as businesses did not reduce prices when it was introduced. Opposition MP Upendo Peneza said she would campaign against the removal of the exemption, adding that the government should push businesses to lower their prices… (14 June 2019)

Murder, rape and claims of contamination at a Tanzanian goldmine
(Guardian UK – online) Police and guards at North Mara have been accused of killing dozens — possibly hundreds — of locals. Extract continues: When safari tourists drive to the Serengeti national park in Tanzania, few realise they are passing one of the world’s most conten­tious goldmines… Welcome to North Mara, one of the biggest mines in Tanzania, which since 2006 has been operated by London-listed Acacia Mining and predominantly owned by the world’s biggest goldmining company, Barrick, a Toronto-based firm that holds a 63.9% stake. For the past two decades, this mine has been a place of danger, extreme violence and allegations of environmental contamination. Although Tanzania is nominally at peace, over the years police and security guards have been accused of killing dozens — possibly hundreds — of local people, injuring many more and raping countless women. There have also been reports of contamination from mining chemicals, but journalists and human rights activists who have tried to investigate these cases have sometimes found themselves the subject of intimida­tion, harassment and even threats of deportation from police and state authorities. Acacia says it is not involved in any crackdown on the media and it promotes transparency. Since a legal challenge in 2015, the company has worked with authorities to improve the human rights situation. It erected walls in some areas, enhanced staff training, and put in place a grievance system. But an investigation by the Guardian and its partners in the Forbidden Stories journalism collective has been told violence continues — albeit at a lower level — while the health prob­lems associated with possible chemical pollution remain a concern… (18 June 2019)

‘It could change everything’: coin found off northern Australia may be from pre-1400 Africa
(Guardian UK – online) Experts believe they may have found a Kilwa coin that could change what we know about the history of global trade. Extract continues: … [B]usy I-Med radiology clinic in Darwin is shiny and quiet … But then an archaeologist and a historian turn up, bringing with them a curious patient whose identity is unknown, but who may be 1,000 years old and could rewrite Australian history. The “patient” is a small copper coin found by archaeologist Mike Hermes on a field trip to the Wessel Islands, off north-east Arnhem Land, last year. He believes it to be a coin from Kilwa, more than 10,000km away in what is now known as Tanzania, dating from before the 15th century… [T]he find was no accident. The Past Masters [a group of historians, archae­ologists, anthropologists, numismatists (coin experts), geochronologists and other experts who investigate historical anomalies] were following the path of Morry Isenberg, an RAAF radar operator who discovered five Kilwa coins when he was stationed briefly on nearby Marchinbar Island in 1945. Isenberg rediscovered the coins stashed away in a match­box tin 40 years later, and they were handed over to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney… How the coins got to this part of the world is a … perplexing mystery. “Kilwa coins have only been found in Kilwa, the Arabian peninsula and the Wessel Islands,” Hermes says. “It is a puzzling distribution.” [Historian Mike] Owen offers a few theories. It could indicate contact between Indigenous Australians and traders from Kilwa 700 years ago. The Wessel Islands were probably not the intended destination for the coins. There was trade between Kilwa and China, and possibly those traders were blown off course or escaping from pirates. Perhaps there was a shipwreck. But he says the most likely scenario is that the Portuguese, who looted Kilwa in 1505, went on to set foot on Australian shores, bringing the coins with them. “The Portuguese were in Timor in 1514, 1515 — to think they didn’t go three more days east with the monsoon wind is ludicrous,” Hermes says. So what does the potential discovery of a coin minted 500 years before James Cook’s arrival, and more than 300 years before the Dutch, mean for the pre-European history of Australia? Numismatist Peter Lane says if this is a Kilwa coin, it adds an interesting dimension to Australia’s early history… (11 May 2019)

President Urges Tanzania’s Women to ‘Set Ovaries Free’, Have More Babies to Boost Economy
(New York Times USA – online) Extract: … “When you have a big popula­tion you build the economy. That’s why China’s economy is so huge,” [President John Magufuli] said … citing India and Nigeria as other examples of countries that gained from a demographic dividend. “I know that those who like to block ovaries will complain about my remarks. Set your ovaries free, let them block theirs,” he told a gather­ing in his home town of Chato. Since taking office in 2015, Magufuli has launched an industrialization campaign that has helped buoy economic growth, which has averaged 6.7% annually in recent years. But he has said a higher birth rate would achieve faster progress… UNFPA [U.N. population fund] says about a third of married women in Tanzania use contraceptives, but Magufuli has criticized Western-backed fam­ily planning programs implemented by the health ministry. Last year, Magufuli said curbing the birth rate was “for those too lazy to take care of their children”, and the health ministry barred broadcasting of family planning ads by a U.S.-funded project. While Tanzania’s poverty rate
– people living on less than $1 a day – has declined to about 26% as of 2016, the absolute number of poor citizens has not because of the high population growth rate, according to the World Bank. Opposition lead­ers in Tanzania have criticized Magufuli’s stance, saying the country’s already rapid population growth is a time bomb … (10 July 2019)

Tanzania Says Does Not Know Whether Missing Journalist Is Dead or Alive
(New York Times USA – online) Extract: Tanzania does not know whether a missing journalist who disappeared two years ago while investigating a series of murders of police and ruling party officials is dead or alive, the country’s foreign minister was quoted . . . as saying. Activists have cited Azory Gwanda’s disappearance as a sign of worsening conditions for journalists under President John Magufuli’s government, which they accuse of cracking down on press freedom by suspending newspapers. The government denies the allegations. . . New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the Tanzanian government of failing to launch a credible investigation into Gwanda’s fate after he disap­peared on November 21, 2017… (11 July 2019)

A fish called Wakanda: New purple fish honours ‘Black Panther’

Wakanda fish


(CNN USA – online) Extract: Although the nation of Wakanda exists only in the Marvel Comics universe, where it is superhero Black Panther’s home, researchers believe they have found a version of it underwater. And here, 260 feet below the surface in secretive reefs, the warriors accented with vibrant purple are fish. Previously unknown, the fish species lives in dark coral reefs, called “Twilight Zone” reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. The fish are known as fairy wrasses… Their scales are so deeply pigmented that the deep purple remains during the preservation process, when colour is usually lost. The fish were discovered by scientists participating in the California Academy of Sciences’ Hope for Reefs initiative, which aims to research and restore coral reef systems… The fish were named Cirrhilabrus wakanda, or the vibranium fairy wrasse, in honour of Wakanda and “Black Panther.” “When we thought about the secretive and isolated nature of these unexplored African reefs, we knew we had to name this new species after Wakanda,” said Yi-Kai Tea, lead author of the new study and an ichthyology Ph.D. student from the University of Sydney… Up close, the pattern of the scales reminded the scientists of Black Panther’s vibranium suit and even the fabric worn by Wakandans in the “Black Panther” film… (11 July 2019)

Tanzania scolds US for alert warning of rumours of attacks
(AP News USA – online) Extract: Tanzania’s government has scolded the United States for issuing a terror alert warning American citizens about rumours of impending attacks in an area of Dar es Salaam popular with foreigners. A foreign ministry statement … says the alert created panic among some members of the public. It reminded the U.S. of “the importance of observing international diplomacy procedures.” … (21 June 2019)

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OBITUARIES

by Ben Taylor

Tanzanian billionaire, business mogul, author and philanthropist Reginald Mengi has died aged 75. From humble roots, Mr Mengi had grown a business empire spanning mining, consumer goods and the media, worth, according to Forbes Magazine, US$550 million.

The legend of Mengi’s rise is well-known, as he was not shy to tell the story regularly, including in his 2018 Memoire, I Can, I Must, I Will. He describes how he started life bedding down with the farm animals in a small hut, but made his way out of poverty via an accounting college in Glasgow. He took night classes and worked as a bus conductor and cleaner to pay his way. He got a job as an accountant with PwC and was posted first to Nairobi then back home to Tanzania, in Dar es Salaam. By 1989, when he left the firm, he had risen to the role of Chairman and Managing Partner.

In an interview with Forbes Magazine in 2014, Mengi describes how the want of a pen sparked his mind on the way to his fortune. Amid wide­spread shortages of basic supplies in the 1980s, he had spent a whole day searching the streets of Dar es Salaam for a pen when he ran into a friend who knew someone, who knew someone else, who could export pen parts to Tanzania. He assembled them on his bedroom floor. “That little business gave me my first million dollars,” said Mengi.

The extent to which such stories were exaggerated as part of the man­agement of his public profile is unclear, but it is also said that Mengi’s first marriage, into a well-connected family in his home region of Kilimanjaro, helped move his career and business along considerably.

Today, his flagship IPP Limited owns several newspapers including The Guardian and Nipashe as well as several TV and Radio stations includ­ing the country’s leading TV station, ITV. He pioneered independent media in Tanzania when state monopolies were relaxed in the 1990s. The company also has interests in a number of Coca-Cola’s bottlers and bottles its own brand of water, Kilimanjaro Drinking Water. At the time of his death, Mengi was planning to expand into vehicle assembly for Hyundai, Kia and Daewoo cars in East Africa, as well as mobile phone manufacturing.

Mengi was also one of Tanzania’s most prominent philanthropists. He gave away large sums – reportedly millions of dollars every year – to Tanzanian educational, medical and religious institutions. Through this, and with the assistance of the highly visible presence he was able to command through his own media outlets, he had become a very popular figure among Tanzanians, well known even outside business, media and political circles.

Rumours often circulated that Mengi had aspirations for a political career. His name was mentioned occasionally as an outside candidate for leadership within CCM, though this never materialised. Perhaps his occasionally outspoken remarks on environmental causes and good governance made it impossible. Or perhaps this was part of an astute business strategy: rumours of political ambitions could provide useful leverage in his dealings with government.

“I am shocked at the death of an elder and a friend Dr. Reginald Mengi,” said President Magufuli. “I will remember him for his immense contribution to the development of our country and for the words he wrote in his book. I offer my condolences to members of his family, IPP workers and the entire business community.”

Previously, the President had spoken at the launch of Mengi’s book. “One of the things that Mengi has showed us with his life is that it is possible to rise above one’s circumstances if one is willing to pay the price,” he said. “There is no shortcut to success. Mengi’s story is a wake-up call to young Africans to work hard and persevere despite of the odds,” he added.

Mengi is survived by his second wife, former beauty queen Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe Mengi, and four children.

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REVIEWS

by Martin Walsh

A NEW HISTORY OF TANZANIA. Isaria N. Kimambo, Gregory H. Maddox, Salvatory S. Nyanto. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2017. xviii + 224 pp. (paperback). ISBN. £22.00.

A History of Tanzania, the forerunner of the book under review here, appeared in 1969. Edited by Isaria Kimambo and Arnold Temu, it was emblematic of a rich vein of historical scholarship emerging from University College, Dar es Salaam, during the country’s first decade of independence. The editors argued that their book met a long-standing demand for a history of Tanzania, since “most of the fragmentary material in print has either ignored or distorted the history of the Africans themselves.” The so-called ‘Dar es Salaam School’ emphasised the responsibility for Africa’s historians to provide a ‘usable past’, as Terence Ranger later put it, for liberated peoples in an era of post-colonial nation-building. Introducing their book, Kimambo and Temu sounded a cau­tionary note. “As research continues and more information is unearthed”, they conceded, “it will be necessary to reinterpret, improve, and expand the views presented in this volume”.

Five decades on, A New History of Tanzania offers a timely update to the original volume, which is now out of print. The late Isaria Kimambo, who passed away last year, is here joined by Gregory Maddox, a professor at Texas Southern University in Houston, and Salvatory Nyanto, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam and doctoral student at the University of Iowa. They aim to provide an introduction to the history of Tanzania, in the space of a little more than two hundred pages – no easy task.

The book is divided into some twenty chapters, split into five sections. The first two deal with the development of societies in Tanzania to circa 1800, smashing old yet persistent myths by demonstrating the dynamism of migration and state formation in precolonial East Africa. The third section positions the nineteenth century as a period of transformation, as the region become more deeply connected with global processes of trade. Section four explores the German and then British occupations, African resistance to colonialism, and the rise of nationalism. The final part addresses the rise and fall of socialism in independent Tanzania, bringing the narrative to a close with the economic and political liberalisations of the 1980s and 1990s. The volume closes with reflec­tions from Nyanto on the evolving historiography of Tanzania, and the sources and methods that have underpinned it. Throughout the authors remain attentive to the regional and global dimensions to these processes of change: as Nyanto puts it, “Tanzania’s history has not occurred in splendid isolation” (p. 197). In writing this book, the authors have confronted several significant challenges. How to compress centuries of history of a vast area, populated by heterogene­ous peoples, into a single, concise volume? Which developments to foreground as the motors of historical change and which, though the subjects of whole monographs themselves, must be covered in a single paragraph or handful of sentences? Inevitably, this leads to difficult choices and some unevenness. It might be asked, though, as to whether the Maji Maji rebellion against German colonial rule might merit more than a single page, as it does here. There is also little said about Tanzania’s cultural history. Another challenge confronting the authors is the problem of synthesising into a single book the corpus of historiography on Tanzania, which has evolved and expanded in a range of directions since the publication of Kimambo and Temu’s original edited volume. Each chapter is helpfully accompanied by a short bibliography, offering guidance for further reading. Unfortunately, apart from Nyanto’s concluding essay, the selection tends towards earlier scholarship published in the 1960s and 1970s. While this attests to the longevity of some of this work – all too often overlooked by historians writing today – it does give parts of the text a somewhat dated feel, especially once the story encounters the rise of TANU and the nation-state. Finally, given the book is in part intended as a reference volume, it would have been helpful for it to have included an index. This remains, however, a useful book for newcomers to the rich past of the land that has become Tanzania.
George Roberts

George Roberts is a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He obtained his PhD from the University of Warwick in 2016. His interests include the contemporary history of East Africa and the global Cold War. He is presently completing a book manuscript on ‘revolutionary Dar es Salaam’ in the 1960s and 1970s, while also commencing postdoctoral research on decolo­nisation in Comoros.

THE TRAVAILS OF A TANZANIAN TEACHER. Karim F. Hirji. Daraja Press, Montreal, 2018. xvii + 227 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-988832-09-8. £2.88. (Free ebook: https://tanzanianteacher.pressbooks.com/)

When the Guyanese scholar and activist Walter Rodney published an article about ‘disengagement from imperialism’ in the first edition of the University of Dar es Salaam student periodical MajiMaji in 1971, few suspected that this was only the prelude to something much bigger. Rodney approached one of the members of the editorial board, a hitherto obscure Maths lecturer called Karim Hirji, and asked him to review the early chapters of his draft book. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa was published to great acclaim the following year.

In addition to reviewing Rodney’s work, Hirji also contributed to MajiMaji himself. His ‘School education and underdevelopment in Tanzania’ (1973) was a powerful empirical paper that chimed with Rodney’s idealism. The manifesta­tions of underdevelopment were a recurring theme in the writing of both men.

Four and a half decades after the first publication of Rodney’s magnum opus, Hirji reaffirmed his adherence to his idol’s revolutionary trajectory by publish­ing The Enduring Relevance of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (2017). The young Rodney and Hirji were together at the University of Dar es Salaam between 1966 to 1973 and shaped the radical milieu that academicians-cum-liberators such as John Garang and Yoweri Museveni were schooled in, along with other ardent members of the University Students’ Revolutionary Front (USARF) on The Hill in the early 1970s.

The retired Professor Hirji has recently released The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher. In this new work, as well as of exalting his former colleague, Hirji reminds us not bury the revolutionary socialist cause that he espoused. He has crammed this book full of facts and reminiscences, eleven chapters with numer­ous black and white photos of colleagues and students from the period 1969 to 1982, together newspaper headlines and excerpts, and a diary (timeline) of July 1972’s student upheavals at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Using first person narration and less of the jargon that he has employed elsewhere, this is an invigorating memoir of Hirji’s early life and teaching dedicated to his students and their causes at the various institutions he taught at in the socialist Tanzania of the 1970s. In the process, he demonstrates his utter discontent with the pedagogical underdevelopment of Tanzania since those times and the heyday of Rodney, and delivers a sharp critique of the discon­nected form of the current knowledge and skill delivery system in the country.

Hirji utterly abhors the contemporary spoon-feeding methodology that he sees as negating the critical nurturing of minds that his own teaching has always aimed at. Furthermore, his negative impressions of a visit to Zanzibar in 1971 are a stern reminder that it is too early to turn from the spirit of Rodney’s ideal­ism and his will to build a just society disentangled from the roots of imperial­ism and racism that have been imposed on it.

Hirji unapologetically skewers unpatriotic attitudes in his provocative yet immensely engaging prose. Like Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972), The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher is a book deserving our attention.
Ahmad Kipacha

Ahmad Kipacha graduated from the University of Dar es Salaam in 1994 with a Masters in Applied Linguistics, and received his PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London in 2005. He is currently Senior Lecturer at the School of Business Studies and Humanities of the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha (2012-), teaching courses in the humanities, research communication, leader­ship, ethics and governance. He has researched, published and taught on African culture and languages, religion and development, social entrepreneur­ship and innovation leadership.

CHOWEA: KIFAHAMU KIKAE LUGHA YA WAMAKUNDUCHI. Rukia
M. Issa. Intercolor Printers Zanzibar, Zanzibar, 2018. iii + 168 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9976-5241-0-9. (No price given.)

CHOWEA


As many of the readers of this bulletin will know, there’s more than one variety of Swahili. They include a string of old dialects, some of them barely cling­ing to life in scattered locations on the Indian Ocean coast and islands, from Somalia in the north to Mozambique in the south. Some of these, especially those spoken at the extremes of this distribution, are so different that they warrant classification as separate languages. Others, like the village-based vernaculars of rural Unguja (Zanzibar) island, shade imperceptibly into one another. The differences between all them, meanwhile, are being eroded by the spread of Standard Swahili and speech habits that were originally based on the parlance of Zanzibar town.

The good news is that after a long period of postcolonial fallow, research and writing on the Swahili dialects has been picking up, especially in Tanzania. One of the beneficiaries of this has been Kikae, “the old language” of Makunduchi, the village in south-east Unguja which is best known for its gloriously photo­genic, much-visited and now over-politicised Mwaka Kogwa or New Year festi­val. Although Kikae is already the subject of a full-length linguistic description (by Odile Racine-Issa) and two printed vocabularies (by Haji Chum and the scholars at the Baraza la Kiswahili la Zanzibar, BAKIZA), I was very pleased to find a copy of this new locally-published book by Rukia Issa in the Masomo Bookshop in Zanzibar.

As its title implies, Chowea: Kifahamu Kikae Lugha ya Wamakunduchi (‘Speak! Understand Kikae, the Language of the Makunduchi People’), is a primer of the local dialect, a kind of Teach-Yourself Kikae. This is a fascinat­ing addition to the literature, its most endearing feature being the focus of each chapter on a particular aspect of village life and the vocabulary associated with it. Beginning with greetings, it includes chapters on cooking and food, clothing and hairstyles, relationships and marriage, sickness and death, and much more besides. I especially like the sections on cultural themes that don’t often find their way into linguistic studies: insults, traditional medicine, and the vocabu­lary of the Mwaka Kogwa festival itself, to cite just a few.

I’ve written elsewhere about one of my favourites from the chapter on traditional medicine. This is the phrase “Jumba la ndege Mnana”, “The weaver bird’s nest” (literally “large house”), which is glossed “Likichomwa hufanywa mafusho na kufukizwa mgonjwa mwenye maradhi hasa yanayo ambatana na shetani”, “When burnt it produces healing vapours used to fumigate a sick person, especially someone with an illness associated with a posses­sory spirit” (p. 91). A subsequent exam­ple corrects and expands the phrase and illustrates its use: “Jumba lya ndege ya mnana kavu hutendwa mafuso ya wana. Jumba la ndege aina ya mnana lililo kavu hufanyiwa mafusho ya watoto” (p. 96). In other words, “The dry weaver bird’s nest produces medicinal fumes for treating children”.

Mnana is the name of the African or Eastern Golden Weaver, Ploceus sub­aureus. The subspecies aureoflavus is a highly gregarious and common bird on the island that typically builds a tightly-woven oval or spherical nest with grass or reed strips. Breeding can occur at any time of the year, and disused dry nests are presumably readily available. I’m unaware of any other record of their use for fumigation, or indeed similar practices being reported elsewhere, but stand to be corrected. This is just one example of a phrase in the book that has intrigued and left me wanting to know more.

I confess that I haven’t tried to use Chowea to learn Kikae, not yet anyway. But I’m certainly hooked on its lexical delights. It’s wonderful to see this kind of work being published locally. The only downside is that books like this are difficult to obtain outside of Tanzania, and in this case, Zanzibar. It is, however, worth making the effort, not least because publishers in the country are strug­gling to stay afloat in the face of recent regulatory impositions. Along with enterprising authors and self-publishers like Rukia Issa, they need as much help and encouragement as they can get.

Martin Walsh
Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs and has drawn part of this review from his East African Notes and Records blog.

Also noticed in Zanzibar:

THE WORLD OF KISWAHILI LANGUAGE: ULIMWENGU WA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Amir Ali Mohammed. Medu Press, Zanzibar, 2019. ii + 57 pp. (paperback). (No ISBN number or price given.)
This is the latest booklet from a prolific local author whose Zanzibar Ghost Stories (first published 2000; 2nd edition 2006) is perhaps his best-known work. It’s a short introduction to Swahili, written partly in the form of a phrase book for tourists, but also including an entertaining section of Swahili proverbs and their rather free English translations. I found this on sale in Gizenga Street where the genial Amir Mohammed can usually be found sitting in the same spot in the late afternoons.

JOZANI NATURAL FOREST: ZANZIBAR TREASURES IN WILD.
Yusuf H. Kombo. Zanzibar, 2017 (revised edition). vii + 28 pp. (paperback).
ISBN 978-9976-89-827-9. (No price given.)
KUNGA ZA MANYAKANGA. Yusuf H. Kombo. Zanzibar, 2018. vii + 28 pp.
(paperback). ISBN 978-9976-89-827-9. (No price given.)

Yusuf Kombo, a Bangor-trained forester and Zanzibari herbalist, is another prolific author and publisher of his own booklets. I found both of these on sale at the reception desk of Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park. The first, which was originally published in 2014, describes 46 plant species and their local medicinal uses, some of which come with warnings to the effect that they must only be prescribed by experienced practitioners. The second booklet is a novel about traditional girls’ initiation, the “teaching of the instructors” referred to in its title. More information about these and other publications by Yusuf Kombo can be found on the many blog sites that he has begun.
Martin Walsh

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