“Journey through Tanzania” by Amin, Willetts and Marshall : Bodley Head,
Price £19-95, 192 pages, size 13″ x l0”.

This is a really fascinating book and long overdue, because I do not believe there has ever been a book of this large size on Tanzania. In a way it is all the more welcome because it does not dwell on Tanzania’s economic plight, or the difficulties faced by her people day by day. In the Britain-Tanzania Society we are constantly concerned about these problems and sometimes can lose sight of what sort of country lies underneath: the physical heritage, the historical background and the way of life in different parts of the country. Here the story is told in a highly informative and readable way. And, let me say now, please do not be put off by the price! If you would like to see more of Tanzania (or have not been able to get there at all) and are unable to travel for or reason or another, this is the book to buy. Count the £20 as being the cost of a trip around Tanzania and it’s a bargain!

It is altogether a beautiful book, in layout, appearance and narrative style. The photographs are by Mohamed Amin and Duncan Wiletts and the text by Peter Marshall. Mohamed Amin is now well known since making the BBC film on Ethiopia which moved us all so profoundly.*

* Since then Mohamed Amin has made a documentary film on half-a-dozen African countries called ‘African Calvary’. In it President Nyerere, President Kaunda, Mother Theresa and Willy Brandt speak. The proceeds are for the UN Water Fund.

On reading the book right through, I found that the photographs did not illustrate the text sufficiently, but I suppose that this would be inevitable even if smaller ones had left room for more. Personally I would like to have seen something of the ‘unforgettable scenic drive to the north along the Chunya escarpment’: and I looked in vain for the African Violet, which ‘grows profusely along the Olduvai Gorge (‘oldupai’ is Maasai for African violet). I also felt one did not get a proper idea of the Ngorongoro Crater from the double page photograph taken at dawn: one appreciates the aesthetic beauty of the dawn, but it disguises the reality .

As a background to this ‘Journey through Tanzania’, the book begins with a chapter called ‘The Making of Tanzania and within a few short paragraphs we grasp the extent of the scene and the period covered. ‘Tanzania is a country of stunning beauty, a kaleidoscope of landscape, wildlife and people.. . This country, where modern man may have originated, possesses a mosaic of peoples. In its long history, it has become a fruitful meeting point of African, Arab, Asian and European cultures.. Today, Tanzania is a land of great contrasts.

Somewhere in the great inland plains, a pride of lions intently watches nomads with their cattle… Life continues as it has for thousands of years. In the capital, Dar es Salaam, children in their neat blue and white school uniforms watch the traditional dances (ngomas) performed by a textile factory troupe to the beat of the coastal drums.. . A silver jet flies unheeded in the deep blue sky. Here life changes from year to year… Out of the bush and the fields, out of the villages and the towns, a new nation is being forged: a nation full of energy, beginning t o tap its wealth and map its path into the 21st. century. In so doing it draws profound lessons from a rich history and varied culture to share with materially richer but socially poorer countries. ‘

To me these phrases may sound rather romantic, but they do express a valid point of view when one stands back and looks at the total scene, and Peter Marshall obviously wants us to enjoy our journey. The whole tone of the book encourages us to enjoy everything, but there are passages describing the land, its geological formation, its climate, its vegetation and other aspects with sufficiently scientific detail. Even so, the author finds plenty to enthuse about: ‘Without doubt, Tanzania is a land of superlatives ‘. The Great Rift Valley, ‘one of the world’s most remarkable geographical features’. Lake Tanganyika: ‘Africa’s deepest and longest freshwater lake and the second deepest in the world’. ‘Tanzania in fact has 19,982 square miles of inland water more than any other African country’. ‘The remarkable Serengeti Plains which support over three million game’. The Ngorongoro Crater: ‘An unequalled caldera’. The Selous Game Reserve: ‘the largest in Africa and one of the last great wildernesses on earth’. ‘But above all there is mighty Mount Kilimanjaro’.

After this descriptive section follows the history, starting about 3.6 million years ago with the earliest ‘human’ footprints in the world, discovered by Mary Leakey in 1979 under several layers of ash, near the Sadiman volcano. Several pages of more up-to-date history follow, related in a narrative style, which proves the author a born story-teller and at the same time it is sufficiently informative to give the reader plenty of facts about the country he is exploring.

The chapter concludes: ‘A journey through Tanzania is not only one of phenomenal beauty and unflagging interest, but one that broadens horizons, deepens sensibilities and poses some fundamental questions of life’. Now we may sit back in our armchair and enjoy the journey! First, we visit the ‘Green Islands’. The old Arabic name for Pemba was ‘Green Island’, so here Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia and all the smaller islands are meant. The atmosphere of Zanzibar is powerfully evoked and there is plenty of history to relate about all the islands.

Next we explore the ‘Silver Coast’: Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam and the Kilwas with all their history. There is a pleasant interlude when we are introduced to Dhow sailing, with admirable photographs. At ‘Bustling and thriving’ Kilwa Masoko the present catches up with us: natural gas from Songo Songo Island has been piped to a new fertiliser plant and ‘will doubtless turn Kilwa Masoko into a boom town’.

Now we cross the Rufiji Delta (I was delighted with the aerial view, unforgettable to anyone who has ever flown south from Dar es salaam) and the Selous Game Reserve, with its own dramatic history, to pick up the Tanzam railway in its northern tip. We are reminded that the railway is ‘the greatest engineering effort of its kind since the Second World Wart and all the details of its building are given. 529 miles from Dar es Salaam and we arrive in Mbeya ‘to explore the great natural beauties of the Southern Highlands’. ‘South to Lake Nyasa the road passes some of the most beautiful scenery in Tanzania’. ‘But all is not well with the Lake. Water levels have risen alarmingly at a rate of 6-15 feet every 5 years, mainly because of the silt brought down by the 20 large rivers which feed it’.

From Mbeya we travel north-east to Iringa and the unique Isimila Stone Age site . The Hehe tribe live in the area and we hear the story of Chief Mkwawa’s stand against the Germans at the end of the last century. Then on to Dodoma, the new capital in the centre of the country. Dodoma wine is well known, though it may not be to everybody’s taste, and has not yet arrived in the United Kingdom. ‘Some 2,980 acres of vineyards are under cultivation… By 1985 the harvest is expected to exceed 5,080 tons, There are also 99 acres of experimental vineyards, where 168 varieties are under trial’.

From Dodoma we follow the old caravan route to Tabora and thence to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. The history of the 1,300 ton steamship “Graf von Goetzen”, renamed ss Liemba in 1924, is remarkable. Originally sent up the railway in bits and pieces, she was hardly assembled before she was hit by a bomb from a Belgian ‘plane in the First World War. Greased and scuttled by the retreating Germans, she was salvaged in 1924. ‘Beached once again in 1970, she was relaunched with diesel engines nine years later and continues to cruise along the lake, operating a cargo and passenger service from Kigoma to Mralungu in Zambia and to Bujumbura in Burundi’.

South of Kigoma lies Ujiji, where of course Stanley found Livingstone in 1871 and a monument commemorates the event. After considering fishing in Lake Tanganyika, which with 250 species of fish is the richest in the world, we continue to Lake Victoria, Mwanza and Musoma.

Finally we reach the Northern Parks. The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, the Maasai ‘Mountain of God’ (the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai), other craters, lakes and highlands are all wonderfully described together with the way of life of the Maasai.

The last chapter called ‘Kilimanjaro – Hallelujah:’ tells us all about this snow-capped mountain within 3 degrees of the equator. And ‘Hallelujah!’ is the cry of the guides ‘paying respect to the mountain they have dared to climb once more against the admonitions of their people’.

Do buy this book!
Christine Lawrence


Sir ,

Please refer to Issue No.20 of the Bulletin dated January 1985, which was brought to our attention by a colleague in Morogoro.

Para.4 of page 3 of the Bulletin refers to your comment on the President’s remarks vis-a-vis the Land Grant Colleges. It would be useful to note that the President’s address refers, at para. one, to a Study Team Report, whose recommendations feature very prominently in his address. The Study Team was led by Mr. C.L.S. Omari, Commissioner of Education, and visited Land Grant Colleges in the USA and institutions inspired by the Land Grant Colleges model in India and Kenya. The President himself has several times referred to the ‘pioneering work1 of those colleges. Reference to the visit to Land Grant Universities is to be found in para.3, first column, page (iii) of the Report.

These remarks are being made not to discredit your observations, but rather to draw your attention to facts not so apparent to those unfamiliar with the background literature to the address. Although the Report was published in October 1984 the President had access to the final draft at the time his speech was written in September 1984.

Professor G.R.V. Mmari


Peter White, who wrote about the resumption of traffic on the railway line to Nairobi in our issue No.20, has sent us an extract from ‘Developing Railways l985’, which paints a much more positive picture about the Tanzania to Zambia Railway (TAZAIIA) than has been the norm during recent years. In the article the General Manager, Major General C.J. Nyirenda, writes:
‘The line was designed to handle 2 million tonnes of freight annually and in each of the first two years of operation some 1.2 million tonnes were hauled. Thereafter freight traffic declined to 752,000 tonnes in 1980-81, then increased each year to attain 970,000 tonnes in 1983-84. Passenger traffic rose from 829,000 journeys in the first full year of operation to 1.4 million in 1979-80. Then, with a reduction in the number of passenger trains from six to one pair a week in 1982, traffic dropped to 564,000 in 1982-83. The following year saw the train service doubled and traffic started to pick up again.

The decline in TAZARA’s traffic from 1980-81 onwards was occasioned by three major factors. In the first half of 1979 there were landslides following unusually heavy and prolonged rainfall, resulting in extensive formation failures over a key mountainous section of the line. This was followed by the blowing up of two major bridges towards the end of 1979 in the Zimbabwe war of independence. At the same time, there was a serious decline in the motive Power position due to low availability of the original fleet of 97 class DFH2 diesel-hydraulic locomotives…

During fiscal 1983-84 TAZARA made considerable headway in recovery programmes, particularly motive power. By the end of May 1984 a total of 18 DFH2 locomotives had been re-engined and the availability of these averaged 75% compared with 3576 for the original units. On the strength of these encouraging results an order has been placed for a further 22 engines repower eight main line and six shunting locos. Meanwhile, delivery of the 14 diesel electric 6 was completed during the year. The improved motive power position has been reflected in improved haulage capacity. At the end of the 1983-84 financial year, TAURA had carried 950,000 tonnes of freight and 1 million passengers. Turnround of wagons and transit times on the TAZARA system have improved from an average of 28 days to 12 days, As a result, we expect to achieve an operating surplus of shs.16.9 million, the first annual profit recorded.’



The Southern Paper Mills at Mgololo in Mufindi District produced its first paper on May Day in a series of initial trials. The Tshs. 2.5 billion project began in 1978 and is intended to produce 20,000 tonnes of paper annually during its first phase and eventually 75,000 tonnes, thus making the country self-sufficient in all its paper needs. Tanzania spends about Tshs. 40 million on paper imports of 30,000 tonnes a year. The surplus will be available for export. The initial trials were conducted on imported pulp, but this will give way to pulp from trees in the nearby Sao Hill Forest Project. Seven donor agencies are contributing to the costs of this project.

The Zanzibar Government has declared the 95 hectare Stonetown area of the town to be a conserved location following the recommendations of the UN Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT). There will be a Government loan scheme to help owners of buildings and assistance for the renovation of roads and sewers. There are some 2,500 buildings with an average age of 100 years and accommodating 16,000 people in the area.


For the first time since the break-up of the East African Community in 1977 a large order for Kenya goods was exported to Tanzania in January 1985, It was a consignment of oil and was transported on the Tanzanian ship mv. Kyangumi from Kisumu to Musorna in Mara Region. On 14th. February the first freight train for eight years left Moshi for Nairobi and the train ferry ‘Victoria’ set sail from Mwanza for Kisumu.


A small irrigation scheme powered by photovoltaic solar cells has been in operation at the Shirati Mennonite Mission in Mara Region on Lake Victoria near the Kenya border for the last two years. A second scheme at the nearby village of Minigo using similar equipment began to operate in August, 1984, with financial and technical support from OXFAM. The equipment was supplied by Solar Electric International, a British firm with a base in Nairobi. The contract included a commitment by this firm to provide spare parts for maintenance.


The Building Research Unit has been developing the use of sisal fibre as reinforcement for corrugated roofing sheets.


Mrs, Erna Nelki has sent us the following contribution following a recent visit to Tanzania.
The industrial estates in Arusha and Moshi are run by the Small Industries Development Organisation (SIDO), which was set up by the Government in 1974 under a technical cooperation agreement with Sweden. There are six SIDO estates indifferent regions of Tanzania. The Swedish Government offered soft loans to African entrepreneurs if they were able to provide the initial 10% share of investment in their project. The Tanzanian Government complemented this by loans for building and infrastructure. The Tanzanians were sent to Sweden for training in parent company linked to their project,

SIDO firms produce manufactured goods for the home market such as electrical equipment (initially fuse boxes); cutlery , pots and pans; mosquito mesh, coffee roasting tins and cast iron manhole covers; water taps and valves. The machines came from Sweden, but some engineers subsequently developed their own machines when sales warranted expansion. Production is based on simple technology and is labour intensive. The Moshi SIDO estate has additional interesting features. The foundry and forge use the scrap metal from the other firms on the estate for their cast iron goods. One firm produces soap powders, detergents and disinfectants for medical and cleaning purposes; others sell scissors, brass locks, brass water pipes and taps. Another firm produces the packaging for the products of the estate; they are designed and printed sometimes very artistically on the premises.

There is a capital intensive firm with highly trained personnel producing lenses to specification and fitting them by hand into plastic spectacle frames produced by another firm. There is a galvanising firm as well as an electroplating one in zinc , nickel and chromium. Both estates have their tool shop making tools and spares for the firms on the estate as well as for the Appropriate Technology Centre in Moshi,

Most firms are to some extent dependent on imports such as steel sheeting and thus on import allocations by the Government at a time of acute foreign exchange shortage, Though some firms hummed with activity, some were producing below capacity . Those firms that diversified their production were able to expand. But most firms I saw were impressively busy. The Northern Electrical Manufacturers Limited (NEM) has a full order book and is so diversified that it is in the process of building a second larger factory. This firm has export orders from Zambia, Burundi, Btswana and Swaziland and hopes to be able to market their goods in Europe. The Kilimanjaro Electroplates Limited is producing high class nickel electroplated cutlery which finds a market in Sweden and a galvanising firm is exporting buckets to Sweden.