“Africa Now” had a sixteen page supplement on Tanzania in its January 1986 issue. An article on “Labour in Tanzania” highlights the power of the Union of Tanzania Workers (JUWATA) and explains that under Tanzanian law if a firm sacks a worker without involving the relevant JUWATA branch the result is the declaration of a labour dispute . A particularly prominent dispute before the Labour Tribunal at the time the article was written was said to be the one resulting from the decision of TAZARA to make redundant one hundred of its employees. The former Zambian born General Manager, Mr. Charles Nyirenda, was facing a charge in the Magistrates Court. He was being accused of acting as an individual against the law but his defence was that he was acting as General Manager after being advised by the TAZARA Board of Directors.
STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR
“Business Traveller” in its March 1986 issue features Zanzibar in an article entitled “Street Wise in Stone Town.” It writes, “For over a century and without really trying, the name of Zanzibar has evoked the kind of romance that national tourism organisations across the globe would pay dearly to link with their own products. Like a battered oil lamp, when rubbed by the mind’s eye, it seems to conjure up the smells and sensations of both the sultry South – and the East. Though few Europeans have been there, Zanzibar is the grandfather, the ancestor of a dynasty of beach resorts and the place that launched a thousand look-alikes.” After a brief review of its history the article refers to the future and “a belief that the spice island may one day regain its commercial vitality and become the Hong long of East Africa, a role for which it might be well suited.”
In an article in “Africa” March 1986, Gorkeh Nkrumah, the son of President Nkrumah, writes of the recent visit to Tanzania by President Ali Khamanei of Iran and states that, “Fuel shortages in Tanzania are expected to ease to some extent following the Iranian offer to supply 87,000 tonnes of crude and refined oil at concessionary rates. Discussions on Iranian technical assistance in modernising Dar es Salaam’s oil refinery as well as the finalising of details on a further oil supply agreement were concluded in Teheran recently during an official visit by Tanzania’s Minerals and Energy Minister, Al Noor Kassum.”
In the February issue of “South” former Jamaican Prime Minister, M. Manley, writes about “Mwalimu’s Democratic Legacy” and attacks the “Western press and its sycophants in the Third World media which have elected to emphasise the economic failure of Nyerere’s experiment in African socialism. This judgement tells us more of the value system of those who pass it than of the reality of Nyerere’s contribution.”
Mwalimu’s retirement was significant because he had become “the greatest living leader of Black Africa and arguably one of the greatest leaders produced by that continent in modern history. It was also significant because of the manner of his departure: an entirely voluntary act reflecting his own personal decision and absolutely contrary to the wishes of his colleagues in the Government and of the members of the “Chama Cha Mapinduzi”, the political party he founded ten years ago. His retirement was even in spite of the pleas of a significant portion of the leadership of the Third World”
CHRISTIANITY IN TANZANIA.
A review by Ursula Hay.
Channel 4 TV broadcast on March 20th 1986 a programme in the series “The Christians – Missions Abroad” which was largely filmed in Tanzania. Ursula Hay writes as follows: This was a repeat of one part of a series by Bamber Gascoigne originally shown a few years ago. It opened with scenes of Bagamoyo, the centre of the slave trade and followed with David Livingstone’s appeal in Cambridge for the Church to open up Africa to commerce (offering an alternative to the export of slaves) and Christianity. At that time Europe thought it had everything to offer Africa in the way of culture and religion and nothing to gain. Bamber Gascoigne shows, first in Masasi Diocese with Father (now Bishop) Norgate, then in Dodoma and finally with the White Fathers in Tabora, how that attitude has changed. In Masasi the acceptance of Christ and the Church by the people and their making it their own was clear. In the Dodoma area we saw the use of cassettes for teaching in the villages, “practical armour far a spiritual campaign”, while in Tabora the Church was actively integrating African culture into Christian worship, using local tunes, drums etc.
The film was sensitively produced and left me with a mixture of joy and sorrow. Joy at the spread of a deep and living Christianity and recognition that Africa has much to teach Europe and sorrow that the Church has failed to bring the Christian message to any but a small proportion of the population of industrial Britain. The final scene was of the destruction of a redundant church in Sheffield.
A review by Noel Thomas.
Channel 4 TV has also presented a penetrating programme on Mazimbu, the home which the Tanzanian Government has provided for South African exiles.
Noel Thomas has written for us the following review: There are several reasons why this very factual report was much above average and deserved a wide viewing audience.
First, it provided an excellent illustration of a foreign Government which was actually prepared to do something positive and valuable about one of the world’s greatest crisis points. Very soon after the Soweto riots, South African refugees, many of them young, began arriving in Tanzania, and rather than have all of them dispersed and restless, with no positive goals, the Government of Tanzania gave to the African National Congress an old sisal estate of some three thousand acres, not far from Morogoro. It was made clear from the start that this was to be a social, educational and administrative project, and not a military training camp. This was the beginning of the Simon Mahlongo Freedom College, which is now known as SAMAFCO, and is a central part of Mazimbu. The project is very much associated with the Morogoro area of Tanzania, and in no way considers itself an isolated pebble on the beach, for exiles only.
Another interesting feature of the programme was the way in which it demonstrated the real links between Tanzanians and other African peoples. Mazimbu has grown into a large complex of buildings and institutions; in fact the Director of SAMAFCO, Mr. M. Tickley, described it as “a small town”. There are three distinct groups of workers: first, the ANC people themselves, amongst whom are teachers, nurses and administrators; the second group are all Tanzanians – they supply a good many workers for the construction section, and also a number of professional administrators and organisers; finally, there are a number of volunteers, black, white and coloured, sent by various foreign governments. Some of the teachers in the secondary school certainly seemed to be English and were obviously greatly enjoying life in Tanzania.
Mazimbu has therefore become virtually a Tanzanian pilot scheme for international co-operation, in which mixed races, and several different African nationalities combine to use their best resources in order to integrate educational and professional training. The Mazimbu complex has developed amazingly in the past six years, and now incorporates: infant, primary and secondary schools; a youth training centre; a farm which makes the community virtually self-supporting and also teaches farm management; a carpentry unit; a clothing factory; a centre for rural industries and a photo laboratory. There is also a transport section, serving the needs, not only of Mazimbu, but also the Tanzanian local community.
But perhaps the single most impressive feature of this fine documentary was that most of the people interviewed not only paid tribute to the hospitality of the Tanzanians, but saw Mazimbu finally as a symbol of African co-operation which Tanzania itself can use when, one day, the South African exiles have returned to their own country. When Mazimbu was started, the regional health provisions of Morogoro were already overstretched and the area needed more hospitals, doctors” and nurses. But now that Mazimbu itself has a thriving medical centre it is able to treat a great many Tanzanian patients, and offer its specialist facilities to all who are in need. This has been greatly appreciated by the local community in Tanzania.
The key-note of the entire project was summed up by two quite different speakers. One South African youngster was obviously very moved when he said “The support we receive from friendly nations of the world, and especially Tanzania, is deeply appreciated by all of us.” And the Director, Mr Tickley, went further : “we believe that Mazimbu is nothing less than a monument to all the black people of South Africa and the people of Tanzania alike. When we leave, this complex will be handed over to the Government and people of Tanzania, and we hope that they will use it for education and training, so that it may play a valuable part in their social life.
As the hazy blue mountain ridge of the Morogoro area faded from sight and we saw the last of Mazimbu I was very impressed by the fact that I had not seen a single gun, or soldier, nor had I heard a word of violence or war. The music and laughter and glorious natural scenery of the Tanzanian countryside had spoken far more eloquently than all the sounds of battle.
The January 1986 issue of “Refugees” wrote about another refugee settlement – Mishamo – situated in the midst of the vast, unpopulated, tsetse infested, miombo wilderness of Western Tanzania, five hours hard driving from Kigoma and four and a half hours from Mpanda over poor unsurfaced roads. Isolation was said to be likely to become the major problem at Mishamo now that the Government has taken over responsibility for its 34,000 Burundi inhabitants from the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.
The article goes on: “Like earlier refugee settlements, Mishamo is beginning to yield distinct benefits for both refugees and the host community now that the arduous task of establishment is nearly complete. Mishamo’s residents now enjoy standards of health care, education and water provision at least as good as the surrounding district. With each family cultivating their own substantial (five hectare> plot, Mishamo was virtually self sufficient in food after only two farming seasons. And with the cultivated area increasing by 2000 hectares each year, the settlement raked in an impressive 4,500,000/- from surplus crop sales and three million shillings in Tobacco sales, the main cash crop last year. Each village centre is the focus of community life based around the rural development centres, churches and co-operative groups.
Tanzania has also benefited. By directing major refugee settlements like Mishamo to its thinly populated and most inaccessible western regions, it has found a way, both generous and ingenious, to promote regional development and expand food production. Some of the benefits are already materialising. In 1984 for instance, when food shortages hit the drought stricken neighbouring regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga, some of the crop surplus from Mishamo went to feed these areas.”
But Mishamo has other problems apart from its isolation according to the article. One is the increasing population pressure causing parents to subdivide their plots of land. Another is the dependent mentality of some settlers who have been receiving assistance for up to thirteen years and may have not yet developed a spirit of self-reliance.