With the closure in December 1965 of an impressive rockfill dam on the upper Pangani River some 50 km south of Moshi, the filling of Nyumba ya Mungu (NYM) reservoir began. As part of the Pangani Basin Development Plan, its primary purpose was to provide hydro electric power, store water and, at the same time, opportunity for irrigation and fisheries development. Taking about two and a half Years to fill and with an area of 180km2 at top water level, in the late 1960,s NYM was East Africa’s largest man-made river lake. Notwithstanding the significant role it has played in other areas, it was the fisheries function for which the reservoir was to become internationally renowned. NYM became a spectacularly good example of the positive fishery potential presented by a new tropical river lake.

Initially very fertile and with high inputs of solar energy, NYM exhibited a prolific production of microscopic life offering rich supplies of primary foods for any fishes able to take advantage of them, and the extensive shallows of the new lake environment. Now, whereas the Pangani basin has a rather restricted fish fauna overall, it contains four types of endemic tilapias and NUM was fortunate in harbouring at least one and probably two of them since its inception. Essentially small particle feeders, tilapias graze on algae, bacteria and fine detritus. In rivers tilapias spawn in sheltered backwaters before releasing swarms of young to grow on floodplain shallows. They are thus well suited to habitats offered by river lakes and, and, as familiar and widely accepted food fishes, can provide an ideal fishery resource. By the end of the 1960s a flourishing Tilapia fishery was established at NYM. News of profitable fishing spread rapidly, and fishermen were drawn to the lake from many parts of East Africa, bringing their skills, gear and boats. At its peak an estimated 3,500 fishermen were active on the reservoir amongst a population of 25,000 who settled in 26 ‘fish-rush1 villages around its perimeter. Computed yields for 1970 reached an incredible 28,500 tonnes, about 1,900 kg/ha, an order of magnitude elsewhere to be expected only from managed fish ponds. Gill nets were the primary gear since drowned scrub and woodland prevented a widespread use of beach seines. Catches of large fish were sold either to outside traders in fresh and iced fish or to locals who processed them before resale to fishmongers.

During a detailed study at NYM in 1974, it was clear to me that the boom was over. In part this was due to a natural ecological phenomenon, namely the exhaustion of sequential production peaks amongst the biological components of the sunny-side or grazing pathways of energy flow, which are initiated when a river is converted to a lake and accompanied by nutrient releases from hitherto unflooded land. At the same time there were other contributory factors – the extraordinarily high fishing pressure exerted by man and the birds roosting among emergent branches of drowned trees; a massive encroachment of the shallow end by bulrush swamp; and fully-operational drawdowns superimposed on the seasonal drydowns, to produce an overall drop in lake levels. Tilapias are resilient fishes however which, when confronted by environmental pressures, respond by breeding earlier in life and at smaller sizes, thereby maintaining population numbers. In 1974, although large tilapias up to 2kg and 50cm were still caught, 64 per cent of fishermen’s landings were less than 20cm in length. Interestingly two non-indigenous tilapias, a legacy of previous stocking in the Pangani basin, had also made an appearance. The commonest, originally from Lake Victoria, inhabits open water, feeding on plankton, a life style complimentary to that of the inshore dwelling endemic species which browse the algal films on the submerged surfaces of grasses, drowned scrub and trees.

Between 1974 and 1983 annual yields of 2,000 to 5,000 tonnes had been estimated, and during field work at NYM in 1984 Dr. L Nhwani of the Tanzanian Fisheries Research Institute confirmed the remarkable observation that the catch had been dominated by the ‘Victoria’ species. This remained the situation when I visited the reservoir in late 1994. Both experimental and fishermen’s catches comprised mostly very small fish. 10-14cm long, many sexually mature; 80 per cent belonged to the ‘lake1 species. This switch from ‘Pangani’ to the ‘Victoria’ tilapia is difficult to account for, although I had noticed similar events much earlier, in small Tanzanian dams. At NYM it could be that, as drowned woodland rotted and stumps were removed, protected feeding grounds for the endemic tilapia were removed. Moreover, with the obstructions cleared, seines had become a major fishing gear since they could now be shot way out in open water and then pulled safely ashore. The latest statistics indicate that up to 1,000 fishermen remove about 3,000 tonnes per year, more than twice the preimpoundment prediction I made in 1965; this may be an underestimate, judged by the baskets of fish seen daily in Moshi Market. Larger surviving riparian villages now have a permanent air – with schools, dispensaries, shops, bars, netball pitches. Water birds abound and crocodiles are rare. The endemic tilapias of Lake Victoria, as a result of overfishing and the spread of Nile-perch, are now rare. Earlier consignments of at least one of them were established in Government ponds at Malya, Iringa and Korogwe and introduced into reservoirs during the 1950s and 60s. It occurs to me that if or when the Nile-perch population and fishery eventual crashes, a ‘many-generations-on’ reservoir stock could provide the source for re-introduction into the Great Lake.
Roland Bailey


APRIL 4, 1995
This morning, when I arrived at the Ministry of Health, here in Zanzibar where I work, I saw hundreds of people on the road outside the hospital. There were also policemen from the field force unit with weapons and loudspeakers. When I asked Fatma, my secretary, what was going on, she said “Popobawa is dead”. The crowd was gathered around the mortuary; everybody wanted to see the body of Popobawa, the cause of public hysteria for the past couple of weeks.

Popobawa formed part of a group of allegedly seven ‘persons’, who for several weeks have been terrorizing the islands and giving everybody sleepless nights. ‘A Popobawa’ wanders around at night , practically naked, with a cow’s tail and a jar containing magic medicine. The approach of one of them is always preceded by an intolerable stench. With the tail covered with magic medicine, Popobawa can split walls and doors open in such a way that it can not be noticed afterwards. Men and women inside their houses are raped from behind while they sleep. It seems that in the act, Popobawars sexual organ enlarges enormously , and the next morning when the victim awakes, the pain is unbearable. If you wake up at night, you can not see Popobawa, because he is not human. Whole neighbourhoods are shaken in terror; most people do not dare to sleep in their houses any more. Instead, they stay outside, sitting in groups around fires for security. Among them there are usually people acquainted with witchcraft and able to communicate with devils. Whenever a Popobawa comes near, the people with special powers start screaming loudly. The whole group then chases the Popobawa, until he disappears. If you have been the victim of Popobawa you should talk about it with other people. If you don’t, he will attack you again. One man, living on the island of Pemba, did not say anything to others, and so was repeatedly taken by Popobawa. Finally, his aggressor asked him why he kept quiet. The victim relied that he liked it and usually had to pay for it; now he could get it for free!

Last night, on the street corner, Popobawa undressed himself. One of the men with magic powers saw the Popobawa, covered with stinking medicine. The man chased him, and in a struggle, took away Popobawa’s jar and cow’s tail. At that moment Popobawa turned into a human. A raging mob with pangas and sticks plunged upon Popobawa.

The body of the man the mob had attacked was taken to the mortuary. By the morning, the story of the death of Popobawa had spread throughout the town, drawing the large crowd I saw when I arrived at work. My secretary, who was in the crowd this morning, told me that “he looked like a normal man”.

Last night, on the Day that the whole of Zanzibar was under the spell of the recently murdered Popobawa, a long programme on Popobawa was shown on local television. There were eyewitness accounts of the murder, shots of the crowd at the hospital, and of the corpse in the mortuary. The body of a young man was lying face down on the autopsy table. He was naked, except for a piece of rope around his waste. His back and head were covered in gashes, and stained with blood. The people interviewed in the crowd were relieved and happy that Popobawa was dead.

Yet this morning at the office, the word ‘Popobawa’ was buzzing again. My colleague, Habiba, was moody because she had been awake the whole night. Her neighbourhood had been visited by Popobawa that night. She also upset, as it had just been announced that the man who had been killed last night was Popobawa, but was a mental patient, originating from the mainland, who had come to Zanzibar for treatment. Suleiman, a colleague and a respectable old man, had been visited by Popobawa that night. In the office, he told the story again and again. He was at home and heard his wife yelling in the next room, “Toka, toka” (“Go away, go away”). He rushed to help her, and saw a strong and handsome young man, almost naked, squatting next to the bicycle that was parked in the room. Suleiman also started shouting, “Toka, Toka”. All the neighbours came running but by the time they arrived, Popobawa had gone up onto the roof and had disappeared.
One day after ‘the death of Popobawa’, nothing has changed; the mass-hysteria continues.

A couple of days after the first Popobawa-murder, I was driving to work, when I saw that the whole primary school around the corner from where I live, was turned out onto the street. There were children everywhere, in their blue and white uniforms and, for the girls, white headscarves. Somebody waved at me. It was Seif, the cook of friends of ours. I slowed down and stopped next to him.
“What’s going on?”
“Popobawa was in the school. An old woman saw him and ran after him. They say she caught him.”
Fifty metres down the road, I could see a crowd gathered at the police station.
“They say the woman was taken there”, Seif told me. It was unclear whether she was with or without the Popobawa she was supposed to have captured. Later some people said that the woman herself was the Popobawa! The accusations get more ridiculous.

Is the hysteria purposely created and now feeding on itself? Who started all the chaos and why? Some point towards important people in the Government, eager to distract attention from mounting political uncertainties in the run-up to the impending multi-party elections, planned for October of this year. How could it otherwise be explained that the Government was not taking any action?

In the nineteen sixties, shortly after the revolution there was another Popobawa affair, on the Island of Pemba. Zanzibar’s first president Sheikh Abeid A. Karume, challenged Popobawa: “Don’t harass these people any longer. Come to me if you dare”. Popobawa dared not, peace returned, and Karume took the credit.

The English language newspaper of Tanzania remains remarkably silent on this subject, except for one letter to the editor, in which the writer states that ‘a respectable newspaper should not pay any attention to this Popobawa nonsense!’ On the other hand, I heard that BBC radio recently broadcast an item on the Popobawa scare in Zanzibar, in which Popobawa was referred to as ‘the election genie’; another clue towards a possible political connection. But nobody knows for sure, and the phantom leads his own life, supported by a culture in which a world full of spirits and magic cuts right across our ‘sober reality’.

Now, one month after the first murder, in the town, the Popobawa scare has calmed down somewhat. Popobawa has moved to the shamba (rural areas). Though it may seem quieter, the day before yesterday, yet another unfortunate person was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a second Popobawa was murdered.
Henriette Jansen


In ‘Habari’ the journal of our Society’s sister organisation in Sweden (No.3 of 1995) there is an article entitled “Nordens adoptivland gar kraftgang” (Scandinavia’s adopted country goes backwards). The article notes that Tanzania has received 16 milliard dollars of aid during the past thirty years, but that nevertheless it appears to be as far away as ever from becoming economically self-supporting. The special relationship with the countries of Scandinavia began when Julius Nyerere and Olof Palme together hammered out a programme of growth towards a goal of self-reliance. All the Scandinavian countries contributed generously to this end and there are many evidences of their open-handed treatment of the needs of Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in Africa. In the sixties and seventies, in spite of setbacks, the donor community continued its support, having in mind not only the external nature of many of the adverse influences that had dogged the Tanzanian economy- the two oil price rises, the break-up of the East African Community and the war with Idi Amin – but also the severe drought of the middle seventies and the adverse terms of trade in some of Tanzania’s traditional exports.

During the first twenty years of independence there were certain aspects of the economic situation that at the time ere not clearly understood. First, in spite of strenuous efforts to extend the educational system, a shortage of manpower trained and experienced in certain fields persisted and became more acute as development projects multiplied. Secondly, the critical importance of the maintenance of equipment and infrastructure went largely unrecognised. Thirdly, economic planning often failed to take account of the recurrent cost consequences of investment. The result in many cases was a rapid deterioration of plant and communications, poor economic performance and, in an economy characterised by state enterprise, growing burdens on the budget. The notion that the pace of development depended on the rate at which human and financial resources could be made available did not appear to enter into the calculations of the Government, or, for that matter, of the donors, who tended at that time to compete with one another for scare resources.

The consequences of planning failure can be seen in the educational system itself. In the Five Year Plan for 1969-74 it was envisaged that primary education would be expanded year by year, reaching the goal of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1989. The target date was set in accordance with estimates of the rate of growth of the economy, in other words, what could be afforded. In 1975, however, it was decided, in response to the policy of villagisation, apparently without the benefit of cost calculations, to bring forward the date of UPE from 1989 to 1977. The result was an attempted leap forward for which neither adequate funds, nor the necessary trained teachers, could be made available. External shocks, the growing rigidity of the economy and rising inflation put economic growth into reverse i the late seventies. Donors took the view that widespread structural adjustment was needed and sought compliance with a programme of reform mapped out by the International Monetary Fund. The rigid conditionality associated with IMF funding, however, proved unrealistic in a number of countries, sometimes provoking riots, and for a while the proposals of the IMF were resisted. In 1985 amid conditions of continuing economic decline and some softening of the IMF8 s requirements, the Tanzanian Government agreed to follow the prescriptions of the Fund. There followed a resurgence of donor support and growing coordination between donors.

The Government’s structural adjustment programme has brought a number of benefits, notably a resumption of economic growth. But in 1994 it became evident that revenues were flagging and that a growing budget deficit financed by borrowing from the Bank was causing inflation to rise. Serious concern about this trend among the donor community was compounded by the announcement by President Mwinyi on 9th. November 1994 that Shs 70 billion of revenues from import taxes has been lost on account of tax evasion and corruption. Tanzania had earlier been widely regarded hitherto as a country mercifully free from corruption and in President Nyerere’s day strenuous measures were taken against corrupt practices. It was therefore with alarm and shock that the donor countries learned of the extent of corrupt dealings. The consequence has been a suspension of significant parts of the donor programme.

Donor import support was allowed to expire without renewal, creating a critical shortage of foreign exchange. But the most serious consequence lay in shortfall in counterpart funds offered by traders in payment for foreign exchange. For this shortfall has led to a widening of the budget deficit, increased resort to Bank lending and in consequence a rise in inflation. Sweden, once the most generous of the aid donors, was also coming to realise that much project aid had been misdirected, for example for example, in the case of the Mufindi Paper Mill and the imaginative but unsuccessful sister industry programme. Something was going wrong and the Swedish government to put in hand a detailed review of the aid programme. Similar studies were instituted by the Netherlands and Finland.

The Scandinavian reaction reflected not only concern about corruption, but also a recognition that the conditions making for successful aid were most complex. What one writer has called the ‘aid bombardment’ could have negative effects by weakening local effort and encouraging the growth of a dependency culture. It can be argued that Tanzania’s sovereignty has already been impaired by aid amounting to almost half of the GNP and financing and financing a substantial part of the budget deficit and the import bill. Nobody was suggesting that aid should be abolished overnight, but greater care was needed to ensure that the effect was to promote self reliance and, in the long run to publish the necessity for aid. It is unlikely that the donors will resume exactly where they left off.

The approach of elections in October, inevitably led to a pause in new economic initiatives, but it was greatly hoped in donor circles that a strong government, armed with a renewed mandate would reactivate the reform programme. Recent events had set back progress towards a more self-sustaining and balanced economy, which only last February had seemed possible. Inflation, one of the most potent causes of poverty, remained at unacceptably high levels and must be brought under control as a matter of urgency.

With the reform programme again on track, donor aid, including that of the UK, is likely to follow, though not perhaps on the scale reached in recent years. For the donors, a commitment to the reform programme and to resolute measures to contain and wherever possible eradicate corruption will decisively influence their support. The donors for their part will need to understand the severe practical difficulties faced by the Tanzanian authorities – the shortage of trained personnel, the effects of population growth, the complexity of necessary changes, such as those in the banking system, and the political repercussions of civil service reform, not to mention the extreme sensitivity of a small economy to external influences and the vagaries of climate. It is also necessary to remember that corruption feeds on inflation and that the control of corruption is likely to be frustrated unless inflation is brought under control.

Above all the situation calls for a renewal of mutual confidence, which has been damaged by recent events. At the time of writing the signs were encouraging. The Netherlands renewed its contribution to import support in November and it is likely that other donors will do likewise following the election of the new President and evidence of a stern and consistent stand against corruption. Import tax evasion has been investigated by the Controller and Auditor General on the instructions of the former President Mwinyi. Prosecutions and dismissals have followed, many of the bonded warehoused have been closed and substantial unpaid taxes have been recovered. In February it was calculated that aid in the sum of $1.13 million would be needed for the remainder of 1994-95 and the financial year 1995-96. It no remains to be seen whether the new administration in Dar es Salaam can justify a renewal o support of this order.
Roger Carter



Tanzania’s elections did not have a good press internationally. ‘Tanzania Polls in Chaos’ trumpeted the London TIMES (October 31). ‘An organised botch’, ‘a complete farce’ were amongst the words used by AFRICA ANALYSIS (November 3) which stated that the UN observers suffered from an impossible mandate. They had been told by the UN in New York that ‘no statements should be made by any staff in the name of the United Nations’.

The German newspaper ZEIT (November 3) described the Zanzibar election as a bizarre prelude to the mainland elections …. Mrema did not have a chance against criminal manipulations …’ Africa had looked with high expectations towards Tanzania …. everyone hoped for a victory for democracy (but) those in power knew how to prevent this. Once again’. Under the heading ‘Chaos Spreads in Tanzania’s First Election’ the FINANCIAL TIMES (October 31) wrote ‘Tanzania’s first attempt at multi-party democracy teetered on the verge of collapse yesterday undermined by administrative incompetence and the logistics of organising a poll in East Africa’s largest country ….. the latest confusion has added to a growing mood of cynicism in Dar es Salaam’. The DAILY TELEGRAPH headline read ‘Tanzania Poll Ends in Chaos Amid Rigging Claims’.

The WASHINGTON POST (November 4) wrote that ‘Disorganisation and confusion appeared to taint Sunday’s election early on as polling stations around the country opened several hours late. Professor Ibrahim Lipumba was quoted as saying that the elections were a a national shame. WEST AFRICA (November 3-19) under the heading ‘Democratic Stalemate’ quoted observers as wondering whether Tanzania would go the same way as other states in Africa and be a case of endless political instability.

In a more detailed analysis The FINANCIAL TIMES quoted Professor Mukandala, head of a local monitoring group as saying that “in a close contest the CCM will not relinquish power. … I don’t think there is anybody out there who believes these elections were free and fairw. The article went on ‘If CCM was ready to bend the rules, international observers … did little to thwart it. They prematurely ruled the Zanzibar stage free and fair and failed adequately to monitor the count….most observers overran their budget and had to leave, work unfinished. And as what many diplomats privately called a debacle emerged, the UN first kept silent and then issued a bland statement recommending the authorities to correct anomalies’.

On a related matter AFRICAN BUSINESS (October) pointed out an extraordinary irony of history. The veteran politician and writer Abdulrahman Babu was originally chosen by Augustine Mrema as his Vice-Presidential running mate in the recent elections but resigned when his candidature was questioned by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). His replacement was Sultan Ahmed Sultan whose grandfather, Sultan Ahmed al Mugheiry, was stabbed to death in the 1950’s for collaborating with the British colonial administration. His assassin, Mohammed Humud, was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released immediately after the Zanzibar revolution on January 12 1964. But later that year he was detained without trial and executed by the then Zanzibar President Karume. On April 7, 1972 Karume was assassinated by Lt. Humud Mohammed Humud, a son of Mohammed Humud. Although it was obviously a case of revenge, the authorities said that it was part of a plot, led by Babu, to oust Karume’s government. Babu was subsequently detained on the mainland in solitary confinement for six years and was also tried in Zanzibar, in absentia, for treason. It was this that led the NEC to say that he was not qualified to run for high office! (Thank you Oliver Stegen, Andrew Gaisford, Paul Marchant, Jim Read and others for the above items – Editor).

Anne Outwater defended the much-maligned Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) which is spreading alarmingly in Lake Victoria in an article in the EAST AFRICAN (November 13). ‘Who is cleaning the outflow from Lake cities such as Mwanza and Bukoba she asked. Who removed the stench after all those bodies floated down from the Kagera River last year after the Rwanda genocide? Water hyacinths are very good at sucking up nutrients from water. They are strongest when the water has been dirtied with organic waste. After the hyacinths have done their work water runs clear and clean. It would be difficult to find a cheaper way of cleaning up the sewage going into the Lake……

NEW AFRICAN (December) asked people around the world for their comments on the 0 J Simpson murder trial verdict. From Tanzania, Finnegan Sibeye was quoted as saying that it was a ‘white planned legal trap’. Faranji Dumila said that White Americans are resentful about the rise of blacks.. .it is all about economic disparities ….Gregory Macha said ‘There is a growing tendency to criminalise the blacks especially those who excel in arts, sports or music ….’

Tanzania’s former High Commissioner in India, Gertrude Mongella, who was the Secretary-General of the 12-day UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, has received praise for her efficient management of the conference in many organs of the press. The TIMES (September 5) quoted her as declaring, amidst wild applause and ululation that women were no longer “guests on this planet. This planet belongs to them too. A revolution has begun – there is no going back’.

Under this heading the November issue of MAF (MISSION AVIATION FELLOWSHIP NEWS) described how 735 kgs of bibles, enough to fill three Landrovers, were flown recently by the only aircraft available to take the load (after removal of seats) – their Cessna 402 from Dodoma to Tabora for refuelling and then to Mpanda. From there the bibles were taken to be distributed by bible society workers to Burundi and Rwanda refugees in camps in the area. The bibles are expected to make life more tolerable for many refugees who had fled and lost their bibles in the dash for freedom. (Thank you Christine Lawrence for these two items of news – Editor).

Describing Tanzania as a Garden of Eden Father Peter Smith in the August-September issue of WHITE FATHERS – WHITE SISTERS wrote about Julius Nyerere as follows: ‘For inspiration he drew on the fellowship of the Acts of the Apostles, the brotherhood of the Qur’anic umma as well as the kibbutz of Israel and the communes of China. He provided a vision for Tanzanians and Africans rooted in their culture (so that they could) hold their heads as high as anyone in the family of mankind’.

He recalled that The Holy Ghost fathers came to the coast in 1868 and the White Fathers came ten years later. 99% of the White Fathers have passed through the 130-year old Atinan House (named after a Malian Doctor-Catechist), one of the first six permanent buildings in Dar es Salaam and, in the beginning, the mainland ‘seraglio’ of the Sultan of Zanzibar. One of a number of tables accompanying the article gives the religious adherence of Tanzanians:
Catholics 3,959,000
Total Christians 7,943,000
Muslims 5,866,900
Other faiths 4,178,000

Michela Wrong writing in the FINANCIAL TIMES (October 20) said that after decades of grinding poverty, prosperity once again beckons for the legendary spice islands … that prospect, as much as the resentment generated by years of suppressed national identity, threatens to sabotage the 31-year Union. Undermining the debate is the islands’ extraordinary transformation since Tanzania turned its back on Julius Nyerere’s disastrous economic policies. … Encouraged by tax incentives, Italian, South African and other investors have poured into the tourism sector, which has now replaced the clove industry as the main source of foreign exchange. Decaying Arab palaces are being turned into five-star lodgings to steal trade from the dreary Soviet-style government hotels. Chic galleries selling designer wear now compete with T-shirt shops for backpackers. Tourist numbers, hardly 30,000 five years ago should touch 100,000 this year. In 1990 economic growth was minus 3%. now it is 4.5%…..

The corncrake, Britain’s only globally-endangered bird species, is being rescued by a Scottish bird preservation society. A spokesman for the society told the BBC’s RADIO 4 that the corncrake was once fairly common throughout Britain but in recent decades has existed only in declining numbers in Scotland. The bird migrates annually from Tanzania. The society is spending £300,000 annually to persuade Scottish farmers to adapt their methods of silage production so as to encourage the corncrake’s breeding habits (Thank you David Somers for this item – Editor)


“Something happened to me on Kilimanjaro. Something great, something sublime. Something different to anything I had experienced on other high mountains. I stopped 1,000m before the peak, 5,500m above sea level. Should I have tried to press on? The hardships can be overcome. But there are many: altitude sickness, fatigue, nausea, severe headache, diarrhoea, breathlessness, palpitations, vomiting, loss of appetite, severe cold, frostbite and even hallucinations …… (On the mountain) I was quite exhilarated; it seemed as though there were no problems for the old man.. .many others in the group had given up and descended.. .and then, near the top I began to feel uncomfortable; it was far too hot…and then it dawned on me what was wrong. I had too little water. The person who had kindly offered to carry the rest of my supply had gone far ahead. I dared not proceed. I was not going to be carried off the mountain. Never. But still I was overpowered. I experienced that wonderful rare feeling of joy.. “ -Schalk Theron writing in the JOHANNESBURG STAR INTERNATIONAL (August 24-30).


Tanzania is to limit the number of visitors to its national parks for the first time to reduce pressure on the animals and their ecosystems. According to the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (October 21) officials are worried that the country’s 12 parks and other conservation areas could become as crowded as those in Kenya.

So far three parks have declared new limits on the number of tourist beds and vehicles allowed. Serengeti will not exceed the 1,200 beds it has now and will allow in only two vehicles for each pride of lions in the park. The smaller Tarangire National Park has a maximum of 287 ‘fixed’’ beds and one vehicle per two kilometres of road. In the Ngorongoro Conservation area the limit has been set at five lodges offering 422 beds.

Prices are rising too. Foreigners are now charged £12.50 to enter any of the national parks and £12.50 per 24 hours thereafter. Vehicles are charged £6.25 a day. Campers pay £12- £25 a night and rooms in lodges cost £30-£90 (Thank you Donald Wright for this item – Editor).

‘We had met the beast before. An old bull elephant, the rims of his ears ragged and torn; his left tusk broken off. He trotted towards us, stopped and glared and then charged. It was a massive piece of body language. But, still some distance away, he came to a halt and trumpeted defiantly. He decided that he had made his point. So began an article by Sean Hignett in the WEEKEND TELEGRAPH (August 19) describing a visit to the Serengeti National Park.


Leaving was harder than arriving. Stripped of my maps and pictures, the house was home no longer. My presence had been packed into bags and boxes, along with saucepans and souvenirs. I had lived in the house for nine months while working as a teacher at Kibohehe School. Emptied of my things it reminded me of the day I had arrived.

Saying fond farewells, those first few weeks in Africa seemed part of another lifetime. Looking back, there were times when a Tanzanian sense of humour would have been an invaluable asset.

“Oh My God! Come and have a look at this, Al.” Alastair, a towering Scot from the Borders and my fellow teacher, hurried into my cell. (The school called it a bedroom. Admittedly, it did have a bed). I pointed into the wardrobe, the only other item of furniture. His grin dissolved into horror. “Get some deodorant!” I passed him a can. He struck a match, held it up to the nozzle and sprayed. Flames billowed into the recesses, triggering an exodus of inhabitants.

Fifteen minutes frantic stamping and a few more blasts from Alastair’s flame thrower solved the problem, leaving the cement floor littered with crushed cockroaches. Our first day and we had struck a blow against a plague of biblical proportions. Lizards, bats, a resident praying mantis and an inquisitive scorpion were to be our constant companions. But as I stressed in letters to friends, it was the ‘real Africa’. A week passed and food became a problem. Our biscuit tin was almost empty. Ramadan fasting began shortly after our arrival, so the bottom fell out of the chapati market and all local production ceased. My culinary ability was toast, and Alastair always asked me to boil water, in case he burnt it. It was not long before the grim truth dawned on us – we would have to cook.

Getting to market was the first challenge. Directed by the Headmaster, we took a path that lead through a coffee plantation, and soon reached a tyre-rutted track. Half an hour passed. Nothing stirred in the surrounding patchwork of arid shambas and thorny woodland, so we decided to walk. By the time we reached the scruffy little collection of one room shops and homes the sun had reached its zenith, and my enthusiasm its nadir. A metal Coca-Cola sign was nailed above the door of one house, so we stumbled in. Revived by a soda, my eyes swam back into focus.

The market was a kaleidoscope: vivid, rainbow hues swathed the women, the cool greens of leafy vegetables clashed with the angry red of tomatoes, lemon-yellow maize roasted over ash-white charcoal. Mesmerised by the shifting colours I wondered if I’d got a touch of the sun.

Stepping into this surreal chaos, we were accosted from every direction. Octogenarian women squawked ‘Karibu’, younger women grinned and thrust baskets of fruit at us. Everywhere we passed, conversation stopped and laughter erupted at these two European males trespassing in a citadel of African womanhood. Yet the ribaldry was good natured and we were welcomed, as much as bewildered.

Cooking began half an hour later, after a quick pick-up ride home. Carrots and onion sizzled, rice bubbled reassuringly. Before long we were tucking into raw vegetables and Polyfilla. Neither of us spoke during the meal. I winced as I imagined my mother’s disdain were she to be confronted with such a culinary atrocity. Suffice to say, after nine months, our stir-fry was a delicacy.

In comparison to teaching, cooking is easy. Only Alastair and I would suffer the consequences of too much chilli or singed carrots. Having left school only six months earlier, I was well aware of the pain a bad teacher can inflict on a captive class. Knuckles white as I clutched my chalk and duster, I stepped into the classroom for the first time, and across the threshold from student to teacher.

My first feeling was of deja-vu. The pockmarked walls and cratered floor were strangely familiar. Where had I seen this place before? The answer was newsreels of war-torn Beirut. Forty pairs of eyes followed me across the room. “Good morning class. My name is Matthew, and I’m from Britainr”.

I wrote my name, and then asked them for theirs. I told them to spell them, partly because I had no idea how to spell the unfamiliar Muslim names and, partly because even Christian names can be difficult to make out when pronounced in a thick Swahili accent.

After a short talk about myself I threw down the gauntlet and asked them for questions.
“No. I haven’t met the Queen recently”
“It rains a lot and is very cold in winter”
“How old do you think I am?”
The final question gleaned answers from 16 to 35. “Actually I’m nineteen and I don’t have any children”

After an hour of such bombardment I felt a sudden empathy for parents whose children have just started to ask “Why?” about everything. But despite my exhaustion I was jubilant, infected by the students’ enthusiasm. I left the classroom to the delightful sound of good natured laughter.
Matthew Green


Exchange rates (November 24): $1 = Shs 610 – 635
£1 = Shs 920 – 1,020

The National Bank of Commerce increased its INTEREST on lending from 32% to 40% on August 1. The discount rate at which it borrows from the Central Bank is 50.3% – Business Times.

In a major step towards the RE-INTEGRATION OF EAST AFRICA the governors of the central banks of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have agreed to make their currencies freely convertible from December 31 1995 – The East African.

The British Council has launched a SERVICE CENTRE in Dar es Salaam containing rooms fitted with business software and communication facilities to assist development project specialists and consultants – Daily News.

The Shs 2.7 billion NATIONAL SHIPPING AGENCIES CCMPANY (NASACO) building, which was opened in February 1993 and which also accommodated the offices of a department of the Commission of Customs and Sales Tax, was gutted by fire on August 17 – Daily News.

The European Union has committed Shs 93 billion under LOME IV for Tanzanian projects in AIDS control, water supplies in Mwanza and Iringa, environmental protection, road rehabilitation and coffee research in the Ruvuma and Mbeya regions, plus general import support – Business Times. Tanzania should have a STOCK EXCHANGE by June 1996 the Director of the new Capital Markets and Securities Authority (CMSA) Dr. Fratern Mboya said recently. It would be able to enhance the liquidity of state-owned firms now being privatised, and would be established with the help of the government but be placed in private hands within three years – Daily News.

A new MINERAL INFORMATION CENTRE has been set up in Dar es Salaam which has computerised most of the geological data collected in the country in the last 100 years, for the benefit of potential investors. It was launched through a World Bank loan and has already been used by over 100 foreign companies – Guardian.

Administrative costs have been slashed at AIR TANZANIA CORPORATION by cutting board members from 10 to 5 – Business Times.

The newly established TANZANIA REVENUE AUTHORITY began work on September 2. It has been designed to stem what was described by an official as the ‘pathetic’ tax administration of the country. The Chairman is Prof. Benno Nduliu who was a director of the Nairobi-based Africa Research Consortium.

A NEW BANK – the Eurafrica Bank – began operations in September, the seventh bank to be established in Tanzania since 1991. Under the chairmanship of Professor Simon Mbilinyi the bank is 30% owned by Banque Belgolaise of Brussels, 20% by the World Bank affiliate the International Finance Corporation and 9% by the Tanzania Development Finance Corporation. It has a staff of 53 Tanzanians and 3 expatriates – The East African.

Another bank – THE AKIBA COMMERCIAL BANK – is in the process of formation. It aims to finance Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s) and has so far raised capital as follows: Shs 400 million from individual Tanzanians, Shs 275 million from Tanzanian public institutions and Shs 330 from overseas financial institutions. A large Netherlands bank – Rabobank – which has a triple ‘AAA’ rating will manage the Akiba bank in its early stages – Business Times.

Tanzania’s NATIONAL BANK OF COMMERCE is undergoing major restructuring by closing 34 of its 179 branches and trimming its 6,000-man workforce by 46%. The bank hopes to start operating profitably within 18 months after. – Daily News.

Sales from Zanzibar’s highly successful SEAWEED INDUSTRY totalled Shs 492 million last year which compares with only Shs 289 million from tourism. But the employment needs of the seaweed industry are beginning to affect school attendance in the areas where the crop is harvested – Business Times.


The recently retired Managing Director of the Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) Mr GIBBONS MWAIKAMBO (57) died on September 4 after a car he was driving overturned. He was appointed General Manager of TIB in 1972 – the first African General Manager of an insurance corporation in Africa. In 1981 he was elected as a National Member of Parliament. Among many messages of condolence sent to his wife, Professor Dr. Esther Mwaikambo, was one from the Britain-Tanzania Society. She was the Hon. Secretary of its Tanzanian Chapter until recently.

The broadcaster THOMAS CHALMERS (82) died in Cambridge on August 30. He was the person who, in April 1945, announced on the BBC the news of Hitler’s death. He was in Tanganyika from 1958 until 1952, setting up the Tanganyika Broadcasting Corporation.

ISOBEL BUIST was, between 1945 and 1960, one of that formidable team of Women Education Officers who established and developed the education of girls in Tanganyika (Thank you Bill Dodd for this item).


THE HISTORY AND CONSERVATION OF ZANZIBAR TOWN. EU: Abdul Sheriff. James Currey. 1995. 164 pages. £35 cloth; £12.95 paperback. (Special offer to readers of ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ – paperback copy – £10).

The papers presented in this volume formed part of an international conference on the history and culture of the islands, convened in Zanzibar in December 1992 by the Department of Archives, museums and Antiquities of the Zanzibar government. Five papers deal with the history of the Stone Town; seven discuss its current and future status. In addition to a general introduction to the volume, Sheriff contributes a paper giving an outline history of the Stone Town, and another dealing with the socioeconomic implications of mosque building.

Sheriff begins by tracing the growth of the town since the 19th century. He argues against attributing the success of Zanzibar solely to the plantation economy. If that was the true explanation, Zanzibar would have been a larger version of Kenya’s 19th century Malindi. Sheriff believes that the immense cultural richness and cosmopolitan dynamism of Zanzibar town was due as much to its vibrant commercial port, and an emerging hinterland of huge economic potential. Sheriff’s second paper (published in a journal elsewhere) explores the connection between the building of mosques and the economic growth of the town, especially of its merchant community. Thus one sees an unfolding demography of the various religious communities through the endowments of their wealthy benefactors among whom were several property-owning women.

A facet of the cultural richness to which Sheriff refers is portrayed in Garth Andrew Myers’ article ‘The Other Side’ of the Stone Town, Ny’ambo, an area which has traditionally been considered a dwelling place of the poor. Myers does away with the notion that Ny’ambo was a dirty and chaotic area, and shows the development of its settlement to have been clean and orderly, possessing a ‘fascinating variety of house types and …. a gradually emerging solidarity of its peoples’.
The remaining two history papers can be taken together as their themes are similar, and in many ways they complement Sheriff’s article on mosques.These are Amina Ameir Issa’s contribution on the burial of the elite in the 19th century Stone Town, and Jean-Claude Penrad’s ‘The Social Fallout of Individual Death: Graves and Cemeteries in Zanzibar’. Issa deals with the burial locations of Omani and Hadhrama Arabs respectively, and also those of Comorians, Indians, and ‘othersr, a category which includes Africans, Europeans, Americans, slaves and members of other ethnic communities. Issa mentions the measures taken by the government to control and govern the allocation and upkeep of the burial sites. But such ‘ethnic’ burial was abandoned in 1969 by the Wakf Department in order ‘to end racialism’. Instead all people were required to bury their dead at Wanakwerekwe, four miles from the town. It is this social aspect of death, symbolised by the graves, tombs and their locations, which Penrad discusses in his article. The burial sites represent symbolic perceptions by the various communities about themselves and their beliefs.

The first of the seven papers on the conservation of the Stone Town is historically orientated, as it describes in detail the project to restore the ‘Old Dispensary’ a building with which the family of this reviewer has had some connection in the past. Steve Battle’s paper outlines the background and purpose of its original construction, and the current attempt to revive it as a functioning building.

The historical thread continues in Andriananjanirana- Ruphin’s paper which surveys the development of the Stone Town between 1890 and 1939. Of interest here is the story of the creation of the Municipal of Zanzibar in 1909, and its efforts during the years under consideration to undertake town planning and provide services for a growing municipality. A.Ruphin shows that its success was limited by ‘problems of land control, lack of financial means, shortage of staff, administrative slowness, conflict among the decision-making authorities, and absence of a clear policy of town planning.’ Remarkably similar ingredients to the ones listed above underlie the concerns expressed in the remaining papers in relation to the current and future condition of the Stone Town. The papers by Erich Meffert (‘Will the Zanzibar Stone Town Survive’) and Saad Yahya (‘Zanzibar Stone Town: Fossil or Foetus?’) pose the same question in different ways. Both emphasise the need for proper planning and for immediate action. Meffert is blunt and urgent in his plea: ‘One thing is certain: nobody will come to Zanzibar, or will look at the Stone Town. ..if the prime attraction of the historic landscape has been destroyed by more and more insensitive developers’. Yahya lists characteristics common to coastal towns, including Zanzibar, and suggests that this be utilised in developing not only the town itself but the islands as well. He lists some ideas for doing so.

The theme of planning is taken up in the last three papers by Archie Walls, Emin Balcioglu and Francesco Siravo. Walls’ plea is that the revitalisation of the town must make use of traditional methods of building; otherwise (as he has observed elsewhere) there is a risk of permanent damage. Balcioglu and Siravo discuss the work of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and, in particular, its ‘Historic Cities Support Programme’. It is throughout the latter that the AKTC has initiated a planning project manned by AKTC appointees and Zanzibari officials to work out a realistic plan for the conservation and utilisation of the Stone Town.

The book is invaluable as a source of the history of the Stone Town, made all the more so by the inclusion of maps, drawings, and photographs of an era that has now disappeared. James Currey is to be congratulated for its production and for the insertion of the postscript which appears on page 142! Farouk Topan

WITCHCRAFT IN CONTEMPORARY TANZANIA. Ray Abrahams. African Studies Centre, Cambridge University.

This is an interesting book on a complex subject which demonstrates the link between traditional cultures and contemporary society. Witchcraft has been defined as the inherent power to harm others by supernatural (mystical) means. It is a phenomenon which many Tanzanians, both rural and urban, regard as an ugly reality, that can undermine the harmony of village society, but whose eradication can also lead to victimisation and violence.

Four case studies describe the incidence of witchcraft in the Bena, Sukuma and Pogoro tribes and how societies deal with suspects and false accusers. According to Mesaki, Ministry of Home Affairs statistics, from 1970 to 1984, reported the death of over 3,600 people – 240 a year – in witchcraft related incidents in 13 regions of mainland Tanzania. A direct link with witchcraft has not been conclusively demonstrated in all these cases. Over 60% of the cases occurred in Mwanza and Shinyanga (Sukumaland). The majority of victims were women.

Various ways of dealing with suspected witches are described – starting with warnings by the traditional village head, imposition of fines, moving on to driving the suspects out of the village, and finally the extreme case of killing the alleged witch, as in the clandestine operation of vigilante (Sungusungu) among the Sukuma. The Pogoro seem to have a benign way of dealing with suspected witches through a ritual shaving ceremony, kunyolewa. Green’s paper describes this effective social sanction.

Both Mesaki and Mombeshora give good assessments of the significance of legislation. It is doubtful if the formal legal process was ever very effective in rooting out witchcraft or in dealing with malicious accusations, which can be as destructive of a stable society as witchcraft itself. Post-independence governments, while deploring its existence, have had difficulty in dealing with witchcraft in the courts and have preferred to regard it as a civil dispute to be settled in the village. Bugurura, in his study of the Kahama district, describes how the village party leaders assess accusations of witchcraft even while they assert that it has no place in modern society.

Several of the authors, picking up a theory anthropologists have addressed in other African societies, allude to a possible link between the increase in witchcraft and the confining effect of villagization. Social strains in an enclosed society certainly increase as pressure on resources builds up. Young people’s unwillingness to conform to ancient lineage rituals can also lead to allegations that their elders are practising witchcraft.

The monograph is an exploration of a difficult topic in one country, rather than definitive statement of the place of witchcraft in African society. Nevertheless it does forcefully demonstrate the destabilising effects of maleficent beliefs and false accusations. As Professor Abrahams emphasises in his introduction, we are reminded that evil and harm in witchcraft in Tanzania have parallels in recent European experience with sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing and allegations of child abuse.
R Fennel1

AFRICA. THE ART OF A CONTINENT. The Royal Academy Of Arts. 4/10/95 to 21/1/96.

This is a large and ambitious exhibition displaying many artefacts from all over the continent dating from pre-history to the beginning of the 20th century. The very first item on display is a simple hand axe from Olduvai, Tanzania. Over one and a half million years old it is two million years later than the Laetoli footprints, but it is the earliest hand tool known. Other items from Tanzania are all from the 19th or early 20th centuries. Among the most interesting are a Nyamwezi chief’s chair; a Makonde man/beast mask; and, a very beautiful Iraqw leather skirt embroidered with beads and bells. Makonde ebony carvings are notably absent, presumably because they are of a more modern age.
Christine Lawrence

ESTIMATING THE SECOND ECONOMY IN TANZANIA. M Bagachwa and A Naho. World Development. 23 (8). August 1995. 12 pages.

THE IMPACT OF STRUCTURAL POLICIES ON WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH IN TANZANIA. Joe L P Lugalla. Review of African Political Economy. No 63. 10 pages


FOREST-DEPENDENT LIVELIHOODS: LINKS BETWEEN FORESTRY AND FOOD SECURITY. S Dembner. Unasylva 182.Vol 46 1995. 6 pages. Includes brief case studies on Bolivia, Thailand, Vietnam and Tanzania – in two villages in Mtwara Region.

AID AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN TANZANIA. Thorvald Gran. Dar es Salaam University Press. 1994. 154 pages. £8.95. An evaluation of NORAD aid to Tanzania.


SUMMARIES OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES AND STRATEGIES FOR TANZANIA: AN AGENDA FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. L Msambichaka and H Moshi. Dar es Salaam University Press. 1994. 95 pages. £7.50. Contains 23 papers on this 1993 conference.

CONSUMPTION AND POVERTY IN TANZANIA IN 1976 AND 1991: A COMPARISON USING SURVEY DATA. A Sarris and P Tinios. World Development. 23 (8). August 1995. 18 pages.

COMPARING EARNINGS PROFILES IN URBAN AREAS OF AN LDC: RURAL TO URBAN MIGRANTS VS NATIVE WORKERS. W P M Vijverberg and L A Zeager. Journal of Development Economics. 45 (2) 1994. 22 pages. A comparative study of labour productivity in Tanzania.

TEA ESTATE REHABILITATION IN TANZANIA. M Faber. World Development 23 (8). August 1995. 12 pages.

IMPORT SUPPORT AID. EXPERIENCES FROM TANZANIA AND ZAMBIA. H White. Development Policy Review. 13 (1) March 1995. 22 pages.


LIBERALIZATION AND POLITICS. THE 1990 ELECTION IN TANZANIA. Ed: R S Mukandala and H Othman. Dar es Salaam University Press. 1995. 319 pages. £16.75. Includes case studies on elections in Zanzibar, Chilonwa, Bunda and Mtwara.

TERTIARY TRAINING CAPACITY IN TANZANIA. ESAURP. Tanzania Publishing House. 1994. 234 pages. £14.95. A research report prepared for the Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Programme.

THE FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION OF THE DEMOCRATISATION PROCESS. M Mmuya. 1994. 148 pages. £9.95. Papers from a conference on the democratic process in Tanzania and Kenya.

CHAGGA. Leeman and Biddulph. 40 pages. £ 20. A course in the Vunjo dialect of the Kichagga language with two accompanying cassettes.

POVERTY ALLEVIATION IN TANZANIA. RECENT RESEARCH ISSUES. Ed: M S G Bagachwa. Dar es Salaam University Press. 270 pages.

£26.50. Seven papers from a 1994 workshop and a proposal for a long term research project.


In response to the letter in Tanzanian Affairs in May 1995 concerning the preservation of the 3.6 million years old Laetoli footprints, the Getty Conservation Institute in California wrote to me on 15/9/95 as follows: ‘Considerable thought has been given to the matter of reburying the footprints. Both the Antiquities Unit of Tanzania and the Getty Conservation Institute support the opinion that leaving the trackway open for visitation is impossible in the present situation. This is due to logistical difficulties and restricted accessibility as well as the limited financial capability of the Antiquities Unit. We consider reburial the most viable long-term preservation measure for the trackway, and have designed it to be easily reversible should the decision be taken one day to present the site to the public.

The possibility of removing the 30 meter long track and displaying it in the National Museum in Dar es Salaam was also considered but there were serious practical objections. It would also be against the conservation ethic which seeks to preserve sites in their original context. The prints were impressed in volcanic ash from the Sadiman volcano, 20kms away. They were buried under 30 metres of ash until, in the course of time, they became briefly exposed and were discovered by Mary Leakey in 1978. It is intriguing to speculate what our ancestors (a man, woman and child possibly) were doing as they walked in a hurry through the raining ash’. I am reassured that the Getty Conservation Institute and the Tanzanian Government have made the right decision for the time being.
Christine Lawrence

I have received recently the latest issue of ‘Tanzanian Affairs’. Included in the obituary notices is one referring to my late husband, Robert Paterson, in which his Tanzanian service is listed as being from 1974-60 (sic). Perhaps you need a proof reader! The surname Paterson is incorrectly spelt, and has one ‘T’ only. His term of service extended from 1947 to 1962. It included periods as DC Biharamulo, DC Ukerewe (during which time, if I remember rightly, you yourself served in Musoma), and included two terms at the Secretariat as well as being DC Kisarawe in between these two terms. I feel sure that you will wish to correct your notice at some future date.
(Mrs) C.O. Paterson

(I was very sorry to learn of your husband’s death, and apologise for the errors to which you draw my attention. You are correct in saying that I need a proof reader. A volunteer would be more than welcome – Editor).