JOAN WICKEN (79) former Personal Assistant to the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, died on December 5th of pneumonia after six weeks in hospital.

Joan WickenJoan Wicken with the Queen and the late President Nyerere

The funeral ceremony at Keighley in Yorkshire was presided over by Maggie Blunt, a Funeral Officiant of the British Humanist Foundation – Ms Wicken did not want a religious ceremony. Mrs Blunt spoke of Joan’s unique character and how she had faced death in a calm and philosophical manner. Her father had been a strong trade unionist. After school she joined the ATS and worked during the Second World War on anti-aircraft radar. At Oxford University she had studied politics, philosophy and economics and later, wisely for her future career, became proficient in secretarial skills. She was a dedicated socialist all her life and spent 30 years as a member of the Labour Party Continue reading


BagamoyoBagamoyo Old Fort

In order to preserve some of the more than 500 ancient sites in the country, the Government has started a programme under which some would be leased to Tanzanian private operators who would be expected to preserve them for the future and bring them into sustainable use. According to a feature by Perege Gumbo in the Guardian (October 10): ‘Leasing began last September when the Bagamoyo Old Fort building was leased to Akana Lodges and Hotels of Dar es Salaam. The fort, one of the oldest stone houses in the country, was built by Abdallah Selemani Marhabi and fortified by Sultan Barghash who reigned from 1870 to 1888. Barghash had around 5,000 soldiers in the fort to protect Bagamoyo from the local Wazaramo who fought against the influence of the Omani-Sultan Barghash in 1875. Later the fort became the property of the famous Indian trader Sewa Haji, the great donator of wells, the still existing Mwambao School and the existing hospital, in Bagamoyo Town. Sewa Haji later rented the fort to the Germans as a garrison. It was later used as a police post up to 1992 after which it has been used as the local headquarters and training centre of the Department of Antiquities. Historians have, however, doubted the truthfulness of the belief that the fort was used as slave quarters during the slave trade. The lease will allow the Government to collect monthly concession fees from the new operator’.


Two British soldiers on vacation in Tanzania have been arrested and put on trial charged with the murder of a woman at the Silver Sands hotel in Bagamoyo – Mtanzania.

At least ten suspects who had robbed tourists in Bweju, South Zanzibar, have been arrested and one of them was killed after sustaining serious wounds in a shoot-out with the police. Continue reading


The Zanzibar House of Representatives has passed unanimously a Bill that gives the Isles their own flag. The flag will not be hoisted however at the UN, African Union, East African Community, Commonwealth or other international forums where Zanzibar is not recognized as a sovereign state. Despite their support for the Bill, opposition MP’s maintained their dissatisfaction with the Union flag being superimposed on the Zanzibar flag. Colours of the new flag are black, dark blue, green, gold and light blue. Contempt for the flag carries a five-year jail term or a fine not exceeding TShs 700,000 or both – Guardian Continue reading


Tanzania’s Deputy Foreign Minister and former High Commissioner in London Dr. Abdul Sharrif, who is 60, celebrated the 70th birthday of his friend General Sarakikya by joining him in climbing to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro in September. He was said to be only the second top government official to achieve this.

Dr Sharrif used the occasion to raise money to build a secondary school at his birth village Kidimni, south of Zanzibar town. Three years earlier he had raised more than half of the cost of building a primary school there and now hopes to raise enough funds to construct a secondary school. (Those wishing to make a contribution to this charity should send the money to the Treasurer, Tanzania Development Trust, 175A Aldershot Road, Church Crookham, Hants GU52 8JS. Please write on the back of the cheque ‘Kidimni Education Fund’ so that the names of the contributors can be forwarded to the Fund – Editor.


Tanzania has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF). Military exercises dubbed ‘Ulinzi Miaka 40’ (40 Years of Defence) took place at Msata in the Coast Region on August 31 last year. Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Mkapa pledged to provide new equipment for the force to enable it to defeat any intruder. “We have no enemies at the moment, but it doesn’t mean we cannot be provoked. If anyone attacks us we will use modern weaponry; we cannot confront the enemy using 1940’s military hardware…….Today’s world is unpredictable. Scientific changes are taking place. Military training must go hand in hand with acquiring and deploying modern weaponry,” Mkapa stressed.
The military exercises, conducted by 302 Brigade, involved attacks by four jet fighters. A barrage of artillery and ballistic missiles attacking ‘the enemy’ swung into action as the infantry, led by tanks, charged towards the enemy’s position, until the latter was completely overpowered and destroyed.
The President added that the army had shown a heroic performance against the late Iddi Amin of Uganda, when he was about to annex part of Tanzania in 1979. Mkapa also inspected some arms including a 23mm anti-air missile, a tank, a ballistic missile (BM 21) and a T 54 missile – Guardian.


The singer, musician and composer PATRICK BALISIDYA (58) died on August 7 last year. He made his name through the hit Harusi (wedding) which is played at nuptial ceremonies around Tanzania. Like his better-known colleague, the late Hukwe Zawose, he was a member of the Gogo tribe from Dodoma. He began his musical career playing guitar for the Dar es Salaam Jazz Band in 1967. By 1970 he had formed his own group ‘Afro 70’. He shied away from the Congolese soukous sound then dominating East African music, instead drawing inspiration from the thumb piano and vocal melodies of Gogo tradition. At the height of his popularity in 1979 he visited Sweden and collaborated with the progressive rock group ‘Archimedes Badkar’ on their album Bado Kidogo (not yet). As an early example of world music fusion, it was notable mostly for the way the headliners were relegated more or less to the role of backing band on their own recording by their African guests. (Thank you Trevor Jagger for sending this obituary from the Independent – Editor) .

Dr. AUGUSTINE MACHA has died. He was the first Tanzanian to achieve a PhD in Animal Genetics. He resisted the temptation to earn big money working overseas and returned home to seek work. After completing his BVM&S at Edinburgh University he was appointed Regional Veterinary Officer in Kagera Region. There he saw people starving from lack of protein, while he was busy treating sick cats and dogs. His dream was to make the local breeds of cattle better producers using local husbandry methods. The Mpwapwa breed is now an internationally registered and recognised breed and is a living monument to his life’s work. He became Director General of Tanzania’s Livestock Research Organisation and subsequently undertook several international consultancy assignments (Thank you Nancy Macha for sending us these details about your late husband – Editor).

NDALA KASHEBA died in Dar-es-Salaam in October 2004. A veteran of the East African music scene, Kasheba was an important musical force in Tanzania since the 1970’s when he first immigrated to Dar Es Salaam from the Congo. He was known as one of the greatest African guitarists, appointed the title “Maestro” by his fans. Ndala Kasheba’s music bore the stamp of his Congolese roots. With his booming tenor voice and big band ambiance, one inevitably thought of Franco in his prime. But Kasheba had a number of distinguishing qualities in his Swahili rumba sound, most notably his use of an electrified, 12-string acoustic guitar, which he overdubed to create a gorgeous, chiming ambiance. With his own group “Zaita Musica” he wrote songs such as “Dezo dezo” and “Kokolay” which were later massive hits for Tshala Muana. The group toured Europe in 1991 and Kasheba continued to perform as a solo guitarist as well as with his colleagues – Nguza Viking, King Kiki, Kassongo Mpinda Clayton, Kibambe Rhamadhan,
Delphin Mununga, and others on multiple nights a week in various Dar es Salaam clubs. He most recently came to London in 2003 and performed at several events wearing a trademark straw hat.


President Mkapa has announced that the Government has started implementing the Secondary Education Development Programme (SEDP) 2004-2009 aimed at ensuring that at least half of those finishing primary school get places in secondary schools. There are currently 433,000 students in secondary schools and the target is to have two million by 2010. He said that the Government would give a subsidy of TShs 7 million for every classroom and TShs 9 million for every teacher’s house built. The Government would also give a subsidy of TShs 10,000/- to every secondary school student in non-governmental schools, except seminaries and those operated for profit. The President said the government was aware of the presence of a big number of orphans and other children whose parents were unable to pay their school fees and had decided to double the number of students it supported from the present 6,000 to 12,000 per year – Guardian.


Edited by John Cooper-Poole (UK) and Marion Doro (USA)

MIMI & TOUTOU GO FORTH. Giles Foden) – ISBN 0718145550 – Penguin – pp320. £16.99.

At the start of World War 1, German Warships controlled Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa which was of great strategic value. In June 1915 a force of twenty-eight men were dispatched from Britain on a vast journey. Their orders were to take control of the lake. To reach it they had to haul two motorboats with the unlikely names Mimi and Toutou through the wilds of the Congo. This is their story.
Giles Foden has unearthed new German and African records to retell this most unlikely of true life tales. The twenty-eight men were a very strange bunch. One was addicted to Worcester sauce and would drink it as an aperitif, another was a former racing driver, but the strangest of them all was their commander, Geoffrey Spicer-Simson, who liked to wear a skirt and had tattoos all over his body. He was also determined to cover himself with glory. This is a classic tale of amateurism triumphing over disciplined opponents, which Giles Foden tells almost as if it was a novel, having had access to eyewitness accounts, which adds to this incredible true story.

David Holton Continue reading