Archive for Letters


As we embark on another year, faced with growing dismal news about the economy and the prospects for employment, it may be worth reflecting on how universities like ours i.e. UDSM, SUA and the mushrooming private ones such as St. Augustine, Kairuki, Tumaini etc., can play their part in the forthcoming economic downturn which currently is terrorizing developed nations such as USA, France, Japan, Germany and UK. Are these shocks not going to affect Tanzania?

Indeed, President Kikwete’s end of the year speech, followed by recent remarks on current and future economic challenges by the Governor of the BOT, make one think critically on the role of higher education in the future economy of Tanzania.

Around the world universities are seen as agents of economic change and not simply providers of education and training. Inevitably, contrary views are beginning to emerge about the role of education in this state of affairs. In the circumstances we should be expecting our influential leaders to be talking about re-skilling for unexpected shock.

I would like to call for a shift of emphasis away from up-skilling towards re-skilling. In my view the difference between these two words is important; the former assumes that the real challenge is to raise skill levels as the current market warrants; the latter stresses the consequences of providing alternative skill sets for those who may be facing unemployment. Universities are engaged in both forms of skilling. Primarily, they help individuals to enhance their skills. But they also offer a wide range of courses or provide opportunities for individuals to change direction.

The irony is that if the reported decision to provide loans to individuals is correct, then this is the way forward. But if this isn’t correct then a bit of rethinking has to take place. Of course, I do understand that any policy takes time to take root and to deliver benefits.

In this situation where the right skills are needed for the right jobs, are the employers in the private sector in Tanzania prepared to engineer co-funding of courses? Or when are we going to have training commissioned by employers? I believe this can help to provide the kind of graduates the market needs.

Hildebrand Shayo



When I wrote enclosing the snippet of news about the gift towards a museum at Livingstone’s house at Mikindani, I said I was unaware that he had lived in that town. You probably knew that, but my curiosity was stirred, and, after some reading, I find that Livingstone commenced his last journey there (to explore the course of the Ruvuma as a route to Lake Nyasa) but following that disappointment he tried to find the source of the Nile at Mikindani Bay. Presumably he stayed in a house in the town which is now to be made into the museum. Having discovered this, my reading then made me doubtful if the Arab Tembe at Tabora is the one where he stayed or a reconstruction of it.
John Rollinson

In the recent ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ you asked for contributions from your readers that mention Tanzania in the media. I regularly see articles about Tanzania on the BBC website There are other websites that also include news from Tanzania including and Some of these articles are very interesting, and at least could be mentioned in your magazine, even if not printed in full. Every few weeks I receive an e-mail claiming to be from the wife or family of a deposed African dictator or army leader, asking for my help to access millions of dollars that were placed in foreign bank accounts by their husband or father while they were running their country. The money they claim belongs to the family, but they need a foreigner to access it for them. I have no intention of helping these families access money presumably stolen or otherwise unjustly obtained while their husband or father was in power, despite the financial rewards they tell me I stand to gain if I help them. The only way they could have got my e-mail address is because I regularly correspond bye-mail with people in Tanzania. I must have received at least a dozen of these e-mails so far from countries as far apart as Nigeria and Sierra Leone to the Congo. Of course I just delete them from the computer. Do you have any better idea as to what I could do with them? Catherine Lee

Your readers may be interested to hear that BBC Radio 3 is introducing on January 1, 2004 a new website celebrating the African music scene across the UK at Our African hosts will offer tips on gigs, clips of their favourite CDs, news from the studio and gossip from the dance floor, covering styles from Afrobeat to zouk and from laid-back mbira to Tanzanian hip-hop. You’ll find profiles of the big international artists on tour and interviews with a wealth of African musicians based here in the UK. We hope to create a community of music-lovers, celebrating the UK’s rich heritage of African musical traditions, as well as the fresh energy of new styles and fusions being created here every day. It is expected that there will be some coverage of Tanzanian hip-hop, such as the X-Plastaz, but we would like to cover more traditional music as well. We were wondering if there would be some space in TA to request your readers to send their recommendations on Tanzanian music in Africa and the UK? We have had a meeting regarding music from the region and are very keen to develop knowledge and information for the website.
Meera Sengupta Mob: 07811 xx1 231

It is regretted that there was a serious error in the Obituaries in the last issue. That for Mrs Josephine Rollinson should have been for Mrs Josephine Sharp.
The Obituary should have read as follows: Mrs Josephine Sharp, wife of the late former Commissioner for Town Planning in Tanganyika, Robert Sharp, who has died of cancer, directed or took part in more than 39 of the productions of The Dar es Salaam Players at the Little Theatre. Her proudest moment was when, in 1964, President Nyerere attended a production of ‘Twelfth Night’ which she directed. She was also sometime President of the Women’s Service League.

Thank you to the reader who has written as follows: ‘Concerning the article about HH the Sultan of Zanzibar in Tanzanian Affairs No. 76, the Zanzibar Revolution took place on 12 January 1964, i.e. rather more than ‘three years later’ than the Queen’s Coronation – Editor.

Christine Lawrence has pointed out that in the review “Out of the Box” in TA No. 75 Colin Hasting’s e-mail address should have been:



I read the last issue of Tanzanian Affairs with great interest -as usual. And, also as usual, I found many comments with which I disagreed -e.g. Mr Musiba saying that he had never seen development arising from aid. Where has he been all his life? … where was he educated, and how, and would he have had the same opportunities if at that time aid had been scorned while we waited for private investment?…… I don’t claim too much for the first 25 years of independence but some of our greatest achievements -e.g. almost universal literacy and the system of basic education and health spreading almost everywhere and without religious or racial discrimination -would have not been possible without aid ….. .

But eventually I read my obituary of Judge Mustafa ….. I am now embarrassed by what I am sure is the kind of error which can easily be made when you have deadlines to meet. I wrote: ‘Judge Mustafa was dependent upon thrice-weekly dialysis for his last years, but continued to enjoy life with his wife Sophie. You wrote: ….. dialysis for his last years but continued to endure life with his wife Sophie….. Could some short acknowledgement of the error be published in the next issue?
Joan Wicken

I am even more embarrassed I can only blame too much use of modem technology especially dictation to the computer. Many apologies -Editor.

I read with interest Professor Pat Caplan’s criticism of my review of “Serving Class” published in issue number 74 of Tanzanian Affairs (here). I feel that her response was overly protective of the book and its author Janet Bujra, and lacked any substantive point. Professor Caplan asserts that the book is an academic study by a well-known development sociologist whose work on both Tanzania and Kenya is widely respected both in those countries and internationally. This surely does not render the work impervious to criticism. Are well known and respected people in the world always right? Cannot they be criticised? That is surely unacceptable in the academic field. If all authors are not to be criticised, how are they going to improve their work?

In response to my argument that the author Bujra had borrowed western ideas to fit into her research, Professor Caplan notes that the author pays tribute to Issa Shivji, who has written on class struggle in Tanzania. Professor Caplan goes on to make the general point that the author has taken great care to be historically, socially and culturally specific. Professor Caplan suggests that my review didn’t take these aspects into account. I do not dispute that Bujra mentions social, cultural and historical aspects in her work. What I vehemently argue is that Bujra has not commented on the significance of these aspects on the emergence of domestic services in Tanzania. Merely stating that domestic servants were working for missionaries and colonialists or foreigners in general, does not link up the sources of domestic services in Tanzania with traditional, religious, slavery and colonial practices.

Similarly I do not dispute that Bujra mentions women who are sexually abused by their employers, and that child servants are not neglected in the book. My point is not that the author does not mention these subjects, but that no critical challenge is made of common practices like parading child domestic servants along roads to sell ice cream, bread or cake for the household they work in. Nor is there any analysis of the reactions of parents whose children were made victims of child labour and abuse. Professor Caplan is incorrect to say that Bujra’s page 2 has answered my arguments. Page two only notes the existence of sexual and class exploitation as well as nomenclature of dominance.

Moreover, I stand by my criticism of Bujra for dropping some details from the English version, which appear in Swahili, thus losing certain areas of meaning in the process. I also feel that it is regrettable that there is no translated version into Swahili to give a chance for people who were involved in the study to read this work, compare the correctness of the findings and eventually gauge their reactions in the light of the past and current status of domestic services in Tanzania.

Finally, I am very surprised that the learned Professor Caplan wants to know what I have done before she hears about my criticisms. Nobody was born a writer, a university lecturer or famous person. Everything has a beginning and then develops. I don’t think it is appropriate to try to frustrate, intimidate and bully young writers so that they become afraid to review work of high profile people simply because their qualifications, celebrity and experience do not match. Other readers who can analyse text and write must be encouraged to do so in forthcoming issues regardless of their level of education, experience or fame in the Society. Please read the book and exercise your right to criticise or support it.
Frederick Longino

That’s what our friends and family said when we told them we had committed ourselves to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. For some reason they seemed to find it amusing that we would swap hairdryers for mountain blizzards, vodka bottles for water bottles, kitten heeled mules for blistering walking boots and the famous Indian curry for re-hydrated mash. Perhaps we are crazy, but when you discover why we’re doing it you will understand. We have committed ourselves to raising £2,800 each to help VSO with its work in Tanzania. There are currently 74 VSO volunteers working in Tanzania representing 12 different nationalities and they are concentrating on four key areas: education and health care, income security through sustainable livelihoods and employment and promoting the use of natural resources. If any of your readers can contribute to this challenge could they please call us: Ben Langdon on 020 xxx0 7218 or e-mail us on
Emily McEweb and Kate Backler

I refer to TA No. 74 and have to report that I received a response from one of your readers, Mr John Pike who was mainly employed in the southern province in the 1900’s and could be of help to Mr David Morgan of Alcester but I regret not to me. I am sure readers must be around who have photographs of Kongwa from 1946 to 1951. I do wish you could try again. I find explaining the Groundnut Scheme verbally is very hard going.
S G Carrington-Buck, 3 Glassenbury Drive, Bexhill-on-Sea, TN 40 2NY. Tel: 01424 -2xxxx11



I read with some dismay the very negative review by Frederick Longino of Janet Bujra’s fine book ‘Serving Class’ in the last issue of Tanzanian Affairs (here). This book is an academic study of domestic service in Tanzania by a well-known development sociologist whose work on both Tanzania and Kenya is widely respected both in those countries and internationally.

Longino castigates Bujra’s work for ‘borrowing western ideas’, yet her book builds upon important debates by Tanzanian intellectuals on the nature of class and gender. Indeed, in her Acknowledgement, Bujra pays tribute to Issa Shivji ‘whose insistence on the relevance of class perspectives to political struggles in Tanzania first drew me to the topic’. Far from seeking to fit domestic service ‘into a western serving class model’, Bujra has taken great care to be historically, socially and culturally specific. Her work utilises not only her own observations but also the voices of Tanzanian domestic servants themselves. In addition, it draws extensively upon historical and archival material.

Further, contrary to Longino’s assertions that the author does not deal with women who are sexually abused by their employers, he would find a mention as early as page 2, and his contention that child domestic servants are neglected in this book is incorrect -it is also discussed right from the beginning.

Finally, his criticism that Bujra has ‘dropped from the English version some details which appear in Swahili’ appears rather at odds with his subsequent statement that ‘there is no parallel Swahili version’.

In reading a book review in the Bulletin, I would like to know primarily what the author has done, if possible in the context of relevant debates, before hearing about the author’s criticisms. In fact, this review tells us very little about what is actually in the book.
Professor Pat Caplan

From 1952 to 1955 approximately my father, the late James (Jim) Harris, MBE., MC., TD., was the District Commissioner in Nzega. During this time he instigated the building/drilling of over 80 dams and boreholes (Tanganyikan workers were paid with food) and earned himself the title ‘Dam Harris’. As a result of the El Nino winds of ’98 we heard that there was a large breach in the wall of Mwanahala Dam, one on which he had been working. The ‘Friends of Urambo and Mwanhala’ of which I am a committee member, have funded the repair of this and now, thanks to a generous legacy, we are arranging for the water to be piped to two large villages. I have been asked to go to Nzega in August to reopen the dam, which I find a great honour, and am busy collecting t-shirts etc for Tanzanian youngsters -if anyone would like to make a donation please write to me at Orchid Close, Tiverton, Devon EX16 6SZ.
Cathy Harris

I have responded personally to David Morgan’s letter (‘Hidden political agenda?’) in the last Tanzanian Affairs. It referred to the Mtwara -Nachingwea railway and prompts a recollection which may be of interest to other readers. During my time in Masasi as DO in 1956-7 we were visited by a Colonel Rolleston, then Commissioner for Transport, who was carrying out a feasibility study on the possible extension of the railway to Songea via Masasi…. .In the wake of his departure, and with a degree in geography only five years behind me, I later compiled a paper coming down heavily against this extension unless there were confidential imperatives that I was unaware of… I suggested that an extended railway line would not of itself generate significant additional traffic; active agricultural development on a commercial scale would be needed to achieve this, and there was no evidence that this was intended. As for an extension to Masasi I thought that any marginal benefit would not justify the cost of construction; and that traders in Tunduru and Songea districts would avoid the expense and hassle of trans­shipment at the Masasi railhead and stick to road transport to and from the coast. My paper to the Commissioner was never acknowledged; the extension to Masasi was laid down and, with the rest of the Southern Railway, pulled up after a few years and utilised elsewhere.
Don Barton

Comments (1)


(Abbreviated) Professor Cooke’s review of my book Fortress Conservation, in the last issue of TA raised some important questions about conservation and rural livelihoods and made criticisms which would be interesting to debate. The review did not deal with the book’s main arguments concerning the Mkomazi Game Reserve, which rose to prominence first, since several thousand people were evicted from it in the late 1980 and, second, because black rhino were introduced to a sanctuary there in the late 1990’s. The book examines the accuracy and veracity of fund­raising literature used to promote Mkomazi’s conservation. This literature stated that the Reserve’s environment was under threat from people, that the evicted people were ‘not indigenous’ to the area and it emphasised the good work planned to provide for peoples’ needs around Mkomazi.

Fortress Conservation explores the history of environmental change and finds that people have been there for decades. It raises questions about the severity and extent of degradation. It then examines the economic consequences of eviction and finds that they have been severe. A more interesting question then arises. If the content of the literature is questionable, why is it so successful? A great deal of money has been raised for Mkomazi from this literature and the Reserve now has a considerable international reputation. What are the implications of these successes for African conservation elsewhere? At a time when community conservation is reported to be in ascendance, here is an example ofcoercive conservation flourishing. When therefore Professor Cooke complains that the picture of a fund­raising event on the front cover suggests that Mkomazi is just a playground for foreign tourists, he may not have realised that the book is about the consequences of fund-raising. It describes the power of Western ideas about Africa and their consequences for rural Africans. The front cover is integral to the thesis.

The complaint also overlooks the fact that one of Mkomazi’s problems is that too few visitors enjoy its benefits …. Professor Cooke calls for the raising of funds on a large scale, to provide help for the burgeoning population of the Mkomazi area …. but it is unlikely that tourism could ever rival the returns from the cattle rearing economies which were dominant in the 1970s and early ’80s

Professor Cooke justified the eviction of people by asserting, on the basis of decades of experience, that a traditional pastoralism, diverse environments and their wildlife cannot co-exist …. but here is an issue where experts are divided. I feel detailed examination of the data is required and would therefore like to know what Professor Cook makes of the arguments in the book which considered what forms of biodiversity may be compatible with pastoralism at Mkomazi. I would like him to consider the national context of conservation in the country (more than 30% of the land mass is forbidden to human use and habitation) and I would like him to explain why the impacts of exclusion on livelihoods and the local economy are necessary.

Conservation is about compromise, about finding the balance between people’s needs and ecological priorities. I believe there is more room for compromise at Mkomazi. Policies of exclusion will cause impoverishment. If therefore alternatives are possible then they deserve thorough investigation and discussion. This will require an engagement with the data.
Daniel Brockington

(Abbreviated) The speech by his Excellency Hassan 0 G Kibelloh, Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Britain, to members of the Britain­Tanzania Society (BTS) on 12th October was enlightening and attention captivating.

His Excellency opened his speech by praising the Society which for decades, and with very limited resources, has helped Tanzania in several development projects, particularly in education, health and the supply of clean drinking water in rural areas, because the members love our country and her people.

He then went on to present a broader picture depicting significant economic political and social developments taking place in Tanzania today. As an educationist, the theme of debt cancellation by the British government and its impact on the phenomenal expansion of education starting at primary school level, gripped me. We must remember that for years, the Tanzania government, churches, religious institutions and voluntary organizations, including BTS, campaigned day and night to have this curse of foreign debt, which kept Tanzania in perpetual poverty, removed. Ultimately, their cries have been heard, their efforts rewarded and the debt has been cancelled by the British government whose example should be followed by other filthy rich Western governments.

Of all post-independence achievements Tanzania can be proud of, her achievements in education stand out. In pre-independence Tanganyika we had just a few schools, a handful of technical colleges and not one university. Four decades after independence Tanzania has built many primary and secondary schools; we have many technical and vocational colleges and, to crown it all, we now have eleven universities!

Education is the mother of all professions and therefore the foundation stone of the nation’s development Our education institutions have produced hundreds of professionals: teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors, military officers, political leaders, senior managers and many others. Adult education, initiated by Father of the Nation, the late President Julius Nyerere, who appealed to every educated Tanzanian to share his/her education with those who did not have this privilege, raised the national literacy and sanitation levels to unprecedented heights.

However, Tanzania’s development, particularly regarding the economy, has met with phenomenal obstacles. Constant poor rainfall or destructive floods devastated the agricultural sector upon which the country heavily depended. This problem, combined with derisory prices for Tanzania’s agricultural produce and minerals fetched in world markets controlled by rich Western nations hell-bent on keeping poor nations living in perpetual squalor, was a big blow to the economy. The government had to constantly borrow more and more money and had to pay it back with high levels of interest. It was mission impossible and the cycle of poverty became endless.

I must admit that other factors such as maladministration and corruption contributed to this sad state of affairs. This is why fighting these monsters has been President Ben Mkapa’s personal crusade. Recent cases of senior government officials being spectacularly dragged to court to answer charges of corruption indicate the serious nature of the leader’s determination to clean his government. Simultaneously, efforts are being made to strengthen the economy, create a suitable environment for foreign investors and to maintain peace, Tanzania’s unique blessing.

Now that the chains of economic slavery have been broken, with foreign debt cancellation, Tanzania must make education a top priority once again. We must double or even treble the number of our home­grown experts for all aspects of the nation’s development. Crucially, there is a need for a serious revolution in the nature of the education provided. We need the kind of education which goes hand in hand with trained practical skills and which ignites the intellect and triggers off intense research. The new kind of education must give Tanzanians high skills to process all our agricultural produce and minerals in the country and export top quality finished products at high prices. The new type of education would replace our current one which, in many areas, appears to be sterile; foreign textbook based and often not practical skills orientated.

Consequently, with small loans from the government and the private sector, even hundreds of our unemployed youths would be able to set up small businesses relevant to local needs, earn a living, reduce crime, restore their dignity and contribute to the development of our great nation.
Dr Frederick T Kassulamemba

(Abbreviated) During the ill-fated groundnut scheme after World War 2, a railway (the Southern provinces Railway) was constructed by the British colonial administration from Lindi and later Mtwara to Nachingwea and Masasi. Opened in 1953 it had a period of service of barely 10 years, before being closed and dismantled. During Redditch One World Link party visits to our twin town of Mtwara, we have noticed surviving features of the railway including earthworks, the station building at Mtwara Port and some godowns in the old Arab town area of Mikindani.

One of the Tanzanian friends, during our visit in 2000, recalled that he had seen the laying of an oil pipeline beside the railway, when he was young. It was not completed. Was there a ‘hidden political agenda’ in the building of a railway and developing a deep water port at Mtwara? It is claimed that Mtwara lies on the finest natural deep-water harbour along the East African coast.

As a railway enthusiast, I would welcome contact from any reader who may have information, memories or photographs of the erstwhile Southern Provinces Railway. I wonder whether Mr. Carrington-Buck whose letter appeared in TA No 72 drew any response and whether he has visited the Mtwara area.
David R Morgan, Karibuni, Chamberlain Lane, Cookhill, Alcester B49 5LD. E-Mail:



I noted in your issue No. 69 an article on Soil and Water Conservation by Tessa Armstrong requesting techniques used. I had experience in farming large estates in Kenya from 1947 to 1962. There are three kinds of terracing. One of these is the deep cut to the required capacity but it cannot be sown and cultivated mechanically and harbours couch grass which quickly spreads to the whole area. It is acceptable for hand cultivation. The second one is the broad-based one with the same capacity, that can be sown and cultivated mechanically. However, on fairly steep slopes the terraces are fairly close together so that some difficulty is found in placing the dead furrow with the ordinary plough, but this is eliminated if using the modern one-way or reversible plough. I recommend the third way with the double vertical interval and capacity which gives a wider range of cultivation over the bigger area and is much easier for mechanically harvested maize or grain crops. All the residue of the previous crop should be ploughed in as this helps to prevent soil erosion and increases the fertility with the humus. The burning of residues should be strictly banned as this destroys humus I recommend construction of dams to conserve water wherever possible. They should be constructed when the soil is moist to aid compaction, the slope on the inside should be one-in-three and the outside one-in-two with a large spillway to prevent an overflow of the dam wall.
Vincent Hollows



I am sending you a copy of ‘Pambazuka News 54, The Electronic Newsletter for Social Justice in Africa’. Assuming the information to be correct I find the contents very disturbing…… It is the sort of thing that happens when people in power seek to maintain their hold on power at all costs…. Is it in fact legally possible for this to be done in Tanzania?

Ralph Ibbott, Convenor, BTS Scottish Members

Extracts from the Pambazuka News editorial: ‘Jenerali Ulimwengu, journalist, activist and an example of committed citizenship, has been rendered stateless by the Tanzanian government in a move that is clearly motivated as a means of silencing an individual who has been brave enough to expose corruption and scandals of leading individuals in the government…. Jenerali has been a prominent member of Tanzanian civil society, having served as an active member of the ruling TANU and CCM parties. He was a member of CCM’s National Executive Committee from 1992 to 1997. All those who know him speak of his courage in expressing critical, yet constructive stances against those who sought to oppress the disadvantaged…… There can be little doubt that Ulimwengu has been denied citizenship because of his Pan Africanist, patriotic and progressive politics above factionalism and unscrupulous partisanship….. .’ The article goes on to compare the greatness of the Nyerere era which was said to have transformed the nature of citizenship from an attribute of groups considered indigenous to that of individuals with a residence in and membership of the political community called Tanzania… ‘This was why the denial of citizenship went beyond the injury being done to one individual.. .. We urge all readers of Pambazuka News …. to make their voices heard by writing to the government to protest. ‘

(During recent weeks the case of Jenerali Ulimwengu has been taken up by many other organisations and individuals. Amongst these are the CUF opposition party, 140 lecturers at the University of Dar es Salaam and various NGO’s. Jenerali Ulimwengu is Chairman of the Habari Corporation which publishes Mtanzania, Rai, Dimba and ‘The African’ newspapers. He was at one time a district commissioner and later an MP. In 1995 he took part in drafting a Bill designed to control corruption. Jenerali Ulimwengu also presented a Dar es Salaam TV programme on the day of the Zanzibar disturbances in January 2001 which shocked many viewers by showing scenes of police brutality.

The government has stated that the rejection of Mr Ulimwengu’s application for citizenship has nothing to do with his criticism of the government and that applications for citizenship from some 50 people were rejected last year. He “did not fulfil the laid down Tanzania laws and regulations” ­Editor}.

I was very pleased to read the article about the Village Museum entitled “And now we feel secure enough” by Colin Hastings in your last issue. However, I fear the article may give readers a slightly misleading impression which I hope you will find space to correct. The map is, in fact, quite new, having been painted recently by Fabien Limo, the Display Officer of the National Museum. Far from being “hidden away in an empty room” it was, in fact, displayed on the wall of the Assistant Curator’s office. There are no “empty rooms” at the Museum -space is in too short supply! When Colin visited, the map was not on open display merely for lack of a suitable place. However, the map now has pride of place in a new display area where it has been much commented on and much photographed. One other string thing struck me as odd in Colins’s article -the comment from Tatah Mlola that Tanzanians only now feel secure enough to talk about their different cultural roots. The Village Museum was set up in Nyerere’s time (1964) and only a short distance from his home, with the express purpose of enabling Tanzanians to celebrate the diversity of their cultures. This is what the museum has always stood for (its curators are social anthropologists trained at a the University of Dar es Salaam under Nyerere) and this is what it continues to do so effectively, as I witnessed not only on a daily basis, but when over 5,000 people descended on the museum during last September’s amazing Wasukuma Cultural Festival. The museum’s traditional houses (now renovated and with additions bringing them to a total of 18) illustrate the different ways of life of tribes and ethnic groups from right across Tanzania. For locals and tourists alike, they are a unique resource. In Dar es Salaam, at least, Cultural Tourism starts here!

Richard Wood, Education Volunteer,
The Village Museum, July-December 2001


I would be grateful if you would print the following request in the next issue of Tanzanian Affairs. You have a deservedly wide circulation, and I’m sure that our ready pool of readers will include someone who can shed light on this appeal:
Dr Clyde Binfield, Associate Professor of History at Sheffield University is researching “two decidedly remarkable characters” and would be glad to correspond with anyone who may have known them. He writes about the Rt. Rev. Neil Russell (1906 ­82) and his first cousin, Dr Leader Sterling. Bishop Russell was an Anglo-Catholic who became a (Suffragen?) Bishop of Zanzibar and had a genius for evading authority -not even becoming a Bishop cured him of that. He was a Scottish Episcopalian, whose father was a much-admired Congregational minister who had served in India and who became minister of the King’s Weigh House church in London. Bishop Russell’s somewhat quirky ancestry may have influenced his character to the end of his life; he did not enjoy his retirement with his order in Scotland and returned to Tanzania in 1982 to a parish at Makuyuni where he died. His cousin, Leader Sterling, also of firm Congregational stock, qualified as a medical doctor and went to Tanzania as a High Church missionary. He later joined the Roman Catholics there, and wrote three books about his work. He was twice married, each time to an African nurse. The story is told that he was summoned to see the President, and on going with some trepidation, was made Minister of Health!
Dr Binfield’s address is 22 Whiteley Wood Road, Sheffield Sll 7 FE.
M G Stokell Hon. Treasurer and Trustee, Tanzania Development Trust

I am an old ‘groundnutter’ (1946-1951) and find that in various clubs I get asked to give talks on the groundnut scheme which I do with difficulty. Have you any idea as to where I can obtain some photoslides that I could project on screen to make the whole thing more interesting.
S G Carrington-Buck, 3 Glastenbury Drive, Bexhill on Sea TN 40 2NY.



I have read ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ number 70 from cover to cover and I am afraid I find it slightly depressing. I believe it is generally recognised that the only news is bad news, but there must be plenty of good stories if only people would send them in. One tends to have our fill of politicians; what about the ordinary people, the people my wife wrote about in her books ‘A Patch of Africa’ and ‘Heart of Africa’? Surely they still exist and are getting on with their lives in their cheerful ways and doing interesting and useful things. I have just finished reading ‘Tales from the Dark Continent’ by Charles Allen (1980). That too I have found depressing, dominated by the memoirs of administrative officers and virtually nothing of the work done by the professional officers and their staff. I had met a few of the administrative officers mentioned. But the ones I most admired were not included, though they were very senior when I knew them in Tanganyika. There seems to be no mention these days of Tabora; once the most important town after Dar es Salaam, the Provincial Headquarters of Western Province, with its railway workshops and the Mint, and the centre of the very gifted and talented Wanyamwezi people. What has happened there?
Dr Francis G Smith, Nedlands, Australia.

I have received a letter from Ella Models Ltd. offering to provide ‘experienced models, new faces, extras and dancers’. I always wondered when someone would give a different interpretation to the title of this publication! -Editor.



I enclose my cheque to renew my subscription to Tanzanian Affairs for two years. The time I spent in Tanganyika from 1950 to 1962 was perhaps the happiest and certainly the most interesting part of my working life and I value greatly the link that Tanzanian Affairs represents with that time. I’m sorry to say, however, that the space devoted by TA to politics seems to me to be excessive. Politics is after all largely concerned with sharing out the economic cake and I am personally more concerned with the wealth generation that the economic cake represents rather than with its division. When there is plenty of wealth, all citizens benefit, but if there is not enough wealth the citizens are impoverished. Mentions of economic activity in TA are very broad brush -how, for example, are the old economic staples of cotton, coffee, cashew nuts and sisal faring nowadays? My particular interest lies in transportation, which is rarely mentioned although economic activity can only take place effectively in the presence of properly functioning transportation systems. One of my fondest memories is of the train from Dar es Salaam arriving punctually at Kigoma station in the early morning; I wonder if it still does so. TA sometimes mentions aid money being provided for some road or other, but rarely deals with the tiresome business of road maintenance. Is a road project added to the transportation capital by aid valued properly and cared for, or is it neglected and allowed to deteriorate until another lot of aid capital is needed to refurbish it? I found the review of ‘Complimentary Water Systems in Dar es Salaam: the case of water vending’ absolutely fascinating. But I should very much like to know the reasons for ‘the inability of public utilities to provide secure water provision to Dar es Salaam households’ .
Stephen Bowman

I am indebted to you for this constructive criticism which has been noted. A questionnaire sent to readers of TA some time ago indicated that political development was the subject readers were most interested in. You will be pleased to note that our Subscriptions Manager, Mary Punt, has persuaded Janet Horsman (many thanks to her) to write a piece for us on the roads of Tanzania as they appeared to her in July this year. As this article arrived just as we were going to press we have had to squeeze into two places. Meanwhile in Parliament much praise was bestowed by opposition MP’s on Minister for Works John Magufuli for striking off the register 859 out of2,210 road and other construction contractors for failure to abide by the conditions of their registration. The Minister told parliament that his budget allocation for this year of Shs 167,508,471,600 would cover, inter alia, rehabilitation and maintenance of the central corridor and Mtwara road projects, the 508km Dar-Kibiti-Lindi-Mingoyo road and major bridges -Editor.

Thank you for another excellent bulletin. The item on p.24 [TA 69] is seriously dismaying and indicates that political lobbying is still needed -any expert comment you can include on this matter will be appreciated. Archbishop Mtetemela is concerned about current education in Tanzania -perhaps the Christian Council of Tanzania should challenge the government over it. May I add a note to the obituary of Eliewaha (NB spelling) Mshana (p.31)? He was the first Tanzanian to write an original work for the Swahili theological textbooks programme. It was a commentary on Ga1atians entitled ‘Tumewekwa Huru’, Completed in 1975, it included his own translation from the Greek text and was based on his lectures delivered at The Baptist Theological College, Arusha. His desire was that African culture should be properly recognised and that Christians should work out culturally appropriate ethics and lifestyles for contemporary Africa. I received much personal encouragement from Eliewaha in our endeavours to develop the theological book programme in Swahili.
Roger Bowen



I was saddened to read of the death of Bibi Titi Mohamed (Tanzanian Affairs No 68). I recall a visit she made to Mbeya in 1958 or ’59. Several thousand Wasafwa/Wanyakusa greeted her ecstatically with the ritual roar : “Bibi Titi, Mwenye Kiti; Bibi Titi Mwenye Kiti … ” while she hoisted her imposing figure on to the platform. Dressed in what seemed to be a large, black tent, she acknowledged the acclamation. Then she went into her act, her vocal chords big as her stomach, she had no need of loud hailers. “The white Queenie over the seas” she proclaimed, “robs us through her underlings here, arse-lickers who send our money back to the Queenie. Who are these mobsters ?” she asked; then answered her question by pointing a podgy finger straight at me, the solitary Mzungu standing on the edge of the crowd “He’s one of them”. Several thousand black heads turned to focus on me. Whereupon Bibi Titi’s indictment seemed so absurd that the great throng, Bibi Titi and myself as well, fell about laughing and dancing. A formidable lady indeed.
Tim Hardy


I much enjoyed the recent issue of Tanzanian Affairs, one of the best I remember. It was good to get your first -hand comments on the elections, specially relevant in the light of the recent unrest. Could I please be sent an extra copy of this issue for my son in Zanzibar? I was also heartened to read the pages about the ‘economic miracle’ – initially at least, until continuing contacts with Tanzanians made me ask again the question I asked on my visit last summer: ‘What is there for ordinary Tanzanians in this economic revival?’

One of those ordinary Tanzanians, an old friend of ours now living in Morogoro, tells me her son has just gained entry to Secondary School in Mbeya. The first term fees are Shs. 120,000 plus uniform and various other items amounting to a further Shs 50,000. She tells me she is going back to her home area (Ugogo) to grow groundnuts and sell them at the roadside. She knows how crucial her son’s education is for the family’s future. So we were glad to help – but it is still not enough. He needs a further Shs 53,500 for textbooks plus Shs 110,400 for more clothing, a mattress and bus fares. The total is about £300 for just the first term. My friend can manage it through us, but there are thousands that can’t. How relevant in the context of real life are the ‘internet cafes … surfers learning about the outside world, chatting with relatives in Europe or hawking curios to Hong Kong’ (Economist)? Frankly, I’d rather have the Economist’s old criticisms than its new praises for amenities which make sense only in terms of Western lifestyles. It has still never recognised the enormous achievements of literacy, Universal Primary Education and free education at secondary and tertiary level. To assess Tanzania by Western criteria always was a futile exercise. There are a number of questions that come to mind:

– We know Jubilee 2000’s magnificent campaign has reduced Tanzania’s debt burden somewhat, but these funds are supposed to be spent on health and education for the poor. Can we expect IMF and World Bank to demand free education, as Mwalimu did on principle, for those who are too poor to take advantage of their academic success? I fear that at worst they will just want to foster trade and at best will just pay school teachers more (fully deserved but of little help to poor families).

– What long-term future can Tanzania have if the creation of educational opportunities for all is not a top priority? The present level of school fees is suicidal for the nation, not just for poor families. What are the prospects of reverting to Mwalimu’s vision for education?

– Building up hopes for those who work hard and then frustrating them is a sure recipe for future unrest (hitherto absent from Tanzania) and will open the door to graft and corruption. I am told by other Tanzanians that my friend’s plight is normal today. Could you please give some publicity to this reality and to the facts of education in your next issue, so that readers realise that these glowing international assessments (which initially make us Tanzaniophiles so proud) relate more to cloud cuckoo land than to the lives of typical Tanzanians?
Roger Bowen


Thank you for the latest issue of Tanzanian Affairs …. I have a distant Tanzania connection. I was two years at the Kongwa School; my sisters were at Mbeya and Iringa schools while I was at school in England. My parents worked in Tanganyika/Tanzania from 1951 to 1960. I would be interested in appealing to your readers for accounts of work in soil or water conservation in the country focusing on techniques used, successes, failures and reasons.
Fiona Armstrong (please send responses to the Editor)

Dr Andrew Burton, Assistant Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa has written to say that he has noted with horror that in his review of the book on Peri-Urban Development in Dar es Salaam (TA No. 67) he had referred to the authors of the book as Davis and Mwamfupe (instead of Biggs and Mwamjupe). Apologies – Editor.

In response to the letter from Catherine Lee (TA No 67) Peter White has sent us a list he has compiled of some 120 organisations (with addresses in the UK or Ireland) which are involved in Tanzania. He says that he would welcome information about omissions or correction. Copies are available (please enclose a 50p stamp) from him – Editor.

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