Archive for Reviews


Edited by John Cooper-Poole

SERENGETI STORY: LIFE AND SCIENCE IN THE WORLD’S GREATEST WILDLIFE REGION. Anthony R.E. Sinclair. Oxford University Press, 270 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-964552-7. £18.99/$34.99
Most people interested in African savannah ecosystems, and the Serengeti in particular, will be familiar with the scientific work of Anthony (Tony) Sinclair. As the author of hundreds of influential research papers and seven major scien­tific books, his life-long research has left a permanent imprint on the discipline of ecosystem ecology, and possibly more importantly, on the face of the planet. In Serengeti Story, Tony Sinclair traces the history of this 30,000 km² World Heritage Site from his arrival in 1965 to the present, laced with personal experi­ences of great joy and disaster, scientific perspectives on the past health of the ecosystem, and the challenges faced by this vast expanse of wildlife-friendly terrain under constant threat from resource exploitation, agricultural conver­sion, herders and poachers.

Sinclair provides an accessible, fascinating and illustrated history of the people and animal populations of this region. Few of the processes controlling its biodiversity and ecological systems were understood until the second half of the 20th century, and much of this understanding is due to Sinclair, his students and his collaborators. Included are chapters on the early wildlife ecologists -the likes of George Schaller of the Wildlife Conservation Society, who first described the social lives of lions; and Han Kruuk who did the first study of wild hyenas. He includes a number of portraits of his successful research stu­dents (now collaborators) and his record of supporting Tanzanian researchers is admirable.

He recounts the various disasters, shortages and blocks to East African field research that were regularly encountered due to political upheavals such as those in Uganda, border closures in the East African Community, banditry and routine breakdowns of aircraft and cars. Some of these stories are very funny, others are tragic, but all are told with Sinclair’s honest and elegant prose. And each human story is matched with information about the bird and mammal species of the Serengeti, uniquely known to Sinclair.

Serengeti’s story does not yet have a happy ending. While dedicated ecologists such as Sinclair have made a life’s work out of unravelling the complex dynam­ics and interactions sustaining this vital ecosystem, what they all have shown is how vulnerable it is to human activities. Predator die-offs due to distemper from local dogs, retaliatory hunting and poisoning, threats from ivory and meat poaching, fires and the increasing frequency of droughts, and most recently the proposal for a highway to enable mining and settlements that will cut the renowned wildebeest migration in half.

In June 2013, the funding for this road was approved by the Tanzanian Parliament and thus it will probably go ahead. It appears that no part of the globe is immune from the interests of development, even World Heritage Sites like Serengeti that provide considerable revenues through their intact ecosystem functioning. The voice of campaigners, scientists, local conservationists and the long-term studies of Sinclair and colleagues may ultimately be for naught.
P.C. Lee

Phyllis Lee has studied wildlife biology in East Africa since 1975, and is currently the Director of Science for the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, as well as Professor at the University of Stirling, U.K.

TRANSLATING GROWTH INTO POVERTY REDUCTION BEYOND THE NUMBERS Edited by Flora Kessy, Oswald Mashindano, Andrew Shepherd and Lucy Scott 2013. Mkuki na Nyota: Dar es Salaam. 226 pages. ISBN 978-9987-08-226-1. Available from African Books Collective Ltd., P.O. Box 721, Oxford OX1 9EN (paperback).

A book with four respected academic editors and thirteen contributors devoted to poverty reduction in a third world country is bound to appeal to a wide readership. The work of the Chronic Poverty Research Centre might not at first appear of interest to the casual reader, but the many interviews of the rural poor are fascinating to anyone who has experienced travel in the non-urban parts of Tanzania. This well referenced book can be recommended as a valuable source of information about Tanzania, where economic growth has averaged seven per cent between 2000 and 2008 but poverty has stubbornly failed to make any such dramatic improvement. This is at a time of stable government and exploitation of many forms of natural resources.

Small farms (shambas) often do not thrive and secondary education is one of the best ways for children to escape rural poverty; but it often only leads, at best, to employment in the service industry in towns. However, those employed in urban areas, such as security guards, will remit money to support families in rural communities.

Chapter 4 on the Rise of Womens’ Responsibility also gives hope as it is suggested that a quarter of households are woman-led. Yet divorce and (male) alcoholism are cited as causes of women falling into poverty. Inheritance laws (including customary law) do not always favour the retention of viable shambas and polygamy is another problem. Education at primary level is available for all, but the route for women to escape poverty is not easy. A recent research paper, Boys v Girls Maths performance in Africa, analysed secondary school results and found that Tanzania has the worst record of the 19 countries monitored for girls doing worse than boys at government examinations.

Increasing cross border trade is suggested as one possible means by which agricultural products could be more profitable. However, the friendship bridge Mtambashwala, between Mtwara region and Mozambique, opened in the last year, has not brought immediate benefits. Farming remains the largest work sector and the sale of plant products averaged 26 per cent of GDP. The livestock industry, unlike that of neighbouring Zambia, has never developed a significant export trade and will not do so until road and rail links are more reliable.
Dick Lane

Dick Lane worked as a veterinary surgeon in Africa in the early 50’s and since 2002 has been a frequent visitor to rural Tanzania. Having been awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies, he has an interest in all farming matters, economics and is studying for an MSc involving animal welfare. He is a trustee of the registered charity African Sisters (CMM) Support Group, which helps the Anglican Sisters in Tanzania and Zambia.

ASPECTS OF COLONIAL TANZANIA HISTORY. Lawrence E. Y. Mbogoni and Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam. 2013. Pp. 211. US$24.95, paper (ISBN 9789987083008). Available from African Books Collective.

The Tanzania-born and America-based historian Lawrence Mbogoni has pro­duced a delightful and eclectic collection of essays on colonial life in Tanzania. His starting point is the central distinction between coloniser and colonised, and how this conceit plays out in diverse forums, from the airy realms of ‘civilisation’ discourse to grubby conflicts over land and money. Divided into four sections – ‘Economy and Politics in Tanganyika’; ‘Film Production and Radio Broadcasting’; ‘Affairs of the Heart in Colonial Zanzibar’; and ‘Slavery and Politics in Colonial Zanzibar’ – this collection is not framed around current academic debates on the meanings of colonialism, but rather offers a study of institutions and emotions.

Loneliness, avarice, fear, depravity, and jealousy animate the actions of eccen­tric European adventurers who come to colonial Tanganyika to strike it rich in diverse locales such as the Lupa goldfields or the game-hunting savannahs. Mbogoni has a particularly sharp eye for European debauchery, be it in the spreading of venereal diseases through interracial liaisons, or in the excessive drinking that leads to territory-wide alcohol restrictions. As a result, each of the book’s eleven chapters rarely fails to entertain.

The first section’s overriding topic is the hypocritical unaccountability of colonial legal structures, which the author shows can take many forms. In the experience of the colourful poacher-turned-gamekeeper George Gilman Rushby, conservation laws and institutions pliably bend to meet European convenience. In the case of Chief Makongoro of Ikizu, the institution of indirect rule allows an ambitious chief to build up enormous wealth and patronage, until administrators decide that patronage is in fact corruption, deposing Makongoro and sending him off to an exile which he does not long survive.

Mbogoni also explores a famous 1955 murder case of the Arusha-based settler Harold Stuchbery at the hands of a local Maasai man. The subsequent criminal trial ended in acquittal, but for the Maasai the real legal process is offering ‘blood money’ to compensate Stuchbery’s survivors, in which the animating principle is not guilt or innocence but balance.

Throughout the book, the main sources are classically colonial—and British colonial at that, as German-era materials are not consulted. European memoirs loom large, as do the reports and legislation of the British colonial government. The bibliography is a bit sparse but the footnoting is generous, revealing the paradoxical nature of the book’s sources—mostly drawn from ‘metropolitan’ archives and libraries, with almost none having a physical home in Tanzania.

Narrative regularly trumps academic-style structuring in each chapter, with introductions and conclusions employed primarily to set up stories rather than elaborate analyses. Yet Mbogoni does bring in relevant secondary literature on Tanzanian and African history to illustrate wider contexts. The defining role of colonial racism and the (failed) attempts to impose cultural hegemony are phrased briefly, flatly, and without any jargon-strewn prose.

In the second section, Mbogoni offers an overview of Tanganyika’s colonial cinema and reveals the logistical nightmares that Hollywood productions navi­gated in late colonial East Africa. The most original chapter in historiographical terms concerns radio, with a much-needed survey of colonial-era broadcast­ing. Colonial radio was dominated by the government’s Public Relations Department and one key manager seconded from the BBC, Tom Chalmers, yet Mbogoni does not offer much interpretively about the legacy of Radio Dar es Salaam and the Tanganyika Broadcasting Corporation for Tanzania.

The most surprising chapter concerns the illicit relationship between a British colonial doctor, Henry Watkins-Pitchford, and a young teenage Parsi girl in Zanzibar, a tale preserved in voyeuristic detail in the U.K. National Archives. More familiar is the case of the Zanzibari ‘Princess’ Seyyida Salme and Heinrich Ruete—a story which Mbogoni ably synthesizes, while adding his own somewhat wooden speculations on the lasting religious impact of Islamic education on the exiled Zanzibari widow.

The concluding chapters on the legacy of slavery in Zanzibari politics covers well-trodden ground, and unfortunately takes at face value the islands’ racial categories and the orientalist fantasies of European travel writers. The book’s general lack of source criticism and specific historiographical intervention is most sorely felt in this final section, which will satisfy few readers interested in Zanzibari history. Yet this does not detract from the larger portrait, painted in a novel combination of brushstrokes that highlight the relationship between the institutions and psychologies of colonial-era life.
James R. Brennan
Dr James Brennan is currently at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign U.S.A. He is author of the book Taifa; Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania (Reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs No 104)

WORLD WAR I IN AFRICA: THE FORGOTTEN CONFLICT AMONG THE EUROPEAN POWERS; Anne Samson, : I. B. Tauris, London 2013 306 pages, ISBN 978 1 78076 119 0. £59.50.

Anne Samson’s World War I in Africa: The Forgotten Conflict among the European Powers is a welcome addition to the literature on the 1914-18 War. Each decade tends to bring at least one new title on the conflict, and following the earlier works of Byron Farwell and Melvin Page, and the memorable 1978 special issue of the Journal of African History, we have recently had books by Ross Anderson, Giles Foden, Edward Paice and, Huw Strachan and John Morrow with his The Great War: An Imperial History.
Despite these important works, the European aspect of the conflict is so programmed in to the Western DNA that non-European theatres need all the publicity they can get. What is pleasing about this addition is that it looks up and down the scale, from high politics and strategy to operations on the ground, rather than a particular region (East Africa being the usual candidate) or epi­sode (such as the dispatch of gunboats to the inland lakes). Though heavily focused on eastern and southern Africa, it provides a continent-wide narrative of the campaigns, linking their conduct to local and imperial level politics and examining the interrelatedness of policy and strategy with what was happening on the ground.

The book also offers a blended perspective that brings the Belgians and the Portuguese alongside the British and the Germans. Whilst not a military history, the volume covers the war on land, sea and in the air, with a whole chapter devoted to the war in the air, at sea and on the inland lakes, where gunboats fought and across which troops were ferried.
The book reflects Dr Samson’s expertise as a South African historian; the war in West Africa is entirely subsidiary here, as is the war north of the Sahara.

The author’s review of the situation on the eve of the war does not do a great deal for the book’s war focus, the outbreak of war not occurring until page sixty-eight. There are useful tables of key events and personalities, as well as seventeen rather dreary black and white photos. There is an attempt throughout to examine the impact of key personalities, such as Jan Smuts and Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck, adding a rather traditional ‘great man’ sheen to the account.

The view from Whitehall is fully explored, as is the question of what the European belligerents with African holdings actually sought to achieve. All told, this is an original and important contribution to the literature on the war in Africa. But it is not definitive; it touches lightly on issues that warrant signifi­cant further research,such as logistics, and it is avowedly not an African history of the war, but of the conflict Europe brought to Africa.
Ashley Jackson
Ashley Jackson is Professor of Imperial and Military History at King’s College, London

THE WICKED WALK. By W.E. Mkufya. Mkuti na Nyota Publishers, Tanzania. 2012. ISBN 9789987082032. p/b 118 pages. £15.95. Available from African Books Collective.

Maria detests her life as a prostitute but sees no other way of earning the money she needs to support herself and her daughter Nancy, a form 4 secondary school student. She desperately desires a better life for her daughter, but feels powerless in seeing Nancy swept along in an ‘evil’ current and pursued by the unsavoury Magege, manager at the local rubber factory. Magege is unscrupu­lous, corrupt and greedy with a taste for young school girls, Nancy included. Nancy very soon realises her power as a woman who can make “easy” money from selling sex and decides to quit school where she has a promising academic future ahead of her.

Deo is dating Nancy and is told by a colleague at the factory that she is “seeing” Magege behind his back, but he doesn’t want to believe it. Eventually he is forced to face the truth and breaks off his engagement to her. Much of the nar­rative focuses on the state of society – inequality, injustice and especially how “sugar daddies” like Magege seem to get away with their immoral behaviour. Hence the title, drawn from the Book of Psalms: ‘the wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted’.

The book is well worth a read. In particular, for anyone who knows Dar es Salaam this novel will instantly transport you back there.
Helen Carey
Helen Carey was born and brought up in Kenya. She works in Environmental Food and Farming Education and is currently with the Soil Association. She spent 3.5 years with VSO in Zanzibar and is always on the lookout for projects to take her back out there



by John Cooper-Poole

TANGA – TANZANIA’S SECRET IN BETWEEN THE OCEAN AND THE PARKS Tourism guide for the Tanga Region, Tanzania. 2nd Edition – January 2011. Produced by Tanga City Council.

This is an extremely useful and well-produced guide. Although normally a travel guide is more a book which is dipped into, this one, to a lover of Tanga at least, is a little book which cannot be put down.

Inside the front cover is a map showing the various districts of the Tanga region. To somebody who was hunting for years for a map – any map – of Tanga (ten years ago the most recent I could find was dated 1953) this is a treasure! The book is divided into sections, more or less according to district, but including the Tanga Marine Park, the Usambara Mountains and the two National Parks, Saadani and Mkomazi, as separate sections. Mkinga, Handeni and Kilindi, which between them occupy around two thirds of the region, account for very few pages. The whole booklet has colour photographs (except the black and white historical ones) throughout.

The first section, on the Tanga region, begins with History, and Natural,
Cultural and Built Heritage. In only four pages there is a limit to the amount which can be written. There is a summary of local trades and industry and of the natural environment. ‘History’ goes back to the origins of the name ‘Tanga’ and to 1631, when local people joined with the Mazruis to fight Portuguese rule in Mombasa. Then come the slaves and ivory trade, German East Africa and the Bushiri War, building the railway and the Lushoto road, World War I and the British administration, Mwalimu Nyerere and independence, and the problems besetting Tanzania in the latter part of the twentieth century – all are covered, if only by a sentence or two. One page is devoted to sisal, its history, cultivation and processing.

Under ‘Facts and Figures’ we have location, climate, population and area of districts and main towns. Finally there is information about TATONA (Tanga Tourism Network Association) and a list of other tourist associations. It is not perfect – for example, there are letters on the maps of Tanga city with no explanation, but it will be a great help to tourists and visitors.

There is also a website ( with links to tourist attractions and advice, including the gem: “time keeping is not at the top of the priority list for some people.”
Brenda Allan

Brenda Allan first visited Tanga in 2001 to run a short course in IT, and has been there every since. Her charity, “Tanga in Touch”, among other things manages the parish link between Whitbourne, her own village, and St. Francis, Mapinduzi, a suburb of Tanga.

BRITISH COLONIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICYAFTER THE SECOND WORLD WAR. THE CASE OF SUKUMALAND, TANGANYIKA, by Rohland Schuknecht, Periplus Studien 14, Münster: LIT Verlag, 2010 978-3­643-10515-8 € 34,90

Sukumaland before independence is one of the most studied areas of Tanzanian history, explored by the political historians Malcolm (1953), Austin (1968), Maguire (1969) and by the agricultural economists McLoughlin (1967), von Rotenhan (1968) and Collinson (1972), , and more recently by the demographer Sarah Walters (2008). This book makes passing use of the classical sources, but does not include any form of assessment, or an index. It does include meaty footnotes on almost every page, so that anyone wanting to trace the author’s footsteps in the archives in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, London and especially Rhodes House, Oxford, will have no problems.

The result is a mass of interesting detail, mostly told from the perspective of British colonial officials as they learnt hard lessons about agriculture and marketing in the 1930s and 1940s, until they discovered the virtues of good prices and African-run marketing co-operatives in the 1950s. It was not all plain sailing: co-operatives and marketing boards could be used to cream off income from African farmers (as Bates and others have told us). But this system stood Tanzania in good stead on into the first years of Independence. However, the discussion of the emergence of TANU in the final chapter, drawing heavily on Maguire and Iliffe, is not the strong point of this book.

It is much more interesting in the detail it provides of how the colonial admin­istrators used rules and regulation, backed by law, in vain and often scientifi­cally misguided efforts to impose agricultural changes, such as the growing of minimum areas of specified crops, planting on tied ridges or reducing the numbers of cattle.

The complaint of not drawing sufficiently on, or reevaluating the contributions of, previous scholarship can be made about much contemporary writing. It would also have been good to see more references to the work of African histo­rians. But someone who is not familiar with the previous sources will find this a useful starting point for understanding the motivations of colonial policy – and almost worth the money for the footnotes alone.

AUSTEN, R. A. (1968) Northwestern Tanzania under German and British Rule. Yale University Press.
BATES, R. H. (1981) Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policies. University of California Press.
COLLINSON, M. (1972) Farm Management in Peasant Agriculture. Praegar.
ILIFFE, J. (1979) A Modern History of Tanganyika. Cambridge Univ Press.
MAGUIRE, G. A. (1969) Towards ‘Uhuru’ in Tanzania. Cambridge Univ Press.
MALCOLM, D.W. (1953) Sukumaland: An African People and their Country: A Study of Land Use in Tanganyika, Oxford University Press
McLOUGHLIN, P.F.M. (1967) Agricultural Development in Sukumaland, in De WILDE, J.C. (ed.) Experiences with Agricultural Development in Tropical Africa,Volume2: The Case Studies, Johns Hopkins University Press, pp.415­450
Von ROTENHAN, D. (1968) Cotton Farming in Sukumaland: Cash Cropping and its Implications, in
RUTHENBERG, H. (ed.) Smallholder Farming and Smallholder Development in Tanzania. Springer-Weltforum, pp.51-86.
WALTERS, S.L. (2008) Fertility, Mortality and Marriage in Northwest Tanzania, 1920-1970: a Demographic Study Using Parish Registers, PhD thesis, Kings College Cambridge
Andrew Coulson

Andrew Coulson is Vice-Chair of the Britain Tanzania Society and a regular contributor to Tanzanian Affairs. A second edition of his book “Tanzania: A Political Economy” is due in mid-2013.

AFTER 50 YEARS: THE PROMISED LAND IS STILL TOO FAR! 1961 – 2011. Ibrahim J. Werrema. 2012Mkuku na Nyota: Dar es Salaam. ISBN 978­9987-08-170-7.

The author, an engineer, assesses the progress and problems of Tanzania’s development over the past fifty years. The book is composed of seven chap­ters: chapter 1 provides a general review of progress and problems; chapter 2 discusses the administration of the country by its former presidents; chapter 3 looks at the development of social services; chapter 4 at the economy; chapter 5 at culture and religion; and chapter 6 at the political situation. The book con­cludes with a plea to the current President to address the problems identified by the author. Each chapter represents something of a random dip into a vast literature.

The author laments what he feels should have been achieved by Tanzania in fifty years of independence. While it is important to assess the past, it is unclear what the author thinks should be the starting point for a better future. Furthermore, responsibility for problems is placed on politicians and govern­ment, but little is said about the responsibility of ordinary Tanzanians.

Mr. Werrema believes that a ‘war’ against HIV/Aids is required and that pro­gress has been unnecessarily held back by respect for human rights (p. 46). He wants to adopt ‘laws that interrupt AIDs transmission’ which include changing traditional cultural practices and a crackdown on homosexuality. While HIV prevention needs to be a priority, policies must be informed by research, not moral outrage. Furthermore, the author neglects to say how HIV prevention (and the funding for it) should be prioritised in relation to preventing and controlling other diseases – or indeed in relation to education or the economy.

The author identifies many very real problems, but he fails to differentiate between cause and effect. Take the issue of poor economic development. At some point wealth needs to be created and made available, presumably through taxation, for the state to spend on social and health services, education etc. Where should the government begin? What should the priorities be for govern­ment expenditure? If the past is any guide, the state cannot, indeed should not, be expected to do everything.
Perhaps this book will help Tanzanians to rethink the role of the state as against the potential role and contribution of ordinary people to the development of their country. If Mr. Werrema’s book sparks this important debate, then it will have served a very useful purpose.
Dr John R Campbell

Dr John Campbell is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology of Development at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London. He taught at the University of Dar es Salaam 1980 – 84 and was a frequent visitor throughout the 1990s.

TANZAN TALES. published by David A Murray. ISBN; 978-0-9574452—8. It is unpriced – readers are asked to be “Tafadhali Kuwa Mwema Sana / Please Be Very Kind”. Any money or payment in kind is purely for the benefit of Malaika Kids.

Tanzan Tales, a collection of stories and fables told to the author, Edith Cory-King, as a child growing up in Tanzania, was reviewed in TA (86/88) in 2007. These oral stories were originally in Swahili and later written in German as Cory-King narrated them to her mother. Following a move to England, the author had the stories translated into English so that ‘a new generation of English children could enjoy these stories that have delighted African children for so many years.’

David Murray, Trustee of Mailaka Kids UK, has produced a bilingual version, titled Hadithi za Tanzania/Tanzan Tales (Swahili/English), which is the sub­ject of this present review. Two Tanzanians, Catherine Shindika and Anthony Wandiba, translated the 10 tales that comprise Book One into Swahili. Colour photographs, and illustrations by children at the Independent School of Dar es Salaam, are included.

As Tanzan Tales has been reviewed previously, this present review looks more closely at the Swahili translation, bearing in mind that several translations— Swahili > German > English—had taken place before the tales were translated back into Swahili, the language in which the tales were originally told.

Apart from the occasional grammatical and typographical errors found in all publications, there are instances where it was decided to omit sections of the English version in the Swahili translation, or to change descriptions so that they would be more easily understood. For example, in Mashetani (Demons) “horrifying demons” becomes “demons with terrifying eyes” (mashetani yenye macho yanayotisha). At times the translation seems off the mark, as where “hail” is translated as “dew” (umande). Swahili speakers understand mvua ya mawe as hailstones, so there would have been no problem using the common term.

There are also instances where a totally different word is used rather than the one actually meant. For example, in the second tale, Tigeriru na Sitha Binti Mflame (Tigeriru and Princess Sitha), the Swahili translation literally means “it helped him to distinguish the food in his stomach” zilimsaidia kuainisha chakula tumboni, while the English says “it aided his digestion”. More accu­rately, this could have been translated as zilimsaidia kumeng’enya chakula tumboni (kumeng’enya = to digest).
Sometimes a much stronger word was used, perhaps in an attempt not to be too literal. However the true meaning of the original gets somehow lost when “To the annoyance of their ruler” is translated as Kwa kumchukiza mtawala wao, literally: “To be hateful to their ruler”. The verb kuudhi “to annoy” was not used, and, in my opinion, would have carried the meaning very well (Kwa kumwudhi mtawala wao).

To the credit of the translators, there were sections of the English text which proved difficult to translate, i.e. words or idiomatic expressions and phrases with no direct equivalent. Faced with such awkward situations, Shindika and Wandiba found words and phrases in Swahili that would accurately express the overall meaning of the source textr. For example, in Pendo la Sungura (Hare Love), “how Pendeza was to be won” is translated as namna ya Pendeza atakavyoolewa (literally, “the way Pendeza would be taken in marriage”). Another example in the same tale is: “The harder he tried, the less funny he usu­ally was.” Not easy to translate into Swahili and accurately convey the mean­ing, this is translated as: alivyojitahidi kuchekesha ndivyo alivyozidi kumfanya Pendeza asijisikie kucheka (literally: “the more he tried to be funny, the more it made Pendeza feel not to laugh”), which offers a good comparison in meaning.

Differences in linguistics, culture, history and environment between languages make it difficult to translate the ideas of one language into another without losing or changing the meaning. In spite of this, the translators managed, in many instances, to find a good comparison between the source text and the translation, thereby maintaining a certain naturalness as they translated from English into Swahili. There is currently a dearth in Swahili children’s literature; and Hadithi za Tanzania/Tanzan Tales is a welcome addition.
Donovan Lee McGrath

Donovan McGrath is co-editor of Tanzanian Affairs and currently teaches Swahili at the SOAS Language Centre and Hackney Community College, London.

AN ENTERPRISE MAP OF TANZANIA. UK International Growth Centre 2012. ISBN 978 1907994074 p/b £19.99

This book has been prepared by two leading academics, John Sutton of the London School of Economics (LSE) and Donath Olomi of the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development in Dar es Salaam. Both have a wealth of experience and have many economic publications to their names. John Sutton is involved with the International Growth Centre (IGC) which was initiated and funded by the British Department for International Development (DFiD) partly to encourage British business to engage in investment in the developing world and improve the local economies. The book, which is also available for download on the internet, is divided into eighteen sections. The first thirteen sections deal with the agro-allied sectors from coffee and tea through to hides and skins. Employment in these sectors is reported to be approximately 7.0 million out of a total population of 46.2 million. The horticultural sector is said to have export potential in areas such as Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Iringa and Morogoro. Recent developments in the Mbeya area with its ideal climate, good soil and the opening of Songwe Airport (3,500m asphalt runway) are also ideal for horticultural production and exports.

The World Bank’s latest report quotes the GNI to be US$540 per capita. The accuracy of some figures in the book is problematic[ for example, on page 77 the company BIL is said to have a turnover of $4 million and 200 employees whilst on page 83 the turnover is given as $3 million, but this time with 300 employees. A more serious error occurs on page 66, where Mwanza airport runway is stated to be only 200m long and hence unsuitable for large planes, when actually the runway is 3,300m and of comparable length to that of Dar es Salaam!

Only one section (17) covers metals, engineering and assembly. This is an area oil industry service companies would have particular interest in. The potential in Tanzania for exploitation of its energy resources – oil, gas and coal- with the transfer of skills that will arise, is growing fast.

Industrial development since independence was hindered by the Ujaama- inspired nationalization polices of the late 1960s, leading to the departure of major international investors. In 1997 an investor-friendly Mining Act came into force and this sector has since seen significant foreign investment. Tanzania is now the fourth largest producer of gold in Africa. There are in addition significant reserves of diamonds, nickel, uranium, iron ore and coal. However coal is still being imported into Tanga for the cement industry. The lack of a chapter on the mining sector is an unfortunate omission.

The transport sector also goes unmapped, despite being key to enterprise development. There is an adequate road network that is being used extensively for the movement of freight and passengers. Is there an opportunity for invest­ment in automotive (bus & tractor) manufacture? Air transport is expanding, as witnessed by the establishment of Fastjet, but this has to go hand in hand with airport development. The majority of cities only have airports with short gravel runways unsuitable for efficient low wing modern jet aircraft such as the A319 and Boeing 737.

The neglect of the railway network is most regrettable and its revival needs to exercise government. The 4,400 km railway system (TRC 2,600 km & TAZARA 1,800 km) presents numerous opportunities for concessioning as well as the development of overhaul workshops. The example of Gabon, whose 670 kilometre system carries 3 million tons of freight and 190,000 pas­sengers annually, is worthy of emulation by Tanzania.

What the Enterprise Map of Tanzania fails to tell us is how the Tanzanian Government can improve the ease of doing business in the country from its present rating of 133 out of 185, so as to attract new ventures.
John Appleby

John Appleby has lived and worked in East and West Africa most of his life whilst also traveling extensively throughout Africa. He trained as an engineer, subsequently developing industrial and agricultural projects. He was co-founder of Engineering Consultancy APTEC now working mostly on power generation and energy projects.

REGIONAL INTEGRATION IN AFRICA: EAST AFRICAN EXPERIENCE by Msuya Waldi Mangachi. Foreword by Salim Ahmed Salim. Published by Safari Books Ltd Onireke, Ibadan 2011; pb 276pp. ISBN 978 978 8431 022

In this comprehensive survey of the chequered history of regional integration in East Africa, Dr Mangachi traces its origins from the 1920 award to Britain of the League of Nations mandate for German East Africa, which brought Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika under a single administration. He tells the familiar story of how the need for closer cooperation led to the establishment by the British authorities of a single currency, customs and income tax and a wide range of common services, including railways, posts, telecommunications and civil aviation. These integrated arrangements worked well and in 1960 Julius Nyerere even offered to defer Tanganyika’s independence until 1962 so that all three countries could achieve independence and unity together.

His proposal was not adopted and the emergence of three independent states increased the strains on what had now become the East African Community. The common currency was one of the first casualties and the final straws were the seizure of power by Idi Amin in Uganda in 1971 and the deterioration in relations between ‘capitalist’ Kenya and ‘socialist’ Tanzania, culminating in the closure of their common border. The East African Community effectively collapsed in mid-1977 and its assets (and liabilities) were divided up in 1984.

Fortunately this was not the end of the story. In 2001 a new East African Community was established and the second half of this book describes its objectives and examines its progress. Like its predecessor, the revived Community seeks closer economic union and eventual political federation. The author notes that the new organisation has tried to avoid such pitfalls as the over- centralization of assets in Kenya, and seeks to achieve the goal of integra­tion step-by-step, starting with a customs union followed by a common market and a monetary union, before establishing a political federation.

In this connection, he highlights the different approaches to politics in the three countries; Tanzania with its multiparty system, Uganda’s single party ‘movement’ and Kenya’s problems with ethnic tensions. He might also have mentioned that the admission of Rwanda and Burundi to membership of the Community has added a further complication. He believes that the new East African Community ‘stands a good chance to succeed’; but his estimate (page 204) that political federation may be achieved in the timeframe 2015-2018 seems rather optimistic.

It is a pity that he weakens his thesis by asserting (page 239) that Britain’s motive for promoting closer cooperation was ‘consolidating colonial rule and economic exploitation’; and that one of the main purposes of the railways was to expedite ‘despatching troops to quell any resistance’; although he does acknowledge that, ‘apart from TAZARA, the countries of the region are still using the railway infrastructure left behind by the German and British colonial­ists’. With this one reservation, I commend this book as a useful study of an important topic, particularly for the period since 2000.
John Sankey

John Sankey was British High Commissioner in Dar es Salaam 1982-5.

AFRICA AFTER APARTHEID: SOUTH AFRICA, RACE, AND NATION IN TANZANIA. Richard A. Schroeder. ISBN-13 978-0-253-00600-4 (Paperback). 248pp. Indiana University Press, Inc 2012.

Richard Schroeder uses events in Tanzania as a case study to analyze the eco­nomic, political and social dynamics triggered across the Africa continent by the end of the apartheid era in South Africa in 1994. The study stems from the author’s visits to Tanzania over a span of fifteen years (1995-2011). Schroeder is Associate Professor of Geography at Rutgers University and founding direc­tor of the Rutgers University Centre of African Studies.

Schroeder begins his account by a historic perspective of the two countries with particular focus on the lead role played by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere through the Frontline States alliance during the struggle to liberate the Southern African countries. It is suggested that Tanzania expected a preferential relationship with post-apartheid South Africa. However, Schroeder develops a very clear message regarding the domination of ‘white’ South Africans over Tanzanians during their post-apartheid migration (labelled as ‘invasion’) throughout the continent.
Schroeder uses carefully selected interviews, newspapers and other references to build an argument of inconceivable economic, political, cultural and racial distress to Tanzania as a result of ‘white’ South African financial and human resources ‘invasion’ and the associated state relations. South African invest­ments are declared to have infiltrated every sector of Tanzania’s economy -manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunications, mining, banking, energy, construction, health, insurance, tourism, transportation, retail – possibly with education the only exception. The country is looted of its natural resources and deprived of its taxes, with apparently high economic profits earned by the South African corporations.

‘White’ South Africans in Tanzania are reportedly leading high-lives in upper echelon suburbs of Tanzanian cities, consuming South African-sourced imports, socialising in de facto all-white spaces, and with some embarking on daily air commutes from their city homes to their remote mining site offices. The sce­nario is of modern apartheid in Tanzania as the native African Tanzanians are described as still suffering from the complexes of being at the lowest-rung of the racial ladder established during the colonial era. They are racially abused, desolate and deciding to succumb to lamentation. They are the nice lot, at times lazy and lacking business acumen. They are not the ‘aggressive, angry, chip­on-the-shoulder type of people’ like their South African ‘black’ counterparts.

Being an African Tanzanian who has lived in the country through this post-apartheid period, the themes that Schroeder raises are without a doubt highly relevant for discussion. However, I find his narrative the least useful contribu­tion to my country moving forward. Generally, de facto all–white spaces in Tanzania, if any, do not deserve mention in a piece of literature whose alterna­tive interpretation could have been far more beneficial to Tanzania.

As I read the book, I kept referring to a set of objective questions. First, why did things play-out the way they did, supposedly so unfairly, to Tanzania? Second, did Tanzania do anything right during all this? On the first, Schroeder raises the relative conditions of the two countries during the period in fragments in various parts of the book and without due emphasis, probably to maintain his strand of ‘South Africa–over–Africa’ argument. Trying to find the second was a disappointment.

During the period studied, Tanzania has implemented a series of socio-eco­nomic and political liberalisation policies which started from the second phase government of President Ali Mwinyi (1985–1995) through to the third phase government of President Benjamin Mkapa. Arguably economic liberalisation and privatisation took a centre stage in the latter phase. As a matter of fact, it had to. To make it investable Tanzania opted for total compliance to interna­tional community directives, whether willingly or under pressure. It also laid out an array of incentives for investment, which included long tax holidays and a low share of proceeds for the state.

With the end of apartheid being coincidental with onset of these economic reforms, Tanzania’s first diplomatic mission to South Africa had a clear assign­ment, arguably with the blessing of Mwalimu, to market the country and beckon investment. Evidently that happened, and the Tanzanian government fully embraced the ‘invading’ South African investment. Expectedly the capital had to be either ‘white’ native South African or western, routed through South Africa; a blend of ‘black’ emerged with time as a result of South African Black Economic Empowerment.

It may be concluded that three important omissions by the Tanzanian govern­ment did result to the outcomes drawn out by Schroeder’s story (i) there wasn’t the necessary preparation of its own people for the business and economic lib­eralisation policy changes that were in process; (ii) a lack of close monitoring of the benefits to the country that resulted from the foreign investments; and
(iii) a very low sense of urgency, unexpected in fast–moving free market econo­mies. Whether this is due to lack of recognition by the government, or simply not doing the needful, is uncertain. Without clear mechanisms to address these issues, we may have to get used to reading similar accounts of other investment ‘invasions’ in Tanzania- and potentially other African states.

It should be clear that the South African capital migration has not been an entirely miserable case for Tanzania. Several initially entirely state-owned companies have been turned around in a beneficial manner to the Tanzanian people in the process, and to which Schroeder gives some brief recognition. The Tanzanian government has been able to part ways in time with South African aviation and energy utility ‘investments’ which clearly failed. The ‘visa debacle’ highlighted by Schroeder is seemingly easing as South African entry requirements for Tanzanians are being relaxed. Finally, the Tanzanian government has shown intent to avert from prevailing non-beneficial foreign investments contracts.
Siya Paul Riomoy

Siya Paul Rimoy is a civil engineer serving the Tanzania community on multiple fronts of academia, research and advisory through affiliation to the University of Dar es Salaam and Industry.



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

THE CULTURE OF COLONIALISM. THE CULTURAL SUBJECTION OF UKAGURU, by T.O.Beidelman, Indiana University Press 2012. ISBN 978 0 253 00215 0 (h/b) £59.00, or p/b £20.99.

Some 35 years ago I read Beidelman’s Colonial Evangelism, a sardonic account of the Church Missionary Sociery in Tanganyika. (In this new book Beidelman describes how a good friend of his responded to the intrusion of a missionary into the club by urinating on the man’s trousers and Beidelman’s earlier book was written in much the same spirit). Since then I had read nothing by Beidelman and the appearance of this new book took me by surprise. I had assumed Beidelman was retired or dead but this book reveals him as very much alive. In fact it is surprising that I never met Beidelman. We both arrived in Africa in 1957, he to Ukaguru and I to Southern Rhodesia. We were both working on doctorates for Oxford. When I was deported from Rhodesia and came to the University College of Dar es Salaam in 1963 Beidelman was still out in the central Tanganyikan bush. Had he then met me on one of his infrequent visits to Dar es Salaam he would certainly have been as justifiably rude to me as he was to large numbers of dignitaries in Oxford and Tanganyika. In those early Tanzanian years I represented perfectly the sort of person about whom he is most scornful – intellectuals who believed that history was being made from the centre by the enlightened socialism of Julius Nyerere and who knew nothing of local realities. Beidelman is unsparing about Nyerere. His ‘Fabian Socialism’ was bogus and irrelevant; his sham rhetoric concealed an absence of constructive ideas; his forced villagisation policy had disastrous effects on local societies; he ruthlessly repressed all criticism, giving the ‘thugs’ of the TANU Youth League a free hand.

Yet this is a book about colonialism rather than post colonialism and its real indictment is of British colonialism in Tanganyika. Beidelman comes over as a natural rebel. He was wonderfully cheeky to authority. In Oxford he was splendidly impertinent to the majestic Dame Margery Perham, telling her in a seminar that her ideas about Indirect Rule were a dangerous distortion. He was rude to the arrogant District Commissioner in Ukaguru, and equally disobliging to a more sympathetic official who wanted to draw upon his anthropological knowledge. He made very few white friends until he had obtained his Oxford doctorate and had acquired an array of collegiate suits and ties and a strained Belfast accent. He quarreled with a paranoiac Tanganyikan local administrator. His affection and admiration were reserved for the Kaguru themselves, a lovable if fractious people living in beautiful country. They have always been the victims of history. His deepest wish – though not a lively expectation – is that they should enjoy a happier future.

The Kaguru were victims of slave raiding in the nineteenth century. German rule was brutal; the first world war destructive. The British portrayed themselves as more sympathetic rulers, gradually civilizing the ‘natives’ through the use of their own institutions in the policy of Indirect Rule. The core of Beidelman’s book is an exposure of the fraud of Indirect Rule. In a comparative chapter he reviews the very extensive literature on colonialism, usefully avoiding jargon. He admits that many others have exposed the illusions and self-delusions of Indirect Rule, with its invention of tribes and its self-deceiving smokescreen around the realities of force and exploitation. But he reasonably claims to provide the most thorough study of the functioning – or malfunctioning – of Indirect Rule in one district. Beidelman is scathing in his portrayal of the heroes of Indirect Rule. He sees Perham’s idol, Lord Lugard, as a man with neither knowledge nor ideas, transformed into a sage whom all colonial officers had to read. He sees the hero of Tanganyikan Indirect Rule, Sir Donald Cameron, as a desk-bound bureaucrat, ignorant of realities on the ground. Governor Twining was an inflated disaster. Beidelman’s rare compliments are reserved for critics of the system, like Dundas, or the last Governor, Turnbull, who wound colonialism up in Tanganyika with tact and common-sense.

In Ukaguru the imposition of the Indirect Rule system was made more difficult by the existence of matrilineality which the British did not understand or admire. (The new rulers after Tanganyikan independence just abolished it altogether). There were no ‘big men’ with hosts of dependants or dozens of slaves. Authority in the local Indirect Rule system was up for grabs and Beidelman has excellent chapters on how men emerged as headmen and some as chiefs. They were illiterate and uneducated men and no attempt was made to train up a group of literate younger Kaguru. Education was left to the disliked CMS missionaries who themselves were determined not to produce African intellectuals and made no effort to understand Kaguru ritual or religion. The core of Indirect Rule in Ukaguru was the system of headmen’s and chiefs’ courts. These could not try serious crimes and witchcraft was not recognized as a reality by the British. They were mostly concerned with civil cases. Soon after independence, Beidelman was given the surviving court records by a British official who told him that with the abolition of both chiefs and matrilineality no-one would ever be interested in them again. The core of his book is a discussion of these court records from which he reconstructs a vanished world. These chapters will be of inestimable comparative value to historians working on colonial legal systems.

Kaguru disliked and resented colonialism and Beidelman made friends just by virtue of not being British. But they did not fit into a conventional anti-colonial narrative. They did not participate in Maji-Maji. They did not resist either the Germans or the British. When it arose the nationalist party, TANU, was unpopular in Ukaguru. Instead, local disaffection with Indirect Rule was expressed by purely local associations which Beidelman valuably describes. In short, the Kaguru were totally unprepared for independence. TANU owed them no debts. Their culture and that of the other ethnic groups in Ukaguru was despised and often attacked by the ‘thugs’ of the TANU Youth League. They could not contribute informed and educated men to the new administration. British colonialism had not been brutal or racist but it had done nothing to prepare the Kaguru for modernity. Beidelman is glad that he left before the imposition of forced villagisation which finally destroyed the Ukaguru he knew. It is a sad story. It is also a very well told one.

Terence Ranger
Professor Terence Ranger was the first Professor of History at University College, DSM, 1963-1969. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Oxford and has been a member of the Britain-Tanzania Society for over thirty years.

RADIO CONGO – SIGNALS OF HOPE FROM AFRICA’S DEADLIEST WAR by Ben Rawlence. Published by One World. ISBN 978-1-85168-927-9

This is a readable and attractive paperback. The author is an intrepid 30-ish researcher at Human Rights Watch who studied at SOAS and the University of Dar es Salaam. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of BTS. If you steam up or down Lake Tanganyika the Eastern Congo hills are not so distant; ‘ports’ like Kabimba and Kalemie might just about be discernible from the deck of the SS Liemba. Once scuttled by the Germans, it took the British over five years to raise Liemba which is now destined to become a maritime museum.
The clear Victorian-type map at the front is essential to following this journey. He flies in and out of Kivu, then uses jeep, motorbike, back of bike, boat, canoe and foot to reach his destinations in Eastern Congo, mainly Katanga. Ben Rawlence wears his Swahili skills and learning lightly to illustrate the way the language has spread so far into the Congo, brought there by the coastal slave traders. The beauty and horror of the Congo and its suffering inhabitants are all too apparent on this journey, each part of which had to be separately planned as the economy has virtually collapsed since 1960. Thus a hundredweight of silver ore from Manono, his destination, is the load for one bicycle, ploughing through the bush of overgrown roads. His currency is dollars and cigarettes usually.

Even in Congo, Catholic missions are still functioning in a residual way with quite imposing buildings often ruined. And so we come to his mecca, the once celebrated Manono, centre of silver mining for the Congo and elsewhere. He describes the gaunt, but enormous, buildings still hanging there, in the style of Lord of the Rings. Rawlence, at the beginning of this book, is eager to get down to the south-east of Congo where this book takes us. By contrast, after he has been at Manono for a while, he feels more like a prisoner, following the radio communications from other parts of Congo (his ‘Signals of Hope’) and cannot wait to hitch a flight back to Kivu.

I was gripped by Rawlence’s narrated conversations with different villagers and local notables; and by the fact that humans seem to need hierarchy even in anar­chy. The potential for commerce from Eastern Congo across Lake Tanganyika to Kigoma seems enormous, if only the Tanzania end of the arrangements could be realised when things settle down and Tanzanians cease to fear Katangan competition.
His good book list could have included Helen Roseveare’s two late nineteen-sixties paperbacks on North East Congo which still draw a tear today.
Simon Hardwick
Simon Hardwick was an Administrative Officer in Tanzania 1957-1968 and Chairman of BTS Executive Committee 1995-2001.

TAIFA: MAKING NATION AND RACE IN URBAN TANZANIA by James R Brennan Ohio University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780821420010 p/b 304pp. £29.50.

“In this work, we will embark on a tour of identity categories …” (p.1). It is a mixed blessing that so much (rather good) modern African history is the work of American academics. On the plus side, it is meticulously researched and documented – witness Brennan’s 81 pages of notes and references; on the other hand, there seems to be an obligation to overlay the history with an intellectual gloss, in this case the language of identity.

That said, the story Brennan tells us is an interesting and important one, which continues to have troubling echoes to the present day. It concerns the relation­ship between Africans and the Indian community in Dar es Salaam, both before and after independence in 1961 – the period covered is roughly 1916 to 1976. And, of course, the pattern of relationships between communities established by the British administration set the tone. As Brennan observes, “Examined closely, East African ‘Indians’ splinter into a dizzying array of regional, religious, and caste-based communities” but “If considered as a microcosm, [they] appear to be a privileged community that, by and large, had profited from their participation in systems of colonial rule.” (p.3).
Chapter 1 brings out how, in the inter-war period, the need to distinguish between ‘native’ people (to be protected from exploitation by outsiders) and ‘non-natives’ posed difficult problems for the administration, particularly on the coast and in the capital, given the dominance of the latter in government, business and (in the case of the Indian community) in retail and wholesale trade. In Dar es Salaam, this resulted in the ostensibly non-racial division of the town into Zone I (high standard residential), Zone II (commercial) and Zone III (reserved for natives). Zone II was predominantly Indian and it was “Indians, not Europeans, [who] interacted with Africans on a daily basis and bore the brunt of African frustrations with the cruel vicissitudes of market economics.” (p. 34). However, as Brennan skillfully points out, there were contradictions inherent in these arrangements, particularly as regards housing, trade and land laws, aggravated by the relocation of the main market from Zone II to Kariakoo in Zone III.

Chapter 2 develops these themes as they affected racial identities in Dar, giving impetus to the consolidation of an Indian identity (at least in the eyes of Africans), notwithstanding internal differences in that community. At the same time, a similar consolidation of African identity was taking place, over-riding previous distinctions, such as those between Shomvi (Arab-descended) and Zaramo, or between Wenyeji (original residents) and watu wa kuja (newcomers).

WWII pushed these tendencies further (Chapter 3) as the authorities sought to maintain an orderly urban environment in the face of rising living costs, food shortages and growing militancy on the part of organized African labour. The responses included price controls, and creation of minimum entitlements to food, textiles and housing for recognized residents, which “dramatically raised the political and economic value of urban space” (p.117). This in turn led to attempts to curb in-migration, with limited effect, extending even to repatriation of wahuni (young, unemployed ‘hooligans’) – a policy revived subsequently, both before and after independence, indeed right up to the present day.

Chapter 4 charts how, in the post-war period, the Swahili term taifa (nation) came to eclipse kabila (tribe) and other sub-categories, helping to weld together the diverse groups making up the African population into a Swahili-speaking nation. Lively debate ensued as to whether Indians or people of mixed descent could properly belong to the taifa. In this discussion, Nyerere’s vision of a relatively colour-blind nation sat uneasily with TANU’s (pre-independence) African only recruitment policy and the growing demonisation of Indians as exploiters (unyonyaji).

By Chapter 5 these trends culminate in, on the one hand, the abolition soon after independence of the office of chief, part of a general suppression of tribalism (and hence of indirect rule); and, on the other hand, in the 1971 nationalisation of all buildings worth more than 100,000 shillings and not entirely occupied by the owner. “Everyone knew this to mean the expropriation of what was overwhelmingly Indian-owned residential and business property.” (p.191). While this was less harsh than Amin’s expulsion of Indians from Uganda, or Banda’s incitements against Indians in Malawi, it was nevertheless a severe blow, leading to a substantial exodus and, one imagines, not inconsiderable damage to the urban economy.

Economists may glumly note the contribution of misguided urban policies to this outcome. As Brennan puts it, “In urban areas like Dar es Salaam, the postcolonial state chose to continue its predecessor’s urban policies of relying on price regulation and movement restrictions rather than committing the necessary investments to manage urban growth.” (p.194). In particular, the shortage of accommodation and the pressure of in-migration combined to raise rents to very high levels, not offset by effective taxation of property to fund improvement, lending weight to accusations of unyonyaji against the (mainly) Indian landlords. (Nor did it help that the city council was disbanded in 1974, a development branded as “an unmitigated disaster” by Brennan “directly resulting in the collapse of basic urban services, such as garbage and cesspit disposal.” (p.198).)

One may ask how far invoking the language of identity adds to our understanding of the events described. Brennan is not a heavy theorist and charting the evolution of the way in which key words were used and understood does throw light on changing attitudes. But, to a large extent, the story tells itself – and a gripping story it is, particularly in the hands of someone as scrupulous as Brennan. One is left hoping that equally engaged researchers may now take the story forward to more recent times, moving away from unearthing overlooked details from colonial era records (fascinating as that is) to, for example, exploring the implications of the emerging gap between the urban haves (the naizi) and the have-nots (the kabwela or urban poor), tantalizingly mentioned towards the end of the book; or, more ambitiously, helping us to better understand the reasons why the process of urbanization in Tanzania (and many other African countries) is not delivering the benefits that it should.
Hugh Wenban-Smith
Dr Hugh Wenban-Smith was born in Chunya and went to Mbeya School. His career was as a government economist – mainly in Britain but with periods in Zambia and India. He is now an independent researcher, with particular interest in infrastructure, urbanisation and transport.

F. Salter and Tim R.B. Davenport. Princeton University Press 2011 ISBN 978 1903657348. £14.95.

This attractive small book produced by WILDguides Ltd, is a convenient A5 size, with soft covers and numerous coloured photographs. Profits from its sale go towards the conservation of the Southern Highlands of Tanzania and support the people who live there.

The introduction gives a broad picture of the uniqueness of the plateau’s natural history – mainly the thousands of brightly coloured flowers many of which are restricted to this area, but also mentioning the rare lizards, frogs, birds, antelopes and Africa’s rarest monkey, the kipunji, only discovered on nearby Mount Rungwe in 2003. The reasons for its urgent designation as a national park – a growing trade in orchid tubers as a delicacy- are also given.

Brief descriptions and photographs of the main habitats give an idea of the extent of the plateau. 112 species are described, giving distinguishing features together with points of interest such as distribution, abundance and flowering time. Each one is illustrated by an excellent photograph. In addition there is a glossary to aid identification, a list of contents and a bibliography.
This would be an excellent guide for anyone who was visiting Kitulo Plateau especially in the wet season (November to April) when most of the flowers are at their best.
Rachel Nicholson
Rachel Nicholson, accompanying her husband, lived in Tanzania and Nigeria for twenty eight years, fifteen of which were in Mbeya. Walks in the Southern Highlands with Phil Leedal gave her, like many others, a special interest in the plants of that lovely area.


London PhD Thesis 1984 by Jerome Tomokazu Moriyama, Re-published by Issui-sha Co. Ltd, Japan, 2011. ISBN 978-4-900482-39-5

Dr Moriyama was a lecturer at St Mark’s Theological College, Dar es Salaam from 1973 to 78. His research covers the first 45 years of UMCA work. It reveals how the original vision for Christian ministry was steadily lost – “that an African Church must be founded, spread and worked by Africans them­selves. The business of its European members is to do their best to start them on this career, help as they may, and then pass out of sight.”

UMCA was founded in 1861. Its Cathedral was built on the site of the slave market in Zanzibar. Early work in Zanzibar involved caring for and schooling children rescued from slavery, and establishing a settlement for released slaves to live in. It was hoped this work might produce the first generation of Christian leaders to be sent back to the mainland.
From the earliest days each bishop affirmed the essential need for well-educated African leadership in the new churches, but there was little effective strategy to achieve it. Tozer in his eight years as bishop ordained no one. Whereas Tozer used only English in education and public worship, his successor, Bishop Steere soon produced a Swahili Grammar, New Testament, Liturgy and Hymns. A college was started to train young men either as teachers or for church ministry. Mainland missions were established at Magila near Korogwe and at Masasi in the south.

UMCA differed from the majority of Anglican missions, with its emphatic commitment to Anglo-Catholic priesthood, teaching and spirituality. Authority was devolved to the bishop in the field rather than a home committee. Each bishop adopted his own strategy, some in favour of entrusting pioneering work to its first ordained clergy and evangelists, others placing them under the local supervision of missionaries. Freed-slave clergy on the whole found it impossible to gain the respect of the Arabs who controlled the main centres and routes; and being strangers, sometimes failed to win the support of the local chiefs.

These problems notwithstanding, this study details the success of many such clergy. They were physically fit, could cope with harsh climates, accepted local standards of living, learned local languages, and comprehended and respected local cultures. One example is highlighted: the ministry of the Rev Cecil Majaliwa, the first deacon, then priest, to be ordained, who worked in the Masasi area 1886-1896. (He was Archbishop Ramadhani’s grandfather) Totally committed to the local people, with the goodwill of the chief, he was an example of Christian faith and behaviour. Churches grew under his ministry, but to the envy of the missionary in charge, who observed his success and rapport with the local people. Majaliwa lost the vital backing of a new chief, and coupled with the indecisiveness of Bishop Richardson over his request for leave, he returned independently to Zanzibar, never to be sent out again to the mainland.

His experience reveals the key failure of UMCA to support the clergy they trained, and their insistence on missionary supervisors. Yet even in the Masasi area in the 1905 -7 Maji-Maji uprising, when the missionary workforce withdrew, the church continued to grow strongly under its African clergy – as happened also during the 1914-18 War.

In UMCA, the highest one could aspire to was rural parish work, following a long diaconate and a good level of theological training. Too late, Bishop Frank Weston 1908 -1924 realized his mistake. Capable clergy had been dismissed over disputes with inexperienced missionary priests. UMCA made little effort to examine such cases. Paternalism prevailed. No clergyman was appointed archdeacon or bishop in the entire colonial period and none was sent to England for further training following Cecil Majaliwa.

All this makes salutary reading for any who have been involved in clergy training in Africa in more recent years. It is a story of a wonderful vision which somehow was never attained.
Christopher Carey
The Rev Christopher Carey worked with CMS, the Church Mission Society, in Kenya and London, where he was Regional Secretary for East and Central Africa. Following parish work in Lincolnshire he retired in 2004.

TWILIGHT OF THE BWANAS by Gordon Dyus. Published by Xlibris Publishing 2011. Order from Price £13.99 p&p free UK, £4.99 Europe, £5.49 ROW pb 196 pages ISBN 978 1 4653 6653 5

The parents of the author of this study kept their young son with them in East Africa throughout the Second World War, rather than (as happened to many of our contemporaries) leaving him in what was expected to be the temporary care of relatives in Britain, only to be separated altogether for five formative years. Gordon Dyus’ father worked successively for the port authorities of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, and from a very young age Gordon shared your reviewer’s experience of being sent off to attend boarding school in Nairobi.

Although informed and animated by numerous personal memories, Twilight of the Bwanas is not so much a biographical memoir as an individual’s observation of colonial life at that time and during the postwar period. In this, it is inevitably restricted to some extent by the direct observations of the writer: but there are many perceptive comments and observations — not least about the colonial “memsahibs” to whom so very many “bwanas” and their children owed so much. Dyus notes, for example, that apart from some sections of the Kenya settlers there was in East Africa very little racism, as it is understood it today. Each group — Europeans, Asians and Africans — tended to accord full respect to the others, whilst not seeking to intrude upon them, nor to interfere with their habits and customs. Rivalries and “class distinctions”, as he points out, were very much more apparent within the various groups. My own father recalled a civil service dinner party at which the host barked: “Seat yourselves according to your salaries!” and relished the fact that it was the wives of the various officers who all knew exactly where to go!

This first half of the book, describing colonial life during and after the war, is evocative and rewarding, even though the author tends occasionally to assume too readily that his readers will share his familiarity with what he is describing: the layout of streets in Mombasa or Dar es Salaam, for example. Moreover, the vivid descriptions in the book cry out for illustrations; and it is odd that someone who became a surveyor with Tanganyika’s admirable Department of Lands and Surveys should not have helped his readers by including a few simple maps and plans.

The book’s sub-title claims to describe life in East Africa before independence. And, as remarked, the first half does that admirably — principally as regards Tanganyika. The ensuing chapter about the actual attainment of self-rule is likewise well observed. But sadly in most of the rest of the book, besides describing excellently several more episodes of expatriate life, Dyus devotes too many pages to bewailing what he believes might have taken place if the process of transition had been less rushed. Many of us who were there would agree that these countries suffered — and continue to suffer — as a consequence of the unexpectedly abrupt termination of British rule. But any belief that this could have been avoided suggests a failure to understand what was going on at the time in the rest of the world, where Macmillan and McLeod were constrained both by domestic economic pressures and by the knee-jerk hostility to imperial­ism of their most powerful Cold War ally.

What is more, Tanganyika in particular was not a colony, but a former German territory entrusted to Britain by the League of Nations to be prepared for eventual independence. Once the majority of members of the United Nations, the League’s successor body, had come to the conclusion — however unrealistic – that the time for that independence had come, it became very difficult for Britain to argue convincingly that the country should nevertheless continue as a Trust Territory.

Some of us would also challenge Gordon Dyus’ portrait of Julius Nyerere. Certainly “Mwalimu” felt constrained to posture from time to time as a power-hungry demagogue; but the monster described in these pages is very different from the soft-spoken scholar who occasionally took refuge from politics in my parents’ home to discuss how best to recast Shakespeare in traditional classical Swahili verse forms. Again, it is easy with hindsight to ridicule Nyerere’s socialist economics. But this was the era of Harold Wilson’s Britain and François Mitterand’s France, when various forms of socialism were all the rage; and very many European and American scholars applauded ujamaa as a model for the entire African continent. Similarly, it is easy to mock the follies of the TanZam railway. But — again with hindsight — perhaps it may prove to have been quite a shrewd move to be the first African nation to make friends with the superpower that will almost certainly dominate the 21st century. Last but not least, Nyerere set a precedent — sadly rare in Africa — by stepping down from power before he was pushed.

Twilight of the Bwanas, then, is a book of two halves — one impressively and vividly evocative of the period of colonial rule, the other disappointingly prejudiced about the postcolonial period.
Hubert Allen (Uganda 1955-62)

This review first appeared in The Overseas Pensioner, No.104 of October 2012, the journal of the Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association. It is printed here with permission, which is gratefully acknowledged.

LIVE FROM DAR ES SALAAM: Popular Music and Tanzania’s Music Economy. By Alex Perullo. Indiana University Press, March 2012. p/b ISBN 9788 0 253 22292 3 £18.99.

One day in June 2007, looking for Tanzanian music to buy, I found myself in Dar es Salaam Music and Sport. The owner told me the shop had been the leading outlet for pop records when sales of recorded music were at their height. Apart from the fact that they were now empty, the glass fronted cases had not changed since the 1960s. The only music available, however, was a handful of doubtful-looking cassettes, some of which I bought. Considering, as Alex Perullo shows, music is central to Tanzanian life, avidly consumed whether as radio broadcast or live performance, this was both puzzling and disappointing.

I mention this incident for three reasons. One is that this same shop appears, in a section on Asian musical entrepreneurship, in Perullo’s admirably researched account of the ups and downs of Tanzanian music over the last fifty-odd years. It exemplifies the thickness of ethnographic detail in a study which must be one of the most exhaustive of its kind. And lastly, this is the way Perullo himself proceeds: with a personal anecdote which functions like an establishing shot, before pulling out to give us the wide-angle view on different aspects of his subject. The frequency of openings such as: ‘One afternoon, I sat…’, ‘I spent a great deal of time with’, ‘I worked closely with’, ‘I sat and watched entire recording sessions’, ‘I conducted a survey among’, etc, brings home the sheer extent of Perullo’s involvement with what he calls the Tanzanian music economy in all its many facets – history, ideology, performance, education and training, broadcasting, recording, sales and distribution, copyright and contracts – and the music itself in all eight of its genres as described in a useful appendix and illustrated in online links to a musical archive.

Of the sixteen years since deregulation in 1994 – the period the study covers in most detail – Perullo’s research coincided with twelve: 1998-2010. The result, as he says, is a longitudinal study, not only of the ‘dynamic interplay’ of multiple influences which have shaped Tanzanian music, but of the creative ways urban Tanzanians have adapted to social, political and economic change. He takes as his premise that ‘more attention should be directed at finding and exploring narratives that evidence achievement in African contexts,’ rather than the default outlook on Africa as impoverished and therefore unable to help itself (xix). The case he makes for Tanzania’s music economy as one of the most thriving in Africa (in a context where the notion of an ‘industry’, with its connotations of infrastructural support, does not apply), and an example of Africans making things happen for themselves, is well demonstrated and convincing. ‘Music economy’, he argues, signifies processes of commercialization and commodification by which musicians, record producers and distributors make a living, and audiences are connected to each other and to the wider world.

The means by which this is accomplished Perullo calls ‘creative practices’, self-generated schemes and strategies including ‘networking, positioning, branding, payola, bribery and belief in the occult’ (xii). Under this sign, even apparently negative practices like piracy and sabotage are recuperated as creative responses to lived material conditions. Piracy, for example, is shown to be ‘the simplest and most effective creative strategy in the music economy’, and central to its success (339). Always looking, as one of the chapter titles has it, at ‘the submerged body’ rather than surface appearance, Perullo deploys local terminology to show how such practices are socially determined and culturally understood by participants. He shows, for example, how the outrage of visiting foreign rappers at the apparent chaos at a recording studio was a reaction to surface appearance; going deeper, he uncovers the Swahili concept of hujuma, the ‘purposeful act of destroying or damaging something in order to hinder it from being successful’ (276) – in this case a subversive strategy by a producer to undermine a project from which he had been sidelined.

Such creative strategies are part of a ‘bongo mentality’ which enables people to survive and thrive in the competitive atmosphere of Dar es Salaam – Bongoland itself. What gives Perullo’s argument its impact and authority is his making the ‘autochthonous philosophies’ of ‘bongo (wisdom/ingenuity)’ (8) and kujitegemea (self-reliance, in both its socialist and neo-liberal manifestions) (10) the informing principle of his idea of ‘creative practices’. By the final chapter, ‘Everything is Life’, in which he looks at transitions taking place and their possible future implications, he has fully justified his approach. This chapter is a philosophical meditation on Tanzanian society as it is evolving in the face of increased insecurity, urban competitiveness and consumerism, and the breakdown of earlier forms of family and community. Ultimately, he argues, creative practices are a way of cheating death and an expression of desire. He takes issue with President Mkapa’s reading of the term bongo as over-reliance on government, seeing it instead as ‘the dynamic use of resources that people employ to better their lives’ (361). Through Perullo, we are given a unique insight into the manifold uses of art and artifice by which people shape their own lives in an African city today.
Jane Bryce
Jane Bryce was born and brought up in Tanzania, and educated there, the U.K. and Nigeria. She is Professor of African Literature and Cinema at the University of the West Indies, and the author of Chameleon and Other Stories reviewed in TA No. 88 (Peepal Tree Press).



by John Cooper-Poole

COLLOQUIAL SWAHILI, THE COMPLETE COURSE FOR BEGINNERS by Donovan Mcgrath and Lutz Marten. Routledge ISBN 9780415580687. p/b £24.99. Pack of book + CD £39.27. CD £24.29.

COMPREHENSIVE SWAHILI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY by Mohamed A. Mohamed. East African Educational Publishers Ltd. SLP 32737, Kijito-Nyama, Dar es Salaam. ISBN 9789966258120

There are several different kinds of foreign Swahili students. Some are the Perennial Beginners, for whom a spritely ‘jambo?’ or badly pronounced ‘habari gani?’ is about as far as interest and investment in the language ever goes. Others are the Swahili Tourists, for whom Swahili learning revolves around a holiday or short visit to East Africa, and focuses on tourist-friendly phrases such as, ‘What time is the next ferry to Zanzibar?’, or, ‘Excuse me, do you know the way to Uhuru Peak?’

Then there are the Swahili Long-Termers – the volunteers, missionaries, NGO workers and private business reps – who take the language on with varying degrees of gusto and success. In the weeks before first travelling to East Africa, the Long-Termer invariably does online research, investing in a beginner course in Swahili, and embarking on the long journey towards the ultimate goal of language fluency. On arrival in-country, the Long-Termer joins one of the many Swahili language schools, brim-full of other newly arrived long-termers, all eagerly beavering away at their verb tense markers and noun classes.

As the months go by, the Long-Termers enthusiasm begins to diminish, and they start dropping off and fading away from their fluency dream. The majority end up wistfully remembering their eager-beaver days, when they still had a language lust, now long since extinguished and excused by ‘not having enough time’, or ‘everyone at work speaks English anyway’. The few who last the course are now to be found in bars and cafés reading the Swahili newspapers whilst chatting with their Tanzanian friends. The language lust is alive and well with these trusty few.

And then there are the Kiswahili Scholars. These are the university students, who read and write Swahili poetry for pleasure, and can expound ad infinitum on subjects like the locative copulas of -ko, -po and –mo. These serious exponents of all-things-Swahili worship at the altar of the greatest Kiswahili dictionary of them all: the 1981 ‘Kamusi ya Kiswahili Sanifu’ by the Institute of Kiswahili Research at the University of Dar-es-Salaam. No Kiswahili Scholar’s satchel is complete without their battered and dog-eared copy inside.

Well, now there are two new(ish) books out there, vying to earn their own place in the hearts of the Swahili language learner, whether Perennial Beginner, Swahili Tourist, Long Termer, or Kiswahili Scholar (you know which one you are).

First up is ‘Colloquial Swahili: The Complete Course for Beginners’ by Donovan McGrath and Lutz Marten, a step-by-step language course designed for self-study or classroom use. The course is built around 14 units, each based on three dialogues on the accompanying CDs. The dialogues are designed to describe situations from everyday Swahili life (introducing yourself, telling the time, going to a wedding, buying food from the window of a bus, and the like), whilst introducing the vocabulary and structures needed to talk about them.

It is a very well thought-out and structured book, and smoothly guides the learner through a lot of otherwise complex and unwieldy grammatical constructs. This is high praise indeed, especially considering the number of less logical and non-user­friendly Swahili language courses on the market. This makes ‘Colloquial Swahili’ a great choice of language course, whether you are a Perennial Beginner, Swahili Tourist, Long-Termer, or Scholar. ‘Colloquial Swahili’ is currently the standard textbook for First Year Swahili students at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) , the pantheon of Swahili learning in the UK. If it works for them, then it can surely work for you.

‘Colloquial Swahili’ is better suited as a classroom course than for self-study. The secret of the success of any beginner’s course is hooking the student early enough. If the learner can get past the first few units or chapters, then they are far more likely to last the course. ‘Colloquial Swahili’ jumps headlong into the deep-end of business in Unit One, with roughly 50 words of vocabulary and instructions on how to use the possessive pronoun. There is a danger that many readers are going to drop out too early. In the hands of a good teacher, however, the book comes alive for the Swahili learner. Don’t fall by the wayside like those poor Long-Termers, not lasting the course.

The ‘Comprehensive Swahili-English Dictionary’ by Professor Mohamed A. Mohamed is published by East African Educational Publishers. With over 60,000 entries (it is indeed a weighty tome), Professor Mohamed’s dictionary describes itself as offering ‘the most current use of the language among Swahili speakers today’ and that it mainly targets a bilingual audience. I can vouch for this last point, for when I looked up the word ‘panda’ (whose many meanings include: climb, grow, fork, increase in number and bet), the first word that came back at me was ‘bifurcation’. I then had to reach for an English dictionary to find out what ‘bifurcation’ meant (hint: it’s to do with the fork).

The problem with any Swahili-English dictionary is that it will always be compared with the great ‘Standard Swahili-English Dictionary’ by Johnson, the Grand-Daddy of Swahili dictionaries and now more than 70 years old. One of the great things for me about Johnson’s dictionary is the way it lists multi­ple words according to their root verb. Hence the entry for the verb –chunga (meaning ‘to herd’, or ‘take care of’) includes other verbs derived from the root verb such as –chunguza (‘to investigate’), and –chungulia (‘to watch closely’). In Professor Mohamed’s dictionary, though, these words take separate entries, and I can’t help feeling that I preferred it in the old Johnson way.

Another minor niggle is that despite being a modern dictionary (published in 2011), it doesn’t contain enough modern Swahili words. Sure, plenty of new words appear, especially relating to science and technology. But there is a distinct lack of the enormous number of words entering the Kiswahili lexicon via slang and popular culture. A modern dictionary needs to capture the vibrancy of modern street Swahili if it is to be truly modern.

But I think I am just bifurcating hairs here. Professor Mohamed’s comprehensive dictionary adds much value to the study of Kiswahili language, and will be a welcome addition and trusty friend to all Swahili students. It is the best Swahili-English dictionary I have seen apart from Johnson’s classic.

So, whether you are a Perennial Beginner, Swahili Tourist, Long-Termer or Kiswahili Scholar, there is plenty for all of you in ‘Colloquial Swahili’ and the ‘Comprehensive Swahili-English Dictionary’. To keep that dream of Kiswahili fluency alive, you could do much worse than get yourselves copies of both of these valuable books, and jump right on in. As the Waswahili say, ‘Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama’ -‘someone with eyes does not need to be told to look’.

Jimmy Innes

THIRD MAN IN HAVANA, by Tom Rodwell. Corinthian Books, London, 2012. xvii + 286 pages. Hardback £14.99.

With the sub-title ‘Finding the heart of cricket in the world’s most unlikely places’, the current chairman, of The Lord’s Taverners has written an uplifting series of tales of bringing cricket to many of the world’s disadvantaged people. It started, almost by accident, in India and then progressed through Cuba, USA, Panama, Sri Lanka and Israel before taking on challenges across Africa.

Tom Rodwell and his small coaching team developed contacts at the highest levels and thus received meaningful sponsorship and the authority to help blind (either totally or partially) and otherwise disabled children in Tanzania. As part of their East African Disability Cricket Programme, the team carried out their work at the University of Dar es Salaam, where they were ably supported by the Tanzanian national side. There were two noteworthy postscripts to that work: the great progress of the disabled children at Morogoro, thanks to a member of the Morogoro Teachers College who attended the sessions at the University; and the introduction by the author of the Tanzanian national cricketers to the club scene in England. An entertaining and heartening book, with chapters on Uganda, Rwanda and Sierra Leone as well. If only there were more people like Tom Rodwell in the world ….
David Kelly

MY LIFE by Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck: translated from the German by James Pierce, published by Rilling Enterprises, 5307 Loves Park, Illinois USA 2012. ISBN-13:978-0-615547-28-2

Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck famously commanded the Schutztruppe (roughly equivalent to the King’s African Rifles) in German East Africa throughout the 1914-18 War. His definitive account of that war was published as Memories of East Africa in 1919. This autobiography, written when he was 87, sets the African campaign in the broader context of his long life.

Von Lettow begins with a detailed account of his family history, Prussia’s ruthless expansion in the nineteenth century and his early military career. A spell of duty in German Southwest Africa (now Namibia) during the Herero revolt was a useful preparation for his posting to East Africa. He defied the Governor (Schnee), who wanted to declare the colony neutral, and won a surprise victory over a larger British force at Tanga. He continued fighting against heavy odds until a fortnight after the 1918 Armistice. His summary of the campaign is more selective than his 1919 account, but he adds details from his post-war conversations with Field Marshal Smuts and other British commanders.

He returned to Germany as an undefeated general and was given a hero’s welcome. However, things did not run smoothly for him. Germany in 1919 was in turmoil and he was dismissed from the army. Inflation eroded his pension and he had to work as a sales manager to make ends meet. In 1928 he was elected to the Reichstag for the German National People’s Party (DNVP), but his party supported Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor and the Nazis took control.

To his credit, von Lettow chose to leave public life rather than join the Nazi party, but he was impressed with the ‘Prussian spirit’ of the Nazis and writes: ‘conditions in the concentration camps were not known to the public and the attacks on the Jews were, at least in part, believed to be justified.’ Even though he was unimpressed by Hitler at their one meeting, he admits that ’Hitler did tremendous things for Germany.’ When invited to join a plot against Hitler in 1944, he declined – partly because he believed that Hitler had a secret weapon which would win the war.

The 1939-45 War was disastrous for von Lettow –his two sons were killed in action and his home in Bremen was destroyed by bombing. But he retained his Prussian spirit and complains about the ‘English’ military occupation force for not allowing him to retain his car and his hunting rifles. In the chapter on his farewell tour of Africa in 1956,his comments on the prospects for African independence reflect contemporary right-wing opinion but now seem very dated, if not racist.

Von Lettow was not the only German officer to be initially sympathetic to the Nazis, nor was he the only writer in the 1950s who believed colonial rule would continue for many years. Whatever errors of judgement are revealed in this autobiography, he will always be remembered for his exploits in the 1914-18 war, and above all for his ability to win the respect and loyalty of his African troops.
John Sankey



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

BODIES, POLITICS AND AFRICAN HEALING: THE MATTER OF MALADIES IN TANZANIA, Stacey A. Langwick. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, November 2010. 304 pp. ISBN 9780253222459 £16.99

Langwick’s rich ethnographic analysis of ‘traditional’ healing in South-Eastern Tanzania depicts a terrain of “ontological politics” where post-colonial contestations over the “matter” of healing reveal clefts of power as healers and oth¬ers engage in struggles to determine objects of therapy and sites of expertise. Theoretically influenced by anthropological and historical studies of African medicine, Science and Technology Studies, and critical post-colonial scholarship, Langwick’s account renders ‘traditional’ medicine a distinctly ‘modern’ category. Langwick draws a picture of ‘traditional’ medicine which is (in)formed as much by Tanzania’s colonial and postcolonial history, as by its relationships to ‘biomedicine’ and ‘witchcraft’, and through meetings between patients, healers and nonhuman actors such as mashetani and majini, who “climb upon the heads” of healers and engage them in relationships of therapy.

The first part of the book deals with the way in which the boundaries around the category ‘traditional medicine’ emerged and stabilised through the colonial and post-colonial periods. The second part focuses in detail upon the practices of healers who have been labelled as ‘traditional’ within the categorisation set out in the first section. The focus here is on the healing techniques of con¬trasting types of healers; including the predominately male faraki healers who use a range of techniques glossed locally as “medicine of the book”, and the predominately female healers whose “medicine of the bush” produces a healing potentiality located primarily in the power of the healer and her relations with nonhumans, rather than in the material properties of particular herbs. In the third section, Langwick looks in more detail at the intersections, gaps and frictions created through the juxtapositions of different forms of healing by focusing upon the ways in which the divergent therapeutic practices employed in this region bring objects of therapeutic intervention into being.

Although the blurb on the back cover describes the book as an examination of “African healing and its relationship to medical science”, Langwick’s analysis points towards the denial such a bifurcation in simple, unproblematic terms. ‘Traditional’ medicine as described by Langwick is a category partly defined by global connections, meetings and translations, for example in the movements of young medical students from Tanzania to China, and back, and in the jour¬neys of Chinese entrepreneurs to Tanzania. Later, she describes how normative understandings of ‘African communities’ and ‘traditional midwifery’ underpin¬ning WHO recommendations and ensuing interventions of the Tanzanian state were central to the configuration of an interpellation within which some women positioned themselves in a new hybrid role, the “Traditional Birth Attendant”. This category, Langwick maintains, did not exist prior to the development of these international interventions. These global connections undermine an easy alliance between the categories local/African/traditional which can be positioned against a globalised biomedicine.

The intimate and detailed descriptions of healing practices in this book form valuable ethnographic artefacts in and of themselves. However, it is in her analysis of the intersections between divergent therapeutic practices and the enactment of therapeutic objects that Langwick makes her most important contributions. Although the reader is left with the sense that Langwick’s research relationships to her ‘biomedical’ informants lacked the depth and intensity of those she formed with ‘traditional’ healers, she nevertheless presents a well-argued account of biomedicine as much more than a mere foil to ‘traditional’ medicine. For example, we see how biomedicine, too, “matters” through its locatedness when Langwick describes nurses who recommend ‘traditional’ healing to patients for whom biomedical treatments do not appear effective, or when ‘traditional’ healers “close” the body as a precursor to biomedical treatment for malaria. In her attempt to move beyond pluralism as a way of understanding African healing, Langwick resituates relationships between symptoms, diagnosis and treatment by reconfiguring these as entities which emerge through therapeutic practice. Langwick shows how this emergence creates a politics of therapeutic knowledge where practices do not fall easily into fixed categories, but are employed across existing matrices of power in ongoing attempts to delineate ways of knowing and intervening upon the world.

Hannah Brown

TANZANIA IN TRANSITION: FROM NYERERE TO MKAPA. Kjell Havnevik and Aida Isinika (eds), pub Mkuki wa Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2010

Between Nyerere, the first President and founding father of Tanzania, and Mkapa, its first President under multiparty democracy, there was a major shift in policy, from socialism as political rhetoric and socioeconomic reconfiguration, to the embrace of neoliberalism and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). This shift began before Mkapa took office and continued after he handed over to Kikwete in 2010, so he cannot be associated with this phase in Tanzania’s ‘transition’ as the title of this book implies. Nor do the editors want to claim neoliberalism itself as a progressive ‘transformational outcome’ of ‘transition’. Rather they reach for a broader definition of ‘transition’ which includes ‘genuine participation of citizens’ and the ‘creation of space for human agency’. They are equivocal as to whether any such ‘transition’ has taken place, and do not identify Mkapa as its champion. The title thus sets up an incoherent subject, and operates more as a research question than as a statement.

The articles that follow focus on various aspects of Tanzania’s changing political economy – its reliance on foreign aid, corruption, agrarian transformations and the implementation of multi-party democracy. Disappointingly, it has no analysis of Tanzania’s attempts to industrialise. In a rather uneven collection, and marred by poor editing, it contains some very useful overviews of development in the political economy as well as delivering a strong dose of realism about Tanzania’s limited progress towards limiting poverty or extending political participation. It is very useful to be reminded of the contradiction between Tanzania’s socialist call for ‘self-reliance’ and its heavy and continuing dependence on foreign aid, amounting at times to half the budget of the state. Simensen’s telling account illustrates the extent to which ‘socialism’ was funded by external backers, especially from Scandinavia, who in a period of economic collapse in the late 1970s were then able to put pressure on Tanzania to accept IMF terms of neoliberal economic reform as the condition for con¬tinuing aid.
Bryceson, Skarstein and other authors look at the checkered career of agrarian socialism as the cornerstone of Nyerere’s policies. On the one hand, agrarian livelihoods are still foundational and ‘agriculture provides a vital subsistence fallback for the poor and a common cultural frame of reference’. But collective production long ago fell by the way-side and the buffeting of world markets and withdrawal of state subsidies have forced peasants to look for non-agricultural incomes and wage labour to supplement farming. And land has become a commodity, albeit largely outside the formal system of registration. Additionally, gold mining (with its ‘exploitative labour practices’, in Bryceson’s terms) now contributes more to exports than Tanzania’s traditional cash crops. Bryceson offers some rich ethnography drawn from two villages, whilst Skarstein, in an excellent and informative piece, concludes that economic liberalisation has had a negative impact on food grain production and productivity and that real returns to peasant producers have declined. Deriding the promise of economic liberalisation, he calls for the reinstatement of an ‘accountable and determined developmental state’ willing to intervene in the agricultural sector. Isinika and Mutabazi’s chapter on land conflicts brings a welcome gender dimension, showing that women have begun to assert rights allocated to them both under customary law (which retains a strong place in Tanzanian legal system) and statutory law (which has extended additional rights to women over time). Sadly, many women are unaware of their rights at the same time as population growth has rendered land scarcity and resultant conflicts more common. A few more detailed case histories of court proceedings would have added more depth to these conclusions. A bleak picture is painted of the forestry sector by Monela and Abdallah, with degradation of the forest reserves and limited success of sustainable management initiatives. However commercial and especially illegal logging barely figured in this account, which was unexpected – as well as a bid for yet more donor aid to make forestry successful. Wangwe’s chapter, though heavy on the acronyms, concludes with a significant point: that deepening aid dependence is not sustainable for Tanzania and that ‘an exit strategy should be part of the dialogue between development partners and government’. How this might be achieved is left vague, however, given the ‘rent-seeking’ tendencies of corrupt state officials. Cooksey provides a schematic account of grand and petty corruption which shows that this tendency has not been stemmed by Mkapa’s claim to end corruption. Several authors note the lack of judicial proceedings brought against perpetrators. Finally, in a careful and comprehensive account, Ewald looks at the interaction between economic policies and the democratisation process, noting the limited level of political participation belied by a rhetoric of citizenship. ‘Poverty’ is still pervasive, despite a plethora of poverty eradication strategies and initiatives. It is worth noting that relative poverty is integral to capitalist development (which requires exploitation of the many to extract a surplus for the few) – and Ewald notes the political questions raised: ‘how long can the majority of the people endure a situation of little economic progress and poverty?’ They endure because the majority are still content with small advances in their conditions of life and unwilling to vote out the party – the Chama cha Mapinduzi – which has at least delivered peace and stability to Tanzania, resting on Nyerere’s inspirational legacy. No other party has been able effectively to challenge CCM, which is of course in a position to muzzle or interrupt challenging voices.

This book is a useful antidote to uncritical claims that Tanzania, with its currently high growth rates and adherence to programmes of structural reform sponsored by the IFIs, has become a model for other developing countries to emulate. It sets out candidly the gap between this model and the kind of society that Nyerere had in mind – independent, relatively egalitarian and non-exploitative, but it also allows for analysis of the very real barriers that lay in the way of achieving such a ‘transformational outcome’.

This review also appears in the Review of African Political Economy
Janet Bujra

TALES OF ABUNWAS AND OTHER STORIES. Suzi Barned-Lewis. ISBN 9789987080434. Available from African Books Collective. £15.95.

Reviewed by the pupils aged 7-11 at Taliesin Junior School, Shotton, Deeside. The Headmistress read the story of ‘How the turtle got his shell’ to the school this morning. All the children enjoyed this story and especially liked discussing the message behind the story. A number of the children related this story to other proverbs they knew. On discussing the book with other members of staff they commented that a number of the stories were exciting and entertaining but some were over complicated and would be suited for the older child. The stories vary in length and some were a little too long to hold the concentration of some of the younger children. The pictures were fantastic, bright, colourful and stimulating for some art work.

AFRICA’S ODIOUS DEBTS, by Leonce Ndikumana and James K Boyce. Zed Books, London and New York, 2011. xiv + 135 pages. Paperback £12.99, hardback £60.00.

Tanzania has few mentions in the text of this academic book which is, on balance, good as the publication deals primarily with the negatives of the continent as regards debt, outflow of funds by capital flight, round-tripping or money laundering, and downright fraud. The book is essentially a study of 33 African countries for which basic figures are available, by two professors of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the first-named in the summary above hailing from Burundi.
Some tables put Tanzania in a good light. Though external debt of US$5.9bn is 29% of GDP, compared with Kenya’s 22% and Uganda’s 17%, the authors’ estimate of capital flight from Tanzania is put at $6.7bn as of 2008, compared with $7.1bn from Kenya, $13.9bn from Uganda and monumental levels of $71.5bn from Angola and $296bn from Nigeria! Tanzania’s infant mortality is less than the continent’s average, even though public health expenditure per capita is likewise less than average. Success in reducing deaths from malaria by some 50% in Tanzania, and some other countries, is an indicator of properly invested funds.

Published in Zed Books’ African Arguments series, the book’s thrust, however, is at linking debt, and hence the cost of servicing that debt, with capital flight in all its definitions, and in drawing attention principally to the huge levels of odious debt. This term, first coined in 1927, has some protection in international law but the authors maintain that more could be done, to the betterment of populations. Not the easiest book to read, given its academic and painstaking approach, but some countries suffering under high debt servicing costs could at least consider the options laid out.
David Kelly

BETWEEN SOCIAL SKILLS AND MARKETABLE SKILLS: THE POLITICS OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION IN 20TH CENTURY ZANZIBAR. Roman Loimeier. Leiden: Brill, 2009 (xxxi + 643 pp.). ISBN 9789004175426. 199Euro, US$ 295.

This is an enormously useful, scholarly and at times engrossing book that synthesises a great deal of hard-to-access published sources, such as locally-published biographies of Zanzibari scholars, with findings from British and Zanzibari archives. As the length of the tome indicates, it is very clearly in the continental tradition, in the sense that it intersperses its arguments with long narrative passages, including summary biographies of a number of scholars.

Nevertheless, some important points emerge quite clearly. There is, firstly, Zanzibar’s pre-colonial legacy as a maritime location of ‘peripheral’ (in Michael Lambeck’s phrase) Islam: a place where Islamic education was valued greatly and at the same time perceived as a scarce good in need of fostering and protection. This view conditioned a great deal of concern among scholars about any attempt to legislate on education. Still, to varying extents all branches of Islamic scholarship, rational as well as revealed, from Quran recitation to legal interpretation, were being taught. Next, there is the ambivalent influence of colonial policy on Islamic education in Zanzibar. British officials felt that they did not really know what they were dealing with and were sceptical of the value of established educational methods. They sought to ‘modernise’, but to do so with the approval of the Sultan and the scholarly establishment.

This was not made easier by the fact that the networks of scholars in Zanzibar were quite diverse, with ‘Alawi, Qadi ri, Salafi, Ibadhi and Shi’i scholars from a number of ethnic backgrounds. In effect, officials had no choice but to, in some sense, choose sides by cooperating with certain individuals, without being quite aware what the sides they chose stood for to the minds of Zanzibaris. Moreover, they did not control the way Zanzibaris perceived British officials and their policy. As is documented also for other parts of colonial Africa (most prominently in Louis Brenner’s study on Mali), forms of schooling that escaped community control were viewed with a great deal of concern, as potentially failing to instil essential moral values. Ultimately, the Islamic schooling provided was more limited and less carefully thought through than either the British or the Zanzibaris involved would have wanted, if in different ways. Although Loimeier carefully sets out the political context of late colonialism, he does not always explicate the political and increasingly racialised subtexts of different interest groups’ stances on education and community politics. To complete the picture, his book would profit from being read alongside Jonathon Glassman’s War of words, war of stones.

That this era of colonial schooling is today sometimes remembered with nostalgia is indicative of a further point: the massive impact of the 1964 revolution and its aftermath. Here, in particular, Loimeier documents processes which so far were accessible only through oral sources and guesswork. What becomes clear is that the marginalisation of religious education during the first couple of decades after the revolution was not merely an effect of the move into exile of numbers of scholars and a general attenuation of religious life, but the object of explicit government policy. Although this policy is no longer in place, it has not been possible to restore the status quo ante; textbooks have been simplified and content has changed. Nor would Zanzibaris necessarily want a previous state restored: one of the ramifications of the marginalisation of Islamic education in the early years of the revolution has been a raised interest in scholarship that positions itself explicitly as purist and fresh from the Arab centres of Islam.
Felicitas Becker

BIOFUELS, LAND GRABBING AND FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA. Ed. Prosper Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene. Zed Books in association with Nordic Africa Institute. 2011. ISBN 978 84813 878 0. p/b. pp230
All too often the debate over large scale foreign direct investment in agriculture in African countries tends to focus on what is increasingly referred to as “land grabbing”. So when a book title sandwiches “land grabbing” between biofuels and fuel security I am not surprised but perhaps somewhat frustrated that this pejorative term is now being used as a “useful and generic concept which (the editors) define to include exploration, negotiations, acquisitions or leasing, settlement and exploitation of the land resource, specifically to obtain energy and food security through export to investors’ countries and other markets”. The title notwithstanding, this is an important book that brings to the “land grabbing” and biofuels debate detailed case studies from many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 6 provides interesting insights into what really goes on when a foreign company attempts to invest in large-scale land acquisitions. In painstaking detail the authors explore how the compulsory environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) was undertaken when SEKAB, a Swedish company was looking to invest in biofuel production in Tanzania. The chapter focuses on the process of anticipating the environmental consequences of the planned biofuel investments, and in doing so it provides an account of why large-scale land acquisitions and the requisite demands on water for irrigation are so tricky in many sub-Saharan African countries. A key issue in Tanzania and elsewhere is conflicting demand over natural resources that provide multiple “ecosystem services”, combined with complicated overlapping land institutions. The authors focus both on the many imperfections of the process of undertaking the ESIA, and the flaws of the proposed investment, which appeared to involve converting important miombo forests, over-exploiting water resources, and dispossessing smallholder farmers. Given that SEKAB is a Swedish municipal company, we are left wondering about their side of the story. From SEKAB’s perspective why did their intended investment in Tanzania go so wrong? Can large-scale foreign investments in biofuels, or agricultural crops in general, ever work in Tanzania, and if so, what lessons have been learnt from the SEKAB experience? These questions remain unanswered.
Elizabeth Robinson



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

BRIEF AUTHORITY. Charles Meek, edited by Innes Meek. Published by The Radcliffe Press. ISBN 978 1 84885 8336.
This is a memoir, published after his death with an introduction by his son, written by a man generally acknowledged by his contemporaries to have been one of the most able colonial administrators in what was then Tanganyika during the 20 years leading up to Independence. The bulk of it deals with his time as District Officer and District Commissioner in widely dispersed parts of the territory and gives a fascinating description of the work of those who spent their time far from Government Headquarters and of how many of them felt closer to “their people“ than they did to their superiors in the Secretariat in Dar es Salaam. The last chapter describes his later work in that Secretariat, where he rose to the rank of Cabinet Secretary following Independence, having been asked by the first Prime Minister, Julius K. Nyerere, to stay on in his service. That invitation was revoked by Kawawa whose first act on becoming Prime Minister was to dismiss both the Commissioner of Police and Charles Meek as a demonstration of Africanisation of the public service.

Tanganyika/Tanzania clearly won the hearts of many who ruled it while it was administered by Great Britain. This is illustrated by the fact that several felt moved to record their experience. First, there was Randal Sadleir in 1999, then Michael Longford in 2001 and now Charles Meek in 2011. All genuinely protest their love of the country and its people. There were many such. I recall my own first District Commissioner, Cecil Winnington- Ingram, whose relationship with the people of North Mara was so full of mutual admiration. Sadly, there were others of a wholly different persuasion. A District Commissioner in Bukoba could regularly be heard shouting at local people who came to his office that they were ‘Washenzi‘ (barbarians) and his South African wife inveighed against the building of schools, saying it would “give the natives ideas“ and turn them into communists.

For those who have not read the Sadleir and Longford memoirs, this book is an invaluable record of how the system of “Indirect Rule“ worked in Tanganyika Territory and of the remarkably speedy and relatively peaceful move to Independence under the fruitful relationship between Nyerere and the last Governor, Turnbull. However, it must be said that, for those who have read Sadleir and Longford, this most recent work will add little to their understanding. Longford’s 443 pages are more detailed in their descriptions of work in the Districts and Sadleir’s 328 pages are more informative than Meek’s relatively short work regarding the lead up to Independence and the twelve years that followed it. Nevertheless, it is a useful addition to the history of those times, seen from the perspective of those in charge. Perhaps one day we shall see equally interesting memoirs from those who were ruled, such as J.K.Chande’s “A Knight in Africa”, the recollections of a Tanzanian who achieved high office both before and after Independence.

Trevor Jaggar

Published by Thorup Art, Copenhagen, 119 pages, ISBN No. 978-87-992635- 2-3 (see also TA 97)

Tingatinga painting, introduced by the ill-fated Edward Tingatinga in 1968,
when he was 37, is traditionally carried out using bicycle enamel on Masonite board, depicting highly stylised African animals, birds, trees and other motifs, often in unnaturally brilliant colours. The almost childlike simplicity of form, the unsubtle colours and the artists’ infatuation with spots and stripes has sometimes caused the genre to be classified as “naive art”. And as the artists have always had one eye on the expatriate and tourist market, often slavishly copying popular themes and techniques and painting on boards (or in later years canvas) that can be easily transported, the rather derogatory term “airport art” has also been commonly applied.

This apparent dilemma – “Which is more naive, the paintings or the people who buy them?” seems implicit in the title of Hanne and Tine Thorup’s Tingatinga – Kitsch or Quality and in her introduction Hanne Thorup herself admits that the “Tingatinga style…seen with western eyes, sits uncomfortably between art, craft, kitsch and commodity”.

But this implies a spectrum, with kitsch and commodity at one end and art at the other, and perhaps most forms of art, if not all, have always had to fight for recognition. The works of the Impressionists, now not only accepted but widely admired, were initially regarded as “an assault on proper painting”. This is not to say that one day the best of the tingatinga painters will be hailed as once-misunderstood geniuses, but they are surely artists, not merely “mango tree fundis” armed with paintbrushes.

It is true that within fifty metres of the baobab tree (now sadly gone) where Edward Tingatinga once painted and displayed his work, you will see many “tingatinga” paintings that are not worth the board they are painted on, but if you are selective and persistent you will come across works of undeniable quality. Of those featured in the book under review Crocs in the River (Abdallah), Animal Safari and Flock of Birds (Lewis), Jungle Flowers (Mzuguno), Giraffes and Leopards and Leopards (Rubuni) and Two Leopards (Said Omary) are worthy of mention, plus the more esoteric works of Lilanga, the half-serious, half-tongue-in-cheek erotica of Mitole and the street scene Traffic Jam in Dar es Salaam (Sey).

I would have welcomed a few more paragraphs on each artist’s style as interpreted by a connoisseur, and a brief indication of what we, as non-experts, should look for, but overall the book is a well-produced, informative, interesting and colourful introduction to the tingatinga painters and some of their better works, and very much recommended.
Graham Mercer

A POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF JAKAYA MRISHO KIKWETE, J+K, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED OF REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA. Julius E. Nyang’oro. ISBN- 1 59221 775 3, h/b pp308. 352pp. Africa World Press, Inc. 2010. $34.95

Jayaka Kikwete book cover

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has become famous in Tanzania and the world, but few understand who he is; Nyang’oro presents him to the world. He examines his humble beginnings, his rise to power and his avid attempts at advancing the country. This political story of the incumbent president up to early 2010 forms the first volume; the second volume will look at the outcome of the president’s policies. This work is recommended to readers interested in Tanzania politics, especially given the very few political biographies available.

Eloquently, Nyang’oro examines the president’s life from birth on 7 October 1950 at Msoga village of Bagamoyo District in Coast Region. His early involvement in politics started in the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) Party Youth League at Kibaha Secondary School. Full-time party engagement as TANU secretary in Singida started in 1975 after university graduation; his leadership philosophy being influenced by the founding father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. At national level he became Deputy Minister of Energy and Minerals, then Minister of Finance under the second president Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985 – 1995). For a decade thereafter he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations under the third president, Benjamin William Mkapa (1995 – 2005). The President’s first and commendable attempt at nomination for Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party candidacy at the presidential election in 1995 was followed by a second and successful run in 2005.

Starting as a son of a District Commissioner in the 1950s, one of the highest posts held by Africans in the colonial administration, and having dedicated himself to politics from an early age, President Kikwete’s unmatched success in politics is unsurprising. Following selection as CCM candidate for the 2005 presidential elections, the president’s mixed emotions in his acceptance speech, with references such as the Chinese proverb ‘…the more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed during war…’ hinted how much this meant, and how prepared he was for the political battles to come.

Various successes of the president in his first tenure are highlighted by Nyang’oro. As African Union (AU) Chairman for 2008, along with continued efforts to stabilise the region, his key achievements were the Tanzania-led invasion of the Comoro islands to remove the unconstitutional government of Mohammed Bacar and facilitation of Kenya’s power sharing agreement after the 2007 election violence. Through the AU and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), he contributed to the establishment in Zimbabwe of the Government of National Unity in 2009, easing a long- standing dispute between the ruling party of President Robert Mugabe and the opposition party led by Morgan Tsivangirai. President Kikwete continues to advance the country’s international relations, a job he started well when Minister for Foreign Affairs. In-country, efforts to implement CCM’s 2005 election manifesto have included the fight against HIV/AIDS and Malaria, enhancing education with extended secondary school provision and the establishment of the legacy- beckoning University of Dodoma.

The President’s ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ (literally ‘Agriculture First’) initiative to modernise agriculture, Tanzania’s major employer, is not covered as explicitly. Very modest progress could be objectively reported on the implementation of good governance, with most of the grand corruption trials still dragging on in the courts; averting the country’s year-on-year severe energy crises; the government’s unsuccessful grappling with inflation; the deteriorating education standards; and the feet- dragging attitude towards regional integration. To the Tanzania majority, the fourth President’s delivery of ‘Better life for every Tanzanian, It is possible’ is a far cry from ‘New Zeal, New Speed, New Strength’, the CCM campaign slogan in the 2005 presidential elections.

In a straightforward manner Nyang’oro has presented chronologically the president’s life story, interweaved with relevant facts from Tanzanian and African history as well as brief country statistics. Although understanding the complexity of writing on a president still in office, he takes an utterly sympathetic view of the president. Whether this view is due to his choice of sources is hard to tell. The biography would have had added benefit by covering the wider political choices available in the country. While some interpretations provoke alternate views, others seem unfair assessments of past presidents or of Tanzanian democracy; eg, ‘… as expected he will still be president for another five years beyond 2010.’

I have the advantage of doing this review after the country’s October 2010 elections. The president returned to office indeed, though with a reported 61.16% majority, down from 80.28% in 2005 and a decreasing voter turnout-in contrast to the immediate past president, whose majority rose from 61.8% of 1995 to 71.7% in 2000 with an increased voter turnout. While the parliamentary election seats won by the CCM consecutively inched up from 1995 to 2005 under the chairmanship of the immediate past president, reportedly the CCM election seats tally after the 2010 election is back to the 1995 total. Clearly the popularity of the President and the CCM needs re-interpretation. Hopefully in Volume II the author has the opportunity to rigorously re-analyse the fourth President, thereby vitally contributing to the political knowledge of Tanzania.

Siya Paul Rimoy

EXIT FROM EMPIRE – A BIOGRAPHY OF SIR RICHARD TURNBULL by Colin Baker, published by Mpemba Books of Cardiff, 2010. ISBN 978 0 9542020 5 7. Book is available from Colin Baker at 55a Lon y Deri, Cardiff CF14 6JP for £17.50 plus P & P, UK £3, Europe £5.70, ROW £10.60.

For us the most relevant part of Colin Baker’s extremely detailed account of Dick Turnbull’s life and career is the short period of only four and a half years of his service as Governor and then Governor-General of Tanganyika. It saw the rapid advance of Tanganyika from being the least developed and least sophisticated of the three East African territories into becoming the first to achieve full independence, peacefully and without the internal tensions which had arisen in Uganda and in Kenya. Baker’s account contains more detail than has been published before, but the book is a biography, not a political history. That independence came so soon was chiefly due to the personal relationship that developed between Turnbull and Julius Nyerere. It was not what anyone had expected. Turnbull’s reputation when he came to Tanganyika was of the hard man from Kenya – regarded as “the hammer of Mau Mau, the oppressor of the nationalists, the associate of the wicked Kenya settlers” as Turnbull himself put it. His previous 27 years service in Kenya had shaped his character, and built his reputation. Baker reproduces copious extracts from Turnbull’s own letters and diaries describing his experiences and his generally low opinion of Africans and of his Colonial Service colleagues during his Kenya days. He highlights Turnbull’s belief in his own abilities and his determination to advance his career by whatever means. Turnbull’s prowess in long foot-safaris, especially in the harsh conditions of Kenya’s Northern Frontier District (NFD), deliberately out-walking his fellow officers, was well-known. Once he walked 200 miles to meet his DC, decided not to make the call, and walked back again. He planned to be seen by his superiors as more competent, more knowledgeable and more effective than his colleagues. After only 4 years service he was appointed DC Isiolo, and at the age of 39 became Provincial Commissioner in the NFD, a post that was often a stepping-stone to a Governorship. One might wonder how these attributes would have developed in the generally gentler environment of Tanganyika, if Turnbull had been posted there as the Colonial Office had initially intended? It just happened that the Tanganyika vacancy was filled unexpectedly by an officer transferring from Kenya, so Turnbull was sent to Kenya instead.

Little of that background was known when Turnbull arrived as Governor in Dar es Salaam, only days after his 49th birthday. The task facing him then was very different from what it had been in Kenya. The challenge was to manage the pressures of increasingly assertive African nationalism spreading across the continent, inspired by the independence of the Gold Coast in 1956, and given an immediate local boost by the holding in Mwanza of the founding conference of PAFMECA (Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa) when Nyerere, as TANU leader, voiced demands for early independence of Tanganyika.

Baker examines the significance of Turnbull’s first meeting with Nyerere, only nine days after his inauguration, and while Nyerere was still awaiting judgement in the trial on charges of criminal libel against two British DCs that the government had brought against him. Knowing Turnbull’s record in Kenya in suppressing the Mau Mau insurrection, which had entailed working closely with the European community there, Nyerere had not expected him to talk about “working together to solve difficult problems” on the way to Independence. Turnbull knew that senior officials in the Administration and Police considered that TANU had extremely wide support throughout the country, and was capable of organising effective action that could completely disrupt normal Government activities.

How serious was the risk of widespread civil disobedience, leading to violence, if TANU’s demands for early self-government (madaraka) by 1959 were not met? There was little hard evidence, save for some incidents in Geita District in Lake Province that had revealed a degree of unrest and a potential for trouble that the Government would have found hard to control. Turnbull told the Colonial Office that the threat was real but political concessions would avoid conflict. Nyerere himself was being pushed by some in TANU who wanted even faster progress. The Colonial Office believed that Turnbull was yielding unnecessarily to fears of a breakdown of law and order. Turnbull took what security precautions were possible, but reported that he could not cope with a serious state of emergency without substantial military assistance, suggesting “eight battalions of British troops”. With considerable reluctance the Colonial Secretaries, first Lennox-Boyd and then Macleod, agreed to each progressive advance that Turnbull recommended, trusting in Nyerere’s good faith, and as each stage was passed so the next one became easier.

The final year as Governor-General was a boring let-down. Turnbull had no power, and his advice was not wanted. On the last day people gathered by the harbour entrance at Magogoni Street to see Turnbull’s departure aboard a Royal Navy frigate. After it had gone, they streamed back towards the town, passing the entrance to what had been Government House, now renamed State House or Ikulu. “Now this is all ours!” they exclaimed. The next morning the PWD began erecting new strong gates and a high security fence to replace the existing low wall around the grounds.

As well as the political record the book includes a revealing section about Life and Work at Government House, describing the human side of Turnbull’s personality, immensely softened from his earlier Kenya bachelor days by the pervasive and supportive influence of his wife and ever loyal companion Beatrice. Baker goes on to recount Turnbull’s later service in Aden, ending in disappointment and a sense of betrayal at being held responsible for the failure of the British Government’s policies which misjudged the force of Arab nationalism in that region.

The book is not a light read, but it is the substantive record of the nature, the career and the life of a man who played such a decisive role in the history of Tanzania.

David Le Breton

DAR ES SALAAM CULTURED STATES: YOUTH, GENDER, AND MODERN STYLE IN 1960’s. Ivaska, Andrew. 2011 Durham and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 978 08223 4 7705. p/b 312pp. £15.99.

Accounts of 1960s Dar es Salaam frequently focus on the ‘high politics’ of Uhuru and life in the new Tanzania. Ivaska’s investigation into official cultural discourse and interventions offers readers an opportunity to (re)live a parallel cultural politics – ‘the long sixties moment’ – as it was played out in the country’s capital. It is a sixties familiar to many; rebellion in afros, played to a soundtrack of soul music that competed against the establishment. As in other capitals of the newly independent African nations, Tanzanian officials attempted to clamp down on this promiscuous urban youth culture, and in so doing plunged themselves into the thick of sharp debates over the meaning of James Brown and hot pants. This was a time of vigorous contestation, and also of apparent paradox: while efforts were made to ban miniskirts and wigs were ceremoniously burnt in the national stadium, Ivaska describes how at the same time in Tanzania the ‘Maasai Progress Plan’ (‘Operation Dress-Up’) attempted to outlaw Maasai traditional dress. These campaigns are covered in scintillating detail, against a background of the shifts in urban demographics and the fault lines of late colonial debates about culture. Such conversations were carried out in the national newspapers that inform Cultured States, which is punctuated with quotes from newspaper letters sections that still resonate in public debate today: “It is a pity to see parents including young children,” wrote ‘Fairness’ in The Standard in November 1969, “mouth-open clapping hands at and even giving ‘tuzo’ [tips] to the actor or actress who performs sexual play (buttock shaking) properly.” The contests over culture are embedded in the book’s exploration of urban struggles around gender, generation, and wealth. These come together in a splendid section on the rise and fall of the university left.

A number of Ivaska’s central arguments cluster around the relationship between the state and cultural production. They provide a lens through which to engage broader themes animating African and postcolonial studies, particularly the issue of power. The kind of prominence official rhetoric achieved on the urban landscape, suggests Ivaska, was often testament less to the power of the state than to its limits. This resonates with Achille Mbembe’s call to approach the state and its subjects as bound up in a domain of ‘conviviality’ in which rulers and ruled are enmeshed in shared categories and discourses. Again, some of these conversations are on-going today: the running commentaries on rumours of scandalous liaisons between ‘city girls’ and elite ‘big men’ that was produced in Dar es Salaam’s popular tabloid press in the sixties, for example, are still being published in newspapers today – albeit now with lightly-censored, graphic photographs.

Ivaska concludes that the long sixties moment still lives on in Dar es Salaam today, and he ends with a brief description of public debate over contentious popular cultural forms at the turn of the century, including hip-hop music and style, beauty contests, comic books, and the ever-persistent miniskirt. New forms of media and communication mean that capturing this contemporary commentary now will take a different methodology to that which has been employed for this study, but one that Ivaska is clearly well-placed to undertake – and, upon reading Cultured States, it is hoped that he uses his considerable knowledge to do so. Cultured States is an engaging and readable commentary on high cultural politics that will appeal equally to those who remember the sixties in Dar es Salaam, and those who don’t.

Thomas Molony

THE LAST SLAVE MARKET – DR JOHN KIRK AND THE STRUGGLE TO END THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE, by Alastair Hazell, published by Constable & Robinson, London, 2011, ISBN 978-1-84529-672-8 £16.99

The Slavery Abolition Act was enacted in Britain in 1833 and this brought to an end the trade in human beings throughout the British Empire, especially that between Africa and America. However, there were a few exceptions to the areas covered by the new law, the most notable of which was East Africa, where the trade still flourished and was one of the mainstays of the economy of the island of Zanzibar. This exception seemed to go largely unnoticed by the British public, who felt the job was done, and the political lobby to abolish slave trading had all but died out. However, those British subjects posted to East Africa. and in particular Zanzibar, were only too well aware of the continuing trade as dhow loads of slaves passed through the port with regularity.

One of those posted to Zanzibar was John Kirk, a Scottish physician and botanist. Kirk had already seen the trade whilst travelling with Livingstone up the Zambezi River, but never challenged it during his early days on the island. His attitude seemed to be ‘that of a man who gets involved only when he can do good’. As medical officer to the British Consul on the island he was not in a position to do anything, so did not initially get involved.

Hazell tells the story of how Kirk began to study the slave trade, the difficulties he encountered working within the politically charged arena of East Africa, facing unfair criticism at the hands of Henry Morton Stanley, but ultimately playing a pivotal role in abolishing the trade in that area of the world. The book has been well researched, clearly sets out the backgrounds of the major players and explains the events that led to the last slave markets being abolished. But it is not a ‘just the facts’ affair. Hazell manages to inject touches of description into the text which bring it to life. His knowledge of the area, and reading between the lines in the documents he has looked at, allows him to speculate on the kind of weather the island would be experiencing when an event took place , or to give an opinion on how one of the ‘characters’ really felt, despite the politeness of a letter.

These touches help draw the reader into the story and allow them to ‘live through’ the events with those involved. The build-up to Kirk getting the treaty signed felt a little bit like approaching the climax of a thriller as you are eager to find out how he managed to persuade people to abandon a practice which to them was as natural as trading in any other commodity and who saw nothing wrong with it.

‘The Last Slave Market’ is an important book that looks at the life of a relatively unsung hero of the battle against human trafficking and, as the evocative foreword hints, a reminder that the job is still not finished.

John Samson

STREET LEVEL – A COLLECTION OF DRAWINGS AND CREATIVE WRITING INSPIRED BY DAR AS SALAAM. Illustrated and compiled by Sarah Markes. Pub. Mkuki na Nyota 2011 pp 152 ISBN 978-9987-08-117-2.

Available from and Amazon £18.95
British illustrator Sarah Markes was greatly taken with Dar es Salaam when she first visited in the year 2000 and dreamed of capturing its atmosphere in her drawings. When she finally returned to live in the city in 2002, she became increasingly unhappy to see more and more solidly built, often unique, old buildings being demolished piecemeal to make way for modern, multi-storey, steel and glass structures. She was determined to do something to raise awareness about what was happening and this book is the result. It is a collection of coloured line drawings interspersed with pieces of prose and poetry by local writers. (A few biographical details would have been welcome here.)

There are eight sections covering not only buildings but also the street vendors who depend on them for a living. A useful map shows the location of the buildings illustrated, and there is a glossary for non-Swahili speakers. In the opening section, architectural historian Karen Moon traces the history of the city from its foundation in 1862 and follows this with an analysis of the way a city’s architecture defines its identity. This is complemented at the end of the book by heritage specialists Simon Odunga and Jeremy Cross with a carefully argued but passionate plea to halt the destruction of that very identity.

The majority of the buildings in the book are (or were) to be found in the old Indian bazaar area of the city that used to be known as Uhindini, but not, as the book states, because most of its residents were Hindu; Uhindini was the common Swahili word for the part of town where Indian traders lived. Here, from the 1920s up until the 1950s, Hindu and Muslim alike invested their profits in highly individualistic buildings, many with names and dates displayed on the façade. Several German colonial buildings are included, as well as a few examples of art deco buildings in the Sea View area.

The book is only slightly marred by a few obvious spelling bloomers and minor factual inaccuracies: Gandhi is misspelled as Ghandi throughout and there are others that should have been spotted by a careful proof-reader. But this does not seriously detract from this delightful coffee table book that anyone with fond memories of Dar es Salaam would be happy to own.
G. Mawji


David Le Breton grew up in Kenya and was District officer and Magistrate in Tanganyika 1954-63, being Private Secretary to the Governor, Sir Richard Turnbull Feb 1959-Aug 1960.

Gloria Mawji is a British expatriate who has lived in dar es Salaam for over thirty years and taught at the International School of Tanganyika.

Graham Mercer has lived in Dar es Salaam since 1977, teaching in the elementary department of the International School of Tanganyika for 25 years before retiring to concentrate on writing and photography.

Thomas Molony is a Lecturer in African Studies at the Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh.

Siya Paul Rimoy is a civil engineer serving the Tanzania community on multiple fronts of academia, research and advisory through affiliation to the University of Dar es Salaam and the Industry.



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

As a contribution to this celebratory issue John has reflected on the job of ‘Reviews Editor’:

Being Reviews Editor involves two parallel searches, one for relevant books and another for suitable reviewers.

Lists come from publishers, and the internet is helpful. Equally helpful are suggestions from readers of Tanzanian Affairs who have come across books which they think are worth reviewing. I am always very grateful for such suggestions.

The Membership Secretary tells me of people who have said they would be willing to write reviews, and this is a great help. Over the years I have built up a list of helpful people in university departments who are willing to review themselves, or are sometimes able to recommend colleagues who may do so. The difficulty is to suit the reviewer to the book, especially in the case of the more academic titles.

In all this I have had the invaluable help of Marion Doro in the U.S.A. who has searched out interesting publications on that side of the Atlantic and helped in the search for reviewers.

There are frustrations. One is that not all publishers seem eager to have their books reviewed and sometimes ignore requests for review copies. Then there are the new kind of publishers which seem to exist only in cyber space – I sometimes find likely-sounding titles at such publishers, but have never yet succeeded in getting a review copy from them. I wonder whether they ever actually sell books?

Then there are the occasional, fortunately very occasional, reviewers who fail to produce a review and don’t return the review copy. Doubly irritating, because without the review copy I cannot ask anyone else to write a review.

And, of course, I have to pass on to other people interesting and/or attractive books which I would rather keep longer to browse or read myself.

The pleasant thing about the job is that I see a lot of interesting books and have contact, even if only by email, with interesting people.
John Cooper-Poole

URBAN DESIGN, CHAOS, AND COLONIAL POWER IN ZANZIBAR William Bissell, Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN 13 978 0253355430. p/b. 328pp. £16.99

Overcoming initial prejudice (American academic faults colonialism: Yawn), I quite warmed to this book. At its heart is the story of the failure of town plans for Zanzibar, particularly those formulated in the 1920s and 1930s, to have much influence on its actual development, then or since. The author has immersed himself in archival records in Zanzibar and elsewhere, as well as absorbing much of the relevant historical literature; and he lived there for a time developing, it seems, some affection for it. Hence, no doubt, his evident exasperation that over a century of effort should have done so little to improve the condition of the poorer parts of Zanzibar Town.

Chapter 1 provides a lively account of the historical development of Zanzibar and how it has been perceived by outsiders: “a curious and haphazard jumble of misleading lanes and provoking culs-de-sac” (Robb, 1879). Chapter 2 moves on to the imposition of a British Protectorate in 1890 and the gradual relegation of the Sultan to a position of dependency, while real authority came to be exercised by the British Resident and his Chief Secretary. It then behoved the new authorities to demonstrate improvement in the administration of this new territory, and Chapter 3 tells how planning became part of this agenda. However, as Bissell notes (p. 113) “Establishing even the barest rudiments of a municipal order was challenge enough: the paucity of officials, difficulties in consolidating rule, and lack of external investment left little room for authorities to contemplate grand urban schemes.” This essentially is the tale told, with a wealth of detail, through Chapters 4, 5 and 6. From Prof. Simpson’s sanitary improvement plan (1913) through H V Lanchester’s first town plan (1922) and its various updatings (the full plan was never published), and indeed on to post-WWII plans by Henry Kendall (1957), the East Germans (1968) and the Chinese (1982), all foundered because of an inadequate legal framework, lack of staff and (most of all) lack of money. Instead, a process whereby plans were endlessly revisited but never implemented became institutionalised.

It’s a sad story. Was there an alternative? Bissell clearly shows that the ambitions of the town planners went far beyond what was feasible in a resource-strapped colonial outpost. As one Chief Secretary, S B B McElderry (this reviewer’s grandfather, as it happens) remarked on the Lanchester plan: “It is difficult … to disentangle the idealistic from the practical elements in these recommendations”. But while the disjunction between intention and reality may have been particularly stark in Zanzibar, Bissell notes that “similar examples can be found throughout the colonial world and beyond … cities large and small moved to embrace planning as a tool of spatial regulation … what is most striking is the extent to which these plans have failed.” The problem seems to reside as much in unrealistic planning as colonialism. Bissell hints at a better way in his concluding Chapter 7: “focusing on the available means at hand and relying on local resourcefulness and indigenous creativity”. But, while a strong case for community involvement in planning can be made, are there many examples of bottom-up activism successfully leading to urban transformation? Therein lies the dilemma (see also UN-HABITAT’s 2009 report “Planning Sustainable Cities” for similar problems facing contemporary planners in Dar-es-Salaam (p. 67) and Moshi (p.76)).

The strength of this book then lies in its documentation of how and why town planning failed in the Zanzibar case rather than pointing to better solutions. Methodologically it is a study in urban history from an ethnographic perspective. Indeed the book opens with a lengthy methodological introduction which non-academics might find a bit tedious (a pre-emptive strike against fellow academics who might suspect the author of straying too far from current ethnographic orthodoxy?). But once into the main story, there is plenty to keep the reader interested. A minor complaint is that none of the several maps is easily legible, making it difficult to pinpoint the location of many of the districts mentioned in the text, but otherwise the book is well-produced with copious notes and references.
Hugh Wenban-Smith

MEDICINAL PLANTS OF EAST AFRICA, by Kokwaro, John O. Third Edition, pp478, 2 maps, colour figs. 195, University of Nairobi Press, 2009 ISBN 9966-846-84-0

The fact that this is the third edition of a work first published 32 years ago, must say something about the demand for it. But who would want to buy and use a book about traditional medicines in this scientific age? The title page clearly states that it is “Not intended as a ‘prescription book’ for use by the general public”, and that is certainly a worthy warning. However, the text contains a wealth of information for scientific researchers, linguists and historians, to mention only a few.

Kokwaro’s enlarged third edition follows the previous ones by arranging the plants in alphabetical order by family, genera and species using their scientific names. Local Swahili and tribal names are clearly set out, followed by information about their traditional uses and applications. This edition is said to include 35% more information than the second one. It also has a colour section of photographs of a wide selection of the species. The author sets out in the introductory pages the values and problems in a way that is essential reading.

In former years, settlers considered native medicine as suspect and unworthy of consideration. True, there were and still are medicine men of bad repute who mixed medical treatment and bewitchment, partly because it had to be kept secret lest someone stole it. But others use traditional knowledge for the healing of diseases in people who cannot afford western medicines. Over the generations the bark of certain trees or the infusion of leaves of wild plants continued to be used at a fraction of the cost of commercial medicines. Wild plants were readily available in places where, unfortunately, they now no longer grow, so the ill person now has no option but to turn to more expensive treatments. Here is a good case for encouraging nature conservation. Chemists are now analysing such plants to find their active principles, which are in turn providing leads to further research. This book is one of those excellent resources that provide basic information, some of it rescued in the nick of time.
F. Nigel Hepper


This is a book for the expert thoroughly immersed in the minutiae of measuring the impact of civic education on democratic participation – in this case isolated rural communities in Tanzania and Zambia (Mtwara and Luapula respectively)

Satu Riutta is meticulous and thorough in preparing for this project both in surveying previous related literature and developing his methodology and questionnaires to ensure consistency and accuracy in any conclusion that his study offered.

The text is supported by a wealth of tables backed by a high level of statistical analysis. One quote will suffice:-

The effects of civic education on cognition “begins with a bivariate correlation of each dependent variable with CE exposure”.

In broad terms he shows civic education does enhance understanding and participation – though with some interesting contrasts between Tanzania and Zambia. Tanzanians were much more sympathetic to government and politics than Zambians, and Tanzanian women in particular gained more from CE than Zambian women.

In lay terms, donors to CE programmes can be assured that there are positive outcomes for democratic participation, though the impact on understanding and participation is affected by complex variables within the Tanzanian and Zambian communities’ studies.
Win Griffiths

RULE OF LAW versus RULERS OF LAW; JUSTICE BARNABAS SAMATTA’S ROAD TO JUSTICE. Compiled and edited by Issa Shivji and Hamudi Majamba. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Ltd, Dar es Salaam 2011. ISBN 978 9987 08 055 7. 257pp. Available from African Books Collective Ltd, P.O. Box 721, Oxford. £24.95

During years of change and challenge Tanzania has been well served by its judges, their stories largely untold. They were led and inspired by successive distinguished Chief Justices. The late Francis Nyali held that position for over two decades and made a seminal contribution to the development of the judiciary and nation, not least in presiding over the Presidential Commission which was instrumental in ending one- party rule. When he retired in 2000, his was a hard act to follow. The mantle fell upon Justice Barnabas Samatta who, in more than thirty years of public service, had been Director of Public Prosecutions before his appointment in 1976 as a judge of the High Court and later of the Court of Appeal.

After his retirement in 2007, this book was compiled to record and honour Chief Justice Samatta’s impressive contribution to the law. It includes tributes from judicial colleagues, and account of his “Life Journey” and a perceptive summary of major themes in his jurisprudence by the academic editors. However, most of the book reproduces the words of Justice Samatta himself, in a selection of his judgements over the years; most of these involved difficult legal issues, carefully analysed and probably of most interest to lawyers. They include one of the judgements which he delivered in the High Court of Zimbabwe, where he spent three years (1984-1987) on loan from Tanzania. This reviewer remembers Justice Samatta well as the outstanding student in his classes at the young University College, Dar es salaam and forty years later was privileged to see him in action as Chief Justice, the genial and hospitable host of his fellow African Chief Justices at their conference in Dar in 2004. (An occasion recalled in one of the photographs from his career which conclude this volume).

The editors rightly emphasise the principles which Samatta maintained and the concerns which motivated his judicial reasoning: the importance of constitutionalism and the rule of law, manifested in the protection of human rights, in judicial review of government actions and in maintaining access to justice for all. They show how he also pioneered judicial intervention to protect the environment, not least in promoting improvements to the environments of the courts themselves. Above all, as befitted a member of the Judicial Integrity Group of international jurists who authoritatively defined standards of judicial conduct, Chief Justice Samatta practised and demanded the highest standards of ethical conduct by all the judges.

The text ends with some of his extra-judicial statements: on environmental justice, on Tanzania’s constitutional order and his farewell speech, “No one is above the law”. The volume ends with his characteristically well argued disagreement, in a lecture in November 2010, with the recent unanimous decision by a seven-judge Court of Appeal, in what he terms the most important constitutional case ever before a Tanzanian court, upholding the validity of constitutional amendments which prevented independent candidates standing in elections.
Jim Read

LETTERS FROM HELGA 1934-1937. A teen Bride writes home from East Africa by Helga Voigt. Translated by Evelyn Voigt. ISBN 978 1 897508 121. p/b. 239pp CA$24.95

60 YEARS IN EAST AFRICA; life of a Settler 1926-1986. Werner Voigt. ISBN 1 896182 39 9. p/b. 267pp. CA$29.95 2nd printing. (Previously reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs in 1997). Both published by General Store Publishing House.

In 1963 in Mufindi I saw a European lady unloading sacks of tea. It was Helga Voigt. The factory manager told me that Mr and Mrs Voigt were German and had had their own plantation confiscated in 1939. When they returned from internment in 1948 they had to buy it back.

These two book should be read together to put Helga’s letters from Mufindi to her relations in Germany into an understandable context. The books are illustrated with black and white photographs.

Werner Voigt went to Tanganyika as a young man and then entered a “penpal” correspondence with Helga whom he had not met. In 1934 Helga left her comfortable life in Germany to marry a man she had merely corresponded with, because although she was a Lutheran, her mother was Jewish by descent. On arrival in Mufindi Helga lived with Werner’s parents near where he lived. As Werner says “well one day she arrived. We married and she became my dear wife”.

Helga’s letters, which are to her relations in Germany, cover the period August 1934 to September 1937. They have been translated by their daughter, Evelyn, who has written a prologue and epilogue as well as footnotes. Unfortunately there is no map.

Both Helga and Werner lived varied lives and were separated for much of their sixty year marriage, internment in South Africa because of the war, and for long periods when Werner went to other places to earn money. He was in Rwanda when I saw Helga on the tea lorry. They managed to enlarge and develop their plantation, Kifulilo, trying various crops. It is now a tea research station. Helga’s letters clearly show that she was enjoying her experiences, in the mountains, on Lake Nyasa, meeting big game and going to search for gold.

Their first child, Werner, was born in February 1937. Helga evidently also enjoyed developing a household and learning to live a completely different kind of life. There was a German club and they celebrated Hitler’s birthday, although there was marked tension between Nazis and non-Nazis. She apparently had “colossally bad teeth”, and yet somewhere in the Mufindi area a German dentist did root fillings and crowns – a contrast to the situation in later years.

Helga and Werner left Tanzania in 1986 after a violent attack on them on their plantation. The German government eventually helped them to sell their farm and they moved to Canada to be near Evelyn. Helga died in 2010.

These books, read together, are an unusual source of the history of some Germans in Tanganyika, and tell the story of a very long and successful marriage.
Alison Redmayne

EAST AFRICA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN. Edward A. Alpers, Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2009. 240pp. ISBN 978 1 55876 453 8, p/b £25.

Over his career, Ned Alpers has authored an influential array of publications that champion East Africa’s often overlooked place within the larger history of the Indian Ocean World. In the volume under review, nine articles or book chapters previously published between 1976 and 2007 are brought together to showcase Alpers’ body of work. This is not a total history of an oceanic society bound together by monsoon rhythms, but instead a set of largely East African case studies in which the Western Indian Ocean provides the main context. “East Africa” here is long and mostly coastal, running from Somalia to the Mozambique Channel, and this book’s temporal focus is largely on the nineteenth century.

Alpers first came to this subject in the 1970s through his command of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Portuguese sources that he used to produce his first monograph, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa (1975). Like Ivory and Slaves, each chapter of the present volume shows the author’s irrepressible curiosity and enthusiasm for questions of micro-level social and cultural organizations, which in turn, he argues, have shaped macro-level networks and trends. These local case studies range from an examination of the cultural peculiarities of Gujarati merchant households in Western India, to the specific textile appetites Somali consumers, to the spiritual possession cults of Zanzibari women. Such anthropological attention marks Alpers’ important departure from the imperial “trade & politics” focus which transfixed earlier scholarly generations of the Lusophone Indian Ocean. Slavery emerges, appropriately enough, as the volume’s central topic, never far from any given chapter and oftentimes at its center. The nineteenth century was a time of enormous expansion of slave raiding, trading, and production along the continent’s eastern coast, paradoxically coinciding with its decline in West Africa. Perhaps the most impressive contribution of this volume emerges from reading the book’s final chapters on the Mozambican Channel as a single section. Here, Alpers demonstrates how slave trading runs through the history of violence and dislocation throughout this region during the nineteenth century, and shows how the Mozambican Channel—despite enormous cultural diversities between the Mozambican coast, the Comorian Islands, and Madagascar—forms an important historical unit in its own right, created out of a shared history of commercial violence.

The combination of geographical range and scholarly erudition displayed in these chapters makes for a book that is rewarding to read as a single collection or, alternatively, to be dipped into to satisfy one’s geographical or thematic preference. Although each of these chapters has been previously published, those that touch on contemporary matters have been helpfully updated since first publication. Handsomely produced by Markus Weiner, this volume reminds us not only of the impressive geographical and thematic range of Alpers’ career, but more importantly offers a timely overview of those resilient cultural and social networks straddling the Western Indian Ocean that continue to constitute vital elements of Tanzanian life today.
James R. Brennan

James Brennan is Assistant Professor of History, University of Illinois and Research Associate at School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.

Win Griffiths taught at Mzumbe Secondary School 1966-1968 and then in the UK. He was an MEP for South Wales 1979-1989 and MP for Bridgend 1987- 2005. In 2002 he visited Sierra Leone as part of an attempt to persuade party leaders to respect the outcome of impending elections. He maintains contact with Sierra Leone by linking the Health Board in South Wales which he chairs, to the Ola During children’s hospital.

F. Nigel Hepper, was formerly at Kew Herbarium.

Professor Jim Read is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Public Law, University of London, (SOAS). He was Senior Lecturer in Law at University College Dar es Salaam in the 1960’s and is Joint General Editor, Law Reports of the Commonwealth.

Dr Hugh Wenban-Smith was born in Chunya and went to Mbeya School. His career was as a government economist (mainly in Britain, but with periods in Zambia and India). He is now an independent researcher, with particular interests in infrastructure, urbanisation and transport.

Alison Redmayne went to the East African Institute of Social Research at Makerere in 1963 and later carried out research in the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika where she lived off and on from 1963 to 1998. She visits the Iringa area for about ten weeks most years.



Edited by John Cooper-Poole

THE WAYS OF THE TRIBE – A CULTURAL JOURNEY ACROSS NORTH-EASTERN TANZANIA, by Gervase Tatah Mlola, published by E & D Vision Publishing, Tanzania, October 2010. www.edvisionpublishing. ISBN 978 9987 521 42 5. The book is available at all outlets of Novel Idea Bookshop in Tanzania, Kase Book Stores in Arusha, and the offices of Park East Africa Ltd., and the Tanzania Cultural Tourism Programme. In the UK, the book will shortly be available from for £20.95 See for more information on the book and some sample pages.

The Ways of the Tribe cover

Tanzania has a rich and diverse cultural landscape. The Ways of the Tribe is a compelling and authoritative reference work that makes a valuable contribution towards documenting the ancient heritage of the various tribes that populate this vast and beautiful land. Mlola’s first book offers readers a fabulous survey of fourteen tribes from the north-east of Tanzania.

Whilst the Maasai may be familiar to readers worldwide, the book also chronicles less familiar peoples like the Barabaig of Hanang District and the Mbugu of the Usambara mountains. This account is the result of a decade of research arising from visits to the present-day tribal communities by the author – a respected travel writer and cultural expert.

The content of this book is arranged by tribe and within each chapter there are sections on origins, history, community life, and customs. The contribution of each tribe to the national life and development of the nation is also included with a range of fascinating stories, such as the heroic story of the Olympic runner John Stephen Akhwari of the Iraqw.

The Ways of the Tribe is a lively and engaging chronicle packed with legends, humour, and colourful insights into everything from the naming of babies to the brewing of sugar cane beer. Each chapter also contains a very useful bibliographical section; the work would benefit further from the inclusion of an index. In addition to many striking images contributed by Colin Hastings (now a director at Majority World Photo Library) and photographer Briony Campbell, there are also illustrations by artists Abdul Gugu and Bosco Mpitivyako. Their work (together with a selection of maps) contributes to the bright and attractive appearance of this publication.

Mlola’s scholarship has resulted in a very accurate historical account, but his work also provides another level of understanding beyond the factual. The author’s first-hand experiences, passion, and dedicated research also offer readers a valuable understanding of the interplay between the beauty of the land and the beauty of the people. In doing so he offers a unique insight into the essence of the identity and vibrancy of these peoples.

In addition, the author provides a description of the present-day circumstances and lifeways of these peoples. In doing so, we are reminded these tribes are real communities whose rich heritage is sadly threatened by a host of issues often faced by indigenous peoples around the globe who strive to retain their identities in a rapidly changing world. The final chapter on the “lost tribe” of Engaruka is a reminder of the fate of indigenous groups who are unable to withstand the social, economic and environmental pressures that may come to threaten their future.

The Ways of the Tribe is a well-presented and important reference work that will have widespread appeal. For students and scholars it is a valuable historical chronicle and present-day commentary on the tribes under discussion. The book should give Tanzanians a greater appreciation of their diverse and lively heritage. Tourists planning a visit to the region that is home to many worldfamous destinations will greatly benefit from understanding the peoples they may encounter on their holidays. And finally for the general reader, this lively reference work is a wonderful way to begin exploring the people, places and cultures of this fascinating part of Africa.
Antony Shaw.

This review first appeared in Tantravel, the official travel magazine of Tanzania Tourist Board, and we are grateful for permission to re-publish it here.

MAJI MAJI. LIFTING THE FOG OF WAR James Giblin and Jamie Monson, eds., Brill, Leiden, pp.xii and 325, 2010, ISBN 978 90 04 18342 1. US$107, Eur 75.

The greatest achievement of the first ‘Dar es Salaam school’ of history in the 1960s was the Maji Maji research project. Over forty years ago there was money available for student research in the vacations and very many were deployed to collect oral testimony in the areas which had been affected by Maji Maji. This research produced what Giblin and Monson call ‘the foundational accounts’ of the rebellion, mainly by John Iliffe and the late Gilbert Gwassa, in collections of ‘records’, articles, and books. These now classic works were very popular and influential both inside and outside Tanzania. For decades it did not seem necessary, or perhaps even possible, to review and revise them.

Forty years later, though, so much new work has been done on central and southern Tanzania that a second Maji Maji research project has become possible and perhaps essential. A ‘multi-year collaborative project … began in 2001’ and has taken longer and cost much more than the original research. This book is the result. Though its contributors present a variety of interpretations of Maji Maji it is in essence a revisionist work. The 1960s account of the rebellion, the editors hold, was unduly ‘statist’. It overestimated the reach and the presence of the colonial state and it overestimated the proto-nationalist intentions of resistance to it. It was also too tidy, making the violence seem more co-ordinated than it really was. It laid too much stress on the spread and effect of the maji medicine but at the same time accepted too uncritically the existence of ‘tribes’. The real situation was much messier and more shaped by local and fragmented realities.

Reading this book reminded me of the famous story of the blind men and the elephant – one feeling its tail and deducing it must be a snake, another embracing a leg and deducing it must be a tree and so forth. The contributors find in Maji Maji what they most hope to find. Thaddeus Sunseri, who has done so much good work on environmental history, says that ‘Maji Maji was a symbolic clash of hunting cultures’ – it was ‘the war of the hunters’. (119) Lorne Larson, who has been working on the Ngindo for decades and who has written on witchcraft eradication movements, finds Maji Maji to be the climax of the politics of medicine. Heike Schmidt, who has an active interest in black female political power, lays stress on the role of Nkomanile, an Ngoni ‘royal woman’. (197) James Giblin, who has ‘domesticated’ rural Tanzanian politics, emphasises an oral tradition that ‘the war occurred here [in Ubena] because of a woman. Mpangire wanted to marry Mwangasama, for the very reason that Mpangire had a great desire for brown women’. (284) Giblin finds this story ‘as plausible and as faithful to our admitedly incomplete knowledge of the events of September 1905 as any account yet devised by historians’. (286) In fact, Maji Maji was all these things and more, just as an elephant has ears and a tusk as well as a tail and legs.

Maji Maji was about the contest over elephants and it was about how to resolve the problem of evil. It was about desire, gender and slavery. It was about the failures of chiefs and elders as well as about the presumptions of German colonial officers. It was a revolt against colonialism but it was something much more profound than that. It was an attempt to resolve the desperate problems of society, economy, belief and enviroment. The brutality of its repression foreclosed any possibility of reaching solutions. As Heike Schmidt writes: ‘Death, starvation, displacement, enslavement, forced labour and humiliation dominated life into the years following the fighting … The deadly silence observed in 1907 still resonates in Ungoni today.’ (218-219).

This collection makes many innovations. There is a terrifying chapter by Michell Moyde on the Askari, which makes great play with John Iliffe’s work on honour. Heike Schmidt’s historian’s chapter on Ungoni is balanced by a chapter on the archaeology of Maji Maji in the district by Bertram Mapunda. Very effective use is made of German missionary records, both Catholic and Protestant – though there is little on the role of African Christians. The book is beautifully produced and illustrated. It is a pity that it is too expensive to be bought by the average reader. It is possible that even if many Tanzanians read it they would not be as excited as a preceding generation was by the ‘statist’ accounts of forty years ago. Complexity is hard to digest or to teach. But anyone interested in Tanzanian history should obtain and read this book.
Terence Ranger

CHECHE: REMINISCENCES OF A RADICAL MAGAZINE edited by Karim Hirji, Mkuki na Nyota 2010. ISBN 978 9987 08 098 4.

THE COURAGE FOR CHANGE: RE-ENGINEERING THE UNIVERSITY OF DAR ES SALAAM by Matthew Luhanga, Dar es Salaam University Press 2009. ISBN 978 9976 60 479 5. £22.95. Both books available from African Books Collective, P.O. Box 721, Oxford OX1 9EN www.

Two recent books, one edited by Karim Hirji, the other by former Vice Chancellor Matthew Luhanga, contribute to the historiography of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), an institution which has seen significant and rapid changes in its relatively short history.

Karim Hirji opens his chapter, entitled “The Spark is Kindled,” with a vivid description of a Friday evening at UDSM in 1969. “Only a handful of staff offices are lit. Walter Rodney types out page after page of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa…” (p. 18). He goes on to describe an animated meeting of the University Students African Revolutionary Front (USARF), the radical socialist student group that founded Cheche, a short-lived but fiery student magazine published from 1969 to 1970. At this meeting a young radical named Yoweri Musevani speaks to the crowd; Issa Shivji and others who will become prominent Tanzanian intellectuals are there. In his description Hirji captures the spirit and enthusiasm of these activist students and provides a rich picture of UDSM’s vibrant intellectual atmosphere in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Likewise, Matthew Luhanga’s recounting of his time as UDSM’s Vice-Chancellor in The Courage for Change includes vivid, and often humorous, descriptions of significant events that took place during his tenure from 1991-2006. Indeed, the core contribution of both of these works is the detailed personal narratives and recollections of two significant, yet very different time periods in the history of UDSM.

Cheche recounts an intellectually vibrant period of UDSM’s history, the late 1960s and early 1970s, just after the Arusha Declaration, when students and scholars were engaged in building a university relevant to the socialist development of Tanzania. The volume, edited by Hirji, one of the founders of USARF and Cheche, can be divided into two parts. First, the core of the book gives Hirji’s account of the rapid rise and fall of the radical socialist student group and it’s associated publication. It includes reminiscences of other USARF members, such as Henry Mapolu, Zakia Meghji, George Hajivayanis, and Christopher Liunda about their work with Cheche and its successor publication, Maji Maji. Hirji has even included an article by a young Yoweri Musevani that appeared in a 1970 issue of the magazine. This section ends with a selection of poems, some republished from Cheche, that express the socialist ideals of USARF and its members. The second section bookends this core narrative of personal recollections. In the first and last three chapters, Hirji provides his socio-historic analysis of the wider national and global context in which the authors of the book were steeped. Utilizing personal observations and drawing on the work of a wide range of scholars, Hirji offers an analysis of why socialism failed in Tanzania (or was never truly enacted) and his critique of the capitalist imperialist system. The final chapter contains his reflections on the contributions and the deficiencies of USARF and Cheche. He ends the book with a call to the next generation to take up the cause of African liberation. While Hirji’s call to arms is inspiring and his socialist historical analysis is detailed, albeit unapologetically agenda-driven, it is the rich and detailed story that he and others tell of their personal experiences with USARF, Cheche, and the socialist era at UDSM that make a solid contribution to the historiography of the University of Dar es Salaam and Tanzanian intellectuals.

Luhanga’s Courage for Change focuses on another key time in the history of the university. In 1991, when Luhanga began his tenure as Vice Chancellor, the university was reeling from extreme economic hardship of the 1980s. Luhanga tells the story of his implementation of the Institutional Transformation Programme and UDSM’s subsequent slow emergence from a period of significant decline. Throughout the text Luhanga provides numerous facts and figures, supporting his contribution to UDSM’s recovery. These are also available in his previous publications (Strategic Planning and Higher Education Management in Africa, 2003 and Higher Education Reforms in Africa, 2003). While these tables, bullet points and statistics give some context, they are repeated from other sources and give a rather flat picture of UDSM’s recent history. It is the stories that Luhanga weaves amongst these facts of his hasty appointment, student protests, a “kidnapping”, economic hardships, and conflicts between the Hill (UDSM) and the Tanzanian government that are of interest. Of course, Luhanga’s account comes from the political perspective of the highest level of university administration, contrasting sharply with Hirji et al.’s narrative from radical students’ perspectives. Both are necessary, however, to gain a fuller picture of the rich history of the University of Dar es Salaam.
Amy Jamison

FROM BONGOLAND TO DAR ES SALAAM; URBAN MUTATIONS IN TANZANIA, co-ordinated by Bernard Calas, originally published in French by Karthala of Paris around 2006, now translated by Naomi Morgan, and published in English by Mkuki wa Nyoka Publishers Ltd in association with the French Institute for Research in Africa, pp 417, ISBN 978-9987-08-094-6. Available from African Books Collective, P.O. Box 721, Oxford OX1 9EN. £34.95.

This book brings together in English a dozen papers by a group of French academics in the fields of geography, economics, political science, sociology and history, Their research, done between 1996 and 2002, covers Dar es Salaam’s foundation and exponential growth, the harbour, trade and commerce, local government (and its shameful neglect in the 1970s), land and planning controls, slum life, public and private transport, primary education, and water supply. There are also chapters on the impact of various ethnic groups and the colonisers on the metropolis’ culture and society; and finally a dissertation on the city’s relations with Zanzibar.

On all these matters, this volume offers useful data and informed judgements (on, for example, the problems of Ujamaa and the subsequent Structural adjustment Programme). It also provides numerous insights into the life of the city’s inhabitants over the years. As such, it will be a useful quarry for future students of urban development in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as of the story of Dar es Salaam.

The book has severe limitations however. There is no index; and because few of the writers knew Swahili, their work lacks the immediacy of oral testimony, while the bibliography is inevitably mostly of works in French. Moreover, the chapters vary in quality; some are clear and direct, others are prolix and complex. Some are a pleasure to read; others very heavy. The translator tackled her job gallantly but appears to have had fearful difficulty at times in turning academic French into straightforward English. My review copy had not been proof-read, and contained frequent irritating howlers – like “Babamoyo” on page 12 – as well as the omission of illustrations and repetition of sentences in several places.

Unless a clean and much tidier edition is published, this is a poor example of the work of the publishers, Mkuki wa Nyoka. Despite all these drawbacks however, we may be grateful to the authors, coordinator and translator for contributing another useful building block in Tanzania’s recent history.
Dick Eberlie

SPEAK SWAHILI, DAMMIT! by James Penhaligon. Authorhouse U.K. Ltd. 500 Avebury Boulevard, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2BE. www.authorhouse. ISBN 978 1 4490 2373 7. Speak swahili Dammit, is available via the author’s book website, at “just over £10”.

For those Wazungu who lived in East Africa from the Fifties onwards, this book will bring back many fond memories. It was good to hear a tale from someone who was brought up in what was then Tanganyika later to become Tanzania, as to my knowledge there are few other similar accounts.

James Penhaligon was raised in the bush in a remote area near Mwanza next to Lake Victoria at the Geita gold mine and after the premature death of his father, his mother and sister carried on living in the area with his mother working to make ends meet. The young “Jimu” soon comes under the spell of Africa and one can see the enthusiasm he has for the country, people and especially the language.

Apart from Jimu’s adventures, the book also gives the reader a little history about Tanzania when he meets an old soldier from Von Lettow Vorbeck’s Deutsch Ost Africa Corps and about the campaigns of the First World War which I remembered being spoken about when a pupil at Lushoto in the Sixties. Jimu’s story continues with his education at Arusha and Nairobi, and I can identify with the black and blue bruises that he describes! The Swahili interspersed throughout the book was interesting to a Swahili speaker although there was quite a lot of repetition of phrases that sometimes detracted from what is a really a cracking tale that has tragedy, adventure and humour in jembefuls (spadefuls).The book was also a little long but overall an enjoyable read and brought back wonderful memories of Tanzania.
David Holton

Dick Eberlie was District Officer in Dar es Salaam, Kisarawe and Morogoro and subsequently worked for the Tanzania Tea Grower’s Association. He was Secretary of the Tanzania Society for the Blind and a member of the Editorial Board of the Tanzania Notes and Records. Author of “The German Achievement in East Africa”, he is now an adviser on industrial organisation and business representation with the British Executive Service Overseas (BESO).

David Holton was educated at Lushoto Prep School before returning to school in England. He has been manager of Bookland in Chester and a regular book reviewer for BBC local radio.

Amy Jamison holds a PhD in Educational Policy from Michigan State University, and conducted her doctoral research on the history of the University of Dar es Salaam. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Center for Gender in Global Context and continues to pursue research focused on African higher education.

Terence Ranger was the first Professor of History at University College, DSM, 1963-1969. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Oxford and has been a member of the Britain-Tanzania Society for thirty years.

Anthony Shaw is Managing Director of Creo Communications, a Tanzania-based company offering communication consultancy and English language support services to individuals, organisations and businesses.

Comments (1)


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

SOCIETIES, RELIGION AND HISTORY. CENTRAL-EAST TANZANIANS AND THE WORLD THEY CREATED, C.200 BCE TO 1800 CE, by Rhonda M.Gonzales, Columbia University Press, New York, 2009, pp.ix and 257, ISBN 978-0-231-14242-7. £41.00

Forty years ago a conference took place at the University of Dar es Salaam on the historical study of African religion. The book which resulted in 1972, edited by myself and Isaria Kimambo, not surprisingly contained many chapters on Tanzania. Kimambo himself wrote on Upare religion; Marcia Wright wrote on Nyakyusa cults and politics; Edward Alpers wrote about the expansion of Islam in south-eastern Tanzania and north-eastern Mozambique; Gilbert Gwassa discussed the role of Kinjikitile in Maji Maji; and I described Anglican attempts to adapt Makua initiation rites. But though African religious history in Tanzania got off to such a vigorous start for a long time little happened. Tanzanian historiography entered its materialist stage; Gwassa died; I did not finish my books on Masasi Anglicanism or on witchcraft eradication cults; Alpers did not finish his book on Morogoro. The programme stated in The Historical Study of African Religion was not pursued.

Since then the ecological turn in Tanzanian historiography has seen some important publications dealing with religion. In 1996 Greg Maddox, James Gibling and Isaria Kimambo published the edited collection, Custodians of the Land. Ecology and Culture in the History of Tanzania. More recently Alpers’s chapter in The Historical Study has been surpassed by Felicitas Becker’s Becoming Muslim in Mainland Tanzania, 1890-2000 (OUP, 2008). Maji Maji has been comprehensively re-visited in James Giblin and Jamie Monsons’s Lifting the Fog of War (Brill, 2010). But Rhonda Gonzales still thinks it important to go all the way back to The Historical Study of African Religion and to re-state its major argumentative propositions. African religions are not incoherent and ‘primal’; they have histories; they do not derive from political or economic systems. In fact, religion – which she defines as establishing and managing relationships with spirits – is primary. It represents both the longest continuities in Bantu cultures and the most flexible responses to change. Gonzales did not go to Tanzania to study religion but with an Afro-feminist agenda. Central-East Tanzanians themselves taught her what was important.

The chapter in The Historical Study which is most important to Gonzales is not, however, any of the specific Tanzanian case studies but Christopher Ehret’s ‘Language Evidence and Religious History’. At UCLA Ehret became her major mentor. In her book she draws heavily on his methods of historical linguistic reconstruction. She also makes extensive use of recent archaeological work, especially that of the Tanzanian archaeologist, Felix Chami, who has claimed to have discovered the site of Rhapta, the famed entrepot of the Periplus some fifty miles south of Dar es Salaam. But archaeologists deal mostly with potsherds. Language embodies ideas. So even though Gonzales manages to socialize pottery and has interesting pages on it as a female ‘mystery’ in a matrilineal society, it is essentially words which interest her. Very old words for ‘God’ and ‘spirit’; much newer loan words for new sorts of cults or divinities; words for male and female initiands; words for rituals.

She deals with what she calls ‘the Ruvu group of societies’, speakers of ten related languages across ‘a large block of central-east Tanzania’, who are heirs to cultures ‘that have occupied these territories for the past 1,500 years’. She dislikes the notion of ‘hinterland’ since she argues that these societies have interacted with the coast for more than a millennium. She discusses their ideas of divinity, environment, kinship, healing. She is familiar with missionary writing, ethnography and anthropology. I would say that she is more successful in showing continuities than she is in documenting change. The book is hard going. There is little which is individual or colourful. Extraordinarily there are no maps and no illustrations. But it is a very important book which I hope may revive the project of African religious history in Tanzania.
Terence Ranger

STREET DREAMS AND HIP HOP BARBERSHOPS: GLOBAL FANTASY IN URBAN TANZANIA. By Brad Weiss. Indiana University Press, 2009. pp249. ISBN 9780253220752. £15.99.

This ethnographic study of cultural practices provides an insight into the modern tensions that plague the lives of urban male youth in the political economic context of expanding neo-liberal consumerism in Arusha. Focussing on the social and idiomatic dynamics that circulated in and around street side barbershops in central Arusha at the turn of the millennium, Weiss uses these sites and other urban locales as lenses to elicit views of social struggle, identity politics and agency within the local-global conundrum that affects Tanzanians. Founded on the challenge laid down by certain anthropologists, namely to inquire into how human beings ‘construct their intimate, everyday life-worlds at the shifting intersections of here, there, elsewhere, everywhere’ (p. 8), the book seeks to contribute to anthropology’s investigation into globalisation and neoliberalism. Moving beyond the current approach which catalogues the extent to which forces are incorporated into ‘local’ worlds’ Weiss instead reframes neoliberalism as something more than a realm of external relations to which communities respond. This he does by arguing that male youth draw on evolving popular culture to position themselves in the wider world. However, Weiss asserts, this is only achievable, as Tanzanians are well aware, to a very limited degree as Tanzanians remain self-consciously marginalised or even in a relation of abject disjuncture, from an imagined globalised and interrelated world. This liminal positioning, neither fully in, nor fully out, he presents as the lived experience of neoliberalism’s dilemma.
Referring to the structural transformations that have been occurring in Tanzania’s political economy since the 1980s, the broader context he suggests is the ‘sudden crash’ Tanzanians experienced which came at the heels of unprecedented possibilities. These possibilities, though unrealised by the vast majority of Tanzanians as anything but possibilities, made it ‘possible for a broad swath of people to desire signs and styles of a global order while finding ever narrower means by which to satisfy them (p.9).

The book is composed of seven chapters, and an introduction and conclusion. The introductory chapter provides an excursion into the ethnographic setting and the topical challenges. In Chapter 1 Weiss summarises various theoretical vehicles in the study of popular culture ranging through themes of familiarisation, distinction, mimicry, alterity and fantasy as discussed by the likes of Bakhtin, Bourdieu, and Zizek. The following three chapters move through discussions of masculine self-fashioning to humans that can endure modernity’s onslaught. Explorations into hip hop imagery, metaphors and material culture are set alongside discussions of the shared discourses of suffering and pain that infuse understandings of youths’ liminal predicament as quasi-members of an imagined global hip hop culture. The subsequent three chapters explore youths’ struggles to create viable adulthoods where a respectable family and livelihood are understood as pivotal, but how certain popular culture genres (fashion, television watching, and music) become instrumental to these challenges. Chapter 5 centres on young females in Arusha through the analysis of popular culture idioms (hair salons, clothing and music) and the discourses utilised by men to marginalize women and reposition themselves as reproductive agents in a world where men’s productive capacity is tenuous. Chapter 6 describes the importance of soap operas for Arusha’s youth as an educational tool and also as a vehicle for imagining and consuming the world beyond. Music and religion form the focus of the final substantive chapter and here Weiss evinces the importance of ‘localised rap lyrics, Pentecostal Christianity and Islam to discern understandings of a world in crisis. The concluding chapter brings the arguments home and summarises Arusha as seen during Weiss’s final visit in 2006. The book also contains three ‘portraits’ which offer some insights into the lives of certain individuals that Weiss came to know.

Certain weaknesses and lacunae are evident in the lack of a theory of value and attention to conceptualising constructs such as neo-liberalism and the New World Order. Related to the latter is the lack of attention to the notion of continuity and discontinuity. For example, Weiss raises the question of whether the current moment of what is now called neoliberalism is distinctly different or a recurring structural phenomenon affecting social life in east Africa but fails to address it. He opines instead that this is a distinctly difficult problematic with which to engage and in doing so fails to address a pivotal issue for the issues at hand. Those who enjoy anthropology for the sake of ethnography may feel slightly disappointed at the lack of substance for the sake of theory, though, undoubtedly, those with a penchant for anthropology with a heavy dose of theory will enjoy it and may even learn something new. Weiss provides some fresh thinking and contributions to numerous areas of study including cultural studies, youth, neo-liberalism, citizenship, urban anthropology and modernity. Its major strength lies in its generation of ideas about the use of certain theoretical frameworks and their flexibility for future analyses.
Richard Sherrington

CONTEMPORARY DAR ES SALAAM by Muzu Sulemanji, Mkuki na Nyota 2010. ISBN 978 9987 08 077 9. £15.00 + postage. Available from Salma Sulemanji,

Like the author, Muzu Sulemanji, I grew up in Dar es Salaam, leaving in 1966. Walking around the city centre on my return in 2004, I felt as if I was in a time warp, so little had changed; there was the Askari Memorial, my old school St. Joseph’s, oh and even the Sno-Cream Parlour!

Time marches on though, and with the new economic climate the pace of change has accelerated dramatically. Now, each year when I visit Tanzania I see that yet more familiar city buildings have been demolished, replaced by concrete and glass skyscrapers. So, “Contemporary Dar es Salaam” is a timely publication, being both a social and historic document, capturing images of old landmarks before they are lost forever, and marking not only the bold new modernity but also the faces of the people who inhabit this ever-expanding city.

The colonial heritage and fusion of cultures resulted in a range of architectural styles giving Dar its unique character and this has been carefully recorded in a series of photographs of individual buildings.
Muzu Sulemanji has explored the city with his camera from all angles. He presents a broad spectrum of life in Dar, illustrating its colour and variety whilst also showing the extremes of wealth and poverty that exist in all cities. The harshness of street life contrasts with the opulent interiors of expensive hotels, casinos and certain private homes; new high-rise blocks tower above the corrugated iron or makuti rooftops of their neighbours.

The people of the city are celebrated, in all their various walks of life, at work and play, from the colourful and crowded Kariakoo Market to a lone cyclist in the rain, from goat racing to snake dancing.
This is essentially a picture book, with an absolute wealth of images on 96 pages and an interesting potted history of the city by Ghalib Jafferji. The standard of photography is excellent, although with multiple images on almost every page I would have liked some of the captions to be presented a little more clearly.
The author describes his book as “a love letter to both the old and the new” and quotes the wise man who once said “….in this great future, you cannot forget your past”. I’m being sentimental I know, but what a disappointment last year to find that Sno-Cream had vanished too!
Patricia Cumberland-Derrick

DAR ES SALAAM 1963, A NEW GRADUATE ENCOUNTERS AN EMERGING AFRICAN NATION. By Tom Torrance. General Store Publishing House, Renfrew, Ontario, Canada 2010. 150pp ISBN 978-1-907508-73-2 $19.95 Cdn. + postage. Order from Amazon or kttorrancerogerscom.

In the 1960s many idealistic young people wanted to offer their services to help fight poverty in the third world. Voluntary Service Overseas was started in the UK in 1958, the US Peace Corps in 1960 and the Canadian University Service Overseas in 1961. All received financial support from their governments, but Tom Torrance, a young Canadian economics graduate, decided to go it alone. In January, 1963 he travelled to Tanganyika at his own expense, having obtained a temporary position on local terms as a junior economist in the Treasury at a salary of £798 a year. This highly readable book is an account in anecdotal form of his first three months in Dar es Salaam. He describes his experiences as a self–confessed greenhorn in an environment that could not have been further removed from his hometown in Ontario.

The book consists of thirty six vignettes that have been fashioned from notes jotted down on scraps of paper, diary entries and, most importantly, letters home. As the author explains, this book would never have been written had it not been for members of his family who kept all the letters he wrote to them from Africa. Although he describes himself as having been shy and insecure, it must have taken considerable pluck to leave his Canadian government job in Ottawa, his family and his girlfriend to work in newly independent Tanganyika. As his friend writes in the foreword, “He stepped off the edge and ventured fully into the unknown.”

Initially, the unknown territory consisted of the Salvation Army camp at Mgulani where he was lodged in a ‘little banda in the corner” at what he considered an unacceptably high rent of twenty shillings a day for room and board. The book starts with a wryly humorous description of his accommodation; his efforts to cope with the unaccustomed tropical heat; the library with its tattered sofas and dog-eared books and magazines and his meeting with the camp director who spells out the strict rules of conduct enforced by Ali the Askari.

He goes on to describe the problems he faces in his job at the Treasury where he learns that he will be responsible for labour issues. He tours Dar es Salaam with James, a trainee magistrate and a fellow resident at Mgulani, who helps him discover the realities of making a living in the city and the complexities of the informal sector.

The camp accommodated people from a variety of backgrounds and during his short stay there Tom befriends many of them: there is Tanganyika Standard journalist Jack Hattersley; old Africa hand Rufiji Barker; Musa the mystery man, Robert the UN diplomat and Joan Wicken, personal assistant to President Nyerere, who not only explains the meaning of African Socialism and ujamaa but also shows Tom where he can buy fish and chips in town.

Readers who knew Dar es Salaam in the sixties will be reminded of the Long Bar at the old New Africa Hotel and the Roof Garden at the Metropole Hotel, both now sadly demolished. Tom also describes visits to the Avalon Cinema and the Canton Chinese Restaurant and when he acquires a bicycle he explores other parts of the city. (He feels uncomfortable in the affluent suburb of Oyster Bay.) He meets an old fisherman on one of his expeditions and resolves to take Swahili lessons, the better to communicate. Unfortunately, his exploring comes to an end when his bicycle is stolen from outside the British Council but he makes friends with the recently arrived members of the Peace Corps who invite him along on their outings, including one to Bagamoyo in search of a ghost.

The twenty-three year old Tom Torrance comes across as a serious, highly principled but inexperienced young man, sometimes painfully honest, especially when it comes to his attempts at romance. When he receives a formal invitation to attend a drinks party at the residence of the Ford Foundation representative he readily admits that it is the first formal invitation he has received in his life “except for an invitation to a wedding in Canada’. He is not keen on the idea of attending an “expatriate cocktail party” but goes along anyway. After a couple of beers, he loses enough of his shyness to engage in a little self-promotion that would eventually lead to a transfer to the Ministry of Development and Planning and later to a post with the ILO in Geneva.

It is not unusual for a book of reminiscences to reveal as much about the writer as about the incidents he describes. This book traces how a young man’s experiences in Africa began to transform his attitudes; how his preconceived ideas were shattered and how he began a journey of self-discovery that changed his outlook on life and convinced him that the inherent worth of each individual was paramount. Those who remember Dar es Salaam in the sixties will find this a very enjoyable read and it will also appeal to the general reader with an interest in the early years of Tanganyikan independence.
Gloria Mawji

TANZANIA IN TRANSITION; FROM NYERERE TO MKAPA. Havnevik, K and Isinika, C. (eds); Published by Mkuki na Nyota and The Nordic Africa Institute 2010. pp284. ISBN 978-9987-08-086-1. £24.99. Available from African Books Collective

This is an interesting book in which a range of Tanzanian, Nordic and other European academics contribute articles which the editors bring together to make a coherent case that there was less transformation in Tanzania during Mkapa’s presidency than is sometimes claimed – not least by international donors. There is a helpful reappraisal of Nyerere’s development model, which was sometimes praised uncritically in its early years, and then unfairly condemned as a total failure in the 1980s. The achievements which continue to have an impact on Tanzania today – such as the peace and stability sadly lacking in neighbouring countries – are revisited.

The authors provide evidence that more of Nyerere’s legacy – positive and negative – remained during Mkapa’s presidency than is sometimes perceived. Economic liberalisation has seen significant increases in GDP, yet agricultural productivity actually decreased, and rural poverty remains – it is sectors like mining and tourism which have grown. Brian Cooksey provides a fascinating chapter on corruption – reading the left-hand column of his tables shows progress in tackling this (heralded by some donors) while the right-hand tables show no improvement, even a worsening situation in some cases. As with Nyerere’s era, you can find selective evidence on both sides, to support opposing ideological perspectives.

Other chapters cover agrarian-land, gender and forestry issues, development strategy and ideology, aid and development assistance and political change. There are some positive signs, but no major transformation. With CCM’s dominance continuing and the opposition fragmented, multi-partyism is seen to have had little impact, other than in Zanzibar.

Many TA readers will find the book interesting but may not be surprised by its conclusions. Academic language could be a barrier in a few chapters, but the book will be of interest to general readers as well as researchers. In summary; perceptions may change, but the reality faced by most Tanzanians has changed far less.
Nigel West

Patricia Cumberland-Derrick lived in Dar es Salaam from 1952 to 1966. After leaving St. Joseph’s Convent School she worked briefly as secretary to Sir Andy Chande at Chande Industries in Dar es Salaam. She is an artist and performer in the UK and presented an exhibition on the Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme at Hornsey Library in London in 2005.

Gloria Mawji is a British expatriate who has lived in Dar es Salaam for over thirty years. She taught at the International School of Tanganyika and has a particular interest in local history.

Terence Ranger was the first Professor of History at the University College of Dar es Salaam, 1963-1969. He has been a member of the Britain Tanzania Society for thirty years. He is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Oxford. His main contribution to the historical study of African religion is his book about the high-god shrines in the Matopos, Voices From the Rocks, James Currey, Oxford, 1999.

Richard Sherrington holds a PhD in Social Anthropology and undertook his doctoral and subsequent post doctoral research in rural and urban Tanzania. Currently he is a senior consultant with Environmental Resources Management (ERM UK) and an Associate Researcher at the Centre for African Studies, University of Cambridge.

Nigel West worked as an Education Advisor for Oxfam from 1984 to 1995 and made two study tours to Tanzania, which informed the development of teaching materials for UK schools. He currently coordinates a community health programme in Sheffield, delivered by volunteers in disadvantaged communities, which has also drawn on his experience in Tanzania.



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

THE GREAT DIAMOND HUNT by James Platt, Creighton Books, 2007. ISBN 978 9080780842

Fifty years ago, James Platt, armed with a degree in Mining Geology from the Royal School of Mines in London and, remarkably, a knowledge of Shelley’s poetry, was employed to traverse MMBA (Miles and Miles of Bloody Africa) collecting soil samples in the search for diamonds. At the time, following the world-class discovery by Dr John Williamson, diamonds were being mined at Mwadui, which is situated roughly midway between Mwanza and Tabora. Mr Platt’s employer was Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL), a subsidiary of de Beers, which had its headquarters at Mwadui. De Beers was engaged in the search for other deposits of diamonds in north-west Tanzania.

The young geologist was required to follow instructions as set-out in the WDL’s Geologists Field Manual. It is the detail of life in the field, as directed by the GFM, which is so fascinating. Most of us have memories of our first overseas assignment, but few of us manage to write about our experiences. Names are forgotten and incidents only vaguely recalled, often in an alcoholic daze. Not so for James Platt. Each employee, his name, tribe and personality is remembered. Incidents are vividly described: an early experience of the effects of dehydration; his first kill (of an impala for the pot); an ‘investigation’ by the Tanzania Transport and General Workers Union; inevitably, the theft of a cash box.

One forgets how different things were in the early 1960’s. The journey from London to Nairobi was by Vickers Viscount turbo-prop aircraft that took two days to make it from London to Nairobi via Malta, Benghazi, Khartoum and Entebbe. He flew the final leg of the journey by Dakota aircraft from Nairobi to the airstrip at Mwadui. Life in the bush was spartan: no generator; paraffin-fuelled Tilley lamps for lighting; a battery operated radio, and a bath rigged up out of a tin tank. Samples were sent to Johannesburg for analysis, and it took months for the results to be sent back.

Only Land Rovers and tsetse fly and the vagaries of black-cotton soil don’t seem to have changed much. Then, as now, the quality of a town was defined by its bars. At the Diamond Fields Hotel in Shinyanga he bought beers for the local head of police. Despite his taste for cold beer (IPA), Mr Platt never tried pombe, a strange lapse, indicative of the social isolation of Wazungu (Europeans) in the early 1960’s.

The period of Mr Platt’s diamond hunt was immediately before Uhuru. He captures well the spirit of the times in his descriptions of the characters that shaped his experience: WDL’s diverse work-force; the lady from South Africa in the adjacent seat on the way out; the police chief in Shinyanga, who cadged beers and failed to return Mr Platt’s rifles. In common with all young geologists, he shows scant respect for the management skills of his bosses, or the style of the local District Commissioners.

In places, Mr Platt’s language is arcane and the syntax garbled although, after he gets going, the narrative reads fluently. ‘The Great Diamond Hunt’ is an authentic memory of what it felt like to be a young man from Cornwall, living in Africa for the first time. It is an authentic and valuable historical record, and an entertaining memoir.

Tony Marsh

Shelby Tucker. Stacey International, 2010. ISBN 978 1906768 21 8. H/B, pp373 RRP £17.99

The Last Banana - Dancing with the Watu

Twenty years ago, when I first went to Tanzania, the community of permanent white residents of Arusha was tiny – a handful of farmers, safari operators and long-term missionaries, with a subpopulation of researchers and aid workers. It was literally possible to know them all, and to recognise them by their vehicles. Conspicuous among them was a Greek, known only as Ghikas, who could be seen around town in a battered Landrover, or occasionally a tractor if he was short of fuel – one of the few old-time ‘characters’ around.

On being asked to review this book it was therefore quite a surprise to find that ostensibly its main protagonist was none other than Marios Ghikas, who had been at Oxford with Tucker and who, shortly before his farms were nationalised, had invited Tucker to come to share the ‘last banana’ of the title. The scion of a wealthy Greek family who owned major coffee plantations on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, and the Livingstone Hotel in Moshi, Ghikas was one of very few Greeks to remain in Tanzania following independence and nationalisation of almost all of their assets. His background and experiences, as documented here, are a valuable record of the important Greek influence on the development of the country (dating back to the German occupation), and the trauma of the nationalisation process on those it affected. As well as the Ghikas family and other Greeks, Tucker also covers the stories of other white settlers similarly affected, including that group of remarkable men who farmed at Ol Molog on the north-western shoulder of Kilimanjaro. The story continues to the present day, revealing that Marios Ghikas is back on some of his ancestral coffee estates, struggling to make them profitable once more.

The sections of the book devoted to Ghikas, his fellow Greeks and other colonists in northern Tanzania will be the most appreciated part of the book for those interested in Tanzanian history. Much of it, however, concentrates on Shelby Tucker himself, and his travels through Africa, more or less en route to Moshi to see Ghikas, but with lengthy diversions through Sudan and Ethiopia, and his marriage in Zanzibar, form a large part of the story. The whole is intermingled with excerpts from the adventures of David Livingstone and Wachagga history. It is well written, however, and its scholarly references and notes are, for once, usefully in their proper place as footnotes.

John Grimshaw

A MEDICAL SAFARI. Richard Evans. Athena Press, 2006. ISBN 1 84401 748 6. About £6 on Amazon.

We missed this is one when it was published. It tells of a “safari” which started at a mission hospital in Uganda in 1969. Then in 1971 Richard joined the medical staff of the newly opened Bugando Hospital as an obstetrician/gynaecologist. Both he and his wife were particularly interested in the development of maternal and child health services in the rural areas. After five years he and his family moved to the New Hebrides before returning to Tanzania as the medical coordinator in the planning stages of ODA’s Southern Regions Health Project, which included the enlargement of the government hospital at Mbeya to become a regional referral hospital, with an extensive outreach programme.

Richard is remembered as a good raconteur whose tales seldom lost anything in the telling, and this is all good vintage stuff. It is necessarily a personal and selective account, but is a good read.

J. C-P.

. 2010. Pambazuka Press. ISBN 979 906387 71 6. P/B pp195

This new collection of essays is an introduction to the philosophy and politics of Julius K. Nyerere, a tribute to his legacy, and a rumination on the trajectory of Tanzanian politics since his death in 1999. The essays themselves are mostly written by Tanzanian scholars and activists, and all share a desire to cast the legacy of Mwalimu in a positive and developmental light.

The collection is certainly rose-tinted, opening with a poem that asks ‘where do we go from here?’, and reflecting on Mwalimu’s undoubtedly positive achievements in nation-building and education. Later on, it falls to Chris Maina Peter and Marjorie Mbilinyi to sound a note of caution on Tanzania’s human rights and gender equality record. What comes across most consistently – and is also most fun to read – is the spirit of Nyerere: that rare combination of intellectual ferocity and human instinct. During his tangles with the IMF in particular, he combines a robust (although partly flawed) defence of ujamaa socialism, whilst simultaneously admonishing the arrogance and myopia of the Washington development bureaucracy. It is stirring stuff, and fascinating to read post-credit crunch.

Mwalimu Nyerere is central to the narrative and identity of post-colonial Tanzania. And whilst this collection will teach relatively little to those who already know this, it does illustrate just how multi-faceted this narrative and identity is. He would be happy with this. His legacy is not just as a portrait on a government office wall, but as a living, breathing part of everyday life and politics in the country.

Henry Kippin

. Prof Frank Marlowe. University of California Press, 1910. ISBN 978 0 520 25342 1. P/B. £19.95.

How cool are the Hadza? Having done a bit of work (i.e. hunting and gathering) you spend time with your family, community, mates, discussing the environment, children, food, decisions – men and women together. You enjoy leisure time with a game, a chat, a snooze or preparing your arrows for the next expedition. Maybe you even contemplate the meaning of life and your world view without dogmatic monotheism or existentialist crisis or fear of eternal damnation. You share stories, ideas, food, laughs, politics, a bit of the local weed and some local history – having hung out in the same place for over 60,000 years you really get to know your community and history. Maybe you worry a little about the rain or your neighbourhood: “the place has gone down hill since those agriculturalists moved in!”

I am not a romantic when it comes to Africa, but the Hadza? I admire them, their values, their minimal ecological footprint, their spirit of equality and egalitarianism, the way they don’t take themselves too seriously.

So Prof Frank Marlowe is one lucky guy to be able to write an ethnography of the Hadza – not least because there are only 1,000 living in a fairly small area. But clearly he is sensitive to the privilege of being able to move with and research the Hadza. The author’s rigorous approach ensures this is not simply an ode to a noble people; while the affection and respect he has for his ‘subject’ shine’s through it, but doesn’t taint the evidence.

Particularly interesting was the equitable role and clear responsibilities women have, compared to most societies, including our own “over developed” countries. Women choose their partner freely, are not cast out or into homes if they are widowed and organised communal childcare gives freedom to participate economically and politically. Sexual relations are negotiated around menstrual cycles, women lactating and a certain amount of choice ensuring good reproductive health and child spacing.

The Hadza, and this ethnography, are a robust example of evolutionary theory and why it is essential to understand humans; how evolution occurs through natural selection which in turn leads to adaptation to changing environments – or extinction. What is remarkable is how little the Hadza have changed, especially given the often negative and increasingly hostile forces that surround them.

And this is my only criticism – apart from the language being a little academic and at times inaccessible. What is lacking is an analysis of the Hadza’s political economy and participatory action-research that could lead to an analysis of the major threats and opportunities the Hadza face at the beginning of the 21st Century. An example would be the opportunity, maybe necessity, of political alliances on land issues with, for example, pastoralists, building on the work of the local social justice organisation, the Ujamaa Community Resource Trust. This would ensure that this extraordinarily rigorous and valuable ethnography is more than a study of what may be the extinction of one of the first of the first peoples.

While Marlowe’s book may not be a clear rallying cry in defence of the Hadza and hunter-gathering as a legitimate and sustainable livelihood, “The Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania” does have the passion, evidence and humility to contribute towards it.

Mike Sansom

. By Paul Latham. ISBN 978 0 9554208 3 2. Availabale from the author at Croft Cottage, Forneth, Blairgowrie, Perthshire PH10 6SW. price £21.

This most interesting book came out of a project to encourage the conservation and planting of useful plants, including “bee” plants. Other objectives of the author’s initial visits were to assist the local secondary school to set up an agricultural programme and to help school leavers find self-employment especially bee-keeping.

Bees not only provide honey and wax for cash, but are vital for the pollination of food and economic crops as well as indigenous plants. The realisation of this encourages forest conservation.

Beginning with a short introduction to beekeeping in Umalila, the text continues with one page per species illustrated by excellent colour photos These are mainly of the plants mentioned, but also include views of Umalila, pictures of people at work, tools and household objects.

For each of the 188 species discussed, the text is clearly set out with headings such as common names, description, ecology, propagation, management, uses and references to the plant in other African countries.

Most of the plants mentioned are indigenous to the area covered and have traditionally been used for food, medicines, construction or making household utensils. Introduced species, including food crops, are also included. This means that although the book relates to a small part of Tanzania it could be interesting and useful in other countries over sub-Saharan Africa.

The author acknowledges the help of his hosts, botanists who helped with plant identification, and photographers.

Rachel Nicholson

FROM GOATHERD TO GOVERNOR. Edwin Mtei. Mkuki wa Nyota Publishers. Dar es Salaam. 2009. ISBN 978-9987-08 030-4 £19.95 (obtainable from Africa Book Centre Tel: 01273 – 560 – 474)

From Goatherd to Governor

Tanzania is not blessed with many autobiographies written by Tanzanians of the calibre of this author. The book is also not just an autobiography – it is a contribution to the history of some of the most dramatic years in Tanzania’s post-independence period.

Yes, as the title indicates, Edwin Mtei started life as a goatherd but, in some ways, he was a rather privileged one. He was a Chagga, regarded, at the time when he was boy, as the best educated and most advanced segment of Tanganyikan society, which benefited from an economy supported by good soils, a good climate and a well organised agricultural industry based on coffee. His parents were determined to give him a good education and they did.

He was fortunate also to have been born in 1932 which meant that he became a man just as Tanganyika became a nation. Some of his best descriptive writing reflect his feelings during Independence Day – ‘It was excitement beyond measure.’

Although the civil service was being rapidly Africanised, Mtei’s first objective was to get some money so that he could prepare marriage plans. He became a District Tobacco Sales Representative in Kenya but this job did not satisfy him for long and he soon began his meteoric rise up the promotion ladder in Tanganyika/Tanzania.

He became an Establishment Officer in the Tanganyika Civil Service in Dar. He was soon promoted to Chief Establishment Officer in the Africanisation Department and began to meet many of the people who would soon be running every department of government. His salary jumped from £792 per annum to £1,660 – a respectable salary for someone who was only 29 years old.

His rapid climb continued when he became Deputy to the Secretary General of the East African Common Services Organisation in Nairobi. And then, not long after this, President Nyerere suddenly made him Permanent Secretary in the Treasury in Dar but he was not in this job for long either.

The break-up of the East African Community is covered in fascinating detail in this book and Mtei soon became Governor of the newly established Bank of Tanzania. He recalls in the book how, when the first consignment of new Tanzanian coins arrived in Dar by sea in March 1966 there was nowhere suitable to put them. He writes: ‘The Army agreed to guard them…. We strengthened the doors of the Army’s office building and the army guarded them until we had built our own strong room, three and a half years later!’ He and his new wife were also building a house in Mzinga Way in Dar at the same time.

This was the time of Ujamaa. He and a group of senior personnel were sent to Kondoa to do some physical work with the villagers. His first project was digging trenches for water pipes and there were the first indications of Mtei’s disillusionment with the way the economy was being run. He comments: ‘The pipes never worked because there had been no proper initial survey….it was such unplanned projects that contributed to the eventual near collapse of the economy and the unmanageable foreign debt’.

Next, he learnt that he had suddenly been appointed Secretary General of the East African Community at a time when President Nyerere was refusing to speak to Ugandan President Iddi Amin! He found a little time to produce hastily some handing-over notes for the new Governor of the Bank in Dar before beginning what he described as the ‘hectic and strenuous’ final days of the East African Community.

But he was on the move again before this death finally took place. As he entered the last three months of his contract he received an urgent call from State House. He was to catch the next plane to Dar. But Kenya had just grounded most East African planes in Nairobi and he had to use a plane on loan from the national airline of Mozambique.

In Dar, Mwalimu Nyerere told him that he was to be nominated as an MP and then be appointed Minister for Planning and Finance. ‘I was stunned’ he writes. When was he to start? The next day! This seemed to be the way in which Mwalimu liked to conduct cabinet reshuffles.

Then began the saga (which finished in 1979) in which Mtei’s relations with the President gradually deteriorated. This, the most revealing part of the book, describes in considerable detail (in Chapters 17 and 18) the other war – between Mwalimu and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To complicate matters, Mtei had been chosen as Chairman of the Boards of Governors of the IMF and World Bank for part of the same period. As the differences on policy with the IMF worsened it became apparent to Mtei that he would have to resign from his ministerial position. He did so in a short but brief confrontation with the President. Mtei’s analysis of Mwalimu’s economic policies is in Chapter 18.

Within a week he had swapped his house in Dar for a coffee farm in his own region and became a farmer. But this wasn’t enough and he soon took other positions in the private sector. He is clearly a ‘workaholic.’

Then, yet another new phase of his remarkable career began. In July 1992 Tanzania got a new constitution and new political parties were allowed. Mtei then founded the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) which is now the main opposition party on the mainland. Those interested in how multi-party politics developed in Tanzania should read chapters 22 to 24.

The author writes well, in a readable style. He shows a prodigious memory for people and events. Unfortunately he said that he found writing the book an ‘arduous task’ which must explain why it seems, at 227 pages, so very short.
Sadly, Mr Mtei’s boss, the late Mwalimu, who met so many distinguished leaders worldwide, and participated prominently in the making of world history, left no written record of his life and work.

This book is not perfect. It is rather expensive in the UK for such a small book and is almost bereft of critical comment on people and places. A few more amusing anecdotes might have added to the attractiveness of the book. Perhaps Mr Mtei does not like to upset people but, as the founding father of what might become the leading party in the country at some future date, he is likely to have to do so.

However, Mzee Mtei is to be congratulated for not leaving a vacuum behind him and for describing these eventful years in such a clear way. Let us hope that some of the other Tanzanian leaders during this period will put pen to paper before it is too late. There must be a fear that they won’t. Mwalimu told Mtei on one occasion, that he was the only one of his ministers who sent him long reports in writing!

David Brewin.

SIR GEORGE. A THEMATIC HISTORY OF TANZANIA THROUGH HIS FIFTY YEARS OF PUBLIC SERVICE. Joseph Kulwa Kahama. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, China. 182 pages. ISBN 978 7 119 06219 8

This is a very unusual book: a stimulating and interesting account of the life of a key player in his country’s development written by a son whilst his father and subject is still alive. ‘Sir George’ is no less than George Kahama, former General Manager of the Bukoba Co-operative Union, Minister of Commerce and Industry in Nyerere’s first Cabinet, CEO of the National Development Corporation, Director General of the Capital Development Authority, Ambassador at different times to West Germany, China and Zimbabwe, MP for Karagwe and currently Chairman of Seacom (T) Ltd – the undersea fibre optic company which delivers internet services to Tanzania. This is an extraordinary life which has spanned almost every aspect of Tanzania’s development over the last sixty years.

Joseph Kahama writes clearly about all these and related phases of George Kahama’s work. He paints a picture of an extraordinarily energetic individual, able to master very divergent briefs, but to collect many friends and supporters along the way. The book indicates that Kahama Senr regards the work of building the new capital at Dodoma as both his greatest challenge and perhaps greatest failure, in the sense that his vision was never fully realised. His strategy at the NDC, in line with much international thinking at the time, was the promotion of joint venture companies with equity capital supplied both by the overseas investor, local investors and government itself. In principle this was sound, and it is not so different to the new paradigm which has emerged after the global crisis of the last two years, or to the strategy adopted by the east Asian economies since the 1970s. However, his work at the National Development Corporation was to some extent undone as the NDC was first broken into smaller entities and ultimately saw most of its subsidiary companies fully privatised in the 1980s and 90s.

However Kahama never lost his faith in the ability of the co-operative movement to deliver real services and benefits to farmers and was very glad to return to his first Cabinet brief as Minister of Co-operatives under President Mwinyi, investing his energies in seeking to re-invigorate a movement which had lost so much strength during the late and post ujamaa period.

The book succeeds in throwing some light on Kahama’s real social and political beliefs during the various phases of Tanzania’s political development in which he has been so closely involved. Whilst on the one hand he has been consistent in trying to ensure that small farmers and households received a better deal through co-operatives and through the educational system in general, he has also had a vision of a successful middle class of investors who would be the backbone of the country’s economic development. It seems that, at least until the last few years, this has been at odds with the CCM vision and that Kahama has to be regarded as an odd man out, pushing his own vision against the odds but never taking it so far as to be fully alienated from the mainstream of the party.

The author makes it clear that the Catholic faith has been central to Kahama’s personal strength which was formally bolstered by the award to him of a papal knighthood (Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great) as early as 1962. His own family, and particularly his wife Janet (currently an MP), have also been critical to his ability to work in so many different spheres. Kahama must be the only senior figure in Africa today to have both presided over a late colonial (and very successful) farmers’ co-operative and the principal internet distribution service for his country towards the end of the first decade of the twenty first century.

His son has done an excellent job in capturing this rich life and much of the modern history of Tanzania in the process.

Lawrence Cockcroft


This summer the Tinga Tinga art movement was the focus of several unrelated cultural events, bringing an opportunity to see and consider the continuity and new directions of this popular genre of Tanzanian art. The brightly-coloured and uncomplicated style of narrative painting on square board was invented by Tinga Tinga aka Edward Saidi in 1968. Most accounts relate how he, then a labourer in Dar es Salaam, was inspired by colourful Congolese paintings on paper which were sold in the open air by vendors in the capital.

The events included two exhibitions: ‘TINGATINGA – Unique Paintings from
Tanzania’ (Croydon Clocktower Gallery with some 25 works), and ‘TINGA TINGA KITSCH or QUALITY – Bicycle enamel on board and canvas’ (Round Tower Gallery, Copenhagen, with some 100 works) and also an animated Childrens BBC television series ‘TINGA TINGA TALES’.

The latter, a totally new departure if remarkable appropriation generated in Nairobi, indicates the continuing and general appeal of the Tanzanian style, though the initiative is beyond the scope of this account.
The two exhibitions were the results of enthusiasts wanting to share their personal involvements with the Tanzanian artists and their own painting collections. While the Croydon show was organised solely by amateurs Stef and Maggie Van der Heuvel, the Danish effort of ThorupART (a family art consultancy) had considerable professional input, including some photographs by anthropologist Jesper Kerknaes who has been involved with the Tinga Tinga movement since its beginning. The Copenhagen exhibition included loans (13 by Tinga Tinga himself and many sculptures by Lilanga) and published an attractive and comprehensive catalogue, the best to date.

Comparison may seem unfair, but van der Heuvel’s modest collection stood up well, offering an overview of the movement’s history through selected paintings and a good range of contemporary practice including a painting by Lilanga and several by Charinda. His work is interesting because he tackles different subject matter, whether shetani, slave trade or daily life (one on display in the British Museum) in the same graphic style.

Other current artists use different graphic styles but keep the characteristic colour palette. To its credit, the movement has been able to accommodate differing approaches while some artists maintain the classic repertoire, especially those related to the first generation (one of whom is a woman: Agnes Mpata). Van der Heuvel also displayed contextual material, for example two Chagga bowls decorated in Tinga Tinga style, greeting cards and other ephemera as well as relevant books.

Deputy High Commissioner Kilumanga at the exhibition (Elsbeth Court)

Overall, ‘TINGATINGA – UNIQUE PAINTINGS’ provided an excellent introduction, even if some of us query the organizer’s use of descriptors like ‘unique’ and ‘exotic’ for what is a national style. I found a bit of a mismatch between the works and the rhetoric (and wanted documentation) but these matters seemed not to bother the Tanzanians at the Preview. Indeed, in his opening speech Deputy High Commissioner Chabaka Kilumanga reiterated that he had bestowed Stef Van der Heuvel with the honorary title ‘Tinga Tinga Ambassador to the UK’ and congratulated him warmly for rekindling interest in Tinga Tinga including his own.

Catalogue: Thorup, Tine & Sam, Cuong (2010) TINGA TINGA 2010 KITSCH or QUALITY – Bicycle enamel on board & canvas. Copenhagen: torupARt.

Examples of two relevant books: Yves Gosginny’s Tinga Tinga Popular Painting from Tanzania and Chris Spring’s Angaza Afrika. African Art Now.

Elsbeth Joyce Court

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