by Martin Walsh

MOBILIZING ZANZIBARI WOMEN: THE STRUGGLE FOR RESPECT­ABILITY AND SELF-RELIANCE IN COLONIAL EAST AFRICA. Corrie Decker. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2014. xiv + 254 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-137-46529-0. £62.50.

Those familiar with Decker’s earlier publications will know the rich oral his­tory she has accumulated through extensive research with women of various generations in Zanzibar. This book builds upon her previous work to present a thorough investigation into the development of women’s education and pro­fessionalisation in 1920s and 1930s Zanzibar and the emerging significance of women within the public sphere in the post-war and late colonial period.

Central to the argument is an exposition of the processes by which women, and female teachers and professionals in particular, shaped prevailing notions of heshima (respectability) in the early colonial period into what was by the post-war period ‘a symbol of the publicly active, self-reliant, middle-class profes­sional women’ (p. 2). Women’s literacy was a key element in their manipulation of heshima. That many Zanzibaris describe the late colonial period as the time of maendeleo ya wanawake (women’s development) underscores the indispensabil­ity of women’s education and professionalisation to more general social and economic development the 1950s and 1960s. Decker uses the term ‘self-reliance’ to encapsulate the Swahili concepts of faida and nafuu (benefit or profit) and other factors to describe ‘the goals – economic and social, individual and com­munal – that professional women set out for themselves and their families’ (p. 13). Women’s mobility and action is contrasted throughout the book with the attempted ‘mobilization’ of women in male-authored discourses, including those by the colonial government, elite Arab figures and nationalists.

The decision by the colonial government to support women’s education in the late 1920s was related to the drive to improve standards of living. Although the colonial government sought ‘to produce “good wives and mothers” not profes­sional women’ (p. 80), generations of educated women delayed marriage to continue to work as teachers or nurses. Decker demonstrates that this was far from a top-down movement – aspirant scholars and educated women reshaped notions of heshima to gain greater social and economic freedom. Furthermore they were essential mediators who established acceptable methods for dissemi­nating colonial policies, such as those related to health, which were often seen as invasive interventions into the domestic sphere.

These insights into the domestic alongside the official make this a particularly engaging study, as Decker interweaves of archival records and oral history. Al­though these sources are used in tandem throughout, each chapter has a pe­nultimate section focusing upon an individual whose experiences provide a personal perspective on key issues. As such we learn of the diverse outcomes of women who through education gained greater ‘self-reliance’ and also the ways in which they articulate these memories. These narratives elucidate how such women negotiated the public and private sphere – we cannot understand their professional experiences without also locating them in the domestic setting as daughters, sisters and mothers.

This book is vital reading for scholars of 20th century Zanzibar, and education and development in the global perspective. Decker’s final point clearly demon­strates the wider significance of this work. Evident in her interviews with men and women was the ‘refusal by women to see explicit political gains or losses as the only lens through which to understand their history. Instead they high­lighted the continuities in women’s education and work between the colonial and postcolonial period as the message to take away from our conversations.’ (p. 161). Such fresh perspectives, which occur throughout the book, challenge the prevailing histories of colonial, revolutionary and post-colonial period in Zanzibar and as such the book makes a vibrant and important contribution to scholarship on East Africa and beyond.
Sarah Longair
Sarah Longair is currently a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the British Muse­um, where she has worked for 10 years. Her research explores British colonial history in East Africa and the Indian Ocean world through material and visual culture. Her monograph, Cracks in the Dome: Fractured Histories of Empire in the Zanzibar Museum, 1897–1964, will be released in August 2015. She has also published several book chapters, articles and edited volumes, including Curating Empire: Museums and the British Imperial Experience (2012), co-edited with John McAleer.

GROWING UP WITH TANZANIA: Memories, Musing and Maths. Karim F. Hirji. Mkuki Na Nyota, Dar es salaam, 2014. 302 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-08-223-0. Available from African Books Collective, £17.95.

Karim Hirji grew up during the dramatic years before and after independence. He is an Ismaili whose parents came from the Indian subcontinent and this memoir provides a rare view of how Indians made the future Tanzania their home. Hirji begins by depicting provincial life in Lindi during British colonial rule where many Asians of different communities were engaged in trade and commerce, and he reflects on the hierarchical relationship between the colonial rulers, the Indians and the Africans. The family moved to Dar es Salaam when he was in his teens in 1961. The Ismaili community were mainly living in Upan­ga where their Jama’at Khana (mosque) was located and he describes playing cricket and attending the Aga Khan Boys’ school. This is when Hirji fell in love with numbers, anticipating his later life as a professor of mathematics in the US. The memoir is sprinkled with mathematical concepts, presented in a thought­ful but fun way (readers who are not mathematically inclined can readily skip these pages: they are not essential to the story).

Hirji went to Dar Technical College for his secondary education and found him­self in an environment where the majority of students were Africans. This had a transforming effect on his outlook, and he began to see himself as ‘a member of an emergent nation unified and guided by a noble leader’. During this pe­riod he attended a ‘nation-building’ camp at Kinondoni for a month, where the majority of students were again African. At that time not many Asians were exposed to the wider world because they tended to remain segregated within their own communities. His discovery of mathematics led him to move next to a boarding school at Kibaha to complete his schooling. Ujamaa was in full swing and all school leavers had to do national service prior to going to university. Hirji attended Ruvu camp for six months and during this period he reflected further on social and racial equality.

This was a challenging time for Asians in the country, and they did not always perceive the transition from colonial rule as positive. Hirji manages to capture how many of his friends reacted to these changes. Asians had come from India to Africa under the umbrella of British colonial power, and cultural separation from the local population was embedded in their mindset. Africanisation in the 1970s led to the mass exodus of many Asians because they felt insecure. The nationalisation of property after the Arusha Declaration led the Aga Khan to negotiate with the Canadian government to allow the Ismaili community to leave Tanzania and resettle in Canada. Hirji captures the early euphoria be­fore nationalisation and reflects thoughtfully on its consequences. He notes that many of his family and friends (of Indian origin) are scattered all over the globe, including in the US, Canada and England. He himself spent 20 years in aca­demia in the US, but does not reveal how this came about.

This memoir is very much a personal journey seen from the eyes of an Asian growing up in Tanganyika/Tanzania during a period of great change. It pro­vides a rare glimpse of the Ismaili community and its cohesiveness. The Aga Khan has played a fundamental role in directing the life of its followers and there is no doubt that Hirji is very much a product of that community. There is much to recommend his account, particularly his musings on education and mathematics.
Shamshad Cockcroft

Shamshad Cockcroft grew up in Zanzibar and is a professor of Cell Physiology at University College London.

The Development State: Aid, Culture and Civil Society in Tanzania. Maia Green. James Currey, Woodbridge, 2014. xi + 227 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-84701-108-4. £19.99.

Readers familiar with Tanzania will find much of interest and much to ponder in this book. Tanzanian development and development politics has a long, rich tradition from the socialist policies and experiments of the Nyerere years to the changes heralded by structural adjustment and beyond. Notwithstanding some excellent historical work, there have been very few book-length studies of development in Tanzania in recent years. For this reason Maia Green, a social anthropologist with considerable knowledge of contemporary Tanzania, is well placed to write a comprehensive study.

The Development State comprises an introduction, eight chapters (all but one pre­viously published) and a conclusion. The introduction sets out her general ap­proach, which focuses on the effects of neoliberal development on forms of gov­ernance. This donor-driven ‘discourse’ legitimises and supports a very specific agenda of trade liberalisation, macro-economic stability and fiscal discipline. It has important consequences for developing countries like Tanzania: aid rela­tionships are framed in the language of partnership and local ownership, which in turn are underpinned by limited forms of donor support in the expectation that a state will empower its citizens to achieve development. This is a world away from the 1970s when the state was the political actor which defined and implemented development.

Green argues that Tanzanians have, for a variety of reasons, come to accept and pursue a neoliberal vision of development even though this has delivered very little for the majority of citizens. In Chapter 1 she defines ‘development states as those that are materially and ideologically sustained through development re­lations’ (p. 15). That Tanzania is such a state is reinforced by her view of the his­tory of development from the British mandate to the present. Chapter 2 looks at the ‘participatory’ rhetoric which has dominated Tanzanian development from the 1990s, and argues that participatory planning is the form through which development is organised at all levels. Chapter 3 examines the ubiquitous plan­ning workshops that rely on logical frameworks and participatory methods to identify and agree ‘manageable projects’. In the next chapter Green critiques notions of participation, which, she argues, is a tool ‘to enrol divergent inter­ests’ into supporting a common enterprise.

While Green states that there is little evidence that participation delivers real benefits, she does not ask why Tanzanians fail to question this way of thinking and pursuing development. Subsequent chapters focus on civil society actors who claim to represent local ‘communities’ to ‘anticipate development’, obtain funding and become development agents. Green argues that this process cre­ates inequalities because these people, who have tenuous links to communities, are in fact ‘privatising development’ even as they attempt to enrol local people into a project through workshops aimed at ‘capacity building’.

Chapter 7 provides a fascinating account of ‘anti-witchcraft services’ which, Green argues, are modelled on modern, neoliberal forms of governance and ser­vice delivery. Chapter 8 examines the cultural logic of neoliberal development for Tanzanians, by which she means the small urban-based middle class. This class is largely the product of policies which created and maintains the public sector; in Green’s view it is parasitic in that its access to education, modern housing, IT technology and modern forms of consumption are underpinned by exploitative arrangements with poor rural households. Green concludes, rather unsatisfactorily, that the state has prioritised forms of development which pro­mote the capitalist transformation of the economy (which will benefit very few Tanzanians), while using participatory planning to reinforce the message that ordinary citizens are responsible for their own development.

This book is problematic for several reasons. The various chapters do not fit together to provide a coherent analysis of development, and despite the book’s claim to speak about the whole of Tanzania, Green’s research and analysis is largely focused on Morogoro region. While her insights are interesting, we learn very little about how ordinary Tanzanians participate in or experience development. Finally, the terms and language used by the author make the book difficult to read and her arguments hard to comprehend. Her focus on ‘discourse’ obscures an understanding of the complex social and political re­lations and networks that underpin development, the diversity of actors and institutions with an interest in development, and, critically, what two decades of pursuing neoliberal development policy has or has not delivered.
John R. Campbell

John R. Campbell taught sociology in the University of Dar es Salaam in 1980-84, following which he worked at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he was involved in development in Ethiopia, Botswana, and Kenya. In 2000 he joined the anthropology department in the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.


by Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh has taken over as editor of the TA reviews section from John Cooper-Poole. The editorial team would like to thank John again for the wonderful job he has done since 2002. Correspondence about past, pending and future reviews should now be addressed directly to Martin (kisutuvirginmediacom).

COTTON IN TANZANIA: BREAKING THE JINX. Joe C. B. Kabissa. Tanzania Educational Publishers, Bukoba, 2014. 338 pp. (paperback). ISBN 9789987070077. Available from African Books Collective, £24.95.

The right strategy for cotton in Tanzania has been a key issue for the agricultural sector both before and after independence. The question is complex and many observers and participants have contributed analyses which were specific to their time. Dr Joe Kabissa has now written a comprehensive account of the growth of the industry since German times up to the present day. Kabissa is uniquely qualified for this task, being an entomologist who has served both as head of cotton research at Ukiriguru and Ilonga and as Director of the Tanzania Cotton Board, retiring in 2012, He has a very broad knowledge of the global cotton sector and is also that rare ex-civil servant who is prepared to criticise in public his former political masters.

The challenges facing the industry have always been both scientific (pests, viruses and yields) and institutional. Alongside these has been the critical issue of farm-level cropping options: what are the relative margins of cotton, maize, and rice in an ever-changing world and domestic market? These issues have not prevented nearly half a million small farmers growing cotton in a ‘good’ year, such as 2005/6 when a record total of 376,000 tons of seed cotton was achieved.

The potential value of the crop to the national economy was first recognised by the German colonial government which saw the eastern belt (Moshi to Iringa) as the principal home of the industry, with plantations linked to compulsory labour. The British government pushed the industry into the Lake Zone, focusing research at Ukiriguru, managed by the British (later Empire) Cotton Growing Association. In the1950s, with high commodity prices, this policy was largely successful, with rising yields and an increasingly viable institutional structure in the Victoria Federation of Co-operative Unions (VFCU). This owned its own ginneries, exported most of the crop to the UK and was led by luminaries like Paul Bomani.

For the first decade after independence this format was preserved and production continued to rise. However, the big changes mandated by CCM in the structure of co-operatives in the 1970s proved immensely debilitating to the VFCU (now the Nyanza Co-operative Union, NCU). The donor-led ultra­liberal reforms of the late 80s and 90s reduced the NCU to a rump organisation and created destructive competition between about 30 ginners, eventually leading to a five per cent discount on the world price for Tanzanian cotton lint. A parallel history had taken place in textile manufacturing, with substantial investments in joint ventures by the National Development Corporation and seven foreign companies, nearly all of which were privatised in the 1990s with similarly disappointing results. However, at least two new private companies have emerged and perform impressively.

Kabissa deals with both the detail and the broader policy issues in an impressive way. He is very clear that high quality research in the 1950s and 60s facilitated the development of improved varieties with resistance to the critical pest and viral threats from bollworm and Fusarium wilt. This created a potentially powerful springboard for the sector. However, the national co-operative reforms of the 1970s were disastrous for the NCU and its members and underinvestment by government in research and development from the mid-1970s was grossly negligent. The lack of a policy on genetically modified cotton, embraced by Tanzania’s competitors, was an opportunity lost (for the time being). He shows how the cotton growing and textile manufacturing sectors have not been developed in recent years with any form of real interdependence in spite of a long-standing goal that 70 per cent of cotton should be spun and woven within Tanzania. In practice the low quality of lint supplied by the ginners and with its implications for yarn quality has locked the three or four weaving companies into production of kanga and kitenge cloth for a largely captive market.

Kabissa’s central point is that the huge potential of the cotton sector both from the point of view of farmers and the national economy has not been realised over more than a century of opportunity. With regard to the recent past he blames the lack of an effective strategy on government with its failure to build up the Tanzania Cotton Board as a regulator and driver of change. In particular he shows how repeated changes in the system for distributing inputs has created disillusionment among farmers who depend on an efficient system and for whom this a matter of economic survival. His conclusion, captured in the book’s subtitle, is that there seems to be a ‘jinx’ on real change, although he sees major possibilities in recent shifts to contract farming. Cotton in Tanzania is not only a courageous book, but sets an excellent precedent for seasoned professionals in Africa to take apart the failures of agricultural policy which continue to hold back output and rural security. This is a pioneering study, which deserves to be replicated in other sectors and countries.
Laurence Cockcroft

DISTRICT OFFICER IN TANGANYIKA: THE MEMOIRS OF DICK EBERLIE. PART 2: 1956-60. Dick Eberlie. Privately printed, 2014. 309 pp. (paperback). Available from the author (eberlie@vigomews.orangehome.

This book about Dick Eberlie’s colonial service in Tanganyika is the second volume of his memoirs (the first was about his early life). He attended the Oxford Devonshire Course in 1956 when there were eight of us on the course, and towards the end of the year we held a riotous dinner in Oriel College at which we gave ourselves the whimsical name Haidhuru, ‘it doesn’t matter’. What none of us knew then was that Eberlie was minutely recording his daily life, and from this he has skilfully put together a coherent and interesting narrative of the period up to 1960 and the work that he did as a young District Officer.

We sailed to Tanganyika in July 1957 before dispersing to our various districts. Eberlie spent some months in Handeni District, where he had an amusing encounter with Governor Twining. He describes the extraordinary responsibilities given to him as a new DO when he was left on his own at district HQ. He then moved to Nzega District, where his work included the development of local water supplies, trading centres and the development of local government.

Then his health began to fail and he was moved to Ocean Road Hospital in Dar, having been diagnosed with TB. From this point on his account reads more like pages from the Tatler than that of a recovering patient. He began to get involved with Government House, and describes his first meetings with Lady Turnbull and later the Governor. When pronounced reasonably fit, he was posted to Kisarawe District, 1,000 feet higher than Dar and healthier. Reading about his safaris there I particularly admire the thoroughness of his work, which makes me feel quite idle. At different times he and I were presiding officers in the national elections at Shungubweni. In 1958, I waited all day for the twelfth registered voter to turn up and read the whole of Robert Graves’ Good-Bye To All That; Eberlie had much more usefully employed himself dealing with the sub-chief and local people.

This book will have a much wider appeal than to those of us who served together (only five of our original group of eight Overseas Service Course students now survive). It has been printed privately, has an attractive wrapper depicting palm trees, and includes excellent maps and numerous photographs.
Simon Hardwick

CAPITALISM AND CLOVES: AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF PLANTATION LIFE ON NINETEENTH-CENTURY ZANZIBAR. Sarah K. Croucher. Springer New York 2015. 256 pp (hardback) ISBN 978-1-4419-8470-8. £90.00.

Nineteenth-century European visitors to Zanzibar were wont to wax lyrical as they described the approach to Unguja (Zanzibar) by sea. First the scent of cloves, which had the explorer Richard Burton quoting from Milton’s Paradise Lost (“Sabaean odours from the spicy shore”); then the verdant island itself, which in the words of the second British Consul, Lieutenant-Colonel Rigby, “presented the appearance of an unbroken forest of cocoanut, mango and other trees, with the clove plantations on the hills forming the background”. Rigby continued to enthuse over the beauty of the rural landscape, though he left no doubt that this was a man-made scene in which the “country-houses of the Arab proprietors, and the huts of their slaves, are thickly dotted over the surface”. The larger part of his Report on the Zanzibar Dominions (1860) was about the iniquities of the slave trade and the need to suppress it. Happily, this was eventually achieved, though slavery has left an indelible mark on the society and politics of Zanzibar as well as the agricultural landscape of the islands. The smell of cloves still lingers around Zanzibar’s wharves.

As the Zanzibar government struggles to revive the fortunes of a crop that once dominated the economy, this is as good a time as any to begin digging into its past. Sarah Croucher’s Capitalism and Cloves is a brave book. It is based primarily on a surface survey of clove plantations in four areas of Unguja and Pemba islands, and the excavation of an Arab plantation owner’s house near Piki on Pemba. Chapters describe the regional context, Zanzibar’s plantation landscapes, the archaeology of slavery, plantation households, and the global trade and local ceramics associated with them. Croucher’s central argument is that the plantation economy of Zanzibar has to be understood on its own terms, not least because of the way in which slaves assimilated into Swahili society.

Croucher found that slavery is now relatively invisible in the archaeological record, while the presumed descendants of slaves have mostly forgotten the fact, and can only recite generalised narratives about the bad old days. As a result, she had far too little material to work with: the archaeology is thin, its interpretation often too speculative. The book is padded out with more information (and jargon) about the archaeology of the Atlantic world than many readers will be comfortable with. The author might have made much more use of recent anthropological and agricultural research on the islands. I was also surprised to find no reference to historical sources like Henry Stanley Newman’s Banani: The Transition from Slavery to Freedom in Zanzibar and Pemba (1898), or Robert Nunez Lyne’s Zanzibar in Contemporary Times (1905), which includes a nice description of the house of one of his Arab neighbours in Dunga. That said, Capitalism and Cloves is an original study that has much to recommend it. It raises important questions about Zanzibar’s past and its interpretation, is replete with interesting observations, and will no doubt be consulted by students and researchers for many years to come.
Martin Walsh


Edited by John Cooper-Poole

John Cooper-Poole, who has run the TA reviews section since 2002, covering 38 issues, has decided it is time to hand over the role to someone new. The TA editorial team wishes to express its gratitude to John, who – as we’re sure you will agree – has done a wonderful job.

This means we are now in need of a volunteer to take on the role of reviews editor. Please contact David Brewin or Ben Taylor if you are interested.

UJAMAA – The hidden story of Tanzania’s economic development from the grassroots Ralph Ibbott, Crossroads Books £15.99 In the 1960s the Ruvuma Development Association (RDA) was formed by new villages that were being run as genuine cooperatives. The villagers grew their crops by collective work and the villages were run democratically through open meetings and elected officials who had no payment.

Development in the RDA villages was slow but real, with improvements in food supply, health and education and most significantly in the confidence of the villagers as they learned to manage their affairs. The villages exemplified the policies that Julius Nyerere was expounding in his ‘Socialism and Rural Development’ and he gave the RDA his personal support.

RDA villages were probably the most successful of the various forms of collective farming being attempted across the country and the RDA attracted support from international aid agencies.

Although collective villages and cooperative farming were party and government policies, in 1969 the TANU National Executive decreed that RDA be dissolved. Why? Andrew Coulson gives an explanation in his ‘Tanzania, A Political Economy’: TANU regional and national politicians became fearful that their position and power would be undermined if independent, politicised villages became the norm. Ibbott provides detailed experience to support this conclusion. In addition he has evidence that at least one minister and member of TANU National Executive was not just opposed to the RDA but also to Ujamaa, which was supposedly party and government policy.

Ibbott was an advisor to RDA and lived in Litowa, the first RDA village. He was closely involved with the work and life of the villages until the dissolution of RDA and on his return to Britain was invited by the Commonwealth Secretariat to write a report of his experience with RDA which they intended to publish. However, his report was never published, perhaps because the Commonwealth Secretariat did not want to offend the government of a member state or possibly it was the victim of a change in personnel. The report has been available to academic researchers, and now becomes accessible to a wider readership.

Ujamaa is Ibbott’s record of events, reports by visitors to RDA villages, sections on specific topics and Ibbott’s letter to Nyerere after the dissolution decision (to which there was no reply). He has added a recently written Epilogue which brings together later research on the subsequent history of the ex-RDA villages.

The original report “The Origin, Growth & Disbanding of the RDA” has severe criticism of successive Ruvuma Regional Commissioners. They did not understand the philosophy on which the villages were based and became opposed to something that they could not control.

The last of the sections on specific themes is a profound critique of Nyerere’s failure to turn his political ideas into practical policies. He passed implementation over to party and government officials who had no understanding or experience of promoting voluntary small- scale collective villages. They wanted quick results from large state-organised schemes and were all too ready to fall back on compulsion. Nyerere must have known this.

This is a report prepared to inform and guide those involved with rural development and is probably a unique source for researchers and historians. The general reader who is not familiar with the background might struggle with, for example, the references to Peramiho, the Catholic mission complex near Songea.

Ujamaa makes uncomfortable reading for those of us who uncritically and enthusiastically championed Tanzania through the 70s and 80s. It also has a harsh message for those who are “not interested in politics, I just want to help” – effective development is always political.
John Arnold

(John Arnold, was Regional Secretary, Ruvuma Region, 1963-4.)

NYERERE – The Early Years, Thomas Molony, James Currey 2014. ISBN 9781847010902 £25.00

This book from the pen of the Lecturer in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh aims to present “the first truly rounded portrait of Nyerere’s early life”. There has been little opportunity to learn accurately about the development of Mwalimu’s early thinking and this is a valiant effort to fill the gap.

Even here descriptions of the background to his early upbringing rely on much anecdotal evidence. The need to include even the smallest detail, in an effort to lend more substance to the narration, can give the early pages the air of a doctoral thesis.

This improves in value as the narrative progresses, so that the inferences which are dependent on other studies of the social mores are increasingly replaced by facts more relevant to Nyerere’s particular circumstances. Nevertheless there are many statements asserting that much more evidence about incidents cited must exist somewhere.

The key question that is always asked about great men from humble and at first sight unpromising origins is “Who first realised that this exceedingly bright, above-average young person was not after all destined to blush unseen?” With hindsight we might say that Nyerere would probably have fought his way out anyway, but this book reveals how he caught the eyes of the White Fathers, with their paramount influence and encouragement, and followed this when in relatively privileged positions in Kampala and in London.

The final chapter of this book, titled “Legacy and Reappraisal” is lucid and authoritative. After several pages which may appear “sparsely informed and predominantly uncritical”, the author can rightly claim that this is a valuable piece of research which clearly amplifies the little that was previously published about Nyerere’s early progress. Ending as Nyerere moved away from teaching to active politics, it lays the basis of our understanding of what he came to regard as significant for his country: education, agriculture – and independence.
Geoffrey Stokell

(Geoffrey Stokell first went out to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1953, serving there for thirteen years as an “old-style” merchant trader. After qualifying as an accountant and building an internationally-successful career, in 1983 he went to Tanzania as a missionary with the Moravian Church and was later head of finance for the Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service. He became Treasurer of the Tanzania B-T S Chapter and on his return to the UK in 1996 and was TDT Treasurer.)

HADZABE: By the Light of a Million Fires, Daudi Peterson, with Richard Baalow and Jon Cox. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2013. ISBN 978-9987­08-212-4, 230 pp paperback (with music CD). Tsh50,000

It is difficult not to be fascinated by the Hadza, speakers of a unique click language and one of the last remaining groups of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. It is easy to sympathise with their struggle to retain control over their customary lands in the Lake Eyasi basin, near Ngorongoro. By the same token, it is not hard to like this handsome volume, which is much more than a coffee table book with excellent photos; it strives to give the Hadza a voice and support their right to choose their own future. The window it opens onto the world of the Hadza is enough to make you envy the ethno-tourists and researchers who visit Hadzaland , if not the hapless folk who have to entertain them.

Hadzabe: By the Light of a Million Fires was compiled by Daudi Peterson with the help of a number of Hadza and Hadzaphiles, including the venerable anthropologist James Woodburn. A limited hardback edition has been sold to raise money for the Dorobo Fund and Ujamaa Community Resource Trust, established by the Peterson family’s eco-tourist enterprise. The paperback and accompanying CD of Hadza music that have now gone on sale are very good value. They are not without their flaws: a tendency to romanticise the Hadza and to demonise their neighbours and an uneven mixture of topics and styles, including a Swahili paean to Nyerere and villagisation on the CD. But I would much rather possess this engaging book and its vibrant music than not.
Martin Walsh

(Martin Walsh is Oxfam GB’s Global Research Adviser. His seminar presentation to the Britain-Tanzania Society on ‘Tanzania’s (agro)pastoral headache’ is available online at

VIOLENT INTERMEDIARIES – African Soldiers Conquest and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa, by Michelle R Moyd, Ohio University Press, 2014; ISBN 978 08214 2089 8, 328 pp, softback.

The author of this exhaustive and authoritative account of the German colonial years in East Africa was indeed an acknowledged expert on the period even before this book was published. Now the reader has the full story of those years from 1891 to 1918, with the emphasis on the locally-recruited askari, who fought for the Germans almost as if they were of them.

The askari take centre stage throughout the book, indeed from the cover onwards, with an askari, rifle on shoulder, about to take his leave from his family to return to the Schutztruppe, the German colonial army. Chapters show how and where the askari were recruited; the military training and “socialization”; the wars fought by the askari (such as the Maji Maji conflicts of 1905-7); life on the stations within the country; and the inadvertent role of the askari in German colonialism. We learn, among myriads of facts, how many Sudanese initially became askari but how eventually all tribes became merged within the askari hierarchy; how the “legal” wives of askari detained for transgressions were given an allowance for their “household stability”; and how the scorched-earth policy adopted by the Schutztruppe during Maji Maji rebellion disrupted crop cycles and led to labour movement away from the Southern Highlands.
The author takes us through the 1914/18 War from the first campaign to the final 1,200 askari who surrendered to the British in November 1918, effectively closing a definitive chapter in the history of German East Africa and signaling the end of the Schutztruppe.

Although the book is, relatively speaking, hot on the heels of Anderson (2004), Paice (2007) and Samson (2013), it provides not only a great read but a quite different slant on the history of the period. The three maps – produced by Brian E Balsley, an American cartographer – are very illustrative and useful. An extremely full bibliography is of considerable fascination in itself. The index runs to a mere six pages, this being more an observation than a criticism. This work is a marvelous example of how long-term research can come to fruition in a superlative way.
David Kelly

(David Kelly has been involved with East Africa since he wrote the first history of cricket in the region in the 1960s. He is now a book dealer, with Africa a speciality subject; still researches cricket; and is a director of a Dar-based company in the beverage sector.)

TRANSITIONS OF A LIFE, printed and published for private circulation by J K Chande KBE

I first met Sir Andy Chande in the late 1980s, since when, though we now meet less frequently than before, he has become a close personal friend. Transitions is his own collection of speeches on an immense range of topics, all reflecting the dedication he continues to bring, even in retirement, to the management, in its widest sense, of enterprises and organisations with which he has been connected.

The volume is self-published, and to that extent it could probably be classified as a vanity publication; but it deserves none of the sneers which that title often evokes. It naturally lacks the fascination and raciness of his autobiography A Knight in Africa, but it underlines the way the author has been able during his lifetime, modestly but effectively, to participate in and influence some significant social decision-making. Sir Andy has been appointed to at least 100 public positions; his support for the Britain-Tanzania Society has been exemplary; and it comes as no surprise that the most significant chapters reflect his summons to all to dedicate themselves to community service. This is a celebratory volume exemplifying the practical application of two battle-cries of great public principle: Rotary’s “Service above Self” and Freemasonry’s “Love, Charity and Truth”.

TANZANIA; Strength in Unity, Strength in Diversity, published to mark the 50th Anniversary of the United Republic of Tanzania by FIRST Magazine 2014., 56 pages.

This is a glossy publication which the publisher tells me “was promoted by the Tanzanian Government and High Commission in London but financed by FIRST via advertising sponsorship. It is being distributed by the High Commission/Foreign Ministry and agencies such as the Tanzania Tourist Board. It is intended for presentation to VIP guests, distribution at investment fora/conferences etc. It will also be printed in FIRST magazine which is made available, on a complimentary basis, to first class passengers on British Airways and other airlines”. I quote this at length to explain why, unless you fall into one of these rarefied categories, you are unlikely to see a copy. Which is a pity.

There are articles by many different people, ranging from President Kikwete to the manager of the Kilimanjaro Hotel in Dar es Salaam – who incidentally is still an expatriate 40 odd years after the hotel was built. (Not the same person!). Some contributors rely heavily on unexplained TLA’s*. None the less, a proud story can be extracted, which is perhaps best summed up by John Malecela when he says “During the 50 years of existence, Tanzania has been a centre for peace and liberation in Africa. All in all, the role played by Tanzania in international and African affairs has been commendable beyond imagination”. Malecela’s piece is perhaps the best of the lot, as one might expect from someone who was at or near the centre of affairs for most of the relevant period.

Professor Mwesiga Baregu writes a thought-provoking piece about the challenges to be faced in working out a new constitution. Another is the last in the booklet, by Walter Bgoya and appropriately titled “The Last Word”. He warns of the dangers currently facing publishing in Tanzania, particularly of school text books; he fears a possible return to the state monopoly arrangements of the 1960s to 1980s, when in rural areas there could be one text book for every 15-20 pupils, and even in urban areas there might be one book for three pupils.

Our own David Brewin has a useful feature about the army mutiny and the Zanzibar revolution of 1964, the “two shocking events which triggered unity”. Incidentally it is a pity that throughout the publication the Britain-Tanzania Society does not get a mention.
*three lettered acronyms, in case you wondered.


edited by John Cooper-Poole

RACE, NATION AND CITIZENSHIP IN POST-COLONIAL AFRICA: THE CASE OF TANZANIA. Ronald Aminzade, Cambridge University Press, 2013. £65.00

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF TANZANIA: DECLINE AND RECOVERY. Michael Lofchie, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. £39.00

TOXIC AID: ECONOMIC COLLAPSE AND RECOVERY IN TANZANIA. Sebastian Edwards, Oxford University Press, 2014. £35.00 These books report in contrasting ways on Tanzania’s experiences since Independence in 1961. Aminzade’s book is as a study of race and nation-building, starting with the tensions between those who wanted immediate Africanisation before and after Independence and the ambiguous positions taken by Nyerere and other leaders towards Asians and expatriates, and ending with the grand corruption of the last 15 years or so, in which Africans worked closely with Asian businessmen. Lofchie describes his book as a political economy, in which he interprets much of what happened in the 1980s and later from the financial interests of the “political-economic oligarchy” who could gain from maintaining an overvalued exchange rate in the 1980s (and therefore were not committed to devaluation) but by the late 1990s discovered that they could gain even more from unrestricted trade and an open economy – they were making the transition to becoming a business class.

Edwards uses a study of the relationships between Tanzania and its aid donors to capture what was happening at the centres of economic power. It turns out that the “toxic aid” of his title refers to the period from the Arusha Declaration of 1967 up till the early 1980s when foreign aid, particularly from the Nordic countries and the World Bank, kept the country afloat. He castigates them for uncritically maintaining Nyerere’s brand of socialism, and uses words such as ‘irresponsible,’ ‘arrogant,’ ‘misguided,’ ‘gullible,’ ‘ineffective,’ and other equally tough terms to describe their behaviour. In contrast, he grades Tanzania’s current donors as B+, for having spoken out against corruption, and worked to increase transparency and democracy.

All three authors are academics in American universities, but from different backgrounds. Aminzade is a sociologist and historian who studied the emergence of nationalism in France for 20 years and first came to Tanzania in 1995. Lofchie, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is best known for his authoritative tract on the revolution in Zanzibar which led to the union with the mainland, published as long ago as 1965. He has written widely on development, especially in Africa. Edwards is a Chilean economist, trained at the University of Chicago, also at UCLA where he is professor of International Business Economics. He first went to Tanzania in 1991, when the country was at one of its lowest ebbs, employed by the World Bank and given a desk in the Bank of Tanzania, returning in 2009 and subsequently. His perspective is that of a Latin American specialist who has turned his hand to an African country.

Anyone writing about Tanzania has to take a view of Nyerere. Aminzade is the least clear-cut. He portrays Nyerere as an honest and intelligent leader constantly fending off demands for rapid Africanisation, but often only with compromises. Lofchie provides the most sympathetic interpretation of what Nyerere was trying to achieve in the 1960s. He sees him as a thoughtful, well intentioned, humanist, Fabian in terms of his uses of state power, but suggests that he got carried away after the banks and major industries were nationalised in 1967, and did not realise the dire consequences of the industrialisation strategies of the Second Five Year Plan and the attempts of the state to take over trade and the purchasing of maize and other food crops from farmers. Edwards, in contrast, sees Nyerere as a misguided but plausible ideologue, unwilling to listen when told there was no alternative to devaluation in the 1980s.

The core of both Edwards’ and Lofchie’s accounts is the structural adjustment that took place between 1979 and 1996, and the economic policies which have led to rapid growth since. Edwards interviewed many of those closest to Tanzanian economic policy-making: Cleopa Msuya, Gerry Helleiner, Sam Wangwe, Ibrahim Lipumba and Benno Ndulu. He draws on his experiences in the Bank of Tanzania and especially his friendship with Edwin Mtei, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania from its foundation in 1966 to 1974, Minister of Finance from 1977 till Nyerere sacked him in 1979, and chairman of the political party CHADEMA from its foundation in 1992 until 1998.

Both Edwards and Lofchie situate what happened in Tanzania in terms of developments in economic theory, drawing on the seminal work of Robert Bates, also from Los Angeles, who explored various ways in which surpluses may be drawn from agriculture and invested in industry. Both are particularly critical of so-called “development economists”, even though they were the mainstream at the time, advised governments all over the world, with many of them awarded Nobel Prizes for economics. They were part of the movement inspired by Keynes which maintained growth and stability in Europe and America for at least 20 years after the Second World War; it was not unreasonable for them to conclude that industrialisation was an essential part of development, given that all countries which up to that time had achieved rapid growth, starting with the industrial revolution in Britain, but including the USA, Germany and Japan, and in a very different way the Soviet Union, had done so on the basis of industrialisation. Edwards briefly mentions the influence of the “dependency theorists” such as Samir Amin and Andre Gunder Frank; but not the ideas which derived from socialist economists such as Maurice Dobb, who criticised import substitution because they recognised that it would lead to continued dependence on inputs of semi-manufactured goods. The “basic industries strategy” of Tanzania’s Third Five Year Plan was an attempt to create the integrated economies achieved by the pioneers from the USSR or Japan – though the attempts at implementation bore little relation to the theory.

All three books include blow by blow accounts of the attempts to mediate between the IMF, who were insistent that devaluation was necessary from 1979 onwards, and Nyerere, who was determined to resist it. Nyerere was supported by Kighoma Malima, who moved from Minister of Finance to Minister of Planning and back to Finance. He was one of the first Tanzanian economists to get a PhD (from Princeton), but he was not alone. Papers opposing devaluation were written by Ajit Singh, from Cambridge England and Reg Green, by then at the University of Sussex. Devaluation was widely discussed in the Economics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam; the argument was that if the Bank of Tanzania controlled all allocations of foreign exchange, the Ministry of Agriculture set the prices paid to farmers for their crops, and the Price Commission set the prices for manufactured goods, it was not necessary to devalue since the government could set prices to give whatever economic signals it wanted. However, while that might be correct for an exchange rate slightly out of line with black markets, if you can get 4 or 5 times as many shillings for a dollar unofficially as legally, any such system is bound to break down. The reality was devastating: a parallel economy, often illegal or semi-legal, was quickly created; corruption broke out almost everywhere; and more and more of Tanzania’s trade was not shown in the official accounts.

Edwards describes the Tanzania he found when arrived in 1991: “There was almost no public transportation—people of every social condition walked for miles to get to work and back home—every road was an infinite collection of potholes, school children had no textbooks, blackouts were recurrent, there were (almost) no spare parts for machines or vehicles, and shops were almost empty. It seemed to me that the only cars that circulated belonged either to expatriate aid officials—most of them drove very large, shiny, four-wheel drives—to well-placed civil servants, or to high officials of the ruling party. In spite of the fact that there were basically no cars, there were parking meters in a number of downtown streets. Some were bent, most were rusting, and not one was operating. When I asked about them I was told that they were part of a donor’s project to deal with urban gridlock. I argued that there were no cars or buses and, thus, no traffic, let alone bottlenecks. The Treasury official that was with me smiled and said that the aid agency in question had concluded that, when it came to traffic jams, it was important to be proactive, to take pre­emptive measures.”

In this situation, as Lofchie shows, almost all Tanzanians on government salaries were forced either to seek bribes or to engage in “parallel activities” (i.e. some other way of making money) to survive. He points out that an over-valued exchange rate is very attractive for anyone who can get hold of foreign exchange, who can import goods, sell them at the unofficial rate, and then convert the resulting shillings to dollars at the official rate, and repeat the process. He suggests that this was exactly what large numbers of Tanzanians in senior positions did, and that it explains why the Bank of Tanzania ran short of foreign currency. However, little detail on this is provided; it is not clear if almost the whole ruling elite was complicit in this, whereas it might just have been a few big fish doing it on a grand scale, or even (in line with some of Aminzade’s descriptions) a few Asian businessmen.

It could not continue, and massive devaluations occurred from 1986 on, after Nyerere stood down as President. Import restrictions were removed. The currency found its own level. Exports rose, especially of gold but also of some manufactured items. Tourism flourished. And from about 2000 Tanzania had one of the fastest reported growth rates in the world. Lofchie’s political economy suggests that at some “tipping point” the interests of the elite changed from supplementing their incomes from corruption to earning profits from economic activity; the elite which at first opposed the reforms, then accepted them.

That is, if we can believe the figures. But Edwards in particular doubts the veracity of Tanzania’s economic statistics, especially for the subsistence and informal sectors. For example, in 2006, following a year of drought, for which declines in production were reported for many crops, agriculture as a whole was reported as growing at 4%. It is however, a little odd that he places this section of his book immediately after he has reported in depth using the official statistics – thereby joining other good company who have criticised Tanzania’s statistics while continuing to base their conclusions on them. But even official figures suggest that poverty remains a major issue, especially in the countryside, and that the benefits of rapid growth are flowing to the towns and cities, and to an elite within them.

All three writers discuss the promises of successive Presidents to resolve the issue of corruption, and the failures of any of them to have much impact. Aminzade provides the most detail about individuals and the involvement of Asians who were MPs or close to the administration (pp.337-349). Lofchie quotes the economist Jagdish Bhagwati who has argued that corruption can be beneficial if it undermines the siphoning off of resources through protection and an over-valued exchange rate. None of these writers quotes the broader discussions of Mushtaq Khan who points out that corruption can sometimes allow a single producer to get established in a market and become globally competitive, which may not happen if markets are completely open – pointing out that most of the Asian tigers, not least China, have well-documented high levels of corruption. Looking, finally, at the contributions made by these three books, Aminzade has read widely and his bibliography will make his book of great value for many years to come, though it is regrettable that the index does not include references to much of the material in his footnotes. He reports the views of journalists and MPs who had racialist stereotypes of both Asians and expatriates, and campaigned for a very rapid Africanisation. But Lofchie provides more detail as to why this did not happen. With hindsight this was surely for the better, because a country that gains independence with around 100 graduates cannot run hospitals, schools, railways, factories and the rest of public administration without outside help – and if it had tried would almost certainly have become a failed state.

Lofchie’s early chapters, in which he sets out his theory of an over-valued exchange rate and how this can enable a well off elite to improve their position, invite further research. Edwards has the greatest insider detail; but his dichotomy between aid before 1980 as toxic, and aid in more recent years as relatively benign, lacks detail. He criticises the Nordic countries, especially the Swedes, for supporting Tanzania in the Nyerere years; but aid for small industries such as a paper mill, forestry, rural water supplies and grain silos did not provide explicit support for villagisation or the use of force. The World Bank’s programmes to support the main agricultural crops, through subsidised inputs such as fertilizers, can be criticised on technical grounds but they were not tied to villagisation. Edwards’ claim (p.88) that the number of people living in villages was 9 million by 1975 and 13 million (nearly the whole population) by 1977 is sloppy; people living in the coffee producing areas did not move, nor in the cities. Lofchie’s figure of 1.6 million by the end of 1974 is nearer the mark.

Edwards gets carried away by the slogan of his title. The aid itself was not toxic: his real complaint (and fair comment) is that in the late 1970s the donors did not use their aid to put more pressure on the Tanzanians to review their policies of villagisation and excessive nationalisation. In the more recent period, as he points out, the donors have been vehement in their criticisms of corruption; but that has not led to much action by the Tanzanian government, or a withdrawal of the aid.

All three books lack a sufficiently robust theoretical underpinning. Thus Aminzade’s “contentious politics” is not sufficient to give direction and meaning to the mass of information he presents. “Toxic aid” without detailed studies of what that aid involved leaves the author open to wild swings in which aid was toxic in a period in which he compares Tanzania to countries in Latin America which also attempted socialist paths, but rather beneficial in a period when he finds the politics more congenial (even though the country is in real danger of being overcome by endemic corruption). Lofchie is right to attempt to use the tools of political economy, but lacks the detailed information to be sure that what he asserts as facts are not in reality well-informed surmises.

None of them discusses what could be the most contentious issue of all. If Tanzania wanted industries, it did not have to invite multinational companies to establish them. There was another option. Industrialisation had accelerated in the years before and after Independence. Much of it is still visible in the Chang’ombe area of Dar es Salaam, where many Asian-owned businesses either processed locally produced raw materials or supplied consumer items. If the Tanzanian leadership had worked closely with this group, as it did with a few individuals, such as Andy Chande, it would not have had to find the capital or supply the protection demanded by multinational companies. Aminzade would no doubt argue that this would have been politically unthinkable. Lofchie might also argue, from his knowledge of race relations, that this would be a difficult policy to sell to the Tanzanian people. But joint work with this group could have led rapidly to the creation of a Tanzanian business class. Even now businesses such as these are contributing substantially to Tanzania’s rising exports of manufactured goods to neighbouring African countries. They should not be almost entirely written out of the story.
Andrew Coulson

Andrew Coulson worked in Tanzania first in the Ministry of Agriculture and later in the Department of Economics at the University of Dar es Salaam. Since 1984 he has worked at the University of Birmingham. A second edition of his book Tanzania: A Political Economy was recently published by Oxford University Press. He is Vice-Chair of the Britain Tanzania Society.

THE NATURE OF CHRISTIANITY IN NORTHERN TANZANIA: ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CHANGE 1890-1916. Robert B. Munson. Lexington Books ISBN 978 0 7391 7780 8 h/b pp378. £70.00.
This book is an exploration of the introduction of new plant species by missionaries in German East Africa, and the effect this had on the spread of Christianity among people of Chagga, Meru and Arusha ethnicities around Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru, This is an area that attracted Protestant missionaries, such as the Leipzig Mission, as well as Catholics known as the Spiritans. The timeframe of the book is that of German colonialism, and the work makes extensive use of German archival sources. Indeed, one of the greatest values of a work such as this is making these sources available to an English-speaking audience.

The title is unfortunate and does not reflect the content, as it is not clear that it is a pun: “the nature of Christianity” refers to the nature (i.e. plants) introduced by Christian missions.

The new plants brought to the landscape, Munson argues, went hand-in­hand with Christianity . He calls this botanical proselytization, a term that “emphasizes the mutual dependence of the landscape, botanical and Christian changes”. His argument is based on a view of African religion that is all-inclusive, with no division between the sacred and secular; thus, the “landscape changes reinforced the Christian worldview and vice versa, strengthening and deepening each in turn.”

The origins of the work as a PhD thesis are clear, yet the writing style is engaging. Unfortunately, the dozen photographs are badly reproduced. The book places the evolution of the missions in the context of German imperial attitudes towards its colony, arguing that the Maji Maji rebellion in the south made the Germans more aware of the impact that their policies were having. The next chapters focus on three central themes – Places, Plants and People. In exploring place, the author examines the spatial transformation of landscape through surveying, producing maps and establishing forest reserves to divide “people” from “nature”. In one of the most interesting sections he also explores the establishment and development of Moshi and Arusha.

Turning to plants, the book examines the botanical introductions made by the missionaries, and how they were integrated into African society. He goes beyond the usual discussion of coffee to explore various species of tree and the potato. The chapter entitled “People: Christianity and Botanical Proselytization” explores how the introduction of Christianity led to social change.

A short final chapter briefly outlines the changes since the British took control of the region in 1916, but in effect this raises more questions than it answers. An inherent problem with the book is the abrupt end of German rule; the consequences and impact of the subsequent botanical and social changes fall outside of the timeframe of the work. The tight focus enables greater historical depth, but more direct engagement with a broader theoretical literature would have been welcome. A more detailed exploration of theories of appropriation, for example, would have given the work relevance beyond the region it covers. As it stands, the work is a valuable contribution to the history of northern Tanzania.
Tom Fisher

Tom Fisher has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh exploring politics and ethnicity in Kilimanjaro. Until recently he lectured in history at St Augustine University of Tanzania, Mwanza.

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE LARGER MAMMALS OF TANZANIA (PRINCETON FIELD GUIDE 2014). Charles and Lara Foley; Princeton University Press 2014 320pp £19.95 (pb).
After spending a good few years working in the field of African conservation and tourism, it is normally difficult to get excited about the release of a new field guide; after all, how different can it be? But not this time, as the new Field guide to the larger mammals of Tanzania is an excellent addition to the literature and is a ‘must buy’ for both seasoned safari-goer and first-timer.
The authors behind this edition are all practising ecologists with a great many years of experience working in the national parks and protected areas of Tanzania. What is evident is that they know what previous field guides were missing. This book has been structured in a way that makes it easy to use, both when grabbed quickly in the back of a Land rover or when consulted at leisure in the cool of your tent. Most importantly, the ongoing challenges and threats to the long-term conservation of the species included remain clear throughout.

The bulk of the book is made up of ‘Species Accounts’, each of which lists the common, scientific and Swahili names; a species description; notes on similar species: ecology and social behaviour; distribution in Tanzania ; population size and conservation status assessment; a distribution map and colour images. The images are particularly useful as they are a mixture of professional photographs and images produced by camera-traps, which display the animals as the safari­goer may have seen them.

The guide concludes with quick-reference species images complete with essential diagnostic data and an introduction to the major national parks and protected areas of Tanzania (complete with species list).

So whether you are into the big cats, primates or whales, this guide is for you. Finally, all author royalties received from the sale of this book will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Society and used to support the Tanzania Carnivore Project or other wildlife conservation projects in Tanzania.
Mark Gillies

MANAGING TAX REGIMES IN TANZANIA: EXPERIENCES, CHALLENGES AND LESSONS. Edited by Harry Kitillya, Tema Publishers, P O Box 63115, Dar es Salaam, 2014.

TANZANIA GOVERNANCE REVIEW 2012: TRANSPARENCY WITH IMPUNITY? Policy Forum, P O Box 38486, Dar es Salaam, 2013.

Karim Hirji. Media Council of Tanzania, 2012. These three publications from Dar-es-Salaam will be of interest to researchers. In the first, Harry Kitillya (Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority from 2003 to 2013) has commissioned a set of articles to provide a bible of information about all aspects of tax collection in Tanzania. Overall the authors are well informed and optimistic – though no doubt more could be said about tax avoidance and especially about corruption in the tax gathering regime. Transparency with Impunity surveys the state of governance and corruption in Tanzania. Almost all aspects of government activity are covered. The tables, charts – and the cartoons – draw on an exceptionally wide range of official and NGO publications. This report should be a major source for researching the Tanzanian economy.

Statistics in the Media is a study of the misuse of statistics written as teaching material for journalists and to provide them with an introductory text in basic statistics. Much of it is constructed around topical case studies of exam results, alternative medicine, deaths from malaria etc. The author suggests that the resulting bias is not random, but reflect or reinforce the interests of those who own the media.


by John Cooper-Poole

SURGEON OR JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES? A Mission Doctor in Tanganyika 1949 – 90. Marion Bartlett MB FRCS. Published by Words by Design, ISBN 978-1-909075-13-9(colour), ISBN 978-1-909075-14-6 (b&w): £19 (colour) or £12 (b&w) + p & p £3. Order online from, or through Revd Timothy Fox, 40 Lakeber Avenue, Bentham, Lancaster, LA2 7JN. (Please make cheques payable to ‘Marion J. Bartlett’). Email:

Tales of missionary heroism are unfashionable; they refer to a time when sacrifice, commitment and an unquestioned loyalty to a disciplined way of life were expected and accepted. While describing a lifestyle familiar to missionary personnel and their supporters, such narratives threaten current mission agencies. While accepting the importance of aid programmes, local development and self-sufficiency, nothing can justify the loss of the personal partnerships which informed and inspired personal and church commitments, generated finance and fostered vocations. So this book is both an inspiration and a reproach. Combining loyalty both to the Hippocratic Oath and to her personal beliefs, Marian Bartlett writes that medical services “must be open to all, of whatever creed or colour, and with no ‘preaching to captive audiences’ or other unfair pressure towards conversion”. The book records the story of two people doing the ordinary things of missionary life extraordinarily well.

While appealing to anyone who has worked, or supported work in East Africa, overseas medical programmes, or UMCA or USPG, it is essentially a personal story of one woman’s work, ministry and life, shared from 1967 with her husband David, a long-serving priest in the diocese of Masasi. I knew both Marian and David, before they were married, and later who could forget their hospitable Sunday suppers? The narrative reflects the personality of its author, remembered always as a calm presence regardless of external chaos, focused and dedicated.

More widely it adds an important perspective on the impact of independence on voluntary agencies at a time when educational and medical work were being handed over to government departments and, contrary to popular assumptions, a creative and increasingly important partnership was being developed. It says a lot for the new government that it felt secure enough to build on structures, established by foreign agencies and using the skills and experience of existing staff. It also says a lot about the grace and commitment of the voluntary ethos that the transition was so successful. The book makes a serious contribution to the literature of developing Independence.

The book also indicates the significance of links between Tanzanian and British dioceses – a valuable expression of partnership allowing former supporters to maintain relationships of prayer, mutual support and practical engagement.

Of course I have a few criticisms; the use of apostrophisation of Swahili vocabulary, the questionable use of Tanganyika in the title, the episodic nature of the later pages, but these reflect editorial preconceptions and preferences and should be disregarded in the overall heroic tale of a life, of two lives, totally committed to the tasks they confronted in God’s mission through the church in that unique part of Tanzania, Masasi.
David Craig

MARA! Africa bridges the gap between Church and Life; Bill Jones, Aliquid Novum, 2013, p/b 213 pp, ISBN 978-0-9926806-0-2 £10.99

This handsomely illustrated book is the story of the Anglican Diocese of Mara, situated between Lake Victoria and the Serengeti. From its creation in 1985, its twelve parishes have become 135, and the one diocese has become three. The author writes from his experience of developing its link with the Diocese of Wakefield, England.

Mara’s first priority is ‘Evangelism’. But the way this is implemented differs sharply from the way it is often understood in England. Christians in Mara do not worry about how to get people into church. On the contrary, the church gets itself involved in life outside, with its problems and opportunities.

So the church asks: ‘Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How can we get there – together?’ Think of the characteristic challenges of Tanzanian life: agriculture and animal husbandry, malaria, HIV-Aids, clean water, nutrition, health, education, disabilities, gender issues, and much more.

All these form the church’s agenda. It has departments to embrace all these facets of life, led by laity as much as clergy, by women as much as men. The church brings ideas and experience. It shows people how they can do it – for themselves – in ways that are local, sustainable and accountable. The problems are discussed with those who face them. For example, secondary school girls are expected at home to spend time not with homework but with pots, pans and 1001 other ‘women’s’ jobs. So Mara is building a new Girls’ High School where they will board and so get a better chance in life.

The church does not ask people to change their religion or give money. But people see what it is doing and ask ‘Why?’ Before long they may say, ‘Could we do that here?’; ‘Can we be Christians too?’ Then the Church Planting Department responds by sending a team to visit and teach. If they are well received, an evangelist may go to live there, supported by the Diocese. A growing group of Christians may want a pastor and eventually a building. It is up to them, but the Church is essentially people, not structures.

The Church in Mara has become a mini welfare state, widely appreciated and motivated by love for God and neighbour. The phrase most commonly heard in Mara is Bwana asifiwe (Praise the Lord)! Out of gratitude, they aim to transform lives, their own and others’. But where does the money come from? Partly from overseas partners; partly from income-generating projects; essentially by self-reliance, as Nyerere, born in the region, taught us all. But Bishop Omindo says that often he just does not know. If they feel sure God is leading them, they start a new project and slowly, as they pray, funds materialize.

Members of the B-T Society know how much small sums achieve in Africa. But this book describes a two-way partnership. We get at least as much from Mara as they get from us. Tanzania is now Africa’s third biggest producer of gold, mined in Mara and elsewhere. How, asks Chapter 15, are Tanzania’s peas­ants affected for good or for bad by the extraction of this colossal wealth from beneath their feet? This topic warrants another book, as does the big question: In what pressing issues of life should Churches get involved – and how – if they are once again to have a transforming impact in our world?
Roger Bowen

MINING AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICA- Mineralizing and Democratizing Trends in Artisanal Mining. Edited by Debora Fahy Bryceson and others. Routledge 2013. ISBN 978 0 415 833707, h/b 217 pp. £80.

This collection of eleven research papers on artisanal mining in Tanzania represents a most welcome addition to the literature on mining in Africa. Its theoretical frameworks for artisanal mining also have possible relevance in other parts of the developing world. Unlike most studies of artisanal mining (AM) with their focus on matters such as conflicts with large-scale mining, legal arrangements, environmental side effects and the like, this work drills down minutely into the social and cultural changes that are associated with the growth of AM. It develops an important central proposition that growing settlements of artisanal miners result in new shared economic and social norms including occupational norms and codes of conduct designed in large part to address the endemic risks in artisanal mining activities. A parallel proposition is that this process of change also has strong democratizing tendencies but that it can distance the artisanal miners from the established arrangements in the agrarian economy and from those in both mainstream and traditional governments.

The Introductory paper by Bryceson and Jesper Bosse Jonsson concisely outlines the main lines of the argument and also the Tanzanian historical and mining backgrounds. Part I in five chapters probes the motivations of the Tanzanian artisanal miners as well as their migration patterns, their career progressions and their family and gender relations within newly establishing AM settlements. Chapter 4 on the sexual mores and gender relationships and Chapter 6 on mining, magic and murder in Sukumaland provide fascinating insights about how traditional practices (e.g. the use of “healers”) have been amended by the social dynamic introduced in newer settlements of artisanal miners.

Part II in four chapters looks at the institutional arrangements in AM settlements to address matters such as ethical trading arrangements, and the distribution of product and of returns. Chapter 7 by Jonsson and Niels Fold starts from the proposition that top-down policy approaches to “embrace” AM have failed globally and have certainly been very inadequate in Tanzania. The authors claim that this is partly because the AM industry is far less tidily structured than is assumed by most mining legislation, such as Tanzania’s new Mining Act of 2010. Their argument provides extremely valuable evidence to back this up.

Part III is a single chapter by Bryceson and Eleanor Fisher assesses the possible future contributions of AM in Tanzania and elsewhere. Their central argument is that artisanal miners cannot be stereotyped in the manner often employed as “adventurers transgressing the boundaries of acceptable society” but as groups with the potential at least to “uplift their local communities and stimulate democratic principles” (pg179). As one part of a many stranded argument to develop this central proposition, the authors point to the potential advantages of AM (relative to large-scale mining) in averting the so-called “mineral resource curse” which in so many ways is inimical to democracy. But here they tantalize by not really addressing the central question of how large-scale mining (crucial in Tanzania for the huge investments needed for deep and other complex mineral extraction) can best co-exist with the potentially expandable AM sector (with its own positive characteristics of much higher levels of job creation and superior democratizing tendencies). Further since both large-scale mining incursions and expanding AM create deep, but different patterns of social and cultural change, how can the two together co-exist with the prevailing mores of an established agrarian economy as well as with traditional mainstream governance arrangements which themselves may often be only weakly “democratic”?

Overall this is a scholarly, well –structured, clearly written, and very interesting volume which should be essential reading for anyone designing policy for artisanal mining in countries such as Tanzania.
Alan R. Roe

LETTERS FROM EAST AFRICA; Christopher Gallop, Grosvenor House Publishing, 28-30 High St, Guildford GU1 3EL; ISBN 978 1 78148 628 3, p/b 232pp

It must be hard for the younger generation to imagine a time, a mere half century ago, when immediate communication with family and friends across the globe, was virtually impossible – no mobile phones or emails. Certainly no Skype. Tearful goodbyes at dockside or airport could be a prelude to two or three years of separation with only those blue air letters to look out for when the postman called.

Christopher Gallop has made this period in post-colonial history very real by giving the reader an insight into correspondence between his parents during a short period in January 1964, which coincided with an insurrection in Dar es Salaam, later known as the Dar Mutiny. The author’s father, Robin, an export manager, was posted to Dar at this time to search out lucrative finance con­tracts in post-independence Tanganyika. Robin’s wife, Jill, and their young son Christopher (the author, then aged two), were to remain at home in England, chiefly because another pregnancy was underway.

Robin and Jill wrote lovingly to each other almost every day, her letters full of cheerful domestic detail: the “TV has gone mad tonight … the kettle also packed in … I mended it beautifully but have one mysterious screw left over… Christopher sends big, big hugs”. Robin in return would describe his new environment and daily routine: “the faithful Bunga appears with tea punctually every morning … the tea is a reddish glutinous stew, and the milk tinned”.

As Robin became involved willy-nilly in the army insurrection, he was con­cerned to let Jill know that he was all right, though not knowing what news if any had reached her. And, of course, the situation was unfolding on the ground all the time. The author, with hindsight, is anxious to give us a balanced assessment of what the insurgence was about, pointing out that for many Tanganyikans the pace of change since independence was not fast enough. Among the troops especially, it was felt that the British Officers in charge ought to go home, leaving Tanganyikans to run the show.

In Zanzibar a far more horrendous revolution was taking place, not only anti-Imperial but also anti-Arab. It is estimated that possibly 50,000 Arabs were killed. With things increasingly getting out of hand, Nyerere found himself in the invidious position of having to request help from the British Government. With the arrival of the Royal Navy, peace was finally restored and the Republic of Tanzania was eventually formed.

The author has interleaved his parents’ letters with helpful explanatory chap­ters. He also brings in his own early family memories including the sometimes tricky relationship he had with his parents. Jill, in her turn, also had problems with her parents whilst she remained in England. The book, sub-entitled a Brief Family Memoir, will also appeal to those interested in post-independence Tanganyika.
Jill Watson

BUSINESS, POLITICS AND THE STATE IN AFRICA. Tim Kelsall et al. Published by Zed Books. ISBN 978 1 78032 421 0; p/b pp190

Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa there have seen a significant improvement in their macro-economic performance since 2000, with Tanzania at the forefront. IMF figures show that real GDP growth averaged only 2.9% a year in the period 1991-2000, but in the decade 2001-2010 averaged 7% a year. After a very modest dip to 6.4% in 2011, growth quickly rebounded to around 7% in 2012 and 2013, and looks set to stay at this level in 2014.

For most economic observers, these are not just paper numbers. Anyone visiting Dar es Salaam and other major urban areas can see the new shopping centres, tower blocks, hotels and the increasing traffic congestion. It is most visible in Dar, and the anecdotal evidence is supported by the recently published 2011/12 Household Budget Survey.

But what does this mean more widely? Despite the talk of an emerging middle class, is this actually occurring and is the growth translating into sustained poverty reduction? And is this growth leading to structural transformation of the economies? It is this second question this book is really looking at. In particular, it asks whether countries have the political and state structures to implement a more comprehensive industrial policy to drive the type of transformation seen in East Asia in the latter half of the 20th century and to sustain growth over the next decade. Although the authors are broadly in favour of countries adopting a pro-active industrial policy, they are very aware of the problems that this approach can lead to – such as how to balance the potential benefits (rapid private sector growth) and pitfalls (monopolies and corruption).

The authors develop a model to show the best political structure for an inter­ventionist industrial policy, which is likely to be most effective in countries characterised by developmental patrimonialism.

Centralisation Low, Time Horizon Short – Competitive clientelism
Centralisation Low, Time Horizon Long – Ineffective development state
Centralisation High, Time Horizon Short – Non-development kleptocracy
Centralisation High, Time Horizon Long – Developmental patrimonialism

While it is relatively easy to find periods when East Asian countries did follow this broad approach, the book arguably does not provide enough evidence to show where this model worked best . In order to examine which countries fit the model, the book draws on examples from Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda, with other examples in earlier chapters from Kenya and Malawi. For myself, the wide scope of the book is hugely interesting and the compare- and -contrast element highly illuminating.

In particular, the chapter on Tanzania is worth reading, as it is based on the work of Brian Cooksey and his vast knowledge of the country. The depth of anecdotal knowledge is something I really enjoyed, although for those of a more academic bent it may lack rigour. The balanced nature of the argument throughout the book is also clear in the discussion on the need for state intervention, and for the state to step aside, in the two case studies – the gold and horticultural sectors. The Tanzania chapter is summed up in a couple of lines in the conclusion: ‘Growth has been steady, and macroeconomic management, with a few blips, has generally been sound. However, the country seems stuck in a state of moderately high growth without entering take off, while poverty reduction remains poor. Recently there has been some progress in manufacturing, but it is too soon to say whether or not this will be sustained. We are inclined to be sceptical.’

Others are not as sceptical for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. The Economist on 8 February ran a good summary – Manufacturing in Africa; An Awakening Giant. The drawback with this article, and some other research, is that Ethiopia is held up as a prime example of where this change is happening. Tim Kelsall argues in this book that Ethiopia, along with Rwanda, may well have the right political structures where real change is a plausible possibility in the coming years. As the chapter on Ethiopia concludes, the new manufacturing enterprises being set up in the country ‘have a reasonable chance of success and they will in time make a significant contribution to structural transformation which is lagging behind growth and poverty reduction’.

This focus on the importance of manufacturing in driving growth and structural change is hardly new – witness Roger Riddell’s book Manufacturing Africa (1990). The argument that Africa needs a manufacturing revolution – or at least a deeper structural transformation – to maintain the growth momentum is becoming more pressing. As the demographic transition really hits Africa in the coming decade, the young will need employment – and only the manufacturing sector can feasibly absorb the number of new entrants to the job market. This is the only option, but it seems the most likely at this point.

And this in turn takes us back to the questions the book tries to answer. What political structure can best foster this? And can enough countries get the ball rolling to give momentum to the whole continent? Can Tanzania be in this first wave? On balance, this book’s answer is ‘probably not.’ I suspect that this may well the case; but sometimes it can be better to be a late front runner in a long race.
David Cowan

RETURN TO ZANZIBAR. Roger Webber. Matador, ISBN 9781783061211 p/b 429pp

Roger Webber’s book opens with a map of Africa with a spider’s web of travel routes covering the whole continent, and I felt that I was in for a treat of travel.

Roger’s early life was spent in Zanzibar and his descriptions of the island and its history are wonderful. In the early days of East African Airways he flew between Zanzibar and Nairobi to attend boarding school and I was reminded of my own schooldays when he describes picking fruit to subsidise the monotonous diet.

Returning to a cold England, Roger was always thinking about a return to Zanzibar and his attempt at the overland route in the school holidays was thwarted by thieves who stole his belongings in Sicily. When he finally made his trip back, his account reads like a Boys Own Paper story. After qualifying as a doctor, Roger spent the next twenty years in the Solomon Islands before eventually returning to work in Mbeya.

Roger then goes on to describe his travels throughout Africa. His exploits cover 66 years and are truly amazing. His descriptions of the places he visits are very evocative and make this book a cracking read – and may keep you up late.
David Holton


Edited by John Cooper-Poole

THE THREAT OF LIBERATION: IMPERIALISM AND REVOLUTION IN ZANZIBAR. Amrit Wilson: Pluto Press: London, 2013. ISBN 13 978 0745334073. £18.99

Zanzibar is a small-scale society, with a population, even today, of less than a million people, dispersed between three islands, Unguja, Pemba and Mafia. For hundreds of years its strategic significance rather than its intrinsic value has driven its history. Occupied by a succession of overlords, from Portugal and Oman to Britain, it has been the hub of trade routes for slaves and ivory from Africa’s hinterland, a centre from which to exert political power over semi-autonomous city states along the East African coast, and later a plantation economy focussed on cloves. Each set of rulers has left its divisive mark in a complex, racialised social order and shifting class formations.

Making sense of the political trajectory of Zanzibar has exercised many intellectuals as well as politicians and diplomats. Amrit Wilson draws on her own first-hand knowledge, interviews with participants and existing literature (especially Lofchie, Chase, Babu and her own publications), bringing the story up to date, the Wikileaks revelations. Her interpretation of events and their significance is based on one of the key actors in this political maelstrom, Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu, a lifelong Communist and revolutionary.

In December 1963 Zanzibar gained independence from Britain as a constitutional monarchy under a Sultan. Liberation from colonial rule promised progressive social transformation, but Zanzibar tore itself apart and remained the subject of imperialist concern. Within a few months, a series of political battles had put ‘liberation’ in question. In January 1964 a bloody revolution overthrew the Sultan; Wilson does not estimate the numbers killed, but they were primarily of Zanzibar’s ‘ruling class’ – Omani Arabs and Asians – who had prospered from the plantations or from trade, and their political allies. She claims that the uprising was fomented by disaffected youth and ‘lumpen’ elements, people who saw no change in their abject circumstances by virtue of ‘liberation’.

Although the revolution was not initiated by Babu, he had formed a Marxist left wing party (called Umma or ‘Community’) just before independence. This drew on the support of union workers in the docks and in transport, as well as intellectuals. Umma played a strategic role in the revolution and became part of the Revolutionary Council, with Abeid Karume of the Afro-Shirazi Party as President. Zanzibar’s numerous political parties cannot be neatly subsumed into class or racial conflict. Most represent opportunistic alliances of different class groupings. So-called ‘right-wing parties’ have left wing factions and the language of race/ethnicity permeates all political discussion. Wilson’s account does not make this much clearer – and maybe the chaotic reality is not susceptible to easy analysis.

The question now raised is a challenging one. As a Communist and leader of a party dedicated to achieving socialism, what scope did Babu have, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a ‘Revolutionary’ government dominated by increasingly reactionary elements? Wilson makes a brave case for Babu’s initiation of policies to restructure the economy with an integral link between agriculture and industry, and to learn from China. But she describes it as a ‘Zanzibar that might have been’. In April 1964 (only four months after the revolution) whilst Babu was absent on a mission to link Indonesia and East Germany into his plans, a merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was engineered by Karume and Nyerere without any vote in the Revolutionary Council. Thereafter, Zanzibar descended into despotism with political scores being brutally settled and many activists murdered. Babu was removed to Dar es Salaam and sidelined as a minister of state without any real power, his only achievement (at Nyerere’s behest) the Chinese involvement in building the Tazara railway.

Nearly a decade of violence and arbitrary rule in Zanzibar led to the assassina­tion of Karume in April 1972 by two ex-Umma members. They were killed in the ensuing melee but mass arrests led to a lengthy Treason Trial. Umma activists in Zanzibar, together with Zanzibari politicians on the mainland (including Babu), were accused on flimsy grounds of being involved in the killing of Karume and the trial was marked throughout by anti-Communist rhetoric. Torture was used to extort confessions, and most of the accused were sentenced to death or life imprisonment. Babu received a death sentence after a trial in absentia. He was detained on the mainland when Nyerere refused to extradite him to Zanzibar and he was eventually released in 1978.

Wilson’s book will be notable to some for its critique of Nyerere. Basically he is presented as a stooge of the West, particularly in respect of Zanzibar, with both Britain and the US bringing pressure to bear to neutralise what they saw as a potential ‘African Cuba, from which sedition would spread to the continent’ (quoting Frank Carlucci, Reagan’s Defense Secretary 1987-9). The revolution and the Revolutionary Council were seen as evidence of a Communist takeover. Wilson notes that some have seen the merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar as evidence of Nyerere’s ‘pan-Africanism’, but she rejects this. Nyerere was beholden to the British for rescuing him after the army mutiny in Dar es Salaam and the Zanzibar revolution was shortened by the appearance of a US destroyer.

Wilson compares Nyerere’s claim to ‘African socialism’ with Babu’s more Marxist-oriented projections for development. She derides the Ujamaa policy as failing to confront colonial economic structures and being more marked by ‘austerity and control’ than ‘self-reliance’. Self-sufficiency in food production led to food shortages and growing imports, and there was no serious policy of industrial development. Babu’s recipe was to develop agriculture, not for export but for people’s basic needs, and to establish industries based of modernising agriculture and exploiting Tanzania’s reserves of coal and iron.

In the last section of the book, Wilson traces Zanzibar’s history to the present, with emphasis on the implications of the merger. A shift to neo-liberal policies and the rise of tourism and other services superseded the clove industry as the major determinant of Zanzibar’s economy, though still on a foundation of subsistence and export agriculture. A major shakeup of the kaleidoscope of political parties reflected the fading political autonomy of Zanzibar. All this against the backdrop of western imperialist intervention – now directed at the growing politico-economic might of China and the representation of Zanzibar as a source not of communism, but of Islamo-terrorism.

Whilst these final chapters lose their keen focus on Zanzibar, the bigger picture is that the merger with Tanzania is still a contested political issue, about to be voted on in a national referendum. Wilson has usefully reminded us of the promise of liberation for Zanzibar, as well as its betrayal.

Janet Bujra

Dr Janet Bujra is an Honorary Reader and Senior Research Associate in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. She is the author of books and articles on gender, domestic service and HIV/Aids in Tanzania.

TANZANIA: A POLITICAL ECONOMY (2nd EDITION) Andrew Coulson: Oxford University Press. 2013. ISBN 10 0199679967. p/b 432pp.

The appearance of a new edition of Andrew Coulson’s classic study will be welcomed by admirers of the first edition, which came out more than 30 years ago. Apart from corrections and minor revisions to the main text, there is a new Preface in which the reader is reminded how well-qualified Coulson was to write the original book – being acquainted with many of the players and having a ringside seat at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) when he was not himself right in the fray. And there is a substantial new Introduction in which the author reflects on what he said previously in the light of subsequent developments.

The scope of the book is wide, aiming to cover the whole history of Tanzania from earliest times up to c.1980. Thus, after a couple of short introductory chapters, we have three chapters on the period up to 1900, covering particularly Zanzibar, the slave trade and the early German period. Six more chapters cover the colonial period, starting with German colonisation (and the resistance to it), the disruption caused by the First World War, the award of Tanganyika to Britain under a League of Nations mandate and the virtual freezing of development during the 1930s depression, followed by further disruption during the Second World War.

More than a third of the book is taken up before we reach the post-War period, the nationalist take-over and developments post-Independence. It is clear that Coulson wants to rub in Tanzania’s difficult inheritance, particularly during the 19th and early 20th century. Inter alia, this serves as a corrective to the rosier picture, post-WWII, of a peaceful but backward country taking slow but positive steps towards a brighter future under the guidance of a well-meaning but cash-strapped administration – as attested in the memoirs of some of those involved. It also underlines that this is as much a political history as an eco­nomic one.

Inevitably, these early sections of the book are highly condensed, but Coulson provides good summaries of the main episodes, together with judicious obser­vations on their consequences – for example, balancing accounts of the brutal­ity of the German conquest with their more positive contributions, so that “the economic structure laid down by 1914 was in all but detail that handed over in 1961”.

Having set the scene in this way – and those unsure of Tanzania’s early history, and looking for a short pithy introduction, could do far worse than take Coulson as their guide – the real meat of the book is contained in two hefty sections covering ‘The Early Years’ (1961-67) and ‘Harsh Realities’ (1968­80).In retrospect, the Early Years appear rather benign, the economy making reasonable progress of a conventional kind, propelled by post-independence enthusiasm and by the remarkable growth of export crops produced by progressive smallholder farmers. ‘Kulaks’ Coulson dubs them, imparting a whiff of the radical thinking prevalent at UDSM at the time – a colourful but somewhat chilling term when one recalls the treatment meted out to this class of producers elsewhere by the likes of Stalin and Mao. But tensions were building up, notably frustration at the slow progress of Africanisation, reflected in clashes with the unions.

The turning point was of course the Arusha Declaration in 1967. Coulson documents well the set of radical transformations towards a socialist future set in motion by this and the related policy statements. It was certainly widely welcomed, acting as a lightning rod for the frustrations of ordinary Tanzanians and checking the more materialistic ambitions of some of Nyerere’s colleagues. However, execution of the new policies quickly exposed a disconnect between aspiration and outcome – the ‘Harsh Realities’ that make up the final section of the book. The disastrous effect on agricultural production of villagisation, the inefficiency of the parastatals set up to replace the cooperatives and to take over nationalised enterprises, and the over-expansion of budgets relative to resources (as relations with external donors soured) are all discussed.

Coulson tries hard to be even-handed, drawing attention also to the parallel extension of education and (to a lesser extent) health services to rural areas.

Even so, the kindest verdict might be “Good intentions, bad effects”. The sad truth is that in Tanzania, as in pretty much every other country in the world, whether developed or developing, capitalist or socialist, human nature is much the same: put someone in a position where opportunities can be exploited to feather one’s own nest and most will probably do just that. The task of policy then should be to provide an institutional framework which minimises such opportunities. This means competition rather than monopoly, active democracy and good laws applied impartially. Not easy, particularly with limited manpower and other resources; but, after 1967, under the influence of Nyerere’s somewhat puritanical anxiety about inequality and his distaste for capitalism, Tanzania headed in more or less the opposite direction – and has paid a high price.

Against this background, it is not surprising that Coulson ended his first edition on a pessimistic note: “Talk of ‘Tanzanian socialism’ … does not provide a clear economic strategy … The result was a failure ruthlessly to pursue any single class interest (apart from the bureaucracy’s interest in expanding the functions of the state). The worst results were in rural policy, a series of despairing dashes for freedom, with what seemed like short cuts actually leading further and further into the mud.” “Can the future offer something better?” Coulson asks, sadly concluding: “On the basis of the performance of the 1970s, the answer is no.”

But that was 1980. Since then, there has been the long confrontation with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the structural adjustment programmes and the new problems and opportunities arising post-2000. We turn to the new Introduction to learn how Coulson sees things now.

Retrenchment in the early 1980s set back progress in education and health, but also reined in government and parastatal excesses. When growth resumed, Coulson notes that it was accompanied by more corruption, with the benefits “mostly going to the salaried elite – with little impact on poverty in most parts of the country”. At the same time, opportunities for political competition were opened up, civil society activity grew stronger, particularly NGOs. Tanzania became more attractive to foreign investment, and more urbanised. In the light of these developments, Coulson appears less confident that dependency theory and Shivji’s concept of a ‘bureaucratic bourgeoisie’ provide a sufficient framework for understanding the political economy of post-colonial countries such as Tanzania, indicating room for fresh thinking here. Insights from the new economic geography school and Collier’s The Bottom Billion might help.

Looking to the future, Coulson notes that the 1999 Development Vision and the 2012 Five Year Plan point to a more capitalist development path, as does the ambition to become a middle income country by 2025. While new opportunities have indeed been opened up by the remarkable growth of the mining sector, and the prospect of major oil and gas development, the challenges, as Coulson notes, remain formidable. These include: getting mineral taxation right; how to foster manufacturing with only a small domestic market; the enormous backlog in urban infrastructure investment (electricity, water supply and sewerage); and improving transport (notably ports and railways). As if that were not enough, he adds “Agriculture is even more challenging”, with long-standing questions – large scale vs small scale, transformation vs improvement – still unresolved. He concludes with an appeal to the Tanzanian elite to show the leadership and vision needed.

One measure of Coulson’s achievement is that no comparable work has appeared since 1980. There have been books and articles on particular aspects of Tanzania’s development and bits of the story could be pieced together from these (many appear in the expanded bibliography), and from reports by the Tanzania Government and agencies such as the World Bank, but no-one has attempted a comprehensive overview of Tanzania’s post-Independence economic development to bring the story up to date.

In case someone is contemplating taking on this daunting task, it may be worth drawing attention to some aspects which appear (to this reviewer at least) not to have been given their due weight, either in Coulson’s book or elsewhere. First, there is the regional dimension. There are enormous differences in climate, topography, natural resources and ways of life between the different parts of Tanzania: attention to these differences and their effects would make for a more rounded account. Secondly, population growth at around 3% p.a. right up to the present time has made the development challenge immensely more difficult but receives very little attention in the literature. Only about a third of the increase in the rural population has been absorbed into towns, so that the pressure of population on land and other resources in the rural ares has approximately trebled, compounding the problems attributable to poor policies.

Thirdly, the urban development that has occurred has been rather unproductive, raising questions both about the quality of local administration and about strategies for non-agricultural employment. Finally, on a more positive note, an up-to- date economic history of Tanzania will be able to document the unexpected surge in mineral exploitation, starting with artisanal mining of gemstones in the 1980s, moving to larger scale mining in the 1990s, and (prospectively) oil and gas production in the near future. Hopefully, our future historian will record that these new opportunities have been put to good use, resulting in a better future for all Tanzanians.

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.


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