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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

I am writing to correct and clarify some points in John Arnold’s review of Ralph Ibbott’s book published in the last issue of Tanzanian Affairs (issue 110, Jan to April 2015).

Firstly, the correct title of the book is: Ujamaa – The hidden story of Tanzanian’s socialist villages (and not, Ujamaa – The hidden story of Tanzania’s economic development from the grassroots).

Secondly, the reviewer uses the words co-operative and collective interchangeably, which confuses the history. The Ruvuma Development Association was a self-governing collective. It was not and never called itself a co-operative, a completely different set up in the Tanzanian context. Co-operatives introduced by the State were operating at the same time as the RDA was thriving, and were limited largely to marketing the produce of peasant farmers. They were often corrupt and not under the control of growers who were found to be very discontented (Cranford Pratt, 1976).

In contrast, in the RDA villages every member had an equal right to participate regularly in decision-making. Further, everyone – women, men, sick and elderly – received an equal share of the food produced and of any income raised. All able-bodied adults worked on the communal farms, where necessary after fulfilling other responsibilities, as collectively agreed.

Solveig Francis (on behalf of the Ujamaa Working Group, Crossroads Books)

The editors would like to encourage readers to send their responses to any of our articles. Letters can be sent by email to ben.d.taylorgmailcom.

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CO-EDITORS

I am very happy to announce that Tanzanian Affairs now has two coeditors. Seven BTS members responded to the advertisement I placed in the BTS Newsletter some months ago asking for a volunteer deputy editor. I would like to apologise to the other BTS members who offered to help in various ways and have not yet heard from me. It has taken several months to decide what to do in view of the wealth of experience which you all offered. I am very grateful and would like to keep your names on file so that we can perhaps call on you again at some future date. Both of the new co-editors speak Swahili fluently and visit the country frequently.

Donovan Mc Grath is a full-time lecturer in Media and Communications and a part-time lecturer in Swahili. He is an Alumnus of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) where he gained a BA Honours degree in African Language and Culture. He also studied Swahili Poetry, the Swahili Novel and Advanced Swahili Usage at the University of Dar es Salaam. Later on, at Middlesex University, he achieved a Master of Arts degree in Film and Visual Cultures. He is co-author of Colloquial Swahili, published by Routledge in 2003. He has also written extensively on the subject of film and theatre for Live magazine here in the UK and book reviews (in Swahili) for Femina magazine in Tanzania. As his first contribution Donovan has written the largest part of our feature ‘Tanzania in the International Media’ in this issue. The other co-editor is Jacob Knight, an engineer stationed in Botswana who keeps in close touch with what is happening in Tanzania. He has been playing a vital role in the production of TA for some time as typesetter and graphic designer and also now produces Tanzanian Affairs on line at www.tzaffairs.org which is attracting a growing readership.
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Number of hits each month on the www.tzaffairs.org website

Jacob is hoping to upload more back issues of Tanzanian Affairs onto the website to make a searchable archive dating back to the first issue in 1975. While much of the process is automated, human input is required in tidying up the text files and correcting the mistakes made by the computer when “reading” the printed copies – any volunteers to assist with this would be appreciated (email jacob@kwangu.com).
David Brewin, Editor.

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1985 and 1986 Issues now online

We have started uploading some of the back issues of Tanzanian Affairs with the aim of providing a record of Tanzanian Affairs dating back to the first issue in the late 1970’s. Unfortunately this is a rather time consuming operation – any volunteers willing to help tidy up the text files which are generated by the optical character recognition please get in touch (no special software required) editor AT tzaffairs DOT org

Issue 25 (Sept 1986) can be found here
Issue 21 (July 1985) can be found here

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APOLOGIES – SITE HACKED

This site was one of thousands of wordpress sites attacked by hackers who used a security flaw in a previous version of WordPress to corrupt two articles by altering some of the links to point to their own sites. That casued Google to label the site as “suspect”. I believe I have now removed the hackers code and the site is back to normal, and has been cleared by Google.

Apologies if anyone was affected by this, and I will increase security on the server to try to prevent it happening again.

Jacob

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INTRODUCTION

Tanzanian Affairs is a magazine with news and current affairs issued by the Britain-Tanzania Society. It is published three times a year. The views expressed or reported are those of the person concerned and do not necessarily represent the views of the Britain-Tanzania Society. All the information is copyright – please refer here for more details.

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TANZANIAN AFFAIRS READER QUESTIONNAIRE – SUMMARY OF RESPONSES

Many thanks for the great response to the questionnaires sent out with our last issue of TA. Readers were asked to express their interest in or lack of interest in the various sections of ‘Tanzanian Affairs ‘. Well over 100 readers responded and almost all the comments were flattering. Political news came out as easily the most interesting part of the journal. 99% of readers found this section ‘very interesting’ and no one found it ‘uninteresting’. The section on ‘Readers letters’ came second – I hope we shall be receiving many more of these now that we know that 98% of our readers will read other reader’s letters! The next most popular group of subjects included economic news, book and other reviews, and ‘Tanzania in the Media’. Other subjects which came slightly lower in popularity included stories of personal experiences in Tanzania, news about Zanzibar, obituaries, ‘Business News’ and ’50 Years Ago’ (12% of readers were not at all interested in this section). There were fewer readers interested in the arts (21% said they were not interested) and music, especially modern Tanzanian music, was even less popular. 28% of readers described news about sport as ‘not of interest to me’. Perhaps if Tanzania had qualified for the World Cup finals! The percentages reflect a very high rate of interest in virtually every aspect of Tanzanian life. Many readers said that they read TA from cover to cover and passed it on to others to read.

Readers were invited to comment and many did. One suggested a clearer layout. Others wanted weather reports, more on trends in Swahili, an annual accumulative index (any volunteers to compile up to 27 of these? – I can supply a complete set of back issues); stock market reports; more on community/school links (please see the Britain-Tanzania Society’s Newsletter for these), more on the living standards of ordinary people under the ‘reforms’, and a new section on public transport. Other readers said ‘Do not drop any of the present sections’ (we agree), ‘provide more photographs’ (this may be possible but space is a problem), ‘an environment slot please, especially on Tanzania’s exceptional biology’, ‘please ask advertisers to give some idea of prices’, ‘more on literature’, ‘more articles from Tanzanians’, ‘more about small scale development projects’, ‘more on problems and events in other African countries’ (must say no to this one – there is never enough space to cover Tanzania!), ‘a little more background e.g the make-up of the National Assembly (see TA No. 53), ‘more on local government’, ‘a travel up-date section please ‘. Finally, one reader asked for a statement of purpose. This is easy. It is to keep people informed about what is happening in the country. That is all.

Some readers broadened the scope of the debate. One commented that many Tanzanians have strong opinions about expatriate ‘aid’ and how it is exploited by sections of their communities; another said that the length of TA can be off putting initially (do not fear – it will not get any longer!); another congratulated us on leaving political correctness behind and being neutral to the IMF.

Many thanks again. All comments have been noted but please remember that we have only 48 pages three times a year and an awful lot happens in Tanzania all the time! – Editor.

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TA ISSUE 25

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TA ISSUE 21

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SOKOINE UNIVERSITY – LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Sir ,

Please refer to Issue No.20 of the Bulletin dated January 1985, which was brought to our attention by a colleague in Morogoro.

Para.4 of page 3 of the Bulletin refers to your comment on the President’s remarks vis-a-vis the Land Grant Colleges. It would be useful to note that the President’s address refers, at para. one, to a Study Team Report, whose recommendations feature very prominently in his address. The Study Team was led by Mr. C.L.S. Omari, Commissioner of Education, and visited Land Grant Colleges in the USA and institutions inspired by the Land Grant Colleges model in India and Kenya. The President himself has several times referred to the ‘pioneering work1 of those colleges. Reference to the visit to Land Grant Universities is to be found in para.3, first column, page (iii) of the Report.

These remarks are being made not to discredit your observations, but rather to draw your attention to facts not so apparent to those unfamiliar with the background literature to the address. Although the Report was published in October 1984 the President had access to the final draft at the time his speech was written in September 1984.

Sincerely,
Professor G.R.V. Mmari
Vice-Chancellor

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