District Officer in Tanganyika: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie: Part 2, 1956 to 1960

In the following pages I relate the story of four years between September 1956 when I went up to Oxford and August 1960 when I completed my first tour as a District Officer in the Colonial Service in Tanganyika (renamed Tanzania in 1964).

In introducing the first part of these Memoirs I offered apologies for writing so much about my school and university life. My only excuse was that I enjoyed doing so. In this part of the Memoirs I have a different reason for recording so much detail.

As a District Officer, I was a junior administrator and something of a jack of all trades while being an agent of the colonial power when Tanganyika was a part of the British Empire. It was a job in which I was very happy and totally fulfilled and I hope family readers will find it of interest to learn what I was doing then. At the same time I know that the type of work I did has subsequently been subject to heavy criticism. In the early 1960s, historians at the University of Dar es Salaam charged the colonial government with incompetence and at times a malign intent, and succeeding historians and journalists have either ignored its achievements or sought to disparage them. For example, the President of the Republic of Tanzania said not long ago, “The colonial government had no intention of developing the country but just wanted to exploit its resources.” His views appear to be shared by some commentators in this country, and even by authoritative voices in places like the BBC and the Times newspaper.

These criticisms sadden me. Our colonial administration deserves to be given a fair hearing, and our work to be assessed even-handedly. For this reason, should these pages ever reach a wider readership beyond the family, I have put on the record some detail of my work and leisure to enable readers to judge for themselves. I have tried to avoid hindsight and those loose generalisations that hide reality, nor have I relied on my memory which is rose-tinted and wholly unreliable after sixty years. Instead, I have recorded wherever possible the words written in my diaries and weekly letters home about my daily life and my thoughts about it at the time. If this detail is found to be tedious, I ask forgiveness for the attempt to give a faithful account of the life of a young District Officer in a colony aspiring to independence.

Please do not assume I am proud of all my actions here recorded. I may sometimes appear elitist, paternalist and patronising. Some of my behaviour in those far off days may even seem distasteful and racist to readers. If they are crimes, I plead guilty, but that was the way we were. Our moral standards are constantly changing; and today’s readers are likely to view certain types of behaviour quite differently to the way we saw them all those years ago. Morality evolves progressively and will continue to evolve; and I have no doubt that some of the things we do and say now will be considered unsavoury and repugnant fifty years hence.

There is a short bibliography at the back of this Memoir. Many of my contemporaries and predecessors have published books about colonial Tanganyika. I have recently re-read a handful of them in order to refresh my memory of the people, places and events of those days, and I gladly acknowledge my debt to these authors. I would also like to express my grateful thanks to Lawrence Charlesson for his expert and extensive help in drawing the maps of the Districts in which I served at the back of the book. I wish to record too my appreciation of the help of Alison Little and my wife Joan in putting together the index of this book.

A glossary of acronyms and Swahili words that we used every day in our work is also appended in the sidebar. Four words were so frequently employed in Tanganyika at that time that I have anglicized them. They were: ‘safari’ meaning journey, ‘boma’ meaning the District Office, a fortress, or even a cattle stockade, ‘baraza’ meaning a court house, meeting or council, and ‘shauri’ meaning complaint, problem or affair.

As to the names of the Tanganyikan tribes, correct Swahili would require the use of prefixes to indicate whether the reference is to one member of the tribe or many members, to their land or to their language. I ask forgiveness of the purists for omitting all such prefixes in order to simplify the text.

Dick Eberlie
Tavistock, May 2014.

Chapter 1: Joining the Colonial Service
“What’s become of Waring
Since he gave us all the slip,
Chose land-travel or seafaring,
Boots and chest or staff and scrip,
Rather than pace up and down
Any longer London town?”

From “Waring” by Robert Browning.

Making up my Mind

My father used to invite me from time to time when I was on holiday at home to drive him in his Vauxhall on his afternoon visits to patients around the town. This was useful to him and interesting to me as we were able to chat and get to know each other a little while I was taking him to the home of the next sick family. On one such drive during August 1953, soon after I returned home from Hong Kong, we sat for a few minutes together outside a patient’s house on the Kingsbourne Road and he remarked with surprising emphasis,

“I can remember before I went to university wanting to do something - wanting to heal men with my hands, to make them well. Do you have a similar feeling?“

“Well”, I answered, “I think I know. I want to lead men, to help them that way. I want to be able to advise them, train their minds and make the best of themselves.”

My father was directing me to think seriously about my future career. I felt strongly at that time, just back from an exciting life with the Regiment, that the army was my first choice. I had found a great stimulus in leadership, training, directing and organising young men and in helping to shape their characters in a positive way. I was convinced that this was the life for me. I had a deep affection for the young soldiers who had been in my charge. I mentioned the Regiment in my prayers, re-read each night sections of the diary I had kept in my Hong Kong days, and despaired that I could ever regain the particular happiness I had felt among my soldiers. I wrote one day in my diary - rather pretentiously - an extract from a Herbert Read war poem.

“O beautiful men, O men that I have loved,
O whither have you gone, my company?”

In those lazy weeks before I went up to Cambridge, I was, however, just beginning to turn other options over in my mind. I said to myself the colonies would provide me the same opportunities for fulfilment as a leader and shaper of men, but the future of the world did not lie in Africa or the Pacific Islands where the colonies lay. I wrote in my diary:

“Reading leaflet about the Colonial Service. I don’t want to do that sort of a job; stuck miles away from England - the country that matters. Who cares about the Africans? Besides it means another year up at university reading anthropology and such muck. I want to get out now and start doing something for somebody. Let other people stagnate if they like.”

To my mind at that time, I could have the greatest influence for the good among young men like the Londoners whom I had grown to know when I was training Royal Fusiliers. At the same time I was eager to go abroad again for the stimulus of seeing new sights and living among different peoples. I was torn between a wish to help young men make the most of their lives and an eager desire to travel.

Graeme Sorley, with whom I shared rooms at St John’s asked me, early in our friendship, what I wanted to do. I replied I did not want to be ‘tied down’ in a business; I thought the Foreign Service was not a job where one could do much good; one had to be a ‘social person’ and I was not; and one had to be interested in international affairs which I was not. I told him I should like to ‘serve’ the young uneducated men such as those I had worked with in the Army, that is to train their characters and exert some positive influence over their natures. I explained I should like to do this sort of work somewhere like London, or possibly still in the Army; but I also insisted I wanted to go abroad again. I thought the Colonial Service offered the best alternative, but I was not then enamoured of the idea of working with Africans. Graeme was a good listener and patient in teasing out my answers to his questions. I was incoherent and contradicted myself often enough, but the conversation helped me clear my mind and work through my own ideas. He let me talk the night away and it was very good for me. Oddly enough, I never remember asking him the same question.

John Streeter, an OS and a retired judge, ran a boys’ club with the school’s support called ‘Sherborne House’ in Union Street in Southwark, and I had met him several times when he had brought a group of boys down for a weekend at Sherborne while I was at school. On a couple of occasions I had joined the party, going out with the boys on trips to Weymouth or swimming in Lulworth Cove. So I made a point during my first Christmas vac of passing some time at their London club house to see if I could be of use to them, and if I could find satisfaction in helping the young men from South London who spent their evenings there. I gave some thought to the possibility of working in that sort of environment, but it would have meant living close by, which seemed to me to be neither possible nor desirable.

In September 1955 I went back to my old prep school at Swanbourne House in Buckinghamshire to teach history to the junior boys. It was an opportunity to find out if I liked teaching - while at the same time catching up with some reading required for the Tripos. I enjoyed standing up in front of the children and telling them about the Battle of Trafalgar - how Nelson split the French line and destroyed the enemy ships at the cost of his own life - for it was good dramatic stuff - but I did not seem to fit into the staff room where the teaching staff gathered in between lessons, and I thoroughly disliked the evenings. I had a room in a pub in the village and had no choice but to sit in the bar and drink the beer. I was persuaded to try the super-strong ale called something like ‘Dragon’s Blood’. I was drunk on a pint of the stuff. Frequently I went to bed with a thick head and woke up the following morning with a headache. Perhaps I was being unfair to the school, but I decided that was not the way I wanted to live.

In my first term at John’s, I attended a talk at the Colonial Service Club in Cambridge. I met a number of serving officers who I thought were decent chaps and contented in their work; but at the end of that visit I was still not persuaded that the Colonial Service was the life for me. I still thought I should prefer to work with men of my own country. I was to ponder the options from every angle day in day out over the next two years while I slowly made up my mind.

Cambridge University had a Careers Advisory Service in a big Victorian house on the Trumpington Road where I sought advice and spent some time in my second year. I picked up a lot of pamphlets and skimmed through them, as one does, and I had two interesting interviews with Careers Advisors. They helped me to see how the army would offer only limited satisfaction. They told me about local government service but it appeared then to offer little scope. They showed that there were jobs in the Civil Service that offered great rewards but they were few and far between. They explained that the Diplomatic Service provided huge rewards but was very difficult to enter. On the other hand they told me the Colonial Service offered satisfaction of a different sort and was not nearly so difficult to join.

Part of the problem was that I found it difficult to envisage what the life of a colonial administrative officer would be like. I had read Edgar Wallace’s books about “Sanders of the River”, seen the 1930s films, and thrilled to the romance and excitement of the life of Bones, the lanky young district officer and hero of the stories. I had enjoyed “A Pattern of the Islands” by Arthur Grimble that Margaret had given me for my twenty-first birthday and been fascinated by the delightfully-written tales of colonial administration in the South Sea Islands. I tried to use my imagination but gained little idea what I should be doing and how I should live in that sort of work abroad. It was somewhat frustrating, but then again the mystery and uncertainty were part of the attraction. One of my main motivations was the search for adventure and the rich excitement of travelling in a new and strange world. I wrote in a questionnaire forty years later about my reasons for applying for a job in East Africa, and added,

“I had little idea of what lay ahead, but that never worried me. It merely added to the thrill of the new life before me”.

With the help of the Careers Service and under the influence of Robbie Robinson’s teaching about the “Expansion of Europe” I came to realise that there would indeed be a useful job of work to do among a colonial people, and it would be immensely interesting to do so. I was clear I would be asked to carry considerable responsibility from the start, and I eagerly looked forward to a job in which I could have a real and positive influence over people from the beginning. However I did not want to go too far away from home, and I did not consider seriously either the Far East or the Pacific Islands. My attention slowly focussed on East Africa because I thought (however mistakenly) that the natural wealth of the colonies of West Africa would rapidly enable them to look after themselves. Finally I plumbed for Tanganyika as the poorest and least developed of all the African colonies. Life, I judged, was likely to be most exciting there, while the need for help, guidance and leadership from people like myself was likely to be the greatest.


Two years later, having learned my job and enjoying it enormously, I rationalised my choice of career and country in which to serve in the following note to my parents from Nzega where I was then stationed - using a medical metaphor which I thought would interest my father:

“Me, I am present at the birth of a nation; but it’s not a simple birth - a very big baby, rather a strong one, and we’re going to have to be careful to prevent a miscarriage. After all, Tanganyika is only another in a long line of babies of the Mother Country. If the United States came forth in 1780 by a Caesarean, the line starts in 1840 with Canada, and continued in the 1850s with Australia and New Zealand, in the 80s with Boer South Africa, in the 1920s for Southern Rhodesia and Ceylon, and so on. Granting independence when the colony is ready for it is not a new policy. It’s over a hundred years old, and it’s never done the Mother Country any harm. If she wants to control a country, she has always done it cheapest by trade and finance, as she did and still does in South America, Turkey etc, as we used to in Egypt, China etc. A colony is a huge drain of cash and troops (as in Kenya over Mau Mau time, or as in Cyprus) - which the Mother Country can ill afford when she has to pay millions to placate railways strikers, to keep an army in Germany, and still to keep a reserve in case of a real emergency…

Financially and strategically, it couldn’t matter less if Britain were in Tanganyika or not. This country has no decent port and no worthwhile export. Sisal has been their biggest thing in the past, but is negligible now. We also produce a little coffee which South America produces much better, a little cotton of lower grade than that in Southern USA, a few peanuts, cashew nuts, tobacco, diamonds which have profited one man only - Williamson, gold which is now exhausted, and coal when the railway gets to that area in twenty years’ time. There’s nothing in Tanganyika worth taking but hundreds and hundreds of miles of hot bare bush.

I’ve told you a little of our sporadic strikes; in fact they have occurred all over the Western Province in the bigger centres of labour. Each strike has been very minor, and in each case the police have arrived in good time to see fair play. In a few years, the labourers’ unions will be properly organised and all over the Province they will down tools together and riot in six places at once. The Police have only one mobile squad in the whole Western Province to cover several thousands of square miles. Somewhere the Police cannot get to, there will be shooting and a local war will start. There is one battalion of King’s African Rifles in the country, but they are tied to the real trouble spot, Dar es Salaam. So even for a local Nzega war, we should have to ask for troops from the UK. However it’s still a few years off, and if meanwhile our District Council can win everyone’s confidence, such a day of horror will never come.”

So it was, that in the winter of 1955, feeling my way to this position, I made up my mind. With the support of my college on the one hand and my parents on the other, I wrote to the Colonial Office making formal application to join the Colonial Service. There was no written entry examination; candidates were selected for recruitment on their record and personal interviews. On receipt of my application, the Recruitment Branch of the Colonial Office wrote to my three nominated referees - from school, the army and my college - and called me for interview. On two occasions early in 1956, I went down to Sanctuary Buildings in Great Smith Street, not far from Westminster Abbey. The offices were dark and ugly (later converted into the Westminster Public Library); there was not much of a reception and no welcome, and I was sent down bare and dreary corridors for my interviews in cold, featureless meeting rooms.

First I was seen by the recruitment staff, and next I was put at the end of a long table facing half a dozen senior men. I have no recollection of their questions or my answers, but I must have satisfied them and my references must have been adequate. A letter dated 8th March 1956 reached me at St John’s approving my probationary appointment to the administrative branch of the Overseas Civil Service - as it had just been renamed - and selecting me to go to Tanganyika, as I had requested. There were just three conditions. I must secure a satisfactory degree, pass a medical examination, and obtain a satisfactory report after an Overseas Service Course at Oxford University running for one academic year from 8th October 1956.


What was I doing in Oxford after three years at Cambridge? I could have attended the Course in Cambridge where I knew the Colonial Service Club in Petty Curry and Mr McCleery who ran it. I had liked his set-up, but all my Cambridge contemporaries were dispersing, and I hated the thought of returning to St John’s as a graduate, living in digs in the town on my own, and knowing very few people. In addition I thought it right to take this opportunity to see how the other half lived; so I concluded I should ask to go to ‘the other place’ - and my request was granted. I applied to be accepted by Balliol College, St John’s sister college in Oxford; and the Master agreed to have me for the Academic Year 1956/57.

I was required to report to the Colonial Service Club at 3 South Parks Road, in Oxford several days before the undergraduates arrived to start their new term. Our timetable was run quite separately from theirs, and the Club was to be the focus and meeting place of the thirty or so of us probationers on the Course. It was conveniently located next door to Rhodes House where we were able to study the extensive archive of commonwealth and colonial papers.

Mr Murray ran the Club in a genial and friendly way and was our Course Supervisor. He had been an administrative officer in Nigeria and knew the ropes. There was a bar, a dining room, a common room, library and some bedrooms for visiting colonial officers; it was the probationers’ base for both study and leisure. There were lectures of general interest and periodic ‘Club Nights’ when we watched films or simply chatted about our studies and this and that. It was thus at the Club that I met the others who were on their way with me to becoming colonial administrative officers.

Many of them were Oxford men who had gained their degrees there and chosen to stay for their fourth year, but several had joined us from northern and Scottish universities, and a few had already been doing the job in a colony and returned to improve their knowledge. We were a good mixed bag; and between us we had been allocated to just about all the then colonies. Three or four were on their way to West Africa; one or two to the West Indies and the South Pacific, and rather more to each of the colonies in East Africa.

Of the eight of us destined for Tanganyika, I knew only Harry Magnay, who had been at John’s in Cambridge but had had a different circle of friends to me although we had come across each other from time to time on the rugger field and elsewhere. We were naturally drawn together when in our last two or three terms we had discovered we had put our names down to join the Colonial Service and work in the same colony.

Our little Tanganyika group worked together and as one class studied Swahili and the local anthropology and ethnology. We expected to go out and serve together, and got to know each other pretty well in those months on the Course. I am proud that they all became my very good friends in the course of time and I have remained in touch with them all my life. We called ourselves the ‘Haidhuru’ - which is the Swahili term for “it doesn’t matter” - we searched one day for an apt word and I can’t remember why we chose this particular one which hardly seems appropriate, but for one reason or another it has stuck to this day.

What were my first impressions of them all? Roy Bonsell was a northerner, a tough well-built and cheerful chap with short fair curly hair and a wry smile. John Illingworth of Trinity College, Oxford, was also from the north. With dark, curly hair, he was a slim fellow with lots of humour. Charles Thatcher was the tallest of us with a quiet and thoughtful demeanour. Simon Hardwick at Oriel College was the wiry type and soft spoken but with massive determination. He had a gammy arm as a result of polio during his army service in Germany but never allowed it to be a handicap. Pat Hobson was at Magdalen, had had a very tough National Service, and was the extrovert among us, a big man with a large laugh and a generous nature. Norman Macleod was a Scotsman from a Scottish school and university who had trained as an advocate and the law was his first love. He was a reserved and gentle man, not one to be hustled or hurried, yet with plenty of drive and the ability to enjoy life to the full. I am happy to have been a member of that special group.

The Colonial Service Course

The Course I attended had its origins at the end of the war when the Duke of Devonshire had reviewed recruitment and training for the Colonial Service. He had recommended that all new recruits, to be known as ‘probationers’, should attend a year’s course of training at Oxford, Cambridge or London University before starting work as Cadet Administrative Officers in their chosen colony. Originally known as the Devonshire Course, its purpose was stated to be:

“To give the Cadet a general background to the work which he is going to take up; to start him with a proper sense of proportion; to show him what to look out for in his apprentice tour and the significance of some of the things he may expect to see during it; and to give him the minimum of indispensable knowledge on which to start his career.”

In my letter of appointment, I had been told the Course would cover the following broad subjects, on which I would be examined at the end of it: Colonial History, Colonial Government, Criminal Law and the Law of Evidence, Land Use in the Tropics, Social Anthropology, Economics and most importantly, the Swahili language. As had been the practice when studying for our degrees, we were required to read a number of books and write an essay on a selected relevant topic after a week or ten days. The pressure was never as intensive as it had been with the Tripos, but we still had to get through a great deal of material.

The literature on colonial administration, government and the economics of the undeveloped world was extensive, and we were expected to know our way round it and master the key ideas in our year at Oxford. To some extent I had an advantage having read ‘The Expansion of Europe’ for Part II of my Tripos, but there was much much more to absorb. The bookwork included numerous Government White Papers, Blue Books and official Reports of various sorts, as well as Social Anthropology which was new to most of us. We were introduced to the study of the life of communities and of social and tribal systems and customs around the world, and especially in East Africa. We were told the principal characteristics of the Tanganyikan tribes and picked up a good deal of knowledge about them in our reading. This was directly relevant to our future work and for most of us was fascinating from the start. We spent time too in studying the origins and nature of Islam, the religion of much of the East African coast, and had a searching exam at the end of the Course of our knowledge and understanding of tribal structures.

Colonial economics was another new area of interest, and of course vital for us to grasp. Some of the group found it easier than others, I suspect. For me, my background in economic history helped. I became happier as the Course progressed and got a grip on the Tanganyika Government’s financial reports, estimates and development programmes.

Part of the Course was an attachment to a local authority and a police force, and this took up most of the 1957 Easter break. Through my father’s contacts I spent a week with the Luton Urban District Council and drove around with a water engineer inspecting drains and the like - very dull work I thought it to be. I spent another week with the Bedford County Council and their Education Authority visiting schools and libraries to see how they were run. More interesting were a couple of days spent at the West Central Police Station in Savile Row behind Austin Reeds. We also spent time sitting in local magistrates’ courts watching the working of justice in England. These visits helped to bring the Course to life and to put flesh on the bones - as it were - of the heavy books we ploughed through over the three terms of study.

‘Land use’ was a complete different sort of subject. Unfortunately it was treated as a poor relation and tended to be squeezed into the late afternoons which was a shame because it eventually turned out to be the most useful and important instruction that I received that year. We were taught what you might call basic farming - planting, cultivation, crop rotation, irrigation and so on. In addition, an experienced teacher named Mr Longland, gave us the rudiments of surveying, a little forestry, and the basics of building a road, a house, a dam, a bridge, and the like. There were even a few lessons on vehicle maintenance - and I wish I had paid more attention to them.

The ‘Law’ element in the Course interested me enormously. By the end of it we had to have a fair idea of the Criminal Law and the Law of Evidence prevailing in Tanganyika. It went back to the 1920s when it had been modelled on the Indian Criminal Code, which reflected the English Common Law of the day. We expected to be magistrates in our new job and were obliged to learn a great deal of legal terminology and theory quickly. In addition we had to have at our finger tips much detail of the relevant Tanganyika Statutes.

Language was an integral element of our Course. We were required to pass the Elementary Swahili Exam before we finished at Oxford. Our teacher was Bobby Maguire, a former member of the colonial administration, always smartly turned out, with a military bearing and moustache, and an extensive knowledge of the East African coast and of the language. He was a genial and hospitable man who invited us more than once to his home. He and his wife lived in a comfortable old stone and oak-beamed cottage in the middle of the village of Thame with a long and beautiful garden where we much enjoyed his hospitality.

Mr Maguire was assisted by Abdallah, who came from Mombasa and helped us with the spoken word and our accent. Our group spent a great deal of time with these two, going through the bones of the language and gradually building up our vocabulary. Swahili is not difficult to learn in the sense that it is spoken as it is written, and there are few irregularities. Once one grasps the basic structure, the rest falls into place. Our instructors were straightforward, clear and systematic in their approach; they were patient, friendly and humorous too in coaxing us through the problem areas; and as a result we all did well in the end-of-course exams.

Our lectures tended to be held all over the city and in some out-of-the-way places like the Forestry Institute, and the College of Technology. One morning we might be at Queen Elizabeth House, and the next at the School of Geography; sometimes we were at lecture rooms along Keble Road; at other times in colleges such as Wadham and Nuffield, at Rhodes House itself or in the Club. The variety of our subjects and of the teaching locations was part of the fun. Some of the more important events were held in the evening - we became members of the East Africa Association and went to lectures on general topics by prominent speakers like Margery Perham and President Azikiwe of Nigeria.

Having recently spent some time in Germany and become interested in their language, I took German conversation in the evenings once a week at a private house in the city. This was very much an extra-mural activity that I enjoyed and helped later when I wanted to read the original literature of the German occupation of Tanganyika. Sadly I never mastered conversation and forgot it all in a very few years.


I also read as much as I could find about the system of administration in Tanganyika. It had been developed by Lord Lugard in West Africa and Sir Donald Cameron in the East, and was known as ‘Indirect Rule’. Chiefs, and federations of chiefs, were recognised to run local government through their tribal structures of petty chiefs and headmen. Their Native Authorities raised their own revenue from fees and taxes to spend on local development and administration, while native courts were empowered to settle civil and minor disputes. The DC had ultimate authority while supporting and advising the system. He was also a magistrate with significant powers in criminal cases; he had responsibility in most areas for the police and prisons; and he was Head of the District Team which could include specialist European staff with duties concerning agriculture, animal health, construction, nursing and medicine. In each district the DC could normally dispose of one or two District Officers (DOs), of whom the junior was often a newly-fledged Cadet which I was to become.

It was necessary to learn about the country in which I was to serve. The Germans had occupied Tanganyika in the 1880s during the so called ‘Scramble for Africa’, had brought law and order to the country, building forts known as ‘Bomas’ in all the population centres, ending the mainland slave trade, and putting down rebellions with great severity. They had developed Dar es Salaam as the capital city, built railways across the colony, and introduced sisal and coffee as cash crops. The British had kicked them out in the Great War and the country had become a British Mandate in 1920 and UN Trustee Territory in 1946. The Trustee Agreement required the colonial power to promote the development of free political institutions, and to ensure equal treatment for all, subject to the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants. The country was at that time administered by a Governor, assisted by an Executive Council (Exco) of eight official and six unofficial members. Laws were enacted by the Governor with the advice of the Exco and the consent of the Legislative Council (Legco) of thirty-one official and nominated members and thirty unofficial members (MLC), ten each being European, Asian and African.

The country was the size of France and divided into eight provinces, run by Provincial Commissioners (PCs) reporting to the Governor, and further divided into fifty-six districts under District Commissioners (DCs). At Dar es Salaam was situated the Secretariat under the Chief Secretary who also responded to the Governor. Second in importance to Dar was the port of Tanga to the north. The other Provinces were:

ProvinceMain town(s)Principal tribe(s)
CentralDodomathe Gogo
LakeMwanzathe Sukuma
SouthernMtwara & Songeavarious
WesternTaborathe Nyamwezi
EasternMorogorothe Luguru
NorthernArusha & MoshiMasai & Chagga
Southern HighlandsMbeya & Iringathe Hehe

Word reached me that I was to spend my first tour in Songea in the south, and I read as much as I could find about the Southern Province which seemed to be in many ways the most remote and farthest backward part of the Territory.

Balliol College

My membership of Balliol was important but took second place after the Colonial Service Club. At the College, I attended freshmen’s and other graduate meetings and found my way to the library and the Hall where I dined several times a week. I was invited to meet the eminent Master and other college dignitaries but I had no ‘tutor’ in any sense in the college and I did not much mix with the undergraduates except in sport. I grew, however, to know and enjoy the company of a number of graduates of my vintage, and played bowls on the lawn of Balliol First Court with a pleasant crowd on many a fine evening.

May 1956 on the Isis
May 1956 on the Isis
The College provided me with useful opportunities for sport. I joined a scratch rugger team of those who were enthusiastic without being either particularly tough or skilful. With these chaps I was able to have some pleasant and challenging games - on the wing as usual - through the winter months. The last game of the season was a friendly match played on a fairly rough pitch in what were known as the University Parks, not far from where I was living. Half way through the game, the ball came my way out on the left wing. I ran forward and lunged towards it with my hands outstretched ready to grasp it. Someone from the other side who was racing me to it, took a hefty kick to it, missed it and connected with my head. I was dragged unconscious off the pitch and left on the grass by the touchline under someone’s coat while the game went on. I woke up and felt no ill effects apart from a headache. I regained my place on the field and carried on with the game - though I doubt if I took much further part in it. I had no suspicion of the way in which that kick would caused me serious problems later on.

I went on to row in a Balliol boat on the Isis during the Trinity Term - as Oxford styles the summer term - and enjoyed myself hugely. I was once again in the college ‘rugger’ boat and there promoted to no. 7 in the boat immediately behind Stroke. This was a much more responsible position than bow had been - indeed I was put in the ‘power house’ of the boat which seemed strange as I was still one of the lightest men aboard and my experience was modest, but at any rate I enjoyed the river. Our boat was Balliol IV (Balliol was a lot smaller a college than John’s and had only five boats on the river that summer whereas LMBC at John’s had eleven), and we started the May Races high up on the water in Division VI. We rowed over satisfactorily on the first afternoon, but were bumped on each of the following three days by boats from Worcester College, Merton and Jesus successively. We worked very hard but failed dismally. Our poor performance was eclipsed only by Balliol’s First Boat which started as Head of the River on the first day of the races, was bumped four times and ended up on 1st June a long way from the top. It was a disappointing year for the College. There was not much to celebrate at the ‘Bump Supper’, though it was still a good party.


It was a pity but understandable that the College could not offer me rooms in college or at their lodging house at Holywell. During my first term, I rented digs in a quiet terraced house off Walton Road, up behind Worcester College and the Ashmolean. It was a dull little single bedroom looking on to a back yard, sufficient for my needs but rather lonely. I missed the evenings of conversation with coffee and beer, the bridge and the frequent cheerful parties of my undergraduate years.

After one term, Harry Magnay I decided to share a flat, and found a suite of rooms on the first floor of a big Victorian house at the end of a quiet cul de sac in Norham Road in Park Town. It was within walking distance of some handy shops on the Banbury Road, of the Club in South Parks Road, and of Keble Road where a number of our lectures took place. On one side of the landing was a big living room with good sized windows looking over the front garden, and the other side was a kitchen that also served as a bathroom - a board came down over the bath to provide us with a table for our breakfast. It was ideal except for one thing. I had not realised that Harry was wooing Hilary. Harry was an extrovert and thoroughly enjoyed a party, but he kept many things to himself, including his love affair. I enjoyed Hilary’s company for she was a very friendly person, and I was delighted to find her in the flat when I came in at the end of the day, but I was green about affairs of the heart. I was completely taken by surprise when Harry told me one day he would like me to move out of the flat because he was going to marry Hilary. I had quickly to find an alternative for my final few weeks at Oxford.

I bought a car - a tin box of an old Austin that cost a very few pounds and sometimes ran quite well. I trundled over to Monkey Island from time to time, notably for a good party on Guy Fawkes Night and the following weekend. I drove across to Cambridge to see old friends there on several occasions; the warm-hearted Girton ladies invited me to a big party at the University Arms Hotel in January, and I went to another party in mid June not long before we went down. Better still, I went over for the John’s 1957 May Ball, using Girton College as the base and meeting other friends again.

I was also able to drive down to Town for one or two parties - Dansie gave us a very smart dance that November, and I was able to spend time with my sister Margaret and the children in Willow Road. The car did however have a tendency to break down; I was taking Pat Hobson over to Cambridge on one occasion when the big end went with a dreadful clang and stranded us in the depths of the Hertfordshire countryside. Worse still, the petrol rationing introduced at the time of the Suez Crisis curtailed my extra-mural activities (Anthony Eden’s abortive invasion of Egypt led to oil sanctions, among many other inconvenient things). Then, even more maddeningly, when parking the car in a dark corner of the garage where it was kept when not on the road, I backed it into an unmarked open inspection pit. The garage proprietor hauled it out and reported gloomily that back axle had been bent, so I had to be very careful with it thereafter and sold it eventually for next to nothing.

Social Life at Oxford

There was always masses going on in Oxford, as there had been at Cambridge. I saw a certain amount of two old Shirburnians who were still up, James Maas and Mike Duffett, and they helped me find my way round the university in my first few months. I joined the Oxford Union, as I had the Cambridge Union, and listened to the debates. There were excellent shows at the theatre that even attracted Liz and her Monkey Island friends who came over for the Sadlers Wells Ballet when it was in the city.

Devonshire Course
Devonshire Course
My social life soon however began to revolve around the Club, the other men who were on my Course, and the Haidhuru who were destined for Tanganyika, We were all constantly in the Club-house where, besides our own group, we were able to enjoy the company of those going out to other colonies, notably Uganda and Kenya, whom we met for drinks and a game of billiards and even a couple of dances. We also visited each other in our colleges. John Illingworth invited us to Trinity College where he had rooms. Simon Hardwick threw a couple of cheerful drinks parties in his beautiful Oriel College and gave us an excellent dinner there - where I well remember how we enjoyed the college’s Muscadet, eight year old Santenay and twenty year old Sandemans Port. I played bridge once or twice with Charles Thatcher and others, and Charles entertained us all at his parents’ home not far from Oxford.

I discovered that several of my contemporaries were on the point of getting married. We had all been warned that Cadets were not permitted to be accompanied by their wives during their first two years of service in Tanganyika, but nothing discouraged my new friends from actively pursuing marriage with the girls of their choice. Harry met and married Hilary and kicked me out of the flat. In addition, Norman Macleod wed Jane Bromley (sister of John who had been a friend at St John’s College), Charles Thatcher married Susan, and Pat Hobson became heavily involved with Penny in amateur dramatics and numerous artistic activities at Magdalen College. Pat and Penny were very hospitable and we were all delighted when they announced their engagement in June, and we had an excuse for some very happy celebrations.

The final weeks at Oxford

All too soon we were plunged into a round of exams to check our knowledge of the key course subjects. Law was probably the most difficult and required the most careful revision; and Swahili, both oral and written took up the most time. We all passed all the exams which we sat in the third week of June, at the conclusion of the Course, starting immediately after my return from the John’s May Ball. I was awarded 70% in the Swahili which was pleasing and suggested I had been well taught.

There was a flurry of farewell parties and I came down from Oxford for good on June 26th. The next day was a Saturday and it was Sports Day at Michael March’s prep school. I drove there and was shown round and had a delightful day - in loco parentis, as it were.

A letter dated 2nd July reached me at home from the Colonial Office which read:

“I am directed by Mr Secretary Lennox-Boyd to …say that a satisfactory report, following your course of instruction at Oxford University having been received, your selection for appointment to the service of the Government of Tanganyika on probation as an Administrative Officer (Cadet) on the terms communicated to you… has been confirmed.

The Crown Agents …are being asked to provide you with a passage to Tanganyika on the “Warwick Castle” which is due to sail on the 24th July….I am, Sir, Your obedient servant,.”

I had to organise myself for my departure. With an outfit allowance of £45 I had a great deal to buy with which to fit out my future home in East Africa. I purchased linen, blankets, crockery, kitchen gear and tropical clothes. In addition, Uncle Francis generously gave me his double-barrelled shotgun and his old golf-clubs. We were recommended to use Bakers, the forwarding agents, located in Golden Square in Soho. When all my kit was assembled, I dumped it all on Bakers who packed it in wooden crates and tin trunks and arranged for it to be loaded onto the ‘Warwick Castle’ and put in the hold on my behalf.

I managed to fit in a couple of Luton dances and a weekend in Aldeburgh sailing at the Yacht club on the river Alde with Graeme. I sold my car - for a pittance; I packed a trunk to take with me in my cabin; I did the round of relations to say goodbye - especially to Caryl who was off to Australia; I sorted out my affairs at the bank and collected travellers’ cheques for the voyage. I was ready to go.

The final weeks at Oxford

Thus organised, I was able to join my parents, John and Doreen, and Peter, Susan and Bill at a farm on the edge of the South Downs in Sussex for a few days of complete relaxation.
Brooke House
Horton Hall Farm was a very smelly chicken farm, but peaceful and comfortable. We all had fun on the sands of Shoreham; and I played a little (bad) golf with my father, called on cousin Joy and Ray Doyle, and drank their beer out of tooth-mugs. Liz came over and went off to look at a house for sale to see if it would be suitable for her new venture - a children’s home. We had an afternoon at a local swimming pool - Peter swam beautifully - and a picnic and family cricket. It was a memorable holiday with some happy children, and I was sad to say goodbye for what I expected to be three years.

Mother then drove me up to Hampstead where we found Margaret, Robin and Lally all unwell, and had a drink and supper with Roger in a local pub. More goodbyes. I then spent what I assumed would be my last night in Brooke House. More packing; and my father, suffering from a painful toothache, drove my mother and me in the Wyvern down to Shed 12 of the King George V docks where the ‘Warwick Castle’ was waiting for me.

The ‘Warwick Castle’

On arrival at the docks on the afternoon of 24th July, 1957, I found myself hustled aboard by taciturn and unhelpful customs and immigration people. There was no time to say goodbye; I was not allowed to go back down to the quay nor were my parents allowed to join me aboard. It was a messy and unhappy departure.

The ship cast off in the late evening and spent an hour leaving the docks through a lock into the river while all of us leant over the rail - and the magic and mystery of a sea voyage gripped us so that even the dirty, smoky and very smelly London dockland looked romantic by night. Thus the ship entered the river Thames and turned east to sail down river into the North Sea, with the promise of four weeks afloat, of which three would be spent at sea and one in ports along the way.

That first evening, I sorted myself out and tracked down my colleagues bound for East Africa. It was pleasant to meet them all again - looking very fit, all rather excited while trying not to feel sad, as we all undoubtedly did, sailing away from our families at home. We were in the Tourist Class and shared small two-bunk interior cabins. I had the upper bunk above Roy Bonsell who was an easy and pleasant companion. We had sufficient room for our suitcases and a decent-sized wardrobe. The food was not bad, and the lounges and bar were adequate, but the Tourist Class deck space was small and pretty nauseous, being aft of the funnel and the kitchens.

We quickly established a routine while sailing. A cup of coffee was handed to us in our bunks in the cabin every morning at 7.15; breakfast was always deliciously satisfying, lunch was rather average, the afternoons were lazy, and our group all bathed and changed into a suit before dinner. In the evening, entertainment was often provided, either by a little band for dancing on the deck under the stars, or with a film on a screen rigged up aft. During the day we played deck tennis in the open air, or cards or ‘liar dice’ in the smoking room, or sat in the bar drinking and talking at almost any hour of day or night - and we talked an awful lot. The few girls travelling on the ship were a friendly crowd and made dancing and social life very pleasant. On Sundays the Captain held a church service in the First Class lounge and we all went to it, partly in order to pass the second half of the morning in the First Class bar.

The space for deck tennis was limited but it was the best way of getting rid of surplus energy. Deck quoits was considered an old man’s game, but was also entertaining. A canvas swimming-pool was erected as soon as we reached warmer weather but it was minute and grew dirty quickly with the kids playing about in it. So some of us nipped into the First Class tiled bathing-pool on the upper deck early each morning before breakfast when there was nobody about. Mostly we kept cool by sitting in deck chairs in the shade - under lifeboats or decking, and reading avidly. To keep myself from growing bored I read the thousand pages of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” on the ship, and spent time each day brushing up my Swahili and looking at the “Teach Yourself ” book of Arabic. I kept a diary and wrote countless farewell and thank you letters during the first week to post at each port of call. In addition I bought every English newspaper I could find, and went through them and their crosswords avidly.

Gibraltar was our first stop. Seven of us hired an enormous taxi and were driven all over the Rock. We were taken down to the frontier, round the defences and across the airfield that ran into the sea on both sides. We looked at the beaches behind the Rock and the tunnels that had been dug through it during the War. We went up the cliff face to admire the view and inspect those unpleasant apes - nasty, aggressive creatures. After exploring the caves overlooking the Spanish frontier, we paid off our driver and wandered round the dull and dusty town. It was a hot and uninspiring visit.

At Marseilles several of my group took a bus out to the quiet beach at Cassis for a bathe and picnic. We found a delightful spot in a cove nestling between picturesque cliffs where the sun was warm although the water was surprisingly cold; and following a refreshing break we took a taxi back to the boat.

Genoa gave us two days of glorious weather when we were able to treat the ship as a hotel, leaving it in the early morning, returning for dinner each evening, and going out into the city again to round off the day in one of the many delightful cafes and bistros in the old town with their cheap and tasty Chianti. We split up during the day into little groups, but often met for the afternoon at a pre-arranged beach along the coast.

John Illingworth and I hired a Vespa motor-scooter, which ran us around very comfortably for about 30/- each including petrol. We buzzed along the coast road to Rapallo, finding several pleasant spots free of tourists, where the Italian Riviera was very attractive and the Mediterranean very warm. One day, we took our Vespa inland high into the Ligurian Alps. We covered some sixty miles of fascinating country, before returning downhill to the coast for an afternoon swimming and lazing at Portofino. We were sorry to have to say goodbye to our Vespa and Genoa when we set sail again.

The ship cruised down the west coast of Italy and sailed close enough for watchers on board early one morning to see flashes from the mouth of the volcano, Stromboli. Around 6.30am next day the ship passed through the narrow Straits of Messina, with Mount Etna in the distance, seemingly covered in snow. Thereafter the ‘Warwick Castle’ left the land, the weather warmed up in the eastern Mediterranean, and passengers changed into shorts and tropical dress.

At Port Said, despite the British invasion only a few months earlier, we were allowed ashore, the shop-keepers were delighted to see us but their shops were empty. The shelves were bare in Simon Artz, the famous dock-side multiple store; in the town many other shops were closed; the paint on all the buildings was dirty; offices stood empty amid broken glass; town houses were tightly shuttered; and in general Port Said looked pathetic.

The new mosque was the only public building worth seeing, but its tower was unsafe after the bombing before the invasion. Visitors were not permitted to see the area of destruction; we were sent instead to visit the Catholic cathedral. The verger said that the church’s congregation had stood at six thousand people before the invasion and been reduced to fewer than six hundred unhappy Greeks and Italians. The European residential area of the town was deserted - all means of livelihood gone. Along the quay, the Egyptians had tried to destroy the De Lesseps statue and the remains of several wrecks lay around the harbour mouth. At what had been one of the superior tourist hotels on the corniche, we drank a beer with a few friendly Canadian UN soldiers.

That night the Canadians took us to one of the remaining night-spots where we were well served and entertained with dance music. A cabaret of muscular dancing girls did terrifying contortions with their tummies. We were highly amused and came away happily in a great crowd. Pedlars sold roses with a beautiful scent at a shilling a bunch, so we returned on board with bunches of sweet-smelling red roses and a friendly feeling towards Port Said despite the unsavoury impression of the afternoon.

All the following day the ship was part of a long convoy going down the Suez Canal. We leant over the side for hours, looking at the sand, palms, camels, donkeys, dirty little villages, and units of the Egyptian army in training by barracks on the shore. I was reluctantly roped in to a whist drive after tea, and thus missed most of the sights of the southern half of the Canal, and emerged from the smoking room in time only for a last glimpse of Port Suez. That night we entered the Red Sea, and for the next three days had only one thought - to get away from the heat. The temperature went up to 108 degrees in the sun on deck. The days were intolerably hot and humid and the cabins were unbearably stuffy. A light breeze blew up, but failed to reduce the humidity or penetrate the cabins.

The ship steamed into Aden harbour for bunkering, but to our regret, no shore leave was permitted. A case of polio had been diagnosed on board. A dark cloud seemed to hang over the ship; people with headaches and coughs were isolated, and the swimming baths and children’s nurseries were closed. Social life continued however while the ship steamed onward for ten days without docking. Competitions started on deck and we all took part. I survived the first round of the deck quoits mixed doubles, but failed badly in the deck tennis singles to a fat South African. We played a great deal of liar dice, and began to play bridge in the afternoons and evenings. Charles was an experienced player; Simon was thoughtful; I was beginning to grasp the essentials; and one of the others was always prepared to make up a four.

Most of us slept on deck, rose each morning with the sun, and slipped into the swimming pool for a quick refreshing bathe. We woke one morning to feel a stiff breeze blowing spray over us and to see Cape Guardafui on the starboard beam. We were in the Indian Ocean and feeling the effects of the southwest monsoon. The breeze freshened, the sea grew rough and we had to contend with sea-sickness among the passengers, especially the children. As we drew near the Equator, it rained and grew much colder. It was exhilarating to stand in the ship’s bows, forward of the First Class lounge, in the face of the tearing wind. The colour of the sea was black, with huge troughs in the waves; dolphins played in it and silver-backed flying fishes flitted across from crest to crest of the ten foot high waves, as we ducked the plumes of spray splashing across the deck.

Warwick Castle Fancy Dress
Warwick Castle Fancy Dress
Gradually the sea calmed down and the wind weakened. We celebrated ‘Crossing the Line’ with numerous festivities. Dinner was a gay and noisy affair as we officially crossed the Equator, and our meal was followed by a fancy dress parade and dance. As there were eight of us, we Haidhurus decided to turn ourselves into Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I was elected on a vote of seven to one to be Snow White. The girls put me in a white bridesmaid dress with black and white crinkly paper for bodice and apron; and the ensemble was completed by a huge black wig. The dwarves were most impressive - six foot tall with gumboots, pyjamas, woolly berets and pickaxes. We marched on, sang our little song ‘Heigh Ho….” ad nauseam, and to our delight were presented with the prize for the best group. Some of the individual costumes were quite excellent; prizes were presented; the band played and we danced. When the band stopped we went on deck and sang songs to a banjo; then at some unearthly hour in the morning a few of us invaded the galley and were given cups of tea and sandwiches by the cook on duty; and we went on talking for hours more.

On the final evening before reaching Mombasa, Harry and I threw a small farewell cocktail party to say goodbye to our fellow cadets destined for Kenya and Uganda and the girls whose company we had much enjoyed. They were to disembark at Mombasa where the train would take them up to Nairobi and Kampala. We invited thirty guests among our friends and gave them South African wine with a dash of Benedictine and an excellent buffet provided by the ship. Our party was followed by others that night and someone’s belated birthday, so that it was very late before we spread our lilos under the winches for a few hours sleep, before entering harbour in the early morning.


For most of us, Kilindini docks at Mombasa were our first sight of black Africa, and inevitably rather unprepossessing. We hung around the gangway to the shore to say goodbye to those disembarking to catch the train and to watch the cargo being unloaded - Fiat cars, Vespa motor cycles, Dewars whisky, asbestos sheets, and masses of heavy crates.

Then the mail came aboard. In addition to a long letter from home, I was handed a note from the Secretariat in Dar es Salaam to say my posting had been changed. I was appointed to Handeni District in Tanga Province instead of the Southern Province. This meant I had to disembark at Tanga, the next port of call, instead of getting off the boat with the others at Dar es Salaam. The change of plan was confirmed in a friendly letter from the Handeni DC welcoming me to the District. In a great flurry and flap I busily replied to the official letters and arranged to pack my belongings and extract my tin trunks, baggage roll and gun from the ship’s hold much earlier than expected.

While I was with the purser and stewards, Charles and Harry went ashore and hired a car - a nice-looking Morris traveller. Six of us piled in and went for a spin to look at the city and the countryside beyond. We drove out to the Nyali Beach Hotel, flung on our bathing trunks and rushed into the sea, splashing around like schoolboys in the warm water. It was a glorious bathe; and we were all singularly content with life, having just about reached our destination, and the culmination of four years of study and training. We went out in the car again after supper on board, parked by the Mombasa Club and strolled around Fort Jesus, looking at the Court, the cathedral, the hotels, and the old Arab houses with their heavy brass-studded wooden doors.

Next morning, we found the ship half-empty and planned a safari to look at game in the Reserve up-country. We raided the baggage room for bedding rolls, blankets and camping gear; Charles wangled a store of food and a couple of bottles of wine from the ship’s cooks; and off six of us went - over the causeway and up the road to Voi. We started through a green and fertile belt among the coconut palms, but the tarmac quickly gave way to a dust road of ruts and corrugations. Along the roadside, the children were naked and the women bare-breasted, carrying cans of water and foodstuffs on their heads - we were truly in Africa.

At Voi we consulted the Game Ranger at his workshops and entered the Reserve. Herds of deer and gazelle were wandering by the roadside; then close to the track was a tall and stately giraffe gently grazing among the thorn bushes. My heart stopped. The thrill of first seeing animals in the wild was indescribable. This was a moment of supreme excitement and pleasure - and it was compounded many times as we drove on. Our joy was mitigated a little by poor Harry who was feverish and whose nose bled copiously into the dust when we paused for a very late lunch. We had to go back to Voi to refuel and then drove deep into the Reserve to the Safari Lodge at Aduba Dam where the water attracted the animals. It was late when we reached the rest-house, tired after frequent pauses to watch herds of elephant; and it was somewhat disconcerting to find it already occupied. We put up camp beds in the kitchen and store-room - I chose to sleep in the car which was not a success. Our uncomfortable night was nevertheless exciting as, for the very first time, we heard the bumps, growls, squawks and barks of creatures in the bush around us.

We were awake early and took the car to the dam at first light to watch the animals come down for their early morning drink, notably herds of elephant and a group of fierce-looking buffalo. We stayed there for a long while as the animals drank greedily and their young played at the water’s edge. We followed them in the car as they withdrew and drove on round the circuit of the Reserve, passing the Lugard Falls and a stretch of the Galano River, seeing other elephants, more tall giraffe, all sorts of deer and buck, and numerous monkeys. As we emerged from the Park, we called at Tsavo but it was a miserable place and offered nothing so we drove back to Voi for much-needed sustenance and a wash, and Harry then motored us down the dusty, bumpy road back to the ship.

After food on board, we went back out to Nyali Beach where the ship’s officers in starched white monkey jackets and others from the boat in black ties were dancing under the stars and coconut palms to a very gay band. We were not dressed for such a smart party so we walked along the beach chatting and enjoying the evening breeze. Crabs were everywhere in the sand scuttling in and out of their little burrows. Someone decided we should catch some in a bag and scatter them on the dance floor to cause a little confusion among the partygoers. Norman and John caught half a dozen while I laughed at their antics. We went back to the hotel bar for a much-needed drink, and the little brutes escaped, so we never discovered the effect they would have had on the dancers; instead we drank and talked the night away.

The next day was Sunday and the ship was dead, so five of us went back to Nyali to a service at St Peter’s church. It was a wooden, open-sided and thatchroofed building where the Africans sang the hymns in Swahili with tremendous gusto - it was grand to see such enthusiasm - and the pleasant young parson preached an encouraging sermon. This was my last day aboard, and I spent the rest of it writing letters and packing. In the evening we had a final and formal Haidhuru drink as we expected it to be the last occasion on which we would all be together. I went to bed that night tired and apprehensive about what was waiting for me next day when we docked at Tanga. I was to land there and at long last assume the mantle of a District Officer in the Colonial Service on full pay.

Off Tanga

By the time I woke next morning the ship was already at anchor off Tanga. The harbour was too shallow for the ‘Warwick Castle’ to go alongside so we sat in the bay some way off shore where I had my first view of Tanganyika. In the bright sunlight, I saw a sandy beach, shaded by coconut palms, a few white office blocks and scattered houses among the trees that looked like official residences, a sailing club, a dock for small boats, cranes and a jetty. A little green island lay in the foreground; behind it to the right and to the left as far as one could see, stretched a thin green strip of mangroves in swamps marking the edge of the land - and miles and miles of nothing much else.

I dressed in clean white shorts and shirt and was called down to the smoking room to meet the Immigration Officer. There I joined Norman Macleod who was to go ashore with me and was posted to the town of Tanga itself. A man called King introduced himself to us as Office Manager at the Tanga District Office and explained he had come to collect us in his land-rover. So we had a hurried breakfast, made our goodbyes, and climbed with him down into a small boat that carried us to the jetty. Our suitcases were waiting for us in the Customs Shed, and we could only hope our heavy luggage was being transferred to a lighter to be brought ashore at the docks later on. The young Indian customs officer was friendly and passed us through rapidly; and we emerged into the sunlight on a dusty road in Tanga to start life as District Officer Cadets.

Chapter 2: Handeni
“It would be hard to find another job, then or now, that gave responsibility and satisfaction in equal measure at so early an age, or a lifestyle that was as rich in enjoyment as it was rewarding in fulfilment.”

J. H. Smith CBE, in a foreword to “”Symbol of Authority” by Anthony Kirk-Greene.

Landing at Tanga

Mr King told Norman and me a little about Tanga as we came ashore. It was the headquarters of the Province of the same name which comprised five Districts including ‘Tanga Town’, ‘Tanga Rural’, and Handeni that was the poorest of the lot. He loaded us and our bags into his land-rover and whisked us through the town along the shore to the Provincial Office, a huge solid old white building looking out to sea. There we were hustled in front of the Deputy Provincial Commissioner (DPC) to say how d’ye do, and then into the big cool wooden-floored high-ceilinged office of the PC, a big whiskery fellow named Shaw. He welcomed us warmly, spoke to us briefly about our postings and future exams and sent us off to meet his secretary who had letters and messages for us.

We were then taken down the road a few yards to the Tanga Boma, the District Office, which was a converted garage that had been smartened up and provided offices for two DCs. We were introduced to Reed, known as ‘DC Urban’ who was to be our host for the next day or two in his bachelor quarters. He had a military bearing and was the strong silent type. The ‘DC Rural’ was named Alan Brown, who was a complete contrast. He was a small chatty Scotsman, a pleasant, friendly man and was to be Norman’s immediate boss. Alan talked with us for a while about the work of his District and then sent us off to the Standard Bank to open bank accounts and arrange overdrafts until our salaries and allowances started to roll.

We found Tanga to be a compact, well laid-out township with shady ornamental trees lining many of its roads. It was only three streets deep, but had some fine old German-built houses including the Provincial Office, a hospital, a quiet park along the harbour front, and a beautiful outlook seaward over sparkling sands. Some commercial buildings looked new; the sailing club had a bright and cheerful appearance, and a line of bungalows amid acacia trees looked neat and cool. We saw the war memorials, and were reminded how the British had sent an expeditionary force to land there unsuccessfully in 1914 which had led to considerable loss of life - I knew all about it because my father’s senior partner, my Uncle Hugo, had been a member of the invading force as a young man. The African market was noisy, scruffy, animated and smelly with stalls of drying fish and raw meat covered in flies. The Indian-owned shops seemed to stock everything we wanted and the European firms had convenient offices. After a quick tour, we went first to the bank, then to the Police Station to arrange licences for our guns, and on to the shipping agents to arrange offloading of our trunks from the lighters out in the bay.

Mr Reed then took us to his home which was a large German-built property with several big bare rooms with red polished floors, and one with a spacious sunken bath. The house must have been put up as a mess for several young men and the Germans had done themselves proud. Our host had two giant, voracious and slobbering dogs, and he treated his servants in a terse and peremptory fashion which surprised Norman and me. Even more surprising was the way he allowed them to cook quite awful food. The steaks they served that first morning were practically uneatable; the coffee that followed was undrinkable. When I was shown my bedroom I found no sheets. Tea was almost as bad and there were only two unbroken cups. The garden was wild and over-grown with rank grasses. It was a strange and unwelcoming household for us to find on arrival in the country - happily I never met another like it in my subsequent wanderings around Tanganyika.

During our first afternoon I accompanied Norman to open up the house he had been allocated by the Public Works Department (PWD). It was a pleasant spot, and Norman who expected to be joined by his wife Jane before long was satisfied with it, although it needed some urgent repairs. On making enquiries, I discovered my heavy baggage would take a couple of days to be unloaded and cleared by the Customs, and Mr Shaw, the PC, instructed me firmly to wait for its appearance before setting off for Handeni, so I was unable to do anything for myself except buy necessities and get some washing done. I was desperately eager to reach my station and start work, but I had to be patient. Happily we discovered that Mr Maguire, our Oxford Swahili teacher, was in Tanga too. He had flown out to spend some time in the country during the summer vacation in order to brush up his knowledge of the language before the next ‘Devonshire Course’. Norman and I caught up with him at the Palm Court Hotel, and found him surrounded by our fellow ‘Haidhurus’ who had come ashore while the boat remained in the harbour. We had not expected to see them again and were delighted to do so, all talking at once as we gave them our first impressions. We had a very relaxed and merry time and drank another toast to the Haidhurus - and this was indeed the very last time all eight of us were together. The ‘Warwick Castle’ sailed for Dar es Salaam late that night - while ashore Norman and I had an uncomfortable evening following a ghastly supper of half-cooked fish.

The Governor

I spent next morning with Norman at his house, killing time while helping him sort out his furniture and make a list of essential repairs for the PWD to tackle - leaking roof, broken door frame and so on. We visited the Labour Exchange where Norman hired a cook and a house-boy to look after him in an amusing and interesting series of interviews. We were sitting in Norman’s office in the Boma in the early afternoon working out salaries and expenses, when we were suddenly summoned to go out to the air-strip to meet the Governor, Sir Edward Twining. Apparently he had spent the morning with Alan Brown on a tour of the rural district and wanted to meet us before flying back to Dar es Salaam. So we were positioned beside his little three-seater plane to await his return at the conclusion of his business in the District.

In due course his convoy of cars arrived and Alan introduced us to HE. He was both larger and older than I had expected. Dressed impeccably in a light grey suit, he appeared a little tired and worn, but was totally relaxed and very cheerful in talking to us. He had a big laugh, a hearty manner, and a great sense of humour, and was very ready to break off from his official safari to chat and joke with us.

Addressing us both he said:

“How d’ye do. I’m sorry to bring you out of the office but I’m glad to meet you this afternoon. I normally inflict lunch at Government House on all cadets but you two haven’t been down to Dar es Salaam yet. I’ve already met four of ’em there and I wanted to see what you looked like.”

He talked about the speech he was going to deliver to the Legco in a day or two that was obviously on his mind and told odd little stories about himself. Then he asked us about ourselves, and this is how the conversation went. Looking at me, he enquired, “Which are you?”

Me. “Eberlie, sir.”

Sir E.T. “Where are you going?”

Me. “Handeni, sir”

Sir E.T. “It’s a very quiet place. Lots of ‘fitina’ there. Do you know what that is?”

Me. “No, sir.”

Sir E.T. “It’s malice!”

Me, ever helpful. “And there’s witchcraft. I gather I’ll be bewitched.”

Sir E.T. “Oh, yes. My wife is thinking of setting up a school for witch-doctors. And I wanted to form a committee on witchcraft and put Nyerere on it. Don’t believe anything in Handeni. Believe nothing of what you hear and half of what you see, and you’ll get on alright there”

Looking at Norman, “And you’re going to be in Tanga. You’ll like it. It’s an interesting sort of place. Either a murder or a road accident every day.”

Looking at us both, “This is a wonderful country. This is a tremendous service. They are the salt of the earth. You have the prestige and authority to do a good job here. You’ve got to be a pretty dull sort to find it boring. Well. I just wanted to see you chaps, and now I have! Goodbye!”

With that, the Governor scrambled into his plane; we waved him off and, much elated by the interview, went back to Norman’s office to carry on with our calculations.

That evening Norman and I were given a drink by the PC and met Mrs Shaw in their very grand flat above his office overlooking the harbour, and we went on to have supper with Nan and Alan Brown with whom we were already friends. I thought them a delightful couple and envied Norman such a pleasant boss. We got on very easily with them and I listened with great interest as Nan spoke about social life in Tanga and Alan described some of his experience of Africa and the Africans. Norman, being another lowland Scot, discovered he and the Browns had many acquaintances in common; and I well remember Nan saying that evening, “The great attraction of Tanganyika is that there is always something unexpected round the corner.”

The Journey to Handeni

Two more days passed while Norman and I waited for the off-loading of our baggage, and when at last we were called to collect it, we had to check it carefully and search the warehouses for boxes forgotten by the Union Castle people and the agent’s staff. One crate of mine was missing, as was one of Norman’s boxes; they went on to Dar es Salaam and took some weeks to come back - it was all rather tedious.

The only interesting interlude during two dreary days was our visit to the Provincial Office when we were sworn in by Mr Shaw, signed our names and were officially accepted into the Public Service. After that, while Norman sorted himself out, I shopped for essentials, bearing in mind Handeni had no electricity and only two basic shops. I bought a flat iron to be heated by charcoal and all sorts of cleaning implements, brooms, dusters, polishes and the like. At last I was ready to go. I ate my final awful breakfast, offered my thanks to Reed, my strange host, and loaded the borrowed Tanga Boma lorry with my three boxes, three suitcases, two tin trunks, one bedding-roll, a brief case, a golf bag, a gun and a pile of shopping. I climbed into the passenger seat and off we set on the hundred miles journey to Handeni.

The first sixty miles were tarmac, and in gentle rain we kept up a steady 40mph between plantations of sisal with tall green leaves and flower-topped poles. We crossed several wide streams, drove through lots of villages, plantation workers’ lines and the township of Muheza. Up to the north lay the Eastern Usambara hills and Amani, the medical research station where John’s friend, Mick Gillies, studied the malaria-giving mosquitoes. We kept the high land on our right and thundered and rumbled on through a flat and fertile valley until we reached the railway town of Korogwe, in the shadow of the mountains. There we halted at what passed for the town’s hotel. Run by a Greek family, it was a dirty and down-at-heel old building. I sat in a dark, bare and airless bar and was poured some lukewarm beer.

Not much refreshed, I climbed back into the lorry and we turned off the tarmac road in a southerly direction. Leaving the sisal and the hills behind us, we entered an arid country that I soon discovered was typical of the central plateau of Tanganyika. Wide and open, the sparse bush was interspersed with thickets of wicked and aptly-named ‘wait-a-bit’ thorn trees, woodland on the higher ground, tall elephant grass in the valleys, with a scattering of the ugly baobabs, graceful coconut palms and clumps of doum palms. I later learned this was miombo woodland, which we all called simply the ‘bush’.

We were driving on the main route to Dar es Salaam which ran from Korogwe to Morogoro via Handeni but was no more than a broad dirt road of murram, churning up clouds of dust as we bumped over the corrugations and lurched in and out of the potholes. Far to the south west lay a line of hills that I learnt later were the Nguu Hills, but our route lay over a flat and empty land, past occasional thatched and mud-walled cottages and numerous Africans on bicycles and on foot making their way along the road. My driver stopped frequently to pick up and drop off walkers whom we passed on the roadside and asked for a lift; so the journey took a good deal longer than it need have done, and it was midday before at last we reached our destination.

Handeni District Office

We drove up a long gentle hill, past the turning off to a village of mud-walled and thatched houses that I was told was called Chanika, marked by the wrecked and rusted shell of a car that must have there for years and was half hidden in scrub and rubbish. The driver told me a snake had made his home in it and nobody would go near it.

Just round the corner on the right appeared Handeni Boma. It was an amazing sight straight out of Beau Geste. I saw a long, crenellated fortress of brown stone, four-square with towers at each end, from one of which flapped the Union Jack in the gentle breeze. One could easily imagine the French Foreign Legion in possession. The frames of the windows and central doors were picked out in whitewash as was the low wall in front of the building. Heavy, white-painted stones edged the neatly-swept murram path that led between low Christ’s Thorn hedges to a shaded verandah. Beside the Boma was a stand of mature flamboyant trees whose brilliant red blooms were just coming into flower, while in front were two raised ponds and a gleaming brass Maxim gun on a tripod. The shiny gun was trained to fire down the long avenue of frangipani leading away from the building - a relic of a skirmish in those parts in the First World War.

The District Office occupied half of this fortress, and the DC and his family lived in the other half. A few yards below the Boma lay the open-sided tinroofed meeting room and court house, the baraza, and below it were scattered the offices of the Native Authority (the NA), the neat little police station and the native dispensary with a stock of basic medicines. A good hard tennis court was tucked away behind the Boma and a squash court below the tower under the flag. The story went that a DC many years earlier had sent a telegram to the Secretariat in Dar es Salaam saying, “Please authorise urgent expenditure of £50 for a new court”, and never bothered to explain he was building a squash court rather than a court of law. He put it up against the Boma’s outer wall, where, lacking a roof and needing a coat of whitewash, it was nevertheless an excellent way of taking some exercise.

Below these buildings was a war cemetery to which I walked in my first week at Handeni. I was moved to see in this remote spot the graves of some thirty British dead from the fighting in the First World War. It was beautifully maintained by the Boma with funds provided by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The District Commissioner

Humphrey Foster was in charge when I was there. In Handeni, as elsewhere throughout the Territory, the DC’s authority was extensive. Not only was Humphrey a Class 1 Magistrate with significant powers to hear cases and deliver sentences in the subordinate courts, he was responsible for just about everything that happened in the District. His duties included not only law and order, the police and the prison, but also political stability and democratic development (to reflect the policies of the Colonial Office and the Governor). His job covered health, education, agriculture and water; he had also to oversee town planning, forestry exploitation, road building, as well as tax collection, vermin destruction, the shooting of game, the carrying of firearms, and so on and so forth. Name it, the DC had the ultimate responsibility for it. Under the system of ‘Indirect Rule’ that I had learnt about at Oxford, he was, however, able to pass significant responsibilities to the NA. Not only had the chiefs in each chiefdom their own courts for local law and custom, their council had increasing powers over development control, financial management and taxation in the District.

Others of the DC’s powers and duties were delegated to his District Officers. DOs were also magistrates with strictly limited powers, and might expect to spend perhaps two days out of every six hearing criminal cases in the baraza. The bigger Districts had two DOs, a DOI and a DOII, but Handeni had only one who had a bit of everything in his portfolio, notably police and prison matters, schools, and responsibility for running ‘minor settlements’ as we called the bigger villages around the District. Generally known as Bwana Shauri, the DO was a jack of all trades with a surprising amount of authority. On safari when out of reach of the Boma or in the office on his own, he had of course to do anything and everything that needed doing. As soon as I understood colloquial Swahili, I was surprised to hear myself addressed on safari from time to time, with the polite words, “Ehhh. Bwana Shauri. Wewe ni baba wetu na mama wetu!” (“Mr District Officer. You are our father and our mother!”)

I came to understand this statement was neither flattery nor sarcasm but an acknowledgement of the DO’s powers as well as of his knowledge of the wider world and material things beyond the village and the bush.

As my lorry drove up to the Handeni Boma that first day and I stepped out of its hot cab, the DC strode out of his office and gave me a warm and friendly welcome. Humphrey was a handsome man in his mid-thirties. He was wellbuilt, of middle height, with strikingly fair hair and smartly turned out in white shirt, shorts and stockings. He introduced me to his warm and motherly wife, Audrey who also came out to greet me and was followed by their four children. The eldest was Peter’s age and going off the next week to a boarding school at Lushoto in the Usambara Hills. Next were two red-headed, vivacious and charming twins, a boy and a girl aged 6 or so, who must have kept their mother pretty busy. The youngest was very quiet and subdued. The family then led me to their house in the back half of the Boma and put me at my ease immediately After a quick drink, Humphrey sent me up to ‘my’ new house to unload all my possessions. There I found my predecessor, Fox, still in residence with his wife and only just starting to pack up their belongings. All I could do was unload my boxes onto their verandah and leave them there while the lorry took me back to the Fosters.

Audrey offered to put me up in their spare room until the Foxes had finished packing and moved out. I was made to feel entirely at home and Audrey helped me in any number of ways that day and throughout my early days while I prepared to set up house and start work. She advised me to start by writing out a list of groceries which the lorry driver would take back to Tanga with him and hand in to the big grocer there called ‘City Groceries’ for them to parcel up for me. The next visitor from the coast was to be the PC to spend a week on safari with Humphrey around our District and my grocery order would come out in the boot of his staff car. Only one phone line connected us with Tanga and it was often out of order - broken by marauding baboons or elephants, apparently - so I monopolised it my first afternoon as I went through my long list including heavy stuff such as gin, whisky and bottles of soda. The cost was around £15 which was a large slice out of my pay, but there was no other way to stock up.

In the following days I spent my mornings in the office, listening to the DC in conversation, sitting in on meetings held by him and Fox, picking up the local gossip and learning how to behave in my new role. Over supper on my first evening and on many others thereafter, I learned a lot about the place and the job in discussion with my host and hostess, and I much enjoyed talking to the frequent visitors whom they had to entertain. It was at the Fosters that September that I began to understand the life of a District Officer, and I was enthralled by what I was told.

The Agricultural Officer

The only other Europeans on the station were John and Daphne Ainley. John was a Yorkshireman and the District Agricultural Officer; and he and Daphne were extraordinarily kind and helpful to me. John came over to find me wrestling with my lists on my first afternoon and insisted I broke off to join in their regular evening exercise on the tennis court. Though my game was not up to their standard, they must have been pleased to have another player, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The next day we had more time on the excellent court, and the five of us on the station were able to play both doubles and singles. John also introduced me to the squash court on my first Sunday and lent me a squash racquet from time to time. The only trouble was the light - the best time to play was when the sun had gone down and it was cool for the hour before dark around seven o’clock.

After I moved in to my own house, the Ainleys were my nearest neighbours and had a big, comfortable and homely bungalow where I was invited over for drinks on most evenings in my first weeks. One of the nicest things about life in the bush, I decided, was the way in which we were immediately friends with neighbours and colleagues and their families, and constantly in and out of each other’s houses.

John took me in hand. He insisted I have a fridge and helped me ‘borrow’ the fridge from the house belonging to the the District Assistant, Eddie Davey, a jack of all trades employed by the Public Works Department (the PWD) who with his wife and children were then on leave. The fridge was filthy but we heaved it on to John’s Chevrolet and took it up to my house where we quickly cleaned it up, got it going and put away the beer, butter and meat. Next John took me into Chanika and introduced me to the principal shopkeeper named Kheraj where I was able to obtain more basic goods for the house and even arrange for a tailor make me some khaki shorts. A day or two later in my first week, John took me out in the pick-up to the dam a few miles beyond Handeni with half a dozen pails of the fry of tilapia fish. When fully grown after a season or so, I was told they made good eating, and we emptied the buckets into the dam in order to try and build up a stock of the fish, and thus vary the local Africans’ diet in future years.

The District and the People

I spent as much time as I could on background reading in the District Annual Report and other basic documents. Handeni had been a strategic German centre, at the cross-roads of one of the old slave trading routes inland and the principal north-south road between Tanga and Dar es Salaam. On the map it appeared to be a big place. In reality, it was simply the Boma, surrounding offices and five recently built bungalows. Two of them stood empty and one was mine.

The Boma was roughly in the middle of Handeni District that stretched perhaps sixty miles in every direction and comprised around six thousand square miles of sparse vegetation. It was said to be the size of Yorkshire, and rose to just two thousand feet above sea-level. Within this area lay twelve sizeable villages called ‘Minor Settlements’ like Chanika, each of which was the centre of a chiefdom; and within each chiefdom were scattered lots of little farming communities hidden away deep in the bush. Among the vastness was a maze of footpaths and a few narrow dirt roads, often almost swallowed up in the elephant grass, leading from one group of shacks to another. Most of these tiny hamlets were a group of mud-walled and thatched dwellings, while in the bigger villages were a few whitewashed cement buildings under shiny corrugated-iron roofs that might house an Arab or Indian shop (a duka), perhaps a sub-chief ’s house, a local dispensary, a small market or a two-roomed primary school.

In this area lived 75,000 people. Long harassed by the Arab slave traders, the principal tribe was the Zigua who were described by an earlier DC as “shy, reserved in the presence of strangers, and almost sullen”, but “when one got to know them, they revealed hidden depths of character, considerable intellect, a sense of humour and a fierce loyalty.” He also said they were “ultra conservative” and slow to adapt to the new forms of local government then being developed. Because the Zigua were within reach of the formerly Arab-dominated coastal region, most of them were practising Muslims, other than those few who lived near one of the Christian mission stations. The leaders of the scattered clans had long exercised political power over their kinsmen, been recognised as Chief by the Germans, and brought together under the British to form a central council, locally known as the Ufungilo, their ‘Native Authority’ on the Lugard model of Indirect Rule. The Chairman was called the Seuta, borrowing the title of the Zigua’s legendary warrior hero. A few years before my arrival, the Ufungilo had begun to change into a more modern shape as a ‘District Council’ comprised nine Chiefs chosen from the twelve chiefdoms in the District, with nine elected members, and nine others who were nominated by the DC as experts in important fields like agriculture, health and education. The chiefs were known as Zumbes, and each village had a headman styled the Jumbe. It followed that the DC and DO worked closely with the Seuta and Zumbes in all their efforts to develop the land and promote progress and prosperity.

The Zigua could not keep cattle because of the prevalence of tsetse fly which caused the deadly disease of trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness (‘tryp’ for short). So the villagers lived on their cassava and maize grown in clearings (shambas) around their villages. Their crops depended on a rainfall of around thirty-two inches a year due in November and for a longer period in March and April. Every now and then supplies of their staples would run out when the rains failed or were late, and the Zigua were working hard to grow other crops like cotton to bring in cash to buy food in the driest months - as well as clothing and household goods the year round.

The tsetse fly petered out in the south and west of the District towards the Nguu Hills which separated us from the great plains of Masailand. The Masai were Africa’s most glamorous tribe, famed for their courage, honesty and beauty, and great walkers in search of grazing for their big herds of cattle in tsetse-free areas, and they could often be seen along the borders of Handeni District. A smaller tribe known as the Kwavi mingled with them and imitated them in dress and behaviour without the same courage or honesty.


The big village of Chanika adjacent to the Handeni Boma was called a ‘Minor Settlement’ and consisted of a school, and three or four rows of shacks and houses. One of my jobs as DO was to oversee the management of the township which had its own council to run it under the local Jumbe. The market seemed to thrive and my first visit there was with the Fosters to weigh some ivory from a big elephant that had been raiding maize fields in the bush and shot by Humphrey on a recent safari. The market had a big set of scales, and the ivory turned 143 lbs which struck me as very heavy. Tusks were worth Shs 10/= per lb and could weigh anything up to 200 lbs; so, even though licences were expensive and issued infrequently, shooting the poor elephants was a profitable occupation.

Thirty hard-working and thrifty Asian families lived in Chanika and played a big part in the community. They provided the only transport outside the Boma, the only petrol in the district, and managed two useful shops. Isaac Ismail, a Muslim ran one and was the rival of Kheraj Bimji, who was a cheerful and good-natured Hindu, to whom John Ainley took me on my second day. Kheraj ran his business from a low mud-brick building, with a rusty-red corrugated iron roof and a hard-packed earth floor. The front room was the shop with living quarters behind, and he was always to be found sitting cross-legged on a platform behind his counter surrounded by the smell of incense from joss sticks. He descended from this perch when European visitors arrived and took them into his inner sanctum to drink a ‘soda’, normally a revolting fizzy orange drink from a dusty bottle known as a ‘Fanta’. After that first visit, I was often in Kheraj’s duka, and he did his best to keep me well-provisioned.


Just five miles north of the Boma and a short way off the main road lay the mission station, school and hospital of Kideleko. On my first Sunday, I joined the Fosters at the early morning Communion service in Swahili in the big thatched church there and met the Father Neil Russell. His African congregation dressed in their gayest colours and sang joyfully with great gusto; in stark contrast, Father Neil wore a drab khaki cassock and old leather sandals and was remarkable for a long grey beard in his gaunt aand haggard face. Despite his appearance, he possessed a quiet authoritative voice and always spoke sound common sense. He cycled everywhere on a dreadful clapped-out cycle and was known universally - behind his back - as ‘Jesus’. He was indeed a saintly figure and had a great reputation in the District. He called by at tea-time one afternoon when I was holding the fort on my own, and sat for a long time drinking tea and taking about ‘his’ people, the Zigua, and their chiefs, the zumbes and the jumbes, and how he saw it as his role in life to befriend them as their pastor. I was a bit frightened of him, but I am sure, had time allowed, I should have learned to like him a great deal.

My house

My Bungalow at Handeni
My Bungalow at Handeni
After church that first Sunday, I practically pushed my predecessor and his wife out of ‘my’ house because I had to move in and unpack so that I could begin work at the Boma the following day. As they left, they bequeathed me vegetables, milk and some beer, for which I was very grateful. At last I was able to look about me and sort myself out. The bungalow stood in about an acre of straggly grass in what passed for a ‘garden’ 100 yards up the hill from the Boma. My big windows looked across it down the main road to the red stone fortress, with the Union Jack flying above it, nestling among the trees and frangipani; and beyond the Boma I could see many miles of green and brown bush merging into a blue haze over the distant Usambara Mountains. On the main road in front of the house a continual procession of Africans passed on foot up and down, to and from Chanika market. Otherwise I saw only an occasional pick-up or land rover, a few local lorries loaded with market produce, and half a dozen buses a day which connected the Central Railway line at Morogoro with the Northern line at Korogwe. Though one of the main arterial routes through the country, the road was unmetalled and thick red dust covered its rough corrugated surface.

My living accommodation consisted of one big room, divided in half by walls jutting a foot or so into it. The back half was the dining room, and the front half was the sitting room with wide French windows leading on to an open verandah and porch. Next door to the sitting room was a little room known as the ‘ofisi’ where a huge desk contained my papers and a long low cupboard held a stack of grocery tins, a reserve store for safari, and a few bottles including the crate of beer left me by the Foxes. Above the cupboard sat the golf-clubs and gun, and the borrowed tennis and squash rackets. The walls of the living room and ofisi were painted pale grey, the ceilings were creamy yellow, and the floor was cement given a dark red stain. The bedroom ceiling was grey too, but the bathroom was a sort of green in a good plastic paint put on only a couple of months before my arrival. The floor, walls and windows were bare; the furniture in the house was provided by the PWD and was very plain, but in reasonable condition and serviceable of a good strong reddish wood. The sofa and two armchairs had wooden arms; and a long low table ran the length of the sofa at which I sat in the evenings. I had the basic comforts; and it was my very own house.

Nan Brown, the kind wife of the Tanga DC, had offered to order material and equipment for the house if I wrote to her with the measurements, and she was as good as her word. She sent me some samples for bedroom curtains, and I let her know my choice which came back promptly. It was a stylish and modern with black and green and red splahes against a white background at Shs13/50 a yard, and I ordered twelve yards for the bedroom and living room curtains. For the French windows and other windows in the front of the house, I hunted round the Chanika dukas for cheap Japanese cotton stuff at three or four shillings a yard. For covers for my ten cushions, Nan Brown ordered another attractive material from Nairobi. When her parcel of curtains and cushion material arrived on the same day as my missing box with books and pictures two weeks into my tour, at last I was able to get the house straight. The agents had not treated the box well, however; the glass in some of my pictures had been broken as had some china, but it was pleasant to have my own things around me, and I much enjoyed unpacking both the parcel and the box.

Unlike some areas, water was plentiful at Handeni, because a big dam had been constructed not far from the Boma and pipes had been laid into all the properties there. On the other hand, there was no electricity - the Pangani hydro-electric power station supplied electricity to all the sisal estates as far as Korogwe but extended no further south. So our homes were lit by paraffin and I was glad of the big Tilley lamp that I had bought in Tanga. It was hot when lit and hissed away with a rather nasty oily smell, attracting clouds of moths, but it was a vital piece of furniture. During the early evening I could sit out on the verandah and enjoy the stupendous view until the sun went down in a great red ball - and it was suddenly dark and we lit the Tilley lamp.

Normally the short rains (called the vuli) fell in November, but that year the sky was overcast every day in September and the countryside was already showing green shoots. Rain could be seen falling in the evenings on the Nguu Hills away to the south and was expected early at Handeni. Meanwhile, the cool dry weather was pleasant except when the wind howled through the back windows coming over the hill behind me and made the rafters in the roof whistle and creak. It was too cold for mosquitoes so no net was required over my bed at night. It might well have been a pleasant English summer. In the day-time while the sun shone, our office dress was a white shirt, white shorts and long stockings and perhaps a thin pullover at work, but we were grateful in the evenings for a jacket and flannels (as protection from bugs); and on safari we tended to wear khaki shirts and slacks.

After a solid week in the office learning the ropes, I took the Sunday off and spent the full morning in my house for the first time. It was in a superb position and I never stopped hugging myself and rejoicing at my good fortune. I had neither curtains nor carpets; the sofa cushions were ugly and I was still waiting for my box to come up from Dar es Salaam, but I thought it an excellent little house - and it was mine!

Just two things worried me in those early days. Letters from home distressed me. My mother was sad at losing both her sons on extended overseas tours at much the same time. John had finished his long leave and course on tropical diseases, and he had left for his medical appointment in Africa during the same week that I had embarked on the Warwick Castle. Doreen and her youngest son, Bill, were soon to follow him, although Peter and Susan remained in Sussex at their little school. Liz was home with a recurrence of her leg trouble but could not dispel my mother’s sadness.

My finances were a matter of concern too. Half pay had been promised me during the four weeks I spent on the boat, and it was some days before I heard that the Government had paid it together with my first month’s salary and allowances into my new bank account with the Standard Bank at Tanga. Various nasty deductions had been made including the full advance given me to equip myself before leaving the UK, and I had to set aside money for income tax at two shillings in the pound sterling, and other taxes amounting to as much again. I was however determined from the start to transfer £25 a month to my Lloyds account in Luton in order to settle old bills, repay the loan my father had made me during my university years, and start to build up a little capital. In particular, a bill from Balliol College for £20 had to be paid out of my first salary payment. Moreover I needed my own paraffin fridge at a cost of another £60 or so. The next thing I planned to buy was a car, desirably a land-rover as the only vehicle during the long rains that could negotiate the roads, when they were reputed to be three feet deep in mud. I was told I could get a government loan for this purpose, but would have to repay it over two or three years with interest at 5%.

My Domestic Staff

The house and I were looked after by a houseboy and a cook whom the Ainleys found for me. Ramadhani was the houseboy, only seventeen years old and new to the job, so I paid him Shs 60/= a month, and trained him myself in the evenings and at weekends. He was quiet, sensible, willing and a quick learner. I bought him a couple of clean white robes (kanzu) and a little kofia for his head and thought he looked the part. He brought me in an early morning cup of tea, and served my breakfast at 7.30am in the cool of the early morning before the sun rose too high. I had to be down at the office by 8am but could return home for a light lunch and a short break at 1pm. I was expected to do two hours work in the afternoon, but it was generally four hours, and I was lucky if there was time for more than a cup of tea before the last hour of tennis.

Bakari the Cook
Bakari the Cook
Bakari was the cook who received Shs 85/= a monthly and ‘posho’, that is his food and lodging. He was a good-humoured, tough, wiry young man and had been well trained before coming to me. He was a good cook, and seemed to enjoy cooking, for he did a huge and very acceptable curry for lunch every Saturday, and his morning porridge was excellent - though his two fried eggs every morning became a bit monotonous. He accompanied me on safari and made my life much easier by making tea whenever we halted on tour even for just a few moments, and by producing out of nothing much - perhaps a scrawny chicken given us by the Jumbe on arrival - a perfectly tolerable evening meal from a makeshift oven in the backyard of the rest-house. I came to rely on Bakari; I was impatient with him at times, but he served me well in Handeni - and later.

My kitchen, the dhobi-room (with a big sink for washing clothes) and the boys’ quarters lay behind the house with a covered-in passageway to them. A ‘Tanganyika boiler’ (a water tank on stilts over an open hearth) was also behind the house and connected to kitchen and my bathroom by pipes to supply us with hot water when the fire was roaring underneath it. Food cupboards and sink were in a pantry at the back of the house, while the fridge, acquired with John Ainley’s help, sat in the dining-room and made all the difference to my comfort.

In addition to these two boys, the District Office paid the wages of a ‘shamba-boy’ who looked after what there was of the garden. It was he who kept me supplied with firewood for the Tanganyika Boiler and the stove in the kitchen on which Bakari cooked. The DC’s quarters and the Ainley’s bungalow had fireplaces in their living rooms and kept a few logs burning in the evenings, though sadly mine had no such facility.

Starting my Job

My office in the Boma was a bare room with a high ceiling, a polished red floor, white-washed walls and windows covered in metal gauze, opening on to the verandah. A well-worn desk and a few battered wooden chairs were its principal furniture. Against the back wall was a scratched metal filing cabinet for a few confidential files and a cash box, and beside the cabinet was an old bookcase that held dusty volumes of the Laws of Tanganyika and various tomes on court procedure. The walls were decorated with maps of the District and charts recording progress with the development plan; and behind the biggest desk a faded photograph of the Queen hung slightly askew.

Bare-foot messengers (tarishi) wearing khaki shorts and shirts and smart red fezzes sat immediately outside the office of the DC and DO on long wooden benches under the shade of the over-hanging verandah. The tarishis’ jobs were to fetch and carry, and to marshall those unhappy people with grievances and shauris who waited patiently on the benches to seek the DO’s help in solving their problems.

I started my job on the Monday after my arrival when, as expected, the PC drove up from Tanga for a week in the District. In the morning I tried to help Humphrey with the preparations for this visit, and in the afternoon unloaded my groceries from the PC’s car and then sat in on a meeting of the ‘District Team’ in the presence of the PC. It was then that I met the nine Government officers with responsibilities in the District, most of whom lived in Korogwe and came down for the day. I found to my consternation that I was to be left on my own in the Boma for the rest of the week while the PC and DC went round the District on safari, camping at a different village each night. I was to remain behind coping as best I could with the office work and all odd problems that turned up. They had thrown me into the deep end without a life-jacket.

Inevitably, I was totally baffled and permanently worried about the mistakes I was making during my first week. Despite all our language lessons at Oxford, I could not understand spoken Swahili, and could hardly make myself understood, and it was a sorely muddled time. I referred many problems to Audrey, the DC’s wife, or to the chief African clerk, both of whom were hugely patient and very helpful. With the assistance of the cashier, tax collectors and other clerks, I gradually began to understand the finances of the District which were to become my responsibility. Then there was all the local administration, routine office work and the shauris that I had to resolve. A carpenter wanted permission to buy a piece of ebony in a Forest Reserve. Somebody wanted to have their poll tax remitted - it was set at thirty shillings a year, on top of which everyone had to pay a ‘Local Rate’ of fifteen shillings,although those who could not work could earn nothing, and could pay nothing. A Game Ranger brought in another big pair of elephant tusks, and I had to weigh them and lock them up. Higher authority wanted a road map of the district. Someone else needed a list of markets. There were vouchers to sign and tax receipts to check; the clerks and messengers came in and out of my office in a bewildering procession.

In addition, and more importantly, I was a magistrate. I sat at a high table in the little court house and made several false starts at the job, perhaps because the Police Sergeant did not seem to realise what few powers I had and what little law I knew. I opened cases that I simply did not know what to do about and had to pass to the DC on his return. A Greek sisal plantation manager owned a vicious guard dog that had bitten an African labourer severely, and the Sergeant hauled the Greek in front of me - and I smartly bound him over and remitted the case - if there was one - to the DC when he got back. I consulted the Seuta about a case that had been passed to me by the native court over which he presided, and he too was full of good advice.

I put a tax defaulter in the lock-up for a night while trying to decide what to do with him. He was a wretched half-starved, half-naked, and half-daft beggar. He had paid no tax for three years and they discovered him, very inconveniently for me, hanging about the village on my first morning alone in the Boma. So I took home that afternoon all the files I could find about personal taxes, and most of the relevant Law Books which I tried to master over night. Humphrey reappeared briefly in the middle of the week and told me to hear the beggar’s case straight away; so I did and bound him over. When Humphrey came back again, he said the case would be quashed because I had wrongly accepted the accused’s protestations of poverty as a plea of guilty.

That first week Audrey asked me over for supper on two or three occasions to help entertain visitors while Humphrey was away. One pleasant evening, she introduced me to the Provincial Medical Officer, a Dr Farr who talked solidly all through the meal. Then the PC and DC returned and I joined them for dinner while they discussed the results of their tour. It was a delicious meal and they tried hard to include me in the conversation which proved an immensely interesting conclusion to my first seven days at work as a DO.

My First Safari

At the start of my second week, I was told to go out on safari borrowing the NA lorry from the Seuta. I was sent out to the northern and western half of the district, known as the ‘Western Circuit’ to visit the principal villages, inspect the barazas, schools and dispensaries, pay road-workers, and take them supplies of road-making materials. It was a circuit of 150 miles on poor roads, and there were about a dozen road gangs to pay. I took five full days to get round, accompanied by Salim, one of the best tarishi. Also in my party were Raphael, a young African agricultural instructor to act as my interpreter, Bakari to do the cooking, and the driver and his assistant (invariably known as the turniboi because he was the one who had to crank the engine of the older vehicles to start them). On the way round I slept at little rest-houses at each of the bigger villages which an energetic DC had built some ten years earlier. They were cement structures of one room with a door and wired-in window, verandah and tiled roof above. Bats and lizards haunted them, the windows were often broken, and the lavatory outside was a primitive hole in the ground (in Swahili a choo, also known as a long-drop), but these modest structures provided me with sufficient shelter and privacy for the night. I took my own furniture, camp-bed, folding chair and table, and a canvas bath, together with cooking equipment. The kitchen and lodging for my entourage was often a nasty mud hut behind the rest house, though I am sure they generally slept with friends in the neighbouring village.

On the morning of my departure, the lorry was loaded with sacks of cement and heaps of stone for the road repairs. We then drove up the main road north for a few miles before diverging onto a narrower and even rougher dirt track to the west. We passed the Handeni dam I had visited with John Ainley and trundled on a few more miles to the village of Mswaki. This was a very small place with few people about; the rest house was minute and the night was cool. It was a good place to try out my equipment which had never been properly unpacked, and it all seemed reasonably satisfactory - although, foolishly, I did not test the canvas bath which was an old one that Liz had given me having used it during the war in the Far East. The lorry in which we travelled was cumbersome, unbearably hot in the cabin and fearfully uncomfortable, so I did not enjoy the long ride the next day. Soon after leaving Mswaki we came up with a road gang of twenty or so men repairing the roads. Thereafter every few miles we found another group of men at work to make the roads passable in wet weather. Whenever we met a gang, we stopped the lorry, unloaded table, chairs and cash boxes, set them up in the shade of the nearest big tree, checked the muster roll, and I handed out wages to each man in turn. Salim made them queue up and pushed them forward in turn in front of me to receive their money and sign the list with a cross (the mark of those who were illiterate). Each man received Sh 1/10 cents for each day’s work, (say Shs 30/= a month) which he was delighted to have, even though a tax clerk sat beside me and frequently deducted an element of poll tax before the money was paid over. It reminded me a little of the pay parades I used to hold in D company at San Wai Camp in Hong Kong.

Salim bossed us all about, telling me as well as the men and their supervisors what to do. He would inspect the work being done and instruct the gang overseers,

“Lima mahali penye majani mengi.! Fungua mifereji!. Funga mashimu!” (“Hoe the places where there are lots of weeds. Clean out the roadside ditches. Fill in the potholes!”)

Time after time he employed this litany as we visited each group of workers on the road, and I got very bored with his shouting.

With each gang was a carpenter (fundi) who received about Shs 50/= a month and by local standards was quite well off. He could afford to buy himself a pair of shoes, a decent pair of trousers and shirt instead of the kanzu worn by most labourers. I was told the first thing a man bought with his pay was a kanga, a couple of yards of very bright coloured cloth which his wife - or wives - could wind around themselves and tuck in odd places. These colourful kangas were worn by all the ladies, often with little mottos across the front, like ‘Kiss me quick’ in Swahili, and sometimes I believe rather coarser messages! I saw very few women on this trip, however. They were quiet and shy, and tended to hide beside the road when they saw a car coming. They were never to be seen in the villages, but were to be found hard at work grinding flour and cooking in their houses, labouring in the fields, or on the move along the paths between their villages and the streams or water holes. They struggled up and down with huge jars or tin cans of water (debes) precariously balanced on their heads, and their babies strapped up even more dangerously in the kangas on their backs.

Mswaki was the first chiefdom centre I reached, and here it was my task to call on the Zumbe and go round on an inspection with him, trying to look intelligent and say the right things as he took me around. I went first to visit the local primary school and spoke to the teacher, because he knew a little English and was able to interpret whenever I got stuck - which was pretty often. School attendance was being pushed hard by the DC. Two of the schools for younger children that I later visited were probably going to have to close because, although in thriving villages, the parents could not be persuaded to send their children to school. Some kids may have been sick, but attendance at the most successful schools was about three quarters of what it should be - and only ten per cent were girls. The woman’s place was considered to be strictly in the home and the girls were too often kept behind to help their mothers with the hard household work of fetching and carrying. It was my task everywhere I went to encourage the Zumbes, Jumbes and schoolmasters to greater efforts to get their young people to school.

After looking at the school I went on to call at the little dispensary where a trained dispenser kept a supply of essential drugs and dressings, and I checked it for cleanliness while offering a word of encouragement to the dresser. I then move on to the baraza in the village centre where the Zumbe held his court and dispensed his own justice, where the people met to discuss public affairs, and where taxes were collected. I checked the tax registers, received a complaint or two, listen to a shauri concerning the village as a whole, and ended my local tour with a general chat about the weather and the crops.


After a day on the road paying teams of labourers, we had a long pull up a dusty track to a big place called Mgera. The handsome young Zumbe in his traditional white kanzu showed me not only the baraza, the school and the village, but also the shambas above it where tobacco and castor seed were growing. He explained there was a good market for these crops, and the village desperately needed cash with which to buy food when their maize and cassava were exhausted at the end of each dry season. They could get one shilling for a kilo of castor and collect perhaps seventy kilos from one shamba. It was an important cash crop for the village.

It rained that evening - as we feared, the vuli had arrived a month early. This was a bad omen for our safari because the roads would become sticky and much more difficult to negotiate. After saying goodbye to the Zumbe, I made myself comfortable in the rest-house despite the pouring rain, when two veterinary officers appeared to my surprise. They said they had come from Korogwe and were on their way to inspect water-holes for cattle at Kiberashi on the Masailand borders. They asked if they could share with me the limited accommodation of the rest-house and I could hardly refuse them. So they took one bare room and I took the other. We had a meal together and I enjoyed talking to them, but was smitten by a severe headache after supper and excused myself. With a splitting head, I found that the roof of my room had leaked and the rain had poured down on my bed and soaked through the mosquito net, bedclothes and mattress. Moreover my canvas bath had sprung a leak and allowed the hot water to flood the floor (dear Liz!). So not only could I have no bath, I had to paddle around the room to sort myself out and sleep in my clothes wrapped in the sodden bottom blanket. Such, I learnt the hard way, were the joys of safari.


We did a longish run next day following the vets to the far side of the District. The track along which we motored for the most part was no more than a dry river bed that took us out into a flat and sparsely populated plain, and here, for the first time, I saw cattle in the care of Masai and Kwavi grazing among the scattered thorn bushes.

We stopped at a little place called Songe right on the border with the adjacent district of Masailand, where a cattle market was in full swing. Unlike the Zigua, the men of the cattle-herding tribes were tall and fine-boned, handsome and very lithe, and of course lived entirely on meat and blood. The Masai had no permanent homes but moved around the country with their herds, wearing loose blankets and carrying bundles of spears. They dyed their hair in red mud-packs and carried ornaments in them and in their ears and noses. The women were bald and could sometimes be distinguished from the men only by their rows of metal bracelets and armbands. The Kwavi were similarly attired but a very different people from those I had previously met. They came up to me, and poked, giggled and pointed at my clothes and buttons and watch, apparently things they had never seen before. I had to walk through the busy market full of cattle for sale among a great mixture of tribes, and the Kwavi in particular crowded around and followed me, staring and thoroughly embarrassing me. When I stared back, it sent them into fits of laughter. I was relieved to leave Songe market behind me.

Once arrived at Kwekivu, the school-master did me proud, lined up the school children and made them sing a song which even I realised was toneless and tuneless! He was nevertheless very pleased with his band - which every school had, even if only a couple of coconuts and a piece of drainpipe with which to bang and clatter away. He was proud too of his classrooms which he showed me round; but, of the 100 children on his roll, he said only 75 normally attended class.

That evening as I relaxed in the rest-house and ate a good supper cooked by Bakari, I was at peace with the world. It was a beautiful night as I munched by the light of my Tilley lamp with a full moon in a starlit sky. I felt supremely content. Of course I was making lots of mistakes, and doing silly things through my ignorance, but I thought I was learning fast. I was doing a job that I was finding intensely interesting. I was enjoying every moment, excited at every turn in the road, fascinated by every individual I met. I believed it to be a useful and worthwhile activity among the African people who clearly needed help and advice and leadership of the sort I was able to offer. With the prospect ahead of me of some years of this type of wholly enjoyable work, I hugged myself with pleasure that evening, and then wrote in my diary:

“Just thinking I ought to write home and say that I am very very happy here. I would be perfectly happy if only for two things; if I knew that my parents were content too, and if there were a wife in the offing. For her, and for them, I hope and pray with all my heart.”


I spent my final night on this safari at the village of Kimbe. We drove through a strange, wild and empty country, passed a few baboons and talked to a man hunting bees to collect their honey, but otherwise saw little life until the road started to climb. As we left the plains, the country became much more interesting. The chiefdom was prettily situated in the hills among steep cliffs and giant rocks that loomed out of the mist beside our rough road. On arrival at the chiefdom village I did a full tour of inspection guided by the Zumbe who presented me with a handful of eggs for my supper. At the baraza, he collected a group of the sick and ancient whom he wanted me to exempt from paying the Poll Tax. This done, I went up to the school and the head teacher brought me his report book. It started to pour with rain and I retreated to the rest-house. The bad news then reached me that my truck was stuck in the mud carrying logs for one of the bridges.

The air was cool and refreshing, washed by the afternoon’s heavy rain, and I started to write some letters. About half past five, as the evening drew on, it began to dawn on me that I could not see out of my right eye. If I shut my left eye, I could not read the paper in front of me, nor could I see the geckos that scrambled across the ceiling chasing moths above the Tilley lamp. I rested my eyes and tested them again - and again. I found it difficult to believe my senses, but eventually had to accept I was half blind.

I grew increasingly frightened as I began, hesitantly and reluctantly, to think through the implications of this awful truth. I would have to see the doctor and the possibilities were very worrying. I did not even know where the nearest doctor was to be found. I feared I might well have to abandon for a while the life I had started to enjoy so immensely; my career might have to be put on hold while the eye was sorted out. I became more and more depressed that night at Kimbe as I paced up and down in the half light. I was frightened and became over-wrought. I turned my predicament over and over in my mind, wondering what on earth was the problem, how could it possibly be resolved, and how could I get through this disaster without losing everything I had achieved up to that moment.

Never before, and never since, have I experienced supreme happiness one evening - as I did at Kwekivu rest-house - and found myself in the deepest depression the following evening - as I was at Kimbe.

I went to sleep very late and distressed, hoping against hope that it was all a nightmare. I woke the next morning, and the eye was still blind. I tried to read my Swahili grammar with my left eye shut - I could not do it; I took my gun and aimed it at a bird across the fields closing the left eye - I could not see the bird. The blindness was an inescapable fact and meant that all sorts of problems lay ahead.

The lorry was still stuck in the mud that morning. So we packed up our belongings, walked the four miles down to it, and sat beside it waiting as patiently as we could for the road to dry out enough for us to resume our journey. By mid-morning the sun had made the road passable and we took the planks to the site where a bridge was being constructed. I paid the gang and we set off homewards. We kept on meeting bad patches in the road, and stuck again on three or four more occasions - the soil was too sticky and slippery for the lorry to grip the road. On each occasion, Salim went off, rounded up labourers and bystanders, and directed efforts to move the vehicle forward. With branches and planks under the wheels and some thirty men pushing and shoving to the accompaniment of tremendous shouts and groans, the lorry was practically lifted out of each ditch and heaved up each hill. It was a noisy but effective procedure, and it carried us home to Handeni dirty and exhausted, and much later than expected. I was pleased to have done the job I had been given to do, but desperately worried at what the future would hold.

Back in the office

Back in my quiet little house, I unwound. Sunday was an easy day. I went down with the Ainleys to Kheraj’s for supplies and later with Audrey and the children to the market for fresh fruit and vegetables. Then I had a game of squash, and, soundly beaten but pleasantly tired, I returned to my house to relax, well looked after by Bakari and Ramadhani.

I buried myself in work at the Boma during the following days. I was nominally in charge as both Humphrey and John were on a walking safari in distant parts of the District. A heap of files awaited my attention and answers. By mid-week, I thought I was getting the paper-work under control, and I was able to take on my first tricky legal case as magistrate. The Police Sergeant had gone down with Asian flu, and his absence left me without any advice on the law, so I had to use my own judgement without his help. A man was accused of stealing a cow. I listened on Monday and Tuesday for hours to a whole family who swore that they had seen the man taking the beast away. The woman spoke only Zigua, so her words had to be translated into Swahili and then from Swahili into English before I could understand what she said. The family made long speeches, seemed to contradict each other and got sorely tied up. The police joined in. By the time the accused himself tried to help the Zigua interpreter, it was bedlam. The last word from the prosecution was that the accused had been borrowing a bicycle from the aggrieved family, but I could not see the relevance of this fact to the theft of the cow.

It was a serious allegation and I could award nine months in prison if I found the man guilty, so I was very anxious to do the right thing. I gave the case a lot of thought, but the double interpretation confused everything - I had to try and understand what was going on as well as to try and remember the law. At one stage I adjourned for half an hour to look at the law books, and I had no lunch on Monday trying to find out what the experts had to say about cattle-stealing. When I heard the witnesses for the defence, I decided I could not convict. The police had done their best but the muddled-headed family had failed to prove the theft to me.

My other big problem concerned a man who, a few weeks before my arrival, had gone berserk in one of the villages in the bush; he had burned down five thatched huts, including the big house belonging to his Zumbe whom I had met on my way round, and several old people had been caught in the blaze. The arsonist had then run off into the bush with a gun, and caused the police a great deal of trouble catching him. My job was to arrange for witnesses to go down to Korogwe where his trial for murder was to be heard. Forty-two people had to be gathered in from scattered hamlets one hundred miles by road from Handeni. I hired a lorry from one of the Chanika Indians, and despatched three quarters of our little police force of nine askari to round up those who had seen the dreadful events. The poor policemen had all been out there at the time of the murders and had to go back again to take statements and collect the witnesses. Then it was my task to issue summons and arrange a convoy of lorries, buses and bicycles to take all these people down to the Korogwe court house as soon as possible.

On Thursday that week, Audrey took me there in her car with the children and we did a lot of shopping in the morning. At Hajee’s, grocer and ironmongers, I bought cooking utensils for use on safari, as well as fresh bacon, butter and lard. We had lunch with the local Police Inspector, an Australian who had children the Fosters’ age; I then went up to the hospital to see the Medical Officer in his surgery there.

Dr Armstrong was a quiet Irishman, who carried out a careful and thorough examination of my bad eye. With the other eye shut, I could read only the top letter of the optician’s card, and just one letter on the extreme right in the second row. Eventually he announced,

“I suspect you have a detached retina. To my knowledge, it is the only damage to an eye that can occur spontaneously. Have you given it a bash recently?"

“No.” I said. “I’ve spent the last few weeks on the boat coming out here. I’ve had a very easy life.” But then I added, “Well, in the last rugger game of the season at Oxford I was kicked on the head and knocked out. But that was six months ago!”

“Hmm” was all his reply.

His verdict was that I would have to go down to Dar es Salaam to see the ophthalmologist at the big hospital there - the only qualified eye man in the Territory. This was a massive blow. I was just beginning to settle down in Handeni and loving the work, and I regretted I would have to abandon it temporarily and leave the DC in the lurch. The following few days I did my best to sort out the remaining files I had been given. I spent one morning dealing with an interesting case of an unlicensed firearm. Then, while the doctors were in contact with each other, I cleared the decks in preparation for my second safari to start early the following Monday.

My second safari

For the last week of September, I was told to hire a pick-up from Kheraj and drive it out to a place called Kwamsisi and meet John Ainley there encouraging the farmers to grow more cotton. It was the first time in ten weeks that I had been at the wheel of a vehicle and the first time I had driven over the rough dirt tracks in the bush. It was especially tricky with only one good eye, but I enjoyed the drive, going my own pace for a change. Kwamsisi was the most distant of all the nine chiefdoms and located down by the eastern border with Pangani District. John Ainley was continually looking for ways in which the farmers could earn a little money to tide them over the dry season when local supplies of food ran short. He had devised a plan and, a couple of years earlier, obtained funds from the Government in order to encourage cotton cultivation throughout the District as a cash crop. So I went out to learn from John about the growing and sale of cotton and to tour the markets at which the villagers sold their cotton lint to buyers from the ginnery.

My first stop was at the chiefdom centre of Mazingara, where I asked the Zumbe to take me to their ‘demonstration’ cotton shamba. It was one among several that John had caused to be planted to show the village people how to grow the cotton bushes. I duly admired the villagers’ efforts at caring for this new crop, and then went round the village, calling on the schoolmaster who was an unusually well-educated and interesting man.

The road was long, difficult and poorly maintained which meant we reached the rest-house at Kwamsisi tired and late. On arrival I was welcomed by a huge tough-looking Zumbe and was obliged to spend time with him and do a quick tour of his village before a quiet supper on my own. John and Daphne arrived the following morning and we visited two near-by cotton demonstration plots. I listened all that morning to John and his local Agricultural Assistants and was told a lot about cotton-growing - about ridges, thinning, boll-worm, planting, harvesting, sorting the lint, preparing for sale, and so on. John explained to me too about growing cashew trees, which yielded another useful cash crop that was new to the local farmers. It was not particularly favoured, however, because the young trees took four years to produce flowers and nuts before any money could be earned from them.

The market was held in the afternoon and was a busy and lively scene. We watched how the ginnery inspectors checked the quality of the white fluffy lint that had been baled by the farmer. Each sack was weighed in turn on antiquated scales, while the sellers queued patiently in a long line, each with one or two sacks for sale. The ginnery clerk calculated the value of the sackful, counted out the cash and handed it over against a signature - a cross - in his register. Brightly clothed women and children waited in the wings and chatted cheerfully in a group while their men received the profits from the sale of their lint from the clerk to hand most of it over to their wives. Beyond the scales was a line of temporary stalls selling everything to attract the ladies with cash in their hands - cloth for kangas, pots and pans, bowls, soap, sharp-smelling spices, mattresses, sandals made from old rubber tyres, beads and trinkets and much other finery.

Meanwhile, John gathered the farmers together at the baraza, and delivered a powerful harangue about cotton-growing, the need for early planting and the desirability of regular dusting with insecticide, and much else. It was the first such talk in Swahili I had attended and I was fascinated as I listened to an experienced speaker holding the attention of his audience while lecturing in the language on a tricky technical topic. After lunch I drove John down to another market a few miles along the road at a little village called Pogo where more cotton-growers were collected and he repeated his performance. Covered in dust from the roadside, we then retreated to the Kwamsisi rest-house where Daphne had sorted everything out and arranged a good supper for us all. She had brought a wireless and we were able to listen to the local news including a speech by the Governor to the Legco about ‘Progress and Prosperity’ and his plans for limited multi-racial elections.

The following day I accompanied John as he inspected cotton shambas in the neighbourhood of the rest-house before we went out to another area where a cotton market had been arranged. There we found the villagers were asleep waiting for the ginnery lorry, while the Jumbe was sick and worried about poor tax returns. He and I worked out a way to deal with his tax problems, and we had tea together touring the market stalls, while John assembled the farmers for another cotton-growers’ baraza.

Next day John and I went to two more markets where he repeated his lecture and later trekked out to look at a recently-built dam that was a vital water-supply for the local cotton and maize fields. I had also to pay wages to a couple more gangs of road workers, and became embroiled in the concerns of the local Jumbe about sickness in his village. I had to look at a number of feverish children with runny noses, for whom I promised to send a dresser from the nearest dispensary. There was a lot of flu about, and attendance at one school was a quarter of what it should have been.

Mazingara Rest-house
Mazingara Rest-house
We ended the day back at Mazingara, where I was in for a disappointment. The rest- house comprised just one room - and that was pretty smelly and dirty. The poor Ainleys had to sleep in it; we ate on the little verandah; and I slept in the car. Another problem was presented by the choo, the long-drop, that was tucked away behind the rest-house and gently subsiding into the hole that had been dug for it. It provided an interesting - not to say dangerous - experience to use. The pick-up made a miserable bed, especially as it poured with rain overnight and water came in through the windows over my feet.

It rained on and off all next day as we made for home. We visited three more dams, another school - where once again attendance was half what it should have been - and another market where John held a final baraza to encourage the farmers to improve the quality of their cotton. We then parted; John and Daphne continued their safari to give more talks and visit more markets, while I took the pick-up back to Handeni, sliding and slithering in the mud, often out of control round the corners, but eventually home after an intensely interesting week out.

Back in the office again

The following day was a Saturday which I spent busily in the Boma as I tried to dispose of a fresh pile of papers in my in-tray. I had been made responsible for the management of the Minor Settlement of Chanika, and I started to wade through the files to try and understand my duties. Ramadhani was away getting married with his wages in his pocket, and the house was quiet. In the late afternoon, the Fosters took me out with them to the local dam to see the birds which made for a delightful end to a hectic week.

On Sunday Ramadhani introduced me to his bride and disappeared for the day, and while I collected mail from the Boma and was heartened by a long letter of reassurance from home and cheered up by a parcel of curtains from Nan Brown. That afternoon, we were summoned by Father Neil to attend the mission school sports. It was an amusing social afternoon with the friendly missionaries and school staff. The boys were smart and skilful; Father Wilkinson, the headmaster, proved an efficient organiser; and the Bishop of Zanzibar attended to present the cups. We applauded, drank up our tea and came home happily.

In the following few days I tried hard to carry on with work as usual. The DC gave me a lot of files to tackle while he and John disappeared on safari again, and I was left holding the fort once more. I spent time wrestling with a tricky civil case and a case of ‘criminal trespass’; I took the papers home each evening and pored over the Law Books once more without much success.

During the early part of the week, I received various callers; it appeared that any European or senior African driving through on their way to or from Dar es Salaam would stop off at the Boma for a chat and a cup of coffee. Thus I met a cheerful PWD man, a patronising Forestry Officer, a rather unfriendly archaeologist, a mission school-mistress and the affable Archdeacon of Korogwe. One visitor cheered me up. In a lorry loaded with all his kit, Roy Bonsell called by on his way to Mbulu District in Masailand. He had been delayed for some reason in Dar es Salaam after disembarking from the ‘Warwick Castle’ and was travelling up to his first District. He looked very smart and told me news of the other Haidhuru who had disembarked with him - my married colleagues were happy because they had secured the Governor’s agreement to their wives coming out much earlier than originally expected. I waved goodbye to Roy’s lorry and that was the last time I ever saw him.

On the DC’s return I unloaded the more difficult law cases on to him and concentrated on mastering the problems of the Minor Settlement. I went round Chanika with the local Zumbe and two sanitary inspectors, and I drove out a mile or so to have a look at the grain stores that John Ainley had had built not far from the village. He was filling them with supplies purchased from local farmers as a precaution against the failure of the rains leading to famine. It was an impressive effort and immensely important for the Zigua people.

That Thursday I heard that my appointment with the Dar es Salaam ophthalmologist would be on the following Tuesday, requiring me to travel down by bus to Morogoro over the weekend, and thence by over-night train to Dar es Salaam. I wanted to do as much work as I could in the brief interim and slogged away at the Chanika files and other papers until late Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday morning I was up early and left my little house with sadness to catch the bus when it stopped for passengers at Chanika. The bus was old, dirty and noisy and gave me an uncomfortable journey. It rattled and shook in all its joints over the bumpy and dusty road. It periodically over-heated and we had to be patient while it cooled down. Although we seemed to hurtle along, it took over five hours to do the 100 odd miles south to Morogoro.

The bus station there was even dirtier than the bus, and I hurried off to try and find Pat Hobson, my fellow haidhuru, who had been posted to the Boma as the junior DO. Maddeningly, he was playing cricket at Dodoma, so I missed him but had a look at his house which seemed to be nothing like as spacious, comfortable or convenient as my delightful bungalow in Handeni. This was small consolation and, instead of a happy evening with a good friend, I suffered a nasty supper in a nasty little hotel owned by some definitely nasty Greeks. I boarded the train to Dar es Salaam at about ten at night. The journey by road took only two and a half hours, but by rail it took all night and cost Shs 30/= plus bedding at Shs 4/= extra. I had a compartment to myself, with a bunk bed in which I fell asleep promptly, waking only when a cup of tea was brought me shortly before the train pulled into Dar es Salaam station at 7am.

Dar es Salaam

Arrangements had been made for me to stay at the New Africa Hotel, which was the only good one in Dar es Salaam and was built attractively with a tall coconut palm in the middle of its wide terrace. I had a day to wait before my appointment at the hospital and went up to the Secretariat which was an old German building slightly worse for wear but with wide cool verandahs that overlooked the harbour. There I tracked down the Administrative Officer who was responsible for DO posting - a Mr Rex Peace. He took me in hand, introduced me to his colleagues and Mr Brian Dudbridge who was of Provincial Commissioner rank and in charge of Peace’s department. I also met the Assistant Minister who was a shrewd and interesting African chief, learning the job with the civil service on the spot. After reporting in, Mr Peace carried me off in his car, first to sign the Visitors’ Books at Government House and the homes of the Chief Secretary and the Minister for Administration, and then to his home in Oyster Bay to meet his charming French wife and children and enjoy tea, a bathe and a very pleasant evening on the beach.

Dar es Salaam Harbour
Dar es Salaam Harbour
The doctor whom I saw at the Ocean Road Hospital on the Tuesday was named O’Malley. He was another taciturn Irishman, rather old and whiskery, very blunt and a bit fiery. He spent most of the time peering at me from behind a huge torch, taking x-rays, and making me sit in a very dull waiting-room. He poured drops into the eyes to dilate the pupils ‘to look at the back of them’, he mumbled, and thus prevented me from seeing much during the rest of the day.

He repeated the process on the second and third mornings, and sent me off with bleary eyes to spend each day shopping and walking. My first impressions of Dar es Salaam were poor. Certainly the harbour was beautiful and the old churches were impressive, but the streets were dusty and hot; the German-built buildings were showing signs of wear and tear; the newer buildings were jerrybuilt, peeling, and ugly. For much of the time I was kicking my heels in the hotel or wandering up and down Acacia Avenue looking at the shops. In the cool of the evening I strolled along the warm white sands that stretched from the Gymkhana Club golf course, past the Ocean Road Hospital and Government House and down to the bluff at the entrance to Dar es Salaam harbour. Huge liners navigated close inshore by the rocky point in order to avoid a wreck on the other side of the harbour mouth. I gathered it had been part of a German floating dock sunk during the First War to block the entrance to British warships. With little else to do, I passed some hours watching the big ships go in and out of the harbour, steaming past so close that they seemed to be within touching distance of those of us standing at the point.

Dar es Salaam Cenotaph
Dar es Salaam Cenotaph
I grew very bored and looked forward eagerly to Dr O’Malley sorting out my problem. I expected him to allow me to return to my District where there was so much to do and I had such a pleasant house amid such friendly people. I was full of plans for equipping and decorating my house and for taking forward my work as soon as I could get back to my office. I was living impatiently in the hope of an early resumption of the work that I was so enjoying.

On my fourth and final visit to the doctor, he dilated the pupil again, brought in another doctor and then sent me out to sit in the cold waiting room most of the morning while they had a conference. At last they summoned me back. Both were amiable and chatty, and they said,

“We are not sure what the matter is. There is some blackness that is abnormal at the back of the pupil. There is something misplaced or detached behind the eye.”

Then they went on - to my mounting horror,

“We cannot deal with this problem in Dar es Salaam. There are no facilities in Tanganyika for us to treat something like this. We think you will have to go home for treatment.”

That was all they said. They sent me away completely dazed, and a bit shocked. I could only think how foolish I had been to boast of my happiness at Kwekivu and to presume that it could last more than a day!

Bewildered, I went down to the Secretariat where Messrs Peace and Dudbridge were reassuring and helpful. They said they would send me back to Handeni as quickly as possible to pack up and pick up warm clothes for England in October, and then put me on the first available plane to London from Tanga. By a happy chance, Mr Jim Rowe, the Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Province was in the Secretariat on business. He heard of my plight and offered me a lift in his car to Morogoro that afternoon whence I could get a bus back to Handeni. I quickly packed my case at the hotel, had a light lunch, paid my bill, and found Mr Rowe waiting for me in his car outside the hotel. I climbed in and off we sped. The PC chatted amiably with me all the way. He was a huge and handsome man, well over six feet tall, kindly and affable with a nice sense of humour, and a strong, positive personality. As we sat in the back of his staff car and were driven out of Dar, he reminisced about his early days in the territory, his first DC, his time in Handeni and Pangani and his knowledge of many of the Tanganyika tribes. He said he would be putting me up at his home that night, his wife Trudi was unwell, and he hoped I would help entertain an African Minister and the local Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) whom he had invited to dinner and then to the Morogoro Club to hear a lecture on East African butterflies.

The PC’s house in Morogoro was half way up the hill above the town in a beautiful garden full of jacaranda and bougainvillea, and I was given a charming room, with “Do you mind the smaller one? We must give the bigger one to the Chief. You know what it is!”

While the PC gave his dogs a walk, I nipped out to look for Pat Hobson again, and had a splendid hour or so with him over a drink at the bar of the Morogoro Club.

Back at the PC’s house, I changed and met Pat’s immediate boss, the Morogoro DC who chatted with me, drinking Mr Rowe’s whisky while waiting for a much-delayed Minister. Far behind schedule, we had a rushed meal and only just got back to the Club in time for the lecture. I was a little disappointed in it, perhaps because I was fortunate to have acquired a basic knowledge of lepidoptera from John, and I knew he would have done a much better job of such a lecture. It was however altogether a fascinating evening, and I was fortunate to have a very comfortable bed as Mrs Rowe’s guest.

Back in Handeni

Next morning I transferred from the PC’s spacious, air-conditioned Chevrolet to another hot and airless bus that vibrated and lurched all over the dusty road. It delivered me shaken but safe to the Handeni Boma where a big mail awaited me, along with Audrey with startling news. The PC Tanga had rung to say I was to fly home from there at 8.45am on 11th October, spend the preceding night in Tanga and pack everything up because I would not return to Handeni. I had never considered I would have to leave for good. The place had given me great pleasure; I had begun to settle down and make friends, and I had lots to do there. But there was no help for it. It was all such a dreadful pity; the world was tumbling about my ears.

Over a consoling beer, John and Daphne offered me their spare room and took me down to Kheraj’s to sell back to him my store of groceries and liquid refreshments. Sunday was spent packing. I went back into the Boma on the following day to sort out some routine shauris, and to run a meeting of the Chanika Council and make my first stumbling speech in Swahili. This was the climax of my six weeks’ work at Handeni, when I had to act as committee secretary in front of the Seuta, the Zumbe, the Council’s Treasurer and Secretary and numerous veterinary, sanitary and other staff. We went through the minutes of the last meeting, the estimates for next year, the current year’s expenditure, and other business (including what to do with the accursed car wreckage at the roundabout). It was all new to me and my knowledge of Swahili was still inadequate, but I kept my wits about me and we took lots of useful decisions.

That afternoon and the following two days were a confused mixture of work in the Boma and frantic packing up of my much-loved house. In the evening I moved into the Ainleys’ spare room promising to look after their cats while they left on a short safari. Down in the office, I wrote up my notes of the Chanika Council and delivered them to the DC, while sorting out follow-up with the Seuta and writing instructions for the other staff. Then Bakari and I put all my wooden boxes and tin trunks out on the verandah and, perspiring freely, gathered up, folded and packed all my possessions that we had so recently unfolded and unpacked. We both worked hard with so little time at our disposal in order to have everything put away tidily and clear the rooms for the next occupant.

Humphrey came back from a meeting with the PC to tell me a chap called Woodley would replace me, and move straight into my house and take on my staff - and it was a great relief to know their future employment was assured. The DC told me to hire the pick-up from Kheraj again, drive it into Tanga on the day before my flight and hand it over to Woodley who would be waiting there for the return journey. I took a morning in which to scribble hand-over notes about all the different jobs I had started and would have to leave to him to take forward. It was a depressing business. I piled up the in-tray for him. I even managed to deal with a couple of outstanding court cases and dispose of a few more minor issues. I went back up to the house to finish packing. Bakari had done well; it remained for me to lock and strap the trunks and hammer nails into the boxes while he sewed the golf clubs and other sporting equipment into sacking. When all was done, the station hands turned up, loaded the boxes on to a truck and took them away to stack in an empty house until called for on my return to the Territory.

My last evening in Handeni I passed in the Ainleys’ house on my own; I tidied up the Chanika Minor Settlement files and handed them in to the Boma in the morning for my successor to follow up. There were suitcases to pack, and once more Bakari was a great help, having put my luggage together and loaded the pick-up, while I signed letters and dealt with last minute jobs in the office.

Then there were goodbyes; Audrey was the only European on the station and was very kind, all the Boma and local authority staff and messengers wished me well, and I arranged that the resourceful and hard-working Bakari should rejoin me wherever I should be posted on my return. And that was the last I saw of Handeni.

On my way home

Once safely arrived at Tanga, I called at the Immigration Office, Police, and bank to settle my affairs, and visited the East African Airways office to track down my ticket. I then went round to the Boma to see if Norman was in as I had hoped to stay with him for my last night, but I was told he was out on safari. He had written me a most friendly and sympathetic note, however, and I sat down at his desk among his bulging in-trays and composed a reply with my farewells.

Alan Brown, the DC, was as busy and cheerful as ever, talking on two phones at once. Julius Nyerere, leader of the principal political party, TANU, was rumoured to be giving a speech on a visit to the area and a sisal planter had just rung him up to say all his labour force were insisting on the afternoon off to attend the rally. In between phone calls, Alan gave me various papers and letters and sent me on to the PC’s office where I received a friendly letter from Mr Shaw in his absence, and met Denis O’Callaghan, the new DPC, who invited me to his house for a drink later to meet his wife Sybella.

Nan Brown turned up and pressed me to stay the night with them, as Norman was away. She had asked Woodley to join us for tea, which enabled me to give my successor my hand-over notes in person and brief him about the house and the job at Handeni. Then we all went to the cinema to see a poor film, called “Giant” with James Dean and Rock Hudson. It seemed to go on for ever; my eyes felt the strain and we walked out some time before the close. I was very well looked after at the Browns overnight. Next morning after a hurried breakfast Nan first took her husband to the Boma, then her twins to school, and lastly me to the airport. There she waited with me, helped me through customs and saw me on to the little East African Airways plane.

In the tiny Dakota, we flew low along the shore from Tanga north to Mombasa; on one side of the plane stretched many miles of bush with mountains in the distance, and on the other lay the white sand, the blue-green sea and the coral shimmering below the surface of the water. After a brief stop at Mombasa airport the plane flew on to Nairobi, where I had to collect my luggage and find a taxi to cross the city to catch my London-bound plane from Eastleigh airport.

I was booked on a huge BOAC Argonaut which flew first over Lake Victoria to Entebbe before turning north over Uganda and the Sudan. This was my first long-distance journey by air and was all exciting and interesting; and I was treated as if I were an invalid, so that, either by luck or design, I could spread myself across two seats. It rapidly grew dark, a good meal was produced and I read for a while. In the middle of the night the plane touched down at Khartoum and we were shepherded off the plane into an airport lounge while refuelling took place. The still air was thick with fumes and stifling hot. and it was, just as Daphne had warned me, like putting one’s head in an oven. We landed for refuelling again around 5am at Benghazi airport. The next stop was Rome where we had to wait a couple of hours in the airport but their good Italian coffee was truly refreshing.

The plane was full for the last leg of the long journey, as we swept up the Italian coastline, over Genoa and thence over the sublime, snow-covered Alps that sparkled in the sunshine not far below our wings. We flew across Europe in the clouds, and the big plane carried us over London to Heathrow which was a small collection of temporary huts and hangars. To my horror, an ambulance was waiting for me on the tarmac. I dismissed it, but was treated as seriously ill by the airport staff and taken to a private waiting room where my case was brought to me and my parents welcomed me home.

I had expected to spend three years in Tanganyika and make a solid start to a career in the Colonial Administration. In the event, I was back in England with my tail between my legs, and nothing achieved, after only three months.

Chapter 3: Hospital
“Nil desperandum…nunc vino pellite curas: cras ingens iterabimus aequor.”

(“Never despair…use wine now to banish your worries; tomorrow we’ll plough the limitless ocean again.”)

From Horace’s Ode VII translated by Guy Lee, my tutor at St John’s College.

Home again

It was good to see my parents again at the airport, although my father was not at all well, having had bad flu over the previous few days. My mother was excited, sympathetic and full of questions. What on earth had I been doing? When? Where? How? Why? She and I talked energetically to each other as we sat in the airport Terminal Bar.

Then they whisked me off home to Brooke House where my father got on the phone to confirm arrangements for my admission to hospital. It was a Saturday afternoon and he had little success. An appointment had been made for me long distance from Dar es Salaam at the Western Eye Hospital in the Marylebone Road in London on the Monday, but neither he nor I had much idea what would happen to me there. I fell into my own bed at home with much pleasure, but the family laughed at me next morning because I went to sleep that night with the light on, pencil in hand, and the diary open on the bed.

On Sunday we drove round London into Kent and made our first stop at Brasted where we put flowers on my grandparents’ graves. Grandfather used to walk through the church-yard on his way to the station to catch the train to Cannon Street in the City every working day. His three surviving sons, Francis, Leo and Felix, my father, had erected a handsome oak lych-gate where the path left the graveyard on its way to the station. This was the first occasion on which I had seen the new gate and I thought it a fitting memorial.

From Brasted, we went down to Crowborough in Sussex where my parents were staying with Auntie D at the beginning of a fortnight’s holiday. By chance many of the family were gathered together that weekend. My cousins, Caryl and Susan were present at their mother’s home; Margaret and Roger came down from Hampstead with Robin and Alison for the day; and Peter joined us from school - unfortunately Susan was in bed with flu and not allowed out. We all gathered at the Crest Hotel where Caryl was working temporarily before going off to Australia. After lunch we went for a stroll round Crowborough Golf Course, followed by a tea party at Auntie D’s little house before Peter was taken back to school and Margaret’s family returned to London. I stayed the night in the hotel and went up to London with my father next morning, very, very glad of his support.


The next two months in my life are largely a blank. I have no record and little memory of them. I remember only sitting nervously beside my father in a bleak waiting room several floors up at the back of the hospital overlooking London’s ugly roof-tops. We were introduced to Lord Bridgeman, a big brusque man, impeccably dressed with a smart moustache who said he would operate on me. Somehow it seemed odd to me that an eminent peer should be a member of the medical profession, but I understood later that he was an able and highly respected ophthalmic surgeon at the head of his specialty.

I woke from a general anaesthetic with a sore eye, lying flat on my back on one low pillow in a big ward. I was in the dark, wearing glasses that had black cardboard instead of the usual glass, and one tiny hole in the middle through which I could just see straight ahead of me - up towards the ceiling. I was told as soon as I woke that I must stay on my back and move my eyes neither to the right nor left but only look through my pinholes. It was explained that I would have to wear these blank glasses for the duration of my stay in hospital and thereafter for a further few weeks at home.

The ward had eight beds and was high up in the hospital with big windows from which came the murmur of traffic on the Marylebone Road. All of us patients lay still in our beds and flat on our backs with our eyes covered. Only two or three of us were well enough to talk. The chap in the bed opposite me was an old seafarer who had sailed before the mast in sailing ships for many years before the war and talked entertainingly about his experiences. He was a bit of ancient mariner and we were a captive audience that had little choice but to listen to him as he rattled on all through each day. One morning he woke up and cheerfully told us that he had decided during the night that he had died. He lived in the dark like the rest of us and he thought the tight sheets around him were his coffin. To such lengths did we go to amuse ourselves in that strange ward.

In a bed along from the old salt was a young fellow of my age who worked in a London office and whose eyes caused him acute pain. Despite his problems, he too was able to see the funny side of our predicament. In the bed on my right side lay a largely silent middle-aged chap who insisted on smoking a pipe in bed. Why this was allowed I have no idea. One night I was woken late by a considerable disturbance, raised voices and nurses running to and fro. The next morning I learned he had knocked out his pipe on the corner of his bed and set the bedclothes on fire. That night I was again woken by another disturbance in his corner, and next morning there was no reply when I wished him good morning. He was gone. I was told later that he had died of a heart attack during the night.

Most of the time when we were not wrestling with bedpans (over which I draw a veil), we were listening to the wireless through ear-phones. The western world was very excited because the Russians had just sent up Sputnik 1 into space and shortly afterwards launched Sputnik 2 with a dog on board. The Americans were affronted and jealous because the Russians had beaten them in the space race, and day after day I heard the story unfold. I have never listened to the wireless as much as I did in those two or three long weeks.

Val Hurrell entered my life at that time. She was a nurse on the ward and became friendly. She was a small, neat person with a sweet voice and I dare say an excellent nurse. Quiet, yet always bright and cheerful, Val had a warm heart, and I found her very attractive. Although I could not see much of her through my pin-holes, we talked often during her shifts, mostly at night, and we arranged to meet in the New Year when I was able to get about again.


Eventually I went home in my blank glasses and led a quiet and idle life in Brooke House through that November and December. We lived for the most part in the ‘breakfast room’, as we called the old parlour next to the kitchen that the maids had formerly used as their sitting room. It had a huge white fridge that rumbled away in the corner behind the door, but otherwise my mother had made it warm and cosy with two comfortable high-backed arm-chairs in front of the gas fire. Over by the window I set up a borrowed Remington type-writer and unable to see the key-board, tried to teach myself to type. I was unable to read until I went back to the hospital and they took the pin-hole glasses away in their out-patients’ clinic. They did various fresh tests and seemed satisfied with their work. The eye was much better but permanently impaired.

By Christmas I was firing on all cylinders once more and much enjoyed a happy family gathering at Brooke House. Liz came over for a few days from Monkey Island and I saw a good deal of Margaret and Roger and their blossoming family over the holiday period. What Robin and ‘Lally’ - as Alison was then known - can have thought of me in blank black glasses and a nasty black beard I cannot imagine.

In the New Year, I began to go out and about again, and even went out running with the beagles at Kimpton on a couple of occasions. I resumed my old Luton social life as a member of the Ace of Clubs and attended their January dance. I renewed acquaintance with a pleasant fellow called John Carter whom I had known slightly at Cambridge where he was renowned for his parties at which he served the ‘Black Velvet’ cocktail. He and his mother lived in a big old house in the middle of Markyate on the Watling Street that was then the main route from London north along the A1. They were very hospitable and I had meals over there that January, went to a dance they held in their home and went round the Vauxhall factory with John. I also went down to Monkey Island for a couple of nights to see how Liz and the Gibbings were getting on, and up to the Moats in Leeds for a night where it was a special pleasure to catch up with my Cambridge friends.

Most of my time and thoughts were however devoted to Val Hurrell whom I saw frequently on her evenings and odd days off. She enjoyed Chinese food, and I took her to the best Chinese restaurant I could find, Maxims on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Wardour Street, and there on the second floor we had a long happy evening. We spent another evening simply sitting in the car (borrowed from my mother) in Hyde Park talking and looking at the lake, and later at the stars, until we were turfed out at midnight by the Park Warden who wanted to close the gates. Val lived with her parents out at Potters Bar and I used to drive her home and sit with her for a long time in the car outside her front gate, talking, talking, talking and a little gentle love-making. It was good fun: I remember Val with great affection, but we both knew I was eager to get back to work in East Africa.

I received the all-clear at a Bridgeman Clinic on 10th January 1958 and immediately set about arranging my return. I wrote to the Colonial Office and was told that I was posted to Kigoma in the Western Province of Tanganyika and should book my flight via Nairobi and Entebbe to Tabora, the provincial centre. I packed a crate with new purchases for my next house which the agents undertook to send out by sea for me; and I sent a cable to the Handeni Boma to ask them to unearth my boxes from the spare house and send them on to Kigoma by road and rail as soon as they could.

Goodbyes were sad once more, especially to Val. My last day I spent at Willow Road. As I left Margaret’s house after a walk on Hampstead Heath, the family waved goodbye, but that was not enough for young Robin. He broke away and ran as fast as he could after the car shouting and waving, spindly arms and legs all over the place. As I pulled the car up, he thrust into my hands as a parting gift four sticks he had picked up and been whittling on the Heath. I was touched. I have kept those sticks to this day.

On 13th February, I boarded a plane at London Airport to resume my career in East Africa. Whether because of the food I had eaten at Maxims in Val’s company or because of travel nerves, I had most unpleasant stomach upset on the day of my flight. Once again my parents took me in the car, setting off very early in the morning for a 9 o’clock departure in a BOAC Argonaut. I did not know it, but I was never to see my childhood home again. My parents sold Brooke House that autumn on moving to Wittersham in Kent. The big ugly but much-loved old house that I knew so well was knocked down before the end of the year to make way for flats.

Chapter 4: Nzega: The Work
“We had strayed into another world. It was an isolated yet fiercely dedicated world. Its rulers were aloof yet possessively proud of their district and their people. Men and women were on duty seven days a week and 24 hours a day. This was the colonial service in the field, actually in an ‘outpost of empire’, charged with implementing the latest ideals and policies of Oxford academics and Westminster politicians.”

From “Tanzania: Journey to Republic” by Randall Sadleir on his arrival at Nzega, his first station, as a Cadet District Officer in 1947.

The Flight out

London airport was small and convenient for passengers. As soon as my flight was announced, I went quickly through Customs carrying a fat suitcase and a deck chair wrapped in sacking. The goodbyes were as sad as ever. I glanced over my shoulder as I walked out to the plane to see my parents waving from the observation platform above the departure lounge. Then we were off. The plane came down at Ciampino Airport in Rome where lunch was served on the ground. The Italian food looked good, but my tummy upset persisted and instead I was dosed by my neighbour on the plane - an elderly and chatty lady going out to visit her son in Dar es Salaam.

We put down briefly in the middle of the night to refuel at Benghazi in Libya and again at Wadi Halfa in the Sudan. It was cooler than on the journey home and I strolled in the airport gardens and smoked my pipe. As on the previous flight, little opportunity existed for sleep between the refuelling stops, and it was a long night. Relief came at Entebbe around 9.30 in the morning when I disembarked from the big plane after a twenty-four hour passage.

Transit passengers were taken in an airline car to Lake Victoria Hotel with a glorious view over the water, where we sat on the terrace as the sun rose over the lake and were served an excellent breakfast. I spent two pleasant hours waiting for the local plane and found it good to be back among the sights and sounds of Africa once again.

Back at the airport I climbed into a crowded and stuffy little Dakota for the final leg of the journey. It flew low over the lake and bounced unpleasantly about in the warm air, but we soon touched down at Mwanza on the southern shore of the Lake. I was in Tanganyika once more. An officious immigration official stamped my passport and I felt at home again in the country to which I had already given my heart. On the last lap, the plane flew down a long arm of Lake Victoria and along the line of the railway that wound its way south. The wild bush stretched on both sides of the plane as far as one could see, until we touched down at Tabora at the end of a hot and bumpy flight.


Tabora was the biggest inland town in Tanganyika with around 15,000 inhabitants, headquarters of the Western Province, and the old staging post for caravans on the Arab traders’ route into the interior. At 4,000 feet above sea level, the town was on the vast central plateau of the country; the roads and railway lines met there, and it boasted a neat little airport where I landed.

I was met on the tarmac by Jim Mainwaring, the District Officer in charge of the town, known as ‘DO Urban’. He was a friendly Canadian, a bachelor in his thirties, who announced himself to be my host for the next twenty-four hours. He would put me up for one night and pack me off to my final destination the next day.

He then told me that I was not after all to go to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika. Instead I was posted to be the junior District Officer, the DOII, in Nzega District. There I would take over from a man called Mike Ransome who was due for a change and had been given the Kigoma job. I was disappointed but somehow had expected it.

Jim whisked me off in his estate car along an attractive road lined with tall mango trees and colourful jacaranda bushes that resembled open parkland. We went straight up to the Provincial Office, the Tabora Boma, which was a vast white-washed rabbit warren of large and spacious rooms at the top of a gentle hill overlooking the town. Jim introduced me to the Provincial Commissioner, Mr Dudbridge whom I had already met the preceding October when in the Dar es Salaam Secretariat he had authorised my rapid return home for the eye operation. I was back in the system as I was taken round the offices and shook hands with Jim’s colleagues there.

His bungalow was in the town centre and rather dark and unattractive, similar to Pat Hobson’s at Morogoro. His cook was hopeless - I had forgotten how nasty the meals could be - but we did not linger over lunch as I had shopping to do. I needed to lay in some basic provisions for my future home in Nzega, in particular paraffin because once more I was going to a station without electricity.

Tabora boasted a large Asian community and well-stocked shops of which I took full advantage. I ordered £5 worth of groceries to be sent up to Nzega from K. M. Patel’s, the largest grocers in town. At the big hardware store called Nazareth’s, I ordered a paraffin fridge, a little wireless, a Pye wind-up gramophone, and a variety of household equipment. I was anxious to track down the whereabouts of my possessions packed so hurriedly in Handeni the previous October, so I saw the railway people and sent telegrams to Handeni and Kigoma to hasten the delivery of my boxes to Nzega.

My host took me swimming at the Tabora Club in the afternoon. It was immensely refreshing after the stuffy plane and humid atmosphere of the town - and it was the first time I had swum since Mombasa, the previous summer. That evening we went for total relaxation to the town cinema, the ‘Diamond Talkies’ where we saw - of all possible shows - “The Belles of St Trinians”! It was a different world to the chilly England I had left the previous day.

Next morning I went straight off from Jim’s house to the Standard Bank to sort out my finances; thence to the grocers to pick up my order and finally to the post office to send off more telegrams. Returning to collect my bags, I had my first experience of the Rains in the Western Province; I was caught in a fierce downpour and drenched in a couple of minutes. We nevertheless loaded a borrowed District Office land-rover and, though soaked to the skin, determinedly set off to my new station.

Nzega lay sixty-five miles due north of Tabora along a wide, well-travelled dirt road. This route was called ‘all-weather’ which meant that it was passable even in the Rains, but it was sticky with wet mud and pools and puddles of water. The land-rover slipped, slithered, skidded and bounced over the corrugations. It was a thoroughly uncomfortable trip and took over three hours. The country was much the same open scrub land called miombo that I knew from Handeni, consisting of, tall grasses, waving palms, scattered flat-topped thorn bushes and acacia trees and the occasional ugly old baobabs. The Rains had already started and the trees were in leaf; the country along the roadside was rich and green, and the air was pleasantly fresh. Finally we forded a vigorous stream running over a drift across our road, drove up a hill and there was the Nzega Boma.


When we drew up at the Boma, a tarishi came out to greet us, told the driver we were to go straight to Mike Ransome’s bungalow, and jumped in to guide us the half mile up the road. Mike was a bright cheerful chap, small, neat and compact of the right size and shape to be a useful scrum-half - and I learned he had been a hockey blue at Cambridge. He was an easy host and pleasant companion and helped me unload and dump my gear in his little spare room. He explained that his bungalow was to be mine as soon as he vacated it on departure for Kigoma later in the week.

Lucky Mike had won the football pools and bought himself a sturdy Opel car with his winnings in which he ran me around. First he took me back down to the Boma to meet the District Commissioner and staff. Tony Golding, the DC, greeted me warmly in a friendly manner, and we had a brief conversation until he was called away. I then went round the offices for a brief tour and a glance at Mike’s office which would soon be mine.

He soon took me back to his house, gave me a scratch meal and sent me off to unpack. I was tired after the over-night flight, so went to bed at an early hour. I was disturbed and woken from time to time by shooting and shouting outside - I hoped it would not always be so noisy. Over a cup of tea early next morning, Mike explained. He and his friends had held an impromptu dance at the Club, and late at night decided to hunt hyenas which had become a nuisance in the station. They were often seen rooting around the dustbins of the Europeans’ houses and at the back of the Creameries where they were attracted by the smell of the cows’ milk. So it was decided on the spur of the moment to try and get rid of them. The men had collected their shot-guns, piled into land-rovers, and spent the early hours charging around the station hunting for hyenas. They had also chased away some jackals and had enjoyed an exciting night of it.

Nzega Bungalow
Nzega Bungalow
Before breakfast next morning, we attended an early briefing by the DC and I was introduced to Peter Doole, the senior District Officer (the DOI), who was to be my immediate senior and closest colleague. Later, Mike and I had a look at the nauseating corpse of the hyena they had shot behind the butter churns of the Creameries, and we went on round the town and the station calling briefly at the prison, the police station and the Native Authority beyond the Boma at a place called Ushirika. At the end of the morning, I was passed on to Tony who drove me out to inspect a local dam which needed repair and chatted amiably away about the District.

That evening, I went out for a walk on my own down to another and bigger dam about three miles from my house - and I had never before seen so many birds. There were tiny little weaver birds like wrens, humming birds that sucked the pollen out of flowers like bees, bright scarlet and blue parakeets and varieties of budgerigar. There was a huge grey eagle perched atop the tallest tree looking for unwary little birds to prey on; and by the lake there were all sorts of storks and pelicans, as well as grave, grey Secretary Birds, white Egrets and many others. On the way back from the dam a little gazelle leapt across the path in front of me, and a family of furry mongooses was playing in an old ant-hill. They were supposed to be excellent pets keeping the house and garden free of snakes, so it was good to know they were around. I came back from my stroll pleased with Nzega.

The District Commissioner

Tony Golding, my boss, had been in the King’s African Rifles during the war and a Political Officer in Somaliland before joining the Administration in Tanganyika. He had worked his way up and knew the country and his job well. He was short and thickset, with curly hair and glasses, in his late thirties. He was a little older than Foster at Handeni, but probably more efficient, practical and forceful. He was ever patient and tolerant of his new DO, but not perhaps so easy and relaxed as Foster. Tony was very keen on shooting, had a licence to hunt elephant - one a year - and always took his shot-gun out on safari. Wherever we were spending the night, he went out around six o’clock for the last hour of daylight to the nearest stretch of open water after wild duck and geese.

As time wore on I found Tony strict; I also found he gave me less responsibility than I had enjoyed before when I had been even more ignorant. On the other hand, he took me on a several safaris that I found immensely interesting, and I learned a great deal from him about my job in a very short space of time.

The DC’s authority in Nzega was as broad as at Handeni, over law and order and political development - which was of increasing importance - and all else. He was able to delegate far more however to the well-organised and powerful Nzega Native Authority as well as to his DOI, while I, being the DOII, was once more the dogsbody with a bit of everything in my portfolio.


Peter Doole was about five years older and senior to me, and a bachelor; he was a quiet and retiring man whom it took time to get to know, but the more I knew, the more I liked his company. He had been in Tanga Province, where he had acquired fluent Swahili, and I envied his facility in communicating with the local people. He showed up my terrible lack of the language in those early weeks as he sat and sailed through the Higher Swahili Exam in February.

Peter took me under his wing as soon as Mike Ransome left, and I was to learn from him a great deal about the craft of district administration. We worked together day in day out on any number of jobs and we saw each other socially on many occasions, often partnering each other at bridge in the evenings. I came to like and admire Peter a great deal.

The African DO

In May Paul Mazinga was posted to Nzega and joined the Boma administrative staff as, in effect, a trainee District Officer, or ADO. I entertained him to evening meals in my bungalow from time to time and learned with interest about his background, notably Makerere University where he had graduated. His talk of Plato and the early philosophers was very entertaining. I was made his mentor for a while and we worked together on numerous projects. He was good with children and young people - he may well have trained as a teacher - and was particularly helpful when, for example, we ran the District School Sports Competition together.

The District and People

My first weekend, Tony gave me a thorough, friendly briefing about the District and its inhabitants. He told me the Nyamwezi tribe was one of the biggest and strongest in the Territory, inhabiting three large districts in the Western Province including Nzega. They were well-known as warriors - they had always been prominent in the police force and the army. They were also hard-working peasant farmers and cattle owners, but they had the reputation of drinking too much local beer (known as Pombe) and of being inveterate cattle-thieves.

The Nyamwezi were comparatively well-off. Their country was the same wide open country of sparse bush and acacia trees I knew from Handeni with the essential difference that the land was free from tsetse fly so that they could keep cattle, and many of the peasant farmers possessed large herds. Cattle were their wealth. Around ten cows were required by the parents of the bride before they would permit marriage. The average farmer had twenty or thirty beasts, and some had several hundred animals split up into several herds perpetually roaming the District. As a result, there were more cows in Nzega than any other District of Tanganyika, and the Nzega Native Authority was able to do much more in the way of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, tractors and dams than had ever been conceivable at Handeni. The schoolmasters had typewriters, and Stephen, the well-trained and wise young NA Treasurer had an adding machine, which to me was opulence. An ambulance was based at the little hospital, and the prison was a large and substantial building. This was altogether a richer district than the one from which I had come.

The colonial government’s long-standing policy of ‘Indirect Rule’ seemed to work well here in giving the Chiefs power over many aspects of their people’s lives. The Chiefs’ Council was the NA which had wide functions and the right to advise the DC on major policy issues; it met at Ushirika which Mike had shown me round and I came to know well. Under pressure from the District Commissioner and at the Governor’s insistence, this Council was in process of changing; it was to be expanded with European and Asian members, and granted yet more authority over the District’s affairs and finances.

The District comprised eight chiefdoms ruled by hereditary, strong and respected chiefs called Mtemi, whose authority and reputation were much firmer than had been the case in Handeni - presumably because they were based on a traditional military structure going back many generations. Thus the chiefs possessed great influence over their own people, and lived at the chiefdom centres in sizeable ‘mansions’ with their own barazas and courts. Not only did they dispense tribal justice in civil disputes, they met their elders and sub-chiefs to make decisions on local affairs, and they supervised the work of clerks employed by the Native Authority to run the markets and collect local rates, fees and taxes. These centres had lively produce and cattle markets, as well as dispensaries in the care of full-time medical assistants, and schools with two or three teachers.

Some of the chiefs were men of outstanding presence, well-educated, had visited the United Kingdom and spoke good English. Others were of the old school and highly respected for it, like the elderly Mtemi Musoma of Karitu Chiefdom which was a only a few miles from Nzega. Numerous sub-chiefs, known as Wanangwa, supervised smaller areas within each chiefdom and assisted the chiefs in running their domains. In some villages, authority was also exercised by people bearing the Swahili titles of Wakili and Jumbe, though I never fully understood their roles among the Nyamwezi. One way or the other I was to work in an area with a strong tribal structure.

Nzega Road
Nzega Road
The DC had an extensive Development Plan for which he had won the full support of the Native Authority and Chiefs’ Council. In addition to the normal district plan for schools, health centres, veterinary centres, roads and markets, the Plan included a programme of dam-building. The rainy season normally started in November and continued for some months with a break in January, but it was by no means reliable and often fell short of the people’s requirements. Tony had always believed that improved water supplies were a priority for Africa. Not only was adequate water essential in cattle country like Nzega, but the burden on the women-folk would be eased, for they were the water-carriers and often spent the greater part of every day carrying water from distant streams to their homes. Tony told me he wanted to provide a good adequate water supply within three miles of every village. He had encouraged the Chiefs to organise a revolving loan fund from which individuals could borrow up to Shs 500/= to build their own dams, most of the money going into metal piping and taps, the loans being repaid over two years. The system worked well - doubtless because the Chiefs knew the applicants and could ensure due repayment; and it enabled the wider spread of dams which Tony saw as the salvation of the countryside.

The Boma

The DC told me to shadow Mike until his departure - which suited me very well. I sat in the DOII’s office on my first afternoon and the following days, listening to Mike as he tackled the files and dealt with an endless line of petitioners and complainants.

His office was little different from the one I had occupied in Handeni - a big room with a high ceiling, a polished red floor, white-washed walls and windows opening on to the verandah. Two well-used desks and assorted chairs were its principal furniture. Along its back wall were an old metal filing cabinet and a battered bookcase that held similar dusty well-used volumes of the Laws of Tanganyika. The walls were decorated with maps of the District, a plan of Nzega Township, and charts recording progress with construction and dam-building, while behind the biggest desk hung askew the same faded photograph of the Queen.

The tarishi wore the same brown uniform and fez they had at Handeni and sat immediately outside the DOs’ offices on long wooden benches under the shade of the over-hanging verandah. As elsewhere, their principal jobs were to fetch and carry, and to marshall those with shauris, the unhappy people who waited patiently on the hard and battered old benches to unburden themselves to the DOII with their problems.

Mike introduced me to these tarishi, as well as to the invaluable office clerks and the station-hands who did the odd jobs around the Boma. He showed me the accounts, the files on Education and the Nzega Minor Settlement for which I was to be responsible, and various other key papers; he told me the office procedures and described the routine concerning the people I would meet, the money I would have to handle, and the letters I would need to write. He took me across to the Native Authority and introduced to me to Stephen who was in charge of the cash office and tax office, and I met the other personalities who showed me round their offices and the grand chamber where the Chiefs’ Council met from time to time.

A big white-washed building opposite the Boma across a dusty parade ground was our court-room, open on all sides with a low wall and a raised dais where the magistrate sat. During my first week I perched on a bench at the back of this building while Mike dispensed justice there when he had cases to hear. Mike was tolerant and patient with me and gave me a good hand-over as I floundered through the files he knew so well and muddled through the shauris that he could dispose of in a couple of minutes.

After Mike had gone, I spent many hours sitting with the Peter Doole, the DOI, listening to his impressive command of Swahili as he handled tricky cases in court and admiring his mastery of the administration as together we waded through office files. He took me through both the Native Treasury books and the Boma cashier’s accounts, of which I then took over most of the responsibility.

Soon I was checking the books and signing off expenditure and wage payments on my own. The local rate was graduated and required much care to calculate and cross-check. I also spent a great deal of time with the Cashier going over tax records with him and assisting him in keeping the books straight. I held the key to the strong room which meant I could be called across at any time to open the door so that money could be deposited or withdrawn by the clerks working at the chiefdom centres who handled large amounts of cash. I was particularly busy at the end of each month when tax receipts were brought in and a lot of money went out to pay the Boma employees, the Native Authority labour force and creditors. Over at Ushirika, I passed many hours with Stephen helping where I could with his job of receiving and accounting for the graduated local rate that every able-bodied man was required to pay during the course of the year. I worked with him in making sure the books tallied correctly. One Saturday in March he and I counted and sent down to the bank in Tabora something over Shs 200,000/= which was some indication of the wealth of the inhabitants of the District.

Weekday office hours ran from 8am till 1pm, and from 2pm until about 5pm, with a half day on Saturday and odd hours on Sundays. Before Mike left, I bought his ramshackle old bicycle which was immensely useful in enabling me to get about the station. Even so, I quickly found there were too few hours in the day, as the number of visitors to my office seemed to grow steadily and I became more accustomed to handling their shauris. Sometimes callers came in a continual stream, ushered in by a tarishi, keeping me occupied dealing with one problem after another until late afternoon.

Time began to fly by. As I grew accustomed to the work, I was able to do more and more and found it increasingly absorbing. Often I would spend the weekend in my bare little office - Sunday morning was a good time to catch up with few interruptions - especially if I had been out on safari the preceding week and my in-tray was a foot high.

Nzega Township

Across the main road from the Boma and European quarters was a thriving township and busy market with several Indian dukas that the Europeans on the station relied on for food and hardware. More to the point, the DOII was Chairman of the Minor Settlement Management Committee and in charge of the staff concerned with the township finances, planning, health, hygiene and malaria control. I was made responsible for raising the rates, spending them to keep the township clean and healthy, and at the same time controlling the gradual growth of the township for the benefit of the inhabitants.

In my second week, I was taken on a long tour round the Minor Settlement by the senior Health Inspector from Tabora, and our local man, Mr Vitus, which I found very instructive. I also learned from the PWD manager and staff about the plans for expanding the township. Among my duties was the task of allocating plots for new streets and buildings according to the approved Town Plan, working closely with the surveyor over boundaries, road lines, and so on. The PWD were putting through a new road which I had to ensure conformed to the plan.

I went over to the township frequently when on the station, sometimes on foot and mostly on my long-suffering bicycle, marking out a plot there, planning a new street here, allocating a site, approving a building, and so on. One day I would go out with the Medical Officer to find a suitable place for a new dispensary; on another occasion I would peg out ‘School Street’; then again I would plan building plots in ‘King Street’, or take a chief round to find the plot he wanted to buy. On one occasion I escorted the Mtemi of Nyassa and a group of elders to the township to explain the plan to them; and every so often I did a formal tour with the township staff in tow, checking this and that, and especially that there was no standing water that could breed mosquitoes.

The District Team

At Nzega, as at Handeni, the DOII was Secretary of the District Team where all the departmental heads met once a month. The DC insisted on a regular review of progress with the District’s Development Plan and co-ordinated arrangements for the building of schools, dispensaries, court-houses and above all the new dams. Members included the Chief Veterinary officer, the Chief Agricultural Officer, the Medical Officer, the Health Visitor, the Manager of the PWD, perhaps the Police Inspector, and so on. The meetings were often attended by the Provincial Commissioner when he was in the District, and, in addition to practical day-to-day matters, we discussed with him broad policy issues which helped me to grasp the wider background to our local activity.

The meetings were generally followed by others on departmental subjects. For example there were regular District Education Meetings attended by the missionaries running schools in the District as well as some head teachers and the Education Officer from Tabora. Here again the DOII found himself secretary, and I began to understand the country’s educational policies.

The Court

I resumed my functions as a magistrate in my second week in Nzega when Peter Doole guided me into the role. I enjoyed the work though it was immensely time-consuming because most of the accused and witnesses spoke in their own language of Nyamwezi, and every word had to be interpreted into Swahili and then into English for my benefit. The other problem was that there was only the one court house in Nzega, and the three of us magistrates had to take our turn. Tony and Peter as Class 1 magistrates had the more serious and difficult cases, and I often had to wait until the others had finished their cases late in the day before I could hear mine.

When I resumed my judicial duties, I worked through three or four relatively straightforward cases; taking a morning to hear a case and writing up my judgement in the afternoon and the Saturday. I was sometimes impatient with the Police Inspector who was a slow and inefficient prosecutor, and I had to make sure the defendant had his say, even though he had no lawyer to defend him. It was tricky to achieve a fair balance, but I slowly learned the procedures as I worked though my early cases. I had to deal with charges such as ‘affray in a public place’, shop-lifting (I gave Juma a very light sentence, as he was a penniless and sad old man), theft in which I accepted drunkenness as a plea of ‘not guilty’, and failure to pay personal tax. In addition the Police kept me busy with charges against the owners of old, dangerous and unroadworthy vehicles that plied the earth roads around Nzega until they fell to pieces. All my early cases were reviewed by the DC and then by a High Court Judge in Mwanza. Tony was highly critical of two of my judgements, and I hope I corrected my mistakes. After a few weeks I received a long letter from the reviewing Judge with helpful advice. He was seriously critical of only one of my cases - a straightforward charge of failure to pay tax which was the simplest of all, yet badly mishandled by me.

Perhaps once a month I had to arrange to have boys beaten as a punishment awarded by a court for some minor offence. Magistrates were not allowed to lock boys up - and the cane seemed an effective deterrent, as long as its use was properly controlled by law. The beating was done in the prison in the presence of a medical orderly and a DO, generally me. It was always a rather sordid affair, and I made sure it was done quickly with minimum fuss.

The Prison

I was made responsible for the prison and began to take over its management and deal with the prisoners’ numerous problems. It was universally known as Kingi Georgi Hoteli, for the inmates had a bed there free of bugs and lice and two square meals a day which few of them enjoyed at home. The prisoners were mostly tax-defaulters and had to work during the day; and it was my task to oversee their daily work programme. Mostly they were engaged in grass cutting and sweeping to keep the township and the station clean and tidy, with particular attention to the area around the Boma.

I made regular inspections of the prison to check its cleanliness, and of the warders to check their behaviour. I used to set aside an hour or two every second week to receive and respond to prisoners’ complaints - generally worries about their families back home in distant villages in the bush. It was not a job I ever enjoyed, but I did manage to improve both the warders’ conduct and the condition of the little prison building while I was there.

The Police

Among my various responsibilities were the Nzega Police and the little Police Station. I had to pay the askaris their wages each week and worked closely with the Inspector whom I constantly pushed to increase the efficiency of his men. I took several opportunities to try and improve their performance myself, and could frequently be heard lecturing them on their slackness.

At the same time I gave them every possible support in their work, and hope they felt able to rely on me to back them in their sometimes pretty unpleasant job. On Saturday evenings, I used to walk round Nzega with a couple of constables. We chased away drunks from the beer shop, woke up the night-watchmen, visited lots of shops to check their doors and windows were locked, and showed ourselves in the four corners of the township and around the station. I fear it did little good but it may have helped to give the police confidence in their work.

One of the dirtiest jobs I was given in my early days was to check the licences of the many old guns in the hands of local people. The farmers all kept antiquated muzzle-loaders for scaring and shooting wild pigs and keeping small game away from their shambas. The law required the owners to bring them to the Boma in March each year, and it fell to me to check the number, make and type of each fire-arm against our lists and reissue the annual arms licence. I spent four solid days checking arms brought to me, many of which were rusty old First World War weapons, and all of which were filthy - and this was one of the least exciting and dirtiest jobs I had.


The Court

In March I heard my first murder. Fifty or sixty murders and countless assaults were committed each year in Nzega, mostly due to the powerful pombe that was drunk, so there was plenty of work for both doctor and magistrate. The most common medical emergency was a spleen split apart during a drunken fight. In the court we had to deal with an average of one murder and three assaults each week, and to conduct an inquest on a suicide every fortnight.

In murders my role was to conduct a ‘Preliminary Enquiry’, that is to hear the evidence and decide whether or not it sufficed to commit the accused for trial in front of a judge sitting with assessors in the High Court. My first such case was a nasty one in which an old drunk knocked his first wife about so much that he fractured her skull, and sadly, she died in our hospital. There was no doubt about his guilt, but the witnesses were nearly all female, being the second wife, the mother, and the woman selling the pombe. None of them had ever had any schooling and they spoke only Nyamwezi which meant double interpreting all the time. The second wife could not say if she had been married to the accused two months or two years. When asked the time of day at which something had happened, she silently raised her skinny arm and pointed to where the sun was in the sky at the time of the incident and left the rest to us. It was immensely interesting, but exhausting at times.

The Cattle-markets

It was three weeks after my arrival before I was able to escape the station and make a safari to visit some of the chiefdom centres. Peter Doole took me out to a big cattle-market at a place called Ibologero some miles east of Nzega. Across the District, there were far too many cattle for the available grazing land, and an annual cull was required by law to keep the numbers down. Every cattle owner was required to sell or kill ten per cent of his stock each year, and cattle sales were an essential feature of the farming calendar.

Peter and I spent the morning in a dusty market place surrounded by flies and biting insects, among a lot of healthy but dirty cattle, filthy skinny sheep, the ubiquitous goats, and scruffy peasant farmers selling them to dealers from Tanganyika Packers who bought them for slaughter and canning at their Dar es Salaam meat-packing factory. I watched a lively auction as the Packers man and a couple of other buyers from outside the district bid for the beasts. The African farmers naturally hated the cull and tried to avoid it by all possible means, but they made good money out of selling their cattle - the bulls were going at Shs 300/= to 400/= at Ibologero on the day of my visit. When beasts were slaughtered as part of the cull, every farmer was required to provide proof that his contribution was fulfilled by cutting off the animals’ tails and gathering them up for checking by a DO on tour. Counting tails and then having them burnt was another filthy job that I had to do as I went round the barazas during a safari, but it was essential to prevent cheating.

No farmer was keen to display his wealth, so they dressed like scare-crows and strode round the stockades of their beasts in muddy shorts, ragged black shirts and cheap sandals made out of bits of rubber tyres, carrying thick nobbly sticks with which to beat their cows. I was amazed and amused at the scene which I saw repeated frequently as I went round the chiefdoms. When the sales were over, Peter, the Packers’ team and I lunched off lamb kebabs and maize cobs roasted over an open camp-fire - they were delicious, even though the meat was stringy and chewy, and often a bit charred. Locally-grown corn-on-the-cob cost ten cents and was a cheap way of assuaging one’s appetite.

Nzega rest-houses were a cut above those I had known in Handeni. Normally one could be sure in Nzega of a water-tight building with two, and sometimes three, rooms and fitting mosquito-proof windows and doors, so that two men could have some privacy. With a camp-bed, a bedding-roll, folding tables and chairs and a wash-basin, one could be reasonably comfortable. The cooks and messengers were also in adequate accommodation in a solid building, a roof over their heads and decent sleeping and cooking facilities. This was a far cry from the arrangements that my cook and I had experienced before my transfer.

The Tanganyika Packers’ circus moved on next day sixty miles to the northeast of Nzega to a place called Igurubi where Mtemi Shomari had only recently been installed with great ceremony as the new chief. He was well educated and looked every inch the part - a big man with a commanding presence in a smart suit. At his village, we attended another big cattle-market, and spent two nights in the rest-house. Many of the farmers there were of the Sukuma tribe from the Lake Province, who were shrouded in black from head to foot and much wilderlooking than the Nyamwezi. The market went well; and after lunch the Nzega MO and PWD man joined me to look at sites for a new dispensary and houses for the chief, a clerk and a messenger.

Here I began a procedure I was to follow on every subsequent safari; on arrival I went straight to the baraza, summoned the clerk, called for his tax receipt books and went through them with him checking that the money in his cash box tallied with his records. I then called in the court clerk and read through his records of cases heard by the Mtemi to ensure that they were in order, and that sentences had been duly carried out, and any fines had been paid. I counted the wretched cows’ tails, and then went out to the school and spent some time chatting with the head teacher and visiting his school shamba. Every school in the District had to clear and plant a field with maize under the Agricultural Officers’ instructions so that the children could be shown the rudiments of farming and gardening; and at Igurubi School I was impressed with their work.

Mtemi Shomari presented Peter and me with a sheep when we returned from the school and its liver gave us a good lunch but my conscience a twinge. When touring, the DC and DOs always received hospitality from the Chiefs and sub-chiefs who would send our cook the gift of a chicken, eggs or milk, or even a haunch of beef or mutton. Very properly the Secretariat in Dar es Salaam decreed that such presents should not be accepted. Yet it would have been grossly discourteous to refuse them, and I have to admit I always did accept them. I tried to find things to offer in return but felt a little guilty on every occasion that I ate their chickens.

After lunch Shomari took us to meet his wife at the village community centre. She was a smart, courteous and intelligent person, doing her best for the village women, and invited us to inspect some of the knitting and sewing she had taught them. The results were disappointing, but the chief ’s wife was so proud, and so in need of encouragement in her uphill task, that we praised their work to the skies and offered to buy their linen table-mats.

We left the markets each evening an hour or so before sunset and went off to local dams with our guns in search of wild duck for the pot. At Ibologero I had the first chance to use Uncle Francis’ gun. The birds flew too high on the first evening, but on our way back to the rest house we came across a group of guinea fowl and with my second barrel I bagged my first bird - and he made a pleasant change for our supper. On the second evening out, we went several miles across country looking for flocks of birds on water. We never found them, but Peter, after wallowing up to his knees in mud at the edge of a water-hole, bagged three pigeons with one shot, and later a francolin.

To my delight, on our way back to Nzega we came across a pair of very sedate ostriches strolling along the road. We followed them in Peter’s land-rover for some while; with their long and powerful legs they kept ahead of us at over 30 mph, then veered off and immediately melted into the bush.

One of the nicest things about safari was the bundle of letters and mail from home and from Valerie that was waiting to be read on my return.

The Lion Hunt

Soon after my tour of cattle markets, the DC invited me to join him in a hunt for lions which were causing serious problems at a village called Chomachamkola (‘Choma’ for short) many miles to the north of us. The villagers had lost twenty cattle in three months, one man having only three cows left out of a herd of eleven. The lions had taken the rest and his livelihood with them.

Tony and I set off on a Monday morning in the government land-rover and called on the way at barazas in the chiefdom centres of Nyassa and Ziba where the Chiefs were receiving taxes and dispensing justice in their open court houses. We sat in the seats of honour on the dais and talked to the assembled local people on farming business, the need to build more dams to conserve water for their cattle, the need to plant ‘short term millet’ at the end of the Rains, the need to pay taxes early, the need to get licences to move their cattle, and so on.

When we had finished at Ziba and had a look at the school, a fierce tropical rain storm burst over our heads. The Rains had come with a vengeance. In the deluge, probably an inch of water fell in an hour and the roads became streams which swelled into torrents as we watched. We set off gingerly in our vehicle through a foot of water, but driving became more hazardous in the slippery mud, and Tony took a brief look at the local dam in the downpour and decided to go home.

go home. Ken Thomson, the senior vet, joined us in a bigger vehicle and I elected to go on with him. The water had risen to a couple of feet in the marshes and river beds across our path; the road was a mass of thick clinging mud and washed away completely in places, so that we had to ask passers-by to help by laying stones and branches under the wheels and giving the land-rover a push from time to time. Around a difficult bend, we came upon a lake where the road should have been. It looked as wide as the Thames at Windsor and to my inexperienced eye almost as deep. A long-suffering tarishi stripped and waded in to test the depth of the water which came up over his waist. Ken switched off the engine; and, under the beating rain, I joined a cheerful team of Africans to push the vehicle through the water. Immediately it slipped into a ditch, so about ten naked men scrambled below it and lifted it bodily back on to the track and heaved it thirty yards through the deep water. Back on dry land, miraculously the engine fired again and we went on to Choma for the night. It was long after dark; we were wet and cold, and the rest-house was unusually wretched as it was seldom visited in such an out-of-the way place. It was built of tattered mud and wattle and roofed with dirty, bug-infested thatch. We nevertheless slept very well under our mosquito nets.

Next day, I discovered what happened when distant centres were neglected by District Officers. The Chief was away; the clerk had disappeared; the baraza floor was covered in rotting cotton seed; the dispensary door was locked, its floor was flooded and the dispenser absent. At the school only 50 pupils were present out of a roll of 105, doubtless as a result of the swollen and impassable streams; but these 50 children were not doing their reading and writing lessons indoors as they should have been according to the curriculum. Instead they were weeding the teacher’s maize field. When he complained that his roof leaked, I told him I would take no action unless he brought his record books up to date and stopped keeping chickens in his bedroom. I gave him a stinking report.

In the afternoon, Ken and I went out in search of the marauding lions. We drove through the bush about six miles off the road down an old elephant-hunter’s trail. At a cluster of huts and battered cattle stockades, we met peasants who claimed to have lost eighteen cattle to lions in the past month. We were shown the path the brutes were thought to use when hunting and a stout tree for our ‘hide’. The theory was that a calf would be tied to a sapling as bait in the path of the lions, and we would wait in the hide. As I heard the lion pounce, I would shine our big torch at him and Ken would fire down the beam with his rifle aimed at the animal’s heart.

None of the villagers was willing to climb the chosen tree, so I spent the afternoon making the hide. I scrambled thirty feet up a rope made of bark and flung myself over the lowest bough. I clambered up to a fork on which we were to sit. I then hauled up planks, rope, and equipment, fixed a rope ladder, and formed two seats for Ken and myself, one above the other. It was strenuous exercise.

After an early meal and putting on warm clothes, we both clambered up the swaying ladder into the tree. The bait was tethered in the clearing; we armed ourselves and settled down to wait. My armoury was the big torch and my shotgun loaded with one special solid round given me by Tony for use in emergency only - in case, I suppose, I fell out of the tree into a pack of lions out of either fright or excitement. In fact I was so wedged in to the fork in the branches that I could hardly move, and suffered both cramp and desperate pins and needles, while sharp bits of bark stuck into my bottom, ants crawled all over me, mosquitoes buzzed round my head, and Ken’s feet dangled by my ear. In this uncomfortable situation, we stayed silent and motionless for four hours.

Early on, the calf groaned and grunted and I thought I smelt lion, so I switched on the torch in the pitch blackness and found a hyena had stolen up round the back of the tree. He withdrew in the glare of the torch, our bait went to sleep, and I wished we could do so too. At midnight, stiff, damp and cold we struggled down our ladder and decided we had had enough. There was still a long trip across country through the bush, with only our old tyre-tracks to guide us back before we could fall into bed at the rest-house. We had a puncture running over a tree stump in the tall grass which added a further delay before we reached the village and our camp-beds.

Back to Nzega next morning, the lake had disappeared, and it was an easy run. It had been interesting and great fun, though disappointing that I had not seen my lion. The best thing about the whole trip was the present we were given of honey taken from bees in the tree next door to the one in which we had spent half a night.

Mwagoye and Itobo

The DC took me out on my next safari ten days or so later at the end of March, covering a large area in a very bouncy land-rover. We spent two nights in rest-houses and visited three chiefdom centres and several remote villages deep in the bush. I enjoyed those days and especially the evenings chatting round a camp-fire with Tony as he talked about the job and his earlier work as a DO in other parts of the country; and I learned a great deal from him as he spoke about the life he had led.

We went first to a chiefdom centre called Mwagoye and did a long afternoon of hard work with the small chiefdom staff inspecting and checking their books and reports and going over their duties. The Mtemi was elderly and unhelpful, the tax clerk inefficient and the cattle census clerk drunk on pombe at 4pm. As he had not kept up his books for at least a month, Tony dismissed him on the spot.

We then walked out three miles to the site of a dam that we measured, took the levels and found unsuitable. In the last hour of daylight, I accompanied Tony with a gun to the nearest stretch of water in the hope of catching a few ducks as they came in to settle down for the night, but had no luck on that trip - we saw a few partridges but they slipped away before we were ready for them.

We went on the next day to Itobo, a big village with a new Health Centre. It was unique of its kind because it had maternity wards (doubtless thanks to the insistence of our Health Visitor), and was ready for the formal opening a little later with due pomp and ceremony by the PC. The rest-house was also newly built, and clean and comfortable and gave me a good night’s sleep. Once again Tony and I spent the first half of each day in and around the baraza hearing the local news and checking the books, and the second half of the day in the surrounding country. Again we went out looking for fresh dam sites - it was my first very hot day in Nzega, we had to walk some miles in the midday sun, and the land was drying up rapidly - one could readily understand the desperate need for a regular supply of water. We went on to visit several existing dams and irrigation schemes where the Nyamwezi villagers were growing rice, sometimes with success, sometimes not. If not, we tried to find out why not. Finally, as usual, we returned home to an over-flowing in-tray in the Boma and a bundle of letters from home, and a special one from Valerie.


The Boma

By Easter at the beginning of April I began to feel I was pulling my weight. I understood most of the files at the Boma and had a procedure for working through my in-tray periodically. There was always checking to be done as the clerks working at the chiefdom courts and offices brought in cash for the NA. At any hour of day or night when they struggled in on their bicycles down the long dirt tracks from their distant villages, I had to open up the strong room and lock away the cash they carried after ensuring it tallied with their account books.

By then, I knew how to deal with most of the shauris - with a great deal of advice and help on the one hand from Peter Doole, and on the other from the Boma Clerks and tarishi. Often a junior chief, a Mwangoma, or a village headman would accompany a complainant to help explain his problem, and I had to give time for the interpretation from the Nyamwezi language into Swahili. Some mornings I would reach the Boma soon after eight o’clock and still be listening to shauris and struggling with personal cases at three in the afternoon without a break. I was nevertheless starting to allocate my time sensibly between the Boma, the court-house, the Native Treasury, the Minor Settlement, the Police and the Prison. My days were satisfyingly full. Cycling was never easy along the dirt roads that were always full of potholes and deep, either in cloying sand in dry weather, or in slimy and slippery mud in the Rains, but my bicycle was invaluable; I enjoyed rushing from place to place, and was satisfied to be making a contribution. I dared to think I might even be becoming fairly efficient at what I had to do.

The Prison

I used to go out to the prison at all hours to check that the guards were alert and all was well. When I inspected their buildings properly, I found the drains in a bad state and in need of urgent attention. I indented for cement and concrete pipes and sought help to design a proper drainage system with a deep soak-away. Then began the long wait for the materials to arrive. Meantime I went out with the Health Visitor to look over the site of her pet project, the Maternity Clinic at Ushirika, and I set the prisoners to work there clearing the ground and digging foundations on which the new buildings would in due course arise. I kept an eye on progress there until the DC told me to move the prisoners on to the old cemetery which was in need of a clean-up.

One of the most serious mistakes I committed at Nzega concerned my prison responsibilities. It was the rule that six tribal representatives had to be invited to witness the hanging of one of their tribe if convicted of murder. I was warned that a Nyamwezi was to be hanged in Tabora jail in April following his conviction and the failure of his appeal some time earlier. I sent the group of tribesmen down in good order, but the driver took them to the District Office instead of the Prison. Just as I thought I was doing quite well, the Prison Governor came up to Nzega especially to see me. He was a brusque man at the best of times and he thundered at me for allowing the murderer to be hanged without witnesses from our District. He promised me a ‘ministerial enquiry’ and threatened me with all sorts of trouble. In fact I heard no more, but I did not enjoy his visit.

The pombe shops

I had to keep a check on the shops where the Africans bought their pombe. Most were deep in the bush, but I went down to inspect the one in Nzega township and found it horrible. The stuff was in huge petrol drums, the colour of the lees of hops, frothing and erupting in great waves of revolting smells. To a concoction of fermenting maize, the old women beer-sellers were reported to add a local cactus and the sulphur from matches’ heads.

I sent specimens to Dar es Salaam for analysis, and was prepared, if necessary to ban its making. The pombe-shop was the centre of much of the crime of the District. The beer was sold by the ‘kimbo’ - this was the brand name of a common make of fat sold in tins which, when emptied, were just the right size for the beer. One kimbo cost a shilling; two kimbos were supposed to make a man drunk; three to put him to sleep. It was potent stuff.

The Strike

The only factory in the District was a flour and maize mill owned by Chande Brothers and situated near the railway station at Bukene. Soon after Easter the workmen came out on strike. The Chandes had the reputation of being fair employers as well as successful businessmen, but their mill-workers struck for higher wages, following a series of strikes elsewhere in the Western Province. Riots had occurred during similar industrial action at Geita near Lake Victoria that had worried the Government who believed the labourers were being organised by nationalist agitators. For a few days we were anxious lest the Bukene situation grew violent, but a Factory Inspector came up from Tabora and had little trouble in negotiating the factory workers’ return to work.

Soon after his visit, a mobile police squad turned up unexpectedly, whether on purpose or by chance, I never knew. About twenty tough young askaris appeared on a tour of the Province under a young European Superintendent, carrying out raids in the towns and villages - partly to show the arm of the law in places where there had been strikes like Bukene, and partly to rake in tax defaulters. I had to go out on their raids on two mornings, and hang around as the askaris worked though the villages. It was sordid and too ‘militarist’ for my liking; a handful of undesirable characters were rounded up but I regretted that some innocent and highly reputable citizens were swept up and roughly handled at the same time.

I was however impressed with the training of most of the askaris and with their restraint and quiet efficiency. Our tax clerks were less competent, however, and caused tedious delays as they searched through their tax records while I interviewed a number of unsavoury spivs and tramps. Each afternoon, those who had defaulted in their tax payments were brought before me as magistrate, and I sat in the court room hearing case after case and delivering a suitable sentence where guilt was established; a fine of ten bob for that man, twenty bob for this, a month’s imprisonment for him, and so on; each case had to be decided on its merits and written up fully, so I wrote solidly from two to six on both afternoons of the police visitation.

Another lion hunt

A week or two later, a large group of cattle-owners from a village near Igusule came in a deputation to the Boma asking for help, saying that lions had slaughtered six cattle of one village - perhaps sixty pounds worth of damage. The two prides that we had missed at Choma had moved on to cause serious losses in the new area. I did two days of routine work on safari at the baraza at Itobo and then drove across to Igusule to join Ken, the vet, better armed and more prepared, with a much better chance of success - I even took my lilo to make a more comfortable seat if wedged up a tree all night.

Ken took his family up to the rest-house at Igusule which lay close to the railway that ran from Tabora to Mwanza, and I camped nearby in a little round African mud hut which was very uncomfortable. In the afternoon after my arrival, Ken decided that he and I should arm ourselves and walk ahead of some villagers through thick bush in the valley in which the lions were supposed to be, trusting to see them before they saw us. We were all nervous, but well-armed - though I thought it very unlikely we should meet any wild animals. We walked quietly and purposefully in a wide arc through some scrub and fairly dense woodland, but heard and saw nothing. As it grew dark we returned to the rest camp for a peaceful evening. Next morning we were told the lions had kept the villagers awake all night by roaring their defiance at frequent intervals, so we had no doubt the beasts were in the vicinity.

On the next night, Ken and I took the land-rover down to a glade in the woods, and sat in it in pitch darkness with an open windscreen and the guns at the ready. Twenty yards in a clearing ahead of us was tethered the usual bait - a decrepit cow. We waited and waited. Not a whimper, still less a roar. Some jackals howled around us; we drank cup after cup of black coffee and were attacked by mosquitoes. Bored and bitten we drove off in the early hours, leaving behind four terrified villagers in the valley to drive their cow home. Apparently the lions started to roar again as soon as we left, but we had had enough; so I never saw a lion in Nzega and was sorely bitten for my pains.

After the abortive hunt I spent a full day at the Igusule baraza, checking the court books, where I found masses of unpaid fines which the Mtemi had neglected to chase. I then met a local Wakili who wanted me to look at some land running alongside the railway line that the authorities were anxious to buy and clear for a siding. We went on together to the local school where I bought vegetables grown on their school shamba, and visited the local dispensary which had problems with bats. Late that morning, back at the baraza, I addressed my first assembly of villagers on farming matters in passable Swahili. I discussed with them the price of ground-nuts, the cattle cull, and so on. I was growing confident in the language and immensely relieved to find myself able to communicate effectively at last.

After a snack lunch I took the Mtemi and his messengers to look at a big dam where I did some measurements with our equipment and tapes, while his men shot a duck to present to me. On my return journey to the rest house I had to weave my way through a large family of baboons and later came upon a big crowd of peasants dancing to the beating of drums in a clearing near a small village. I had not previously seen an ngoma ya wenyeji, and was tempted to linger but regretfully had to get on to Itobo for the night.

Next day I went out to the village of Bukene where the Wakili took me round and introduced me to the postmaster and stationmaster and showed me the dispensary and the police station. I called on the Chandes and was persuaded to stay and accept soft drinks to exchange views on their labour problems and the recent strike.

Our last call was at Karitu where I called on Mtemi Musoma who was the oldest of all the Nzega chiefs, and perhaps the tallest at over six foot. I was told he had been due to be hanged by the Germans in the Great War, and been saved only by the arrival of the British in the nick of time. He was a highly respected but doddery old fellow when I met him and was shown round his little chiefdom centre.

The Court House

Each Monday, I used to spend a morning sorting out the riff-raff whom the police had put in their lock-up over the weekend. The sleepy drunks were released with a word of advice. Others who had been disorderly as well as drunk were taken before the court and fined a small sum.

One of the nastiest cases into which I had to enquire was that of a young man who was simple-minded but not insane, and suddenly went berserk. He was alleged to have picked up a vicious-looking kitchen knife, and stabbed his wife in the back and his baby boy in the tummy so that he died a day or two later. The Police called the doctor who had a distressing tale to tell about the baby’s wounds. They put an old witch-doctor in the witness box who told me the man had been bewitched and treated with herbs. The witness said he saw no reason for the slaughter - it was completely out of character. I agreed with him, but he did not help me reach a decision. I got half an hour for my lunch that day and had to go back to the Boma to witness the beating of a boy thief. Back to my office, I waded through a pile of files and was in the middle of a minor shauri when the police brought to me a group of fifteen shabby people charged with ‘affray’. They had all to be interviewed and their cases remanded for further enquiries. It was not until around 6pm that I could go home for tea.

Nzega District Council

On 2nd May, we had a complete break from routine, and a rather special occasion. This was the inauguration of the Nzega District Council. To form the new council, the DC had persuaded the chiefs to sit down with commoners (a handful of clerks, school-teachers and shop-keepers), and both chiefs and commoners to agree to serve with two Indians, and two white men (a French Canadian Roman Catholic Father and a young Swedish Protestant). Four distinct groups were brought together, with the DC as neutral Chairman, and they were empowered to exercise many of the powers with much of the paraphernalia of an English Rural District Council. Everyone was appointed by the DC at that stage - the first elections were to take place in September.

Nzega was one of the first Districts in the Territory to form an inter-racial District Council. It was cosmetic to some extent because the Europeans and Asian farmers were so few in the District, and only a token presence on the Council. Even so, its opening was a credit to our DC, for his colleagues elsewhere in the Province had failed to overcome opposition from the fast-growing nationalist movement, the Tanganyika African National Union. TANU did not support the multi-racial authorities that the Governor was seeking to establish throughout the country. Tony attributed his success to the comparative weakness of TANU in the District at that time, but he worked fruitfully in association with the strong Nyamwezi chiefs and secured their support for his plans by offering the new Council greater control over the District’s budget and development plans.

On the inaugural day, Peter Doole and I went down to the grand meeting hall, organised the reception, set out the chairs, and lined up the Secondary School Band to greet the arrivals. Everyone who was anyone in Nzega was present, together with the Nyamwezi chiefs from neighbouring districts, numerous dignitaries, budding politicians, leading TANU members and lots of officials. The PC presided and formally opened the new body, speaking of the virtues of local government, and the importance of the chiefs as leaders of their people. The leading Chief, Mtemi Kassanda, Vice Chairman of the new Council, replied courteously in Nyamwezi, which was translated into Swahili, about the value of this experiment in local government and the chiefs’ determination for it to succeed. We all clapped, the massed school-children waved flags, the band played, the crowd cheered, and Nzega had its District Council. This was history in the making.

The DC had handed over to the Council the power to approve the financial estimates for the coming year, and its Finance and Staff Committees planned their work, closely advised by him. Another much less important subcommittee was formed to take over from me the management of the Nzega Minor Settlement; I had to advise the members what to do and implement their decisions, rather than decide and do it all myself. Early meetings of this subcommittee were slow to get moving however, and I found myself continuing to carry the responsibility for the township in the following months.

In the evening of the inauguration, the DC held a sundowner for all councillors and notables. Peter and I ran the bar. I knew few of the chiefs and other guests, but we made sure that everyone enjoyed themselves without overdoing the drinking. During the evening the PC came up to me and said some kind words about my work which bucked me up enormously.

Despite the expansion of the nationalist movement and the growth of TANU, the chiefs throughout the Province continued to meet from time to time on their own with their District Commissioners and without any democratic representation. Tony went down to a major conference in Tabora at the end of the month that brought together the chiefs and DCs from the whole of the Western Province.

The Schools

As ‘Education’ was one of my responsibilities, I used to visit the local schools as I went round the chiefdoms centres on safari. In particular I spent a full day early in May at the Nyassa School which was not far from the station and where the local Mwangoma was very helpful. I wanted to learn how the schools operated and the way their teachers worked. I found this part of my job immensely interesting. I started the habit there of presenting the cleanest child at each school with a small prize - though whether it encouraged cleanliness I have no idea.

The parents of all school-children had to pay an admission fee; but I had the authority to grant remission of this charge for children whose parents were unable to pay, generally after consultation with the chief who knew the parents and their circumstances. One of the more interesting visitors at the Boma was a member of the White Fathers Mission that ran a Roman Catholic secondary school out in the bush some way from Nzega. He came and spent a day with me, as we worked through the list of students and jointly agreed the remission of fees for the poorest of the children at his school.

Later I gave a good deal of time to a boys’ Middle School (for thirteen to seventeen year olds) situated at Uchama which had been rebuilt a year or before my arrival and represented the biggest capital investment in the District, having cost £8,000 of Government loan funds. Parents of these schoolboys had to pay the considerable fee of Shs 250/=, with a minimum of Shs 100/= in cases of real hardship. Once again it was my task to assess such cases after talking to the local chief.

The school lacked even basic equipment and we were gradually equipping it with niggardly funds provided by the Tabora Education Department. The beds were the traditional wooden boards, and on my first visit I took over eight spring beds for the ‘prefects’. The budget could not run to mattresses, but the senior boys seemed very pleased and happily slept on the springs. On a later visit I took over furniture for the masters’ common room and the headmaster’s study, including a dozen chairs that I had fitted with seats. Later still, I took over thirty books with which to start the school library. On the evening of that visit, I sat in their Standard VIII (Sixth Form) classroom, chatted to the boys and answered their questions about anything and everything. I tried to explain about the District Council, and moved the discussion on to the country’s future, with debates about a multi-racial society and about colonialism. The students were eager and lively; many were intelligent and spoke with sense and reason, but they knew little of what went on in the world outside their home village and their school. I talked and talked, and was impressed by their keenness and brightness; and returned to the school on the following day for further discussion.

Ndala and Puge and beyond

One week in early May I accompanied the DC to a chiefdom called Ndala and thence to the village of Puge and onwards round the south of the District. Tony had many conversations with the Mtemis and held barazas at each centre on our tour. I sat on a dais next to the DC and the venerable chief, while fifty or sixty men and women sat on the floor at our feet or crowded around us on the low baraza wall. The DC talked about the District Council, the territorial elections in September, and the harvest, and took questions from his audience.

This was the first of a series of Tony’s ‘Brains Trusts’ that ranged widely over anything of interest to the villagers who came to hear him. For example, someone would ask what was involved in ‘voting’ and what a ballot paper looked like, and Tony would introduce the assembled company into the mysteries of elections. Then a woman asked if the local beer shops could be open every day, and not just at weekends as was the District Council’s ruling - women always brewed the local beer. So Tony would invite the Chief to speak and he would deliver a little homily on the evils of excessive beer-drinking. Someone asked the estimated price of groundnuts at that time, so the DC sketched the world market, mentioned the competition from Nigeria, and explain the economic principles of supply and demand. Following sessions at Ndala and Puge, we went on to Mwisu where Tony spoke on the same subjects for four hours to an intensely interested audience. On the day after that, he took the floor at the Nyassa baraza where for the first time he had to field some difficult questions from a TANU speaker.

At various places on the tour we would call on the missionaries who buried themselves deep in the bush. On one occasion we visited a beautiful dam site in a peaceful valley below a mission station run by a tough but pleasant Swede. I strolled round his garden listening to the frogs croaking noisily in the ponds below. Thence we went across to a village called Utwigu where the Mtemi took us to a half-built dam where yellow bishop birds had nested among the reeds. After Tony’s lengthy baraza at Puge, we went down to see a team of vets building a ‘crush’ for rinderpest inoculations which were required periodically in this important cattle country. Finally we spent an evening with Tanganyika Packers staff who had been buying cows at the Itobo cattle market. It was with regret that I left Tony on his extended tour and returned to the office.

These barazas and safaris to meet the village people seemed to me to be the most worthwhile work done by the DC and DOs. Nobody else, no other officials, no politicians, not even the missionaries, heard so much or were so close to the people - the ordinary African peasants - as we were on these occasions. It was a most interesting trip; but hard work for the DC who made a point of addressing every one of the eighteen barazas in the District.

Meanwhile, Peter and I worked through a programme of checking waterlevels in existing dams and planning and measuring sites for new ones to be built by local labour in the following months. Often we were out on long trips from early in the morning well before dawn until the late afternoon. Generally on dam inspection, we took our guns to keep an eye open for duck or guinea fowl for the pot. I took a lot of exercise and often got very wet in the marshes around the edges of some of these reservoirs, but with only one good eye, I shot few birds myself, although I seemed to put many more up for Tony or Peter to shoot.

Housing & Welfare

As part of my responsibility for the Nzega Minor Settlement, I was secretary of the little committee that looked after the local authority housing and house-building in the township. Every two months we met to keep a careful eye on the building works. In parallel, I found myself secretary of the Nzega Housing Committee for allocating bungalows to newcomers on the station and ensuring that the housing stock was kept in good order. These were not onerous responsibilities, but inevitably arguments arose over the best properties, and it all meant more paper-work.

I also ran periodic ‘Welfare’ meetings for the representatives of community organisations, football and local sports clubs. Many of the committee members were clerks in the offices whom I knew well but even so the meetings were often surprisingly sticky. Frequently I had to explain how little District Council money had been allocated for sport and the Nzega Welfare Centre. From time to time at weekends I was also required to watch football to cheer on the Nzega team - not my game and not well played.


The Court

Most of my cases continued to be minor tax evasion (a small fine or a night in jail with a decent meal in most instances) or dangerous and unroadworthy lorries (sizeable fines), but I was empowered to give bigger sentences when the two senior magistrates (the DC and the DOI were absent). On one occasion when they were both out on safari, I exercised ‘class 1’ powers in hearing the case of an assault by a man under the influence of bhang to whom I awarded six months in prison.

A tricky case came up in mid May. After a full morning’s work in the office one Saturday, I went to the court at noon to hear a couple of what I imagined to be simple affairs. Not a bit of it. I found myself still there at 3pm getting hungrier and hungrier, and more and more bad-tempered. Three Arabs had assaulted and slightly injured a fourth in Nzega town. Interpretation was necessary from Arabic into Swahili and Swahili into English and took a long time. The case was beyond my powers, which meant I could either remand them in custody over the weekend or pass the case to a more senior magistrate. Unfortunately that option was not open to me that day because the DC was away and the DOI had been implicated by an attempt at bribery by friends of the accused men. Yet prison was a severe punishment for the Arabs as it would defile them and was excessive for such a minor offence; I had to make a tricky decision. It became very complicated, and in the end, at half past three, I concluded I had no choice but to remand them in our clink over the weekend.

I grabbed my lunch at about four o’clock and went looking for Peter to check my decision; neither he nor I were in the least confident that I had done the right thing. After the weekend however the DC was still away and Peter was still compromised, so I was able to assume ‘class 1’ powers and to sort the case out to everyone’s satisfaction. The weekend in the local jail was in fact probably a useful lesson to the guilty parties.

In another case, a man stabbed a friend of his seven times with a spear in an attack that was quite unprovoked and quite motiveless. His case came before me for a Preliminary Enquiry and I went into it in some depth. You would think a man must be mad to do a thing like that, and yet the doctor and I agreed he was responsible for his actions and knew what he was doing all the time. I was glad I would not have to take the decision on his punishment for such a nasty murder - he and all the other murderers that Peter and I had investigated were remanded to go before a proper judge who had arranged to visit Nzega at the end of June. It was he who would decide whether to hang them or not.

I spent the morning of my birthday on an enquiry into an attempted murder with an arrow. It was a very sharp arrow and a very strong bow, normally used to kill small game for the pot or to frighten off baboons and wild pig from the growing crops. But there was no doubt that the archer attempted to kill his target. The victim’s cattle had trampled and eaten some of the assailant’s maize crop. They both had a drink too many in the evening, and quarrelled over the trespass until the maize-farmer nipped home, returned with his bow and discharged it at the other - he only just missed him, and frightened him out of his wits. There was provocation, but the crime was clearly premeditated.

The Prison

In May, a report was required on the state of the prison. This was an unwelcome burden on top of everything else, but seemed worth doing if it enabled me to obtain more funds to improve the building and especially its facilities and drains. I spent some hours talking to the warders and briefing myself on the situation, and the drafting took the best part of two weekends. I had no typewriter and was dependent on the Boma clerks for preparing all the office correspondence and reports. They were very willing and reasonably efficient but every now and then disappeared for a day or two. Having taught myself to type during the preceding winter at home, delays in having my Prison Report done decided me to buy my own typewriter as soon as I could afford it.

I finally succeeded in acquiring some cement for the prison. At last we could sort out their sanitation problems and reduce the smells. I arranged the laying of proper drains for them, and enjoyed supervising the digging of an enormous pit as a soak-away for their use.

The Market for Groundnuts

The peasants were anxious to get a good price for the groundnuts that they were digging up and preparing for sale that May. Trouble came when a new organisation called the Tanganyika African Traders Union (TATU) encouraged the farmers to withhold their produce from sale to the Chandes, the only buyer in the District, because the price was too low. The yield was good that year and the nuts were lifted early in Nzega, when the wholesalers offered 90 to 94 cents a kilo. TATU persuaded the farmers to wait for the price to rise to one shilling a kilo, when in fact it was bound to drop as more nuts came on the market in other parts of the country. I dare say TATU was right to encourage the growers to band together - elsewhere cooperatives were strengthening the bargaining power of the peasant producers - but the Nzega farmers were still at the mercy of the market and holding out for higher prices could have done them no good.

I approved the holding of some TATU meetings which Tony said I should not have done, but he then nipped the protest in the bud. He went to their meetings and talked the matter through with the producers, explaining the way the market worked. He toured chiefdoms and spoke at numerous barazas going into groundnut economics in some details. The farmers understood the matter when it was properly put to them, rejected TATU’s claims and accepted the price on offer at Chandes’.


The District Council

Tony shot an elephant one June safari, and came back very pleased with himself. He was, however, anxious because of reports that TANU was more active in the District, criticising the District Council and possibly threatening its existence. Riots in the Lake Province had demonstrated TANU’s power to disrupt orderly administration and caused us to consider future policy with great care. The PC came up and was closeted with Tony and the principal chiefs for long conferences. That week we held the first business meetings of the Council to discuss finance, staff and Nzega township - my special baby. All went well following careful planning; the councillors were intelligent and helpful, and showed themselves prepared to get down to business. The Council got off to a good start.

The Queen’s Birthday

Another of the jobs given me by Tony was to run the ‘District Sports Day’, on the Queen’s Birthday on 12th June. All the children from all the junior and middle schools gathered on our sports ground to run races and play football under my care.

Early that morning I went down to the big field to supervise the work of Kabota, the groundsman, in marking out the pitches. All the teachers appeared and I briefed them carefully before the racing began, hoping they would organise the events themselves, but some of the Mission staff made difficulties, and only two among the numerous headmasters were much help. The children were noisy and out of control for the first hour or so, and I found myself chasing round bringing order to the day and keeping things moving. Paul Mazinga, the ADO, gave me valuable support, and some of the better teachers finally got a grip of the kids. We ran lots of races, worked our way through an enormous programme, and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves. The wife of the Creameries Manager presented the prizes for the sports events and the morning ended happily.

In the afternoon a series of football matches took place where crowds of children stayed to watch and cheer their teams and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. One or two teachers were drunk and disgraced themselves, but the football final was played off with great spirit. Tony presented the cups to the winning teams late in the afternoon and the children sat down to an evening meal of a cow we had purchased to feed them all. The drums started; there was much noisy dancing, and the day was deemed a success.

The next day I was on duty at the opening of a new church by the Roman Catholic Archbishop from Tabora. Peter and I attended, drank tea and listened to some long speeches. We then went across to the football ground to watch yet another football match between Tabora Middle School and Nzega Middle School and to listen to the excellent Tabora School band.

The armed mob

One day, when the DC was on safari, Peter and I were checking the clerk’s accounts in the office, when an askari ran over from the Police Station and burst in on us without ceremony.

“Bwana Mkubwa! Sir! Come quickly! Hurry! Men with spears and big sticks are coming down the road. There are many of them. They are shouting for you, Bwana! Come at once!”

Peter and I had no idea what to expect as we ran out of the Boma. Gathered outside the Police Station we came upon thirty men, armed with cudgels and long spears and looking very determined and aggressive. Among them, supported by two of the mob, was a bloodstained, wild-eyed and nearly naked old man. His arms were twisted and tied in front of him with rope of bark, and he looked in a nasty mess.

In a firm voice Peter demanded of the crowd,

“What do you want? “Why have you come here?”

Shaking their spears and looking murderous, several men bellowed at us at once. It took time for us to quieten them down and insist they allowed a spokesman to answer for them all.

“This one is a thief,” cried the appointed speaker, shouting angrily and pointing to the wretched old man. “He stole our cattle; he was driving off twenty of our cows and bulls. We caught him taking them out of the stockade behind the village. You must hang him!”

Peter and I and were more than relieved to find that the villagers were simply escorting a cattle-thief to deliver him for justice. Eventually we extracted the full story of the attempted theft. Stealing cattle was a common crime, easy to commit at night, but it inevitably angered the local farmers. The thief on this occasion had been caught in the act early that morning and beaten up severely. His head had been cut open, his back shredded, and his arm broken in two places. If he had committed the crime, he had probably deserved his summary punishment.

Peter and I were very firm in our turn. We acknowledged the seriousness of the crime, and we assured the crowd that justice would be done. We then insisted that the crowd dispersed, while police took the alleged thief into custody. Two askaris took him off to hospital to have his wounds dressed and his arm fixed by the doctor, while, with a quiet sigh of relief, Peter and I saw the crowd of villagers begin to relax. They talked among themselves, shouldered their vicious weapons, and turned for home. In the evening I went down to the hospital to charge the unfortunate thief with cattle-theft, and found him still shaken and in pain lying on a bed with his arm in plaster.

Communal turn-outs

It was a tribal rule that each year in the dry season every male adult must contribute two weeks’ free labour for communal work in his area; and most of this work was devoted to the building of dams and tanks. Well over one hundred dams had been constructed by this means in the five years to 1957, and in 1958 the turnout was as large as ever. No pay was given for the work, but food and water were provided; and the turnout was popular, especially when the Native Authority sent out its mobile cinema van to entertain the men in the evenings.

The role of the DC and DOs was to encourage the chiefs to organise the turnout in each of the eight chiefdom areas, plan the dams and access roads, and mark out the work to be done. In addition we had to get tools out to the workers, often in very inaccessible places, and ensure the provision of food and water - the food was generally on the hoof, being cattle that were slaughtered on arrival at the site, and water went out in the NA bowser if no other dam was within reach.

As soon as the dry weather started, the turnout season opened, and two out of the three of us from the Boma were on safari most of the time. Thus it was that in mid-June I went out on my own with the task of organising and supervising the communal turn-outs in the Ndala chiefdom and found myself in the rest-house en route for Puge to witness the local turnout in the presence of the Mtemi and the Wakili.

Around two hundred and fifty men had left their villages and gathered at the site under the chief ’s direction deep in the bush for two weeks’ hard manual labour to build a big dam. Our lorry had taken out to them one hundred hoes (jembes), the same number of matchets (pangas) and earth-pans (karais), and assorted picks and axes. We had also arranged for the water bowser to go out and provided one cow for each hundred men at the dam site and many bags of maize meal (posho) and beans. When I arrived I stood on a hillock and saw a very large crowd of men of all ages stripped to the waist in tattered shorts or loin-cloths working in big teams to build an earth wall across a wide valley. It was an animated and lively scene as the foreman and his helpers dashed here and there directing long lines of men. The dust rose high and covered everything; the men worked hard under the Mtemi’s eye, chanted in unison and perspired freely, some clearing the bush with pangas, others shovelling the loose earth into the karais with their jembes, others carrying full karais on their heads to the earth wall, and still others building the wall and compacting it solidly. It was a painting from Hieronymus Bosch brought to life. I was fascinated as I helped check the measurements and heights that the foremen had marked out.

I went on to measure up a dam nearer Ndala with the help of a keen young foreman, before I was obliged to do the messy job of overseeing the burning of the tails of cattle that had been culled locally. I met Chief Kassanda and admired his ‘palace’ at a place called Simbo which was indeed a very grand house. I spent next morning with him, trying to win his confidence while admiring his mansion and his ménage. I took the opportunity to check the arrival of pangas and axes to enable a start to be made on clearing land at the site chosen for a new dam in his chiefdom a little later on.

As I went round, I inspected produce markets in the villages where the local farmers’ surplus crops of groundnuts, sunflower seed and millet were for sale to Arab and Indian wholesalers. In one village I passed over a large sum of money to an old woman whose limbs had been destroyed by leprosy. She had no feet, no hands and no face; she could not even sign the papers and receipt with a thumb print which was the normal custom among the illiterate. She had long been dependent on a son who had gone to Dar es Salaam to earn some money to feed his family, but had fallen off some scaffolding and died. She was entitled to a sum of money under the Workmen’s Compensation Law which I gave her; and thus by his death her son provided for her in her last years.

At Ndala rest-house it was a cold night, and poor Bakari came in to tell me he was shivering under one blanket in the cook’s quarters. I gave him my groundsheet until we could buy him another blanket at a market on our route, but first I had to spend a day at Ulaya visiting the school and checking the baraza books. The rest-house was in a beautiful little place and our night was comfortable and restful, although not until we turned for home could we buy Bakari what he needed. I looked in on two more little schools and a baraza before reaching the Boma at the end of the morning - it was a happy safari with lots to do, seeing new places, meeting interesting people, and finishing up at a very peaceful spot.

The Court

Peter and I were busy working on the Preliminary Inquiries into our murders in order to have them ready for the High Court Judge who was due at the end of the month. For two days I was in the court from around 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening with hardly a break, enquiring into a pair of brutal murders following drunken assaults.

On the third day, another murderer was brought in and I wrote down his confession. He was neither mad nor quite sane, and a dangerous member of the community. It seemed likely he would receive only a short sentence on grounds of diminished responsibility and return to his village in a year or so as dangerous as ever. In a different sort of case, I was obliged to understand and unravel some witchcraft - or it may have been religious activity - where the evidence was wholly unsatisfactory, even that given by the friendly and intelligent Mtemi of Ndala himself.

I was nonplussed one morning when an Arab was put in front of me, charged with possessing four muzzle-loaders when he had a licence for just one. They were all very old, dirty and rusty firearms, and the owner explained their possession by saying he was worried about his family’s safety where they lived deep in the bush. I found myself engaged in a tedious wrangle with him about the need for so many weapons - after all he could only fire one at a time. Almost as complicated was an alleged bicycle theft that came before me - the complainant was an incoherent drunken old man while the accused was a smart and personable young fellow - perhaps a little too smart for his own good. After hearing the evidence, I wrote my judgement late one night and delivered next day the sentence of one year’s imprisonment.

Right at the end of the month, Mr Justice Abernethy came down from the High Court in Mwanza on a ‘roving circuit’ to hear all our murder cases. He was a quiet and gentle Scot with one of those strong lowland accents. On the eve of his day in court, we all met him informally at a drinks party when he seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly.

The Court House had been repainted for the occasion and looked very good. The Police provided a smart guard of honour under their Inspector in his best uniform. This was one of those rare occasions when Peter and I wore grey suits during the day; and despite the heat, His Honour was dressed in gown and wig. Two Asian Counsels whom we had never seen before turned up to argue the cases before him; there was much bowing and scraping, and he sat at the top table with African assessors, chosen from elders living in the areas where the crimes had been committed.

Sensibly the accused all pleaded “guilty”, and the cases were despatched with great speed. When the judge delivered the sentences, he was ridiculously soft. In every case he accepted drunkenness or drugs in mitigation, and assumed there was diminished responsibility - and so he awarded two years inside for this one, eighteen months for the next, perhaps three years in the worst cases. Tony, Peter and I were incensed at the feeble sentences and the slap-down with which he delivered them. Worse still, for some legal technicality, he put off three of the cases that we had worked hard to have ready for him.

I was so angry at what I thought was a failure of justice, quite apart from all our wasted work, that I wrote to the High Court with a fierce complaint. In return, I received a sharp rebuke - one that I have never forgotten. I learned then that one does not accuse a judge of “a miscarriage of justice”.

As soon as the His Honour vacated the court house, a Resident Magistrate (RM) from Tabora took it over in order to hear our first ‘political’ case - a sign of the times. It concerned the strike that had taken place in March at the Bukene factory. One of the workers had threatened the others with beatings if they went back to work - the offence of intimidation. We in the Boma had been involved in settling the strike and keeping the peace between the employer and his brawny labourers, so we could not hear the case and had to bring in an outsider to do it.

I found it fascinating watching politics come to Africa. Some times it made people into fools as it did the Bukene rabble-rouser; sometimes they were clever and evil, sometimes clever and honest - and the vast majority were honest according to their lights but ignorant - so could be taken in by any sort of impostor. The RM approached the trial in a practical and common sense way. I listened to the accused speaking from the box that afternoon after I returned from checking the books at the hospital, and was not impressed with his lame defence. However the RM dealt with him quietly and with no fuss - and then in the evening over a pint of beer went on to give me invaluable advice about the Law Exams that were fast approaching.


The Police

Partly as a result of my efforts, the Provincial Police Chief based in Tabora agreed to increase our little force by five more askaris. They arrived on 1st July, and I had to find accommodation for them and their large families, and put in hand the construction of new houses for them.

Their presence much increased the value of the Nzega Police. They enabled us to start proper ‘beats’ in the township and bring in many more of the violent drunks. We were also able to get to grips with the problem of overloaded vehicles which the Indians ran on our terrible roads.

The Court

My work as magistrate was light after the judge’s visit, but as well as magistrate, I was also a Coroner. Thus it was that at the beginning of July I had a full morning’s work of Inquests on several dead bodies that had - so to speak - been lying around for months.

Meantime there was a steady flow of minor criminal cases. One man was accused of smoking bhang. It was a banned substance - because it frequently led to violence - and the case should have been straightforward. However, the accused insisted on summoning his brother from Dar es Salaam to give evidence on his behalf, and he thus spun his defence out over several weeks, and it was only at the end of the month that I was able to convict him and deliver the appropriate mild sentence.

Igusule and Itobo

In the first week of July I escaped from Nzega on my own again. First I had to deal with a road accident five miles out from the Boma. Driving out of the station, we came upon the forlorn Agricultural Officer whose landrover had been pushed sideways on a narrow bridge into a deep ditch. Luckily no one had been badly hurt, but the second car had evidently been driven very fast and on inspection was found to have no brakes. The Police Inspector was trying to sort things out rather feebly, I thought; so I leapt into action and took charge of the scene of the accident, bossing everybody about until I felt able to hand the situation back to the Police. On my return from safari, I fined the fellow whose vehicle had no brakes Shs 50/-.

I drove on from village to village in the usual routine of calls, chats and checks, on the way talking to the chiefs and sub-chiefs. My trip coincided with the return from abroad of Chief Mashimbi of Igusule, and his people were planning a big welcome which appeared to involve two or three days of dancing and drums. The villagers were warming up by dancing well ahead of his expected arrival, and it was pleasant to see the excited activity in the villages and the eagerness with which they were looking forward to the party. I was always thrilled to watch ngomas and the obvious pleasure with which the young men and women performed their gyrations. Unfortunately I had little time for I had to go on to the Igusule rest-house to use as a base from which to reach the site chosen for a new dam where work was soon to start. It was deep in the bush hidden among unpleasant thorn bushes; Peter had begun to mark out the line of the walls that was to be built, and I had to check his measurements, extend the walls to the valley rim and complete the marking with sticks. It was hot but interesting work that had to be done promptly because clearing and construction was to start immediately the celebrations of the Chief ’s return were over.

On return from the dam, I called on the local Wakili to visit the produce market. It too was thriving and I went round with the tarishi discussing costs and prices with the peasant farmers and traders, trying to explain the basic economics of the market place as Tony had done in his big barazas. We went on to Itobo for an inspection of the court records and found all in reasonable shape although the dispensary was falling down. There I measured up two more dams; one was in a good site, but the other was poor because the valley was too wide for an effective restraining wall.

Back in the rest-house, we heard the drums. In the flickering light of bonfires, the beat increased in intensity, and I watched fascinated as at times the dancers spun round and round, and at others shuffled about in line, with long shadows behind them, in and out of the firelight. The drums continued far into the night, while I had a scratch supper and read law books by the light of a spluttering paraffin lamp, before falling into my camp bed in the rest- house.

Preparing for elections

Immediately on my return from safari, the DC held his regular District Team meeting, and we went straight into a briefing and rehearsal for the elections to take place in September. Candidates were to be drawn from all racial groups, and every voter was to be required to vote for three people, one European, one African, and one Asian. The suffrage was narrow, for only chiefs and elders were to be allowed to vote. The system was designed to outmanoeuvre extremists but seemed to us to be an experiment on shaky grounds.

The DC arranged that the three of us should go out on safari to visit all the chiefdoms that month in order to explain the plan to the chiefs and elders. We had to expect that questions would be political. Rumours abounded - some Africans though they were to have self-government immediately after the elections. TANU was gaining ground and opposed not only the dominance of the Chiefs in the District Council but also the inter-racial nature of the elections. The barazas would not be easy; the three of us had to deliver precisely the same message and be very careful in presenting it.

We reckoned we had to tread a fine line between stirring up interest in the elections to ensure a good turn-out, and inflaming demands for faster progress. Understandably, the village folk out in the bush had little interest in the coming of ‘democracy’. They were totally occupied with their hard daily grind, and had no time for the new politicians, yet if they did not wake up and take an interest, we felt they would leave the field to the agitators and follow them blindly without thinking. So it was our aim to try and stir the minds of our audiences to think for themselves and look after their best interests.

Election Briefing

The weather was much colder when I went out on my safari to do my share of touring the chiefdoms to speak to the village people about the forthcoming elections.

I spoke at three barazas; and for the first time, felt confident enough to give my addresses in Swahili. While I was sure some of my language was atrocious, I was more than pleased to find that I could make myself understood. The elections needed careful explanation; so I talked for an hour and answered questions for a further hour in each place. I was presented with some difficult questions, and was heckled by the schoolmasters of the mission schools and some wandering agitators - I was pleased when one heckler was shouted down by other listeners who wanted to hear me. Most of my audience was keener on finding out about the crop situation and the markets than on voting at the elections.

One afternoon we went to look at a dam to inspect work in progress, and it was one of the most beautiful sights I saw in Nzega. After a long trip in the land-rover over deserted parched bush, we suddenly came upon a long, narrow lake glistening in the bright sunlight. Beautiful delicate green reeds grew along its edges and a mass of huge yellow water-lilies covered it. The water looked fresh and cool and melted in the distance into a haze of yellow; and, scattered up and down the pool, were big white cranes with bright red legs and beaks looking for frogs.

That lovely afternoon was the effective end of my work in Nzega District. When I got home, I dealt with a few outstanding shauris and wrote up the inquests that had been outstanding for so long. I had great plans for the following weeks for further safaris, for shaking up the Police, improving the prison and doing up the Welfare Centre. Sadly however my work petered out as I came under doctor’s orders.

Chapter 5: Nzega at Leisure
“This is the state of man. Today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope; tomorrow blossoms
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost...”

Cardinal Wolsey in Act III of Shakespeare’s ‘King Henry VIII’.

The Expatriates on the Station

On the day I arrived at Nzega, dusty from the Tabora road and tired from the overnight flight, Mike arranged a lunch-time drinks party to which he had invited the entire European population of the station to meet me. We gathered on his lawn and I shook everyone’s hands and chatted to them all. I was told the place had grown in the recent past; two years before my arrival only fourteen Europeans had been living on the station; and now there were about twenty five adults and a dozen kids. My first impression of them at the party was very favourable, for they were all friendly and welcoming. Later I was less uncritical - they were a very mixed bag, but nearly everybody seemed to like everybody else and they were in and out of each others’ houses on a pleasantly neighbourly basis.

I moved in with Mike and shared his bungalow with a view to taking it over on his departure. During that week, we went out every night either to the Club or to the homes of one or other of the expatriates. They all seemed eager to say goodbye to him and get to know me. It was an agreeable if bewildering and exhausting week and an encouraging start to my Nzega tour, but I hoped I would not have to go out quite so much later on when I had become known and accepted.

In addition to the three members of the Administration with whom I worked closely, that is Tony Golding, Peter Doole and Paul Mazinga, described in the last chapter, the expatriate community at Nzega comprised the following folk.

Pat Golding was Tony’s wife, a capable and pleasant lady, the dominant personality among the ladies on the station. Her South African mother was staying with them who was named Mrs Bickle, had a sharp tongue and took a bit of getting to know. She swore with abandon but had a generous and kind heart. She insisted on playing bridge with the rest of us but did not understand the cards, and while I always enjoyed her company I dreaded partnering her at the card table.

The Goldings had two young sons, Jonathan and Nicholas. They were delightful children and brought a bit of cheer and all-round happiness to the station. It was good to have children about the place. The family lived in the centre of the station in a large, comfortable house ringed by verandahs and a luscious garden full of colour, situated just across from the Boma.

The Medical Department was headed by Rex Bailey, the District Medical Officer, who was married to Jan with two small children. Their bungalow was on the same road as mine much closer to the Boma and very much bigger to accommodate their growing family. Rex ran the district hospital on the far side of the station. Like my brother John, Rex had studied at Barts’ and enjoyed a varied colonial experience, having been in Bechuanaland before coming to Nzega. He had numerous qualifications, though still a young man. He could be aggressive, and liked to dominate the conversation; he also appeared to bully his wife which I did not like to see. They were very hospitable and friendly, and played bridge keenly but not particularly well - about my standard of play.

The nursing sister in charge of the little hospital was Isobel Leggett. She was a quiet, sweet person. Like me, Isobel was in bachelor quarters and walked and cycled everywhere because she was the only other person on the station besides myself without a car. She left the station at the start of her long leave in late May. Her successor was Joan Walton who had a kind and generous heart, and whom I got to know well in a short space of time.

The Health Visitor was Miss Rumbold, universally known as ‘Rummy’, a spinster in her forties. She seemed hard and brusque on first acquaintance, but her tough exterior hid another warm heart and she was an amusing conversationalist. She was an excellent cook too. She was above all a nice and easy person to talk with, and I always enjoyed her company. Living with her was her father aged about 80, whom we all called “Pop”. He had broken his leg in the house about six months before my arrival, had nearly died in Tabora hospital, but was walking cheerfully around with a stick at home when I met him. The third inhabitant of their bungalow was a friendly white mongoose.

Rummy’s job title was misleading because she was really a ‘maternity sister’ in charge of a maternity ward at Nzega hospital, overseeing the construction of similar wards in other local hospitals, and paying frequent visits to all the little dressing stations in the chiefdoms in the bush. Her pride and joy was a specialised Maternity Clinic that was under construction at Ushirika while I was at Nzega, and I was pleased to be able to give her a hand in laying it out. Her principal task was however to encourage the village women in various stages of pregnancy to met her at their local dispensary for ante-natal advice and careful checking. If they were going to be ‘difficult’, she told them to come to Nzega when they were ‘due’ and coped with them there. She had been living in Nzega for at least ten years before my arrival and had built this service up entirely by herself; a very large number of African mothers of the area must have been through her hands and her work must have saved many young lives. She knew the district inside out and had masses of entertaining stories of the people and villages that she saw more closely than anyone else.

The Public Works Department was under Fred Webb, our PWD man and building contractor, a very good-hearted fellow who was always willing and helpful. He had been a sergeant in the war, and was a jolly and friendly type who got on with everyone. He had built the Nzega Middle School and was about to start to put up another. I worked with him a good deal in planning new building and road works for the District. His wife came out to join him at Easter and made a welcome addition to the station.

My closest neighbours were Paul and Helen Fourie. Paul was a South African and a jack of all trades, with the title of Works Foreman, though I was never quite sure about his official role or how he earned his living, but I soon discovered he knew all there was to know about cars, cows and explosives, among many other things. Helen was from Poland, and they both spoke English with strange accents and had a tribe of scruffy small children. They were always kind neighbours and helped me out in every domestic crisis.

A strong veterinary contingent was required to look after the District’s large herds of cattle. The Chief Veterinary Officer was a Scot from Edinburgh called Ken Thomson with a fierce Scottish accent. His happy-go-lucky but harassed wife had bright red hair and several small ginger-topped children. They lived almost opposite me and next door to the Club and were also friendly and social neighbours. Inevitably they were enthusiastic Scottish dancers and reelers, and Ken was good with his gun and and a keen big game hunter when opportunity permitted.

The junior vets were known as Livestock Officers. Jim Coulter was a slim, quiet fellow, married to Margaret, and they made an energetic and cheerful pair. The other vet was a bachelor of my own age called Nevil Tuck who, like me, smoked a pipe. He shared the Airmail Daily Telegraph with me, and was my partner at bridge from time to time. We became very friendly before he was posted elsewhere.

Linked to the vets’ work were the Creameries that comprised a slaughter house, cold store and dairy where large quantities of milk were bought regularly from the Nyamwezi cattle-owners and processed into butter and cream. This complex of buildings and the plant were situated at the back of the home of the Manager, Tom Holloway a retired Agricultural Officer. Tom and his wife Peggy lived in a big bungalow along my road on the far side of the Fouries. Peggy and Tom had lived in Nzega for six or seven years and had created a comfortable and elegant home, with fine furniture, carpets and silver. A generator was required for the butter-making plant and Peggy’s was thus the only house on the station that had electric light. They were kind-hearted and generous folk and entertained the rest of us at delightful evening parties.

Tanganyika Packers was a huge business that employed John Kidner as their buyer in Nzega to go round the cattle markets in the District and purchase at auction suitable cattle to be sent down by rail to the meat-packing plant. It was an uninspiring job, but John had great stories to tell of his chequered career. He was the only man on the station with good old-fashioned charm, was very much a public school adventurer and had spent some years working in Spain (smuggling spirits in from Gibraltar as far as I could gather), before going to British Somaliland on lotus control. Somewhere along the way, he had married Margaret, a New Zealander who was excellent company and a first class cook. She regularly provided excellent meals for us at their house and at the Club. I grew to know them well and always enjoyed their company and generous hospitality.

The Agricultural Department’s chief was a hermit, grew his hair long, and never accepted social invitations. He lived next door to the Club where rock was being broken up to make a small swimming pool, but he seemed indifferent to the explosions that sent shrapnel on to his roof. The other agricultural chap was a strange South African who smoked cigars. Their work was centred on the Agricultural Station at Mwanhala a few miles out, where a rather dim fellow called Eddie lived and worked. In contrast with Handeni, I had little to do with their work and never saw them on safari. Fortunately these men were all at the end of their tour and their replacements, when they disappeared on leave, were easy-going folk who soon fitted in to our little community. I knew John and Isabel Mattley who arrived after I had been in Nzega some months because they had travelled out from England at the start of their tour on the ‘Warwick Castle’ liner at the same time as me the previous year. They were joined by another friendly couple, Barry and Marie Scott whose bungalow was situated near their Mwanhala offices.

My domestic staff

On setting up house in a new station, the first step was to hire servants. Mike recruited for me a youngster named Haruna to be my houseboy - to keep the house clean, wash my clothes, serve at table and so on. I set out to train him in his basic duties and slowly he learned the job. He had the maddening habit of disappearing now and then just when he was needed but when present on the job he showed keenness and interest in the work, and at first looked after me very well.

In the mail that reached me from Handeni on my arrival at Nzega was a letter from Bakari who had cooked for me there. He offered to join me in my new posting, and I was delighted at the suggestion, if only because Saidi, whom I had taken on after Mike’s departure was not a patch on Bakari. I promptly sent £5 to the Handeni Boma to pay for Bakari’s journey to Nzega, and eagerly awaited his arrival. Three weeks later, he struggled in, exhausted - poor chap - having spent two nights on the journey with his wife, two tiny children, a bicycle and my shotgun which had been locked up during my absence in the Handeni Boma strong-room. He had suffered all sorts of problems on the way, but John Woodley had got him away safely and Pat Hobson had taken him in hand at Morogoro and put him and his party on the Tabora train.

With a wife and children to feed on Shs 100/= a month, Bakari found life in Nzega more expensive and more difficult than in his home District. I gave him half-pay for all the time I had been in England, hoping this small bonus helped his situation, and he looked after me very well through many ups and downs.

Setting up House

The bungalow that I inherited from Mike Ransome at Nzega was half a mile from the Boma and a good mile from Nzega township and the shops. Its back was to the road, and it had wide French windows at the front that opened out on to a flower garden and looked across to a wilderness of bush that ran down to the dam three miles away. The house was in the same style and design as my place at Handeni, with a similar big sitting room, long verandah at the front and separate kitchen at the back. Unlike Handeni, however, the bungalow had not been decorated for some time and was neither bright nor cheerful, having been painted without imagination according to the Government pattern in ghastly greens and browns, with dull, grey concrete floors.

My personal possessions that had been stored in big boxes at Handeni came in a bus from Bukene Railway Station just two days after my arrival. They had been diverted from Kigoma and survived the journey well, but I could unpack them only after Mike had put all his stuff away and finished his packing. Meantime, for the duration of the change-over, we lived in a shambles with our boxes in every room, and without curtains, carpets or cushion covers.

As soon as Mike had gone and I was on my own in the evenings, I worked through the heavy mail that had accumulated at Handeni and reached me in a fat bundle on arrival. I spent several evenings writing numerous business and thank-you letters, while settling in. Val wrote some delightful letters and I much enjoyed writing to her. I reported my arrival not only to her and my family but to my Cambridge friends and the other Haidhuru with whom I had lost touch during my recent illness.

I then had to tackle my finances. Income tax had been less than expected - because of my small income and the generous allowance for bachelors - but I had to equip the house from top to bottom, especially the kitchen which needed all the usual utensils. Nzega Township boasted two reasonable grocery and hardware stores that satisfied my day-to-day needs.

Martin Stores was run by Mr de Souza where I opened an account (Shs 144/= for a typical month, of which paraffin was the most expensive item). The other shop was Dharamsi’s, a typical large Indian duka which I judged was good value and supplied me with everything from vegetable seeds to the contents of my drinks cupboard. Old Dharamsi also sold me cushion covers and employed tailors and cutters who proved useful on occasions. When I went down to settle my first month of bills, however, I was horrified to find I did not have enough money for them. I had to reduce my regular payments to the Lloyds account at home while at the same time exercising some sensible economies. Meanwhile I had still to buy fresh food from the Tabora shops, and placed a regular order for things like sausages, bacon, cheese and kippers - wrapped in cellophane paper as if they had come straight from the fish shop instead of half way across the world - delicious for breakfast.

I was surprised to find myself homesick a week or two after arrival when I had recovered from the novelty of the place and the job. I kept on thinking with great pleasure of my nephews and nieces - how Robin had run after me as I drove away from Willow Road waving goodbye, thrusting into my hands a bundle of sticks as a farewell present - and how Peter had beat me at ping pong during our Henfield holiday a day or two before I left home on the ‘Warwick Castle’. For a couple of evenings, I was overwhelmed with the difficulties and discomforts of life. Slowly, however I began to sort myself out. I became committed to my work which was absorbing and fulfilling, and I began to enjoy the evenings and busy social life. When on my own at night I began to read a lot - mostly history, some novels, and a variety of borrowed books - the Kidners lent me books on Spanish bull fighting which I studied seriously for a time.

More importantly, I started to go through my books of Swahili grammar in earnest. The Oral Exam was due in September and would be followed by the famously difficult Higher Swahili Written Exam. Law Exams had also to be taken in the foreseeable future. They were not hard to pass, in the sense that there were no trick questions and one was allowed to use all available textbooks - one simply had to know how to use the books. On the other hand it was important to do well in them, as the results were carefully recorded by the authorities in the Secretariat.

Throughout my time in Nzega, Bakari and I wrestled with three major domestic problems. The first was bugs and pests. We started by having the torn anti-mosquito gauze replaced on all the windows. We ejected several messy lizards, and Haruna spent many hours in the kitchen with the DDT spray, killing cockroaches and beetles and various horrible flies. The mosquitoes were very bad in the rainy season, and malaria was prevalent. My predecessor had contracted it twice in the year he had been at Nzega, in spite, he said, of taking Paludrine every day. I slept under a wide mosquito net throughout my tour and, happily, escaped it.

Hot water was the second big domestic problem. The water was heated in the usual ‘Tanganyika boiler’, situated a few yards behind the house and adjacent to the kitchen. In theory, each morning and evening, firewood was collected in the bush, cut up by convicts on parole from the prison and lit underneath the boiler to provide the house with hot water. Unfortunately, soon after I arrived, the prison warder was himself put in jail for stealing cement from the Native Authority with which to build his own house. As a result, parole arrangements were disorganised for some time and we had to heat our water in cans on the kitchen stove. Then the prisoners were given other work, and I had to arrange the garden boy to go out every day with his panga to gather and chop firewood and and burn it under the tank for our needs in the kitchen and bathroom.

Our third constant problem was food. Groceries were much dearer than expected. Bakari and I reckoned the cost of living for basic items was double what it had been at Handeni. Milk at six cents a bottle was twice as expensive as we had known it in Tanga Province; tiny green bananas were two cents each, twice the Handeni price; bantam-size eggs were three cents each where they had been one cent each at Handeni; and so on across the board. Happily, we could buy vegetables cheaply in the Nzega shops during the Rains when I arrived, and everything we could possibly want was readily available - peas, runner beans, carrots, onions, lettuces, cucumbers, marrows, squashes and pumpkins. In addition we were frequently given fresh vegetables by my gardening neighbours. In my second week I was given a couple of small cauliflowers which provided variety in the diet. Sweetcorn and peanuts were always plentiful in the shops; the only thing that was difficult to find for some reason was potatoes.

Fresh butter and cream could generally be bought on a Friday at the Creameries; and as long as the cattle-markets were held, fresh meat was plentiful, although it had generally to be eaten on the same day on which the animal was slaughtered, and was invariably tough, even if kept in the fridge a day or two. Fortunately there was a big cold store at the Creameries, and it was possible to lay in a large cut there until needed. On my first Sunday I bought a shoulder of pork which I asked the Holloways to hang and store for me and thus guaranteed a pleasant meal over several weeks.

Sorting out my Garden

The Rains normally started in those parts in November and eased temporarily in January before returning with vengeance a month later. I arrived in Nzega as they came back to soak the earth and turn the roads to mud. Torrential downpours occurred every night, often accompanied by thunder and electric storms when the evening sky was lit by lightning flashes across the whole horizon. Gutters and streams overflowed quickly, and flowers shot up wherever seeds were sown. The rain blew in open windows and soaked everything, but the extensive garden round the house in my early days was all green, fresh, and full of flowers.

Mike had bought dozens of packets of seeds and scattered them wholesale in several beds; the result was a mass of colour. I was surrounded by petunias, geraniums, big yellow and red daisies, and huge purple, scarlet and yellow flowering shrubs. I picked a big bowl for the table on the first morning on my own and determined to look after them properly and keep them going as long as possible before the ground dried up.

The greatest pleasure of the garden was the birds. Some were tiny little things, in very bright colours, that lived in the shrubs and played about on my verandah and the eaves of the house and had long beaks to winkle out ants from their holes in the ground. Bigger birds were everywhere and just as busy among the bugs and insects that proliferated in the long grass and bushes.

The Nzega Club

The Club was the neutral scene of much social life on the station. It was a simple two-room wooden building under thatch situated on the opposite side of the road to my house and half way down to the Boma. The main room comprised a bar and counter, chairs and tables, and tall windows opening onto a concrete badminton court. Like my neighbours, I would often call at the bar after work to smoke a pipe and have a drink, or look in for a gin and tonic before Sunday lunch, or perhaps enjoy a chat and a whisky there on my way home after a pleasant supper out. During my first week, the entire station gathered there after the evening meal to play Housey-Housey; and at the end of the week, after dinner at the doctor’s, Mike and I went on to the Club for his farewell party. The DC brought everyone together and gave a little formal speech of good wishes to Mike and a kind welcome to me - Mike replied, and we all drank his health.

As soon as I was straight in the house, I was recruited to share in the hard labour of digging out and building the swimming pool beyond the badminton court. The pool had been sited in an attractive spot in a bowl in the rocks, huge smooth grey monsters, the size of elephants. As two or three baby elephants lay on the place where the DC wanted the deep end to be dug, the first task was to blow them to pieces with gelignite. Little holes had to be chipped deep into the virgin rock-face in which to lay the charges. The Europeans on the station decided to do all the work themselves, and gathered at the Club around six every evening to do as much work as possible when the sun’s heat was spent in that last hour of daylight. The sun slipped over the skyline promptly every evening at 7.15 pm, and we packed up the tools and made our way to the Club bar, to drink a glass of beer by the light of a paraffin lamp and return to our various houses to bathe and dine.

For two months, the European men in Nzega turned out nearly every evening and on Sunday mornings to hammer away at the rocks with sledgehammers and crowbars. I took my turn though I found the hammers very heavy and quickly developed blisters. I appeared as often as I could, not only because of the refreshing exercise, but because it was a good way of meeting people and picking up the latest news. It was at the Club after sledge-hammering that first weekend that we heard of the Munich air-crash when a number of leading English footballers had been killed and others seriously injured, including the famous Matt Busby.

On my second weekend the charges were inserted in the baby elephants and exploded, and in heavy rain we had to remove the rubble and work on the last stubborn rocks. A week was then spent while the experts among my colleagues worked out the cost of the necessary supplies of cement, piping, pump, filter and so on. Frequent inconclusive discussions took place in the Club to decide how to pay for it all and where to lay the pipes that would bring the water up from the dam to fill the pool.

Getting to know my neighbours

On my first Sunday, Tony and Pat Golding entertained me to lunch where I met the PC, Mr Dudbridge, socially for the first time. He was up from Tabora on a brief visit and was generous in the things he said to me and gave me lots of encouragement. Only a week later, I was again invited to the Goldings with several couples round their big table. We dined on a goose that Tony had shot. He had been out in the afternoon after game birds at one of the local dams and a goose provided a great change from the continual scraggy beef we normally ate.

A day or two later, I met Jim Coulter and his wife at my neighbours, the Fouries when our host rolled back the carpet after a good dinner, and we all danced to a gramophone. The following night the Kidners invited Mike and me to tea and supper, and told us of their ambition to live in Spain where they had bought a plot of land. They entertained us amusingly with stories illustrated by slides of all their adventures there, and Margaret served ‘Aubergines Provencale’, followed by a Spanish meat dish and ‘Bananas Flambes’ sizzling in burning brandy - delicious. The following evening we had supper at the Holloways whose house I much admired and found very homely and comfortable.

The Kidners often found an excuse for a party. If Margaret had no particular reason to entertain us, she gave the bachelors classes in Spanish dancing; Mike had much enjoyed them and I joined in later to be taught the rumba and the samba.

It was not long before Rex Bailey enquired if I could play bridge, and, when I confessed I could, invited me to join a foursome after a meal at his house. I was nervous on the first occasion, but reassured to find that my standard of play was much the same as the others. I still made the odd stupid mistake, but it was good to know I could keep my end up.

After the ice was broken, I played frequently with the Baileys and sometimes at the Goldings where Pat was a delightful hostess and Mrs Bickle a hopeless player. I partnered Jan with success; at other times I played with Peter who was a careful and thoughtful player or with Nevil, the young vet, who could be very rash. I was embarrassed however at the way Rex constantly criticised his wife’s play - which was unkind as well as unpleasant for the rest of us. That apart, I enjoyed many rubbers and learnt a great deal about the game round their table.

Nzega township boasted a cinema optimistically called the “Royal Talkies’ where films were shown brought up from Tabora once or twice a month. It was an old shack run by an Indian - the original flea-pit. From time to time, some of us would go across to see scratchy old films at Shs 3/- for the show, seated on hard seats in a fairly smelly atmosphere. Whilst the films were generally dated and poor quality, we all turned out for the change and a pleasant social evening.

March to May

The House

I quickly made the house comfortable. The bed was not sprung and I had to buy a good mattress for it. To make the living room cosier I bought a woollen rug of a rather strange design of black and green, while Dharamsi’s made white drill covers for the sofa and armchairs. Some cushions came from my Cambridge rooms and others were a gift from Auntie D. On the living room wall hung a decorative mat given me by Margaret at Christmas. The Handeni curtains looked good in their new home and Nzega shops made more in a delicate pink and greeny blue with black flashes to hang at the French windows leading on to the verandah.

Meanwhile PWD carpenters measured all the windows for wooden pelmets, and made necessary minor repairs to warped and rotten door and window frames. The pelmets took two months to arrive, but in the end were a great improvement and made the place look much pleasanter. A new coat of paint indoors would have made an ever bigger difference but would have to await the next occupant.

In the evenings when at home, I maintained my correspondence in regular contact with the family at home. Peter was going to Swanbourne, Susan went to stay with her uncle in St Albans, and Robin was looking forward to prep school in St John’s Wood. I wrote frequently to Val and to all sorts of friends at home and around Tanganyika.

The fridge took six weeks to arrive from Tabora, and made a great difference to my comfort when we got it going. It stood four foot high, was an Electrolux model from Luton, and convertible for use either on paraffin as in Nzega, or on electricity where available. It cost £60, which equated to about one month’s salary after deductions, and had to be bought through a Treasury loan which I paid back at the rate of Shs 50/- a month.

Just before Easter, the wooden box that I had packed at Brooke House in early February arrived on the train. I collected it from Bukene station, and unpacked it eagerly. Although it had taken a month at sea and ten days on the railway, nothing had been damaged en route, and it contained lots of useful conveniences and some luxuries that made life just a little easier. I appreciated most a pillow that my mother had bought for me and shoved in the box at the last minute that turned out to make a real difference to my comfort in bed. My bungalow was then as comfortable and cosy as I could make it, and Bakari and I were able to establish a satisfactory routine.

It was not until May that the Pye gramophone came up from Tabora. Once working it gave constant pleasure. Four records of musical shows were sent up from Dar es Salaam; “Salad Days”, “My Fair Lady”, “South Pacific”, and “Free as Air”, which I played whenever I was home and often on other people’s portable gramophones when I went out in the evenings. These records from recent West End musicals were a great talking point as well as pleasant background music.

By May, the middle of each day was hot and the afternoons were warm enough for us all to enjoy swimming in the Club pool, but the nights and early mornings were cool, and the weather was altogether more tolerable. I slept under two good woollen blankets, and I wore a pullover or sports jacket in the mornings until the sun came through at about 11am.

In late May birthday presents arrived in the post. They included a fine salad bowl from Peter and Sue to grace my dining table and a colourful picture of Monaco to hang on my living room wall. I showed Bakari how to cook things like an omelette, and help came in the form of a book ordered from the Times Bookshop; “Cooking in the Tropics”, at 7/6d, exactly what was needed.

I found I was enjoying my house more and more. At weekends, I used to sit in a comfortable chair in my garden under the shade of my big tree, write letters home and to Val, and read for the exams, or perhaps listen to “Some Enchanted Evening” on the gramophone thinking about Valerie and wondering if “I had found my girl…. Never let her go” - and dreaming. Other correspondence included a letter from Roger Moat asking me to be Best Man at his forthcoming wedding, and generous invitations from John Illingworth to stay with him in his District in the Central Province, and from Charles and Susan Thatcher to stay with them in Bukoba.

The Garden

The garden provided both horrors and delights. In my third week, I was clearing a new flower bed when a scorpion that was hibernating in the earth, woke up and pushed the sting in its tail deep in the index finger of my right hand. The pain was foul and I was shocked. I ran across to my neighbour; dear Helen Fourie put my finger in a bowl of meths and sent me off to the hospital to find the doctor. I behaved very badly and was not in the least brave, but Isobel met me by chance on the way to the hospital and lent me much support.

The doctor gave me a local anaesthetic in the finger and when I continued to complain loudly that the poison was working up my arm and making the shoulder painful, gave me a shot of morphia. I lay on a hospital bed and made a lot of fuss, but was well looked after until late evening when I was taken home and fell into my own bed. The night was difficult but the poison had gone by the following morning. I had demonstrated that life in Africa was never dull.

After that excitement, I hired a garden boy named Maganga at two shillings a day to do the digging. He promptly found another little devil asleep under a stone. I studied it before chopping it in half with the spade. It was about an inch long, white and shaped like a lobster with a head set between two huge pairs of claws. The deadly tail was a long scaly jointed thing with a quivering black point at the end as sharp and as vicious as a darning needle.

Dangerous insects apart, the garden came on well. Maganga and I planted a line of young purple jacaranda bushes, dug a bed at the back of the lawn in front of a thorn hedge and put in it some tall geraniums. The annuals that my predecessor had scattered as seeds haphazardly and over-generously died, but the geraniums flourished, and brightened up the bungalow and enabled me to offer cut flowers to my neighbours.

We dug a bed round the back of the house, and as long as there was plenty of rain, it was possible to grow any amount of vegetables, provided only that the bugs did not take them. The greatest need was for anti-slug and anti-bug powders. We scattered various insecticides generously everywhere and surrounded the vegetable plot with a cordon sanitaire of ground-nut plants; the bugs ate the leaves but that did not matter because the nuts were deep in the soil and out of reach of the marauders.

I obtained a lorry-load of manure from the local cattle market - it was strong stuff if the smell was anything to go by. Maganga and I then put a dozen tomato plants in seed boxes, dug in some manure and they came up very nicely. We also planted rows of lettuces, beans, spinach, turnips, radishes, carrots, onions and even cucumbers in little mountains of earth, and spread the muck as a sort of top dressing on everything as it emerged. I was given three ounces of cauliflower seed and sowed the lot in a beautifully manured bed, expecting only a few to survive. Every single one appeared, and transplanting was beyond me. My lettuces grew fast, my beans flourished and both vegetables became part of my staple diet. The tomatoes ripened and the peanuts were plentiful and went well, when salted, with one’s evening beer. Finally we planted a row of maize; when properly manured and weeded, it did well and the ripe cobs were stored for some time to make a useful addition to the dry season diet.

At the back of the house was a tall five year old tree from which hung half a dozen fat pawpaws when I arrived. They swelled and softened and were delicious at breakfast with a little lime juice. One weekend, a young man from the Forestry Department called by and planted several more of these trees, and I added yet more myself to create a row along the drive to the house; and thus ensure my successor would enjoy a good supply of the fruit in days to come.

The Rains lasted just two months into my tour. Our efforts and experiments came to an end when they stopped. We were dependent on water from the pipe up from the dam thereafter and little could be spared for the garden. In any case, the supply was erratic - and for several days nothing at all came through the pipes. Whenever I could find water for my precious vegetables, I poured a can or two over them as it grew dark in the evening. In the dry weather, growth was much slower; scraggy beans, carrots, onions and peanuts kept going for a while, but when they were gone, only a few squash and a couple of huge turnips survived.

Obtaining variety and interest in one’s meals in the dry weather was a constant preoccupation. Most families on the station worked hard to preserve fresh food for the long dry season, while in the Nzega shops vegetables became more expensive and some things disappeared - cabbages and lettuces, for instance, were impossible to buy anywhere. I stocked up for some weeks ahead; but our own supplies ran out, and we had to pay high prices at the town dukas, or beg or borrow from more provident neighbours - or live out of tins.

At Easter, I called at Dharamsi’s and was able to purchase a load of fresh vegetables before they became too scarce, but shopping problems increased when Ramadhan started; not only did the Creameries cease to kill pigs, but the cattle markets came to an abrupt end and my meat supply dried up. The good news was that a large box of groceries arrived from Patels in Tabora including luxuries like sausages and bacon. At much the same time I received a parcel of pipe tobacco and pipe-cleaners (unobtainable in East Africa) from Covingtons in London to keep me happy for a while.

When no fresh meat was available, I started keeping chickens. The first recruit was a thin, bantam-sized present from a village headman given me while on safari and not possible to refuse. A week later I had a run made and bought six healthy hens at Shs 2/= each and started fattening them up - until two of them escaped and were run over by Paul Fourie - though he denied the crime. Some other neighbours kept guinea fowl that had been trapped in the bush which made good eating when properly cooked, but shrieked all night long and were not my choice.

We spent time on the garden early in May, sawing the lower branches off several trees and opening the place up. Less work was needed as it became much drier, and I changed Maganga’s job to that of helping Bakari on safari. I then hired Saidi, a schoolboy, to do the odd jobs in the garden for a few hours a week during the school holidays until mid-June, but little could be done. When we sowed grass seed in front of the house, it blew away and was taken by the birds in the following two hot days. I persisted and put in shoots of ‘star grass’ provided me by the Kidners to cover the bare earth. I was given a water butt by Isobel which made watering less of a problem, and we put in yet more geranium cuttings which seemed to grow in any type of soil or weather.

A book called “Tropical Gardening” arrived in a parcel from the Dar es Salaam bookshop, and Margaret sent me for my birthday an invaluable pair of secateurs. Another kind birthday present was from Mrs Bickle who raided the DC’s garden to give me a box containing a dozen leeks, a bundle of antirrhinums, a variety of nameless shoots, half a dozen Paradise Fruit ‘shrublets’, and some tiny fir trees. Her gift kept Saidi and me busy for several evenings planting everything out.


Susie the Cat
Susie the Cat
After a day’s work in the Boma I cycled home one evening to find Rummy sitting on my doorstep with a tiny white kitten on her lap. It had been presented to her at the end of Ramadhan by one of her young African nurses, and was a little devil, pretty, agile but messy, though learning quickly. It was thin on arrival and wolfed down masses of milk and meat. Breed and sex were unknown but she soon turned into a tough young female. I wrote home and asked Susan to give her a name. Back came the scribbled message; “CALL THE KITTEN SUSIE”.

So Susie she became. Her job was to keep away the mice and rats that I often saw from my verandah playing in the flowerbeds in front of the house. She also scared away the lizards whose droppings made a filthy mess in the outhouses and kitchen. She was a sweet little creature, though just a bit smelly at the start - she had obviously been taken away from her mother too early and took time to learn how to clean herself.

As time went by, Susie became ever more friendly and sweet-tempered. She was always hungry and very idle - she slept in the sun half the day through - and she was excessively friendly for she would curl up on my lap whenever I sat on my sofa to write letters, and I had little peace from her licking and pawing. I had to give in to her persistence and let her sleep on the bed with me, outside the mosquito net, though often she wriggled her way under it. She never left my lap while I was sitting down in the house; and when I was working or sitting in the garden in the dry weather, she would join me and potter about around me peacefully for hours. When the moon was full and I went outside for a stroll and a last pipe in the moonlight, she would accompany me as we inspected the garden together.

She grew up into a strong white cat. At one stage she became very wild and started rushing around breaking my ornaments. I smacked her and had a few bad days with her, but I forgave her when she found a scorpion in the house and helped us kill it. She then insisted on helping me write letters, sitting on the paper, watching me, and licking off the ink. Then as the evening drew on, she would fall asleep on the crock of my arm. She was cheerful company and we became good friends. I regretted that she had to spend most of the day on her own while I was in the office, and I missed her when I was on safari. She seemed very pleased to see me on my return and purred like a diesel engine when I came home in the evenings. I began then to realise how lonely I had been with no one else in the bungalow, and how much I needed company in the evenings. Her birthday present to me was a dead mouse.

Staff problems

In March, Haruna went sick with what he told me was pleurisy and disappeared for several days. On return he behaved stupidly at times; his timekeeping remained poor and I grew impatient with him. He went sick again for two or three days, and was still off when I gave Bakari a break and looked after myself for a few days. I heated my own hot water on the little safari stove, cooked my own breakfast and had a couple of cold chicken lunches - one of those scraggy local chickens that provided only two meals for one person.

During Ramadhan which overlapped Easter, everyone fasted during daylight hours and no one was able to work with his usual energy. When Bakari returned from his holiday, however, he coped admirably on his own, until the Idd at the end of Ramadhan when they were both off to celebrate and once again I had a thin time - no hot food, no early morning tea and no hot shaving water.

On the strength of his job with me, Haruna was able to complete payment of the bride price in May and to marry his girl. It was just in time, for soon afterwards she went into hospital to have a baby. Two days later, the child was born but I understood the little thing died straight away - it happened so often. So I did not see Haruna for some days, and he came back a weary man, poor chap, but glad, I thought, to start work again. Almost as soon as he came back to work, he was padding about barefoot one night and trod on a scorpion. We thrust his foot into a bucket of meths and Bakari escorted him to the hospital for the Sister’s ministrations. Soon afterwards Haruna was sick once more with what the doctor called chronic pleurisy, though I wondered if it were not something more serious.

In June, Bakari was also in a bad way with arthritis in a knee which caused him to limp heavily. I urged him to go to the hospital for an injection of penicillin. He hated the jab and seemed to be worse afterwards than before. He came up to me one Sunday when I was sitting in a shady corner of the garden writing letters and he said,

“Bwana mkubwa. My leg hurts more than ever. I cannot sleep at night. I have heard that an African doctor who lives at Mwisu in the bush can cure me. I ask you to let me have ten days to go to him to make my leg better.”

“No.” I said. “You must wait three days to see if the European doctor’s medicine will make you better.”

He persisted, saying, “I will pay for the journey myself. I will leave my wife and babies here. I will be away for a very short time. I am sure the native medicine will allow me to come back well again.”

I compromised. The nurse gave him aspirin to help him sleep; and I took him to the MO myself and insisted he gave Bakari a thorough check-up. The doctor treated me for my problems, but could offer no remedy for the cook other than injections. Off Bakari went in search of his medicine man in the bush. Haruna’s cooking by then was passable and he was able to look after me and the house for a short while.

Haruna’s attendance deteriorated further, however. He developed the habit of disappearing just when needed and coming back to say he had been sick - or his wife had been sick. I became short-tempered with him, and was in despair how to persuade him to improve his work and to stick to the hours for which he had been engaged. I gave him a series of rockets which merely depressed him and did not change his poor performance. On the contrary, he grew increasingly idle and the crisis came when I returned from safari at 6 o’clock one evening to find the house shut up and dirty, the paraffin fridge not lit, its contents mouldy and stinking, and the kitten desperately hungry and thirsty. So when Haruna eventually appeared I gave him the rest of his pay on the spot and told him to go away and not to return.

Happily at the same time, Bakari returned from his native medicine man completely cured of his arthritis. His workload increased on Haruna’s departure - I had to ask him to do the washing as well as the cooking and cleaning. He had lost weight since coming to Nzega, but he was so game, honest and trustworthy that I did not want to lose him. At the same time, I promised Maganga who had been very helpful on safari that I would train him to do indoor work; it would be promotion for him and he was very keen to take on more duties.

The Club

Once the rocks were broken up and the hole dug for the new bathing pool, cement was purchased and concrete was mixed and laid on its bottom and sides. At this stage we had to ask the PWD for help, and Fred Webb brought in his skilled fundi to do the more technical work. Meantime, we dug a ditch - which was a filthy job - and laid pipes from the pool out to the main pipe from the dam.

There were all sorts of entertainments in the evenings at the Club. Once a week in the dry weather, Paul Fourie would bring along his ‘electricity machine’ - a small generator - to provide light; someone else would produce records to play on the wind-up gramophone; and we would open the French windows and dance outside on the badminton court under the stars. One evening we played Tombola and the next week Bingo, and the third week we played a complicated combination of the two. On the night before the Grand National, we conducted the customary sweepstake. Margaret raffled a basket of vegetables which I desperately needed at that time as my garden vegetables were not ready for eating, but sadly I did not win. The good news was that she made Shs 40/= to go towards the expenses of the pool. Better still, in the darts match that followed later that evening, probably for the only time in my life, I scored twenty with my first dart and ninety-two with three darts.

We finished the swimming pool at Easter, cemented a paddling pool for the children, built a containing wall, and put on a couple of coats of paint. The walls and rocks were painted a light, soft duck-egg blue, with white on the steps which were my solo effort. I finished the last step well after dark on Maundy Thursday as the water was pouring in and lapping the bottom stair. Crazy paving was laid round the pool as it was filling up on Good Friday morning - the water did not look very clean but it was a deep blue, cool and inviting. The doctor then poured in chlorine to keep it reasonably pure until a filter could be designed and made.

Nzega Club.
Nzega Club.
At lunchtime that Saturday we shut up the Boma, and all went down to the Club and watched the children splashing about in three feet of water. The rocks round the pool were ideal for sun-bathing, and on Sunday, I took down my lilo and paddled in the water too.

Three weeks later the pool was full and pretty clean, and we held a swimming gala. The holiday spirit seized the station; all my nice neighbours were present and a number of interesting strangers and guests appeared - including a pleasant couple, Mr Hartley, the Provincial Veterinary Officer from Tabora whom I had met when he had been doing rinderpest inoculations in the bush, Mrs Hartley, with whom I much enjoyed talking, and two visitors who were wished on me for the night. The entertainment began with a rough and noisy water polo match which provided some healthy exercise. A knock-out badminton tournament then kept us busy and was followed by picnic tea among the rocks.

After dark, we all went back to the Club to dance out of doors on the badminton court. Someone hung storm lanterns in the trees. Someone else operated the portable gramophone. Jim Coulter was MC and made us dance novelty dances such as ‘statues’, and Margaret Kidner presented home-made prizes all round. It was a cheerful evening rounded off by an excellent buffet supper in the club-house. Every household produced two dishes, one of cold meat and salad, and one a cold sweet; Bakari, as usual, turned up trumps for both. The only fly in the ointment that weekend was that one of my guests drank too much. He was unforgivably rude to Rummy who wanted to close the Club when he insisted on staying at the bar; he deliberately broke some glasses after everyone else had gone, and finally drove his Landrover into the ditch outside the Club. After his vehicle was pulled out early the following morning, he climbed into it and slipped away without bothering to say goodbye. My other guest was a pleasant Agricultural Officer from Kahama. I enjoyed acting as host in my little bungalow and was grateful when he helped me clear up after the drunk on Sunday morning. Later he joined me in a swim and sunbathe before we went back to share one of Bakari’s first class curry lunches followed by a trifle into which he had poured half a bottle of some precious sherry - a fault on the good side.

By the beginning of May, the pool was in constant use. Several of us used to go along every evening about half past five as soon as we could escape from the office, to enjoy half an hour of swimming and splashing. We would then move across to the badminton court for a little violent exercise for the last few minutes of daylight, and after dark gather round the bar for a drink before going home.

At the quarterly meeting of the Club Committee in early May, Peter Doole was elected President, and I was appointed Secretary. This was a bore; I had to write the minutes, and take over the files about insurance cover which was inadequate, Income Tax that was out of date, and bar stocks which were in need of replenishment. I was obliged to do a fair amount of typing and writing letters on behalf of the Club, which was labour that I did not welcome on top of the steadily increasing load of office work. I also used to relieve Mrs Bickle behind the bar and exercise my skills as barman from time to time; a beer and a chat was pleasant relaxation after a strenuous set or two of badminton.

One night at an unusually hilarious Club party, everybody went as an “edible dish” with clues on them. With a very little dressing up and a vivid imagination, people went as Welsh Rarebits, devilled kidneys, spotted dogs, and so on. Rummy went as ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ and looked a convincing middle-aged tart. I went as “Bread and Dripping”. For the “bred” part I wore a rosette with “1st Prize, CRUFTS” written on it, and a long pedigree attached. For the “dripping” part, I wore a mac and an old felt hat soaked in water and turned down at the edges which did indeed drip most effectively. In the judging, I won first prize - a miniature gin bottle - and Rummy came second!

Later that month I was introduced to Mahjong. Peggy Holloway had a beautiful ivory set that it was a pleasure to handle and use - but it was a serious business and required severe concentration over several hours. As I had begun to study hard for my exams, I regret I seldom accepted her offer to join in.

Social Life

Rummy entertained me on a number of occasions. She was able to acquire fresh fish and salt and store it for consumption months later. One evening she served fish for supper which she had caught herself the previous autumn and cooked and it had as tender and delicate a flavour as if it had been taken out of the river that morning.

Margaret and John Kidner also entertained frequently. They threw a memorable barbecue for half a dozen of us in their exotic garden with tall and colourful canna plants around their lawn. The moon was full; we sat round a charcoal fire while John cooked steaks, and we listened to “Noel Coward at Las Vegas” on someone’s portable gramophone for hours. The peace of the evening was interrupted only by the occasional howling of hyenas.

On Good Friday, and on Easter Sunday evening, I was generously entertained by the Kidners again - and I renewed my acquaintance with Jim Mainwaring, who had been my host in Tabora and was spending a few days with them. A month later, one of the best parties was a gathering at their home to celebrate Margaret’s birthday - when the whole station turned up and we all drank a good deal.

The Baileys were also excellent hosts. Jan gave us many pleasant suppers - on one occasion several of us went on after one of her meals to see an appalling film at Nzega’s flea pit called “The Beauty and the Beast”. It was apparently Jean Cocteau, but there was no beauty in it - just a macabre face - and to cap it all, the sound was very poor. More frequently I stayed after dining with them for bridge and, although I never had a slam in Nzega, several good hands came my way with twenty-five points in the cards on two occasions. Bridge became a regular feature of my evenings, when not letter-writing or being entertained in the homes of one or other friendly neighbour.

My usual bridge partner was Nevil Tuck, the young vet, who was also a good friend until, to my regret, he was posted to Sumbawanga in the Southern Province. He was sent down there to help deal with a plague of hyenas that were worrying the Africans’ cattle and had brought rabies across the frontier from Southern Rhodesia. When he cleared his house he gave me two useful occasional tables which improved the appearance of my big room.

I enjoyed hospitality in many homes on the station. On the night of the Club Committee meeting, the Holloways threw a grand party. We were given a delightful supper, listened to my records on their excellent gramophone and danced on their lawn by the light of brilliant full moon. A few days later, Ken Thomson and his wife arranged some Scottish dancing; not long afterwards, I was the guest of Isobel along with a friendly group for an excellent meal. As time passed and I came to know most of the station well, I found myself relishing the custom of dropping in on my neighbours, and being dropped in on, during the evening or over the weekend, for a chat, to borrow a book, lend a kitchen implement, or swap garden seeds and plants. It was a pleasant way of life.

Nzega had no church service over Easter, but the following weekend an Anglican parson from Australia came up from Tabora. He stayed with Rummy where she invited several of us to join him for a delightful dinner before going on to the Club for a hilarious and noisy Beetle Drive - which cost me all of Shs 5/= (at 10 cents a time). On the Sunday we laid out the court house as a church with altar and pews, and Pat Golding did some beautiful flowers. The parson held matins there, followed by a quiet Holy Communion for a handful of us.

In May, I began to entertain at home and repay just a little of the hospitality I was receiving. One of my first guests was Isobel who came to tea and was kind enough to admire the garden until my kitten was sick at her feet.


Domestic Affairs

At last my finances were looking up. The Tanga bank showed a satisfactory balance, and when a high-powered Indian salesman moved in to Nzega township with a modern shop, I was able to buy several things for the kitchen never before seen in the station. I was under an obligation to repay the loan my father had made to me at Oxford, which I had begun to do tentatively at Handeni but was at last able to pay a significant sum into a savings account in the Leeds Building Society in both our names. In fact Lloyds Bank at home transferred twice as much as instructed, thus putting my current account in the red while repaying a significant portion of my father’s loan.

I was even able to save a little on my own account and bought several shares in the (one and only) East African Building Society, paying 5% interest. In addition, I managed to pay off a year’s local income tax (£20), my personal tax, the Education Tax (£15), and the annual contribution to the Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme (£60).

I started to study the Tanganyika Criminal Law in the evenings whenever social obligations allowed. The exams were coming closer and there was a great deal to absorb. Moreover weekends offered the only quiet hours when I could write up my court cases, clear my in-tray and keep on top of the paper-work. I could no longer spend time relaxing with a novel, though I continued to write home and to Val assiduously.

A serious blow fell mid-month. The bungalow was broken into and burgled. I had been away on safari and gone straight to the Boma on return, where I was telephoned by the Goan Police Inspector with the bad news. Haruna had arrived one morning in my absence to find the wire gauze in one of the windows wrenched aside and the bolt lifted to effect entry, and all windows and doors left wide open. Bottles of gin and brandy had been emptied and discarded; screw-drivers, files, letters and papers had been thrown on the lawn. The thief had taken away a few unimportant things and stolen just one precious item; this was the lovely old clock that had belonged to my grandmother in Brasted, been passed down to me and had stood on the bookcase in my little study.

I was distressed and very sad to lose it and went to great pains to try and recover it, offering rewards, writing round to police stations and contacting jewellers across the territory - but without success. I hoped that when the Arab traders knew the clock was stolen property, the thief would be unable to sell it without being copped, but I never heard a word about it. I wrote to Uncle Leo who handled my personal insurance affairs, had the locks changed on my door, and the windows repaired and strengthened. When a few days later I went out on a short safari, two of my staff offered to spend the night in the dining-room and I noticed they armed themselves with pangas before spreading rugs on the floor.

Soon afterwards attempts were made over several nights to break into other bungalows on the station and, late one evening, the Holloways’ houseboy surprised two unknown men in his quarters. He grappled with one of the thieves and was knocked out. The robbers fled and ran down towards the dam with two boxes of his clothes and other possessions as well as a little wireless that had been a gift from the Holloways. I was playing bridge with Peter and the doctor when we were told the news. We hurriedly put down our cards; the doctor went off to attend to the injured man, while Peter and I alerted the police, and set off in pursuit. We plunged into the bush and scoured the area in front of the European houses right down the long hill. Ten police askaris joined us and patrolled the area all night, but without success. It was a wicked theft; the poor houseboy lost all his possessions and was stunned into the bargain; though I am sure the Holloways compensated him.

My larder was stretched in June. There were just two welcome additions. One Sunday after a hearty curry and a snooze in the garden, I went out with Tony, his sons and Peter for a shoot at a lake near Itobo where we found masses of ducks. I stalked a small flock through a swamp and put up a number of birds but they flew straight up and very high so I missed the lot. I used seven cartridges which I could ill afford and disgraced myself. Tony on the other hand brought down three duck and a huge goose, which he was good enough to share with us when we got home and it was plucked for the table.

Soon afterwards, an African sought my help after finding a little spring of water flowing above his shamba. He was keen to capture it and cause it to flow into a dam to hold water in the next rains to irrigate his rice-fields. I went out to his place in the wilds and measured the ground up for him. As a thank-you present, he gave me a huge, ferocious and noisy cockerel. I was advised to keep the bird in the hen-run for a few days to fatten him and rid him of disease before eating him, so he ruled the roost in the garden for some time. He lasted some weeks and in due course made an excellent couple of suppers.

There was bad news however when I inspected my tomatoes. Rot spread rapidly over them. Worse was to come; the white ants began to eat their way through the garden. Of the dozen geraniums planted out in early May only two survived their ravages. The best way to stop them was said to be to dip the shoots in paraffin, which was hardly practicable at such a late stage, so that was that.

As it grew drier, it also grew colder. In mid June I began to wear a sweater all day, and the earth turned to dust. I made just one new flower-bed in front of the house for which I was promised hollyhocks, but the pipes up from the dam had been damaged and water was in short supply, and that was the end of my efforts at gardening.

Social Life

At the beginning of June, the Holloways threw another of their delightful parties - this time to say goodbye to Isobel who was going back to England for six months long leave after her three-year tour. After exhausting eightsome reels, we enjoyed a delicious buffet that evening. Isobel took with her on leave several films from my camera, and was kind enough to call at Willow Road, hand them over to Margaret for developing, and thus at last give my family at home a first glimpse of my life in Nzega.

I missed the chance to meet the new Nursing Sister, Joan Walton, on the evening of her arrival because I was tied up in court, but I caught up with her as she was entertained for supper once more at the Holloways, and a day or two later at the Baileys when we helped to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The next week, we met again at one of Rummy’s famous fish and chip suppers before we all went on to the Club for a darts match. The Kidners had a fresh excuse for a party to tell us about their leave at Bukavu in the Congo which they said was just like the French Riviera. Later in the month I was the guest of the Scotts, the new Agricultural Officer and his wife whom I hardly knew but who proved very friendly and entertained us out at Mwanhala.

The highlight of the month was Jonathan Golding’s seventh birthday party. He had eleven young guests - all the children on the station of his age or younger, including two babes-in-arms. They had a tea party with delicious sponge cakes and a huge birthday cake, and then games on the lawn outside. There was lots of bawling and screaming from the youngest, but most of them were thoroughly happy, and it was a great success. I enjoyed being among a horde of squealing and squeaking children - it reminded me of home among my young nephews and nieces at Christmas - and I was sad thinking how far away they all were. My present to Jonathan was a huge pawpaw from the garden.

At the end of the month, Joan Walton threw her own drinks party to repay the hospitality she had been receiving. She entertained not only everyone on the station but also various outsiders, including the judge who had come to hear our cases in court the following day. Then we all went on to the Kidners for a first class cold buffet and some cheerful dancing, Margaret even insisting that I should perform the pasa doble - for the only time in my life.

Tabora Agricultural Show

In the third week of June, I had my first opportunity to visit Tabora. I was desperate to do some shopping at the big stores in the town, but had first to attend the annual Tabora Show, officially known as the “Nyamwezi Agricultural Show”, where the best of the Nzega cattle were on display and in the running for prizes.

I was generously entertained to lunch by some of Tony’s friends, before we went on to the showground where we watched the opening ceremonies with speeches by the PC and a Minister from Dar es Salaam. It was a hot and dusty day, with a big crowd of people, including all the Nzega chiefs. They were in friendly rivalry with their opposite numbers from the other districts - and they were disappointed when most of the prizes went to Kahama and Tabora farmers. Amid frantic tribal dancing and drumming, I talked to as many of our local folk as I could find, while inspecting and murmuring admiration for the Nzega contributions among the vegetable exhibits, notably high quality groundnuts and huge sunflowers, but they failed to enthuse me - apart from the cockerels which looked good for the pot. The handicraft stalls were uninteresting too. On the other hand the cattle were of a high quality. Some of the beasts had been sent down by a special cattle truck which I had had to build, and, though surrounded by masses of flies, they looked very fine.

I escaped as soon as I could in order to call at the Indian shops in the town. I had to replenish my sadly depleted stocks of underwear, socks and the like, buy more ammunition for my shot-gun and films for my camera. At Patels, I purchased a very useful stock of tinned food, as well as things like cake mixtures, sauces and vinegars which Bakari had been demanding for months. As luxuries I bought a bottle of sherry and a bottle of port. They were the first alcohol I had purchased since arriving in Nzega, even though my sherry had gone into the trifle, my brandy had been drunk by the thieves, and my whisky consumed by the two visitors wished on me the weekend of the Swimming Gala.


Sick Leave

The early July safaris left me with sinus trouble which I put down to dust and the cold wind at the open land-rover window. After the election briefing, I took a walk down to the dam to watch the stately pelicans, for they always lifted my spirits. Next day however my colleagues cheerfully told me I looked terrible. Joan Walton came round in the late afternoon after work and insisted on taking my temperature. It was a hundred, so she made me promise to see the doctor. I wanted to pay a call on him in any case on behalf of Bakari whose knee needed a proper examination, but when we appeared Rex took one look at me, had a quick fiddle about with his stethoscope, and said firmly, “Very mild pneumonia. Bed!”

He gave me pills, presented me with a duck for my lunch that he had shot, and told me to take two days off. So I went to bed and was flattered and heartened that someone from every single family on the station came to visit me, and brought gifts, books and magazines to cheer me up. Family letters were a great encouragement too, but Val’s letters were all about her love affairs that made her sound rather silly; but then she sent me a parcel full of little gifts and I forgave her.

Joan and Rummy looked in two or three times on each of those dreary days, and I was spoilt for nursing care. After a lousy weekend, Tony called round and said,

“We can’t have you flopping around like this. Take three days sick leave, and go to the rest house at Ulaya. Sleep it off. Then come back firing on all cylinders.”

It was good to escape from the pressure of work, and with great hopes, we packed up my safari kit and were driven down to Ulaya which was a thoroughly peaceful and restful place.

The rest-house was spacious and the wide windows of the well-furnished sitting room looked out over a cool sheet of water, surrounded by fresh green reeds. The lake was like a little Scottish loch, and could have been mistaken for one with swallows circling above and swooping low across it. Not until one looked beyond it at the dry scrub and parched trees in the distance could one recall this was Africa.

I strolled down the path to the dam through a stand of plantain trees, ate some of the sweet little bananas, and enjoyed the exotic scenery. At the water, the birds were colourful and a delight to watch. I recognised the white egrets, the plentiful swallows, the grey-backed herons, the wide-winged cormorants and all the funny little ducks that were busy on or over the water, and there were many other birds that were very beautiful though strange to me.

The big spring bed was delightfully comfortable, and Bakari let me oversleep because he had forgotten to bring the tea and could not provide me with early morning tea. So I had three extremely lazy days. Most of my time was spent sitting at ease in a huge armchair out of doors in a shady and sandy patch near the rest-house surrounded by the law books and papers. It was a pleasant way to do the essential revision for the imminent exams. I counted myself very fortunate to have the chance for a complete break for last-minute revision.

Law Exams

Peter Doole invigilated while I sat the exams as soon as I got back from Ulaya. There were five papers, each of two and a half hours, to be taken morning and afternoon over three days. The first paper was “Civil Procedure” with ten questions that were a struggle to complete in the allotted time. However “Evidence” after lunch on the first day was well within my knowledge and gave no trouble. “Criminal Procedure” and “Criminal Law” followed and were very much as I had prepared and expected. The only paper I disliked was entitled “Local Laws” which was about English land laws for which I had not prepared. Over all, there was much to write and I was always short of time, but most of the answers were within my knowledge, and it was mildly annoying to have to wait two months in suspense until the results came through.

To my horror an Englishman, a complete stranger, turned up on my doorstep one evening in the middle of the exams and asked for a bed. He said he was Robin something or other; he worked for the oil firm, Caltex, and was installing something in the area and had nowhere to stay. I fumed; Bakari was rude to him - understandably - and opened a tine of spam for our supper. My unwelcome guest stayed several days; Peter told me to throw him out and I wished I could do so, but there was no rest-house on the station and I was stuck with him. He was not a bad chap but just a nuisance while I was wrestling with both my law exams and ill-health.

When the exams were over, reinvigorated by the break at Ulaya, I put aside health problems, returned to work at the Boma and resumed the normal routine. I had little energy however and an unpleasant cough - which I assumed was the remains of the pneumonia. I cycled everywhere instead of walking, even to the Boma, and slept for two hours each afternoon.

Social Life

My friends and neighbours on the station were as hospitable as ever. I lunched at the Mattleys for the first time and was presented with a welcome basket of fresh vegetables; I had a first class evening meal at the Goldings; an excellent supper at the Baileys, a birthday party tea for young Neil Thomson, delicious pot luck at the Holloways. The social round continued, but I found it an increasing strain as I tired easily and struggled to keep going.

On Fridays, talapia fish were sometimes brought down on the bus from Lake Victoria and sold in the Tabora market at sunrise. So the Mattleys organised a fish and chips party for the whole station. They sent their cook down to buy enough fish for about twenty people, fried it up with chips and served it to us sitting in the garden properly wrapped up in newspaper, to be eaten in our fingers. It was messy but a delicious change because fresh fish was a rare treat. Then we danced, and chatted on the verandah through the night.

The following week, I was invited by Rummy to supper when Peter and I were the only guests. It was one of the happiest evenings I enjoyed at Nzega; they were both genuine and interesting people, and we chatted about Rummy’s burglary; how the thieves had entered the house while she and Pop had been asleep and stolen from under his bed the special boot for his injured leg - along with their gramophone and much else.

Towards the end of July, I was examined by the doctor in connection with a life assurance policy which Uncle Leo, the family insurance broker, had offered to arrange for me, provided I passed the standard health check. Rex Bailey gave me the once-over and said the pneumonia had gone, but in the preceding two months I had lost a stone and a half in weight - I weighed just over nine stone. Rex could not sign me off and I had to abandon the idea of taking out life assurance at that stage.

I felt I had to return some of the generous hospitality I had received and at the same time wanted to show off my bungalow and garden. So I decided to hold a cocktail party, and in late July sent out invitations to just about the whole station that I would be ‘at home’ on Saturday, 5th August from 12.30pm. Only slowly did I realise how difficult it would be to organise such an affair because I had to work through the morning in the Boma and should not be home in time to supervise the cooking or to mix the drinks before my guests arrived. Happily, Bakari was keen to do his bit, and everybody to whom I handed invitations offered to help. I tried to be self-sufficient and refused most offers, but in the end accepted the help of the Holloways’ supremely efficient servant to work with Bakari on the Saturday morning, as well as their loan of several glass jugs and lots of glasses. Best of all, Rummy offered to make ice-cream for the kids - for I invited them all, believing that the children on the station had a raw deal when their parents went out.

Then, much against my will, I went with the Kidners to Bukene to an Arab wedding at the end of the month. This was a nightmare. Margaret and John were convinced we would enjoy the event and felt it would be impolite to refuse the groom’s pressing invitation - it would be an insult if we didn’t go - it would help race relations, etc. So I agreed to join them - and hated every minute of it. The journey was dusty and bumpy; the conversation stilted and difficult, the dancing exhibitions grotesque and sordid. I was disgusted with some of it and probably looked it, and was fighting exhaustion throughout the long night. I fear I was rude both to the Kidners and to my host as I was so frustrated and eager to return home to my bed. Eventually we came back at 2 in the morning jolting around in the dust and the fumes at the back of John’s tired old truck. That night was the nadir of my social life in Nzega.


My Party

Meantime I was preoccupied with preparations for my party. On the Friday evening Joan Walton called by with a cheerful smile and a couple of flowering plants for decoration; and, when she saw me struggling, she stayed and helped enormously. She was also highly professional, made me take three codein and then did most of the preparations for the party under my instructions. The furniture had all been moved around by the boys in the afternoon, and with Joan’s help I polished and tidied up everything, and set out the plates and dishes for the boys to put the food on in the morning. We arranged the glasses and mixed two jugs of White Lady - Cointreau, gin and lemon juice. By the end of the evening I was very proud of my house and the arrangements made, when at last I crawled into bed.

Next morning early before leaving for the Boma, I wrote detailed instructions for the servants - which they followed to the letter. The party was scheduled to start at 12.30pm on Saturday at which time I was still hearing a case of theft in the court house and had to hand it over to Peter to finish off in order to return home to act as host. When I came out, I found a tyre of my bicycle was flat and was in despair at the prospect of pushing the bike back to the house when happily the Webbs came along in their big car and gave me a lift. The food was laid out ready; I seized the jugs of cocktail from the fridge, frosted the chilled glasses, poured over it the whipped white of egg, and handed round the drink as the guests arrived.

Most people seemed to like the unusual cocktail and food. Bakari fried peanuts with red pepper instead of salt - very hot but popular - and served home-made potato crisps, peppery cheese biscuits, and all the usual things including raw cauliflower flowers on sticks in a giant pawpaw surrounded by elaborate dips which looked quite pretty. He excelled himself, despite his ill-health, and everyone admired his work.

Perhaps the greatest success was Rummy’s ice-cream. The cream came out of a tin, but it was in bright colours and beautifully decorated and was a hit with the children - and most of the parents; and I finished it in the evening. Nothing was forgotten and the party was a great success.

The Blow falls

I spent the following morning in the Boma catching up with my work and writing my judgement on the thief whose case I had heard on the morning of the party - I acquitted him because the only evidence of the theft was that of a small and unreliable child.

In the afternoon I went over to the Club, and attended the Committee meeting. Members accepted Fred Webb’s offer to build an extension behind the bar as a guest room, and he immediately put in the foundations. As the swimming pool had become dirty, the Committee decided it must be emptied and fitted with a big new water filter. We spent a full day in filling a pit with sand, alum and stones of various sizes, laying pipes up to the pit and into the pool. Unfortunately at the end of this considerable effort, there was no water pressure coming up from the dam, so the children missed their bathe.

In the evening I was invited to bridge at the Webbs. There were two tables. For the first rubber I had poor hands and partnered Mrs Bickle, and I fear I expressed some annoyance over her play at one point. For the most part I was quiet and said little, although unable to stop coughing.

After a long second rubber and some supper, Pat Golding said out of the blue, “I’ll take you home Dick. You must go to bed!”

I was quite glad at her intervention; I had had enough. Pat kindly deposited me at my front door, returned to the bridge tables and I am told the following conversation then took place.

Fred Webb asked, “Why has Dick gone?”

Joan Walton said in her quiet way, “Dick is ill, you know.”

Rex Bailey, the doctor, snapped, “Is he?”

Pat Golding snapped firmly back, “Yes. Of course he is.”

The ladies then apparently rounded on Rex, until Peter Doole innocently enquired of Rex, “Have you arranged for him to have an X-ray yet?”

Rex said firmly “Yes!”

This was not true. No arrangements had been made at that stage, and nothing could be done the following day which was the Bank Holiday Monday.

In the middle of the morning, Tony Golding called on me at home and found me in my pyjamas at breakfast. He came to tell me to take some leave. He was followed by Joan Walton who told me over sherry that she had pressed Tony to send me on leave and Rex to send me to Tabora for an X-ray.

In the evening I attended a sundowner at the Goldings. Rummy and Joan gave me a lift down and it was cool and pleasant on their verandah. I enjoyed chatting to all sorts of people, but some time before the party ended I asked Pat to take me home. On the short drive to my bungalow, she too urged me to take leave to recuperate.

Next morning I was back at work, dealt with the customary shauris for a couple of hours, and, as bidden, walked across to the hospital at 9.30am. The doctor was operating and unable to see me, so Joan looked after me and was very solicitous. Eventually Rex emerged and gave me the usual tests. He said my blood count was 60, and told me to go back to work while he examined the other test results and spoke to the Tabora hospital. So I went back to the Boma for a little more work and waited. The phone to Tabora was out of order in the morning, and I guess Tony, my DC, was consulted and was reluctant to lose me too soon because the auditors had arrived and he foresaw a busy week at the Boma. I spent the afternoon with them at the Native Treasury and was able to work with them until Rex arrived in his car in a cloud of dust and said the tests had showed my Sedimentation Rate (BSR) was 39, when it should have been 20, so I must go down to Tabora at once - that same evening.

I went home, packed a bag and reported back to the hospital to pick up letters for the Tabora doctors. Joan and Rummy were present and said fond goodbyes. Joan was most affectionate and I was sad later that I did not responded to her as warmly as her kindness deserved because I was so exhausted. I am sure she and Rummy knew I would not be coming back. In a muddled way I simply thought I was going down for an X-ray, a professional examination, and perhaps a little leave before returning to the work I so enjoyed. In any case I was impatient to get away and reach Tabora in good time in order to find somewhere to spend the night.


Eventually Rex released me with letters to the Tabora hospital, and I was driven down the long dusty and bumpy road, arriving in the town some time after dark. My first task was to deliver a letter from Tony to the PC explaining my arrival, and, while searching for Mr Dudbridge’s house, I was lucky enough to bump into Nevil Tuck who was working there on his return from the Southern Province and offered to put me up. So, I returned to his bachelor bungalow after delivering my letters, and we went across to the Tabora Hotel by the station for a meal.

Next morning I walked up to the European hospital and handed Rex’ letter to Dr Birch who examined me. He was kind, thoughtful and confident, and arranged for me to have a chest x-ray and the usual tests, and sent me back to Nevil’s in the late morning. There Mr Dudbridge found me in the afternoon, and was most sympathetic, and gave me courage to face the next few days. Nevil provided supper and together we went to the Diamond Talkies to see “The Robe” which I thought was a terrible film. I slept through the second half.

On Thursday morning Birch collected me in his car and said,

“I’m afraid the X-ray shows a patch on the right lung. This is either unresolved pneumonia or tuberculosis. I’ve got a bed for you in a private ward in the hospital. You had better pack your bag and I’ll take you there while we complete the tests.”

They put me in a quiet little room with big cool windows where I was able to sleep and read and enjoyed excellent food. At 4 o’clock, Birch burst in and said without ceremony,

“I may as well tell you straight away. They’ve found a couple of bacilli in your sputum. So that settles it. It means only one thing.”

He never said what it meant. For a moment I hoped it was simply pneumonia; but I soon realised the worst when he went on in a serious voice,

“We can’t treat you here. You must go to Dar es Salaam. I’ve consulted the PMO, and spoken on the phone to Dr Coles, the Dar specialist. I’ve told them to expect you.”

He went on, “I’ve booked you on Sunday’s train. It gets in on Monday morning. I’ve arranged an ambulance to meet you at Dar station and it’s to take you straight up to the Ocean Road Hospital. I’ll give you your X-rays to take with you.”

The blow fell like a guillotine. I was shocked, frightened and quite desperately worried about the future. What would happen to my job? To my house at Nzega? To all my possessions there? To my servants? To my little Susie? I could not begin to think; I was totally bewildered. I rang up the Nzega Boma and spoke to Peter to say I would not be coming back. He said, “Oh, I am so sorry Dick! You have all my sympathy.”

I asked him to have my belongings packed up, and look after my staff and my cat, and all the rest. I had to leave everything in his hands.

The next three days I spent writing letters to clear up my affairs and tell family and friends the drastic change in all my plans. I read books lent me by the hospital and recent mail brought down by friends from Nzega, including two letters from Valerie whom I had almost given up. I received numerous kind visitors in my little hospital ward. John Hartley, the Provincial Vet, looked in and Mrs Hartley called a couple of times to help me sort out clothes for the coming weeks. Mr Dudbridge called too and told me about Daphne Piper, wife of the Bagamoyo DC who had recently had TB and been treated successfully in the Dar es Salaam hospital. Someone else brought down a tin trunk of my clothes packed by Peter and Rummy; and Nevil visited and cheered me up enormously.

Sunday dawned and I was taken down to the station to await the train from Kigoma. It arrived very late, but I clambered up and was given a reserved compartment to myself, being infectious, where I slept for ten hours, waking the following morning as we approached Morogoro.

I hoped to see Pat Hobson while the train stood in the station there for several hours but once more he was absent from the Boma. I wrote a few more letters, scribbled in my diary and waited with great trepidation to see what would happen when I reached the Dar es Salaam hospital.

Chapter 6: Hospital again
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same;”

From “If -” by Rudyard Kipling.

Arrival in Dar es Salaam

In the middle of the afternoon, a day and a half after leaving Tabora, the long train puffed and panted its way into Dar’s noisy station, bustling with hurrying families and eager beggars. Birch had said that an ambulance would meet me, but when I struggled through the scrum to the station entrance I could find no trace of it; all I could find was an old truck that took me and my trunk and bags through the city to the hospital. Once more as I had done twelve months earlier, I was driven out of the station into the city centre. This time I went straight to the hospital and the truck took me up Acacia Avenue, with glimpses of the harbour on my right, round the stately Askari Memorial, past the old Lutheran church, between the lines of old German houses in their shady gardens, and up to the vast whitewashed Ocean Road Hospital.

Deposited at the front door with my trunk and bags around me, I rang a bell and a porter appeared. I gave him my name, and was told to wait outside on the doorstep while he went off to find the Sister. She arrived in a fluster and said somewhat coldly and indifferently,

“Who are you?”

Ocean Road Hospital
Ocean Road Hospital

“Have you come from Dodoma? Aren’t you supposed to come on Friday?”

“No. I’ve come from Tabora. Surely you have heard from Dr Birch about me?”

“No! I’ve heard nothing about you. What’s wrong with you?”

“T. B.”

“Oh! Isolation, then!”

It was a miserable welcome. I was hustled upstairs to a small room with a bed and bedside table on which was laid out all the usual clinical paraphernalia. It was otherwise quite bare. The window was barred which made the room seem like a prison cell, and I was left to my own devices to wait for the hospital staff to decide what to do with me.

They appeared to follow their standard routine and treated me as if seriously ill. I was put to bed and made to stay there with a bedpan and just one pillow, woken at 5.30 in the morning with a cup of milk, given bed baths and several tedious examinations by the doctors - they weighed me the first morning and I was 8 stone 9 lbs. They surrounded me with sputum mugs, mouth-washes, basins of disinfectant, rubber sheets and back-rests, and insisted on washing me wearing white robes and masks. It was terrifying and thoroughly intimidating. Only gradually they discarded the lot as I behaved normally and made it clear I wanted none of them.

The Hospital Staff

Dr Coles, the Senior Medical Specialist for Tanganyika, assumed responsibility for me. He was a reasonably relaxed and friendly man in his late forties, and I soon learned he was well-known, generally liked and highly qualified. He enjoyed a chat and had a most engaging grin that always put me at my ease.

The Junior Registrar was Dr Taylor who was younger than me, and recently qualified. He did the daily rounds, listened to my chest occasionally and gave me news of laboratory reports. The Senior Registrar was Dr Meredith in his forties whom I saw rarely until he took over my case when Coles went on leave in mid-September. Meredith lacked Coles’ charming bedside manner and was no specialist in my sort of condition, but as the treatment was already laid down, there was nothing for him to do except to insist that I stuck to it, and decide in November if my bug was dead.

The first thing Coles said was that he could treat me perfectly adequately in Dar es Salaam. The Tabora doctors had suggested I should be sent home for treatment; friends had recommended I should be sent somewhere where the climate was more salubrious and healthy because Dar es Salaam was soon to be unpleasantly hot. Coles would have none of such ideas, and, as he was the only chest specialist in the country, I was sure it was better for me to be under a good doctor than in a better climate.
Dar es Salaam Beach
Dar es Salaam Beach

Both my father and John wrote to Dr Coles to enquire the medical aspects of my illness on my behalf. To my father, Coles said he replied, “I just told him you’d got TB”, which was not very helpful. John wrote to him as one colonial doctor to another, however, and obtained much more information out of him. John then passed the news on to me, together with the basic facts about TB that I badly wanted to know and found useful in understanding my situation.

The hospital was run by Matron with a mixed bag of expatriate Nursing Sisters supported by a number of African ‘Dressers’. Matron was in total control of everything that went on and at the same time an approachable and friendly person. She used to put her head round my door most mornings, often with my mail and a kindly word. One Sister was always on duty all day, and another all night. They wore smart, starched white shirts, skirts and caps, and kept an eye on me by periodic visits to my little private room. Some of them were bored and off-hand like the woman who received me on arrival at the hospital. Others were good fun, and two became my very good friends.

The Dressers performed the functions of nurses and porters, and were all pretty well trained so far as I was aware. I saw a lot of them and for the most part found them courteous and competent in their work which was closely controlled by the Sister on duty.

Several English ladies ran the hospital administration between them and were among my early visitors and the first to try to cheer me up. Enid Morris, Hospital Secretary, was in the habit of looking in for a chat, bringing me chocolate and lending me paper and pens. She would often come up and drink her afternoon tea with me, and helped me with my rug-making. She patiently taught me the ‘blanket stitch’ which enabled me to make a rather better job of the rugs than before.

Mildred Simpson was the tall gangly pharmacist and a friend of Joan Walton, brought in some glorious roses for me in my first week, doubtless at Joan’s request, and continued to call with plants and flowers from time to time. Lola Grey ran the hospital telephone exchange. Talkative and easy-going, she turned up one day with her arms full of fragrant frangipani and an ice-cream. She was a dear.

The Regime

Dr Coles prescribed a daily injection of Streptomycin, a handful of vitamin pills and six anthroantromycin each day for three months - plus lots of food and masses of milk and eggs - I received a delicious mixture every morning of hot milk and raw egg which I relished. I was then given three pillows and able to do without bedpans but otherwise required to stay in bed all the time.

In the middle of each morning, the Sister on Day Duty gave me my ‘Strep’ injection. It was nearly always painful and left my bottom very sore; but gradually things sorted themselves out and we developed a regular routine that I was to follow for the following four months.

My day started at 6am when I was woken with a cup of tea, provided with hot water and towels to wash and shave in bed, had my temperature taken, and given breakfast. I then picked up a book and read until the mid-morning jab. Often my mail would be delivered at about the same time and I would read my letters and magazines, and do some writing until lunch.

After lunch I slept. After tea, I used to work at my rug, rigging the canvas up on a trolley over the bed and working at it weaving the wool in complicated patterns. Supper came at 7pm and the Night Sister called about 8pm; soon afterwards a cup of Ovaltine arrived; the Dressers made my bed for the last time and I was asleep before 9pm. Every week Dr Taylor gave me a medical examination, and once a month I had an outing in a wheel-chair through the long general wards to the X-ray Room.

I was not a good patient; I disliked all the paraphernalia of the hospital, and I loathed my treatment. My bed was always a mess, and my room was thoroughly untidy with the big tin trunk sent down from Nzega, piles of rug wool, books, notebooks, magazines, wireless, flowers, games and jigsaws. The African Dressers gave up in despair, and I made no secret of my dislike of my room with bars to its windows.

I wrote masses of letters, kept a very full diary, and read most of a book each day. In theory, with books and newspapers to read, and rugs to make, I need never have been bored, but in fact, I quickly found myself frustrated, perfectly able to move about and yet strictly confined to my bed. When I complained to the doctor, he said unhelpfully: “You will get bored. It’s part of the treatment!”

My letters home and the diary were full of grumbles and impatience at being so restricted for so long. My family and friends both at home and in Tanganyika were quite wonderful. Their letters, messages, and frequent visits kept me going and prevented me from becoming too depressed, but I had some black days while in Ocean Road Hospital.

Support from home

Yet, I knew I was lucky. My treatment was much easier than in “the bad old days” or even in the early days of the wonder drug, Strep. Daphne Piper, wife of the DC at Kilosa, was the first European to have been treated for TB in Dar es Salaam and recovered fully. She called one morning soon after my arrival and said;

“I wasn’t allowed to sit up for three months!” She continued with all sorts of admonitions. “You mustn’t talk too much. It will exhaust you. You mustn’t get out of bed unless you have to. You ought to have only one pillow. Don’t even sit up. You’ve got to look after yourself, you know.”

I worried about her remarks for three days before extracting reassurances from Dr Coles that Mrs Piper’s treatment was out of date. “All that’s old fashioned now!”

Cheerful and encouraging letters came from family and friends at home. Telegrams arrived almost as soon as I entered the hospital. One that cheered me immensely said simply; “LOVE AND SYMPATHY. STANDING BY. MOTHER”.

Two days after my admission, the Sister brought in a little bowl of sweetsmelling roses that was a touching gift from home. My mother wrote several pages of family news and constant encouragement two or three times a week, scribbling while waiting in the car for patients during her hospital car driving, or at the hairdressers, or in an odd few minutes in the evening after supper at Brooke House. Her letters made me feel as if I was still living with the family in Luton.

She persuaded the rest of the family and many friends to write to me too. My father sent me occasional chatty inconsequential scrawls - generally about the television programme he was watching late in the evening; Liz and Margaret wrote from time to time, and my aunts sent me their local news. My father’s partners rallied round; I received delightful letters from Uncle Hugo, Reggie Apthorpe and Roger Sykes. I even had a friendly letter with good wishes from Mr Sharpe, the Bank Manager.

I wrote to Peter Eberlie at the start of his first term at Swanbourne School, and had a particularly nice letter back telling me about the school, his first cricket match and a barbecue, “and we are going to have fire-works and going to fry our own supper.”

Attached to a later letter was a note from his form mistress that “he has never seemed a new boy” - a very high commendation. I heard too from my godson, Michael March, also boarding at a prep school.

My Cambridge friends wrote to cheer me up. I was already in touch with Roger Moat about his wedding in early September, and with Graeme Sorley about a wedding present for Roger and his bride. Graeme wrote back with sympathy telling me about his boat-building efforts and his success in the Aldeburgh Regatta.

Val and I were in constant touch. In late August a letter arrived in which she declared her love for me in passionate terms, enclosing a photograph of herself. It was an excellent likeness and I had hoped my heart would leap when I saw it, and I would be thrilled to see her face again, but there was no thrill. I knew she wanted me to love her and I wanted to love someone, but there was no spark. I went to a deal of trouble in replying to her. I tried hard to be completely frank about my feelings without hurting her.

Dear Val, she seemed to forgive me because she sent me a big bunch of flowers the following week, and she continued to write sympathetic and loving letters which touched me and did me a great deal of good. Throughout my stay in hospital, she wrote frequently and lovingly, and I replied as best I could.

Support from Nzega

On my very first evening in hospital, Fred Webb and his wife walked into my room. I was delighted to see such friendly faces. They were down on leave to meet their daughter, Doreen, who was flying out from home to join them for a holiday on the coast; and they came in every day of their leave with all sorts of cheerful chatter, gifts of magazines, and piles of fat tangerines. They were full of stories about Nzega and told me the horrific tale how the Thomsons had seen two leopards stalk through their garden one evening, and everybody had had to close their doors and windows and shut up their domestic pets while the wild creatures roamed the station.

I gave Fred some money and he bought me a wireless and fixed up the aerial for me out of the barred window. I could then hear the BBC Light Programme in the evenings, including 'Take it from here', the Nairobi service, and the Dar es Salaam service in Swahili. Sadly the wireless went wrong very quickly and I had to ask him to hand it in for repair to Twentshes, the Philips agent in Dar. He duly gave it to them and that was the last I heard of it for seven weeks.

The day after I was admitted, dear Joan Walton arranged for me to receive a huge bunch of flowers ordered from Nairobi, giant hot-house gladioli, some beautiful sweet peas, a selection of daffodils and a bowl of delicate violets. A flood of letters came down from Nzega friends. I was most anxious about Susie but Joan wrote an affectionate letter to say she had ‘borrowed’ my pretty little cat who had settled happily in her new surroundings in the nurse’s bungalow.

Peter and Rummy wrote and told me firmly not to worry about my house and staff. They packed and sent down a couple of suitcases of clothes in an aircraft that carried Mr Tilney, the Minister for Finance, on return from a flying visit to the Western Province. They told me they had had my furniture put away and sealed in wooden tea chests and the linen folded away in tin trunks. Peter said he had paid Bakari his severance pay on my behalf and given him a good reference from me so that he could return to his much-loved homeland of Handeni. Peter also passed me bills from the Nzega shop-keepers for groceries and the drinks for my party which I had to settle. He added a brief note saying, “Don’t worry. Don’t give way to self-pity!” It was a useful warning, as he must have realised from my first letters how depressed I was. A couple of weeks later, I heard again from Peter that he was in sole charge as Tony was on leave for a short break before the elections. The two of them were expecting on Tony’s return to have to work hard, arranging and presiding over the voting in all the scattered chiefdoms.

A chatty friend of Joan’s called after visiting Nzega the weekend after I left and told me about the success of the Kidners’ barbecue which I had missed and the festive opening of Chande’s new cotton ginnery by the PC. Not long afterwards, Rummy and Joan wrote to say the cold wind had died, they were once more able to enjoy the swimming pool at the club, but poor Bakari had been unwell again before he set off home to Handeni.

Peggy Holloway wrote from the Creameries and soon afterwards appeared in person out of the blue. She and Tom were taking a break on the coast. Rex and Jan Bailey came in to the hospital regularly when on leave in late August - but Rex had a knack of saying things that upset me, so he was less welcome even though he bought a selection of jigsaw puzzles and painting-by-numbers to keep me occupied. The Mattleys wrote with news from Mwanhala. The Coulters wrote shortly before flying home on leave. In short, everybody I knew on the station sent the kindest of messages. I particularly treasured a letter and a gift sent me by Mr Dudbridge, the PC, that was a biography of Edward Wilson, the remarkable man who had TB in his youth in the early 1900s, recovered completely, went to the South Pole with Scott, and died beside him in their storm-bound tent.

The Friendship of the ‘Haidhuru’

My seven good friends from Oxford rallied round. They all wrote letters of encouragement and sent their friends in Dar to visit me if they could not come themselves. Norman Macleod wrote from Tanga where I had left him the previous October to say he was being posted to Lushoto District high up in the Usambara hills, a very pleasant station, all log-fires and roses. His wife Jane had come out to join him and they were looking forward to having a baby in the New Year; and they kindly invited me to stay with them when I could get away.

Harry Magnay who was stationed at Kilosa in the Central Province heard about me from Daphne Piper whose husband John was DC there. Harry had also been re-united with his wife, Hilary, and they had a new baby. They arranged for some of their Kilosa neighbours to visit me when on leave and bring me up to date with their family news. Six weeks later they came down to Dar themselves in order to see the dentist (there were then two dentists in the country, and a four and a half month waiting list for appointments). Harry was enthusiastic about his job and his life; and it was delightful to see them again and pick up our friendship so easily. Hilary pressed me to stay with them when convalescing, and Harry lent me a pile of books.

Pat Hobson sent friends from Morogoro to look in on me with kind messages. Then he appeared in person, very happy and larger than life. We had a good long talk and he lent me his gramophone when he went off for a month as an instructor at the East African Outward Bound School on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Pat too offered me hospitality whenever I should be passing through Morogoro.

Of all my Haidhuru friends, Simon Hardwick was stationed closest to Dar, being up at Kisarawe which was only twenty miles inland. He called at the hospital as soon as he heard of my misfortune and thereafter spent time with me on many evenings and most weekends. We used to talk for hours - he had suffered polio, been far more ill than I was, and been left with a weak left arm - and he was extraordinarily generous with both his time and his cash. As yet unmarried, he was DOII on the station and revelled in his job, and driving everywhere in a four-wheel-drive land-rover which I greatly envied.

On his first visit, he brought up two pineapples and a lobster which he put in salt water in my basin until it was taken away and cooked for supper. Simon always came with some gift or other, sometimes it was old Illustrated London News, sometimes a couple of books, at other times coconuts, tangerines or exotic fruit. One evening he produced an old chess set and after that we often had a quick game in the evening which I much enjoyed - though Sister did not always approve. In late September, Nettleton, the DOI at Kisarawe and Simon’s close colleague, was killed when out hunting elephants at Dodoma. Simon was naturally very cut up at what was a completely unnecessary tragedy which gave him much distress as well as a very great deal of extra work.

Regular Visitors

The Red Cross and WVS were wonderful. One lady arranged to do my shopping for writing material, postage stamps and air-letters. Once a week another lady came round with a library on a trolley and I took two or three books off her every time. Mrs Shiel, the Red Cross ‘Brigadier’ brought in a pile of “Fields” when she first called and a bunch of sweet smelling lilies the following week. She showed me a letter she had received from their London office,

“Mrs Eberlie has asked if her son Richard might be visited as he was lonely and she was very worried.”

Thereafter Mrs Shiel, or her daughter, Paddy, or her Secretary, Ruth Penny, called regularly with kind words, and newspapers, magazines, jigsaws and games to keep me busy. When my mother sent Mrs Shiel and me some money for “little luxuries”, I found that what I enjoyed most were flowers. They were always cool and refreshing and they hid the angular corners, ugly brown paint and clinical apparatus that so depressed me in my room. I was able to arrange never to be without flowers, and soon received a call from a short, round and cheery lady called Mrs Stubbs, who ran Vayle Springs, the only flower shop in Dar es Salaam. She and her daughter Beryl, who was even rounder and cheerier than her mother, paid frequent visits to their best client with a friendly word and a bunch of fresh and colourful flowers.

A weekly visitor to my room was the Reverend Capper, the Provost of Dar es Salaam, who was in effect the head of the Anglican Church in the city. He was a big and booming, sociable and broad-minded person who called me his “dear boy”. He wore a white cassock girdled with a thick black rope to hold in an ample paunch. Every now and then he offered me Holy Communion which I welcomed, even though he used to slip in very early in the morning when I was half asleep and totally unprepared.

When the Provost could not call on me himself, he sent in an enthusiastic young UMCA missionary father who helped with my shopping while talking eagerly about his faith. Then, one September afternoon, in bustled the Bishop of Zanzibar. We had met fleetingly at Handeni the previous summer when he had presented the prizes at the Mission School sports. He was another big, bluff and cheerful man whose presence I much enjoyed, and we talked together about Luton which he said he had visited during the course of the annual Lambeth Conference in London.

Simon alerted the Secretariat to my plight and several of the pen-pushers were kind enough to call. First I was visited by a very good fellow named Humphrey Marshall. He was followed by David Connelly who introduced me to his wife Audrey and they were very good to me. Then Pat Hobson asked a contact of his in the Secretariat named Robin Saville to call on me. Robin was a lively and friendly fellow who gave me a lot of his time; he talked endlessly once he got going and brought me masses of Dar gossip. We had many acquaintances in common and became close friends later.

Rex Peace, who was effectively the DOs’ personnel officer in the Secretariat, also came in several times on official business. In August, he was busy inducting a new batch of Cadets, but as soon as he had sent them off to their various postings, he paid me an official visit to answer my questions about my future. He brought up a huge file and told me I could not go home to convalesce, there was no chance of my been granted a loan for a flight to the UK, and that I must expect to be employed in Dar when fit enough “sticking stamps on envelopes” - it would be a basic office-boy job in some dark little office of the Secretariat; nothing better was conceivable with my lack of experience. I did not welcome Rex’ visits.

News from Tanga Province

It was Robin who gave me the news that Humphrey Foster had been transferred from Handeni to Korogwe as DC, and that John Woodley had recently married in the church there. Robin had attended their wedding; Audrey Foster had given the reception which had taken place at the DC’s house, and Mr Rowe, the Tanga PC had given the bride away.

John Woodley himself looked in not long afterwards. He told me he had had some exciting safaris in Handeni, including a dangerous man-hunt when he had taken all the police askaris into the bush to search for a murderer. He said he was being transferred to Same District which lay along the railway to the west of Korogwe. A new DC had been posted to Handeni togther with one of the latest batch of Cadet DOs newly arrived from the UK. Woodley confirmed that Bakari had returned safely to Handeni and was working for him though still unwell. He would be having a fresh medical check, and, if fit enough, would accompany Woodley to Same.

Soon after my arrival in Dar, Alan Brown was posted from Tanga to the Secretariat, and moved with Nan and the children into a big bungalow in Oyster Bay, the Dar residential area. Nan had been very kind to me when I had been in Handeni and I was delighted to hear of their arrival. They were as friendly as ever once they had sorted themselves out in their new home and began to pay me regular visits which were always a delight.

Moving rooms

After six weeks in hospital, I felt much better and wanted to be allowed up, constantly complaining that I was not permitted to have a bath or any exercise. I became very bored with my four walls and narrow bed. I confessed my depression to the smartest and most friendly of all the Sisters, Pip Boakes, who later became a great friend. She was very sensible and practical with all sorts of good advice that cheered me up immensely. Soon she was looking in at odd moments for a word here and there, to lend me a book or a record or tell me about sailing and the excellent Dar Yacht Club of which she was a member. She helped me work Pat Hobson’s gramophone and play my small collection of 38 records - mostly the scores of musical shows, “The King and I”, “Guys and Dolls”, and “Free as Air”.

Then there was a break-through. Father Joseph from the Morogoro Mission had been treated for TB next door to me. When he was judged well enough to return to his Mission, I escaped from the prison cell and moved into his room. It was a lot bigger and altogether cooler and more airy, with wide windows opening on to a shaded balcony that was shared with the room beyond.

In that room were Robert and Jennifer Hannington, aged three and four years old, whose father was a senior police officer, and who were rapidly recovering from typhoid. The two children played together on the balcony between our rooms and did not seem to be in the least ill when I knew them - their chatter began at about 5am and continued through the day till about 6 in the evening. For the most part I found their cheerful voices encouraging. They were not allowed in to my room, but we made great friends shouting messages to each other through the open balcony doors. Their mother spent much of every day with them, had several chats with me, and presented me with some beautiful flowers when finally they went home.

No sooner had the Hanningtons left than the room next door was occupied by a fourteen-year-old schoolboy named Douglas. He boarded at the big Secondary School for boys at Iringa in the Southern Highlands, had sleepwalked one night out of the dormitory’s first floor window, and broke a femur and his jaw. Apparently there were at that time four broken jaws in the hospital - the others all road accidents - all requiring to be fed for every meal each day and thus keeping the staff very busy. Matron decided Douglas was well enough to have some schooling and set him some maths questions to answer. To my surprise she then handed to me his scribbled sums and asked me to correct them - it kept us both occupied and made me think very hard.


News from Home

My parents had definitely decided to move and my father had found a summer job in Kent. My mother wrote fully about their plans to sell Brooke House and their search for a new home round Tenterden. John wrote to me, sending me with pride Peter’s first letter to his parents from Swanbourne. His letter was followed by news that Liz had bought a manor house near Wadhurst in East Sussex, while my parents found a house they wanted to buy in the near-by village of Wittersham. I learned all about “Island Cottage” in mother’s letters, and at the end of October, I was told that the die was cast. At much the same time I received an exciting an air-letter from Liz about “Bricklehurst Manor”. The family was on the move.

In early October, a call came through to the hospital for me from Charles Hill, once famous as “the Radio Doctor”, who had been made a Life Peer and a Government Minister and was on some mission to Nairobi. He was the father of Elizabeth whom I had taken to several dances while at Cambridge and whose marriage had recently been announced in the London papers. My father knew Charles Hill as a Luton doctor, and had apparently asked him to look me up when in Dar es Salaam, which he had willingly agreed to do. Unfortunately, in the event, he was unable to get down to Dar and simply sent a message of encouragement.

I had a delightful letter from Harry John’s mother, Mrs Ross-Skinner writing from their lovely stately home at Warmwell in Dorset when she heard of my illness. I replied in a long letter in return all about Nzega, reviving my many happy memories of the place and the people. The third unexpected contact from home was a letter from Auntie Judy, my artistic godmother. With many kind messages, she sent me through the post a rolled-up canvas with a picture she had painted at Glengarry in Scotland. It was all greens and browns, very soft and light, with some fine silver birches in the foreground, a rather marshy stream in the middle distance, and blue green hills behind. The Red Cross had it framed for me and hung on the wall at the end of my bed. It was a peaceful picture and I have always enjoyed looking at it. It hangs on the study wall above me as I write.

More news from Nzega and Tabora

The Webb family moved down to Dar permanently in October with Doreen and they all continued to call in frequently to keep me cheerful. Their former neighbour, Helen Fourie appeared, very worried about the health of her daughter Petronella who had been sent down to Dar es Salaam for treatment for heart trouble. I saw her only once and never heard how the little girl got on.

After the September elections in Nzega, Peter Doole came down to Dar for two weeks’ holiday, leaving Tony Golding at the Boma on his own. Peter told me that he was shortly to take over the District supported by an African DO when Tony moved to Dar es Salaam to take a job in the Secretariat. Peter called several times during his leave and we had many pleasant chats. When he called to say goodbye after his fortnight’s break he looked fitter and happier, and took back my regards to everyone in Nzega.

Mike Ransome looked in. After handing over to me in Nzega, he had been working in Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, but had been called back at the time of the elections to collect ballot boxes from all over the District. It was then he had heard of my troubles. He came down to Dar for a few days leave, spending his time playing hockey. He was enjoying Kigoma but expecting a move to the Lake Province.

A big medical conference took place in Dar in late October, and Dr Merton, the Tabora Provincial Medical Officer came down for it and called in on me. Joan Walton had told me he had recommended I should be sent home for treatment but his advice had been disregarded by Dr Coles. Merton visited me one evening during his conference and defended his view that treatment in the UK would have been better for me. He went on to say he understood they had decided to treat me in Dar because of the risk I would lose my job or be put on half-pay if I were to go back to England. I was thoroughly upset by this idea which was new to me. Worse still, Merton went on to claim I had been “holding out on the doctors” at Tabora and Nzega, as if I’d been hiding something from them in July - which I denied hotly. I was glad to see the back of him. Rex Bailey also looked in again at the end of the conference. He told me the Governor would be visiting Nzega in November and confirmed Tony Golding’s impending move.

Haidhuru updates

Charles Thatcher wrote from distant Bukoba, the other side of Lake Victoria. He gave me the news that Sue was shortly to have a baby, and invited me to stay with them in December, which was very kind although I feared it would be too far away. Roy Bonsell wrote from his one-man station of Kibaya in Masailand which sounded fascinating, but was even less accessible.

Despite a heavy workload, Simon continued to find time to spend with me; he would give up his free weekend afternoons to have tea with me and play chess or watch the sailing races beyond the reef from our balcony. He was friendly with the Sister, Pip Boakes who used to join us when she could find the time for a cup of tea and a chat.

One Sunday, he came down after staying in Bagamoyo for a night with Neville Chittick, the archaeologist. He bought a bottle of sherry with him, and Pip found a corkscrew in the operating theatre and joined us - and gave me my first alcohol for three months. Simon and I had a sandwich lunch and then played two long games of chess until it was dark.

Pat Hobson looked in on his return from leave with a moustache and stories of the new Outward Bound School. His ‘course’ had climbed Mount Kibo, found it very tough and been very sick in the high altitude. They had made several expeditions across the plains, and been charged by an angry rhino, disturbed in his sleep by Pat’s dog. Pat handed over several more records and took back the radiogram he had lent me temporarily. I was sad to see him go.

More Visitors

A number of kind friends became regular visitors. Nan Brown gave me a great deal of her time once she and her husband had settled in to their new home in Dar es Salaam. David and Audrey Connelly often gave up their Saturday afternoons to call in for a cup of tea on my balcony, as did Humphrey Marshall. The Provost used to breeze in from time to time to see how I was getting on. Beryl Stubbs would often call with flowers from her mother’s shop. I was rather alarmed when the Bishop of Zanzibar came back and announced he proposed himself to give me Holy Communion. It was a solemn moment and in retrospect I loved it - the first time a bishop had blessed me since my Confirmation.

One day I received a visit from Lady Turnbull, wife of the new Governor who had arrived in the Territory in July while I had been working at Nzega. She was stout, cheerful and friendly, gave me a bottle of home-made orange squash and kindly offered to lend me books and magazines, which I eagerly accepted. Asked what books I would like, I said I was keen on David Livingstone and would welcome anything she could find about his explorations and life.

Another new face was Mary Clifford, wife of a DC working in Dar es Salaam. Mary was the Secretary of the Tanganyika Society in which I had expressed an interest because it published the journal of local history and ethnology known as “Tanganyika Notes and Records”. Mary had also suffered from TB at one time and told me all the usual depressing stories about months spent lying flat in bed. She brought in copies of the journal for me to read with an offer to introduce me to the lady editor.

The ‘Thesis’

While at home on sick leave early in the year, I had spent some days reading about the early records of Tanganyika and its place in the ‘Scramble for Africa’. In bed, with time on my hands, I began to research from such old history books and journals as I could beg or borrow and I was absorbed by those back issues of “Tanganyika Notes and Records” lent me by Mary Clifford. I started to jot various ideas down on paper over the weeks and began to pull together what I called my ‘thesis’ about the German colonisation of the country. For a while, I wrote several pages a day, then had second thoughts and rewrote a large chunk of it.

I borrowed a ropey old typewriter from the Red Cross. It was not an easy machine to operate, particularly while sitting up in bed. Ruth Penny of the Red Cross coached me in its use and I was still practising on it and trying to get it to behave when it fell off the bed and was smashed. After grovelling with apologies to the Red Cross, they agreed to have it repaired, went to great trouble and returned it in good order very quickly.

Beryl Stubbs then offered to type for me and with high hopes I gave her the papers I had written, but she was slow in fulfilling her promise and several pages disappeared. I lost heart after that and put it all aside as I became more active.


More importantly, I started studying hard for the Swahili Oral Exam which took place in September and the powers that be decreed I could ‘sit’ it while in bed. I did three hours Swahili reading each day in the run up to the exam. Then the day came. Robin Saville appeared as one of my examiners, together with a Secretariat colleague and an experienced Swahili-speaking African. The three of them sat round my bed and bombarded me with questions on vocabulary and conversation in Swahili. They gave me a page or two of Swahili to read in English and a couple of paragraphs to read and translate into Swahili from “The Man-eaters of Tsavo”. I found most of their questions easily within my capability. They did not set a high standard, nor make any difficulties for me. The exam was all over in fifteen minutes.

The examiners trooped outside into the passage and closed the door firmly. After five minutes one of them put his head back round the door to announce I had passed. The hospital staff were kind enough to share my gratification; matron sent up a box of chocolates with her congratulations.

Better still, one afternoon at the end of October, Pip strode in smiling to say the Office of the Chief Secretary had just rung up with the news that I had passed the Law Exams that I had sat in Nzega in July. I felt a glow of satisfaction. I had to wait a couple of weeks for the marks which were not bad at all, though they betrayed signs of fatigue in the last two papers. I scored 72% over all, 79% and 80% in the first two papers, and 65% and 62% in the others.

The Balcony

Dhow Approaching
Dhow Approaching
Followed the departure of the Hannington babies, I had the balcony to myself and the doctor allowed me to lie on the chaise longue there. They put a Dunlopillo mattress on it to ease my sore pin-cushion of a bottom and the padded seat was supremely comfortable. In the morning the sun was fairly low and hot on that side, but the breeze got up about noon and was delightfully cooling in the early afternoon, whipping up the waves and stirring the sea beyond the hospital gardens to a fascinating whirl. I used to have tea on my long chair and borrowed binoculars to watch the boats out at sea and the birds in the hospital garden - to my delight a pair of kingfishers used to preen themselves in a big flamboyant tree opposite the balcony. I spent many hours looking out to sea which was always moving and full of interest, as dhows from Oman sailed past, the big ships steamed by on their way in and out of the harbour, and the sailing boats from the Yacht Club held their races.

The hospital was only a stone’s throw from Karimjee Hall which was the venue for the Territory’s Legco, the colony’s fledgling parliament. On the morning of 14th October, I heard the bands and military salutes at the noisy ceremony to make the start of Legco’s new session, and in the evening the local wireless relayed the speech by the new Governor, Sir Richard Turnbull. TANU, the nationalist party had won the recent elections held in the Western Province and elsewhere, and was gaining confidence with an influential group of elected members.

Opening Legco, we heard the Governor declare,

“The inclusion of elected representatives in the Legislative Council is a major step towards self-government….When self-government is eventually attained, the fact that both the executive and legislature are likely to be predominately African should in no way affect the security of the rights and interests of those minority communities that have made their homes in Tanganyika.”

We all recognised this as a new departure, and the abandonment of Sir Edward Twining’s attempts to achieve multi-racial government through mechanisms such as the complicated electoral system that had operated in Nzega. It unlocked the door towards self-government by the indigenous peoples of Tanganyika. The race to independence was on.

By the end of October, the breeze died on my little balcony in the early afternoon, and the atmosphere in my room grew perceptibly warmer as the season advanced. The good news was that, unexpectedly at the end of the month, I was offered a proper bath. I could hardly believe my ears when the Dresser said that Sister made the suggestion. I was sure the doctors had not intended me to get up for such a purpose so soon, but I did not check lest Sister changed her mind. I leapt in to the glorious, hot, caressing, cleansing water and revelled in it, for it washed away lots of my bad temper along with everything else.

I was delighted to be really clean again, and enjoyed a proper shave too, standing at the basin in front of a big mirror instead of crouched over a hand-mirror sitting up in bed. It turned out a couple of days later that the doctors had not suggested the bath and the silly Sister had made a mistake. But I did not care; I never confessed to the doctors and was content to revert to the old messy regime of bathing in bed for a little longer.


Boredom and depression

How the days dragged! As very slowly, October turned to November it grew hotter and more humid day by day in my little room - the temperature at noon went up to 92 degrees Fahrenheit. News came from home about my parents’ plans to move down to Kent and Liz’ plans to open her school at Stonegate. News continued to reach me from Nzega too. Joan Walton was a devoted correspondent and I heard from Jan Bailey, Rummy and Isobel Mattley from time to time. The ‘thesis’ kept me busy and I still wrote letters every day and continued to read avidly - I devoured twenty-five books in October. I finished weaving my rugs, and played the gramophone which entertained me with all the old musicals and new revues like “At the Drop of a Hat”. Despite all such things, I was totally bored and depressed. I wrote home grumbling that the doctors forbade me to get up even though I was feeling reasonably fit, had put on two stone in weight and was well able to walk about. I must have become a peevish and dreary correspondent. Some letters I started with a complaint and tore up to start again in less dismal a tone. Even so, my mother had to write and say “Why can’t you realise TB is a serious business?” She was understandably tired of my constant grumbling.

Then slowly, inch by inch, things became easier and I was able to do more and more. In the middle of the month, I was called to the phone in the Sister’s office on the other side of the big ward - an adventure in itself - when one of Liz’ friends at Monkey Island, Gordon Rossetti, rang from Nairobi. I felt in much closer contact with home than before and was greatly interested to hear the latest news. All was well at Monkey Island and Gordon had seen photos of Bricklehurst Manor and liked the look of it. Liz herself wrote soon afterwards to confirm she planned to open her big house as a holiday home for children whose parents were overseas and to ask me to circulate brochures among likely parents in Tanganyika.

Meanwhile changes were taking place among the hospital staff. Dr Taylor, the friendly but over-optimistic Junior Registrar, left with many good wishes to take up a new appointment in the Southern Province. Dr Doyle replaced him and proved just as friendly and competent. Matron left to take over the Tanga hospital, and I saw little of her successor.

My neighbour, Douglas, the schoolboy sleep-walker, spent some time with me before he went back to his father’s tea estates in the Southern Highlands. Poor chap, he was still in a bad way and in a wheel chair but he talked a lot about his home and school, and we played draughts and ‘Scrabble’ together. I missed his company when he left to fly home, and I was on my own once more. I could not complain, however, because I had frequent visitors and was making many friends among them. The friendly WVS ladies did my shopping and brought round the library on a trolley; the even nicer Red Cross people continued their constant support and help - Mrs Shiel went back to England on long leave, but Ruth Penny took her place, calling on me twice a week. She negotiated on my behalf with the wireless repair shop and finally persuaded them to mend it. Paddy Shiel from the Medical Department also called, doubtless at her mother’s suggestion, to bring me piles of ’Fields’ and other magazines. The stout and stalwart Beryl continued to bring in flowers to cheer up my room, thanks to my mother’s generosity.

Lady Turnbull came in again, friendly, solicitous, and very knowledgeable. She put me completely at my ease, and invited me to stay at Government House “after all this is over”. I was embarrassed by the generous invitation, uncertain if it was right to accept, and hedged; next day I asked Alan Brown what I should do, and he said it was a Royal Command - of course I should accept.

Lady T returned a few days later after a trip to Nairobi and chatted happily away about recent guests at Government House, including Alan Moorehead and Harry Oppenheimer, the gold millionaire. On a third visit she reiterated her kind invitation to me to stay and I accepted it - I hoped with good grace. I found I was enjoying her visits more and more. She then disappeared with her husband on an extensive safari that took them all through the Western Province among my old haunts, notably Tabora and Nzega.

There were two new faces in November who became my friends. Mrs Keight worked for the British Council and had been asked to bring me in some African history books which pleased me; and she then offered to buy Christmas cards for me to send home by sea. Alan Reese appeared one day with a selection of gramophone records having heard I was in need of them. He said he was starting “Adult Education” in Dar es Salaam, and had heard about my plight from my old Cambridge friend, Mary Murray of Girton.

The Webbs continued to call by frequently and made me laugh with their cheerful chatter. Nan Brown spent several afternoons with me, and Alan joined us from time to time when he could get away from his new job. I saw more of the generous Connellys who came in for long chats in the late afternoon after work in the Secretariat. Daphne Piper was down again, called by with a box of chocolates, and introduced me to her husband John Piper, the Kilosa DC.

The Haidhuru were as generous with their time as ever. Simon Harwick told me he was going on a short holiday for ten days before Christmas to Nyasaland in his land-rover and asked me to join him. We pored over maps and planned the trip together. On a later evening, he came in for a picnic supper and a bottle of wine before changing into a black tie for a party. Thanks to Simon, I then had in my wardrobe a bottle of Tio Pepe sherry, another of South African red wine, a flask of Chianti, and four cans of lager. A day or to later, Simon introduced me to the new DOI at Kisarawe, Andrew Marshall, who had taken the place of poor Nettleton. Andrew was a tall fair-haired single man with an easy quiet manner that was very likeable.

Norman and Jane Macleod renewed their invitation to me to stay with them while convalescing after leaving hospital, which seemed an excellent idea, while Simon pressed me to visit him at Kisarawe on his return from leave and I gladly accepted. Harry Magnay called in at the start of a fortnight’s leave on the coast looking shaken and with a sorry tale to tell. His car had been written off after colliding with a lorry on the Morogoro road not far from Dar es Salaam. Hilary and their new baby had both been bruised and cut about, their cook had been admitted to hospital with a head wound, and much of their baggage and clothes had been ruined. After several days in Dar sorting themselves out, the family belatedly hitched a lift to Bagamoyo for a few days’ recuperation by the sea-side.

Pat Hobson drove down from Morogoro one weekend for the express purpose of taking me out for a spin in the car, only to learn I was still forbidden to get out of bed. He was in great form, as flamboyant and hearty as ever, and we had a grand talk. Simon joined us and told us he was to be godfather to the Thatchers’ new son, Bill. The following week Simon offered to take me out in his land-rover, but once again we were frustrated by the doctor’s orders, and instead we played yet another long game of chess on my balcony.


On13th November I had my last ‘strep’ injection - three full months’ worth in my sore backside. In its place I was given twenty ‘PAS’ pills a day - huge things which together with the vitamins increased my daily intake to thirty. I waited for Dr Coles’ return from leave with bad-tempered impatience. At last, back in the country once more, he arranged more x-rays and a tonograph. After inspecting them, he decreed that I might get out of bed and go for a stroll for an hour or two each day from the beginning of December. I must continue to live in the hospital for another month; I might then take a month’s sick leave and go back to work in February. At his most expansive and helpful, Dr Coles went on to explain,

“I want to get you back to work as quickly as possible. This is important from the point of view of pay and prospects. For the six months after you start work again, I think you should stay here in Dar es Salaam. I can give you regular checks here and keep an eye on you. It will have to be a stooge job - something that will keep your employers quiet.”

He continued, “Then, after the six months are up, I expect we shall send you home. We will arrange for you to have a second opinion and, as is the fashion nowadays, you will probably have to have an operation to cut out the dead bits.”

I was satisfied with the plan and relieved at last to know what was going to happen.

December 1st was a red letter day. I had my first ‘official’ bath in the morning. Better still, I spoke to my parents on the telephone. I booked the call several days in advance at a time when I hoped my father would be home at lunchtime, was allowed three minutes and given use of the phone in the empty operating theatre. I sat there waiting under the bright lights surrounded by the instrument trolleys and surgical equipment. The phone rang. I picked up the receiver.

A voice said, “Are you there , Mr Eberlie?”

“Yes, I’m here”.

“You’re through to London.”

A crackle or two, then “Mr Eberlie, Mrs Eberlie is on the line for you.”

I said “Hello?” enquiringly.

My mother came back with a huge “Darling! It’s wonderful to hear your voice!”

She followed this opening with a barrage of questions; how was I? Had I got up? Had I walked to the phone? Was I dressed? How did I feel? Her voice came through clearly, but I had to shout my hurried replies. My mother said then, “Auntie Judy’s here and sends her love” and “Father’s just gone off to get some beer!”

A minute later my father was on the line saying the beer was good, and had I drunk any beer yet? My heart leapt. All very banal, just as if I were back home, and it did my morale a great deal of good. I shouted messages down the line. A worried voice cut in, “Three minutes are up. Will you say goodbye please!”

After phoning, I wandered out in my dressing gown through the front door and round the side of the hospital on to the lawn and found a rickety chair under a flame tree. I was content to sit in the cool shade and a gentle breeze, day-dreaming in a daze for half an hour, remembering and savouring the call - with immense pleasure.


News and Visitors

The phone call was followed by interesting letters from home. My mother seemed to have enjoyed our brief conversation as much as I had. My parents were packing up Brooke House in preparation for its sale and their move to Kent, and my mother told me about the big cocktail party they had thrown to say goodbye to their Luton friends. Then she reported all the speeches and presentations to my father on his leaving the Dunstable Road practice and retiring from his BMA Committees. Liz wrote happily from Bricklehurst Manor in an empty house, planning to open her new school for the January term. Mrs Shiel wrote to me the day after she had met my parents and said all sorts of nice things about them.

Graeme Sorley wrote again. He had seen our mutual friend, Tim Horne who had also suffered from TB two years before me, and was fully recovered. I started a correspondence with Mary Murray in Edinburgh, formerly of Girton, following her kindness in encouraging her friend, Alan Reese to visit me.

From Nzega, Joan Walton wrote with news of their firework display at the Club, and Marie Scott wrote about her first baby. To my pleasant surprise, Tony Golding, my former DC, appeared one afternoon. He came straight to the hospital on arrival in Dar and gave me lots of news from Nzega. Riots had taken place at Itobo two days before the Governor’s visit at the end of November. Tony had persuaded TANU to condemn them, put twelve people in jail, and managed the Governor’s tour as if nothing had happened. He had however been obliged to postpone his transfer for a week to allow things to quieten down, and had left Peter Doole in control while he came down to take over his new job in the Chief Secretary’s Office. Pat Golding had taken their two sons home to England in September to start boarding schools, so Tony was on his own. He was charming to me and invited me to join his party on New Year’s Eve at the Dar es Salaam Club.

Lady Turnbull came in two or three times after the Governor’s official safari to the Western Province and described their plans to go round Tanga Province, where she was to visit places that I knew, including Handeni and Korogwe. She officially invited me to lunch on Christmas Day and I again accepted her invitation gratefully.

Daphne Piper called before going back to rejoin her husband at Kilosa with a warm invitation to stay with them there whenever I could. Pat Hobson came down again from Morogoro one weekend and looked in on me on his way to a dance somewhere in the town. I was invited to spend a weekend with him after Christmas - after that he was to move up north and would be out of reach.

An unexpected caller was Mrs Tilney, wife of the Finance Minister who had brought a suitcase of my clothes down from Nzega at the start of my illness. During a pleasant chat, I discovered she was the sister of Mrs Sinclair-Loutit whose husband owned the boat in which Tim Horne and I had sailed home from Paris. Our conversation brought back many happy memories and her visit was a great success.

Up and about at last

Each day that followed the telephone call home, I spent the mornings in bed writing and typing. After lunch I slept for a couple of hours. I then took a bath and put on my dressing gown to stroll around the hospital garden. Dr Doyle said, “No safaris”, and “Honestly, you must take it slowly. You must not put any strain on the chest.” I walked no farther than a giant old baobab at the end of the lawn, and sat in the shade of a little tree under an old garden umbrella. I had forgotten the strong and sweet smell of the tropics, and the variety and quantity of insects and lizards.

In the mornings when bed-bound, I decided to do something useful. I wanted to help a local charity and chose the blind because I had experienced just a little of the problems of blindness myself the previous year. I made contact with a Mrs Krell, Secretary of the local Society for the Blind and offered to address hundreds of envelopes for her for an appeal, and ploughed through them during my long mornings in bed.

Matron asked me if I would make Christmas decorations for the Men’s Ward and dumped on me a pile of crepe paper of all colours. I quailed at the thought, but luckily a seven year old boy called David Moore in the big ward was on his feet and attached himself to me; he willingly took over the job and made a good pile of paper streamers and decorations. His constant attention was distracting at times, but good for him as he had the freedom and comfort of my balcony on which to play.

Oyster Bay Bungalow
Oyster Bay Bungalow
The first occasion on which I put on my clothes again was to accept an invitation to tea from Enid Morris, the admirable hospital secretary. I was thrilled to dig clothes out of my trunk, polish my shoes lovingly, put them on and step into Enid’s car for the drive to her home. I wore what amounted to the Dar uniform - white shorts, shirt and stockings, and brown shoes. Thus smartly dressed, I was taken on a short tour over Selander Bridge and round the attractive residential area of Oyster Bay, where flame trees were in bloom in a mass of scarlet in every front garden along the avenues. We went out to Enid’s pretty bungalow on the Kinondoni Road for tea and a chat with her neighbours, and I was driven back home down Kingsway, the line of grand properties known as ‘millionaires row’. For the first time, I saw the enchanting sea-front where little creeks covered in mangroves alternated with coconut palms and white sands. It was all new to me and exciting, but best of all was being able to sit down in a private house and enjoy a good cup of tea instead of the usual hospital fare.

After that great day, I was frequently taken out in the afternoons. Nan Brown took me to the craft market to buy wooden ornaments as Christmas presents to send home to my nephews and nieces. We went on to the New Africa Hotel where Simon joined us and we drank cool lager on their terrace facing the harbour and watched people coming and going. On the eve of his departure on leave in Nyasaland, I rushed around with him doing last-minute shopping, and discovered the Dar es Salaam Bookshop from which I had ordered numerous books while at Nzega.

The Browns were kind enough to give me family tea from time to time, followed by a paddle among rock pools on the sea shore. Mary Clifford took me to her home and gave me tea too, as did Ruth Penny whose home was a flat above the Red Cross offices. Ruth also took me down town to buy gifts for my hostesses over Christmas, and gave me my first run in a car outside the city to the north some way up the road to Bagamoyo to look at the wide beaches that lay beyond the army barracks. I sometimes had tea or a drink in the sisters’ mess where the hospitable Katie Kyle and Pip had rooms with large balconies among flame trees in full bloom overlooking the harbour mouth. Katie was a round bustling sort of person, with a kind and generous heart and a strange Scottish Canadian accent, and we became friends for life.

One afternoon I was walking on my own along a street among the big old German houses near the hospital when Mrs Tilney drove past in her car and invited me to tea in to their home close by. I was introduced to her husband, the Finance Minister, and was able to thank him in person for bringing me my suitcase after his Nzega trip, but I did not find him easy to talk to. I told them of my hope to start sailing, before they rushed off to a garden party and I strolled back to the hospital.

Then quietly - I gathered later - Mrs Tilney made a few phone calls on my behalf, and invitations to go sailing reached me from several quarters. David le Breton invited me out in his boat, as did Mr Elliott who introduced me to his wife and daughter, Susan - a real smasher. Audrey Connelly took me to their pretty little home in Burton Street only a few steps from the hospital. Their cottage was surrounded by jacaranda and I much enjoyed my tea, although it was a stifling hot day. A few days later we sat on deck chairs on a remote beach while their spaniel puppy played in the white sand at our feet. The following day she helped me post my Christmas cards and letters and find both a bank and a tailor - I was beginning to sort myself out again.

Doreen Webb took me to her family’s delightful old German house among the palm trees beyond the docks and the dhow wharf in a quiet little suburb called Kurasini. Fred had high blood pressure but was very affable. Tony Golding turned up and was in good form, fiercely criticising the Secretariat for transferring him from constructive work in Nzega to a frustrating paper-pushing job that he was not enjoying.

Fellow Patients

When I had the chance, I padded about the hospital visiting other patients and listening to their stories. One day after a walk on the beach, I had tea with Sister Bridget who was an elderly nun with a wrinkled walnut face and a mild and motherly manner. She entertained me as we sat together on the airy hospital verandah, talking about Tanganyika in the 1920s. After that delightful tea-party, I called on her every day on my “rounds” and took her on at chess which she generally won.

Michael Longford was a DO of several tours and some years’ seniority, well over six feet tall and famous for his knowledge of tribal languages. He had been rushed down from Mahenge, two hundred or so miles from Dar es Salaam seriously ill with pyrexia. He talked non-stop - and was a most entertaining chap. He was more critical of the hospital staff than I. He knew masses of people in the Administration and had a waspish tongue, and I enjoyed our conversations as we discussed personalities for hours.

I struck up an acquaintance with Gerald Reese, the Kilosa Resident Magistrate who had been admitted to the hospital with serious heart trouble. We started by talking about the Pipers and Magnays whom of course he knew well, and he then told me he had spent his leave the previous year at a house in Willow Road in Hampstead, only a few yards from Margaret’s home. He remembered their old car, Poppy, parked outside their front door, but not the family. He and I had much in common and spent time together every day for a couple of weeks. I used to look forward to our chats, and we grew very friendly. Gerald was a fine man with a wide experience,who could talk about anything and everything, and was always entertaining.

Then suddenly he collapsed; I last saw him under an oxygen mask and he died in the night - and I was deeply saddened. He was only 40 and left a young wife and daughter.

The WVS arranged flowers for me to give, and I accompanied Pip and Katie to his funeral at the Anglican Church of St Albans where the Provost presided. I wore a dark suit for the occasion in a huge hot church crowded with serious and solemn faces, and in the midst of us stood a little wooden coffin - I wondered if he was still in his blue pyjamas as I remembered him. The nursing sisters and I waited for him among a crowd of mourners in the porch of the church on his way to interment, bade him Godspeed, and sadly took a taxi back to tea on Katie Kyle’s verandah.

Christmas: at home

I used my imagination in writing home that Christmas which was to be the family’s last at Brooke House.

“I send with this letter my very best wishes for a happy Christmas to you and Father, Doreen and John, Liz, Margaret and Roger, Peter, Susan, Bill, Robin and (last, smallest but by no means least,) Lally.

I shall be turning my thoughts to Brooke House often during Christmas Day, knowing what a happy, hectic, hair-raising home it will be. Margaret and family will, as usual, arrive rather later than the last possible moment. Then there’ll be something urgently wrong with the car that will demand Roger’s permanent attention in the garage. Margaret will have left all her own packing-up to Christmas Eve evening; she will then do something tiny and dainty for the centre of the table, taking hours and hours, finishing five minutes before lunch.

Doreen and John will arrive in lots of time. Doreen will be swept up into the kitchen by you for the cooking; John will be tied up with the children, and spend his time bathing them, and telling stories. Liz will be immersed in exploring house and cellar for any more bits of furniture she could commandeer for Bricklehurst Manor. Father will try to carry on imperturbably as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening. He will do his list and read a detective novel by the fire every evening as usual. I’d like to think that somewhere the decorations will be not as good as last year, and my presence will be missed thereby.

I expect the grand-children will get pretty excited, though the TV will be a useful soporific during the afternoons - there’ll be some dreadful cowboy thing on. By the way, isn’t Peter too old for a stocking now - poor chap? It must be tricky finding beds for them all. I suggest you put Robin in the bath. Anyway I hope they like my little presents a bit. By the way, if the Masai head-dress feathers get damaged in transit, John could easily replace them with a couple from the turkey - they are only chicken feathers, and I fear the hide on the shields is nothing romantic, but probably a rat or perhaps a young goat.”

Christmas in Dar es Salaam

Having dragged on leaden feet for four months, time began to move faster. Dr Coles looked in just before Christmas to say he was arranging a ‘Board’ on me and had started negotiations to get me back to work in early February. He confirmed the arrangements I was making for convalescent leave with the Macleods in Lushoto and told me to start to get up in the mornings. So Christmas came with a rush.

I was lucky to be able to treat the hospital as if it were a hotel and to be well enough to take an interest in my surroundings. I made my room festive with decorations and cards sent by the family and found myself heavily involved in the hospital preparations for Christmas. Each morning it seemed as if all my new friends and acquaintances, one by one, trooped through my little room for a chat, and to hand over a magazine or two and wish me good luck. In the afternoons and evenings, however, I spent less and less time in the hospital, and was out and about among friends in the town.

On 23rd December I was taken by the Connellys to an evening concert of Christmas carols sung by the Dar es Salaam Musical Society. The following evening I had my first supper out of hospital for five months. It was cheerful family affair at the Browns, decorating the tree and enjoying a supper of oysters and cooked ham. As Alan and I were filling the stockings after the children had been put to bed, we had a long argument about the question uppermost in all our minds - “Why are we here?”

Perhaps to provoke me, Alan took the line, “Until we simply have to go, we must stay on and run the country solely in order to protect the settlers.”

I took a different line. I said, “We must stay on till we have to go in order to teach the Africans how to run themselves.”

I argued we must stay - in spite of the difficulties they put in our way and despite the UN obstructionism - and we must do it so that Tanganyikans would not go the way of so many other former colonies and throw away their independence as soon as they were granted it. Alan and I were still arguing good-humouredly as he drove me home late, the stockings filled and everyone ready for Christmas Day.

Next morning, Robin Saville took me to early service at St Albans and delivered me back at Katie’s for breakfast on her verandah. The hospital was quiet, but I slipped back to my room to welcome the Red Cross distributing small gifts to the patients, and I opened the day’s letters and my presents from home which gave me a warm glow.

Lunch at Government House was a nightmare. I have had many difficult and embarrassing meals in my life, but that Christmas Day lunch took the biscuit. Lady Turnbull had generously said she would collect me at the hospital on her way back from church. At the appointed time I was at the front door, but she never came. I waited an hour, growing increasingly anxious and ultimately panic-stricken, while preparations went on behind me for a special hospital lunch party. At last a car drove up but without Lady Turnbull. I leapt in and was deposited at the GH front entrance. There was no one to greet me and, arriving late in a fluster, I almost ran through the echoing halls and burst in on a large house party in a huge room unannounced.

It was a dreadful moment. As all faces turned to look at the intruder, one man leapt to his feet and strode towards me. He was tall, gaunt and going grey with a thin face and firm features. I understood this was my host. There were brief flurried introductions, “Here’s Paul; of course you know him!” - I had never seen the man before in my life. Sir Richard then led me away to sit beside him and tried hard to put me at my ease, talking about my plans to go up to Lushoto. It was a kind gesture, but I was fearfully confused.

Paul Weller then came up and explained that Lady Turnbull was in bed with a strained back and wanted to see me upstairs. He led me up and thrust me into her bedroom where I stood beside the bed looking down on the large lady, trying to think of sensible things to say, feeling awkward, looking goofy, and wishing the ground would swallow me up. I handed over a little parcel of chocolates and she said in a strained and tired voice, “Well, Dick. You see the roles are reversed!”
Dar es Salaam Government House
Government House

I hope I expressed sympathy and was courteous in reply, but I was greatly relieved to be led back downstairs to return to the throng below. I picked up my drink and sought to make polite conversation to complete strangers. With the older people I had nothing in common, and the younger guests were as nervous as I.

Yet worse was to come. As Paul led me in he said, “Will you sit next to HE?”

So this was another royal command. The senior lady, a Mrs Colchester was on the other side of HE, and beside me was a DC from Tunduru who helped to ease the strain. Sir Richard was helpful, tactful, and interesting, and when the conversation became general, he showed himself knowledgeable and entertaining, and had all the table laughing - though his jokes were beyond me. It was a cold meal; I ate little and drank water. Jackets were discarded, and everyone was comfortable, but I was still in a daze when we trooped out for coffee and I realised I did not know a soul.

A party was planning to go out to the Governor’s rest-house on the beach at a place called Mjimwema, which enabled me to make my excuses. Out of the blue HE said, “Now, before you go up to Lushoto, you must come and stay with us for a night or two. We will help you get used to the world again.”

Paul came up to apologise for not sending a car to collect me and saw me out - I was too jittery to worry. I slipped away and walked back to the hospital with a huge sigh of relief. Looking back, I was left with the impression that I had not disgraced myself on my first showing at Government House but that I had had appalling bad luck and the ADC had caused me massive embarrassment.

Christmas evening was very different and a totally happy occasion. We started in my hospital room where I dispensed drinks to the Sisters and Pat Hobson joined us on his way to the GH evening party (to which I had not been invited on doctor’s orders). Instead David and Audrey Connelly took me back to their home for the evening. We were about a dozen, mostly married couples - with their babies in the bedroom behind us, and one young man whose wife produced a daughter for him in the maternity wing of the hospital while we were having our turkey. The house and table were beautifully decorated by the hostess, and the meal was magnificent with all the trimmings, followed by presents off the tree and party games. I was tired and collected several booby prizes but kept going, enjoyed the games, and did not look at my watch until 1.30am.

In the following days, I found it difficult to keep up; I wrote the essential thank-you letters, made arrangements for Lushoto, and did a little necessary shopping. I weighed two and half stone more than I had in August, and none of my clothes fitted. Wider shorts had to be purchased, and my suits had to be let out and cleaned. The cummerbund that I had last worn with my ‘blues’ in Hong Kong was two inches too short and had to be replaced; and I had to buy dress shirts, shirt studs and the like.

Boxing Day was quiet; a chat with Mike Longford was followed by drinks with the Marshalls, and lunch out at the Red Cross offices. Invited out to tea with the Krells, I learned about their work for the Tanganyika Society for the Blind in which I was growing interested.

Next day, Mrs Tilney collected me in the afternoon and took me down to the Yacht Club and out on the water in Mr Tilney’s sailing boat. Another first. They gave me the helm and I took their boat across the harbour, past the dockyard and oil jetty, and up the creek with the wind behind me. We came out of the busy docks into clear waters fringed by deep green mangroves and tall palms waving gently above them. Conversation was relaxed and easy; I handed the boat over for the return journey as we tacked up into the wind on the homeward stretch. It was a great experience.

The next afternoon, Pat Hobson, exuding friendship and bonhomie, introduced me to his new girl-friend, Anne Burkinshaw, a Woman Administrative officer (WAA for short), whom I had first met by chance a day or two earlier when on a walk in the neighbourhood of the hospital. She was a delightful jolly person with a big laugh who enjoyed life hugely and Pat took us to a beach a few miles north of Dar. The café was nasty, the sands were hot and wind-swept, and the sea dirty and, while we enjoyed each other’s company, we regretted our choice of beach.

Rex Peace took me out sailing a day or two later in a heavier boat than the Tilneys. He was at the helm and put me in the bows looking after the jib. He took us out of the harbour into the open sea through choppy waters which was exhilarating, though I found the sun trying and was glad of my hat. Over a drink at the Yacht Club afterwards, Rex told me about the job he had lined up for me. It would be in the Dar es Salaam District Office where I would be doing basic back-office work, taking over from a WAA, and living in a flat in the town centre. The job did not sound exciting but it was the sort of thing I had been told to expect, and I was looking forward to getting back to work.

Simon reappeared at the Yacht Club that evening after his Nyasaland holiday and took me off to the New Africa Hotel to exchange news. He was full of his trip which had been as interesting and exciting as he could have wished. He had crossed the border into Nyasaland and stayed with missionaries at Livingstonia and Nkata Bay which were places that my brother John knew well. Simon then confirmed his invitation to me to stay with him on my return from Lushoto, before starting my new job in Dar.

In the midst of all this new life, I attended a formal Board concerning my health with Dr Coles in the Chair. He reiterated what he had said at the end of November - that the lesion has cleared up well, but there was still a small lump, and “the question will eventually arise whether to make an incision.” I should be discharged in early January, work part-time for a while and continue to take drugs until the summer. The doctors would then consider whether or not to send me home for an operation to have the lump cut out.

New Year’s Eve 1958 was a long day. After a morning at the type-writer, and quiet afternoon, I put on a black tie and Tony Golding took me out to a party at the bungalow of a senior WAA named Pam Turner, where I met many new and pleasant people. We ended up at the Dar Club on the sea-front, among a crowd of perhaps five hundred. Everyone dressed up; the band played and there was dancing; first whisky, then champagne was put in my hand, and the large crowd assembled on the terrace and watched a brief cabaret at midnight. Very soon afterwards Tony dropped me back and I crawled into bed.

New Year 1959

The heat was over-powering, especially at night, but time flew by. On New Year’s Day, I drank Pimms in an Oyster Bay house of some generous folk, and watched a cricket match at Kinondoni with the Connellys. In the evening, I was the guest of Jim and Trudi Rowe who had been the PC at Morogoro and my generous hosts on my way back to Handeni. They were charming; their balcony overlooked the harbour and was delightfully cool, and I met several other senior administrative people who were immensely interesting. But at night it was too hot to sleep.

I still had lots of writing to do. In addition to keeping my family up to date, I wrote to Roger Moat with sympathy on the death of his father, and to Isobel Mattley at Nzega with good wishes on the birth of a daughter. I addressed masses of envelopes to expatriates on behalf of Liz to give publicity to her new holiday home at Bricklehurst Manor. Then at last, in preparation for leaving hospital, I began to pack my possessions into a big crate.

The ‘Warwick Castle’ was in harbour and Simon took me out for dinner on board with a friend of his named Andy McClelland whom I had known in 1950 at Colchester when we had been private soldiers together. We had an excellent meal in their dining salon and drank good English bitter for a change. We went on to a dance in the Sisters’ Mess as guests of Katie Kyle, when I meet all the Sisters off duty. Some of them were a bit odd, but most of them were very good company. The presence of all the doctors rather cramped my style, however, and I slipped away at midnight.

On the following day, I was taken up to Kisarawe by Simon. We drove out of Dar due west into the Pugu Hills and past a big mission hospital and school at Minaki. We climbed still higher in the land-rover and at the top of a steep incline drove on to a little plateau. On the right was a murram track leading to an African village and on the left an open field with well cut grass surrounded by a circle of bungalows and the offices of the Boma. Though only 20 miles from Dar, it had all the look of a quiet ‘bush’ station. It was cooler, fresher and drier up there than in the coastal plains below, and when we walked round to the front of Simon’s house we looked across rolling forests twenty or so miles to the sea. Set in this superb position, his house was of the standard type for a bachelor DO, with a garden of hibiscus bushes scattered among the grass and a shady verandah in front.

Here at lunch I was royally fed on lobster, and neighbours called for tea. I met Mr Pentney who was the Headmaster of Minaki School and a fellow Johnian, and Brian Winstanley, who was DC at the Ilala Boma in the African area of Dar es Salaam. It was my first vist to Kisarawe that I was soon to get to know and love, and the happiest day I had enjoyed for six months.

Goodbye to the hospital

Over the next few days, I spent most of my time in the hospital, clearing my bedroom with its five months’ accumulated junk, and writing final letters. I went out to tea with Alan Reese where I met a young policeman named Peter Mence who talked music; I went to the cinema with the Browns to see “To Paris with Love” with Alec Guinness; and I had tea with Mrs Keight at the British Council to meet some friendly Africans who knew Nzega.

I spent some time with Mrs Dick, the young wife of a police officer who had recently been diagnosed with TB. She was just as depressed and fed-up as I had been - surely the result of the drugs - and was to move into my room with the balcony. I bequeathed her all my plants, and asked her to look after Auntie Judy’s picture until my return. I also visited Lady Turnbull who had been admitted to hospital and put in a wide collar to help her back. She looked very uncomfortable but still managed to be charming. I bid Godspeed to Michael Longford who was getting better but losing a great deal of weight; and I said goodbye with sadness to the elderly nun, dear Sister Bridget, whom I greatly admired.

My last worry was how to thank all those who had been so generous to me. I gave a cheque to the Red Cross though it by no means repaid my debt to them. To the Nursing Sisters and the Hospital Secretary, I presented rather inadequate boxes of chocolates and biscuits. To the African dressers I gave cigarettes and sweets. In exchange the hospital gave me a big box of white ‘cachets’ of which I was to take ten a day for the coming month and probably a lot longer.

One evening a party of us went to the Dar es Salaam Pantomime. We went to the show that started at 6.30, so there were masses of children who loved the animals in the performance, Dick Whittington, his cat and lots of evil rats! Simon joined us and we had a hilarious time, and an excellent supper afterwards in the flat of one of the girls.

Next day, my boxes were carried upstairs and hidden away in the attics and promptly at 4pm the GH car collected me from the front doors of the hospital. This time Paul met me at their front door, showed me my luxurious room, and arranged for me to take tea on my own balcony overlooking the garden and sea. Brian Eccles, the outgoing Private Secretary to the Governor appeared and showed me his car which was for sale. The GH staff leapt on my dirty clothes; a servant told me reproachfully that he had taken away my dress trousers and mess jacket to be ironed.

In full fig I went down at 7.30pm to meet HE accompanied only by Paul hopping about like a bluebottle. About thirty guests then arrived - many of the great and the good of Tanganyika with whom I was able to have the odd word. We dined in the long banqueting hall; I had a pleasant girl on my right and Brian Eccles on my left who ignored me all evening. After dinner I met other more friendly and very interesting guests chatting on the lawn. When they had all gone, HE sat me beside him for a last drink.

Next morning I was woken early and found my host already at work behind a big desk in his office in a wing of GH. I said my goodbyes and thanks and poured myself into a GH car that delivered me to the airport at 6.45am.

Chapter 7: Convalescence
“So and no otherwise - so and no otherwise - hillmen desire their hills”.

From “The Sea and the Hills” by Rudyard Kipling.

To the Hills

At the airport, everyone was rude and unhelpful, charged me excess baggage, and put me on to the D3 plane still half-asleep. We flew to Tanga where a cup of coffee helped bring me to life and then due west to Mombo with lazy clouds drifting round the tops of the mountains to the north. At the foot of soaring peaks Mombo was the nearest landing strip to Lushoto and hot, humid and boring when I disembarked there. I had a long wait in a miserable building that served as reception area and lounge, while a lazy and taciturn agent of the airlines sorted out his affairs, eventually made himself known to me, and offered me a lift.

Lushoto District occupied most of the Western Usambara Mountains that stretched across the north-east corner of Tanganyika. The hills rose dramatically and sharply from the plains to a height of over 7,000 feet, and the town of Lushoto lay half way up in one of the many wide valleys sheltered by thickly wooded hills. We entered a new world as the agent’s old rattle-trap drove along a vertiginous gorge to the bustling township of Soni, and thence struggled up the steep escarpment of the mountainside, round an endless series of Z bends for an hour in second gear. The views on all sides were spectacular as the road wound along the edge of thick forest. At last our route levelled out and we passed the buildings of Lushoto School set back on our left, then the Lawns Hotel and finally dropped down into the broad grassy basin which sheltered the little town of Lushoto. It was an instantly friendly and likeable place in a superb lush green setting among high forested peaks.

European-style bungalows were scattered along the hillside. A sprawling jumble of African homesteads encircled some official-looking buildings in the town centre, beside a covered market and a wide grassy open space that was called the ‘common’ and used every Sunday as an open-air market. Lushoto had been hesitantly developed as a tourist resort with an ideal climate, but the tourists were not coming and local Europeans were too few to keep it going. I found that neither the town nor its two hotels were prospering.

The Macleods Lushoto
The Macleods
The airways car took me through the town and up a little hill above it to the Macleods’ home. Jane, my hostess, was on the doorstep of their house and gave me a big hug and a large cup of coffee while we waited for Norman to return from safari. Jane was soon to have a baby, but still active and always cheerful with a quiet sense of humour, while busy with preparations for the new arrival.

The Macleods had a comfortable little whitewashed and tiled house with a huge fireplace in their living room, and plenty of room. Tall trees stood in a garden falling down the hillside below the house, and a green lawn was surrounded by dahlias in full bloom, carnations and several beds of roses. Masses of vegetables and strawberries flourished on terraces on the slopes below, and among the trees behind the kitchen lived two fat rabbits, a couple of dozen hens including several good layers, two broods of chicks and two ducklings who were charming creatures and were allowed to swim once a day in the bath indoors. The dachshund, Carl completed the ensemble. It was a comfortable, easy household, and they were kind enough to make me one of the family for the duration of my stay.

On Holiday

The weather was like a perfect summer in Cornwall; the sun was warm at midday, but there was dew on the grass in the early mornings and sometimes a light white mist at dawn; we wore slacks and a sports jacket during the day, sat round an open fire in the evenings and slept under three blankets on our beds.

The following weeks were a totally happy time for me, and I regained my strength rapidly. I took ten huge pills every day and slept through the afternoons - disappearing to my room after lunch and reappearing only for tea. I was thrown much into Jane’s company when her husband went off to the District Office during normal working hours. She grew tired with the baby on the way but she was very relaxed; her brother, John Bromley, had been my contemporary at St John’s; so we had much in common, and were able to enjoy each other’s company, I think, while Norman was busy in the Boma. Jane became irritable with the servants, and we had a domestic drama over one weekend when she sacked the houseboy who was a singularly stupid young man. To my delight, his successor, Mohamedi, came from Handeni and knew Bakari well. In a long chat, Mohamedi confirmed to me that Bakari had accompanied John Woodley on transfer to Same as planned, but had not enjoyed it there and returned to Handeni as soon as he could. So he was once more back in his old home among his family and friends and working for the new DO Cadet in my old house.

I spent my first three mornings at Lushoto writing letters - thank-yous to people in Dar es Salaam, and reports of my whereabouts to my family and Val. I read books by two difficult authors - Thomas Mann, and Freud on dreams; they were stimulating but such heavy going that I have never looked at either author again after that holiday. Once my letters were written and posted, I began to take myself off for walks in the cool mornings among the luxuriant gardens and forest. I was able to smoke my pipe again and drew much pleasure from it as I ambled round the township and up the hills behind the Macleods’ house. There was always something of interest on the road, monkeys playing in the trees, yellow weaver birds building hanging nests in the marshes, little fish and insects in the busy stream beside the path, and the occasional evil-looking snake in the roadside grasses. I came to know the roads round the township well.

Carl came with me and was good company, often leading the way along the paths, and taking me a little farther and higher each day, sometimes into the clouds that circled the hilltops. We returned home pleasantly tired and often quite muddy after healthy exercise and many little adventures in those hills.

The late afternoons after tea were the best time of day at Lushoto. The temperature was perfect, and on Norman’s return from the office we would all go into the garden - sometimes to sit and admire the flowers and livestock; at other times to exercise the rabbits, feed the hens, or separate the chicks from their mothers. I enjoyed pottering about and doing my share of odd jobs in the garden; I transplanted geraniums, did a bit of weeding, and spent several mornings planting and potting seedlings. The garden boy and I moved tree trunks to form terraces, dug a trench for sweet-peas, planted a hedge of cupressus to hide the backyard, and started building steps in the hillside between the house and the kitchen garden. We made a catapult to warn off the hawks that looked longingly at the chicks and rabbits, and a day or two later went down to the town to have an oil drum cut in half at a forge and inverted to make a pond for the ducks. It was a pleasant and somewhat bucolic existence.
The Macleods Lushoto

Norman and Jane had acquired masses of friends and frequently entertained in the evenings. Social life among the Lushoto expatriates was lively because of the number of retired and elderly Europeans that had settled in the attractive climate up there; and I was invited out to drinks on several occasions. Some of our hostesses were easy and friendly people; others were interesting but rather unattractive characters of the old school. I was fascinated by a certain Mrs Bartlett, an elderly Scottish settler’s widow, who was steeped in scandal. She insisted on dominating every conversation with horrible stories of her former acquaintances among the Lushoto residents.

There were two hotels at Lushoto that had glorious gardens, and were friendly, slightly run down and out at elbows sort of places. ‘The Lawns’ was owned by a retired DC, Colonel Alleyn, and showed films several times a week. On our first evening we had a drink or two there, played ping-pong and saw “The Dam Busters”. On my second weekend, we had an excellent dinner there, and Norman and I played billiards over liqueurs and coffee while Jane watched another film.

The other hotel, the ‘Magamba’, was set on a beautiful hillside some way beyond the town. I had promised the Browns that I would take out their nine year old daughter, Pooh, who was boarding at Lushoto School a few miles below the town. So on my last Sunday, Norman was good enough to drive me down to collect Pooh and a young girl-friend of hers, and drove us across to the ‘Magamba’ where we sat on the lawn and had an excellent tea while the girls played in the dell beside a pretty stream.
Lushoto Market
Lushoto Market

The main attraction of Lushoto at the weekends was the vegetable and clothing market that took place every Sunday morning on the common. It was an exotic, gorgeous, noisy and colourful affair where the African women wore their best and brightest kangas and gossiped away as they shopped; European families went down there also to gossip and to buy vegetables for the week ahead before going across the road to Lushoto’s little Anglican church and thence home for the customary Sunday curry lunch.

At the market we met Carol, the wife of Eddie Davey, the District Assistant and jack of all trades at Handeni. She told us he had been sent to prison for “fiddling the books”, and she had four awful children largely out of control and very little money with which to feed them while her husband was ‘inside’. Jane invited them up for a day, gave them all a good solid meal and allowed them to run wild in the garden - to the dismay of the livestock.

We went out to dinner on several pleasant occasions while I was staying with the Macleods for they were a popular pair. We dined one night with the Hamiltons. George was Norman’s boss and the Lushoto DC, whom I had met in Nzega when he had come over to our Club one weekend from the neighbouring District of Kahama. An evening or so later, we were guests of John and Philippa Cunningham. She was a kindly but nervous friend of Jane’s with two boys aged six and seven. John was the DOI and a senior district officer of about eight years’ experience, very easy-going and interesting about his work. I enjoyed their company but took an immediate and intense dislike to two of my fellow guests at their dinner table, a Forestry Officer and his wife - there was something about them both I could not stand.

My final evening out was as guest of a neighbour of the Macleods who was the local vet and a quiet but hospitable bachelor. He gave us an unexciting meal, but then showed us fascinating coloured slides of his climb through the magnificent scenery and snow to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. It was perhaps then that I began to think I might one day climb the mountain myself.

The evenings we passed at home in the Macleods’ cottage were a delight. After supper over a pipe and a beer, Norman and I talked endlessly, stretched out in front of a roaring wood fire. We would exchange ideas and chew on them and argue for hours about aspects of our office and legal work. At first Norman had to spend some time revising for the law exams that he sat while I was staying with him, and on my first few evenings, we went over and over the likely questions together. We looked at each one from every possible angle until Norman was finally satisfied he had mastered them.

Once the exams were over, he was able to relax more and our conversation ranged widely, mostly about the job and the country. The fire blazed; we were completely comfortable and I was content to puff at my pipe and listen to Norman’s thoughts on the world around us. One night after supper, a neighbour called and we played Canasta - a game I hardly remembered from my university days. On my last night, we discussed some of Norman’s legal cases and I was so pre-occupied that I nearly forgot to pack my bags. Those were good times.

Expeditions in the Hills

Just a couple of days after my arrival, Norman had to go on safari and invited me to accompany him in his long-wheel-base land-rover. We drove north round many hairpin bends to a little wooden rest-house at a chiefdom centre and busy village called Mlalo, high up in the hills, with magnificent views reminiscent of the Western Highlands of Scotland. That evening the Chief and local elders called on us and we learned their news. Next day we drove higher still through rolling stony uplands that were more like the Spanish sierras where giant cactus and euphorbia stuck out of grassy tufts. We visited several little villages and investigated the position of the crops - they were trying coffee - attendance at the schools, the success of their tax-collecting, and so forth, in very much the same routine that I had followed on safari in Nzega. Back at the Mlalo rest house, I sat in the sun outside with a book and fell asleep while Norman held a baraza talking politics. The talks went on for much longer than expected and Norman woke me at four o’clock for a very late lunch before driving home in the evening.

My first weekend, I dug out my borrowed fly-fishing rod and the three of us drove through twenty miles of soft-wood plantations, past the Governor’s Lodge high on its hill-top, to the remote homestead of a Forestry Officer, a young Scot named Buchanan and his wife, who were friends of the Macleods and lived deep in the wild. Beyond their small-holding we plunged into the woodland and found a merry stream and two deep dams in which trout were thought to live. Norman had not had time to teach me much about casting; so I splashed away and caught nothing bar one unfortunate frog. The peace of the place was profound - until some Colobus monkeys started chattering away in the trees behind me. Not the least pleasant part of the trip was a stroll round the Buchanans’ well-tended vegetable garden where some to the biggest carrots I have ever seen flourished in the rich black peaty soil. The day was rounded off by a hearty supper of garden produce cooked beautifully by Mrs Buchanan.

Back to the coast

My holiday came to an end all too soon. I was picked up by the Airway’s car early one morning in the first week of February, said fond goodbyes to Jane and Carl and all her chickens and ducks, and went on down to the Boma for more farewells and warm thanks to Norman. The car stopped at a duka in the town to pick up some crates addressed to GH and we saw a bright green chameleon sitting on top of a pile of discarded banana leaves in one box. The driver ran off as fast as I have ever seen anyone move - the little creature boded ill-luck. I had to pick it up in my hat and settle it gently in some hibiscus shrubs before we could load up and continue our journey down the escarpment. Deposited at Mombo air-strip, I clambered on to the waiting plane and endured the dull flight via Tanga back to Dar es Salaam airport, arriving just before one o’clock.

Simon Hardwick
Simon Hardwick
I had forgotten how dry, dusty and uncomfortable was the heat of the plains. As I stepped out of the little plane from Mombo I was hit by the blazing sun off the airport tarmac, to be met by Simon who was to be my host in Kisarawe and was cheerful and welcoming, despite suffering from both malaria and severe tooth-ache. He had crawled out of bed to meet me, and retired to bed again with a high fever as soon as we reached his bungalow at Kisarawe. We were twenty miles inland and five hundred feet up, and the air was infinitely fresher than on the coast. I had already spent an afternoon there and was very happy to return. I was particularly pleased when, in the cool of the evening, Simon felt better and took me for a long walk round the plateau, ending at the bungalow of Andrew Marshall, the DOI, where we had a long cool beer.

The next morning, Simon kept to his bed, and I explored the smart Kisarawe Boma that faced the wide neatly-trimmed grassy field on the hilltop. I borrowed a telephone to begin to organise my future life in Dar es Salaam, and the following day was taken down to Dar by the Forestry Officer to return to the hospital for tests. I had to satisfy the doctor I was fit enough to work again, so I had the usual x-rays, ESR, and a full examination. Dr Coles was in a benevolent and expansive mood, and showed me the latest x-ray on his screen. It looked one big blur to me but Coles said it showed “remarkable improvement”. He went on;

“Even so, I want you to stay under my eye here in Dar for six months at least. Perhaps for a year. You must take twenty-two pills daily. I will give you monthly checks. For the rest of February I want you to work only in the mornings and sleep in the afternoons. You can resume full-time working in March.”

Four weeks later, Coles had me in again for another thorough examination. All tests were satisfactory; my weight was steady at 10 stone 11 lbs; and the latest tonograph x-ray showed a narrow scar which could be ignored. It was however confirmed I must work and live in Dar at least until the end of the year. The monthly checks continued until, at last on 7th August, the anniversary of the diagnosis of my TB, Dr Coles stopped the daily dose of twenty pills and decided he did not need to see me again for at least three months. I could thereafter concentrate on my work and forget about my health.

I had a few more days left of my holiday which I spent as Simon’s guest, in company with Katie Kyle who was taking a rest from hospital nursing. We called at Minaki for Simon to see the doctor and collect some medicine for his malaria while Katie and I were shown round the well-built secondary school by Dick Pentney, whom I had first met on my New Year visit. We were introduced to Robert Paterson, the DC at Kisarawe, and went for long walks around the plateau on which stood the Boma and relaxed, while I was busy planning my new life in the capital city and, after six months’ break, preparing to start work again.

Chapter 8: Dar es Salaam: the Work
“Behind the tourists’ Dar es Salaam is another Dar es Salaam; Kariakoo and Ilala and Kinondoni and the huge developing areas of Temeke and Magomeni. Here over eighty thousand Africans live with Arabs, Somalis, Goans, Seychellois, Mauritians, Asians and Europeans. The Africans are from every tribe and they are sucked into Dar es Salaam by hopes of high wages and adventure and freedom from tribal restrictions. Some are primitive and some educated.”

From “Bush and Boma” by J.C. Cairns, published in 1959

My Finances

Before starting work again, I had to sort out my finances. My salary was £1,065 per annum. Out of this, I paid £36 life assurance, £69 Widow’s Pension Scheme, £85 Income Tax, and about £10 other taxes. I was able to save a little money. I resumed the arrangement whereby I passed on to my parents the income tax rebate (£94 in 1959) and interest on the building society investments they had made in my name; in addition I bought £10 of National Savings Certificates a month and put another £5 a month into my Lloyds account at home. There remained £180 in my Dar bank account which I had to put towards buying a car in addition to £50 in my Lloyds account at Luton. I was also able to buy a few things for my new accommodation and send money home for a christening present for my newest godson, Gordon Fuller, and a wedding present for Patsy Melville and her fiancé Ronald.

I wondered if I could put something into my nephew’s education. I wrote home to enquire saying;

“Would it be any good me offering to help with Robin’s education? I’ve thought of it often and decided here I am, a fairly comfortably-off bachelor; a few pounds which I could find fairly readily, might be of great help to Margy and Roger. They could be in the form of a loan or could be a type of Deed of Covenant, or in any useful form, provided it were of use to a very nice young nephew whom it would give me great pleasure to be able to help.”

I was grateful to my mother for approving my offer and suggesting I could offer to help with Robin’s extra subjects at school; I wrote to Margaret with the idea, but understandably she did not follow it up.

My appointment as a District Officer, Class III was confirmed in August 1959, two years after my arrival in the Territory, and my salary rose to £1,194 annually, of which £249 was called an ‘Inducement Allowance’.

The Hillman Husky

I had to have a car for my work. A Hillman Husky was for sale for £230 from the High Court Registrar. As I could just about afford that sum, I called on Mr McKay a genial Scot with a strong Edinburgh accent who welcomed me in his ‘chambers’ alongside the High Court. After pleasantries, he took me across to his neat bungalow in Burton Street where his wife gave me tea and he showed me the car.

Grey with red upholstery, two doors and a folding rear seat, in excellent condition with 25,000 miles on the clock, the Hillman seemed to be an economical buy within my budget. Petrol cost about 3/= per gallon and would be covered by my petrol allowance which was 6d per mile for duty driving in the town, and 1/1d per mile outside the town. Garage bills were however at my own expense, and she would require servicing every couple of months. I bought her on the spot and thereafter was in and out of her all day and every day at work running round Dar from one place to another. She served me proud. She even did pretty well on the rough corrugated murram and sandy roads outside the town, for example up the Pugu Hills to Kisarawe, and out along the coast road to the beaches beyond the city limits.

Eminaz Mansions

Before starting work I was taken to have a look at the flat allocated me by the Housing Committee. It was Flat E on the first floor of Eminaz Mansions in Acacia Avenue, next door to Barclay’s Bank, a stone’s throw from the Askari Memorial and two streets back from the harbour front. It was three minutes walk from my new office in one direction, the New Africa Hotel in another and the Secretariat in a third.

I was shaken, however, on knocking on the front door to find the slovenly family of a police officer still in occupation. Washing was hanging up in the living room and nappies were everywhere and the policeman’s wife seemed to have no intention of leaving. I had to wait impatiently for three days, before at last I received the keys and was able to look around the place.

Not only was the flat superbly central, it was also convenient and modern in design. It had been built the previous year and comprised one big room which was divided by an archway into dining-room and sitting-room with tiled floors in a light green. The living rooms were a reasonable size, with the usual complement of Government furniture. Two bedrooms lay down a corridor behind the front room with the usual offices, while a little kitchen with an electric cooker led off the dining-room. The larder was adequate and the bedrooms had built-in cupboards, but there was no box room, and my biggest headache was storing the boxes and crates in which my stuff had been packed.

I engaged Juma as my servant. He had been cook for a DO who had been seconded to the other side of the world to administer Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Juma came to me for Shs 95/= per month plus Shs 20/= to cover the rent of his rooms in an African quarter of the town some distance away. I set him to work while I was still in Kisarawe with scrubbing brush and Vim on the floors and walls. I soon decided more help was needed and took on a second houseboy, a young chap who had been working for Simon at Kisarawe and was named Morris (or Maurice). First we lugged up the stairs and stacked in the spare room seventeen boxes that had been sent down by rail from Nzega for me; they were followed by my two tin trunks that had been put in the hospital attic; and in due course they were joined by the crate containing my two home-made rugs, and Auntie Judy’s oil painting off the wall in Mrs Dick’s hospital room. Morris then had to spend several days washing and ironing my linen which had been packed hurriedly by Rummy after my departure from Nzega. He began to open crates while I went down to the shops to buy necessities like lampshades, saucepans, a kettle and an electric iron. I spent a full week unpacking and making my new home reasonably comfortable; it was a delight to have my own possessions around me once more.

The flat had many advantages in its convenience and proximity to my work, but I quickly discovered its snags. It was very hot; it had no air-conditioning and the air in the city centre hardly seemed to move during the day. The least exertion brought one out in perspiration and the work of furniture-moving and curtain-hanging was a real effort. Worse still, the flat had neither garage nor servants’ quarters, nor was there a back-yard, still less a verandah. Indoors there was nowhere for hanging clothes, and it was noisy as well as hot. One could hear everything said by one’s neighbours as well as the pie-dogs fighting in the evenings, the crows squabbling over the rubbish heap, and the cars tearing by along the main road all evening - taking the expatriates home to cooler residential areas from cinemas and entertainment in the city centre. The noise and the stifling heat made it difficult to sleep in the flat, and I quickly decided to move out as soon as I could. Meanwhile, I found the best antidote to the sticky heat was an evening bathe; so, two or three times a week, and each weekend, I used to go out to the long white beach at Oyster Bay for a quick dip before supper.

On moving in, I had a heavy head-cold and found the nights uncomfortable. It was at that moment that I gave up writing a diary - something I now deeply regret, but I had a mass of paper-work to sort out in order to put my financial affairs in order and I wanted to resume my regular weekly correspondence home and with Val. More gramophone records arrived from home and I set up my gramophone for the evenings. I was lent a fan for the living room and would sit by it writing letters at my desk with the gramophone softly playing in the background, before seeking my bed in the pleasant bedroom with a bright grassgreen wool rug and green-patterned curtains.

The Acacia Avenue Offices

My boss was Pip Fraser-Smith, who had won an MC during the war and was a delightful man. His hospitable wife was named Zillah and they had two young children with them and two more at boarding school. The family lived in a rambling old bungalow on the Upanga Road near the Gymkhana Club only minutes by car from the office. Their home had plenty of character, their broad verandah faced the open golf-course where ‘browns’ replaced the traditional greens, and their pleasant shady garden enjoyed cool breezes blowing off the sea just across Ocean Road.

Pip and Zillah gave me lunch at their house when I came down from Kisarawe and on several occasions over the following days as I was moving in to the flat and learning my new job. I grew to like and admire Pip a great deal. He was a very hard worker, had much charm and an easy manner. He had a maddening habit of losing files by taking them home to work on the evenings and forgetting to bring them back, but he could be forgiven much.

The office that he ran and where I was to work was situated half way along Acacia Avenue, the main shopping street, in the heart of Dar es Salaam, and surrounded by smart, modern, glass-fronted shops. It was an old German commercial building with high ceilings and tall windows, and was entered up dusty steps where the messengers sat, through an open verandah, into a long corridor. On either side on the ground floor were arched doorways leading into dark cell-like rooms with tall windows covered in wire mesh to keep out the bugs. At the end of the corridor were stairs leading to our offices on the first floor. At the top of the stairs was the big General Office run by the Office Superintendent surrounded by a vast number of old files and clerical records. More dusty files were housed in a little room next door belonging to a dignified old Arab Sheikh named Shariff who handled the estates of deceased Muslims. Opposite were a couple of pokey smelly little rooms, one of which was given to me. At the back of the building overlooking the dusty parking lot was Pip’s spacious office with desk and tables hidden under piles of files.

On my first visit to Acacia Avenue I met the two long-serving mainstays of the office. Kip Fisher was Pip’s secretary and personal assistant and worked in her own little office next door to his. She had everything at her finger-tips. Her previous boss had described her as,

“a rare but invaluable help…My delightful and so efficient and sensible secretary (was) another welcome perk for the beleaguered office and one for which most upcountry DCs would have given their eye teeth.”

Kip was pleasant company and invited me to her flat near Selander Bridge on several occasions. At a sundowner there soon after my arrival, I met new and interesting people and learned a lot about Dar es Salaam while we talked shop endlessly. Kip nearly inveigled me into going for an audition for a part in an Agatha Christie play that the local amateur dramatic company, ‘The Dar es Salaam Players’, were putting on later in the year. They were an excellent friendly, energetic and popular little group, and I was tempted.

Basil Thompson was a tall thin fellow who held sway in the general office as the Office Superintendent. Of him, his former boss wrote,

“He had obtained the post as a local resident. To have an Englishman fulfilling this role was a rare phenomenon in District Offices in Tanganyika. Basil proved invaluable in shouldering the burden of routine office work and general supervision, and it was especially advantageous to have him on the strength in view of the high proportion of European residents employed both in commerce and administration.”

I was impressed how well Basil knew his business, but he did not seem to think much of me when we first met and was always reserved with me, even though we worked next door to each other for some months.

I took over the desk of a WAA who had been organising the elections in the city and moved elsewhere when that particular job had been done. I was put in one of the dark little offices and told to work on the following list of files:

Repatriation of the unemployed
Destitute Europeans
Work permits for non-Tanganyikan Africans
Poison licences
Scrap metal licences
Societies’ registration
Gold and silver-smith licences
Labour matters
Medical fees
Election expenses

It was not a thrilling portfolio. For the first two weeks, I worked only in the mornings and by ill luck nursed a cold. I drank tea out of the thermos and dawdled along hoping nothing complicated would turn up. I was left on my own without guidance; the others had been called away urgently to Buguruni, as I report later.

How Dar was run

First I should explain the complicated system how no less than four authorities administered the city of Dar es Salaam.

The Deputy Provincial Commissioner (DPC) was at the top of the pile sitting in the Acacia Avenue offices where I joined him. Dar was called an ‘extraprovincial district’, and the DPC reported directly to the Minister for Provincial Affairs in central government with overall responsibility for the city. He was required to co-ordinate African and non-African affairs together with all the other authorities including the police and prisons. He was responsible not only for preserving law and order as an executive of central government, but also for dealing with appeals from the Liwali’s court, overseeing the administration of the ethnic communities and promoting the democratic development of the peoples of the city.

The Liwali, Sheikh Hamed Salehe el-Busaidi, was an eminent Arab authority on the Koran and Muslim law. He had his own advisory council which was a large body of elders from all over the city and managed the civil affairs and the religious lives of the Muslim community which embraced all Arabs and most Africans of the city. He presided over his own court where he heard appeals in civil cases from the lower courts and acted as judge in important suits between two parties. He was assisted by three other religious personages, a Deputy Liwali, an Akida, and a Kadhi who was the supreme expert in Muslim law. Wakilis, who were government appointments, carried significant authority in each area of the city and presided over court-room meetings and barazas. Hakimus were the judges in the local courts, and Jumbes represented the principal tribal groups and communities in the capital. Appeals from the Liwali’s cases went to the DPC and were an important part of his work. I worked closely with the Liwali and these civil authorities in most areas of the city throughout my time in Dar.

The Municipal Council was responsible for looking after the roads, drains, housing and public amenities in the city, particularly in the commercial and business areas. The Council was run by nominated European, Asian and African councillors and chaired by a Mayor who was an important public figure. The Council employed a professional team concerned with municipal health, engineering, building and finance under a highly-respected Town Clerk. I had relatively little to do with this body or its officers and no contact with its councillors.

The District Office served the rapidly growing African population that lived in high-density housing in the teeming suburbs around the city centre. This Office had been built recently in the thriving district known as Ilala (doubtless after the village south of Lake Banguelu where David Livingstone died), close to the football stadium and other local facilities. The District Commissioner (DC Ilala) was responsible to the Deputy Provincial Commissioner for most of the usual District Office functions, notably fee and tax collection, and fostering welfare and democracy at the local level. I worked increasingly closely with the District Team based on the Ilala Boma, and eventually moved in with them.

The Buguruni Murder

News came through during my second day at work of a riot and the lynching of some young policemen in the village of Buguruni. Pip rushed out there to join the DC and DOs from the Ilala Office. I wanted to be in the thick of the action and was indignant that I was not allowed to join them because under doctor’s orders, and sat grumbling and lonely in my dark office, slowly getting on top of my unexciting files, waiting for news.

The tale that Pip brought back on brief visits to the office was horrifying. The village was normally a quiet, down-at-heel, scattering of mud-walled and thatched dwellings under coconut palms, almost surrounded by an industrial zone of smart new factories, and lying beyond the suburbs, perhaps four miles over sandy tracks from the city centre. In its midst were just two or three concrete buildings roofed with corrugated iron belonging to Asians, with one duka run by an Arab.

Witchcraft was at the bottom of the trouble, as so often in those days. The Tanganyika Africans’ belief in the powers of witches and wizards for good and for evil was total. A good witch-doctor was known as a mganga. He was universally believed to be able to cure illness and unpleasantness with his spells and potions, while a bad witch-doctor (a mchawi), was believed to be capable of causing such things. When a man was ill, or lost his job, or met with an accident, he blamed a mchawi and his witchcraft; when he recovered his health or got work, likewise he credited a mganga’s witchcraft with his success.

That sunny weekend when I started work in the city, the people of Buguruni thought that the worst and most evil witchcraft of all was being practised in their midst. The cause of the riot was mumiani, a type of red gum that was in use quite innocently by Arabs for medicinal purposes. Many Africans, however, believed that it was coagulated human blood sucked from victims murdered for the purpose. It was feared up and down the Kenyan and Tanganyikan coast to such an extent that the rumour of the presence of a mchawi wanting mumiani filled those in the neighbourhood with terror, children were hidden away, and doors were locked at sunset. The mere thought was enough to create mass hysteria.

Somehow that night, the story flew round Buguruni that an evil mchawi was hiding in one of the concrete houses with corpses whose blood had been drained. A crowd estimated at between two and three hundred people gathered, stormed the building and smashed everything in it. Three askaris were summoned by the shop-keeper next door and drove up quite innocently in their brand new Standard Vanguard van equipped with a radio. As they stepped out of the van, the frenzied mob thought their vehicle had come to collect the mumiani blood and the men were members of the mumiani coven. The crowd turned on them. The first reports were that only one of the policemen had escaped their wrath, but later it emerged that two had managed to escape by running into the shop and tearing off their uniforms so that, nearly naked, they were able to mingle with the crowd.

The third young man had fled for his life in the opposite direction. Chased by a maddened screaming mob, he fled across open ground until he reached the high security fence of wire-mesh around the Metal Box Company’s factory that supplied tin cans for Tanganyika Packers meat-canning. Frantically he started to scramble up the fence but was caught, stoned and crucified on the wire. The police van was torn to pieces and shredded in the mob’s fear and fury. The Arab’s shop next door to the wrecked building was ransacked and looted.

When police reinforcements arrived, they rounded up all those living there and in neighbouring areas and began three days of questioning. The DPC and his team camped on the spot with the CID and started a search for the murderers. Men had blood on their clothing; fingerprints were found all over the vehicle and in the blood on stones where the victim had died, but the villagers refused to cooperate with the police. No-one admitted the crime, and despite days of intensive interviewing and questioning, the evidence was never thought enough to secure a conviction. No-one was ever charged with killing the policeman or even malicious damage to the house and van. It became evident the whole village had been involved and each man was as guilty as his neighbour.

The Administration, my masters, decided the village needed a thorough shake-up and directed the Police to arrest all the tax defaulters they could find in the area and bring them for further investigation to their headquarters and to Ukonga Prison. After initial screening by the local CID, over seven hundred men were charged with not paying tax and were put on remand for hearing over three days later in the week.

This sudden flood of accused men strained the resources of prison staff, police and particularly the local courts. The DPC was desperate for help with the court work. Casting around for more magistrates, he roped in Michael Longford and me, both of us recovering from illness and under-employed. We thus found ourselves among the resident magistrates sitting through three long mornings hearing cases of non-payment of tax. Most defaulters sensibly pleaded guilty, and it was our task to consider their circumstances and award an appropriate punishment - generally a short time behind bars - for few could find the cash to pay a fine.

I was busy and doing something useful once again - and passed my time in my little grey car dashing between my base at the Acacia Avenue offices and the Central Police Station where I had my court. Michael Longford held his sessions at the prison and began to count the number of cases he heard one morning but gave up when it reached thirty-four. I reckoned I put one hundred and nineteen people in jug on the three mornings of that week. I was convinced it was their deserts, and that our action would have a salutary effect in demonstrating that the Police and Administration meant business and the horrible crime perpetrated at Buguruni could not be tolerated.

The Criminal Code provided that, in certain very specific circumstances and after all other means had been exhausted, the Governor could order a whole community to be tried en masse and if found guilty to be subjected to a communal fine. So horrific was this crime that our DPC believed it qualified for such treatment and sought legal advice whether or not the stipulated circumstances existed; apparently they did exist and a case could be brought. Yet there were obvious doubts about the legality and wisdom of a communal fine. I was on the fringes of high level discussions that rumbled on for several months before the idea was dropped.

The wahuni

After this excitement I resumed my normal duties, most of which involved giving a helping hand to the destitute and impoverished people in the city - of all colours and races and tribes. Young Africans were sucked into Dar in the hope of a good wage and steady income, the prospect of adventure and the chance of freedom from tribal discipline. As John Cairns, one of my predecessors as DO at Acacia Avenue, said, “Some came in white shirts with school certificates; others arrived with bows and arrows and spears.” Seldom were the newcomers’ hopes fulfilled; most were stuck in the dirtiest parts of the town with no visible means of support, no money for their return fares, and nothing to do but sponge on distant relatives, and beg or steal something to eat. They paid no tax, contributed nothing to their community, and were a burden on the law-abiding African citizens of the capital. We called them wahuni.

The Administration had a settled policy of returning to their up-country homes as many of these people that the Police could find. A government ordinance gave magistrates the power to expel undesirable elements from the city and government funds were available to transport them to their homes. Other laws enabled us to deport Africans from Mozambique and Kenya who had no permits to work in Dar. Records show that we sent home by these means two thousand people a year over this period, but it did little good. The city was a magnet to all the more enterprising young men across the country. The African population swelled massively in the years I was in Dar from around the 93,000 people recorded in the 1957 census by at least ten per cent yearly.

As a part of this drive to relieve the city of the scroungers, a lot of my time came to be spent at the “Repatriation Centre” dealing with spivs and beggars, which was interesting though sordid work. I was there two mornings a week working with the Police in screening the wahuni, sorting, as it were, the wheat from the chaff. We distinguished those who had paid tax from those who had not, those who had relatives in town from those on their own, those who had proper jobs from those living hand to mouth, and those who had somewhere to live from the homeless. For the many that had nowhere and nothing, we tried to arrange return to their homes up-country. Some cases we saw were very sad; Mohamed Hassan was blind, old, destitute and helpless, in rags and found sleeping in the road. He told us that he had distant kin down in the southwest of the country near the town of Mbeya. We sent ahead to alert his relatives, put him on the bus from Dar to Mbeya, and arranged for the local police to meet him there and take him out to rejoin his family. A similar case was that of Mahomed Hatibu, a one-legged beggar who said he had relatives in Tanga, so we arranged for him to be escorted there on the bus in order that they could look after him. There were hundreds like these two in Dar in those days.

The Administration had long been in the habit of supporting the Police when they carried out raids in the shanty towns and squats to pick up the wahuni. One of my jobs was to accompany the police on these raids in order to deal with tricky cases, and we used to go out to the African dormitory areas in the mornings some time after law-abiding folk had gone to work. The police would check those still around to see if they had paid their taxes, and put them in front of me for a decision whether or not to have them sent to their distant homes. Sometimes we were in the older parts of the city where the houses were built of concrete blocks roofed with corrugated iron, comprising several rooms, with a backyard and shed. Large extended families lived in such accommodation, including the old folk and children and often several visiting young, unemployed, sponging relatives. At other times we were among mudwalled shacks where the smoke from the cooking fires floated up through makuti roofs between waving coconut palms; and on some of these raids we went down very early into the industrial areas including Dar’s docks. While checking tax receipts, I gained a useful insight into the working of the dock labour where strikes frequently took place, often over petty disputes. Later I made a habit of attending the dock-labourers’ weekly pay parades, with a tax clerk in attendance to collect their personal tax before they had a chance to spend their wages.

I was often at the prison and in the cells of the police stations among the many rogues and vagabonds. I worked closely with the police in the same way that I had done in Nzega. One of the Police Inspectors was Peter Mence whom I had first met before Christmas, and we used to go out with his team of askaris and their fierce police dogs chasing burglars. One week in March, nineteen houses in Oyster Bay were broken into, and we were very alert - although when I accompanied a police posse there after dark, we caught no-one despite an intensive search. I was also in touch with the Special Branch who kept track of immigrants from Kenya, notably Kikuyu who might have been involved in the Mau Mau uprising; and at the Police CID, I met Mr Hannington whose children had been in the room next to mine in hospital.

Destitute Europeans

Another of my functions was to help those Europeans who found themselves stuck in Dar without funds and in need of support. In particular, it was my job to pay a small monthly pension from the British Government to a handful of elderly Polish émigrés. A large number of Poles had found their way to East Africa after escaping from Poland through Russia and the Near East at the end of the war. Nearly all of them had obtained work and prospered, but just a few seemed to be unemployable and were dependent on a tiny government hand-out. They spoke little Swahili and less English, and were a miserable and shabby lot, sometimes living in one room in an African hut in a dirty suburb with no privacy and absolutely nothing to do.

The Salvation Army ran a camp for the destitute at Mgulani just off the road out of town, where some of the Poles and other ‘poor whites’ were to be found. Each individual lived in a one-room banda, a white-washed hut capped with a steep roof of palm thatch and equipped with the most basic furniture, but at least a roof and three decent meals a day were provided, and the Salvation Army asked for little in return.

Among this sad and sorry flotsam were some delightful characters. One was Rufiji Barker, an elderly fellow who had for many years hunted elephants for their ivory and wild animals and reptiles for their skins all over East Africa, notably in the Rufiji Delta. He had the bushiest beard I ever remember and a cheery Father Christmas of a face behind it, with an occasional twinkle in his eye. He knew a great deal about the beasts he had hunted and the bush country in which they lived, and he could be very entertaining with (doubtless heavily embroidered) stories of his experiences. He had fallen on evil days, however, when no longer able to hunt and pay the rent of a room in the city. So he had thrown himself on the mercy of the Salvation Army and ended up at Mgulani where his basic needs were met in the camp.

Despite the occasional interesting individual who came before me for help or judgement, the office work was dull and not enough to fill my days, and I was always on the look-out for more to do; I did not complain, however because acutely conscious that my job had been specially created so that I could stay in Dar. Besides, the climate was improving all the time. In May, we wore shortsleeved pullovers to go to work at 7.30am, and in the evenings a jacket or blazer for comfort.

Registration of Societies

This part of my job was straightforward and in nine cases out of ten simply a matter of form-filling. We had a massive problem however with one community group. This was the Tanganyika African Traders’ Union (TATU), a branch of which I had come across in Nzega. It had admirable aims to help and support African peasant producers, but the leaders were split into two camps that could not agree on the way to work. I gave much time over several months to talking to the various parties and encouraging them to cooperate.

I brought in the DPC, and Pip and I had long meetings with them, but we could not even persuade them to share an office. Still less would they commit themselves to creating an umbrella body to bring together all their operations. We tried various blandishments and threats, but made little progress - at one stage I found myself embroiled in a case between the parties before the Resident Magistrate. Throughout my time at Acacia Avenue, I continued to meet them and try and persuade them to work together but it was very slow work.

A typical day’s work

In a long letter home I recorded blow by blow a typical day’s work in the office. This is how it went:

“7.10am. Breakfast at the flat cooked and served by Juma: grapefruit: bacon and a poached egg; Ryvita, butter and marmalade (I had run out of fresh bread).

7.25am. Visited court house on the seafront, to arrange for prosecution in court of an illegal immigrant; and to fix my attendance as witness in a later case.

7.45am. To the office: interviewed twelve Kenya Africans; all had to be registered while in DSM and carry a book with photograph etc.

I took the ten bob fee and particulars and sent them off to get photos taken.

8.30am. Interviewed three more Kenyans taking particulars for sending to police for clearance.

8.45am. Interviewed a destitute Englishman, expelled from Congo after hunting crocodiles there for years, but now penniless - rang Immigration Office and Secretariat, arranged to send him at Government expense to Nairobi where his wife was thought to be.

9.15am. Interviewed a destitute Syrian, distraught because landlord threatened eviction. He had four kids, could not get work, was slightly mental, but already received adequate government assistance. Nothing more I could do.

9.30am. With Fraser-Smith discussed Security Forms; sought his advice on what to do with another destitute - a South African girl aged 16, abandoned by her parents; discussed the latest twist in the TATU saga. Back in my office, rang up various people, and summoned others. I drafted various letters for typist about TATU affairs.

10.00am. Interviewed two Poles. One was slightly dotty and had a long complaint about his landlord - an Arab; the other had spent ten years in prison for manslaughter since the war, and complained that work I had found for him on a chicken farm was too heavy.

10.15am. Interviewed Salvation Army Officer about the personal effects of a European who had recently died at Mgulani Camp with no heirs. Rang Secretariat and auctioneers about his property.

10.30am. The Kenya Africans came back with photographs. Issued them with identity cards - a long job that took an hour.

11.30am to 1pm. At the Repatriation Centre interviewed about 15 Africans with neither work nor home in Dar. One was a boy aged 12 found wandering about at 3am in the commercial centre - I ordered his father to be called in. One was an old man whose finger had been severed recently when he had been cutting sisal - sent to Labour Officer to arrange compensation. (He received 60/=, but owed Government 90/= in overdue tax - at 30/= every year for every male African). Two or three others had paid no tax, I ordered they be charged before their local courts. Half a dozen were straightforward vagabonds whom I ordered to be repatriated; one had a home on Mafia Island - we rang up various Arabs trying to find a dhow that would take him back there without success; one wanted to appeal against my order (because his business was selling vegetables from his ‘shamba’ to the markets in town every week). I rang up DC and arrange for case to be heard next week. One had tropical ulcers. I sent him to hospital.

1pm to 1.30 pm. Lunch; toad in the hole and fruit salad followed by ten lunchtime pills.

1.30pm. Back to Repatriation Centre after brief visit to Police Station to pick up criminal reports of various ‘repatriatees’. Two or three more interviews including one deaf and dumb whom I tried to arrange to go to our paupers’ camp - but he disappeared later.

2pm. I gave evidence in court about a confession I wrote of a particularly unsavoury murderer. Kipawa and three friends had drunk ‘moshi’ in a tiny village outside the town. (This was an illegal liquor made of a distillation of germinated maize, which was vicious and much sought after by the peasants; to cook it was a serious offence). As these four wandered home, they began fighting and beat up one of their number so severely that when his body was found next day he was thought to have been run over by a lorry. The others were so drunk they didn’t even realise the other chap had been left behind when they staggered off to bed.

2.30pm. Back in the office. Various interviews. A young Jaluo wanted to go back to his home in Kenya asking me to give him a free ticket as he couldn’t find any work here. We were normally glad to get rid of these chaps to lessen the unemployment problem, but in this case I promised to write to his DC in Kenya asking if the boy’s parents would send the money. Meanwhile the boy must wait, living on whatever he can beg borrow or steal - maybe 50 cents a day for one plate of maize porridge.

3.30pm. The Congo beachcomber called back and I gave him his ticket, a loan for his travelling expenses, and letters of introduction for Nairobi. He promised to repay the loan from his pension, but I wrote to the Pensions Board to make sure.

4pm to 5pm. Drafting letters about the Poles and the Repatriation Centre, and so back home to a very welcome cup of tea.

6.30pm. Tour of the new “Community Centres” with Alan Reese. This was an extra-curricular activity. I had asked Alan to take me round. His ‘Centres’ were new and designed to provide adult education, with a library, a reading room, dance hall, gym and bar. The biggest centre was in part of the Arnautoglu Hall and had been built by a millionaire Greek, a sisal baron; the other centres had been put up with money provided by Colonial Development and Welfare and UNICEF funds. Few Africans were using these facilities when I went round, but it was hoped they would prove their worth in time. And so to bed.”


The political situation was tense. Riots had occurred in the northwest of the country, and excitement had been generated by the February elections in ten big constituencies (including the Dar es Salaam metropolis) shortly before I arrived. Some of the hotheads had publicly threatened passive disobedience (which they styled kugoma, that is ‘to go on strike’), and we heard stories that TANU was seriously contemplating civil disobedience if it did not see rapid movement towards its goal of independence. In Dar we recognised the difficulty of controlling the situation if the mass of the African population decided to create trouble, and we had been hugely relieved there had been no serious problems after the recent elections.

In mid March, the Governor opened a new session of Legco at the Karimjee Hall, and made fresh proposals for progress towards self-government. In a key speech, he not only confirmed that the idea of parity between the races had been scrapped, he also offered TANU four unofficial ministries in the future Government (which he later increased to five under fierce pressure). This important statement had been eagerly awaited by the nationalists and was recognised by TANU as a substantial step forward and a reassurance that independence was on the way. Turnbull linked his offer with a warning that independence depended on two things - the people’s ability to operate the big executive changes in a workmanlike manner, and the maintenance of law and order in the territory. It was considered that this speech forestalled trouble on the streets, but the Dar es Salaam District Security Committee, of which the DPC was chairman, thought it wise to review the security of the city.

So it was that a month or so after I started work at Acacia Avenue, I was told to go away and talk to the city’s authorities to check that plans for dealing with civil disobedience were practical and up to date. I had also to review and confirm the effectiveness of communications between the District Administration and the other authorities, and the availability of adequate police protection for ‘key points’ around the town like the railway station, the post office, the electricity and water supply stations and so on.

For ten days I clocked up fifty miles a day in my little car running about from one authority and one key point to another. I called on the Town Clerk at the Municipal Council, and went to Police Headquarters and round all the police outposts in the African areas; I visited the post offices in the town, went to the airport to see the airport manager, spent some time at the prison with the governor, and paid my first visit to the Tanganyika Broadcasting House to link the Administration with their management. I was shown round their new building and state-of- the-art studios amid waving coconut palms that had recently been built with a grant of money from the UK Government. After all this dashing about, I spent many evenings in front of the fan in my flat, putting together detailed plans and drawing maps of the town with its vulnerable and key points. We then put the whole lot away in the DPC’s safe - and happily never needed to take them out again in my time as a DO.

A Secret Mission

Two weeks after I started at Accacia Avenue, I had just got on top of the files and was thinking about asking my boss for more to do, when I was summoned early one day to the Chief Secretary’s Office in the Secretariat. I had no idea of the reason for the call and wondered what terrible sin I could have committed.

There to my great surprise, I was handed a sealed envelope and told to go out to the airport where a private plane was waiting to fly me down to the Boma of Utete District to deliver the secret missive into the hands of John Young, the District Commissioner. At the airport I was hustled on to the tarmac, handed a ticket by Campling and Vanderwal who ran the commercial airline, and bundled into the tiny Dinky Toy of a plane for the flight of around 120 miles south of the capital. Although Utete was close to Dar as the crow flew, it lay beyond the Rufiji River which had numerous tributaries that flooded every rainy season and covered a vast area in turbulent waters. One was normally able to cross the water in a series of antiquated ferries or, at the height of the rainy season by canoe, but for some reason this letter was so important I must take it to the Utete Boma by air.

I sat immediately behind the taciturn pilot and had a magnificent view of the coastline to the south of the Dar es Salaam. We seemed to ride only a matter of feet above the shore with the deep blue and emerald sea on one side of the plane, a strip of dark green mangroves immediately beneath us, and miles of waving coconut palms on the right fading into blue hills inland. Then we came to the floods and passed over an endless lake of turgid brown water flowing out to sea on our left. The Utete Boma came in sight perched on a hill-top surrounded by water. It has been likened to Fort Zinderneuf in ‘Beau Geste’, for it sat foursquare round an internal courtyard, built by the German colonisers for defence. It had a tall double gate, thick white walls with high, narrow windows and an open balcony under the corrugated iron roof. We circled low over it in order to attract attention and then flew a few miles to the east to land on a short, rough air strip of packed red earth cut out of the jungle.

After a neat landing, the pilot and I jumped out; he locked his door in the plane - just as if it were a private car and we were going to the cinema - and we strolled together with the sealed letter in my pocket across to the muddy track that ran up from the Boma. A land-rover slithered and splashed through the puddles towards us, and jerking on the brakes a European leapt out. I had no idea who he was; I had hoped to meet John Young himself who was a well-known and much admired DC with many mild eccentricities, notably his loathing of all officialdom. Sadly the man who met us was not the legend. I hesitated to hand over my letter which I had been instructed to put in the DC’s hands personally, but I was told he was on safari and was assured my envelope would be put into a safe in the Boma to await his return. So I passed the letter across, asked for a signature for it, walked back to our plane, scrambled up and strapped myself in. The pilot taxied the plane along the airstrip, lifted it easily back over the brown floods, and off we sped home. I never did discover the contents of the letter that seemed so important, but it gave me a pleasant day out.

The Muslim graves

A crisis blew up which Pip gave me to tackle at the end of July. Labourers working on behalf of the Municipal Council uncovered several human skeletons while excavating the foundations of a new road. It was evident that they had inadvertently dug up a Muslim cemetery, and they were suspected of having broken Koranic law which laid down strict rules about the exhumation of human remains. Little white-washed tombs were scattered over the site; both the Municipal Council and its contractor should have realised their new road lay through the middle of a cemetery; and they should of course have obtained permission to excavate there well in advance.

An angry crowd gathered on hearing that the bodies were to be removed without the permission of the relatives or the religious authorities - and the unfortunate contractor and his men were harassed and jostled in fear for their lives. There were racial overtones because the road was designed to serve a big new Middle School largely for Indian children, and the mob was ready to blame the Asian community for what they saw as desecration.

Pip and I rushed out to the scene of the trouble when we heard a crowd was gathering and threatening the workmen. We consulted the Liwali and his elders who sent two learned sheikhs, Hashil bin Hemed and Mwinshehe bin Salum, to oversee the proper removal and reburial of the four skeletons that had been exposed. I brought in the Municipal Engineer and pored over maps, contracts and legal texts, but we could not calm the excitement. Public opinion was inflamed; TANU jumped on the band-wagon and worked with some fanatical religious leaders to take the matter to court, accusing the two unhappy sheikhs of being disrespectful of the dead.

Nobody quite knew which laws applied to the case. The Police did not want to get involved. The local courts decided they had no jurisdiction. Eventually a private prosecution under the Penal Code was brought by one, Jumbe Mohamed Tambaza, a tall up-standing man of fierce religious convictions, alleging the criminal offence of “offering an indignity to a human corpse and unlawfully disinterring human remains”.

The case was argued at the Ilala Court before Mr Davies, the senior Resident Magistrate. The Administration hired a capable legal counsel, named Lockhart- Smith, to defend the sheikhs, and I became the leg man and liaison between him and the Arab and Swahili community, which meant a lot of hard and fascinating work. I was in and out of our counsel’s chambers, working with the accused sheikhs in developing their defence, consulting the Liwali, passing messages from my boss, bringing in experts and researching the relevant Muslim law and the Criminal Code. Some thirty witnesses argued abstruse points of the Koran; the courtroom was always full of excited observers, hundreds crowded around the building peering through the open windows at the scene, and in this tense atmosphere the arguments continued for eight weeks in front of the Resident Magistrate.

Mr Davies stood no nonsense and went to a great deal of trouble to hear both sides coolly, carefully and impartially. He was ill in the middle of the case, but in the end delivered his judgement. It was some relief to us in the Administration that he finally came down on the side of the defence and acquitted the two sheikhs of any crime.

The Higher Swahili Exams

I put my name down for the Higher Swahili Oral and Written Exams and sat them in September. I did the Oral first; I stumbled in several places in conversation with my examiners. They failed me but assured me I could be tested again the following March. I determined to do better next time.

I was frightened of the written papers too, partly because the general attitude among my peers was that one normally failed first time, and partly because I was moving house again immediately before the exams and able to do no revision for several critical days. I had however been able to do a lot of solid reading earlier in the year and was writing and speaking the language all day and every day about the town at work.

One way and another, I did not find the exam as difficult as I had feared. We spent two long mornings writing papers. They were ‘Set Books and Essay’ and ‘Translation’; I had a good crack at the vocabulary and the English into Swahili (taken from law-books, white papers and treatises on agricultural development schemes); and I mastered the extracts for translation from Swahili to English. I managed to finish both sets of answers in good time; a lot of my work was probably facile and crude and lacking polish, but still I felt hopeful when it was over.

When, at last, at the beginning of December, the results came through, I was greatly relieved to learn that I had passed. It was good to know that I would not have to do all that revision over again. I had only the Higher Swahili Oral to do again in the coming spring.

Change in the air

In June, the five newly-elected Ministers were sworn in, and a Council of Ministers was formed to take over the executive authority of the Territory. Three members of the new Council were African, and all had the confidence of TANU and Nyerere its leader. At the same time an official Committee under Sir Richard Ramage was appointed by the Governor to advise on arrangements for a general election and future constitutional change.

Changes were taking place in Dar es Salaam too. On 1st July, three chiefdoms round the old circumference of the city in what we called the peri-urban area were transferred from Kisarawe District to Dar es Salaam District. They were thus added to the area administered from the Ilala Boma, and Simon Hardwick was transferred with them, taking a flat on the harbour front not far from the Yacht Club.

Pip Fraser-Smith disappeared in mid August to go to Zanzibar to represent the Governor at the Sultan’s 80th birthday celebrations and went on long leave a month later when we gave him a farewell party in the office on 10th September before he and his family caught the boat. Pip was replaced as DPC by Tim Harris who had done the job before and returned to it from the Secretariat. For me, this created a problem because Harris was a man with whom I never got on and who did not seem to think much of me.

At much the same time, Brian Dudbridge left the job as PC Tabora where he had been very good to me when ill, and came into the Secretariat on promotion to be Minister for Provincial Affairs. Jim Rowe left the job of PC Morogoro and with his wife Trudi took a boat home on retirement. He was big man in every sense of the word; with his dry humour, solid common-sense and quiet authority, he and his wife had been unforgettably kind to me at Morogoro when I had had my eye trouble. On departure he wrote me a kind note which I still value. He wrote;

“I hope you are finding plenty of interest to enliven the daily grind in Dar. Though I expect you would rather be up-country, I think you will later find the Dar experience useful. We hope too that you are getting really fit again after your illnesses. You have had more than your share and if I may say so, faced it with great courage.”

Back at home, the Conservatives retained power at a general election in mid October, and in a cabinet re-shuffle, Lennox Boyd was replaced as Colonial Secretary by Iain Macleod. That autumn we in Dar had no idea if the new Minister would put the brake on progress towards independence or would speed things up.

Because of the General Election and re-shuffle at home, the autumn Legco session in Dar was postponed until 20th October. Once again expectations were heightened, even though the new British Government had not had time to decide the direction of its policy for the East African colonial territories. Much was expected of the Governor in Dar and there was nervousness concerning the reaction of the nationalist party and TANU activists to what he would say. His announcement that a General Election would be held in the Territory the following September was greeted with cheers by the newly-elected members and by noisy demonstrations of support throughout the country. As for me, I was merely worried that it might cause postponement of my long leave - due in August 1960, three years after my arrival in the territory.

Two months later at the December meeting of Legco, TANU for the third time looked for the announcement of significant progress towards their goal. The city was very excited in anticipation, the nationalist leaders gathered and made big promises to the crowds, and there were processions and noisy assemblies. The Police had a hard time of it and were on the alert, but Iain Macleod had by then decided on the line to take. The Governor was able to promise that after the General Election,

“…the country will have ‘responsible government’ - that is to say, government in which the Executive will contain a majority of unofficial ministers and will work to a legislature, of which the majority will be elected members.”

This speech went a long way to meeting the nationalists’ demands. Had the people been disappointed and failed to obtain what the politicians had led them to expect, we in the city administration would have had a very busy time.

The Ilala Boma

The DC at the Ilala District Office was Brian Winstanley, whom I had first met on a visit to Kisarawe in early February. He was a tall and fair-haired fellow, with a relaxed and quietly efficient manner. His gentle, laid-back style gave him the ideal disposition for the key post in a booming, bustling city at the heart of the country.

Under Brian were two experienced African DOs who had both worked in the Acacia Avenue Office before moving to Ilala. Matthew Mhuto was a large tubby chap, had twenty years service with the Education Department, and was as patient and phlegmatic as he was wise. Equally capable was Balozi Maggid, who became a close colleague and friend. He was a staunch Muslim and a most interesting chap, having trained as a doctor at Makerere University, but decided he could do better work as a civil servant - an unusual career move. John Cairns worked with Balozi in the Acacia Avenue Office and described him as,

“a small bright-eyed intelligent man, who learns quickly and whenever we talk about the work he sees immediately what is important. He has the gift of spotting snags before they become evident, one of the secrets of administration.”

I had seen little of the DC and these DOs in my early days because they had been out overseeing the national elections in the municipality and thereafter preoccupied with the Buguruni riot for some weeks. In August however I was given more of the normal DO’s work, spending less time on the destitutes, and becoming a member of the hard-working team closely involved in sorting out the day-to-day problems of the city-dwellers and at the same time introducing them to self-government. Tim Harris moved me out of the Acacia Avenue Office and transferred me to Ilala under Brian, who was for a short while in hospital, and for one brief moment I found myself in charge of Dar es Salaam District, visiting him at his bedside to receive instructions for our work in his temporary absence.

At the same time as Simon Hardwick joined the team, the workload increased in preparation for elections at every level. We were four DOs, two European and two African, to cover the whole of the city and peri-urban area under the DC. I was happy once more to be working a full twelve-hour day, like the other DOs. For the first time for some fifteen months, my Sunday mornings were passed at the office catching up with arrears of paper-work and drafting letters for our Boma typist to prepare for my signature during the week ahead.

Local Elections

At the Dar es Salaam District Team meeting at the Ilala Boma on 31st August, we learned that the Administration had decided to arrange ‘village elections’ in order to strengthen local democracy. The African residential areas were divided into eight wards, being large areas of African housing, each with its own character and endowed with its own offices where taxes were collected and with its own court where civil justice was dispensed by the Liwali and his Wakilis. The wards were further divided into ‘villages’ which were fairly arbitrary grouping of adjacent streets and blocks of houses. Election of new wards councillors was due, and it was decided to arrange the election of councillors to represent the villages over the same four week period in September, at weekends and in the evenings after 5pm when people returned home from their work.

We divided our forces; one team from the Boma started at the baraza in Ilala - a relatively new urban development, while others among us began at Makuti, a village within the ward known as Magomeni, which was an unplanned and much older area of high-density housing on the western side of the city. The following evening we were at Magomeni Ndugumbi, only a few blocks away from Makuti, while some of my colleagues were at Buguruni of ill-fame. The next night between us we attended elections at three ‘villages’ in the Temeke ward, another important high density housing ward to the south of the city centre; and we continued to do one ward and two or three villages each evening in the following weeks.

Arranging the elections was worthwhile and sometimes amusing work. We were greatly encouraged because we found that significant numbers of the people had become genuinely interested in their democratic opportunities. Whereas three or four years previously, the DPC had had difficulty in persuading the leading Africans to stand for election as ward councillors, we found big crowds came to the local barazas to take part in the village elections, while we talked away over the megaphones. We explained the process over and over again. When every one appeared to understand, we called on the candidates to stand in a row and their supporters to line up behind them. It was a primitive form of democracy but a useful beginning, even if at times it was rather like a football match with enthusiastic electors cheering on their candidates.

In the more rural wards, most of the candidates had been chosen in advance by the traditional elders drawn from the original families and dominant tribes in the area. The older generation wore the traditional ‘uniform’ of the coastal Swahili of a long white kanzu (always perfectly clean), a well-worn dark jacket, and a round white linen cap. In the high density housing wards, by contrast, younger men with political aspirations put themselves forward, often wearing ‘European’ dress of a white shirt open at the neck and long grey or white cotton trousers. There was no ranting nor raving, nor was I aware of any gerrymandering; the election of councillors was conducted with good humour and good sense, and the majority of those elected by this process were men who were widely known and expressed traditional values on both village and ward councils.

As soon as the village elections were over, we were required to start to register electors for the General Election to take place twelve months thence in the following September. The suffrage was limited to those who were able to read either Swahili or English, or who earned £75 a year, or who were, or had been, the holder of a proper job. The process of registration was laborious and timeconsuming as we DOs went to each baraza in turn to interview potential voters waiting in long queues to see us, where we checked their qualifications and recorded their names in the city registers. I was at one baraza for four long days in September and at another for further sessions in October. Planning for the election began in earnest in the New Year; Harris had us all in his office and we mapped out a programme with its climax on the polling day in September.

The Local Courts

Throughout the Territory, the Africans ran their own courts to handle civil cases. In much of the country, the chiefs organised and presided over the civil courts applying the time-honoured tribal rules and customs to issues such as marriage and divorce, bride price, wills and inheritance, contracts and debts. The District Administration played no part except that upcountry DCs were required to act as a court of ultimate appeal.

In Dar es Salaam, justice in disputes over civil matters was dispensed by the Hakimus sitting in each court-house throughout the city, supported by local elders sitting as assessors, all of whom were supposed to be learned in customary law. In addition, the Wakilis chaired the barazas and public meetings in the wards and villages, and often heard civil causes as well. The Liwali advised by the Kadhi, dealt with appeals from the Hakimus’ decisions and exercised a general oversight of the local courts. Appeals from the Liwali’s decisions went to the DPC in the Acacia Avenue offices.

Quite separately, criminal cases were taken by the Police. Cases in country Districts outside Dar were prosecuted before DOs, while in Dar the criminal courts were presided over by the city’s Resident Magistrates. The Police prosecuted their cases in accordance with well-laid down procedures and the RMs applied the Criminal Code introduced into the country by the British mandate authority in the early 1920s. Appeal from the judgements of the RM went to the High Court whose judges held periodic sessions in the capital as in the major towns throughout the Territory.

Not long after I started work at Acacia Avenue, it became obvious to me that the local courts neither served the city’s population efficiently nor delivered good justice. My work gave me the opportunity to study and compare the civil and criminal courts in some detail. Many of the shauris that came to me in the barazas concerned problems experienced by townspeople in obtaining justice in the local courts - though I had no power to intervene. At the same time I worked closely with the Police who prosecuted criminal cases before the RM, and with the officials like prison officers, the immigration staff and the Probation Office, and I was frequently called upon to give evidence in the Magistrate’s Court about the misdemeanours of those who came before me at the Boma. I also saw something of the High Court when called to speak on some of the more complicated cases - which was a tedious business because witnesses were obliged to waste precious time waiting for their turn in the witness box and were then grilled mercilessly by lawyers.

I delved deep into the scope of both customary civil law and the criminal law while working on the case of the Muslim graves that had allegedly been violated by the Municipal Council contractors. Nobody had seemed sure which law applied, which court had jurisdiction or how to go about taking a case. All sorts of anomalies and problems emerged as one unravelled the shaky system. The local courts were reserved for African individuals; neither Arabs not Indians nor yet corporations and companies were allowed access to them. The customary law that was applied by the Wakilis and Hakimus was a mixture of old Zaramo customs - they being the earliest surviving inhabitants of the coast - and Koranic Law brought by the Arabs and imposed, along with Islam, on the coast-dwellers. Christians and many up-country tribes with their own distinct customs were effectively excluded. The Police were not supposed to intervene in civil matters nor take cases to the local courts but they often did so to obtain a quick decision when handling disputes that led to violence.

Concluding that the Government had overlooked the local courts in its modernisation of the city’s administration, I determined to raise the matter. I broached the issue with Tim Harris, DPC, and he told me to write a paper outlining the problems and recommending solutions. It would be for the officer known as the Local Courts Adviser to decide how to follow up my ideas. He had never looked at the situation in Dar and badly needed to do so.

I began to draft a report, but work on it proceeded slowly. It was set aside while preparing for the Higher Swahili Oral Exam and for other reasons later, and it was not finished until three months after my transfer away from Dar. In late June I sent it formally to the District Commissioner at Ilala, and he was kind enough to say he agreed with many of my criticisms, he was already planning to introduce some of the proposed reforms, and he intended to commend my suggestions to the Local Courts Adviser who was about to pay his first official visit to the city. In fact the DC anticipated one of my key recommendations concerning the need for the city officials to receive training in administration; he had arranged to send the Akida and six Wakilis on an extended course at the Local Government Training School near Morogoro. I heard from them there and they were delighted to have the opportunity to widen their knowledge. As my contribution to justice in Dar es Salaam, I attach my Report as an Appendix.

Kariakoo and Kinondoni

In October I was given responsibility for the councils and court houses in these two neighbourhoods. My new job was much closer to the African as well as more distant from Harris, which was what I wanted. The first few days in my new role were tricky until I learned how to balance it with the work among the unemployed and destitute at the Repatriation Centre and Mgulani, but I was delighted to feel I was pulling my weight again among the people of the country.

Kariakoo (supposedly so named because it was settled by the African Carrier Corps after the First World War) was a long-established and lively area of African housing, shops and offices. An ant-hill of frenetic activity, it was situated just beyond the commercial centre and across the open space known as Mnazi Mmoja. This ward was in the charge of an elderly and respected Wakili, Saidi Chaurembo, leader of the local tribe, the Zaramo, assisted by a group of elders, including the ‘village’ Jumbes, and twenty or so newly-elected councillors.

This district became my main area of work. Many mornings were spent in or around the baraza there, surrounded by clerks, elders and the Jumbes, checking the records, and meeting all sorts and conditions of people, and trying to resolve shauris, often in consultation with my colleagues at the Ilala Boma. Much of the time I was out and about the neighbourhood, listening to all comers while visiting the markets, schools, courts, police-stations, prisons, probation office, hospitals, and so on. I began to meet masses of Africans who came to me with their problems, troubles, ideas and plans. There was no end to it, and the deeper I plunged, the more endless it was.

The other ward under my charge was Kinondoni which lay to the north of the city. It was bounded on one side by a deep creek, and on the other by the Bagamoyo Road and the European residential area of Oyster Bay, and it comprised some relatively new housing estates and recent squatter villages with few facilities. The Wakili was Ali Muhunzi, a serious and venerable gentleman who dressed in the old style in a long sweeping white kanzu, and sported an almost equally long white beard. Attached to Kinondoni for administrative purposes was the coastal village of Msasani with its own village council, comprising a few hamlets among the coconut palms along the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The whole ward was growing fast; I was constantly required to allocate plots for construction of houses, shops and other amenities; I was even asked to find land for a motel that a local developer wanted to build by the sea. Housing was scattered as more people came into the area and built houses indiscriminately to the north towards the army barracks up the coast. One morning I would be walking through bush paths looking at mud and thatch huts that were springing up everywhere without any sort of permission - and the next morning I might be on a long walk along the shore line to inspect young coconut trees damaged by cattle. Across scrubland open to the sea-breezes, I would walk through the settlements along the shore accompanied by two or three village elders and a couple of councillors. Out-rigger canoes - hollowed tree trunks with side floats - would be drawn up haphazardly on the sands, and naked black children would be playing with a battered old football among the dilapidated mud-walled huts.

From mid October onwards, I was out two evenings each week at meetings of ward and village councils at one baraza or another. I was usually the meeting secretary, sometimes the chairman, and always the animator making sure that things went smoothly and reached a sensible conclusion. At each council meeting, twenty or thirty serious-minded councillors sat in the court-room from 5pm to 9pm, until well after dark, talking on and on by the light of kerosene lamps hung from the corners of the baraza as the bats flitted in and out. Our agenda covered everything under the sun that related to the organisation of the ward and its villages, and embraced all their complaints and troubles, sometimes justified, sometimes irrelevant, occasionally malicious; and it was my function to listen and answer firmly, fairly, helpfully and oh, so patiently in my best Swahili.

Dag Hammarskjold’s visit

Balozi Maggid, Tim Harris and I were summoned to Government House on a Sunday afternoon in January 1960 to escort the UN Secretary General and his party in three GH cars on a tour of the town.

Harris and ‘Hammar’ were in the front car, and I was in the third with his ‘personal aide’, an amusing Italian on the UN staff. Thousands of Africans and Asians lined the road from the airport to the city centre on his arrival and on our evening tour - the citizens of Dar es Salaam were becoming very UN-minded - huge crowds turned out to see him and we were surrounded by police and press, so we toured in grand style. Our guest was impressed by the contrast with Ruanda Urundi whence he had come and where he had found violence and revolution in the air. He saw a happy, noisy, friendly crowd, shouting ‘uhuru!’ (‘freedom’, the old war-cry already out of date since the promise of responsible government). They also yelled ‘One Man! One Vote!’ which ‘Hammar’ remarked to Harris was not the priority at our stage of democratic development.

We three escorts found him socially a delightful man and politically extremely clear-headed, for his remarks showed he understood both the justice and the nonsense in African nationalism. He was reported to have been impressed by what he saw. I approved of him and thoroughly enjoyed our royal progress.


One interesting December day I joined some Red Cross ladies taking gifts and medicines by motor launch to Nunge Island on the far side of the harbour.

The island had long been the home of a group of lepers who had been expelled from their families and villages because their disease was believed to be highly infectious. These outcasts lived in complete isolation and enjoyed only rare contacts with the outside world such as the mission in which I took part.

Never before had I seen such appalling deformities suffered as a result of untreated leprosy; and I was shattered when I was introduced to some of the limbless adults who approached me to ask my help with their problems. A Jumbe who was also a sufferer showed me round, and I was impressed with the neat village that had been built and the simple sensible arrangements he had made to ensure his charges looked after themselves in their little isolated colony. I went back on the launch a wiser man, and was pleased to be able to carry out several errands for the sufferers when I was back in the Boma.

December and January in the Ilala office

In early December, Simon took a fortnight’s local leave and drove up to the Serengeti, and I was required to cover for him as well as doing my own work. I was still dealing with the destitutes and tax-defaulters and supporting the police on weekly raids in the squatter areas to repatriate the unemployed, while my evenings were full with local council meetings and barazas of one sort or another. I was making friends among the Boma staff and was pleased to find myself able to relax with them as well as direct their work. On behalf of the DPC I helped to organise a big farewell party for the venerable Liwali and I attended the Boma goodbye celebrations for him just before Christmas. Brian Winstanley gave a delightful dinner party at much the same time and went off on long leave in the New Year; the office farewell party for him was one of those occasions when I stayed far too long because I was enjoying myself.

The office reopened immediately after Christmas and was a busy as ever but on my return from staying with the Magnays in Morogoro, I took to my bed for a short spell; fortunately I was well enough to attend a cocktail party given by Mr Dudbridge, and met his wife who had recently come out from England to join him. As before, I found our ‘Minister’ a very pleasant man. He told me he had decided I should be allowed to escape a second hot season on the coast and do a spell in a rather cooler climate; so he intended I should transfer to Kisarawe District in February to be DOII there. I was delighted at the prospect of leaving the big city, but sad to be saying goodbye to my two wards where I felt I had just begun to make myself useful and to be trusted by some of the leading Africans of the town. It had taken some time, but been worth it.

In the New Year, Nigel Durdant-Hollamby arrived at the Boma as our new DC. He was another genial and very competent fellow. Under him, I plunged back into the usual work in my wards. The police arranged a series of early morning tax raids in January that I was required to attend. In addition, ward and village council meetings were called to enable us to brief the elders and councillors on plans for the general election, and we renewed efforts to complete the registration of eligible voters. There was a small-pox scare; and part of my job was to assemble families at each baraza for smallpox vaccinations by a group of medical staff.

Hippo hunting

When Simon was back from local leave, I was fascinated by his cine films of the massed migration of wild game across the Serengeti plains - I wondered if I could ever see them for myself. One evening, we went together to an old Sherlock Holmes film, and when we came out around midnight, I persuaded him to take me in his land-rover to look for hippo among the coconut palms and in the mangrove swamps along the creek. The local farmers had told me these beasts were becoming a nuisance trampling the crops - they were officially classified as vermin - and I wanted to find out for myself if they were as numerous as had been suggested to me. We spent some time that night blundering about in the sand and the mud down by the water’s edge but saw not one animal.

A few days later we tried again in the late afternoon on the other side of the creek. This time we saw masses of hippo tracks, trampled grass and stripped maize stalks where they had stumbled through the farmers’ fields and grazed on their maize. We also thought we detected places where the beasts had been chased away by the villagers. We were convinced then that there were numbers of the animals in the area, even though we saw none. We presumed they were well hidden in the waters of the creek.

Final ward council meetings

At the end of January I packed up my house and sent all my furniture, linen, china and crockery on the Boma lorry up to Kisarawe, and arranged to hand over my work and contacts to an African DO named Kikwete who arrived to take over from me. I stayed on a little longer, however, in order to attend a final round of ward council meetings. Both councils invited me to tea parties on consecutive days. Kariakoo came first, and I went to a good deal of trouble preparing a farewell speech in my best Swahili; I felt this was my best opportunity to give the councillors a goodbye pep talk and urge them to do more to strengthen their local democracy. A large number turned out for the meeting and, in the presence of the new DC, I was critical of the councillors’ attendance and interest in local government. I exhorted them to work much harder to make their council a success. I thought it was a well-presented and relevant address and sat down quite pleased with myself.

I misjudged the situation entirely. The Wakili, their elderly and experienced chairman, made a charming response saying firmly this was neither the time nor place for such criticism; they had come to thank me for my contribution to their work, and wanted me to stay and continue to guide and help them. The things they said were kind and generous; and the council then passed a formal motion with great solemnity asking the Government to let me stay in Dar as their DO. I was mortified. I should have realised that as the first DO to administer this large African residential area and work with their council all day and every day, it was natural for them to want such close support to continue. Few members of the Administration had previously had had the opportunity to take such an interest in the townspeople and coastal folk as I had during those four months, and it was clear that they had appreciated it - and of course I was immensely gratified.

At Kinondoni on the following afternoon they gave me a farewell tea party in the baraza which was equally embarrassing. I moderated the criticisms in my speech of goodbye and good wishes, and thought all was well until, after saying more kind things, Wakili Ali Muhunzi presented me with a stout walking stick as a farewell gift. It was a handsome stick of a hard black wood with an ivory tip and bands and a handle shaped like a golf club. This was unexpected and threw me. I mumbled my thanks, forgetting all my Swahili and stumbling over my words. I appeared quite graceless and unappreciative of their generosity. The Wakili went on to ask the DC to allow me to stay as their advisor; and the DC replied by advising them to write to the Minister with their request. I squirmed, while trying to look suitably pleased.

Mr Dudbridge duly received two letters from the elders and councillors and one deputation of town elders asking that I should not be transferred. On receiving the letter from the people of Kinondoni, Mr Dudbridge got into his car, drove out to the baraza, sought out the Wakili, and had a long chat with him about me. I saw them from a distance striding side by side down the road in deep conversation, Ali Muhunzi the fine old white-haired Arab, listening intently and stroking his flowing beard as I think Dudbridge explained that I had been ill and it was desirable to move me to a cooler station for the sake of my health. Honour was satisfied - and I was mightily flattered.

It was a pleasing custom to give a drink among friends to those leaving the station, and I was able to enjoy relaxed and cheerful sundowners thrown by both the DC and the DPC at their homes just before I left Dar. I said goodbye to the Wakilis and clerks at my barazas, took Kikwete, my successor, on a quick tour of my areas, handed over my house and the keys to the lady from the Housing Committee, and jumped into my car loaded with the last of my possessions. Susie came with me - very worried about the car - and together we drove in my stout Hillman Husky into the Pugu Hills to start my new job.

Chapter 9: Dar es Salaam: at leisure
“Dar es Salaam lies on the east coast, a few hundred miles south of the equator. It is a pleasant city, picturesque in a tropical way. It has a long beach, lined with palms, and the harbour has a narrow bottle-neck entrance through which tourist-filled ships enter the inner bay. Sometimes they take pictures to send home; Government House, white uniformed white helmeted traffic askaris, the tall spires of the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Cathedral, the Municipal Gardens with the museum and the big white Karimjee Hall where the Legislative Council sits, the yachts bobbing at anchor at the Yacht Club and the dhows and outriggers drawn up on the beach near the harbour mouth.”

From “Bush and Boma” by J.C.Cairns, 1959.

The Sisters’ Mess

I was lucky to have acquired many friends in Dar while in hospital so that I was able to pick up the threads immediately on my return from convalescent leave. My first weekend back, Simon and I went to a cheerful dinner party given by Katie Kyle at the Sisters Mess; and I saw a lot of her and Pip Boakes in the following months. Each Nursing Sister had her own neat bungalow (‘banda’) in the grounds of the Mess where they enjoyed entertaining. Katie even persuaded me to give her driving lessons once a week after work. We frequently went out together, and I particularly enjoyed a dance we went to aboard the ‘S.S. Uganda’, tied up to the quay in the harbour. Their dance floor was vast; the ship’s crew went to a great deal of trouble to entertain us visitors from ashore - and Katie looked magnificent in a billowing white evening gown.
SS Uganda
SS Uganda

A little later, one Saturday night in March, the Sisters decided to hold a ‘Tramps’ Party’ and required their guests to put on their oldest clothes - I produced a shabby old army shirt and gave myself a beard and an old hat. It was a gay evening among masses of people I knew, with lots of dancing, sausages fried over braziers on their lawns, and lanterns hanging from trees in a cool African night.

I gave my first small party in my flat just before Easter for about ten people to whom I owed hospitality, and we said goodbye to two of the younger Nursing Sisters who were going off on leave to Kigoma. Over the months that followed, the Sisters were always a sociable crowd; they asked me over for meals one evening or other most weeks, and singly or together from time to time they came to my flat, and later my bungalow in Oyster Bay, for tea or a scratch supper. Over time, I met several new Sisters in the Mess; there was Stella Balfe who was a large hearty person with a big laugh, and there was Fay who was a slim, quieter character and equally hospitable. As the winter months approached, the Sisters’ Mess was as sociable as ever. We gave Katie a good send-off in November at the start of her long leave; and we had another excuse for a party when Stella was married in the New Year and departed for South Africa.

Renewing friendships

Soon after moving in to my flat in Eminaz Mansions, Audrey and David Connelly came round to have a look at it, only a few minutes from their own bungalow, and it was pleasant to find myself their neighbours. I met other ‘old’ friends at an evening concert in Oyster Bay a day or two later. The Browns were as hospitable as ever at their bungalow on Bongoyo Road, and, over dinner in my first week, invited me to look after the house when they went on leave later in the year, I leapt at the idea and visited them several times in the following weeks discussing the move and enjoying their company.

My circle of contacts widened very quickly when kind Secretariat people like the Elliotts, the Cliffords and the British Council Manager, Mr Keight offered me meals at the weekends and invite me to join their parties for the local theatre or concerts. One invitation led to another and I had the chance to meet many of the older and more senior people in the government who lived in the spacious German-built houses clustered around the old Botanical Gardens. The Red Cross folk kept in contact with me; I saw something of Miss Penny who had been so good to me in hospital and I was invited to a very smart party at the home of Mrs Shiel, the Red Cross Brigadier, when I heard more about her visit to my parents at home early in the year.

At Easter, I put on a black tie as a guest of the Elliotts at a dinner on the verandah of the Dar Club - followed by the play ‘The Lady’s not for Burning’ at the Little Theatre. Not long afterwards, Mrs Tilney invited me to lunch to renew acquaintance with Dr Sinclair-Loutit, her brother-in-law, and we chatted for some time about his boat ‘Inga’, on which I had crewed in Paris and returned down the Seine to England in the summer of 1954. He was staying with the Tilneys while on a brief official visit to Dar on behalf of the WHO, and was as interesting and stimulating a conversationalist as ever.

I rapidly found myself a member of a small group of friends all around my age who met frequently for a meal, a film or an evening bathe together. The girls included Ann Burkinshaw, Pip and Katie from the Sisters’ Mess, Marion Charles, Patricia who taught at a big secondary school and sang contralto beautifully, and Sheilagh Bailey who worked for the Police and was an excellent artist. Among the men were Robin Saville who never stopped talking, Alan Reese, Noel who was a businessman, Peter Mence the policeman who played the organ, David Le Breton the Governor’s Private Secretary, and of course Simon after his transfer to Dar from Kisarawe.

By mid-May, the weather had cooled down and was perfect for picnics on the beach; sometimes on a Sunday afternoon a party of us sailed out to Honeymoon Island; at other times, we drove out in two or three cars to find empty white sands with rustling and waving palms behind us and the glittering ocean before us. Most Sundays some of us attended evensong at St Albans, often arriving just in time and somewhat flustered after an afternoon sailing.

Every now and then, one of us threw a sundowner, generally to meet new people. Alternatively we would choose to go to the cinema or theatre in a party whenever a new show came on - the summer show that year was ‘Grab me a Gondola’ - and every couple of months the Dar es Salaam Musical Society, put on a concert - that August it was ‘The Gondoliers’ of Gilbert and Sullivan. The choir sang in the big hall of Oyster Bay school that was next door to the Browns’ bungalow where I was living at the time - I heard them practising for weeks and thoroughly enjoyed the final result. Peter Mence and Patricia were moving spirits of the musical society and ensured we attended all their performances.

The most sophisticated night-spot in Dar at that time was the ‘Aquarium’, where we could dance a little; and the Yacht Club provided a delightful venue and good dancing from time to time through the summer months. It was customary to put together a party for such occasions, start with a buffet supper dance on the Club’s pocket handkerchief of a floor out of doors until midnight, and go on somewhere for a final drink or a very late coffee.

I started playing bridge again in June and for a while we had a table of four once a week in the evenings when I was gratified to find I was winning from time to time. At a big party with several tables one weekend, I made a number of steady contracts, enjoyed a certain amount of luck with each partner, and came away with 1/6d to the good. On the next occasion I ended up all square and began to feel that at last my Bridge was improving. Sadly one of our usual four went on long leave and I played only intermittently later in the year.

Bongoyo Road

I became very unhappy in my little flat in Eminaz Mansions finding it too noisy, too public, too hot as the season wore on and altogether too cramped. It was a relief therefore when the Browns went on leave from the middle of May, and I moved out to house-warm for them in their absence.

Bongoyo Road Bungalow
Bongoyo Road Bungalow
I hired Morris again to help with the packing and the work in the bigger place. I paid him seventy-five shillings a month, plus ten shillings for tax. I put on one side another ten shillings a month for him to put towards the bride-price of his wife, because he was late in the payments and fearful lest his father-in-law demanded his daughter back. In this way, I gave both Morris and Juma, the cook, just under £5 in cash a month with their accommodation and water free, plus all the perks from my kitchen.

The Browns’ bungalow on Bongoyo Road in Oyster Bay was a cool, rambling place in a colourful garden. Air-conditioning had recently been put in the main bedroom which made it much easier to sleep at nights. In the living room my white chair-covers looked smart, and the servants polished up the furniture and made it a pleasant home for the three months while its owners were in England. The interior was further improved by the addition of birthday presents from home, a set of smart place mats and fresh linen napkins for the table.

The Browns’ old dog came with the house. He was a mangy, ancient mongrel, much beloved by the family and not such a bad old thing although he smelt unattractively and barked at the moon and imaginary cats in the middle of the night. He was very loyal and a useful watch-dog - I had no burglars while he guarded me. The only pity was that he went mad at the sight of a cat, so I could not have Susie, my little black and white cat, when Joan Walton brought her down from Nzega.

The Haidhuru

Once back and settled in Dar I resumed contact with my ‘Haidhuru’ friends. Pat Hobson came down from Morogoro and stayed a night with me in March and together we drove out along the coast to the north of Dar where we swam in the roughest seas I ever experienced. Pat soon transferred to Monduli in Masailand and en route in his car called at Lushoto where he stayed with the Macleods and met young Ian, the new arrival.

In May we heard that Pat was engaged to Penny once more and planned to marry in Arusha in early September. They had broken off their engagement when he came out to Tanganyika, but all the ‘Haidhuru’ were delighted that they got together again and pleased to be invited to the wedding. Norman Macleod was to be Best Man, and wrote to invite me to Monduli on 11th September, when, as he put it,

“the lodge of haidhurus will be in solemn session - to do something social and anthropological as a prelude to the nuptials billed for the 12th.”

Simon and I would have liked to have given them support, but Arusha was 350 miles from Dar - two days by car, and I had no prospect of local leave.

All of us ‘Haidhuru’ Cadets who arrived in the Territory in August 1957 were confirmed in our appointments exactly two years later, and most, if not all, of my colleagues were moved that summer to new districts. Pat Hobson went off to Monduli, Harry Magnay came down to Morogoro; Charles Thatcher moved Districts too but remained in the far north west of the Territory, while Simon Hardwick came down to Dar in July, already knowing as many, if not more, Dar people than I, and readily joining in the evening gatherings and entertainments with my newer friends.

Simon and I gave Harry lunch in Dar in early August on his first visit to the capital since his move to Morogoro. We made plans to go up to see him and his family over the October Bank Holiday weekend - indeed we got into the habit of calling on the Magnays if ever we had to go to Morogoro on business or pleasure in the following months.

When there was no sailing, Simon and I used to drive over the ferry at the harbour mouth and picnic at one of the many beaches along the coast to the south. The sands were generally deserted and the bathing over the broad coral reef was superb. The only snag was that it took an hour to cross by the ferry in a very slow old boat, and feral dogs gave the Browns’ old dog a hard time.

Simon and I also explored the beaches to the north of the city in the area known as Kunduchi. It was there that, on two or three Sundays that autumn, Simon took me to visit the Butlers, friends of his staying at a rest house on local leave from Mahenge, where Simon had been stationed at one time. Gary Butler was the medical officer there and had a charming wife and a big young family including Helen who had sadly had polio as a baby. They all had drinks with me in Oyster Bay and I saw the family several times before they drove back up-country.

Nzega Friends

Joan Walton wrote to me frequently from Nzega with local news, such as the theft of £400 by a cattle market clerk which caused a great stir. She came down to Dar in March on local leave and I saw her a couple of times while she was staying in the Sisters’ Mess. Unknown to me, she spent some time at the hospital and had a mole removed which had been found to be malignant. So, in early May the doctors decided she should leave Nzega and move down to work at the Dar hospital so that she could be under closer medical supervision. She brought with her in the plane my much-loved and beautiful Susie and one of her kittens who was even more charming than mama. I kept in touch with her while, poor girl, she was starting a series of unpleasant medical examinations at the hospital. I imagined her problem was under control, and we enjoyed an occasional cup of tea or evening meal together.

In October, to everyone’s horror and sorrow, Joan found herself in great trouble. She was diagnosed to have a probably incurable cancer in her stomach glands and had to fly home for an operation. Her departure was very sudden. I took dear Susie back from Joan, being then in a house where the little cat was welcome; she gave me a little keepsake - a rickshaw in Hong Kong silver wire that I still treasure - and we had a very sad parting when I saw her off at the Dar airport.

As soon as she got home, Joan went into Westminster Hospital and had a major operation. Vayle Springs, our florists, got Interflora to arrange flowers for her after her operation and I received a lovely letter of thanks. For three months or so after that, Joan Walton slowly recovered her strength, but the following February she had a complete collapse and was in great pain. Instead of returning to Dar es Salaam as she had fondly hoped, she found herself back in hospital and seriously ill once more.

The Webbs whom I had known well in Nzega had moved to Dar es Salaam the previous autumn. On my return from Lushoto, I got in touch with them and went out to their pleasant Kurasini home from time to time through the year. It was always a relief to escape for an evening drink from the hot and dusty city to enjoy the Webbs’ friendly hospitality in their peaceful bungalow amid the coconut palms.

On the first day of the Muslim official holiday, the Idd el Fitr, I attended Doreen’s wedding at St Albans Church to a manager on the railway - I knew few of those present, but the church looked lovely, and there was a gay and a happy reception at the Webbs’ home afterwards. My only regret was that I had to slip away before the speeches to catch the lunch-time flight I had booked for my precious weekend in Zanzibar.

On August Bank Holiday Monday, John Kidner appeared on my doorstep having come down to Dar on urgent business and looking for a bed. He and Margaret had frequently entertained me when we were in Nzega together, so although I already had guests staying with me at the time, John joined us for supper and took the last spare bed. The following day he went down with malaria, and I got home after work to find him in a miserable state. I took him to the doctor and we visited Joan, the cheerful soul, whose pills did the trick. By the evening he was well enough to take us out to dinner and on to the night club when I drank far more than my usual ration. Next day he returned to Nzega by train but I think he had already decided to terminate his job with Tanganyika Packers.

He and his wife, Margaret, came down to Dar to stay with me for two weeks in September, before leaving the country for good. I could not put them up while I was moving house but in due course gave them my new main bedroom and moved into the spare room. They took me out to dinner on a couple of very pleasant occasions until John was sick again having eaten too much lobster.

When he had recovered, we all drove out to the Webbs for an evening and much enjoyed reliving our Nzega days. Next day I threw a lunchtime party for them to meet some of my neighbours. I ran out of beer as well as lemonade for the Pimms, and my guests stayed until about 3pm, so I judged the party a success. Later that day, Simon took the Kidners out for a spin round the harbour in our little boat, and on the following day we packed up a picnic lunch and all sailed out to Honeymoon Island. We had a good weekend together, before I put them on ‘La Bourdonnais’, their Messageries Maritime boat in which they had passages to Mauritius.

Peter Doole, the DOI at Nzega, came down by train in October having completed three years there and over-due for his long leave. He stayed with me over a weekend before he boarded an Italian liner in the harbour on his way back home. Having written to me previously to tell me of his engagement to a school-mistress at Tabora Girls’ School, he told me when staying with me all about plans for their wedding that winter in England during his leave. I saw him off eager to complete the arrangements, and sent him a telegram from Dar on the due date in December.

Government House

GH kept in touch with me and in early April invited me for lunch. I was placed at the table next to a girl named Janet, a goddaughter of Lady Turnbull and their guest for a short holiday from England; and I was asked to entertain her during her visit. I took her to the Gymkhana Club for tennis that afternoon, and on to a late night showing of the film “Ice-cold in Alex” with John Mills. At the weekend I drove her out to Simon’s house at Kisarawe. We were caught in deep mud when several inches of rain fell in a vicious shower on the rough roads, but when the weather cleared, Simon took us in the land-rover to visit a local mission school situated on the top of a hill having glorious views and introduced us to a group of elderly German missionaries who gave us beer and talked about their peaceful life in the bush. We were impressed how close they were to the local African village people whom they served diligently. Their conversation was of such interest that we forgot the time and had to tear back down the muddy road and through the city centre to deliver Janet to Government House in time for dinner with her hosts.

In July, David le Breton who worked at Government House threw a big party where I was introduced to the Governor’s daughter, Alison Turnbull, and renewed acquaintance with Paul Weller, the ADC. Present were a number of smart army officers and company executives with whom I had little in common. We drank a lot of ‘cup’, and were served a spaghetti supper at 11 o’clock and began party games at midnight.

Not long afterwards, Alison announced her engagement to Paul, and her twin brother Julian came out to Dar in order to take over from him as ADC to his father, the Governor. In a final fling before the wedding, Alison and Julian threw a ball at Government House. They invited a hundred or so people of their age in Dar for 9 o’clock with ‘carriages at 2 o’clock’. It was a very dressy occasion and the girls put on all their finery and looked magnificent. The ballroom was beautifully decorated, the band was first class, and the food and drink flowed. I then learned of the Turnbulls’ enthusiasm for Scottish dancing - fortunately I had been well taught by Roger Moat in my Cambridge days, and the reels held no fears for me. Among the guests were many of my friends and new and interesting people including naval officers from a ship in harbour - altogether a memorable party.

On 3rd October, Alison married Paul in St Albans Church in a story-book wedding, giving all their guests a happy day. There were 400 of us, a military guard of honour of flashing swords, a beautiful bride, the gorgeous setting of Government House with a band, delicious champagne, some scintillating speeches, and a selection of ladies’ dresses and hats that would not have disgraced Royal Ascot. All the local notables were there, together with the Aga Khan and various other important Indian visitors. The wedding presents were on display; pride of place was taken by the Aga Khan’s gift of a vast model Indian palace carved in ivory; my offering of a little cut glass marmalade pot was the smallest on show.

We were all in a convivial mood when we surged out of the front doors of GH and waved goodbye to the ‘happy couple’ on their way to enjoy their honeymoon at the Governor’s Lodge at Lushoto - not far from where I had stayed eight months earlier.

Moving House again

When the Browns came back in the middle of September I had to move on and find somewhere else to live. The Housing Committee allocated me a small bungalow tucked away at the back of Oyster Bay, having no dining-room, just one big living-room, and one tiny spare bedroom, but the place had a nice feel about it; the floors were tiled and the walls were newly-distempered grey and a dark maroon. My bright rugs, black and coloured curtains and white cushioncovers went very well. The little garden had several pleasant flowering shrubs, prickly cacti and a big tree that cast a pool of deep shade by the front door where the previous occupants had built a loggia.

There were snags however. I needed more furnishings especially lampshades, curtains and furniture such as bookcases. I had to spend £20 on a new waterheater for the bathroom, and there were no servants’ quarters so Juma had to find digs in Msasani a mile down the road. Worst of all, poor Morris, the house-boy, received a letter from his home on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria that his father and elder brother had gone out fishing in a canoe, had not returned and were feared drowned. So he dashed off to the other end of the country with a loan from me to pay for the family funeral and wake expenses.

After the long and fairly cool summer, it grew much warmer in November and there was no breeze; in the evening I would sit in my loggia in nothing but a pair of shorts, and at night discard all blankets as I prepared to struggle through the hot nights. The garden turned dry and brown. Just one magnificent bougainvillea draped the loggia with gorgeous and exotic pink and purple butterfly blooms, and I could see the moon framed among the flowers above my head.

Among Christmas presents from the family were a selection of lampshades, one of which looked good on the light above the dining-room table while a frilly and flowery one graced my bedside lamp. Mosquitoes were a nuisance, however. The bungalow was in a low-lying area close to African shambas and patches of cultivation where the bugs bred; and after supper I used to flee to the bedroom which had mosquito-proofed windows. I stayed in that little house until my transfer came through; a PWD lorry then came down from Kisarawe to carry my furniture, linen and most of my clothes to my new house there. For the last few days there I was longing for the cool of the hills and camping with one cup and saucer.

Voluntary Societies

I became involved with three quite different Societies while living and working in Dar es Salaam. The ‘Tanganyika Society’ had offices at the Museum that had been built in a beautiful position in the midst of the city’s Botanical Gardens. It was what you might call a ‘learned society’ with periodic meetings and lectures on the country’s natural and ethnological history. I joined it on return from convalescence and went to its annual general meeting in March and to several lectures later in the year. They covered all tastes and included a fascinating talk on East African birds, discussions on tribal customs, and two memorable presentations by Neville Chittick, the Government Archaeologist, on his digs among the archaeological remains on the coast.

With Mary Clifford’s help, I had taken out a subscription to the Society’s publication, ‘Tanganyika Notes and Records’ even before I left hospital and found many of its papers of interest. Early in May I was asked by the Editorial Board to look through an article on an area of the country’s recent history that had been submitted for publication and tell them if it were suitable to appear in print. I gave the Board a prompt reply - the article was poorly written and I said so.

I was encouraged to resume work on my own ‘thesis’ to which I had devoted so much time in hospital. I told the Board about it while confessing it needed polishing and re-typing - for the first draft had been done when I had been in bed. I gave it some more thought and on the Queen’s Birthday in June, after watching the parade of the King’s African Rifles at Government House, I resumed work on it, spending the rest of that day and many others later tidying up the text at home on my peaceful verandah surrounded by the multi-coloured jacaranda bushes.

By mid August, the article had a title, ‘The German Achievement in East Africa’ and had extended to sixty pages, with Introduction, Notes, Epilogue and Bibliography. I put it aside to revise for the Swahili exams, and picked it up again soon afterwards when I formally submitted it to the Board and they accepted it for publication in principle. I put the finishing touches to it in November before it went to print. At the same time I was asked to edit someone else’s historical essay which had been poorly drafted and needed a good deal of rewriting; I welcomed the chance to use my brains a little and began to work closely with the Board Secretary.

When in Lushoto on leave I received a letter from Crabbe, the Headmaster of Tabora Secondary School whom I had met on a couple of occasions while working in Nzega. He asked me to represent the Western Province on the Tanganyika Amateur Athletics Association (TAAA) that met quarterly in Dar es Salaam to promote athletics in the Territory and bring together athletic activity in the Provinces. I saw no problem with this suggestion and duly attended the infrequent meetings of the Association in committee rooms at the Arnautoglu Hall. Athletics was then in its infancy in the Territory, being the preserve of the biggest secondary schools across the country. At the meetings I supported work at most provincial centres to run periodic athletics matches, find, select and train their best athletes and plan for annual country-wide competitions. The distances were so great, however, and the money so short that little more could be done at that time. In any case, the meetings were rather bureaucratic and tedious and never inspired me.

My biggest commitment was to the Tanganyika Society for the Blind (TSB). I had offered to help addressing envelopes for them while in hospital, and Mr Krell, the chairman, invited me to supper one evening in the spring and encouraged me to attend the Society’s annual general meeting in May. It was at that meeting that I was asked to help with their annual summer fete in the gardens of Government House over the August Bank Holiday and to put up a young schoolmaster called Graty, his Swiss wife and daughter aged 15 months over the period of the fete. Graty worked at the Kazima School near Dodoma, a school for blind children in the Territory, and six of his pupils were to attend the fete to display and sell woodwork, baskets and weaving made in their school. When the time came, I borrowed a cot, mattress, sheets and pillows for his little girl which we put in the dining-room, and I gave the parents my bedroom and moved into the spare room for the duration of their visit.

At meetings with Krell and his committee to plan the fete, I was given a dozen different tasks; I had to find a donkey for the children to ride, have a halter made for it, fence off a children’s corner, collect 300 coconuts, build a shy, collect bran and tubs for the lucky dip, and find three auctioneers from the city to run the jumble sale. They were three very nice elderly men and they made £74 from selling old clothes that afternoon. I had also to collect the blind boys from the train, take them to their accommodation in a local secondary school, and ferry them round the town to the broadcasting studio for interviews, and to the fete for their demonstrations which were very popular.

On the big day, I sat for four hours at the gates of Government House collecting admission fees. I took Sh1/= from each European adult, and 50 cents from every African and child, and received very nearly Shs 1,000/=. There were thirty stalls, a Punch and Judy show, and displays of police dogs and very lovely Indian dancing. We made over £750; and after expenses were paid, the Society’s profit was £620. Sunday morning was spent clearing up, and in the afternoon I accompanied the Gratys up the creek in the large canoe they had brought down from Tabora on the top of their car. Next day, I saw them off, and gave my exhausted servants an extra day off.

In November I ran a charity dance on behalf of the Society in the Arnautoglou Hall. It was expensive to hire, but our aim was not so much to make money as to draw the attention of middle class Africans to the plight of the blind in Tanganyika. In the run-up to the dance, my evenings were spent arranging and collecting prizes, gifts of food, tickets, programmes, and fancy posters. An African Minister agreed to preside and draw the raffles, and lots of tickets were sold. The dance was a great success; over 500 Africans attended, including many bigwigs, politicians and the up-and-coming intelligentsia. The Society had useful publicity among a soon-to-be-influential portion of the population. The party was noisy and hectic, but everyone seemed to enjoy it, and we took over £70 in ticket sales. The next day, I counted the money and wrote thank-you letters to helpers and prize-givers which dear Kip, Harris’ PA in the Acacia Avenue Office, was kind enough to type for me.

The Yacht Club

Sailing from the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club rapidly became my main outdoor interest. The surroundings were beautiful and the conditions ideal both in the wide sheltered harbour and out to sea among the off-shore islands and coral reefs. The sailing season did not start until the long rains (the Masika), arrived in May when they normally brought cooler weather with them. Life on the water through the summer months was supposed to be pleasant, with gentler breezes and lots of rain, but when I started work in February living at Eminaz Mansions, the north-east wind was dying away and the temperature was rising steadily. It was too hot for comfort when, on my second weekend in Dar, I was taken in a boat on a tour of the harbour and a closer look at Honeymoon Island that I had seen every day from my hospital balcony and longed to be able to visit. The island was as peaceful as it was picturesque with its white sands where we could picnic, sunbathe and snooze, and swim over the colourful coral reef on its seaward side with its exotic shells and pretty little fish. Returning on the evening tide to a gentle falling wind, the harbour and town look beautiful from the sea as the setting sun cast long shadows and glinted on the roof-tops of the white-fronted buildings on Ocean Road and the long line of red tiled bungalows of Oyster Bay. Though sunburnt that day, I began to think of having my own boat at the Yacht Club to sail in the coming season.

The end-of-season Regatta took place at the end of February. I was among a pleasant crowd on the hard standing in front of the Yacht Club and found the atmosphere to be friendly and relaxed, and I decided to become a member. The subscription was only 12/6d a month, and there were no other expenses - although almost every sail was rounded off with a beer at the Club’s open-air bar. On a terrace leading down to the beach were plastic chairs for use by those watching the racing, which could be moved aside to provide a minute dance floor. On festive occasions, the Club Committee hired a band, lit fairy lights, kept the bar open all evening, and organised a barbecue; and the members and their guests danced in the open air beside the glimmering waters of the harbour.

At the beginning of May I went into partnership with David le Breton and Noel who negotiated the purchase of Greyhound, a 15 foot sailing boat of the ‘Lightning’ class. I paid £45 in three instalments, being a third share in our beautiful boat. She was in good trim, with a fine red sail, and needed only some varnishing and painting, having been repaired and cleaned up after capsizing early in the year.

Dar es Salaam Regatta
Dar es Salaam Regatta
In our first sail together as the season opened, the wind was still blowing strongly from the north-east, but Greyhound sailed well, and the three of us were delighted with her. The following week, I took the helm in a moderate wind for the first time, tacked up the creek beyond the harbour and was very pleased with her handling. We were happy with our purchase and all three looked forward to an enjoyable summer.

In June and July, we sailed Greyhound regularly after work for an hour or so each Wednesday afternoon. I was generally able to escape from the office in order to cast off by 5pm and have a little over an hour on the water before the wind dropped and the sun went down. There was enough time to sail across the harbour and perhaps a short way up the creek before it began to grow dark. There were lots of big ships along the quay to inspect and the sailing was straightforward, relaxing and peaceful. We thought that life could offer nothing better as the sun went down over the town while we ran before the wind back to our moorings at the Club. Sadly, midweek sailing came to an end when I enlarged my job with evening council meetings.

Weekend sailing was very different. The Club arranged races for most classes every Saturday afternoon in season. The first time we entered a race, Greyhound gleamed with new paint and shiny varnish, Simon joined us to crew in a glorious afternoon with perfect weather and a pleasant steady breeze. To our dismay we were overtaken by almost every other boat and had to accept ours was not particularly fast.

At the June Regatta the wind got up, the sailing was strenuous, and we had to work hard, with just two of us aboard. We sped along at a hair-raising speed, spray flying and waves splashing over the bows. It was exhilarating, even though we came nearly last - the only person behind us was my doctor, Dr Coles, in an old tub! Happily we were then given a new and easier handicap, so that when we next raced we not only had a glorious day’s sailing, we came in third - and that was in rough water when two boats capsized outside the harbour.

Dar es Salaam Regatta
Dar es Salaam Sailing
When the rains eased in July, I began to take the helm and raced Greyhound myself. On my first outing we experienced a short sharp storm, followed by a complete calm. After one and half dreary hours at the tiller I allowed my boat to drift into a buoy and was disqualified. We were then caught in another squall and drenched on the way home - it was not an encouraging afternoon.

In August, Greyhound had a hard race out to sea, followed a week later by a very rough day when several boats capsized and tipped their occupants into the heaving seas - although soaked and shivering, we came in fifth. We persevered and enjoyed the challenge more and more. The wind eased later in the year and I used to take the helm with Simon or Sheilagh as my crew. On one occasion, I thought we went splendidly; we passed masses of boats and seemed to fly along, but they loaded us again with an unfair handicap - and we were placed tenth out of eleven boats.

Honeymoon Island
Honeymoon Island
Sunday sailing was different again. There was no racing; we used to go out early in the morning for some serious practising up and down the harbour and devote the afternoons to trips out to the islands. Greyhound could take five comfortably on a leisure cruise and we would pick up provisions and a party of friends and sail out of the harbour mouth and across the open sea to Honeymoon Island. Lunch would be either sandwiches in the boat anchored over the reef with the brightly-coloured ocean bed only a few feet beneath us, or chops and sausages cooked over an open fire of driftwood on the island beach. Then we would put on goggles and swim for hours watching the many coloured little fish and creatures among the coral, before snoozing on the sands and having a picnic tea on the boat. The wind was generally behind us on the long run into the harbour and home, and Greyhound flew along, and gave us an exhilarating ride, often soaked from the waves splashing over our bows, tingling with salt, and exhausted with bailing. If we left the return journey too late, however, we ran the risk of being becalmed. The wind would drop suddenly as the sun went down, and once or twice in the flat calm we had to beg for a tow to our berth, weary and longing for a beer.

The worst moments were always casting off from our moorings and regaining them at the end of the day. We were given a little marker buoy a few yards off the slipway in front of the Yacht Club, Too often I managed to make a mess of setting sail, ran into someone’s craft clumsily, and either took some paint off our bows, or scraped the skin off the crew’s hands as he fended us off. The beer drinkers ashore were always ready to raise a mocking cheer when the helmsman allowed his boat to drift backwards into someone else’s clean new paintwork.

Greyhound needed a lot of maintenance. We engaged young Athman to be our “boat-boy” for Shs 40/= a month - we did not really need his services, but he was a nice chap and the money helped him a lot. For much of May, following our early trials, we had the boat out of the water below the club house and I used to go down on many afternoons to sandpaper and paint, chisel and screw. When the decks were done, two of us and Athman tipped her up on the beach one lunchtime when the tide was right in order to anti-foul and seal her bottom.

Later in the summer, the strong winds and high seas caused a good deal of damage and we unshipped the boom one weekend, persuaded a carpenter to fix it during the week, rigged the boat again the following Saturday, and replaced the centreboard and rudder while sitting at our moorings. Greyhound thereafter raced more sweetly and took us out on several long trips.

The short rains in November heralded the gradual build-up of heat in the city and the winding down of sailing for the year. We decided our boat need a fresh coat of paint, so Simon, Athman and I had her up again on the sands in front of the Yacht Club and did the job on a Sunday morning starting at 7am. It was a race against a rising tide, but we finished as the water was lapping her stern, and still got to the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Ceremony.

The winds were tolerable most weekends late that year and enabled us to continue to sail to the islands for picnics. In early January, however, we decided it was altogether too hot, and we gave our faithful Greyhound a complete overhaul. We provided her with a smart blue non-slip deck, a light grey hull, and red anti-fouling on her keel; we varnished, oiled, scrubbed and painted, and we made her once more fresh, bright, clean and ready for the high seas. Then, of course, my move came through, I had one final quick evening sail in her just before I left Dar - and found her as swift and responsive as ever - a lovely boat. As I clambered into the dinghy to row ashore for the last time, I wondered if I would ever have the chance to sail in such pleasant waters again.

Chapter 10: Escaping from the City
“Ex Africa semper aliquid novi.”
(“There is always something new from Africa.”)

Said to be from Pliny’s ‘Historia Naturalis’.

Kisarawe weekends

After spending the last of my convalescent leave as Simon Hardwick’s guest, he was kind enough to invite me to spend many more weekends with him up on his hilltop. It was always a relief to escape the cloying and stifling heat of my flat in the city, and I welcomed the chance to have a change of air while enjoying his company with his friends. He used to give us huge curry lunches and a pint of beer on Sundays, and while I was still convalescing, I happily snoozed through many cool afternoons on my host’s bed. If staying overnight, I would pass an afternoon lazing on his cool verandah, enjoy dinner with his Kisarawe friends, and sleep deeply by night in his spare room. There was nowhere within reach at that time more restful and peaceful, friendly and cool - two blankets and a pullover in the evening were de rigueur.

As time passed we played a good deal of tennis, and Simon used to organise friendly foursomes on the Kisarawe court. It was well cared for and in good shape, though often wind-swept. Small enthusiastic youngsters (watoto), raced around bare-foot as ball-boys in exchange for a few cents, and we all enjoyed ourselves. Simon played with one arm because of his polio weakness, while I was playing again for the first time for eighteen month at Handeni and had but one good eye and little stamina, but we enjoyed ourselves hugely. I was pleased to find I could run about with the best of them, and could see the ball - most of the time.

Easter Sunday was perhaps the last time before the Rains that the road was dry and my little car had an easy run to Kisarawe, with Anne Burkinshaw as my companion; and we had a good weekend as Simon’s guests, with the customary curry and tennis. Two weekends later the Rains had started with a vengeance and the road was a bog of slimy and slippery mud. The car made it but suffered severely. Simon’s four-wheel-drive landrover had no problem, however, and he took me on to the local mission college where we were shown round by a junior master. Irish Capuchin Fathers had built fine school buildings, and were in the process of erecting a chapel the size of a cathedral. It was always amazing to find these oases of learning, culture and deep faith in the midst of the bush.

Sadly I decided the hill roads in the rainy season were too hard on the car, and restricted my journeys to the tarmac in and around the city. Only when the Rains eased off in July, did I renew my visits to the hills. The road was still sticky and severely pot-holed but I then had the company of the Browns’ old dog and took him up for walks in the fresher air. Simon and I wore sweaters and picked up tennis racquets again. My visits came to an abrupt end, however, when Simon was posted down to Dar himself and sadly left behind his bungalow in the hills.


In late September, I paid my first visit to Bagamoyo which lay forty miles north of Dar es Salaam up a long straight dusty murram road that ran parallel to the coast. Simon and I went up in his land-rover to see the Magnays on holiday there. They had chosen it for their local leave two years running and took a resthouse right on the sea shore where their two small boys could enjoy the wide beaches of white sand in the beautiful palm-fringed bay looking across towards Zanzibar. A few old outriggers and a dhow or two were pulled up out of the water, fishing nets dried on the mangroves, the smell of drying fish pervaded the air, and it was a quiet and lazy sort of place. On my first visit, we had a picnic lunch and played with the children on the sands.

Bagamoyo Beach
Bagamoyo Beach
Simon and I then wandered off to explore the old town. It was little more than a large village whose inhabitants lived on fishing and the produce of their numerous coconut palms, where small children with pot bellies and runny noses clad only in dirty shirts ran around barefoot in the dust. Bagamoyo was steeped in its past, however, as the old slave and ivory port of the east coast. It had far more dignity and history than Dar, and while shabby and run-down, it contained some fine old buildings with heavy wooden doors studded with thick nails, and other ruined Arab-built mansions scattered among the tall old palm trees. At that time, I was reading as much as I could find about the explorations of Richard Burton and Speke and was immensely interested in the place where they had landed at the start of their search for the source of the Nile.

After admiring the old town, we walked south along the beach, past the white-washed Boma and two or three other big German-built fortresses facing the sea front, down to the old Arab graveyard known as Kaole. Among the scrub and palm-trees were tall coral pillars marking ancient tombs and some battered old walls of coral and stone. Excavations had been started by Neville Chittick which he had been telling us about at a ‘Tanganyika Society’ evening lecture. He was uncovering an ancient mosque with the base of a minaret at one end, and a mihrab at the other where steps led down to what must have been a well. We explored the site but the undergrowth and mangroves made it difficult to discern the lay-out or to feel much moved by the antiquity of the place. We walked back for an early supper with the Magnays, and drove home pleasantly weary, agreeing that Bagamoyo had far more dignity and history, and much more interest, than Dar es Salaam.


Road to Morogoro
Road to Morogoro
In late summer, Harry Magnay was transferred from Kilosa and took Pat Hobson’s place as DOII in the Morogoro District Office. Over a Bank Holiday in the second week of October Simon and I stayed two nights with the Magnays in their new house above the town. Harry and Hilary gave us a delightful rest and enabled us to explore the town. I had already passed through it on the railway and spent a night there on my way back to Handeni. It had not found it at all attractive on those first visits and, on renewing acquaintance with it, I still found it uninteresting. The European community was considered too large to be close-knit or friendly; the place was widely held to be unhealthy; newcomers were said to be prone to all sorts of minor discomforts and illness - as I was to find out for myself. The two little hotels down by the station were notorious; the ‘Acropol’ was famed for its dirty bedrooms, and the ‘Savoy’ for its awful food - I had chosen the wrong one through ignorance when I had wanted a meal after descending exhausted from the Handeni bus.

Nor was Morogoro favoured as a posting by expatriates. It was the provincial capital of the Eastern Province where a large number of Europeans lived. Their bungalows were for the most part set in the foothills of the mountains behind the town and overlooked the commercial centre where the main road and the railway ran through east - west from Dar to Kigoma via Tabora. The markets, shops and business area lay in the valley and were bustling places with big bus and railway stations that were always crowded and busy. Beyond them in the flat valley a good new sports stadium had been laid out, sports facilities were good, and Morogoro had become the venue for athletics and other sports matches. There was a European Club that was a useful meeting place and had a swimming pool which was highly valued, especially by the children, but the town possessed few other attractions, neither good shops nor other amenities. Its saving grace was its strikingly beautiful location, nestling under the great rugged Uluguru Mountains that climbed steeply over seven thousand feet behind the town and were covered in virgin forest and old plantations. The hills stretched south for some fifty miles in towering peaks and offered an escape from the hot and dusty plains in rest-houses on the mountain-side that I was shortly to visit.

I returned to stay with the Magnays for Christmas 1959 - I accepted Hilary’s generous invitation with alacrity and pleasure, and I drove over on the evening of Christmas Eve. Harry was as friendly and hospitable as ever, Hilary just as cheerful and warm-hearted, and the two boys as chatty as I remembered them. Together they gave me a delightful family Christmas.

I arrived in the middle of a sundowner in their home, met another young couple who were friends of theirs, and together we went down to the Midnight Service at the tiny Anglican church. On Christmas morning, we gathered round the Christmas tree (a small fir from Lushoto), and played with the children as they opened their presents. The elder boy received a tricycle and his pleasure delighted the whole family and put us all in the Christmas mood. We had the turkey at lunch-time and all over-ate a delicious bird.

In the afternoon we went to a series of children’s parties. Morogoro had a reputation for being an unfriendly town, but that Christmas the expatriates excelled themselves and gave the children a magnificent time. We went the rounds and crawled home with the car full of new presents and two tired and over-excited children to a cold supper and quiet evening. Harry presented me with a smart Meerschaum pipe made in Kenya where the mineral was to be found which gave me pleasure for many years, while I presented my host and hostess with a bottle of Drambuie and a tin of ham - not very inspiring gifts, I fear.

On Boxing Day we went out to lunch and supper. The DC and his wife invited thirty guests that evening at their charming house in a beautiful garden high on the hillside over-looking the town. The buffet in their big dining room was laden with a generous spread, and I was greatly looking forward to the occasion. Unhappily it was not to be. I had to leave early with a tummy bug, and missed a good party. All the following day I rested in the Magnays’ garden, lying about in a chair in a shady corner feeling thoroughly miserable. I gathered enough energy to drive back in the evening, with my tail between my legs, and that was the end of my Christmas.

The Uluguru Mountains

In May that year, after a hot and sticky week in the capital city, I joined a party of six for a quick weekend trip up from the parched plains into the precipitous hills behind Morogoro to a remote old rest-house called Morningside - it must have been christened by a Forestry Officer from Edinburgh. One Saturday immediately after work, Sheilagh Bailey and I set off with a load of kit in my car for the rendezvous in the middle of Morogoro. The girls supplied the food, and the men the beer.
Uluguru Mountains
Uluguru Mountains

This was almost my first acquaintance of the road from Dar running due west to Morogoro that I was to get to know later all too well. It was new tarmac but already being used extensively by heavy lorries thundering up and down to Iringa, Mbeya and Northern Rhodesia. By day it was always a hot, dull, straight and dangerous road; by night it was equally dull apart from the occasional wild game picked up in the car’s head-lights.

On that first trip to Morningside, Sheilagh and I reached our meeting place on time and followed the others in a big car in convoy up into the hills behind the town. The tracks in the Ulugurus had for the most part been made for use by four-wheel-drive forestry vehicles and cut through thick forest sometimes in thick dust, sometimes on bare rock, and often in deep ruts up steep slopes. The sharp angles and U turns were too much for my small saloon car. She went on strike; the oil-pressure light flashed a warning, and we decided to park her in a tiny clearing beside the track. We off-loaded all the gear from my boot into the bigger vehicle and sent the equipment and three of the party up to the rest house to unpack and sort out the gear while we waited to be collected later.

My small group then spent two hours sitting in the gathering darkness round a camp fire on a desolate rock half way up the mountainside. When at last rescue arrived, we clambered in and were carried a further fifteen miles along a winding track, across several dark and deep fords to the rest-house in the wilderness. It was apparently built as a fishing lodge because close to a lively stream, and had two big bedrooms with three beds in each which gave us male and female dormitories. There was one other big room that served as sitting and dining room with a huge fireplace well alight with blazing logs when we arrived. The early party had cooked a big stew for us all; and well-fed and warmed, we sat round the fire afterwards drinking coffee and Chianti, and chatting by the light of kerosene lamps. We went to bed under all available blankets, wearing sweaters, cursing the cold, but in fact exhilarated to be away from the oppressive heat of the coast.

I rose early next morning and went out to look at the view. In front of the porch was a narrow strip of grass, a few wild and straggly rose bushes and a low stone wall. Then the cliffs fell away and Morogoro could be seen far, far below where the people seemed to be no bigger than ants. In the clear morning air, looking straight ahead, greeny-brown bush country stretched many miles northward and blended in the deeper green of sisal plantations before fading into low purple hills in the far horizon. Beyond the haze lay my old stamping ground of Handeni. It was magnificent prospect which we all admired over a large and leisurely breakfast on a picnic table on the grass.

View from Morningside
View from Morningside
The party then set off on an energetic five-mile hike. We scrambled up the hillside along a narrow forestry path to an ice-cold stream with an impressive waterfall. Part of our journey lay through untouched indigenous rain-forest. Another stretch took us past plantations of firs planted by the Germans fifty years earlier; and with briars and creepers like Old Man’s Beard in the glades, the setting reminding us a little of Scotland.

It was a sad moment when we had to pack up after lunch and say goodbye to the little lodge, its roaring fire and its roses by the door. Happily my car started first time when we came upon it beside the road below the lodge. The run back to Dar was free of problems and we all felt wonderfully fit and refreshed after our night in the hills.

When Simon and I stayed with the Magnays in October, Harry’s stout landrover carried us back up to Morningside for a day’s escape from the sweltering heat of the plains. It was just as peaceful and attractive as ever. The surrounding garden was wild and luxuriant, the roses were fat and vibrant with all the colours of the rainbow and the local strawberries were delicious.

Gorged on the fruit and refreshed in the mountain air, we wandered round the garden and down little-used tracks to explore the virgin forest and dabble in the chilly bubbling streams that coursed down the hillsides. It was another delightful escape from the hot and humid bustle of the town.

The following Easter, Simon and I were unable to go far because of the heavy rains and he decided to take me to another part of the Ulugurus called Bunduki. We set off at 2am on the Easter Sunday morning. We reached the bottom of the hills as dawn broke, and had all Sunday and Easter Monday there in the Forest Lodge beside a stream in a similar situation to that of Morningside. We revelled in the cold air once more, wearing pullovers all the time, taking supper round the open log fire and sleeping under three blankets that night. It rained nearly all the time but this only increased the freshness of the air.

We fished in the rain, paddled in the rain, and walked miles and miles in the rain, we waded through streams and scrambled through waterfalls and clambered up cliffs. I broke my walking stick; Simon twisted an ankle; we got soaked twice over; yet it was a tremendously invigorating weekend. In the evenings we played chess by our blazing fire; and when we came home I felt a new man.

Mikumi Game Reserve

It was the Magnays who first took Simon and me to Mikumi. After a day in the cool mountain air up the hills behind Morgoro, we passed the Bank Holiday Monday in the heat of the plains. Mikumi was the nearest game reserve to Morogoro, lying a hundred miles further southwest beside the main road to the Southern Highlands. The reserve was full of game but little frequented, perhaps because of the fearful heat and the wicked tsetse flies. The country was fairly open miombo woodland with scattered deciduous trees and a good deal of impenetrable swamp. Many areas were open grassland where fortunately the grass was short at the time of our first visit.

We set off early in the morning in order to avoid some of the heat of the day and to see the animals before they took their mid-day siesta. We turned right on reaching the boundaries of the reserve along a very poor track and went round the circuit to the north of the main road. We were immediately among hards of game, and were able to see any number of zebra, gazelle, gnus, buck of all sorts and an amazing quantity of the stately giraffe. From a safe distance we followed two or three herds of elephant silently gliding through the woodland and drinking at the occasional water-holes - such magnificent beasts. We spent the morning touring a vast area, continually excited and delighted by the strange creatures on both sides of our track. After a picnic lunch in the car and a gentle snooze in the shade we emerged at the dirty little village of Mikumi, and turned eastwards for the drive home. Harry’s sons aged two and three months came along with us and were very good, although I fear they did not share the grown-ups’ thrill at seeing the wild creatures in thei natural surroundings. Happily the boys were able to sleep in the car on the evening run back to Morogoro. Simon and I then piled into my Hillman and reluctantly drove back home to Dar through the night.


The most exciting holiday safari I did while a DO in Dar was a trip to Zanzibar. I joined the two Nursing Sisters, Pip and Katie on the flight to the island over the long weekend of the Idd el Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadhan, a couple of weeks after Easter. We reserved air-tickets and booked rooms in the Zanzibar Hotel for the Saturday night. I went to Doreen Webb’s wedding at St Albans’ Church early that morning and snatched a quick lunch at the airport before the plane left on the lunch-time shuttle,. In the little airport café, I fell in with the new secretary in our office, an Irish girl, also on her first visit. So we travelled over together on the twenty minute flight and shared a taxi to the hotel which was conveniently situated in the middle of the old town. It was full of South African tourists, but I was able to drop my bag there and meet the two nursing sisters who had flown over on an earlier flight, and I was in charming company throughout my visit.

That afternoon we set off together to explore Stone Town. It seemed to be the preserve of Arabs who over the years had settled there after crossing by dhow from South Arabia and Oman. The old town appeared to us to be a dirty and smelly place on the side of a hill sloping down to the harbour, but it had immense charm and readily recalled the slave and ivory trades, and the historic explorations of the African continent. We were quickly lost in a labyrinth of twisting narrow streets, dotted with dilapidated mosques, semi-ruined squares and faded mansions in white, saffron and blue. Sometimes they were three or four storeys high, with huge heavily carved, brass-studded wooden doors - generally grander and better preserved than those I had seen in Bagamoyo. We walked down tiny narrow streets overflowing with murky curio and spice shops, hawkers and food vendors, and at every turn came upon the dilapidated mansions and palaces of former sultans, old slave-traders, or British explorers and consuls. Even the smells were exciting, being a mixture of open drains, human sweat and spices, especially the all-pervading cloves.

We took masses of photographs and wandered all afternoon. We admired the Sultan’s palace flying his distinctive red flag, a huge white mansion, half fort, half mausoleum, an incongruous mixture of castellations and Moorish arches, with a fine gateway guarded by sentries in tarbooshes. Near by was the open space known as the Maidan, and across the road, we saw the Beit-al-Ajab (the ‘House of Wonders’, the Zanzibar Secretariat of which the Dar Secretariat buildings were a poor imitation by the Germans). On the site of the old slave market, we were fascinated by the fine Anglican cathedral, built partly of coral and with rich stained glass windows, where lay the bodies of many famous Anglican bishops as well as grim reminders of the slave trade. We saw it as one of the vindications of British imperialism - a symbol of the purely altruistic and philanthropic destruction of the evil, after many years of expensive effort by the English church supported by successive nineteenth-century English Governments.

After a beer on the verandah of the English Club watching a sailing race outside the harbour, we strolled through the Jubilee Gardens and along the harbour wall, admiring the variety of little ships in the harbour. We inspected the massive Portuguese Fort and the heavy old Customs House and went on to look at Livingstone’s House, firmly closed to visitors though reputed to contain interesting relics.

We also saw something of the African town situated across a tidal creek at Ng’ambo (meaning ‘the other side’). We wandered into the huddled mass of hovels with crumbling mud walls and roofs of rotting palm fronds or rusty corrugated iron, with a bazaar at the centre. We passed through the food and vegetable markets where the smells of fish and raw meat were overpowering. Many of the Africans of the island were descended from slaves brought over from the mainland, and the Arab influence had given them some sense of charm and beauty - but no drains, and positively no town planning. We did not linger; we had a good supper in the comfortable hotel and went early to bed.

The festivities of Idd el Fitr were dependent on the sighting of the new moon. It had been hidden by cloud earlier in the week but visible on the evening of our arrival for an hour or so as a tiny white nail paring in the deep dark blue sky. It heralded joy throughout the Islamic world, and especially in Zanzibar, and its coming was followed by feasting and noisy celebrations through the night and the following day. Into the cheerful throng on the streets, I sallied forth next morning, first to buy postage stamps for Peter’s collection and then to go round to the Sultan’s palace to see the crowds while the girls wandered round the shops. The palace square and the Maidan were full of a happy friendly mob of Africans and Arabs in their best clothes, shouting greetings, banging drums, waving sticks and parading in the roadway and the scattered patches of grass. The Zanzibar Arab that day was a most distinctive and distinguished fellow. He had a huge orange head-cloth, a lean, lined brown face, a pair of tiny twinkling eyes, a black beard, and a long rough mustard-coloured robe, bound at the waist by a wide belt from which hung a vicious, curved, silver-hilted dagger, sometimes magnificently carved and sparkling in the bright sunlight - doubtless a rich and valuable piece that was his most prized possession and was carried with some pride and panache.

A large crowd of these well-dressed fellows all in orange - as it seemed to me - had gathered outside the palace to pay their respects to the Sultan; and I watched with delight the stately ceremonial dances they performed. I went across to the dhow wharf that was full of those beautiful craft with their solid bulk and delicately curved sails, whose lines I found quite thrilling. The Idd that year had happily coincided with the annual crossing of the dhows from the Yemen and Oman, and I saw a forest of raked masts in the wide anchorage, and a pleasing bustle at the wharf-side where many more Arabs were clambering into rowing boats and coming ashore in all their finery. Imagine a host of bobbing orange turbans in long narrow boats being rowed with long oars and high rudders converging on the jetty.

The interior of the island

After this exciting morning, we left the town for a tour of the island in a hired car. On the road to the charmingly-named village of Bububu, we visited the ruins of one of the sultan’s palaces at a wild place called Kidichi. The remains were not very old and heavily overgrown with creepers and long grass. They were remarkable only for the huge size of the baths built in the Persian style for the enjoyment of the sultan’s extensive harem.

We cruised in our taxi through forests of palm trees, and were taken into clove plantations of the dull-looking bushes with a glorious scent that was at times overwhelmingly powerful. At Mangapwani, miles from anywhere we had a picnic lunch on a secluded little beach among sharp black coral rocks and behind a line of native outrigger fishing boats drawn up on the sands. It was a romantic setting, not at all spoilt by the sudden appearance of half a dozen naked and shameless little African boys, giggling with the joy of living and shiny from bathing in the salt water who came to admire us eating and play tag round us and the outriggers.

After a lazy lunch on the beach, we resumed our island tour by visiting seed beds of the coconut palms and clove bushes. Farther on, we were taken to a nursery of young cinnamon, cocoa and coffee, and finally out to a copra factory where coconuts were split open and their foul-smelling fibre was spread out to dry in the sun. We were given coconut milk to drink - deliciously cold yet not very refreshing - and driven back to the Zanzibar Hotel for a very English cup of tea.

Mnazi Mmoja

After tea, our party strolled across to the fair ground. The Idd was the excuse for the annual Moslem fair and Mnazi Mmoja was the place for it. In essence it was not so very different from a fete in the vicarage garden at home magnified a hundred times. Over a wide grassy field, several thousand Africans wandered along rows of stalls and among itinerant pedlars. The men wore either clean white cotton shirts and pressed trousers or sparkling long white linen kanzus with round embroidered caps; and the women were wrapped in their most colourful kangas. The thudding and thundering of drums was all about us. There was lots of dancing in traditional ngomas - such as I had often admired in Nzega at times of celebration - some were hidden away in booths for which a charge of three cents was made to spectators, others occurred in dusty corners all over the vast fair-ground apparently spontaneously. Everywhere were sellers of food - coconuts for drinking, slices of sugar cane for sucking (like rock, just as sweet but rather stringy), sherbet and sweets, sticky sweet pink or white powders, cooked meats, braziers for frying prawns and some highly scented dried fish. The happy crowds were continually on the move, scattering litter everywhere, chattering and shouting cheerfully at each other in a noisy and animated scene. We admired this gay throng for as long as we dared before tearing ourselves away, straight on to the aeroplane - so to speak. It left the airport at six and bore us swiftly home.

Arab Dhow
Arab Dhow
Within a few minutes of our return, it was dark; I parted company with the girls who had their own car and drove from Dar airport into town alone. On the way home, I paused at our own Mnazi Mmoja, converted for the occasion into a fair-ground in the heart of the city. Here Africans of every tribe from all over the city and its suburbs were making merry and enjoying their own Idd fair. The drums were just as loud and the vast milling crowd was just as noisy, excited and hectic as on the island. But I had had my fill of noise and excitement for the day and motored on out to Oyster Bay and home.

I went back to Zanzibar just once more. It was in June when I accompanied Simon on a Saturday to show him round for he had previously had no chance to visit the island. Our leave was approaching and we had a good day strolling around the narrow old streets looking for small gifts to take home while we admired the fine old houses around the Beit el Ajab. Inevitably we ended up at the English Club drinking beer and watching the sailing from the verandah before hopping on the shuttle back to the mainland. The only sad thing was the loss of my good Parker pen which was an old friend but was pinched by someone while I was walking through the picturesque but rather evil old town.

Chapter 11: KISARAWE February to August 1960
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Attributed to Confucius.

Settling in

Kisarawe had been built as a District Office and administrative centre in the Pugu Hills, 1,000 feet above the sea only a few years before my arrival. On one side of the road was a collection of run-down African houses and simple dukas; while on the other lay the station astride a green plateau. The grassy field, good enough for a little golf, was surrounded by a ring of European bungalows all facing outwards overlooking the thick forest in the plain below, with the Boma, the police station, and the Native Authority buildings. The Boma comprised a large central court-house and one wing of offices for the DC and two DOs, and another wing for the agricultural and forestry officers and their staff.

Simon Hardwick brought my gear up in his land-rover, while Susie and I followed in the Hillman, delighting in the cool air of Kisarawe after months of the heat of Dar es Salaam. A blanket was on my bed and a fresh breeze bowled through the bungalow. I was immensely grateful to Mr Dudbridge for arranging the transfer, and having expressed my thanks rather inadequately at his New Year sundowner, asked my father to write to the Minister with his accustomed tact to express my appreciation.

Juma, the cook, and Morris, the house-boy went up in advance, moved into their own quarters and made everything ready. I already knew the bungalow that I was to occupy, having visited it many times while Simon was living there. It was the standard model with a central living room between dining room and kitchen on one side and two bedrooms and a bathroom on the other. The living room had recently been decorated in a pale blue and looked good with my black and pink curtains, white cushion covers and black rug. The garden was spacious and full of green shoots and flowers in gay colours. The view from the verandah was magnificent, extending over some twenty miles of rolling forested hills to the coastal plain and the sea beyond. With binoculars one could make out the big ships approaching Dar harbour, although the town and anchorage itself were hidden behind the hills.

Kisarawe Bungalow
Kisarawe Bungalow
There was no electricity at Kisarawe, and my living room was lit by two tall Tilley lamps, while firewood heated the kitchen stove and the ‘Tanganyika boiler’ supplied hot water to both kitchen and bathroom. The worst thing about the station was the water which was dirty and bitter to taste; tea was undrinkable but coffee was passable and the beer from the Dar brewery was fine.

In the adjacent bungalow lived the other DO, Andrew Marshall, several years my senior, single, proud possessor of two Corgi dogs and a very large library of interesting books. He was tall and fair, remarkably gentle and a pleasant man; and he gave Simon and me a delightful supper on the night of my arrival and fed me completely on my first day while my fridge and its paraffin burner were being unpacked and installed.

The DC was Robert Paterson whom I had met briefly twelve months earlier. Robert was in his mid thirties, of medium height and stocky, with a military bearing, a fairly brusque manner, a toothbrush moustache and curly brown hair. He was very hot on the paperwork, demanded high standards, did not suffer fools much, and kept a neat and efficient Boma. He and his wife were not the same out-going type I had previously met in up-country stations, but we were able to rub along together reasonably well, and in any case we all spent so much time out of the station on safari that we saw each other infrequently.

I was slow to settle down in my new home, however, because of an unexpected but pleasant visit from Simon and John Illingworth even before I had unpacked. John, a member of our Haidhuru group, was in Dar for a break from his up-country station and was brought up by Simon on my first Saturday in Kisarawe. It was good to see John again and we exchanged stories long into the night about our early days in the Territory. The following day, I went back down with them to attend the opening regatta at the Yacht Club. I still had a share in Greyhound and we took John out in her for a quick spin round the harbour - regrettably we were not able to join in the racing but watched it with a beer in our hands from the Club bar.

The District

Two days after my arrival, I attended the regular monthly District Team Meeting under Robert Paterson, and learned of the plans for voter registration for the forthcoming full-scale general elections to take place in September. Before going out to start the process in the chiefdoms, however I had a week in the Boma learning the ropes, meeting the other European and African personalities on the station and informing myself about the District in which I was to operate.

Kisarawe Boma
Kisarawe Boma
Kisarawe District was the size of an English county and enveloped Dar es Salaam, stretching some miles to the north in the direction of Bagamoyo, perhaps sixty miles to the south towards the Rufiji, and a hundred miles inland where it bordered Morogoro District. It was divided for convenience into three quite distinct areas.

To the north, accessible from the main tarmac Morogoro Road, lay the chiefdom of Ruvu which comprised a settlement called Soga and sisal estates along the Ruvu River.

To the south was the coastal plain around the chiefdoms of Mkuranga, Mkamba and Kisiju bisected by the murram road that led out of the District down to Utete on the Rufiji River and beyond that to the important harbour of Kilwa.

In the middle lay the extensive chiefdoms of Mzenga and Maneromango, thirty or more miles beyond the Kisarawe Boma along a rough sandy road that ran over many hills far inland.

There were no direct routes from the Boma to Ruvu in the north or to Mkuranga and Kisiju in the south. One had to drive into Dar es Salaam and out again on either the Morogoro Road or the Kilwa Road to reach the other parts of the District.

The dominant tribe in the District was the Zaramo who had lived in the area long before Dar es Salaam had been built and had always roamed the fertile inland hills as subsistence farmers accustomed to clearing small areas of scrub and woodland, growing their crops for a few years until the soil was exhausted, and then moving on. On the coast the soil was sandy and yielded poor returns, coconut palms flourished and many villages depended on fishing.

A Zaramo chief had the title of Mtawala (Governor in Swahili) and a subchief was called an Ndewa (Chief in the Zaramo language). The chairman of the Native Authority presided over the finance and tax offices at Kisarawe adjacent to the Boma and was styled Mtawala Mkuu (or Great Governor). Unlike the Nyamwezi of Nzega, the Zaramo had never been warriors nor warlike people; on the contrary they were peaceful and easy-going folk, loosely organised into clans and widely-extended families. Those within reach of the coast and Arab influence were naturally Muslim, while those living in the inland hills tended to be pagan.

A feature of the Zaramo and some other East Coast tribes was that they were organised in matrilineal groupings. Life was believed to be passed on to children by blood from the mother who was thus seen as a superior being to the father and dominant in the family. An extended family group of the Zaramo consisted of a man with his wife, their daughters, the husbands and children of their daughters, and importantly the unmarried sons of his sisters. The house belonged to the wife who could tell her husband to clear out when a serious quarrel occurred. Having fathered children, the older men had few responsibilities and little to do. This arrangement was held to be a valuable source of strength in their family system, preserving the coherence of their clans, but had been little understood by the early explorers of the Victorian age like Richard Burton.


Before my first safari, I had to resume my duties as a magistrate, taking my first case in the middle of that first week at Kisarawe, although rusty and out of practice after two years’ gap in hearing cases. It was a piddling little affair concerning a boy who was alleged to have stolen a duck from a villager. An ancient and illiterate old crone claimed she saw the lad carrying the bird away tucked under his arm, but the Police could produce no witnesses to corroborate her evidence, and he stoutly insisted that the person she saw was not him - he was somewhere else quite different. So rusty was my criminal law that it took me agonising hours to decide to let him off.

As soon as I could dispose of this silly case, I set off on safari to oversee the registration of the electorate in the chiefdoms in the south of the district (area no 2), and spent the best part of three weeks there until the job was done. The Hillman took Juma, a messenger and me down the hill into the centre of Dar and out again down the coast road to the Mkuranga rest-house where Juma unpacked my gear and set up a temporary base for us.

We found he had forgotten both the beer and the bread, but there was too much to do to worry. That day and for many following, I was in and out of the car driving along the bumpy dust tracks to one village after another. My job was to supervise the work of a team of the Boma clerks who checked the credentials and filled in the registration forms with the names of those applying for the vote. At the same time I took the opportunity to meet the Mtawala and the various Ndewa, as well as the elders and clerks at each chiefdom centre and substantial village. I paid my first visit to the barazas, dispensaries and schools, and checked the state of the local minor settlements, roads and bridges. I set off at 8 o’clock each morning and crawled back to my base around 6 or so and sometimes after dark, seeing a lot of the country and meeting a large number of the Zaramo villagers. It was good to be out touring, getting into the heart of the country and finding out how the people lived.

Some of my travelling was done on a borrowed bicycle wherever the tracks petered out, and some of it could only be done on foot where a bridge had been washed away. No time could be spared for lunch, so I stoked up with a large breakfast and postponed my next meal until back in the rest house at the end of the day. This arrangement suited my companions because it happened to be Ramadhan, when they fasted during daylight hours. When on the march among the coconut palms I was tempted by the offer of ‘dafu’, that is the cold, slightly fizzy, milky juice of the young coconut, cut from the top of the tree while we waited beneath. It was cooling when one was hot and thirsty, but even that refreshment was forbidden to the strict Muslims in my party.

The Mkuranga rest house was only thirty miles from Dar and fifty from Kisarawe itself and I was able to return to my bungalow at the weekends and into Dar to attend occasional meetings. The first weekend out, I was persuaded to motor back to headquarters for the opportunity to get to know my colleagues better. I was invited to a sundowner by Dick Pentney at Minaki School just down the road from us, and then to a pleasant dinner party given by the DC and his wife. It was kind of them and helped break the ice.

One mid-week day, in the middle of the registration process, I was summoned from Mkuranga to go into Dar to attend the Technical Institute for my second attempt at the Oral Higher Swahili Exam. After living and working among Swahili speakers, my vocabulary had grown and my knowledge of the idioms and nuances in the language had much improved since the previous September when I had failed the exam. This time, to my great relief, I passed - the chairman of the examiners was kind enough to congratulate me on my fluency, while adding that I had made a lot of mistakes in my grammar.

Immediately after the exam, I went to the hospital for an x-ray and a day or two later Dr Coles gave me a check-up and confirmed my fitness. I also drove into the city in the evenings to keep my contacts with the Tanganyika Amateur Athletics Association, the Tanganyika Society, and the Society for the Blind. The TSB wanted me to organise another big dance at the Arnautoglu Hall; I refused to take the responsibility - one had to be on the spot and not only were the Kisarawe roads almost impassable during the periods of heavy rain, but the telephone line was totally unreliable. Balozi Maggid accepted the job on condition I was available to advise and support him.

The dance was duly held in early August and I went down to help Balozi. It was not the posh affair for the African elite that the Society had put on the previous December. It was more of a brawl with lots of beer and sweat and steamy rumbas; but we filled the hall with people and charging Shs 2/= a head, we made a clear profit of over Shs 1,000/=.

Continuing to oversee electoral registration in the Mkuranga area, all went well in the second week until my car broke down in the wilds sixty miles south of Dar. The fan belt snapped - and there was no spare in the car. I abandoned it, borrowed a bicycle to pedal ten miles to the Kilwa road, and waited for two hours for a lift back to the rest-house. Early the following morning I hitched another lift to the garage in Dar to collect a replacement belt, and hired a taxi out to the car once again in the afternoon. I then replaced the fan-belt so that we could eventually motor back to Kisarawe late on the Saturday night.

I met nothing but courtesy and helpfulness on the part of the local people during this tedious adventure. The area where the car broke down was poor, niggardly and generally fairly bolshy; the people would not pay their taxes and were always grumbling about something or other. Yet on this occasion, they helped me willingly, with sympathy and in a quiet and dignified way; they escorted me wherever I went and looked after me most hospitably. The Dar taxi driver carried me out of town back to my broken-down vehicle for half his normal fare. He was a keen TANU committee man and the son-in-law of a chief of my acquaintance who was a left-wing nationalist, but he could not have been more helpful. I was grateful to them all, and drove home much relieved, leaving it to others to celebrate the appearance of the moon and the start of the Idd holiday at the end of Ramandhan and their long fast. While the drums beat in the villages beyond the Boma, I unpacked and relaxed on my own verandah.

The poor little Hillman was doing well on the rough roads, but risked being flogged to death, particularly as the Rains were starting, the potholes were frightful, and the mud was an even worse hazard than the sand. A land-rover would have been easier and safer running round the District, and government loans were available. I nevertheless decided to hang on to the Hillman till the end of my tour in August, and to postpone buying a bigger car until the start of my leave. I wanted to enjoy my leave with a new model and have a good strong vehicle on my return to the country on my second three-year tour.


So the Hillman went in for repairs, the front chassis was welded and the fan belt replaced, and off I went on safari for a further spell even further south, hoping the car would hold together. We passed Mkuranga and the area of work of the previous weeks, and went on a further thirty miles to Kisiju. This was one of the larger and older fishing villages along the coast where, set back a little way from the shore line, two rows of dukas run by Indians and Arabs provided goods including heady spices and colourful clothing for the fishermen and their families. The rest-house was situated on the edge of the beach; sitting on its rickety verandah one looked out over the limitless expanse of the Indian Ocean with scattered native craft, dugout canoes and battered single-masted dhows.

As far as one could see in both directions stretched an endless strip of dazzling white sands glittering in the bright sunlight edged with gentle waves and the rippling sea. Across the reef was the tiny islet of Koma and beyond it in the distance the bigger island of Kwale. The scene was both beautiful and peaceful apart from the continual thud and rush of breaking waves, but there was no time to relax. My team was busy over the weekend, visiting the small trading centre to check that the shop-keepers had paid their rents and taxes, and making arrangements for the registration of electors at Kisiju’s white-walled baraza set amid coconut palms beside the main road.

Kisiju Baraza
Kisiju Baraza
I concluded the process down there with a twenty mile walk from the resthouse on muddy tracks through many miles of mangroves and palms to three small fishing villages. There the clerks registered their voters while I checked on the health of their inhabitants, inspected their tiny primary schools and dispensaries, and noted the condition of the tracks and bridges that provided the limited access to them.

Late on a Sunday the Hillman carried me and my small team back home, having driven seven hundred miles during the course of my first full month at Kisarawe. It rained heavily for several days and once back in the Boma, we found ourselves marooned. I took the opportunity to catch up with letters home and to Val, and had to tackle another difficult case as magistrate which had apparently been dragging on for some weeks. After an all-day session and much hesitation, I finally gave the man three months’ imprisonment.

We had another District Team meeting, with election registration completed and we planned to revert to routine safaris. The main job was checking the state of the roads after the rains, hiring labour to repair the wash-outs and worst of the potholes, replace culverts that had been overwhelmed and mend the bridges that had been undermined. Meantime we discovered a theft from the Native Authority’s extensive stores of building and roadwork materials. I had to set aside a full day to check every single items and got very behind again with my work.


My car had to be left in the workshop in Dar while the valves were reground and the station land-rover took me out for my next safari. We went to Ruvu (area 3) out along the main Morogoro Road and then south across the railway line and over a plateau beside the river. The soil was relatively fertile and we drove past orchards of cashew trees and long lines of sisal that had been laid out many years earlier beside the railway. At a village called Soga, my two tasks were to draw a complete plan of all the houses and building plots and then to sort out arrangements to allow an African business man to lease some land to an Arab beside the road. After these jobs, we settled into the small and dilapidated resthouse for the night. Next day followed the usual routine of visits to the Ndewa and his baraza, the local school and the dispensary. Then instead of returning along the main road we cut across country on little used tracks to check their condition and visited another chiefdom centre on the way home. All went well and I managed to find my way back to Kisarawe and on down to Dar again to retrieve my car.


The rain came down heavily again, but I had to ignore it in order to pay my first visit to Maneromango for routine work over three days based at the resthouse there, This was area 1 on my list, and quite different from either of the others; it lay inland and was a much larger area with a bigger population, being the heartland of the Zaramo people among wave after wave of rolling hills with numerous villages and their shambas everywhere.

We travelled out in pouring rain, and spent most days in the clouds, unable to see much, in dank and positively cold weather. I met the Mtawala, his elders and clerks, went round his court house, and held a tax baraza. As usual on such occasions, my aim was to encourage the headmen and elders to increase income from local taxes in order to have more money for the schools, dipensaries, courts, roads and bridges. I talked and talked, by turns persuading and cajoling, threatening and accusing, soothing and begging, arguing and ordering.

I should have been interested in the place and the people, but the roads were in an appalling state and all my energies were devoted to getting through, while noting and planning the work to be done. I left in a bad temper, and returned in one - and thus completed my initial familiarisation of the District before Easter.

Easter 1960

For Easter, Simon and I had many plans, but all were washed out, literally, by the heavy rains that fell all over the Territory. We were keen to drive down to Iringa in the Southern Highlands for the weekend, but sadly had to cancel the idea. All the main roads were cut and flooded.

Typical of those days was the adventure of the children from Lushoto prep school hoping to return home for their Easter Holidays. They were loaded on to coaches happily looking forward to the trip to rejoin their families in Dar. Unfortunately the Mombo road had been cut in several places by landslides and the coaches took a full day to descend the escarpement. Eventually one exhausted bus-load reached the air-strip at Mombo only to find their plane stuck in the mud, while another coach had to stay a night at Handeni because of floods across the main road. My heart went out to the DC at Handeni looking after a busload of energetic youngsters marooned at the Boma, waiting for the roads to dry out.

The Coronation Safari, the annual East African motor race, passed through Kisarawe on Good Friday, having been diverted from the Handeni route because of the floods. The racing cars came down from Nairobi by a devious route to Dar and were going on to Iringa and back into Kenya in two days at high speeds. They were supposed to leave Dar at 11pm and drive almost past my front door on their way through, and friends were keen to come up from Dar to watch the cars go by. Juma was on holiday, but Morris and I provided them with soup and sausages, and borrowed several camp beds to put up all comers. It rained all night and my intrepid friends joined me by the roadside at a particularly sharp muddy corner with a good view in all directions, but the cars were seriously delayed, and when they did finally reach us, all one could see was their headlights as they jolted over the potholes and corrugations and slithered round the bends. So we watched them roar by, very dirty, noisy and late, in clouds of muddy spray and petrol fumes, and we got to bed very late that night.

Life returned to normal after Easter; Simon went back to his work in the Dar District Office, while Robert Paterson and Andrew both disappeared on safari and I was alone in the Boma for a week of office work in which to recover from a hectic and sleepless weekend. Juma returned from leave; Morris left amicably; he was quickly replaced by Amiri who was altogether more biddable, discreet and loyal. Meanwhile I wrestled with the accounts, prepared them for the auditor and began working on the following year’s financial estimates for the District.

Kwale Island

In early May I spent another spell of ten days or so in the south of the District. For two days I stayed at Mkamba, and went round the chiefdom and the baraza in company with the Mtawala on a routine inspection. In each village I held the customary tax baraza with the Ndewa and elders. These barazas were always a battle of wits and an exercise in tact. I was learning all the time and thoroughly enjoyed the cut and thrust of debate - at least until my Swahili broke down as it tended to do from time to time. I drove back to the rest-house each afternoon hoarse and feeling like a wet rag.

I drove on down to Kisiju and was joined by Simon for a trip on a Sunday across to Kwale Island. We left the strand at 6.30am in a small dhow known as a mashua which had a stubby little mast, a rough and ready type of sail and rotting sisal ropes for rigging. We set off in pouring rain with a sharp wind, and found the boat had great difficulty in sailing into it; moreover it was slimy, smelly and full of lice, and the taciturn nahoda, the steersman, and his barefoot crew were much the same. It was a long morning.

The boat finally deposited us on the island shore at midday. We were given a respectful and guarded welcome, but their Jumbe and elders warmed to us during the day, and told us they had not been visited by a European for four years. The inhabitants numbered about two hundred souls and I listened to their shauris and collected their tax while Simon explored. He found the remains of one stone house, but nobody knew who had built it nor how old it was. Together we walked round the island and were surprised to find large herds of goats and cows browsing the sparse scrub among the coconut palms. It was obvious the island could not support so many cattle; so I called the senior villagers together and lectured them on the need for controlling the grazing, and the importance of planting more coconut palms and growing rice. It was a busy afternoon, inspecting everything, walking everywhere and talking my head off.

We came back with the wind behind us in about two hours. We sailed close to the other much smaller island called Koma, but the people ran away as they saw the mashua approaching suspecting we were making a tax-raid and would haul the lot of them off to jail. We had no time to chase after them, so by-passed the islet and made straight for Kisiju beach.

Simon took me back in his land-rover from Kisiju to the Mkuranga resthouse before he sped back to Dar, while I sat down to write a report to the Dar vets about the need for them to visit Koma and persuade the inhabitants to destock and sell some of their goats. I had nearly finished it and was thinking about crawling under my mosquito net into bed when an Indian businessman burst in on me with a strange and unwelcome tale. He alleged he was the owner of the rusting wreck of the well-known German battleship, the Konisgberg, that had been sunk by British monitors during the First World War, and had lain ever since in the mud in a creek some twelve miles up the Rufiji River. My informant told me he had bought the wreck in order to break it up for scrap. He was in a great stew because he had just heard that some rival scrap merchants had been on the river helping themselves to bits of his battleship. He then dragged me out to lay an ambush in the middle of the night in order to stop and search his rival’s lorry expected to come up the road from the Rufiji to Dar loaded with scrap metal allegedly stolen from his ship.

So exercising my powers as a police officer, I gave orders a pole should be laid three feet up across the deserted main road, and we lay in wait for something to happen. Sure enough, around one in the morning, we heard in the distance the wheezing and spluttering of an old lorry, and in due course it trundled up to our road block and juddered to a halt. My torch then revealed that it was heavily over-loaded with a pile of scrap that looked as if it had come off an iron-clad ship. I had no choice but to cross-question the lorry driver and his mate (the turniboi), for an hour to hear their side of the story. I listened to the accuser all over again, but there were no papers and of course there was no proof one way or the other. It was some frightful hour before I finally packed them off to Dar with instructions to park their lorry at Police Headquarters and tell their story to the CID in the morning who I was happy to allow to sort the matter out.

After the late night, I passed the following morning under waving palms outside my rest house reading letters from home - mail had been sent down to me at Mkuranga by special messenger from the Boma, and I read of my parents’ trip to Holland to see the bulbs, a cheerful chatty note from Margaret, and a loving letter from Val. My mother sent out the ‘Field’ magazine from time to time and three arrived together and brought me a breath of good English country air. Then after a large lunch, I spent the rest of the day checking money, interviewing applicants for gun licences and finishing my long report for the vets and the DC about the Koma goats.

After a couple more days touring the area, I was on my way home when the Hillman shuddered to a halt having picked up a puncture. The nuts on the wheel hub were on so tight that it took an hour to undo them. No jack was required however. A bus drew up and out poured a dozen men. There was no need to ask for help; they took one look at the vehicle and the flat tyre; and eight hefty passengers lifted up the rear of the little car while others fitted the new wheel. I was immensely grateful and limped back home at six for my lunch.

The Kurasini Hippos

Back in the Boma I received renewed complaints about the depredations of hippos up Kurasini creek and gave instructions that a Game Scout should go there and shoot one or two to move them on. I then buckled down to hear two lengthy cases in the court room.

The Game Scout did his duty, but when the Sunday papers reached us at the Boma, I was horror-struck to see in the Dar es Salaam Sunday Times a photograph of a European resident of Kurasini pointing to a large dead hippo with the banner headline, “Did the game scout shoot the wrong hippo?” Below the picture was a long rigmarole how the hippo was the head of a family in the harbour creek which the Europeans living there regarded “almost as pets”, and the poor animal had been wandering about seriously wounded before dying in a dank mangrove swamp. The residents were indignant and, I fear, distressed at my action, demanding a formal inquiry and threatening to take the matter to the Legislative Council. They thought the Game Scout had been told to kill a wounded animal elsewhere and shot the wrong one by mistake. They denied the hippos were a problem; on the contrary they said that the cows which the local people allowed to wander into their gardens did much more damage.

Both poor Nigel Durdant-Hollamby, the District Commissioner, and the headquarters of the Game Department in Dar were bombarded with telephone calls and letters complaining about the incident. My phone was ringing constantly. The new Morogoro PC was brought in to the affair and, happening to be visiting us in Kisarawe, demanded my explanation in person.

The DC was put under much pressure with no idea what I had been up to. He rang me to ask me to write a report urgently, and I had to drop everything else to do so and take it to him to explain how and why I had given orders for the beast to be shot. I was sorry that my action had caused trouble for a lot of people whom I respected as my elders and betters, but I defended myself staunchly. The city’s Swahili newspapers were on my side, saying how silly and sentimental were the Europeans of Kurasini, and what nonsense it was to try and protect a beast that was destroying the villagers’ rice harvest and their very livelihood; the animals were classed as vermin and were very dangerous. The Game Department conducted an official enquiry and it was a relief to read their official statement to the press which reflected my advice.

“A number of African shambas have recently been damaged by hippo at Kurasini. A game scout was accordingly sent out to effect control and one hippo was shot. Protests against the shooting have been made but it must be remembered that the protection of African shambas from big game is the responsibility of the Game Department and this department cannot shed responsibility because the animals happen to congregate near an urban concentration.”

During the night after the row broke round my ears, I was woken at midnight by Susie howling outside my bedroom window. I went outside to call her in, and came back in to my bedroom in the pitch dark. I then turned to sit down on my bed half asleep - but the bed was not there. I had misjudged and came a fearful crack on the floor. It was a painful experience.

To cap it all, the shamba boy who was supposed to do odd jobs and keep the garden tidy, took my car out of the garage the next morning without permission while I was at work. He said he was testing the plugs which he had just cleaned at my orders, but he did not know how to drive and he put the long-suffering Husky into the ditch at the bottom of the road, dented it and scraped the paint. This was serious and expensive; the lad could have been dismissed summarily, or prosecuted by the Police, but there did not seem much point. In the end I kept him on provided he agreed to reimburse me for the damage at the rate of Shs 25/= a month out of his total wages of Shs 85/=. It would be very hard for him to keep his family on such a small sum, but it would perhaps be better than the alternatives. Juma, the cook, then dashed off saying he had heard his wife was very ill and had been taken to hospital, so I had bread and cheese that night. All in all it was a difficult week.

Road work

Many of our trips in May and June were made in order to keep open the principal routes around the District. I took a lorry out on the Maneromango road in late May with two tons of kokoto (aggregate), three concrete rings to serve as culverts, four wheelbarrows, six prisoners (from our police lock-up to do the work), two fundi (carpenters), two bags of cement, a pile of sand, a tent and food for the workmen. I dumped the men and the materials on the roadside where it had fallen away and gave instructions for the necessary repairs to be done during the following ten days. A day or two later I sent out four more prisoners and two more small rings and finally six big ones on the Boma lorry, and I drove out there every second day to see how they were getting on.

I went south beyond Mbezi deep in the bush to a place called Shungubweni where I found the Rains had dug out a steep and deep ditch across the only track leading from the main road into the village. The local people were completely cut off. I procured four stout beams and hired eight workmen and one fundi and over three days restored the villagers’ link with the outside world. I was proud of that bridge which was completed in record time to reopen the road.

Shungubweni Bridge Completed
Bridge Completed
Time had also to be given to directing repairs to Kisarawe’s own connection with Dar es Salaam which had deteriorated badly in the Rains. Driving down to the city for some sailing one weekend, the Hillman broke a back spring in a series of potholes, and a few days later had a blow-out that ruined a tyre. Despite a mild bout of flu, I put workmen on the road and supervised major works over three weeks to improve the surface and repair the worst of the damage. For my little car, the run into Dar became a torture as well as an expense. Leisure trips were to be avoided as much as possible.


When I next escaped from the Boma it was on a trip to the north-west of the District to tour the farms around Soga in the Ruvu chiefdom. One job was to walk round a group of coconut plantations, check the plans and assess the rent due. Another task was to map some old rubber plantations that ran alongside the Central Railway. The trees had originally been planted by the Germans fifty years earlier, but been neglected for a long time after their departure and were still poorly maintained. There was a big camp for the tappers and other workers but the original factory had been demolished. My third duty was to inspect twenty acres of cashew trees and fifteen acres of cotton some distance away on which a full report was required.

It was then necessary for me to rush back to Kisarawe on the Saturday morning to attend an excellent lunchtime drinks party given by the DC and Mrs Paterson. The Queen’s Birthday had come round again, and the Europeans on the station and other guests from the neighbouring missions and schools - many of them new friends - were invited for the occasion. We gathered on the lawn of the beautiful garden in front of the DC’s house with views over the distant city and the Indian Ocean and drank Her Majesty’s health in delightful (if warm) champagne.


For a week in June, I went back to deal with tax and land shauris at Mkuranga, and to talk to the road foreman about improvements to the local roads. I then cycled forty miles through a string of little fishing villages along the coast to the coastal village of Buyuni, which was not far from Dar on the map but had no road access. The only ways to reach it and its neighbouring hamlets were either from the sea or along the sea-shore; and I decided to use a borrowed bicycle, leaving the car where the road petered out at about 8am one morning and returning to it at 10pm that night.

All through the day I pedalled away and held little meetings in each village on the route. The discussion was mostly about the economics of their smallscale fisheries off the reef and their problems over fishing licences. I learned much about their life, but found cycling along the beach hard work in the soft sand. The cheerful young African messengers and clerks who accompanied me were grand companions; they carried me and shepherded me over innumerable obstacles. It rained all day and long stretches of the footpath were under several inches of water which it was impossible to pedal through; so we paddled across them barefoot, pushing our cycles along beside us. One bay could be crossed only by hiring ‘ngalawas’ (outrigger craft), and over one river mouth I was borne piggy-back on the shoulders of two wiry young messengers. The water was waist high for about fifty yards and the Africans in my party stripped and insisted on hoisting me on to their shoulders while they waded through and I clutched their heads and prayed they would not drop me.

The worst part of the journey was the return at night. It was pitch dark with no moon, and none of our bicycles had lamps. My escorts’ eyes were better adjusted to the dark than mine, and they needed neither torches nor paraffin lamps as they hurtled along the sand and through the fields urging me to keep up with them. I could see nothing and could trust only to the eye-sight of my escort and a good deal of luck. I waded through mud and slid into it; I fell off a dozen times whenever the wheels stuck in thick sand or I lost the path; I was exhausted, filthy and bleeding in several places when we struggled back to the car late that night. The poor old car suffered again, as I reversed her into a coconut palm when turning her homewards, collecting a large dent in the rear bumper.

Relaxing Weekends

My first heavy weekend took place in April when, after sailing one Saturday afternoon, Andrew Marshall and I were invited as guests of Sheilagh Bailey to supper in her charming flat high up at Sea View by the bridge across to Oyster Bay. Then we all went on to the Police Officers’ Mess on a headland at the end of Oyster Bay, a very hospitable establishment of which Sheilagh was a member. They put on an amusing topical revue followed by buffet supper and dancing. Andrew and I felt rather ‘country cousins’ in comparison with all the smooth young police officers and Secretariat officials, and it was a long drive in evening dress over the muddy road back to bed at 4am.

I came back from the Buyuni trip on a Saturday afternoon just in time for a big cocktail party at Kisarawe thrown by Andrew, the DOI, in honour of the DC. We were saying goodbye to him and Mrs Paterson, for they were leaving for England by boat the next day at the start of their long leave. The party was the culmination of various festivities and a fair amount of extra work at the Boma in packing him up, disposing of his belongings and taking over his work until a new DC arrived.

Simon came up for the party, having worked with the Patersons previously, and stayed the night with me. Next day he took me in his land-rover to visit some of his missionary friends at an old Lutheran Mission which had been established since the 1880s deep in the bush beyond Maneromango in the far corner of the District. Here we were given tea and shown around and then taken to view a selection of animal carvings made locally. The Mission was one of the few places in the Territory where good carvings were being produced at the time, using hard wood like ebony, and this particular Mission had almost a monopoly of their products. We saw some of their best work and bought a few items, although they were too heavy to take back by air to England as presents.

During the visit we were shown records of the early days of the mission. I met a young teacher named Stephen Andrew who was knowledgeable about the past of his people and stimulated my interest in the history and ethnology of the Zaramo tribe. Stephen lent me masses of old documents to study in the following weeks at the Boma. Every District in the Territory had what was called the ‘District Book’ in which successive DCs and DOs recorded interesting and relevant facts about the history of the place and the customs of the local tribes. In reading through the papers borrowed from the Maneromango Mission, I was able to add some pages to the Kisarawe District Book with information about tribal customs that had been collected and recorded by the early missionaries.

Over several weekends in June, Simon, David le Breton and I had some superb sails in Greyhound in strong winds On one occasion, two boats capsized outside the harbour, another broke its mast whilst a fourth lost its crew overboard, and altogether it was not easy sailing - we were five men up that afternoon and still had several narrow shaves.

On another occasion, Simon and I went out to revisit our old haunts, particularly Honeymoon Island. The breeze was strong, and we had a blow through long, rolling waves, with a picnic lunch on board in the lee of one of the islets before running home. It turned out to be our last sail, for we were obliged with much sadness to put dear old Greyhound up for sale because we were both due for six months ‘long leave’ at home on completing three years service in the Territory in August 1960. It was not easy to find a buyer, however; we had a couple of nibbles but no definite offer, and had to lower our price. David took over the job of selling the boat and continued the bargaining on our behalf, but even he, with all his contacts, did not find it easy to attract buyers. Greyhound’s sails were worn and showing a number of little rents and patches, and, after further disappointments, we had to reduce our price still further, accepting that the sails would need to be replaced by the purchaser.

At the end of June I had a pleasant weekend when I attended the wedding of an African District Officer in the grand old German-built Lutheran Church on Dar es Salaam sea-front. A couple of weeks later, I went to an interesting and invigorating cocktail party in Dar on a Sunday to celebrate David Le Breton’s engagement to Patricia, the opera singer. There I met John Bradley who had replaced Mr Rowe as Provincial Commissioner in charge of the Eastern Province based at Morogoro. Both he and the Permanent Secretary of our Ministry who controlled my future assured me that on my return from leave I should be sent to Morogoro where I might well spend the whole of my next tour - its length depending on the fast-moving political changes which no-one could foresee.

As my leave approached, I spent fewer weekends in Dar, and went to evening committee meetings in the city with increasing reluctance. On one of my last weekends I dashed into Dar with two volunteer clerks from our Boma to help at the annual TSB fete organised by my former colleague Balozi Maggid. The clerks and I sat at Government House gates all afternoon taking entry money from the visitors as they came in. There did not seem to be much of a crowd and the weather was poor but we collected over £50 in admission money which helped to swell the society’s coffers.

Joan Walton

Joan wrote to me in March to say she was back in the Westminster Hospital after a period of gradual recovery followed by a sudden and dreadful collapse; she had evidently had a very hard time. Fred Webb owed her some money and she asked me to recover it for her, which I willingly did and sent her back messages of encouragement. After more bad news from the hospital, I wrote to my sister, Margaret, at the end of May asking her to take some flowers to the Westminster Hospital and heard from her after her visit that poor Joan was very thin and terminally ill. Margy cheered Joan up immensely however, and Joan’s sister, Marian wrote to me on Joan’s behalf expressing her warm appreciation of the special visit. At the close of the letter, Marian added a Postscript.

“Joan asked me to write this for her. I expect your sister has told you how ill she really is, that there is no hope for her getting better. If you know her, you will know how distressing this is.”

I was saddened by this news; Joan was no more than 35 and was such a very cheerful and kind person who cared for me and did more than anyone else to help me through a difficult time in Nzega. She had given me much affection; I sometimes wondered if she had fallen in love with me just a little. Marian wrote to me again to say that, on 6th June 1960, just four days after Margaret’s visit, poor Joan had died in her sleep.

In charge

After the Patersons had left on leave, Andrew took his place, but he too disappeared unexpectedly, summoned to attend a long conference in Morogoro, leaving me in sole charge of the District. It was then I realised how hard was the work of running a District on one’s own. I had to be everywhere at once. I had news of a polio outbreak at one distant village, so I had to scurry round to send out a dispenser and medicines to them. People in another village were throwing stones at bus-drivers grumbling that their fares were too high and I despatched some askaris to protect the buses; somewhere else a Ndewa’s house was burnt down and I asked the police inspector to investigate ; one remote group of villages were begging urgent help because elephants were trampling their crops - a job for the Game Ranger; a court clerk in a distant chiefdom absconded with the cash box; a thief was detected in a remote township - more work for the police. I waded through lots of minor crises and a heap of interesting work.

Moreover, the District was humming politically. I was unaccustomed to dealing with our politicians, but in the absence of a DC and DOI, I became involved in such affairs for the only time that tour. The previous DC had instituted plans for the election of new chiefs (the Mtawala) in July in all the chiefdoms in the District. As soon as I was left on my own at the Boma, however, the Mtawala Mkuu and other influential people at the Native Authority complained that the planned organisation and timing were unfairly biased against the traditional elders. I was asked to postpone the start date for the elections in order to allow time for more balanced arrangements to be made. Delay was however strongly opposed by TANU, the nationalist party, because its members were geared up for early elections and deferment would be to the advantage of its opponents. I decided it would be right to give a better chance for the more moderate and traditional leaders of the people in the District, and set in hand arrangements for meetings with the politicians and chiefs to agree new dates and a new procedure.

At this stage Andrew returned from his conference and the new DC, David Nickol, arrived at the start of his tour. One lunch-time I threw a small drinks party for him to meet informally all the Europeans on the station. David had recently been DC Handeni where I had served briefly and told me the latest news of old friends there. He was another former officer of the Kings African Rifles, and a thoroughly pleasant, considerate and active man, and a delightful boss - though sadly living on his own, as his wife did not like up-country life.

We had a formal hand-over and a District Team meeting at which I reported on the political situation, and then went off on safari, leaving David and Andrew with the likelihood of some difficult meetings, hoping they would not think too unkindly of me for my brief intervention in local politics. They sorted the matter out very easily, and on my return from safari I was invited to a long chatty supper with them when we talked shop solidly through a long evening. I thought my new DC was a grand fellow, and we seemed to get on pretty well together as we planned how to tackle the pile of work waiting to be done in the District.

Mkuranga and Kisiju again

As I set off and drove through Dar es Salaam at the start of my next big safari, I saw a crowd of European ladies gathered at the new police barracks, and another group at the railway station as I passed. On enquiry I was told they were expecting a train bringing five hundred Belgians who had been expelled following rioting after the declaration of independence in the Congo. The empty barracks were being hurriedly prepared to house the unfortunate refugees. I heard little more news while I was on safari except that the African politicians were blaming the wretched colonists for the disaster, many more refugees had arrived than expected, and the expatriate community was working hard to clothe and care for them and find them temporary accommodation.

My brother John wrote from Norwich, expressing concern lest the situation in the Congo might jeopardise my leave. In fact it hardly seemed to affect us in Kisarawe. The three of us had more than enough work to do without worrying about the outside world. Elections, road-building and tax-collecting were to us far more important than civil war and UN activity at the other end of the Continent.

The Hillman did about 100 miles each day for a week on that safari, while I visited countless villages and spoke at barazas to large numbers of people, mainly about crops, produce markets and tax, urging them to pay if they could, and exempting them if they were too old or sick. Many of the inland villages relied on the sale of rice to bring in sufficient income for their needs and their dues; that year yielded a good rice harvest with plenty of rain to fatten the ears, but unfortunately the price was low. This was the result partly of the large quantity on the market, and partly because of import restrictions in Uganda; so, despite many promises to pay, the tax was not coming in as it should.

On the coast, copra, the dried ‘meat’ of the coconut, had a good market in the towns. Life in the coastal villages relied on profits from its sale, but they too were low that year as the palms were in poor condition following light rains over the preceding three years. So the coastal villages also pleaded poverty and an inability to pay the customary taxes. Altogether, the farming situation was depressing, but I greatly enjoyed the endless variety of characters and conversation with the Africans I met; none was ‘educated’ in the Western sense of the word, but all were steeped in the Koran and in the gravity and dignity of Arab civilization.

A particularly interesting baraza took place one day on that trip at a gathering under a mango tree by the roadside. A village was refusing to pay tax, because the villagers had elected their own Ndewa, without a by-your-leave from anyone in authority even though one had previously been appointed by Government, and the new Ndewa had cheerfully assured everyone that they were excused all taxes. TANU was involved, though it quickly emerged they had not instigated the affair; one or two ambitious men had used the political label to gain local popularity and cloak their own selfish designs. So all through one day I sat down with the Mtawala, the official Ndewa, the usurper, the village elders, the TANU folk, a large crowd of on-lookers and all the tax clerks, in order to thrash the matter out.

Hillman Husky on safari
Hillman Husky on Safari
Everyone was perfectly polite, but every sentence spoken carried a veiled meaning. During the course of innumerable courteous and tediously longwinded speeches, each speaker manoeuvred speciously through a mound of double talk to protest innocence of any wrong-doing and deny the slightest wish to ignore Government directions. In responding, both my Swahili and diplomacy were tested to the limit. It was tremendous fun. The local boys scored a number of points and denied that an illegal election of a headman had taken place. In the face of their earnest denials I could not pin any misbehaviour on them, but I did manage to get them to agree publicly that, if an election had taken place, it would have been illegal. Better still, they were also constrained to accept that, even if an illegal election had occurred it would have been no reason for withholding taxes. The double negatives and extended conditional tenses in my remarks taxed my grasp of the language, but I like to think I won the argument. We were all exhausted as the shadows lengthened and we said our formal farewells, and while I did not require payment of tax owing on the spot, I trusted them to settle their dues at the appropriate time after the harvest.

I went on down to Kisiju for a further three days staying at the rest house once more, collecting tax and licences and approving loans for the dukas in the minor settlement. I spent a lazy Sunday there catching up with my correspondence, sitting on the verandah in that supremely peaceful spot. After two more days going round the village and spending time at the local school and dispensary, I had planned to hire a boat again and cross to the islands, taking wire fencing to Kwale to help them pen their goats, but it was not to be. David Nickol came down with the Mtawala Mkuu to pay his first visit to the chiefdom and preside over the election of a new chief in the baraza there. The following day they went elsewhere to oversee more elections while I returned to Kisarawe for the weekend.


The elections in the District continued but I was not required to help organise them; instead I was sent out on poor roads to the far north-western corner of the District. The gallant Hillman was several times stuck in the deep sand and had to be man-handled through, and then had a puncture which made me filthy and late in reaching my destination. Once settled in, I had two projects; it had been decided to build a rest-house up there at Magindu and my job was to choose an airy, open site and mark out its foundations. The rough track stopped some way short of the village and my second task was to select a place where a stream that blocked the way could be crossed by a bridge.

Knowing perfectly well that there was no rest-house, I should have carried a tent and camped under canvas. I foolishly failed to take one, however, so I took over the court room and squeezed my camp bed and mosquito net into the Ndewa’s tiny office. I shaved, ate and wrote my notes in public view; a strong breeze blew dust everywhere, and a cloud of messy insects flew all evening round and round the paraffin lamp; at supper, big moths dropped in the gravy and the wind sprinkled dust over the vegetables. Worse still, I forgot to take a hairbrush, and the cook forgot to bring a tin of milk; I drank black coffee and looked like a scarecrow. It was not a comfortable camp.

The people of that neighbourhood were not Zaramo people, but belonged to a tribe called the Kwere who were pagan and simple in their habits, and had never come under the influence of the Arab traders. Mixed up among the Kwere were cattle herders known Kwavi whom I had met on my very first safari in Handeni. They had strayed with their herds far from their main centre of operations in the Northern Province and were quarrelling with the Kwere villagers over water for their beasts.

On arrival, instead of getting on with road and rest-house design, I found myself bombarded by complaints from both tribal groups about access to the water-holes below the village. Before doing anything else, I had to try and settle their squabbling. The Kwavi wanted to use all the wells for their cattle. The Mtawala had forbidden them from doing so, but one of my predecessors as a DO had subsequently given them permission. As a result Kwavi herds were trampling the crops of several local farmers, and taking the water that should have been available for irrigating the Kwere crops. I inspected the water-holes, and came to the conclusion the Kwavi could use the lower ones without causing problems for the Kwere residents or farmers. I marked out paths for access by the cattle and separate areas for those drawing water for their families and shambas; and I later recommended my successor to erect fences to divide the two areas permanently.

The Kwavi were despondent because of constant friction with the Kwere villagers; several civil cases of trespass and damage were pending; it seemed their way of life as nomadic cattle-herders could never be reconciled with the permanent pastoral farmers; but I spent some time trying to get the two tribal groups to work together and to ensure a fair deal between them.

When that shauri was resolved - at least for the time being - I returned to select a site for the rest-house. I chose a good, open position on flat ground, measured the levels and the angles for the corners, marked out its four-square foundations, and hired workmen to dig deep ditches to be filled in with stones and aggregate. After seeing the digging started under the foreman, I went off to meet the school-teacher and inspect his little school - it was in a poor condition and I gave him a fierce rocket insisting he tidy up his classrooms and smartened up the children.

Back in the car, I drove to a hamlet ten miles up the road to engage local labour for the road-work. A bridge had been washed away over a stream called the Msua River which it was vital to replace quickly. The villages that were cut off beyond the Msua were soon to harvest cotton and would lose money unless they could take it promptly to market and the ginnery in Dar. First the road had to be re-aligned to avoid a patch of slippery black cotton soil. Then, three steel girders had to be laid across the gap and bedded in cement at both ends; concrete supports had be made and aprons spread out to link the new bridge to the road. As a temporary measure a concrete ‘drift’ had to be laid across the river bed for use until the bridge could be rebuilt. A second and smaller stream had to be tamed with two new concrete culverts. Next I selected two possible sites for the proposed bridge; neither was ideal, but I pegged out the abutments, apron and access, and ordered both places to be cleared so that the DC could choose the best position on his next visit there. I then mapped the road and listed the extensive work needed to make it usable by lorries bringing the villagers’ crops out to market.

Lions on the Pugu Road

After a second night in the open court-house, I came back from Magindu to find great excitement in the Boma and the village behind us. Lions had been seen on the main road between Kisarawe and Dar es Salaam. They had approached cars driving up through the hills on three occasions in daylight, and they had had the temerity to charge the Governor’s car on its way to collect him after one of his customary walks in the Pugu Hills. The local villagers were understandably scared and locked their doors firmly at night. The DOI had been obliged to recall the labourers we had sent out to repair the road; and the Headmaster of Minaki School in the heart of the forest was very uneasy because his boys were about to return to school after the holidays. Consternation had also been caused when a lion had been seen lurking near the Ukonga Prison in the foothills.

Told to build a series of traps beside the road, I took a group of workmen from the station down the road, and guarded them, gun in hand, while they fashioned giant staked enclosures and latched gates that were hinged to drop as the lion entered. Live bait was then put inside each pen, and that evening and again a day or two later, David Nickol and I went out with our guns to patrol the road and show the villagers we were doing what we could to protect them.

We were all in the Boma one morning when a report came in that two lions were holed up, not in one of my enclosures, but in an abandoned hut beside the main road close to Minaki school. We issued four police askaris with ammunition for their rifles, sent them down with the Police Inspector, and followed them suitably armed. True enough, the poor beasts were trapped in a broken-down shed - it looked like a line of latrines that had been put up years before for road workers, left to rot, and was about to collapse.

I never saw the lions but they were making the forest echo with frightening roars of defiance as we lined up the police with their rifles. I hated what followed, as the askaris fired into the tumble-down shack at the animals who were quite unable to escape. With the smell of cordite in one’s nostrils, rifle shots thundering round the forest, those defiant roars turned into the coughs and growls of wounded animals and finally died away. It had to be done, but it was a slaughter in cold blood - and somehow such a waste.

Final Weeks

Our three year tour was nearly completed, and several of my haidhuru friends went home by sea in order to unwind. I saw the Magnays off on board the Braemar Castle for the cruise back to England, and I waved goodbye to John Illingworth, aboard the Kenya Castle a couple of weeks later. Simon went by air as early as he could in order to be Best Man at his brother’s wedding. I had also decided to fly and booked my ticket months ahead with BOAC.

Suddenly my departure was imminent. I was beginning to feel jaded and looked forward eagerly not only to seeing the family again but also to a rest from the constant packing and unpacking and long safaris on rough roads and poorly-cooked local food. I was losing weight, and making bad mistakes in my job; it was time for a break.

I had however to make three short safaris at the beginning of August. The first was to a village called Sungwi to inspect the primary school and court house. I noted that both the school buildings and shamba were in an “appalling” state; the children were playing football instead of sitting at their desks; attendance was half what it should have been; much work needed to be done; and I upbraided yet another young school-teacher for his slackness.

The second quick trip was to show some of the coastal villages to the new Forestry Officer named Stewart Inchbold-Stevens. We went down in his landrover which he drove along the sands to Buyuni. I was keen to show him the mangrove marshes running down to the sea because I wanted him to let villagers cut the mangroves poles for use in building their houses and fishing boats. While there, we heard more complaints about the depredations of hippos that were trampling and destroying the villagers’ scanty crops around the marshes; so once again, on return to the Boma I arranged for a game scout to travel there to try and control the pests.

We got back late from that trip but on the very next day I took the car inland to Maneromango. I went first to the Mission to return books that had been lent me, and went on down the road to rendez-vous with a fundi and supervisor to discuss arrangements for re-aligning and repairing a section of the road that had been washed away. That evening, the local Zaramo in Kisarawe village were dancing to celebrate the jando, (the rites of initiation of their young men). In our bungalows we often heard the drums in surrounding hamlets, but I hesitated to attend their ngomas unless specifically invited. On this occasion however I was welcomed, and on return from the safari I went out on foot a mile or so from the Boma to sit just outside the circle of dancers to listen and watch. It was late and very dark; a group of drummers thumped away with great style and panache, and young men threw themselves about, leaping, dancing and ringing bells with all their energy and skill in the light of a flaming bonfire. A big crowd of the boys’ relations and clans were assembled. The atmosphere was one of both excitement and mystery in the flickering light, and I was totally enthralled.

Off the Kenya Castle about the 10th August stepped my successor, Jim Campbell, a brand new Cadet straight out from England. I met and welcomed him and I took an immediate liking to him; and I swiftly organised the collection of his boxes from Customs and their delivery by the Boma truck to my house which he was to take over.

Boma Messenger
Boma Messenger
I spent a day or two in Dar the following week, handing over my files on the Society for the Blind, and the Athletics Association from which I formally resigned. I paid my respects to my Minister, Mr Dudbridge and made my number with the new Personnel Officer for DOs, named Beryl Lake, a WAA who had taken over from Mr Peace. Dr Coles wanted to give me a thorough check-up at the Ocean Road Hospital, and had a fresh set of x-rays taken which seemed to please him. He also wrote to my father about medical checks during my leave, and put together the x-rays, tonographs and notes of my medical history for the doctors at home. I handed in my gun to be kept in a secure store during my absence on leave, and arranged to sell my much-loved and much-abused Hillman Husky car to Dar’s principal second-hand car dealer. I had useful sessions with the airline about my journey and the bank about my finances. I called at the Ilala Boma and said goodbye to Nigel, the DC, and arranged to meet the two DOs, Balozi Maggid and Matthew Mhuto, when they arrived in England in September to attend a Course in Oxford.

I had time to introduce Jim to Kisarawe colleagues, hand on to him my servants and beloved Susie and then of course try and hand over the work in as tidy and helpful a way as possible. We had a couple of days sharing the house and my old office, and then suddenly I was plunged into farewells, a final, most friendly drink with David Nickol and Andrew, shaking hands and wishing the Boma staff good luck, and tips for all those who had worked for me, not forgetting Athmani, the boat boy who had helped look after our Greyhound.

My plane left at 1.15pm on 15th August for Nairobi where I caught the BOAC flight to London and reached home after several refuelling stops some twenty-four hours later.


You can go on to read the next stage of Dick Eberlie's Colonial Career at:

The Winds and Wounds of Change: 1961 to 1965 Part 3: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie

British Empire Book
Review of District Officer in Tanganyika: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie: Part 2, 1956 to 1960
Colonial Map
Map of Tanganyika, 1957
Map 1
Colonial Map
Map of Handeni District, 1957
Map 2
Colonial Map
Map of Nzega District, 1957
Map 3
Colonial Map
Map of Kisarawe District, 1957
Map 4
Colonial Map
Dar es Salaam District 1957 Map
Map 5
Colonial Map
Dar es Salaam City Centre 1957 Map
Map 6
Colonial Map
1962 Map of North East Tanganyika
Colonial Map
Dar es Salaam District 1958 Map
British Colony Map
1947 Map of Tabora Region
Colony Profile
Books by Dick Eberlie
District Officer in Tanganyika: 1956 - 1960 Part 2: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie
by Dick Eberlie

The Winds and Wounds of Change: 1961 to 1965 Part 3: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie
by Dick Eberlie

Aden: The Curtain Falls: The Memoirs of Dick Eberlie: Part 4, 1965 to 1967 by Eberlie, Dick

Related Articles
A Brief Encounter with Vultures: A 1961 'Blackburn Beverley' Food Drop
John Ainley describes his role in the first airdrop of food in the Tanganyika Mandate with the impressively large Blackburn Beverley transport planes - but which came close to disaster.

Advent of Radio & Broadcasting in Tanganyika: The African Archers
Taking inspiration from the long running BBC Radio programme 'The Archers', John Ainley describes how he became involved in an African equivalent in order to help disseminate useful agricultural techniques to Tanganyikan farmers.

Resettlement of Suspected Mau Mau Sympathisers in Tanganyika An Agriculturist's Involvement
John Ainley explains how the Mau Mau did not just have an impact on Kenya. In Tanganyika also, attacks did occur and precautions were taken to attempt to prevent its spread across the border.

Safari - Old Style
J D Hunter-Smith recalls going on what already felt like an old-fashioned style of touring his district in the Uruguru mountains in Tanganyika in order to promote soil conservation.

David Brokensha's An Administrator in Africa
Report on the Local Courts of Dar es Salaam
Further Reading
Pink Stripes and Obedient Servants
by John Ainley

Exit From Empire: A Biography of Sir Richard Turnbull
by Colin Baker

An Affair With Africa - Tanganyika Remembered
by Donald Barton

Nakumbuka "I Remember"
by Frank Burt

Bush and Boma
by J. C Cairns

Colonialism: The Golden Years
by J. A. Golding

Donkey's Gratitude
by Tim Harris

Permanent Way: The story of the Kenya and Uganda Railway. Being the official history of the development of the Transport System in Kenya and Uganda.
by M.F. Hill

On Crown Service: a History of HM Colonial and Overseas Civil Services 1837-1997
by Anthony Kirk-Greene

Symbol Of Authority: The British District Officer in Africa
by Anthony Kirk-Greene

A Survey of Dar es Salaam
by J. A. K. Leslie

A Fanfare of Trumpets
by John Lewis-Barned

The Making of Tanganyika
by Judith Listowel

The Flags Changed at Midnight: Towards the Independence of Tanganyika
by Michael Longford

Forgotten Mandate: A British District Officer in Tanganyika
by E.K. Lumley

Brief Authority: A Memoir Of Colonial Administration In Tanganyika
by Charles Meek

Tanzania, Journey to Republic
by Randal Sadleir

Black, Amber, White: An Autobiography
by J. K. Williams

Glossary of Abbreviations
ADC Aide de Camp
BOAC British Overseas Airways Corporation
CID Criminal Investigation Department
DC District Commissioner
DMO District Medical Officer
DO District Officer
DOI the senior (or first) District Officer
DOII the junior (or second) District Officer
DPC Deputy Provincial Commissioner
EAA East African Airways
GH Government House
HE His Excellency the Governor
HMG Her Majesty’s Government
Legco The Legislative Council
LMBC Lady Margaret’s Boat Club
MLC Member of the Legislative Council
MNA Member of the National Assembly
MO Medical Officer
OS Old Shirburnian
PA Personal Assistant
PAO Provincial Agricultural Officer
PC Provincial Commissioner
PMO Provincial Medical Officer
PVO Provincial Veterinary Officer
PWD Public Works Department
RM Resident Magistrate
TANU Tanganyika African National Union
TATU Tanganyika African Traders’ Union
TB Tuberculosis
UK United Kingdom
WAA Woman Administrative Officer
Swahili & African Languages Glossary
askari a uniformed policeman or soldier
banda hut, hovel or shed
baraza a meeting, a meeting hall, or court room
boi houseboy or servant
boma District or Provincial Office, defended fort, cattle kraal
Bwana Mister
Bwana Mkubwa Sir
Bwana Shauri District Officer
choo lavatory
dafu coconut milk
debe four gallon tin can
duka shop
fitina mischief
fundi artisan, skilled worker
haidhuru It doesn’t matter
jando initiation rites
jembe hoe
Jumbe headman
Kadhi Judge and expert in Moslem law
kanga rectangle of brightly-coloured cloth worn by women
karai (? Nyamwezi) shallow pan of carrying earth etc
kanzu long white gown worn by men
kimbo small tin container used for drinking (originally of fat)
Kingi Georgi Hoteli prison
kofia a round cap of white linen or red cloth
kokoto small stones or aggregate
kugoma to go on strike; passive resistance
makuti coconut palm fronds; roofing material on the coast
mashua a small sailing boat
Masika The long rains
mganga native doctor, a good witchdoctor. Plural waganga
mchawi wizard or witch-doctor of evil intent. Plural wachawi
mhuni vagabond. Plural wahuni
mnangwa (in Nyamwezi) chief. Plural wanangwa
moshi (1) smoke (2) a potent distilled liquor from bananas
mtawala governor or chief
mtawala mkuu great governor or supreme chief
Mtemi (in Nyamwezi) paramount chief
mtoto child, plural watoto
mumiani dark gum for use as a medicine, thought to be dried blood
mwangoma (in Nyamwezi) junior chief
nahodha captain of a vessel
ndewa (in Zaramo) sub-chief
ngalawa outrigger
n’gambo the other side
ngoma drum or dance
ofisi office
panga matchet or large knife
pombe native beer
posho daily rations, rice, bran or meal
Seuta (in Zigua) paramount chief
Shamba field, garden, farm
Shauri problem, complaint, grievance, or a fuss
Tarishi a messenger at the Boma
Turniboi driver’s assistant
Ufungilo (in Zigua) chief
Uhuru freedom; Independence
Vuli The short rains
Wakili agent of the Liwali, area headman
Zumbe (in Zigua) Chief


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