Book ID 325
Extract Author: Malu Halasa
Extract Date: 1938
The only son among the seven children of an aristocratic family, Claus was born in Dotzingen, northern Germany, and educated, initially, in Tanzania, where his family moved, when he was two, to manage their sisal plantation. He returned to boarding school in Germany in 1938, shortly after Hitler had appointed himself war minister and the anti-Jewish pogroms had begun.
Extract Author: Roger Waterfield
Extract Date: 1993 Sep
'Oh dear, isn't it silly? I just wanted to get a better view of the sunset'. ...
on an impulse [she] took off to tour Africa with a friend. In Kenya she met the archaeologist Louis Leakey; he proposed and she went back to England to think things over. When he returned in 1928, they married and once again left for Africa ... .
Frida became an expert in the drawing of stone tools, but she also worked on Leakey's excavations. Amongst her important finds was a fossil site in Tanzania, a side gully in the Olduvai gorge, later named the FLK, the Frida Leakey Karongo (meaning gully). It was at the FLK that Leakey's second wife, Mary, found the skull of Nutcracker Man, nearly 30 years later.
Extract Date: 1994 June
Small groups of endangered species may be driven to extinction by the researchers trying to keep them alive, according to the Journal Nature. The packs of wild dogs in the Serengeti and Masai Mara that died out between 1965 and 1991 were those studied by zoologists. Techniques such as trapping, darting, radio collaring and tissue sampling, caused stress and made them more susceptible to rabies.
Extract Date: 1994 June
Swarms of adult Locusts have been reported in Tanzania, and Zambia is under threat, an official Zambian newspaper said yesterday.
Extract Date: 1994 June
The mysterious killer of more than 60 lions in the Serengeti national park in Tanzania this year has been identified as canine distemper virus, according to the US journal Science. It was an identical or closely related virus - a species of morbillivirus- which killed thousands of seals in the North and Baltic seas in 1988.
The virus had never been known to inflect a feline population until last year when it killed 19 lions, leopards and tigers in two Californian wild animal parks. But Max J V Appel, a virologist at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine and a specialist on morbilliviruses, said there was no doubt about the culprit.
The reason for the Serengeti outbreak is still unknown, and no-one can do anything to stop it. The only hope is that those lions that are surviving the virus - and some are - will have increased immunity in the future. The virus is not the only threat to the big cat population. Ninety percent of the lions in the Kruger National Park in South Africa have FIV - the precursor of feline Aids.
Extract Author: Celia Locks
Extract Date: 1995 March 3
Lions in the Serengeti national park in Tanzania are recovering from a disease that killed up to 80 per cent of the lions in some areas last year, according to Melody Roelk-Parker, the chief veterinary officer for Tanzanian national parks. The disease, canine distemper virus, and its causes, are still being investigated but the number of deaths among lions has fallen dramatically in recent months.Tourist officials say guides operating in the Serengeti have recently reported that lion numbers are increasing. 'There are good signs that numbers will recover completely,' one said
Extract Author: Cottgreave, Dr. Peter
Extract Date: 1996 July 23
By the time anyone reads this, I’ll be in the wilds of Africa investigating hornbills, and I can’t wait. ...
I’m on a one man expedition, which is not quite so intrepid as it sounds. There will be other scientists working from the Mkomazi Research Station in north-eastern Tazania, on the Kenyan border about four degrees south of the equator, which is jointly run by the Royal Geographical Society and the Tanzanian government. My trip is being funded by travel grants from the Institute.
Extract Date: 1996 Oct 3
The Getty Conservation Institute and the Tanzanian Government have decided to cover humanity’s tracks. The footprints of man’s hominoid ancestors walking from north to south through fresh volcanic ash 3.6 million years ago were discovered at Laetoli in Tanzania 18 years ago by the archaeologist Mary Leakey. After more than a decade of fretting and hand-wringing about how to preserve them, experts have opted for burial: the prints will be covered with high-tech synthetic stuff embedded with time-release herbicide capsules. The prints, the only fossilised evidence of ancient hominoid tissue, will then be concealed again - but also protected from plant damage and wind and water erosion. Said the 83-year-old Mary Leakey: 'You’ve got to bury it if you want to conserve it.'
Extract Author: Colin Blane
Extract Date: 1996 Nov 26
Mohamed Amin Obituary
[Mohamed Amin had his] first front-page picture published in the Tanganyika Standard. [in 1958]
Extract Author: Greg Barrow
Extract Date: 1996 December 10
Mary Leakey returned to Laetoli last August with members of the California-based Getty Conservation Institute, which had contributed to a project to preserve the footprints, covering them with a synthetic protective layer.
Despite being 83, Mary Leakey was a sprightly lady with a fondness for cigars. Members of the Getty party recall that back in Laetoli she enjoyed the opportunity to be sleeping out again in the open air of the African bush.
Extract Date: 1998 March
Reuters, Dar es Salaam
Some 90 miners are feared dead in northern Tanzania after flash floods caused pits to collapse, the state-owned Sunday News reported. It said the accident happened at a mine in the town of Mbuguni, 25 miles south-east of the farming town of Arusha.
Miners were trapped as deep as 1,000ft below the surface after the collapse of 14 pits, mined for Tanzanite, a semi-precious stone unique to Tanzania.
Extract Author: Robin McKie
Extract Date: 1999 September 26
Her studies have redefined mankind's image of itself and our relationship to the ape. She is in an academic class of her own, yet never took a degree. Now her new book reveals how she fell in love... with chimpanzees
It was October 1960, and the rainy season had come to Gombe, in Tanzania, covering the reserve in a soft, green carpet of new grass. A slight, blonde young woman was tramping through the forest. She had been searching - in vain - for chimpanzees to study until she encountered a single male squatting beside the red mound of a termite nest. The young primatologist watched carefully until, in front of her astonished eyes, the chimp - christened David Greybeard because of his white-tufted chin - took a twig, bent it, shaped it, and then carefully stuck it into the nest from which he began to spoon termites into his mouth.
It was one of the defining moments of modern science. Jane Goodall had observed a creature, other than man, in the act not just of using tools, but of making one. 'It was hard for me to believe,' she recalls in her autobiography, Reason for Hope, which is to be published by Warner Books next week. 'It had long been thought that we were the only creatures on Earth that used and made tools.' Now mankind knew differently.
Goodall telegrammed her boss, the renowned fossil-hunter Louis Leakey (father of Richard), with the news. He responded, in triumph: 'We must now redefine man, redefine tools, or accept chimpanzees as humans.' In fact, Goodall had done all three, though it is really the first on this list that she will always be remembered for. Thanks to her endeavours, science has had to completely reappraise our ideas about human nature - 'one of the great achievements of twentieth-century scholarship', as Stephen Jay Gould puts it. The accomplishment is all the more remarkable because it is the handiwork of a person who lacked any academic training, who had grown up in middle-class gentility in the Thirties when women were expected to be wives and little else, and who was armed only with a fierce certainty that she wanted to study animals.
Nonetheless, over the past four decades, Goodall - who was 65 this year - has produced a body of work that has permanently changed our self-image. Every piece of behaviour thought to be the exclusive, exalted prerogative of humans has since been observed by Goodall in the chimpanzee: tool-making, cannibalism, imperialism, political chicanery, adolescence, strong mother-child bonding and even genocide. Good and evil are not aspects of the soul, but are bits of behavioural baggage that we have carried with us for the past five million years, back to the days when we shared a common, ape-like ancestor with the chimpanzee.
Even more remarkable is the fact that these revelations were made in extraordinarily primitive conditions. Just to follow her 'prey', Goodall has had to scrabble over forbidding terrain, fight off tsetse flies, and survive the occasional enraged attentions of top-ranking male chimps. One of her students was killed in a cliff fall, and another four were kidnapped - though later released - by local gunmen. Only an individual driven by blind ambition, perhaps to exorcise the ghosts of childhood insecurities, would surely endure such privations?
Yet Goodall's past seems to have blissfully happy, having been spent at Birches, a large, nineteenth-century house in Bournemouth, the household firstly being ruled by her maternal grandmother, and then her mother, Vanne - the only note of discord being the latter's divorce from Goodall's father, a man she had hardly seen during the war years. She was clearly an intelligent girl, and did well at school, but found university fees prohibitive. So Goodall went to London where she trained as a secretary, read poetry and took classes in theosophy. (Her writing still has an intense, spiritual and religious leaning.) Then an invitation to visit an old friend in Kenya provided a crucial catalyst.
In Nairobi, she met Louis Leakey, the scientist whose palaeontological discoveries had finally proved mankind's roots were African, not Asian, as had previously been supposed. Leakey was now looking for a woman to study chimpanzees in the wild and to find evidence of their close ancestry to humanity. Goodall fitted his requirements precisely. As a woman, she was blessed, he believed, with a more empathetic nature than a man, and would be more acceptable to wild chimpanzees. In addition, she perfectly fitted another requirement: she came 'with a mind uncluttered and unbiased by theory', as Goodall states herself.
But there was more, as Goodall most certainly does not state. The sight of this lithe, pretty, hazel-eyed, 23-year-old stirred the Leakey loins in no uncertain manner, and the old roué - although married with three children - bombarded the young Goodall with protestations of his love. She was horrified, rejected all his advances and has since made little mention of them. By contrast, Virginia Morell's official biography of the Leakey clan makes much of the relationship and even notes that Louis - having failed with the daughter - then turned his attention's Goodall's mother, staying with her when he was in England and accompanying her to concerts. This liaison led to the rumour that still has wide currency in the world of fossil science: that Jane was really Leakey's daughter, and is therefore the half-sister of Richard Leakey. It's not true, but it does show that scientists at least enjoy as good a gossip as the rest of us.
Not long after she set up her research camp at Gombe, Goodall was visited by a young National Geographic photographer Hugo van Lawick. They fell in love and married in 1964, producing their son, Hugo, in 1967. van Lawick came from old European aristocratic lineage and the marriage was probably doomed from the start. Birute Galdikas, another of Leakey's monkey ladies (she lived with and studied orang-utans in Borneo) recalls visiting the Goodalls and finding 'the baron' to be 'distant, aloof and pre-occupied', although always 'poised and elegant' like a true aristocrat. By contrast, Goodall would wear a parka jacket to official functions, and put Grub (as Hugo junior has always been known) and chimpanzees before all else. (Galdikas also recalls that Goodall told her she had learned a lot about child-raising from mother chimpanzees, who do not punish errant offspring, but merely try to distract them.) Goodall eventually divorced van Lawick and remarried, to Derek Bryceson, a former fighter pilot and by then director of Tanzania's national parks. A calm, good-humoured and rather glamorous figure, he was clearly the love of Goodall's life, and his painful death in 1978 - from cancer - left her devastated.
It was during all these tribulations that Goodall made her great observations of chimpanzee behaviour, though her work was not without criticism: the way she christened each of her primate subjects - Greybeard, Flo, Passion, Figan, Goliath and, of course, Leakey - enraged scientific purists who accused Goodall of the heinous crime of anthropomorphism. In other words, in giving chimps human names, she was by implication also giving them human attributes.
In fact, her observations revealed key differences, as well as similarities, between ourselves and chimps. The latter do not form strong male-female pair bonds like men and women, for example. Nevertheless, Goodall's books, In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window, paint vivid, poignant portraits of creatures that are tantalisingly close to ourselves but, lacking the human attribute of complex language, are forever 'trapped within themselves' and who are now at the mercy of modern man. Human predations - in particularly the environmental devastation we cause through the spread of farming and which so seriously threatens the last few of enclaves of chimpanzees in the world - are now Goodall's prime concern, and her work is dedicated to reversing this damage and in trying to protect the creatures with whom her name is irrevocably linked.
They are, after all, our closest kin, a relationship that we now understand in a way that was never dreamt of before the arrival of Jane Goodall.
Born: 3 April 1934, London
Family: Married (twice): to Hugo van Lawick (one son, Hugo), and Derek Bryceson
Subject: Chimpanzees (aka Pantroglodytes schweinfurthii)
Hon degree: Ethology (Cambridge)
Books: Reason for Hope: A Spritiual Journey (with Phillip Berman), Through a Window, Chimpanzees of Gombe
Favourite read: Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan books
Extract Date: 2000 January 14
Scientists have been granted £34,000 to study why birds do not eat a type of African caterpillar, in the hope that their work can save crops.
Researchers at Stirling university will study the armyworm caterpillar, from east Africa, which is capable of destroying entire crops.
They will try to find whether the caterpillar's diet, which contains traces of cyanide from star grass makes it immune to birds.
The project will also try to discover if birds avoid caterpillars of certain colours - armyworms turn from green to black when in groups.
Biologist Ken Wilson said: 'The reason why they turn black has been a mystery for decades.'
He added that by finding out more about the insects it might be possible to find methods to control them.
Extract Author: Tim Radford, science editor
Extract Date: August 23, 2002
Gentlemen may prefer blondes but lionesses go for males with dark and bouffant manes, researchers report today.
But the alpha males pay a price. They may get the lion's share of the lionesses, but they also take the heat. Dark colours absorb sunlight, pale colours reflect it.
Peyton West, an ecologist at the University of Minnesota, said: "A male with a dark mane may have to work harder to stay cool, behaviourally or physiologically, and is advertising that toughness, along with his toughness in battle.
"Dark colour tends to be found in high testosterone males. Therefore, it isn't surprising that females prefer darker manes, and males would be intimidated."
Ms West reports today in the US journal Science that she and a colleague, Craig Packer, devised a test, setting up pairs of dummy lions in the Serengeti plain of Tanzania, then broadcasting sounds of hyenas eating at a kill - a sure way of ringing the dinner gong for lions. Given a choice of long and short manes, males approached the short-maned dummy nine out of 10 times.
Confronted with light or dark manes, males went for the light one. Lionesses, however, showed a distinct preference for dark manes, nine out of 10 times. And over the long term, when females had a choice of males, they selected the darkest mane in 13 out of 14 cases. Darker manes also had higher testosterone levels.
The research might help conservation. "As climate changes, things like manes, brightness of bird plumage and size of deer antlers may be sensitive bio-indicators," Prof Packer said. "They can tell how well an animal is doing in the environment."
Sexual Selection, Temperature, and the Lion's Mane
Peyton M. West and Craig Packer
Science 2002 August 23; 297: 1339-1343.
Extract Author: Harriet Sherwood
Extract Date: November 2, 2002
But our first taste of Africa was a long way from big game and open spaces. We drove through Arusha, according to most a dirty, lawless, crowded place, but for me more real than the luxury seclusion of game lodges that we were to experience. It was my first visit to Africa since having lived there as a child: born in Uganda, early childhood in Somalia, followed by a few years in Nigeria. The chaotic smells, sights and noise of the city on that first morning were instantly familiar, evoking half-forgotten memories, a sense of déjà-vu. It felt like the struggle to remember a dream once fully awake: the details have left your grasp and all you have is an intriguing but frustrating sensation. I wanted to stop, to get out of the Jeep, to touch and feel, to recapture my memories - but we were on a schedule, and Arusha is most definitely not part of the tourist itinerary.
Extract Author: Harriet Sherwood
Extract Date: November 2, 2002
But - for me - the best was mountain biking through the village of Mto Wa Mbu, on the edge of the national park. The bikes brought us closer to village life than driving through in a Jeep was ever going to: we could stop, we could return greetings, we could get to parts of the village where there were no roads, only tracks between banana plantations or fields of maize. We were mobbed by children in the primary school, whose teacher invited us inside the unlit straw and mud building to hear songs. The kids sang in Swahili, with the odd English word. I asked Jean about the languages of Tanzania; he said everybody speaks Swahili and their tribal tongue, and are supposed to be taught English - a policy hampered by the fact that many teachers outside the cities don't speak it themselves. We cycled on through fields with a complicated but effective irrigation system that requires farmers from different tribes to work co-operatively; we passed groupings of mud and straw huts where tiny children played in the dirt; we were greeted by Masai tribespeople: tall, slender, elegant, proud, draped in red cloths and hung with strings of beads and intricate earring arrangements. We didn't see any animals, but we saw real human life.
Extract Author: Jeevan Vasagar,
Extract Date: February 13, 2004
A battle for control over the Nile has broken out between Egypt, which regards the world's longest river as its lifeblood, and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, which complain that they are denied a fair share of its water.
In the latest escalation in the dispute, which some observers believe could lead to a new conflict in east Africa, Tanzania has announced plans to build a 105-mile pipeline drawing water from Lake Victoria, which feeds the Nile. The project flouts a treaty giving Egypt a right of veto over any work which might threaten the flow of the river.
The Nile Water Agreement of 1929, granting Egypt the lion's share of the Nile waters, has been criticised by east African countries as a colonial relic. Under the treaty, Egypt is guaranteed access to 55.5bn cubic metres of water, out of a total of 84bn cubic metres.
The Egyptian water minister, Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, recently described Kenya's intention to withdraw from the agreement as an "act of war". Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former secretary-general of the UN, has predicted that the next war in the region will be over water.
The Nile treaty, which Britain signed on behalf of its east African colonies, forbids any projects that could threaten the volume of water reaching Egypt. The agreement also gives Cairo the right to inspect the entire length of the Nile.
It has been gravely resented by east African countries since they won their independence. Kenya and Tanzania suffer recurrent droughts caused by inadequate rainfall, deforestation and soil erosion. The proposed Lake Victoria pipeline is expected to benefit more than 400,000 people in towns and villages in the arid north-west of Tanzania.
"These are people with no water," said the Tanzanian water minister, Edward Lowasa. "How can we do nothing when we have this lake just sitting there?"
The Nile, which is over 4,000 miles long, is fed by the White Nile, flowing from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, flowing from Ethiopia.
An estimated 160 million people in 10 countries depend on the river and its tributaries for their livelihoods. Within the next 25 years, the population in the Nile basin is expected to double, and there is a growing demand to harness the river for agricultural and industrial development.
The Ugandan commentator Charles Onyango-Obbo wrote recently: "Egypt can't enjoy the benefits of having access to the sea, while blocking a landlocked country like Uganda from profiting from the fact that it sits at the source of the Nile."
While east African countries are eager to make greater use of the river, Egypt fears any threat to its lifeblood. Most of Egypt's population lives in the Nile valley - on 4% of the country's land - and any fall in the water level could be disastrous.
The Nile treaty was drawn up at a time when Egypt was a British satellite, regarded as strategically crucial by London because of the Suez canal, which controlled access to India.
The agreement is now in effect enforced by international donors, who are reluctant to advance funds for major river projects that will upset Egypt, a key Arab ally of the US in the Middle East.
Sub-Saharan countries cannot match Egypt's diplomatic clout, but they face a dilemma as a major untapped resource rolls through their territories.
"We have reached a stage where all the Nile basin countries are confronted by domestic development challenges," said Halifa Drammeh, a deputy director of the United Nations environment programme. "How many people have access to safe water? How many have access to sanitation?
"There is a tremendous pressure on these governments to sustain the needs of their populations, and to raise their standard of living.
"After all, there is nothing we can do in life without water. Wherever there is sharing, there is potential for conflict."
Work is due to begin on Tanzania's pipeline project next month, and it is due to be finished late next year.
The Tanzanian government has said the pipeline is not intended for irrigation, which requires large quantities of water, but for domestic use and livestock. It will initially benefit more than 400,000 people, but this number is expected to rise above 900,000 in the next two decades.
Kenya plans a conference of the Nile basin countries in March to seek a peaceful solution to the dispute.
Extract Date: March 14, 2005
Africa's tallest mountain, with its white peak, is one of the most instantly recognisable sights in the world. But as this aerial photograph shows, Kilimanjaro's trademark snowy cap, at 5,895 metres (19,340ft), is now all but gone - 15 years beforescientists predicted it would melt through global warming, writes Paul Brown.
In Swahili Kilima Njaro means shining mountain, but the glaciers and snow cap that kept the summit white, probably for 11,000 years - despite the location, in Tanzania, 200 miles south of the equator - have almost disappeared.
Tomorrow the 34 ministers at the G8 energy and environment summit, meeting in London, will receive a book - published by The British Council and The Climate Group, and entitled Northsoutheastwest: a 360 view of climate change - that includes this picture among others depicting global warming. The book's text describes the devastating speed of climate change documented by 10 of the world's top photographers from Magnum Photos.
Extract Author: EG Nisbet, Department of Geology, Royal Holloway, University of London
Extract Date: March 15, 2005
Not only beauty will be lost when Mount Kilimanjaro's ice is gone (Global warning, March 14). The ice contains one of the most valuable records of tropical climate. A few cores will remain in archives, but not the large samples needed to resolve many questions. Yet the ice can be saved. The summit temperature is -7C, so it is not melting directly. But there may be too few summit clouds now: sunlight ablates the ice. Protection of the ice is possible, to gain time while efforts are made to reverse the massive destruction of Kilimanjaro's forests, so that more moisture can once again be advected upwards in the dry season.
Saving the ice cap would probably be much cheaper than the air traffic control system that guides the tourists coming to see the snows. But the response to my suggestion was that this was not economically worthwhile. The New York Times devoted an editorial to thunder against me, that we should prefer to "leave Africa with a new icon - a bare mountaintop underscoring the folly of reckless destruction of the forests". To modern thinkers, guilt is a more exquisite delight than the natural sublime.
Extract Author: T Smith, Uttoxeter, Staffs
Extract Date: March 15, 2005
Mount Kilimanjaro would have looked much like your front-page picture, though probably with less ice and snow, only 5,000 years ago. Since the end of the last glacial age 11,000 years ago, there have been two broad climatic regimes. The first 6,000 years were very warm, reaching an optimum about 5,000 years ago when the weather deteriorated into the cooler climate we now live in.
Extract Author: Jon Snow
Extract Date: January 3, 2006
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006
On our way back to Namasagali [Uganda] he wanted us to see an extraordinary project in northern Tanzania. Usa is a village of 167 people close to Arusha in northern Tanzania. A year ago each of the villagers was equipped with a longlife mosquito net. In the months since, the incidence of Malaria in the village has fallen to zero. Elerehema Manga, a 60-year-old farm labourer earning £2 a week, is typical. He was given nets not only for his bed but also for his windows and the gaps in the eaves of his hut. The total cost was £8, hence the need for outside funding from agencies such as Unicef. I asked him about his experiences of Malaria. "I had it three times last year. Now, since the nets were brought in February I haven't had it once."
The source of Elerehema's malarial relief is the A to Z plastics factory in Arusha. The revolutionary net is being produced here on a truly dramatic scale. The net is made of extruded resin sold at market price by Exxon Mobil. Hardly at the forefront of altruistic repute, Exxon too is a member of the global partnership to "Roll Back Malaria". The money it makes from the Saudi-produced resin, Exxon gives back to Unicef to buy more nets, to try to create a mosquito net market. Sumitomo hasn't given money. Instead it has made a free technology transfer of the secret ingredient that gives the net its longlife properties. Mosquito repellent is introduced into the resin compound which, when extruded, enables the chemical to bleed very slowly out of the yarn - so slowly that the repellent remains effective for between five and seven years. This is a remarkable advance on the standard nets, which require "reproofing" every six months. Such nets are rendered useless by a lack of funds, equipment and organisation to respray them.
Inside the A to Z factory, blue longlife netting cascades from 50 huge industrial looms. There are about 1,200 African workers working to save the lives of other Africans. But Anuj Shah, who runs the company is no do-gooder. He's in it for profit and is determined that net making in Africa is a seriously commercial activity. Currently producing 3m of these nets a year, he expects his new factory, which is under construction nearby, to start producing 7m a year by April. After that he hopes to expand to 20m - a tenth of Africa's entire need.
Technology transfer and money from the G8 and beyond have combined to enable Africa to start combating its number one killer disease. So far, so good.
Namasagali is to be the next serious "upscaling" of net testing. A village 10 times the size of Usa it is to be netted up for a year to see whether blanket net provision can make as startling a difference on a bigger scale.
By the time we arrived in Uganda, a small committee headed by the village chief had already been established to handle the dispersal of the nets. The process of handing them out was orderly despite my own slight suspicion that the good parishioners of St Paul's saw me as some kind of "second coming". We shall return to Namasagali in a year's time to see who's had Malaria and who's sold their net, or simply gone fishing with it.
As we left Namasagali news came through of the Ugandan government's decision to go after the officials who had stolen $280,000 of Global Fund money made available to buy the longlife nets. Among those under suspicion was President Museveni's own brother-in-law.
The money is there. The nets are being manufactured in a process that has the potential to be rolled out right across Africa. Africa's governance alone now seems to stand in the way. For Malaria to be "rolled back" by 2015, the goal set by Gleneagles, the answer seems to lie with Africa itself.
· Jon Snow's film on Malaria aired on Channel 4 News on January 3 2006
Extract Author: Paul Rowson
Extract Date: 9 Feb 2006
Letter to the Guardian
... the best pun-based name. This is, of course, the Tanning Salon in Leeds which goes by the immortal name of Tanz In 'Ere, thus combining word play/use of local accent, geographical knowledge and a sense of humour.
Extract Author: Alethea Hayter
Extract Date: March 2, 2006
Georgina Battiscombe, who has died aged 100, had a special excellence as a biographer.
She was educated at St Michael's School, Oxford, and then at Lady Margaret Hall. In 1932 she married Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Battiscombe, and they spent the next two years in Zanzibar, where he was secretary to the sultan and tutor to his son. The couple made many friends in the then ruling Arab community of Zanzibar; she loved her spacious old house and regarded this as the happiest time of her life.
When it ended, they spent six months in a leisurely holiday on the way back to England, and then settled for a decade in Durham, where Kit Battiscombe was librarian and clerk to the dean and chapter. Their next move was to Windsor; one perquisite of Kit's new job there, at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Park, was the tenancy of the Henry III tower inside Windsor castle, a romantic, but inconvenient building honeycombed by spiral staircases in the immensely thick stone walls.
Quite early in her life she had begun to suffer from deafness, and this was made worse by a flight to South Africa in a temporarily unpressurised aeroplane; by the end of her life she was almost completely deaf. This did not make her unsociable; she retained her warm interest in other people, in politics, in sport, in her daily stint with the Times crossword.
After leaving Windsor Castle she lived in a flat near Windsor Park, and then moved to Henley-on-Thames to be near her daughter.
· Georgina Battiscombe, biographer, born November 21 1905; died February 26 2006
· The author of this obituary died on January 10, aged 94. Her obituary appeared in the Guardian on January 13
Extract Author: Imruh Bakari
Extract Date: May 29, 2006
In 1966 Christopher Elkington, who has died aged 69, moved from London to settle in the north-west of Tanzania, in the Kagera region, bordering on the western shores of Lake Victoria. This was the region with which he identified, becoming fluent in its language Kihaya, as well as Kiswahili, Tanzania's national language, and it was there that he earned the name Mugyabuso, meaning one who is direct and straightforward.
For 30 years this man, with a passion for jazz and an affinity with African culture, was associated with schools in the region. His work extended to a consultancy at the University of Dar es Salaam's Institute of Kiswahili where he was one of the editors of the seminal Swahili-English dictionary (2000).
By then Elkington had moved to Dar es Salaam where in 1996 he joined the IPP Media organisation as a newspaper editor and broadcaster. His Mind Your Language column in Tanzania's Sunday Observer underlined his familiarity with Tanzanian culture, as he played on idiosyncratic uses of English. He also wrote passionately about African art, championing Tanzanian sculptors and Tingatinga painters in particular.
From 1998 it was his weekly Dar es Salaam Sky FM radio programme It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, which brought Elkington to wide public attention. The programme reflected his semi-religious commitment to the music of the 1940s and 50s.
He was particularly interested in British jazz, and when the young British alto player Soweto Kinch visited Tanzania in 2003, Elkington interviewed him, taking the opportunity to reflect on innovations since his departure four decades earlier.
The young Kinch had sparked reminiscences about Jamaican sax player Joe Harriott and the impact of South African musicians like Chris McGregor on the London of the 1960s. Elkington still recalled his time as a founding member of Ronnie Scott's club - having been there on that historic night in 1959 when the original club opened in London's Soho - and countless other, enjoyable nights, when it was not unusual to leave the venue as the sun was coming up, listening to British and American jazz. This, coupled with his wartime childhood, shaped Elkington's barbed, ironic humour. Together with his middle-class upbringing this distinguished him in Tanzania and set him apart from the expatriate community.
Elkington was born in Harrow-on-the Hill and initially educated at Quainton Hall School. Postwar the family moved to Polperro in Cornwall and he boarded at Lancing College in Sussex before reading anthropology and archaeology at St Catharine's College, Cambridge.
Jazz, meanwhile, had become a passion. He was a devotee of traditional jazz until, while at Lancing, he heard a Dizzy Gillespie 78rpm with Oo Bop sh'Bam and One Bass Hit, in a Hove record shop. Conversion was instant, and Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt became and remained among his idols.
At Cambridge Elkington distinguished himself as a drummer with the Cambridge Jazz Quartet and played around the London scene. Elkington often recalled those years, and the jazz giants visiting Britain for the first time, as well as the colourful characters whose mythologies provided his own endless anecdotes of the period.
Cornwall was his first memorable journey, but by his early adult years there were adventures in London with its forbidden attractions, and excursions in Europe. A friend had given him presents of African artefacts, and later the literature and politics of colonial Africa and apartheid South Africa in particular, were to inspire his radical sensibility and set him off to explore that continent.
In 2000, to his deep regret, It Don't Mean a Thing was axed. But, until his passing, he worked on writing for Tanzania's Guardian and Sunday Observer. Elkington was described by one writer as a "Mhaya of British origin" - meaning that he had been recognised as being of the Wahaya ethnic group.
He is survived by his wife and two daughters in Tanzania; and two daughters from an earlier marriage.
· Christopher Elkington, teacher and journalist, born September 13 1936; died April 23 2006
Extract Author: Richard Hughes
Extract Date: July 13, 2006
Susan Wood, who has died at her home outside Nairobi aged 87, spent most of her life in east Africa, and did much in support of women. In 1975, with two Kenyan women, she founded Kazuri (Swahili for small and beautiful), a bead factory, at the bottom of her garden in Karen, outside Nairobi. Today it employs 200 women, mostly single mothers, and exports to six countries. In 1990 she was an awarded an MBE.
In the early 1950s, Sue and her husband Michael (later Sir Michael) Wood, had joined David Stirling in setting up the Capricorn Africa Society in the belief that all the races in east and central Africa should work together to create a society free from discrimination. She was a moving spirit in the 1956 Salima conference, when more than 200 men and women - black, white and brown - lived, argued, ate and drank together for three days, something that had never happened in Africa before.
That year Sue stood for the Kenya parliament on Capricorn principles in a Europeans-only constituency. Her red hair, bright blue eyes and incisive mind made her a good candidate, but the voters were not ready to give up their privileges and she lost. The demand for independence across sub-Saharan Africa overcame that innocent enthusiasm and a few years later Capricorn closed in Africa, though it continued in London, as the Zebra Trust, caring for mainly African students.
Sue was born in a mud hut in the Congo jungle to missionary parents; and, at the age of two, carried in a hammock to the Nile when her family returned to England, where she spent her childhood. She met Michael while training as a wartime nurse; they married in 1943 and later moved to Kenya.
In Nairobi, she raised four children and supported her husband's medical work, which included founding the Flying Doctors, later to become the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF). In 1960, she wrote Kenya: the Tensions of Progress, an analysis of the pre-independence political situation. Four years later came an autobiography, A Fly in Amber; she also wrote some volumes of poetry, dedicated "To Africa, my home".
Sue and Michael moved to a farm on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, from which Michael flew to the AMREF headquarters in Nairobi and throughout east Africa while Sue enjoyed being a farmer. In 1975 the farm was taken over by the Tanzanian government, and the Woods, sadly but without complaint, moved to Karen. Michael died in 1987, but Sue continued to entertain her family and the many visitors connected with AMREF and FARMAfrica, the charity which Michael had started to help farmers improve their stock and production.
Sue's warmth, humour and generosity suffused her life. She always saw herself as an African and had a deep understanding of the struggles they faced. She said: "I love the people, and I love Africa because everything is unexpected, nothing goes quite straightforwardly." She is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Extract Author: Tim Adams
Extract Date: 25 March 2007
He [Rian Malan] went to live up in Kilimanjaro with an old Afrikaans woman who had been abandoned by her 'tribe' for sleeping with a black man before the war, and for the past 40 years had lived in a mud hut on the veldt.
From an article about Rian Malan: "For years, Rian Malan has unflinchingly dared to say the unsayable about his native country, believing murder, corruption and disharmony will tear the rainbow nation into its separate colours. It's a conviction that has cost him his marriage and almost his sanity. Tim Adams travels to Johannesburg to meet the controversial writer"
Extract Author: Robin McKie
Extract Date: January 13 2008
They are the world's oldest human tracks, a set of footprints pressed into volcanic ash that have lain perfectly preserved for more than three-and-a-half million years. Made by a group of ancient apemen, the prints represent one of the most important sites in human evolutionary studies, for they show that our ancestors had already stopped walking on four legs and had become upright members of the primate world.
But now the Laetoli steps in northern Tanzania are in danger of destruction. The footprints, although reburied 10 years ago and covered by a special protective coating, are suffering storm erosion, while trees and plants begin to grow through the historic outlines.
The Laetoli steps were discovered in 1976 by scientists led by the late Mary Leakey, mother of conservationist Richard Leakey. They found a couple of prints that had been exposed by the wind and then uncovered a trail that led across an expanse of volcanic ash, like footprints left behind by holidaymakers walking on a wet beach.
The researchers could make out the arch of each foot, the big toe - even the heel. The prints had clearly been made by creatures who had long adapted to walking on two legs. Yet tests showed the prints had been made about 3.6 million years ago.
At that time, the area was populated by short, small-brained species of apeman, known as Australopithicus afarensis, an ancestor of modern human beings. Most scientists believe these were the creators of the Laetoli footprints, individuals who may have been escaping an eruption of the nearby Sadiman volcano. By studying the prints, scientists conclude that a smaller individual - presumed by Leakey to be a female - stopped in her tracks and glanced at some threat or sound to her left. 'This motion, so intensely human, transcends time,' Leakey wrote in National Geographic. 'Three million , six hundred thousand years ago, a remote ancestor - just as you or I - experienced a moment of doubt.' It is this window on human behaviour that makes Laetoli so important, say scientists.
But a study presented at an international conference last month warns that unless urgent action is taken, the Laetoli steps - 'the rarest, oldest and most important evidence' documenting humans' ability to walk on two legs - will be lost to civilisation.
'The protective blanket over the prints is already breaking up,' said Dr Charles Musiba of the University of Colorado, Denver. 'Unless something is done within the next five years, the site is going to suffer serious, irreparable damage.'
He added: 'The footprints are currently buried for their own protection - which means we can no longer study them, and that is crazy. We could use scanners and other modern tools to learn all sorts of things about the people who made these prints. We need to expose them but protect them as well. Building a museum over them is the perfect solution.'
Palaeontologists agree that action is needed, but claim that constructing a building over the steps in remote Laetoli is impossible and would only lead to further degradation. 'No matter how good the intentions, any attempt to preserve them in place is doomed to failure,' said one of the steps' discoverers, Tim White of the University of Berkeley, California. 'Laetoli is remote, inaccessible, and would require infrastructure currently not available or foreseeable to preserve these prints in place.'
Professor Terry Harrison of New York University said: 'The local people around Laetoli, the Masai, do not appreciate having structures built on their land. They tend to smash things up. These are pastoral people who do not have a sense of property and can be destructive. You would need to guard the museum constantly and carefully.'
Harrison and White believe the whole sequence of steps, about 23 metres in length, should be cut from the local hillside, transported to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's capital, and installed in a museum. The technology for such an endeavour has precedents. In 1968, engineers relocated the Egyptian temple of Abu Simbel when it was threatened by the creation of the Aswan Dam.
Possibly based on an article in Nature
Extract Author: Awam Amkpa
Extract Date: Thursday May 31, 2007
Chief David Kidaha Makwaia of Tanzania, who has died aged 84, was one of the last great bridges between colonial and postcolonial Africa. Paramount chief of the Sukuma Federation and an ally of Tanganyika's governor from 1949 to 1958, Lord Twining, Makwaia liaised between British rulers and various constituencies of their Tanzanian subjects, witnessing East Africa's transition from imperialism through independence to postcolonial repression.
Makwaia's life offers a window to the overlapping identities and cosmopolitan experiences that defined the colonised elites of 20th-century Africa. He was born a Muslim son of the Sukuma chief, Makwaia Mwandu of Usiha, in the Shinyanga region of Tanganyika. He trained in agriculture at Uganda's Makerere University College in the early 1940s before entering Lincoln College, Oxford, where he read principles and praxis of local government, philosophy and politics.
Makwaia's political life unfolded along multiple channels bestriding the worlds of Tanzania's colonial rulers and its local chiefdoms. He succeeded his father as Usiha chief in 1945 and later became "paramount chief" of the Sukuma Federation, an autonomous institution of more than 50 chiefdoms, with its own offices and flag. This won him British recognition as an authoritative native voice - a privilege cemented by his appointment in the same year as the first of two Africans to Tanganyika's Legislative Council (Legico).
Other offices followed. In the course of the 1950s, he served as the only African member of the East African royal commission on land and population, was an unofficial member of the governor's executive council, and a consultant to the colonial government as an administrator in the African aspirations section of the social welfare department.
He was a guest at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953; two years later he was awarded an OBE. He was viewed by the British as a likely president of Tanzania. Along the way, Makwaia underwent a conversion, embracing Roman Catholicism. This reawakening shaped his subsequent sense of mission. Although one of the most influential chiefs in East Africa, he was not driven by the need for power, but had always considered himself a servant of the people.
As the winds of independence gathered steam, he facilitated the political rise of his long-time college friend Julius Nyerere by winning him British support as well as by securing the allegiance of Sukuma chiefs to Nyerere's party, Tanu (Tanganyika African National Union). As prime minister, later president of independent Tanganyika, Nyerere repaid Chief Kidaha, as he was known, by abolishing the role of chiefs, and banishing him for some months to the remote Tunduru district of the Southern Province for undisclosed reasons. This experience alienated him from politics forever, prompting him to turn his energies to private business and religious pursuits.
In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as managing director of Market Research (T) Ltd, and was appointed public relations officer of the Nairobi-based East African Railways and Harbours administration. Upon his retirement in 1975, he moved to the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi, where he operated a private insurance agency. Active in local religious affairs, he founded the Moshi chapter of the Order of Franciscans.
At the time of his death, Chief Kidaha had resumed the leadership of the Sukuma community from his late brother Hussein, and was active in preserving Sukuma cultural legacies. He was buried at Ibadakuli in Shinyanga, the site of his state house during the heyday of his chiefdom. Most people who met the chief commented on his charismatic yet welcoming presence. He was proud of having fulfilled his promise to his father to ensure all his 43 siblings were properly educated.
He is survived by his wife, Grace, his former wife, Mary, four children, Misuka, Edward, Jonathan and Simona, eight grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.
· David Paul Kidaha Makwaia, politician and businessman, born May 7 1922; died March 31 2007
Extract Author: David Attenborough
Page Number: letters page
Extract Date: December 19, 2002
George Monbiot accuses me of propagating fakes on the grounds that every natural history programme I make is not about ecological politics and conservation (Planet of the fakes, December 17).
There is a science called zoology. People study it at universities because they are deeply interested in the nature of other animals, the way they live and the processes of evolution that have brought them into existence. The present BBC 1 series, The Life of Mammals, is I hope catering for the same interest among viewers.
The last series for which I was responsible, The State of the Planet, assessed the present ecological crisis. The final programme in the Mammals series, which deals with the great apes, examines among other things how it is that one of them, mankind, has come to dominate the earth. But to suggest that every natural history programme should be devoted to this aspect of the natural world, or indeed must always make reference to it, is like suggesting that human beings are only interesting or worthy of television documentaries if they are sick and injured.
Extract Author: Mike Sansom
Page Number: letters page
Extract Date: December 19, 2002
· The uncritical relationship between conservation and the wildlife media has a tragic impact on subsistence and traditional communities. Conservation that excludes people from their environment smacks of colonialism. Some estimate that over 1 million people have been displaced as a consequence of conservation in Africa. The relationship between humans and their ecosystems has been key to the maintenance of the environment. The Maasai for example are semi-nomadic livestock keepers who live harmoniously with wildlife, including elephants that break down the bush increasing grazing to other animals and cattle.
Conservationists and the wildlife media must explain this critical relationship and stop ignoring the thousands of people pushed off their lands and into poverty.
Coordinator, African Initiatives
Extract Author: Clive Hambler
Page Number: letters page
Extract Date: December 19, 2002
· Many of George Monbiot's own beliefs owe more to myth than to fact. He believes traditional grazing does not damage wildlife, yet up-to-date science shows that it does. He is also wrong to think that inhabited tropical ecosystems are "very much like" those where the western television viewers live. Tropical systems contain far more species within narrow geographical ranges and these are at higher risk of extinction. Meanwhile, the human population is declining in several western countries.
The history of Africa shows that some pastoral tribes themselves have not been averse to what Monbiot would emotively call "ethnic cleansing" of the previous inhabitants, and all pastoralism is recent in the timescales over which the wildlife has evolved. Monbiot's myths, if perpetuated, will leave everybody with an impoverished - and perhaps more unstable - world.