Name ID 38
Fosbrooke, Henry Ngorongoro: The Eighth Wonder
Page Number: 023
Extract Date: 1934
Ngorongoro was of course well known to the Germans prior to World War I, and to British officials, farmers and hunters in the early twenties. But the land through which the road runs from the top of the rift to the Crater was then uninhabited. In the mid-twenties German nationals were permitted to return to their previous colony, then a Mandate, but the previously German farms had been sold by the Custodian of Enemy Property, so that the returning Germans had to find somewhere new to live. Who the originator of the idea was will never be known, but a number of these people settled on the lower slopes of Oldeani and started carving out coffee farms for themselves.
One effect of this move was to encourage the Iraqw people to move up from their overcrowded country to the south, first as labourers on the farms, and then as settlers in their own right on the neighbouring uninhabited land. A specially appointed Land Commissioner, Mr Bageshaw, recommended - and the recommendation was accepted - that all the land lying to the south of the boundary of the Northern Highlands Forest Reserve, already demarcated by the German Government, should with the exception of the alienated farms, be developed as an expansion area for the Iraqw tribe. There were however three major deterrents to settlement; firstly the tsetse fly which prevented the keeping of cattle, then the lack of water, and finally the fear of Masai raids from Ngorongoro. But the tribal authorities, with the aid and advice of British officers, organised extensive self-help schemes whereby the empty lands were settled, slowly at first, but with increased impetus in the period following World War II.
When I first travelled along that road in 1934 there was not a sign of habitation from Mto-wa-Mbu to Karatu, whilst the big triangle of superb land lying between the rift and the forest edge, called Mbulumbulu, was entirely empty. With Government aid and encouragement the Iraqw folk were just beginning to trickle north, when World War II broke out. This involved the removal of German settlers to camps, but at the same time increased the need for self-sufficiency. The Oldeani-Karatu-Mbulumbulu area had proved itself particularly suitable for the production of wheat, and attracted the attention of the Custodian of Enemy Property (who was running the vacated farms in the interests of the Government), the non-German farmers in the area, and a specially organised official Wheat Scheme. In addition to encouraging production within the boundaries of the existing farms, the Government of the day permitted all these agencies to clear and plough on the land allocated by the Bageshawe Commission to the Iraqw people, on short term lease, the agreement being that the land should be handed back at the end of the war.
In spite of the pleas of those in occupation to retain the land, the Government honoured its pledge to the Iraqw people and put the land at their disposal. The result was that one had a number of wheat growers, with know-how and machinery at their disposal, but no land and a large number of Iraqw folk with a large area of ready cleared wheat land awaiting cultivation, but lacking machinery and know-how. Common interests brought the two parties together, the wheat growers working the land for the Iraqw and sharing the profits.
Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Page Number: 177
Extract Date: 1929~
conducted a comprehensive survey of land distribution and use on Mount Meru