waArusha People

Name ID 1826

See also

Fosbrooke, Henry Arusha Integrated Regional Development Plan
Page Number: 5

Origins

Paper 1 Land Tenure and Land Use

In Arusha/Arumeru the dominant groups are the Arusha and the Meru. The MERU, a Bantu speaking people came first, about three hundred years ago, arriving from the Usambara area together with the first Macheme Chagga, whose Bantu language is very closely allied to Meru. They settled in the forest on the south eastern slopes of Mount Meru (still their homeland) which was at that time only inhabited by the Koningo, a hunter/gatherer people of small stature. The Meru are skilled agriculturists who have utilized their favourable environment over the centuries without depleting its fertility.

The Arusha were the next arrivals. In their original home, Arusha Chine, they were of Pare origin. About 1830 they were encouraged by the Maasai to settle in the Selian area, west of the present Arusha town. They absorbed earlier Maasai speaking people, became Maasai speakers themselves and received a big influx of the Maasai in the 1880's when many lost their cattle in the rinderpest epidemic. The Arusha, like the Meru, have as agriculturists made the most of a favourable environment, but their mode of life is more heavily orientated towards cattle, most understandable considering the Maasai elements in their origins.

Extract ID: 3223

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru

Clearing Mount Meru

Arusha and Meru had cleared and settled most of the southern slopes of Meru from 4000 to 5300 feet by the 1880s, when a series of disasters swept across northern Tanzania. Bovine pleuropneumonia and Rinderpest devastated the herds of pastoral Maasai, driving them into the mountains to seek refuge; smallpox spread rapidly along the trade routes recently forged up the Pangani Valley; and drought and killing famine blanketed the area, especially during the years 1883-6, 1891-2 and 1897-1900, ...

Extract ID: 1171

See also

Nelson, Christopher Photos of Arusha
Extract Date: 1960

Grave of German Lutheran Missionaries

At Akeri Lutheran Church as it appeared in 1960.

Martyred by WaMeru ~ Karl Segebrock and Ewald Ovir 1896

Extract ID: 5876

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1896

Missionary murder

Arusha and Meru Wariors sought to arrest the precipitous decline in their natural and social orders by a systematic crusade to restore moral order that culminated in the murder of the first two missionaries to settle on Meru in 1896.

Extract ID: 1172

external link

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Laura Tarimo
Page Number: 472a
Extract Date: 1896

How Germans gained control over Waarusha. After defeating them, Germans built a Boma as symbol of superiority

Adapted from A History of the Lutheran Church Diocese in the Arusha Region from 1904 to 1958 by Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Parsalaw. Dissertation: Erlangen University, Germany, February 1997.

Arusha’s history goes back a bit more than a hundred years when a captain of the German colonial Administration came up with the plan of constructing a fortification in territory that was then occupied by the Waarusha tribe..

The Captain was Kurt Johannes, and the reason he thought he needed a fortification was the fiery Waarusha warriors he encountered in the area. It was Captain Johannes who made these same warriors and their tribesmen build the Boma that would be the beginnings of a town.

Captain Johannes was never in very good terms with the Waarusha. From his station in Moshi, the Captain would make diplomatic attempts to visit influential chiefs in the Arusha territory. The visits would more often than not end in scrapes with the tribesmen, which would sometimes lead to serious attacks from both sides.

On the 19th of October 1896, the Captain while visiting Chief Matunda and other influential leaders within the Akeri area, was attacked by Waarusha warriors. The attack was an attempt to avenge the raid Captain Johannes and his troops had made earlier in 1895. Two missionaries, Ewald Ovir and Karl Segebrock who were accompanying the Captain were killed during the attack.

Captain Johannes however, survived, and he rushed back to Moshi to organize Chagga troops under Lt. Moritz Merker for a retaliatory attack on the Arusha. On the 31st of October, the troops struck at the Waarusha and defeated the proud warriors.

From this victory Captain Johannes gained control over the Waarusha and their territory. The Captain confiscated all the warriors’ traditional weapons and with the help of his troops, destroyed their houses and their food reserves.

Extract ID: 5902

See also

Skinner, Annabel Tanzania & Zanzibar
Page Number: 135b
Extract Date: 1898

the WaArusha

The people of Arusha - the WaArusha - had been long-established as a distinct tribe of Pastoralists and farmers when the colonial powers arrived. Their social structure was influenced by Maasai ancestors, with a central warrior class and status relating to age. Occasionally called upon to support Rindi, the great Chagga warrior chief (see pp.197-8) in his battles with other chiefs around Kilimanjaro, the Arusha were no strangers to fighting by the time the Germans began to get caught up in these altercations - but soon found themselves on the wrong side of both their former ally and the new colonial enemy.

Extract ID: 3541

external link

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Laura Tarimo
Page Number: 472b
Extract Date: 1899

How Germans gained control over Waarusha. After defeating them, Germans built a Boma as symbol of superiority

Adapted from A History of the Lutheran Church Diocese in the Arusha Region from 1904 to 1958 by Rev. Dr. Joseph W. Parsalaw. Dissertation: Erlangen University, Germany, February 1997.

But this was not enough, Captain Johannes wanted complete control. And three years later, in 1899, he was to get what he wanted. After receiving consent from his superiors in the German Administration, he began the construction of a fort that would symbolize German control over the territory.

With this development the Waarusha were to suffer their worst humiliation. They not only suffered the shame of watching the enemy’s fort being built in their territory, they were forced to participate in the actual construction of the Boma.

The once-fiery warriors used their swords to dig out limestone and their shields to carry it to the site. Younger women brought banana fibres for thatching. Older women pounded mud with their feet, while others fetched grass for the Captains donkeys.

And so the Waarusha toiled to construct the new building. And the toil was not easy, as one elder, Lonyuki Lekichawo described to H. A. Fosbrooke who quotes him in the 1955 publication of Tanzania Notes and Records:

"Seeing the trees being cut down around Arusha Boma reminds me of my youth. At that time, the whole township area was cultivated and covered with banana groves and huts, and the German Administration was centred round the place where the Clock now stands. The present Boma had only just been started and the walls were perhaps three feet high. In common with the rest of my age-set, I had been put on to this building job. At that time our fighting with the Germans was over: they did not attack us nor did we attack them.

"One day when we were at this work, six of us were called out and told to climb a very tall tree standing to the West of the Boma where the Police car park is. We were told to climb up with our axes and cut the branches from the upper part of the tree. We climbed up with the aid of a locally made rope such as is used for honey hunting. The Nubi askari pulled the rope away whilst we were up the three. Meanwhile others were cutting the trunk of the tree with a saw. These were people of some other tribe that had been brought in as labourers by the Germans. While we were still up the three, it started to fall. There was nothing we could do as the rope had been removed. We all came down with a crash. Of the six of us, three were killed on the spot and three of us escaped. Luckily we were no more than bruised and scratched."

But from the lost lives and from the toil and humiliation grew a Boma, and around the Boma grew Arusha town.

By 1900 the fort was completed and Captain Johannes used it to house a troops of 150 Nubian soldiers. Soon, the Imperial German Ensign was flying from the flagstaff and the fortification was henceforth used by the Germans for regional government offices until 1934.

Meanwhile, the town spread around the Boma. In 1906, the second modern construction, a residential building called the White House, was completed in Ilboru and a road was built to link the two sites.

Gradually, Indian traders, German farmers and traders, as well as immigrant Africans settled in the surrounding area. A market cropped up on the banks of Themi River and in 1914 construction of the first school. Boma school was started in the area where the present Arusha Town Lutheran Church stands. This was completed in 1924 and by then a hotel and several other buildings had been constructed in the vicinity.

The completion of the rail-road to Moshi in the early 1920s led to a further influx of immigrants and the town’s population has been increasing and the metropolitan area expanding ever since. By 1948 Arusha had a population of 5,300 people and in the 1970s it reached 100,000.

In a hundred years the village around the fort has grown into a busy Metropolitan area. Today Arusha Town boasts a population of more than 350,000 people and covers an area of 82.5 square kilometres. And it hasn’t stopped growing. Today Arusha opens its doors to myriads of newcomers just as it did in the time of the Boma’s glory.

Extract ID: 5903

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1896

Brutal German punitive expeditions followed the murder

Brutal German punitive expeditions followed [the murder of the first two missionaries to settle on Meru in 1896], during the course of which large number of Arusha and Meru were killed, their cattle confiscated, banana groves burnt down and Chagga wives repatriated to Kilimanjaro.

Shortly thereafter the Germans granted huge blocks of land on north Meru to a hundred Afrikaner families newly arrived from South Africa, and they subsequently alienated a solid block of land across the southern slopes

Extract ID: 1173

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Valentine Marc Nkwame
Page Number: 334
Extract Date: 21 Aug 2004

ELCT Arusha Diocese releases own history book

The Arusha Diocese for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has published a booklet which covers the 100 years of the Diocese since the first Missionaries set foot in the Ilboru area where it was initially established.

Printed by the Moshi Lutheran Printing Press, in Kilimanjaro, the red covered, 68-page book, consists of twenty chapters from Bishop Thomas Laizer’s prologue, to the current mission work in the Diocese.

It covers a partly detailed history of the first delegation of Missionaries from Leipzig, Germany who reportedly arrived on the slopes of Mount Meru in 1902, where Hermann Albert Fokken and his building expert, Karl Luckin established the maiden Lutheran Centre in the Waarusha community then having a population of only 8,365.

Compiled by Pastor Dr. Joseph W. Parsalaw, a lecturer with the Tumaini Lutheran University, Reverend, Dr. Naaman Miraa Laizer, Pastor Godwin Ole Lekashu of Ilboru and Reverend Zacharia Ole Matinda, the book was launched during the 100th Anniversary for the ELCT Diocese last Sunday.

The book has been published in Swahili language and the first copy of the launch was sold at Tsh.350,000 athough the retail price of the publication is set at Tsh.1,000 per book.

Prime Minister, Frederick Sumaye was the guest of honour at the ELCT centennial celebration held at Ilboru which was also attended by a number of other distinguished guests.

The first Church in the region was built at Ilboru in1904 whose building still stands to-date and during the last Sunday’s event it was consecrated to serve as the first Christian Evangelical museum in the country.

The Lutheran Church in Arusha region became a Synod in 1973 and later made Diocese

in January 1987 at a ceremony whose guest of honour was the retired Tanzania President, Ally Hassan Mwinyi, the event took place at the Enkare-Narok Parish in Ngarenaro area.

Today, the Diocese has 329,350 brethren, among them 143,784 adults and 185,564 children. There are also 82 pastors, 482 evangelists, 15 parish workers and 565 church buildings.

The ELCT Town Cathedral, was the second church to be built in Arusha after the Ilboru one, and they were both constructed under the same plan.

Extract ID: 4729

See also

The starting point for the new face of Arusha
Page Number: 1
Extract Date: 1903

Origins of the Boma

"The road led to a place called Arusha, and as we approached it we came to our astonishment in sight of a truly marvelous building, erected in European style and surrounded by a moat", wrote English adventurer, John Boyes about the beginnings of the town he saw in 1903.

"The Boma was a one-storey building of stone and mortar, with a huge tower in the centre and the whole glistened bright in the sunlight, like an Aladdin’s Palace transported from some fairyland and dropped down in the heart of the tropics. Emblazoned on the front of the tower were the royal arms of Germany, which could be seen nearly a mile off."

"The Boma had been built on a small hill at the base of Mount Meru facing the plains. Below the town were about 30 Indian, Greek and Arab shops selling cloth, trinkets, soap, enameled plates, bowls, beads and copper wire. One shop even had a sewing machine and produced jackets and trousers for the German soldiers and "more progressive natives."

In this 1903 description of early Arusha, Boyes wrote that one approached the Boma along a "fine wide road, equal to a well-kept highway in England" that was "carefully marked off in kilometres.

"Everything about Arusha was equally surprising, the streets being laid out with fine side-walks, separated from the road by a stream of clear water flowing down a cemented gully-way. We had discovered a real oasis in the wilderness.

"The township was spotlessly clean and we saw natives with small baskets picking up any litter lying about, as though the place were the Tiergarten in Berlin and not the wild interior of the Dark Continent."

The German Boma was completed in 1901 and Arusha remained under rigid German military rule until five years later. It had been built as a military fort with a mounted Maxim machine gun. The first commander was First Lieutenant Georg Kuster derogatorily referred to in Swahili as "Bwana Fisi" meaning "Mr. Hyena".

Those "natives", as Boyes called the Waarusha and Wameru, had in fact been made to build the Boma as a punishment. Spears had been turned into digging tools; shields served as crude wheelbarrows. Swords were used to cut down trees, young women and children forced to carry thatching material, older men and women given the task of stamping barefoot on wet mud to join the stones during construction.

Extract ID: 3395

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1907

bumper harvest

After years of hardship, a bumper harvest in 1907 marked their recovery

Extract ID: 1174

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1916-20

When the British troops seized the area in 1916

When the British troops seized the area in 1916 and colonial authority collapsed, both Meru and Arusha resumed upward expansion, rapidly clearing and planting up to 5800 feet before the British were able to reimpose a forest zone above that in 1920.

Extract ID: 1175

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1917

The British expelled the German settlers and confiscated their farms

The British expelled the German settlers and confiscated their farms, but then reallocated them to Greek and British settlers, rather than providing relief to Arusha and Meru. ...

In the end they went much further than the Germans, however, opening up new lands south of the Arusha-Moshi road for Sisal production that increased the amount of alienated land around Meru by 81 per cent.

Extract ID: 1176

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1920

to solve the shortage of land

In 1920, therefore, [to solve the shortage of land to the Arusha and Meru] they allocated six farms to Arusha and two to Meru to provide greater access to the plains. All were on the lower drier reaches of the mountain, which were unsuitable for banana cultivation.

Extract ID: 1177

See also

Spear, Thomas Mountain Farmers, Moral Economies of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru
Extract Date: 1920's

Eventually coffee became the most lucrative and important cash crop

Eventually Coffee became the most lucrative and important cash crop. Planted initially in the 1920’s, overall production and the number of people growing Coffee grew only slowly during the 1930’s and the early 1940s owing to depressed prices, but then picked up substantially in the 1950s and 1960s with rising prices and returns.

Extract ID: 1178

See also

Arusha Times
Page Number: 311
Extract Date: 14 Jan 1948

first leadership of the United Waarusha community

Chief Simeon Laiseri posing with British Government officers at the official inauguration of the first leadership of the United Waarusha community on January 14, 1948. (File photo)

Extract ID: 4701

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: Arusha Times Reporters
Page Number: 311
Extract Date: 13 March 2004

Local hero ‘knocked out’

Chief Simeon Laiseri posing with British Government officers at the official inauguration of the first leadership of the United Waarusha community on January 14, 1948. (File photo)

The decision to change the identity of the road previously named after the legendary chief of the Waarusha community has annoyed various residents of the municipality and its environs.

Running between the Goliondoi roundabout and Sanawari junction via the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), Simeon Road was on the 2nd of March this year, given a new name.

The road was christened, "Barabara ya Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki" (East African Community road) in a ceremony graced by Ugandan President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the current chairman of the EAC Heads of State.

This event preceded the official signing of the Customs Union protocol for the East African Community which was carried out by the three presidents of the EAC member states.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Sheikh Amri Abeid stadium, President Museveni lauded the Arusha Municipal Mayor, Paul Lotta Laizer for "donating" the road to EAC.

The news of the road-re-labelling reached the family of the late Chief Simeon, who later told The Arusha Times that they were shocked.

"We weren’t even contacted", said Mesiaki Simeon Kokan (67), the last born of the legendary chief and hero of the Waarusha tribe, when this paper visited his home at Olturoto village in Arumeru district.

Both Mesiaki and his wife, Hellen (61) admitted that they were irked by the decision to wipe out of public memory the first indigenous ruler of the Waarusha community.

Chief Simeon’s youngest grandson, Thadei Kokan lamented that the council had even ignored Simeon’s family. "They should have at least invited some family members to the road-naming occasion".

"He was the light of Arusha!" said Lazaro Simeon Kokan (85), the chief’s eldest son, when the Arusha Times visited his home also located in Arumeru.

Lazaro suggested that Simeon be given another road to immortalize his legend as the first chief to bring together the two communities of Waarusha namely Burka and Boru.

"In some ways it is also a legend that, Simeon’s name has kept one road long enough for it to mature into an East African one", added Lazaro. His views are also shared by the former head of the Arusha Town Council , Ismail Letawo who suggested that another road should be named after Simeon.

"A road like Goliondoi for instance", said Letawo, "Which was named after a river", he explained.

However, a Taxi driver operating from Sanawari was adamant: "Why should Simeon’s name be shifted?" he asked. "EAC should be given another unnamed road like the Kaloleni one which is being constructed". "They totally want to wipe out the history and presence of the Waarusha community, don’t they?" asked Gasper Mollel, a teacher in Arusha.

Other residents called for the remaining local elders to intervene and ensure that the old Simeon road has been restored in memory of the chief.

It took four phone calls before the Municipal Mayor, Paul Lotta Laizer finally made his comment.

"The decision to change Simeon road into EAC road was reached after the council received a letter of request from the Secretary of the East African Legislative Assembly", said the mayor.

Mayor Laizer, responding to the residents complaints said the council has decided to name the road which runs from Phillips junction to Kijenge roundabout after Simeon to replace the fallen identity.

However, the Philips-Kijenge roundabout road, had already been named after the first President of Tanzania. A large sign indicates that the road is actually called "Nyerere Road".

Died in April 1983 at the age of 95 years, Chief Simeon Laiseri Kokan Benne became the first "Orkasis" of the Waarusha community on the 14th January 1948.

Before that, Simeon was the "Orkasis" for the Boru community while his counterpart , Chief Simon headed the Burka community.

Later, the then British colonial rule, decided that the Waarusha tribe was rather small to be governed by two chiefs, hence a council of elders met and the two communities were united.

Both "Orkasises" Simeon (Boru) and Simon (Burka) resigned their positions, but after a new election, Simeon emerged the first Orkasis for the newly united Waarusha community. The chief was also instrumental in the campaign against colonialism.

Extract ID: 4699

See also

Arusha Times
Extract Author: lute wa lutengano
Page Number: 314
Extract Date: 3 April 2004

Crying with the Waarusha

My friend, whom I will not name for obvious reasons, is very upset. He originates from Ngorbob a village located in the southern suburbs of Arusha. Most residents of this municipality do not know where this village is. Take heart! I will delightfully be your temporary Arusha guide.

There is a famous village, a few kilometers after the Arusha airport, along Dodoma road. The village is very popular with Arusha residents who love ‘nyama choma’ and those frothy liquids imbibed profusely during weekends.

To most people, the village is known as Kisongo. But that is a misrepresentation. Kisongo happens to cover a bigger area which includes that village, whose actual name is Ngorbob.

Now when you go for your weekend ‘nyama choma’ to those popular joints located next to the village market, you are actually going to Ngorbob. But that is another story all together.

I said that my friend is very upset. His anger began a few weeks ago. Actually it began to boil up soon after the inauguration of the East African Customs Union. It was then that something very traumatic happened to him and, he says, to other members of the Waarusha tribe as well.

My friend requested me to accompany him around the down town streets of Arusha. We went down the Sokoine road, the main shopping street in town. He told me that the name Sokoine is in recognition of a famous Maasai leader, who, had it not been for his untimely death might have been President of Tanzania.

We then explored the side streets. And here he explained to me the cosmopolitan nature of Arusha. Streets were and are named after various tribes and lands in recognition of their people’s historical presence and that of their descendants in this part of the world.

We came across the Wasangu Street, these are from Mbeya region. Actually my mother is Sangu, I proudly proclaimed to my friend. Then there was the Lindi Street ­ you know Lindi is located deep-south near the border with Mozambique. The Wadigo Street, for the Tanga-line people was also there and the Wasukuma Street for the big tribe from western Tanzania was around.

Also there were the Wapare and Wachaga streets in recognition of people from Kilimanjaro region. The Zaramos from coast were not left out; they had a street in their name. So were the Makua from southern Tanzania, the Kikuyu from Kenya and Pangani from Tanga. There also was a street named after the migrants from the north, the Ehtiopia Street.

Even Seth Benjamin, the young man who lost his life marching in support of the Arusha Declaration had a street. And so was one Col. Middleton who, I am told, played a pivotal role in developing Arusha and her sports stadium.

Coming up to the Arusha Central Business District, my friend showed me India Street, in appreciation of the allegedly commercial role people who originated from India played in this town.

It was when we reached the street straddling the Arusha International Conference Centre that my friend’s anger boiled to the surface. Almost in tears he told me, "...and this is the only street which recognised the warmth and hospitality of the natives of this town. It used to be called Simeoni Street in recognition of the first chief of the united Waarusha. Now look what has happened!" he sobbed.

Truly the street had been re-named "Barabara ya Afrika Mashariki" ­ the ‘East African (community?) Street". I cried with him.

Extract ID: 4709
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