Gabriel Songa

Name ID 1920

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Extract Author: Becky Heslin
Page Number: 2004 04 01
Extract Date: 1992

Researching Gabriel Songa

Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom

Bwire, Nyamanoko

2003 March 29

Publisher: Arusha Times

Edition: 263

I was wondering if Gabriel Songa is an old friend of mine who was a student in Boulder Colorado at the Economics Institute in 1991, and who went to Mississippi State University in Agribusiness in 1992. My name is Becky Heslin. From Colorado USA

Dear Becky

Personally I have no idea if the Gabriel Songa, DC Mbulu, was a student in Colorado.

However, when I look at http://www.agecon.msstate.edu/Agribusiness/alumni.php

I see a mention of "Gabriel Songa, August 1992, Department of Food Industries, Congo"

I guess if he came from the Congo, it is unlikely that he moved to Mbulu - but it's possible. I going to Tanzania at the end of May, so I shall try to remember to ask and see if anyone knows Mzee Songa.

Were you an Alumni of the same year - I could only see a Becky Knight?

No I am not an alumnus. I was a personal friend of a Gabriel Songa and another man from the Congo named Gregoire Bamvi. I helped them learn to converse in English. They also helped me with my French. It is possible that neither man returned to the Congo for political and personal reasons. I have been trying to look up either one through internet searches. I have not seen them for over ten years. I was thinking by now maybe I could find either one of them. Thanks David for your help. Becky W.

Extract ID: 4842

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Arusha Times
Extract Author: Mohammed Isimbula
Page Number: 141
Extract Date: 2000 Oct 7

Bushmen to leave forest life

..They have been eating monkeys for 100 years

..They believe iron sheets cause blindness

Tired of their forest life, the Tindiga bushmen from the remotest parts of Mbulu and Karatu districts have decided to migrate from the forest and join civilization.

One of the Tindiga tribe elders, Jacob Ndakwena, confirmed that his tribe of 3,000 people will move from their bush residences in an official procession on the 15th of October.

According to Ndakwena, his people have been living in the forest for centuries, feeding on roots and animals but especially monkeys. He noted that the Tindiga people even used to scavenge rotten carcasses without qualms.

Ndakwena said that his people are backward when it comes to development because they believe that houses covered with iron sheets normally cause blindness, and that if they allow their children to attend schools built with iron sheets then those children will become blind.

Various government leaders and NGOs such as the World Vision have tried to persuade the Tindiga bushmen to join civilization without much success, until recently when the tribesmen themselves realized that they could actually be missing out on something.

The move to transform their lives was also made possible with help from the Mang'ola village chairman; Adam Chora whose village is in the Karatu district. Chora was successful in persuading the Tindiga bushmen to drop their savage life, because; having married a Tindiga woman, the bushmen regarded him as their clansman.

Meanwhile, the Mbulu District Commissioner (DC) Gabriel Songayi confirmed that the tribal elders have already contacted him and that he and the area Member of Parliament Phillip Marmo will be there to receive the bushmen's exodus procession.

'This is quite amazing really!' said DC Songayi. 'We have been trying to coax these people to leave their bush life for the past 10 years without any success, but we are glad that they decided to do it themselves.'

Some Tindiga bushmen however, have already tasted modern life, through clothes that they have been begged from visitors and those given to them by the area MP; Phillip Marmo.

Women however were never allowed to wear modern clothes, and prompted to stick to their animal skin outfits.

The Tindiga bushmen wash their bodies rarely before smearing them with monkey's bone marrow for moisturizing their skins.

But the bushmen exodus from the forest to their new life won't be without problems. Speaking to journalists recently, one their representatives revealed that Tindiga have one crucial ultimatum; they must be allowed to smoke marijuana (Bhang), as they are very much used to it, and treat it rather religiously.

However he defended the bushmen by pointing out that, Tindiga men hardly ever cause any problem.

Extract ID: 1536

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Bwire, Nyamanoko Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom
Extract Author: Nyamanoko Bwire
Extract Date: 2003 March 29

Hunters’ fire signals Hadzabe doom

Hadzabe bushmen residing within the Yaeda Chini escarpments of Mbulu district in Manyara region, have expressed their concern regarding the current increase of human activities in reserved areas.

Speaking in Arusha last week, representatives of the indigenous tribe said, of late, there has been an influx of hunters, poachers and farmers whose combined activities are slowly but surely destroying their eco-system.

Aided by an interpreter, the two Hadzabe spokesmen, Magandula Kizali and Maloba Masanga who were attending a special workshop on Wildlife Act review at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) said such activities were threatening their survival.

According to the Hadzabe, groups of people have been invading their forest dwellings, armed with heavy guns with which they kill large numbers of miscellaneous species of animals a move which has caused most of these wildlife components to disappear either by death or migration.

Farming is also reported to be currently destroying the natural vegetation at Yaeda Chini and surrounding areas. Because human immigrants have been doing some large scale deforestation in their quest to convert the previously virgin land into large farming plots.

Hadzabe, who live on small wild animals, roots and wild fruits for food, find these human activities a sign of their extinction.

The Mbulu District Wildlife Officer (DWO), Allan Shani admitted that such activities indeed exist and that the Hadzabe bush men have been playing an important role in protecting both the wild animals and the environment in the past, but now things have gone out of control.

"Animals had been having a profitable symbiotic relationship with the bushmen", said Shani adding that the Hadzabe would protect the wildlife and benefit by eating little animals such as squirrels and monkeys.

"They never killed animals for fun or in large numbers and never bothered with big game", said the DWO of Mbulu explaining that, animals were much used to the Hadzabe and never attacked them.

Mbulu District Commissioner, Gabriel Songa said people invasions of Yaeda Chini reserve areas have so far resulted into a myriad of court cases but many of which are later solved traditionally with agreements done out of court.

Human activities in both national parks and reserved areas are posing great danger to both the environment and wildlife throughout the northern zone of Tanzania according to recent studies.

The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) in conjunction with the Mweka College of Wildlife are currently conducting an extensive research on the effect of human activities in reserved areas.

Hadzabe bushmen are currently found in Iramba districts of Singida, Mbulu in Manyara, Karatu in Arusha and Meatu district of Shinyanga.

Extract ID: 4136
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