Growing up in
Tanzania
A personal experience

 
Memories of another time ...

The Tanzanian flag was adopted on June 30, 1964. The Tanzanian flag originates from the flags of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, the two countries that merged together to form Tanzania in April 1964. Tanganyika's flag was green with a yellow edged black horizontal stripe centrally placed; while Zanzibar's flag was a horizontal striped tricolor of blue, black and green. Tanzania chose a diagonal design to show equal status to both flags.

pictures of Soni (below)

 

 
 
 

A potted history ...

Kidnapped at an early age by a father who didn't know me and a stepmother who didn't know of me and spirited away to the dark continent, there to be sold into bondage.

Leaving Soni Prison Camp (250 miles in the middle of nowhere) some years later and after spending several months in Verbier (8 months apparently but a complete blank in my memory), I was then delivered to an English prep school accompanied by a siege mentality.

I lived in Dar-es-Salaam in the early 1960s.  This was the Capital of the East African country, Tanganyika which then changed its name to Tanzania when it joined with Zanzibar.  I went up-country to my boarding school in the Usambara mountains.  It was a long trip for me and I either went by bus if the bridge was fixed or I went by train.  A few of us would travel together in this way without any adult looking out for us in an age range between 6 and 12.

The bus would take us direct to school (although when we got to the river. we had to unload the bus and walk across) but the train terminated at Mombo and we had to get a bus anyway.  I remember even now the long haul up the escarpment to Soni and unless the driver had his wits about him, the hairpin bends could be lethal.  The route from Soni to Lushoto was a much more forgiving one and when my parents visited me at school, we would spend a weekend at The Lawns Hotel in Lushoto.

The school I went to was called St. Michaels, although the pupils (inmates) knew it by another name, Soni Prison Camp!  It was a catholic boarding school for boys of all nationalities.  It was next door to a place, which we knew as Karimgees but which is now known as Maweni Farm

During one year, the school was a staging post(CE9 - Soni) for the East African Safari Rally and one of the pupils', Michael Shankland's father, Bert, drove a Peugeot 404 in the rally winning both the 1966 and 1967 rallies. Quite who decided to use the school as a staging post, I don't know but it only happened once.

Back in Dar (as Dar-es-Salaam was affectionately known) we lived in a house called 'Villa Capri' at the junction of Bagamoyo Road and Old Bagamoyo Road not far from Oyster Bay and not much further from the city centre.  My father worked for the ILO and later, the UNDP.  At the top of Old Bagamoyo Road was a Drive-in Cinema.

In the school holidays, I would, as often as I could, meet up with some school-friends, Charles & Anthony Young who later having left St. Michael's, preceded me to Belmont Abbey in Herefordshire via it's prep school, Alderwasley Hall in Derbyshire.  Sometime after I left, Alderwasley Hall ceased to be a prep school and became a school for handicapped children.

I recall 1964 and the army mutiny in Dar.  The barracks were up the road from where we lived.  I was sitting on the veranda, reading a comic, when I heard a helicopter and looking up, saw it fly very low over our house.  I remember thinking if I stood on the flat roof of our house, I could have reached up and touched it.  I waved to a man standing in the doorway and he waved back to me and it made me feel happy.  Many years later I learned that the helicopter was from HMS Centaur and was engaged in landing 45 Commando to quell the mutineers.  I remember seeing a ship on the horizon a few days earlier whilst playing at the Gymkhana with a friend.  A Policeman asked me if I had any sense inferring that we shouldn't be outdoors during this period of unrest.  I didn't have any money (cents) with me, so I replied "No".

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MP3 version of National Anthem

Map showing distance from home (Dar) to school (Soni)