Name ID 287
Cooke, J One White man in Black Africa
Page Number: 184a
Extract Date: 1962
... we did some cross-country travelling to reach Babati on the Arusha-Dodoma road. Here we spent a few days with Sylvia's brother Klaus who was farming in the Kiri valley. He had taken a lease on a parcel of land that was part of a large area that had been cleared for large-scale cultivation by the Germans pre-1914, but then later abandoned to revert to bush and infestation by the tse-tse fly.
In the late 1950's the British administration had decided to reopen the land which the local people did not seem to be interested in. The object was to drive back the tse-tse and bring potentially productive land into cultivation. Klaus had been employed in the sisal growing industry, but wanting to set up farming on his own account, he had applied for and been granted a lease. He had driven up from Tanga with a tractor and trailer laden with his worldly goods, and had moved on to the totally bush-covered land, where he set up camp. He didn't have long to wait before local people came asking for work, and he was able to build up a small labour force with which he started to clear the land.
He allowed each man to build a house and cultivate his own plot. The land teemed with buffalo, and by hunting and shooting these, Klaus was able to keep his men well supplied with fresh meat. He had no labour problems. Within a year they had cleared enough land to plant and harvest a crop of maize, and to begin planting permanent crops such as coffee and paw paw. A small house with mud-brick walls and a corrugated iron roof was built and round it a garden with flowers and vegetables flourished.