Kiru Valley

Name ID 1296

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 215a
Extract Date: 1950's

Dr. George Six

Dr. George Six, a London physician, was an unlikely member of Tanganyika's hunting community. He had come to Africa not with the intention of practicing medicine, but to purchase a farm. Six and his English wife, Mary (nee Bell), the daughter of a judge, rented a house outside Arusha. George soon made the acquaintance of Jacky Hamman at Arusha's government administration building, known as the boma, where Hamman was purchasing game licenses for one of his safaris.

The suave and sophisticated George Six was Hamman's diametric opposite in every way - in physique, temperament, education, intellect, and background - yet the two became firm friends.

Once settled in Arusha Dr. Six opened a gun shop next door to the Safari Hotel where Lawrence-Brown Safaris, Jacky Hamman's outfit, was located. He then purchased two thousand acres in Tanganyika's densely wooded Kiru Valley, south of Lake Manyara. The farm was virgin bushland and lay close beside the wall of the Great Rift Valley, only a few miles from Magara, where Bror and Cockie von Blixen had once lived at Singu Estates. George's acreage was in Tsetse Fly country and useless for domestic animals because of the deadly tsetse-borne disease, trypanosomiasis. In such regions in Tanzania there is an almost total absence of human settlements due to tsetse flies, but nearly always there is an unusual abundance of wildlife, and the Kiru Valley was no exception. In the 1950s it was chock-full of game, particularly elephant, rhino, and buffalo, and provided plenty of sport for the hunting enthusiast.

Extract ID: 3834

See also

nTZ Feedback
Page Number: 2004 12 30
Extract Date: 1955-58

Eric Six - Arusha School 1955 - 1958

My name is Eric Six, Geoff Jones gave me your website, and it was fascinating to read about folks about whom I had not thought in years, surprisingly I was more familiar with the adult names than fellow students. I attended Arusha 1955 to 1958, then went on to Iringa, where I stayed till it closed in1963. There were only a handful that saw the entire life of StM & StG. I completed High School at Prince of Wales in Nairobi.

For those that knew me in school it comes as a surprise that I eventually became a Neurosurgeon, as I have to confess being a fairly lousy student, being more familiar with the tacky, and cane or cricket bat (if you crossed HA Jones); than with prizes in the school magazine. I too was brought up in the bush, in Kiru Valley about 100 miles from Arusha on the way to Babati.( David you were familiar with North Lewis, they lived about 25 miles from us off the Singida road.) Hunting was a way of life on the farm, but after doing that much hunting as a youth, I shoot only with a camera now.

David, I noticed that Elizabeth Palfry also lives in Texas---- I would appreciate you giving her my web address if she would like to write. I am familiar with her Dad, through my parents of course. Funnily enough I also knew Pete Hugo, and a number of the farmers from the Olmolog area.

I was sitting here trying to recall the names of classmates from 50 years ago with little success.

Geoff Jones (BLs son),

Corky Morgan {Father's namesake the old man liked to pull on your ears.},

Gerald Hunwick, {TFA}

John Cashin {PWD},

Clara De Liva,

Paul Marsh,

David Ulyate {farm},

Leslie Hague {The Beehive Restaurant}

Bizarrely I cannot recall but the one girl!

(Fritz Jacobs, Erik Larsen.Klaus Gaitja, Alex Zikakis, Hannes Matasen, Ivo Santi Barry Jones Louis van Royen Kevin Legrange were on either side of us) I am told that George Angelides still lives in Arusha and has a great reputation as a hunter guide.

Do you remember that little dog of Hamshire's, the miserable devil loved to chase us, I happened to be amongst those she caught and got bitten by, I still have the scar..

Sorry about all the parentheses but saves a whole lot of explaining.

After independence my Dad built a number of hotels in Tanzania ,amongst them Lobo lodge, Ngorongoro crater lodge ( the hotel on the rim just before getting to the original rondavels) and rebuilt the hotel on manyara escarpment, those all happened in the late 60's. They also managed Hotels in Zanzibar, and Dar-- the New Africa and Kilimanjaro being better known.

Enough from me. Please remember to pass my address to Elizabeth.

Dear Eric,

I am just catching up with things after Christmas, and realise that I didn�t reply to your email from 30 November. However, I was away in Zambia for most of the month of December.

By bcc I am copying Elizabeth Palfry with your email, and shall leave it to her to get in touch with you.

Thanks for all your memories of Arusha and Tanzania. If you ever have time to write more, do please keep in touch. I hope to have your email up on the web site in the next few days. You will also be interested in a History of Arusha School (up to 1971) which will be available in full. I found it a fascinating read, and help me to understand some of the things that happened at the school, which made no sense to me back in 1953-57.

You mention the North-Lewis's. I think that when we left Arusha in 1957 we gave them one of our dogs, which within a few weeks was eaten by a leopard!

Did you find the photo, probably of their home, at I seem to remember on that trip that a snake was found under our car, and it had to be shot before we could leave!

You mention Paul Marsh" my brother!

Thanks again for you memories" keep them coming

Extract ID: 4962

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 217b
Extract Date: 1960's

Live venomous snakes

George Six remained in Arusha for some years after the death of his good friend. Besides his chosen career as white hunter, Six kept up his other remarkably varied interests. The former physician obtained a contract to supply live venomous snakes to American research groups. As dense bush was cleared on his Kiru Valley coffee plantation, enormous anthills were uncovered. George had a tractor driver knock down the anthills with a bulldozer. This usually revealed an amazing number of snakes living in these abandoned cementhard anthills. Once the 'dozer blade leveled the anthill, George would dash into the rubble and catch snakes. He often held the snakes with a forked "catching" stick, then grabbed them in his bare hands, holding them behind the neck, then by the tail. He would hold the snake at arm's length with the reptile's head facing the ground. Some days the catch would total as many as thirty venomous snakes, everything from boomslangs to black mambas and puff adders. George carefully catalogued the snakes, then placed them in fine wire-mesh cages for shipment.

While Six assisted with safaris for Stan Lawrence-Brown, his farm was managed by a salty old Australian named Bill Aherne. The plantation was regarded as a model, especially as George had ingeniously built gravity-fed irrigation canals that stretched for miles. Six was to suffer a terrible accident on the farm when his leg was crushed while he worked beneath a crawler tractor. The accident forced him to quit professional hunting. When Tanganyika became Tanzania, the newly independent government nationalized all the farms and most private businesses. George, who had put every cent he had into his Kiru Valley coffee farm, lost everything, and shortly afterward Mary, his wife, died of a heart attack.

Extract ID: 3838

See also

Ubwani, Zephania Babati land conflict
Page Number: 3
Extract Date: 1970s

High production of jaggery

Mzee Chagan, although not entirely happy with the conflicts between the commercial farmers and the surrounding communities, admitted that Kiru Valley had a great potential for sugar production.

"There is enough water, fertile land and conducive weather" he said at his hillside residence, looking over his large sugar cane farm.

At least 1,000 out of the 3,000 acres leased to him in the 1970s, were under sugar cane cultivation from which he produced 10 tonnes of jaggery a day.

Despite the lush and evergreen farms on the banks of the Kiru river, which originates from the Mbulu highlands, and the assistance given to him by IPI, the Indian farmer was worried.

He talked of high taxation, high costs of inputs and labour and lack of credit facilities for commercial farming in Tanzania which, he said, had low returns compared to other countries.

However, his main worry appeared to be what he described as "threats from the villagers and local leaders" over the commercial farmers" land.

He hinted to this reporter that the Kiru Valley was facing a land crisis especially between the surrounding communities, including local peasants and livestock grazers, and the settler farmers and local government authorities on the other.

His remarks implied that there was frequent trespassing on the land leased to them and for which they paid rent, with no or little action taken by the authorities in support of the large farmers.

My trip later took me to Mara Estate further west and up the Kiru River basin. Mara Estate is where the recent clashes took place which claimed the lives of three people, scores injured and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.

The 1,763 acre Mara Estate is strategically located. It is below the rift valley escarpment and closer to the source of Kiru River which the rest of the estate owners downstream depend on for irrigation.

Extract ID: 3438

See also

Ubwani, Zephania Babati land conflict
Page Number: 5
Extract Date: 1970's

Pastoralists enter the valley

Some changes took place from the mid 70s. As drought continued to bite in the neighboring districts notably Mbulu, Babati, Hanang and Monduli, cattle grazers invaded the area for greener pastures.

The cattle grazers were viewed with suspicion by the estate owners. Where will they graze their large herds when the best land is under cultivation or lease? They asked themselves. They also posed a threat to livestock in ranches owned by commercial farmers.

The cattle herders could not be easily recruited to become farm laborers.

At the same time, they could not tolerate the beatings often meted out to laborers and other villagers by the rude estate owners.

As more and more pastoralists and farmers settled in the area, more and more local leaders began talking about the right of the villagers like their access to water, pastures in fallow land and routes to their large herds.

By the 1970s, most white farmers had left and the farms were taken over by the Asian farmers who preferred cultivating sugar cane, beans and maize rather than coffee.

According to accounts, the farms were briefly taken over by the National Agricultural and Food Corporation (NAFCO) but soon reverted to the private commercial farmers after the giant Parastatal collapsed.

The bone of contention, according to Kiru residents, is not the land problem as such, but the hostility that has existed between the estate owners and the local communities and the failure by the local (district) authorities to act accordingly on the clashes reported before the killings.

Extract ID: 3440

See also

Ubwani, Zephania Babati land conflict
Page Number: 1
Extract Date: 1997

Babati land conflict has roots in colonial period

Who was a behind the recent farm clashes in Babati district pitting the local villagers against the Asian large scale farmers? Correspondent Zephania Ubwani who lived in Babati in the early 1970s, during which time he visited nearly all the farms in the Kiru Valley recalls his last visit to the area in 1997. His report.

Seated under the shade of large tree outside his hillside residence in Kiru Valley, the then 60 year old Asian farmer Chagan Modhwadia appeared both an optimistic farmer and a worried businessman.

He was happy that his sugar cane production was poised for a brighter future because of the huge market demand, and fertile land, but he was worried about taxation and the threats to estate land.

On that particular sunny day at the height of the dry season in August 1997, he had three types of visitors, two of whom were types to his day to day business. In the morning he had visitors from the now dis-established Institute of Production Innovation (IPI) of the University of Dar es Salaam led by Dr. Abdallah Chungu.

IPI was installing prototypes of mini-sugar plants it had developed in various large-scale farms in the Kiru Valley where the Asian farmers have opted for sugar cane production instead of the coffee plantations and fruit orchards that were planted when the farms were first opened up by white settlers in the 1950s.

The IPI experts were coming to see the performance of a sugar processing plant they had installed in his compound, but the outspoken Asian farmer amused them when he said the mini-sugar plant was too small for him.

"This plant has the capacity to produce 700 kg of sugar a day. That's too small for our operations," he said, adding that he would be comfortable with bigger plants that could produce many tonnes of sugar in order to make huge sales and profits.

Shortly before noon, Mzee Chagan was to play host to a journalist. To him that was strange. He had not seen such visitors to the farms before but was soon to settle down after being told that the reporter's visit was linked to the IPI-support project.

Then sometime after 4 pm, when the sun was pushing westwards behind the Mbulu highlands, an old Land Rover with two passengers arrived at the farmer's noisy compound almost unnoticed.

These were officials of the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) from Babati, the district headquarters which is barely 20 kilometres from the rocky bottom of the Kiru Valley. He took time to talk to them but was later to complain as is always the case with businessmen.

Mzee Chagan was (and probably still is) the owner of the 3,000 acre Dudumera Plantations Limited which is roughly ten kilometres off the Arusha-Babati road..

There are about a dozen other farms in the neighbourhood.

According to the villagers, the present Dudumera Plantations, which Mzee Chagan owns under a 99 year lease, was formerly run by a famous Greek settler called A. P. Matsis, who later settled near Arusha and died in the 1980s.

Extract ID: 3436

See also

Ubwani, Zephania Babati land conflict
Page Number: 4
Extract Date: 2002

A bereaved and shocked Patel

The estate Managing Director, Mr. Mahesh B. Patel, who parents were hacked to death, was there and talked about the labor problem, poor weather and arson which often razed his cane fields. He was the chairman of the Commercial Farmers Association.

Other Asian farmers, who did not want their names mentioned, hinted that they may be compelled to sell their farms and opt for other businesses because of what they perceived as threats from local leaders and villagers.

The Asian farmers did not need to elaborate on the land crisis in Kiru.

Even for a first time visitor, Kiru Valley bore all the hallmarks of poor labor relations between the local communities, on one hand, and commercial farmers on the other.

It is not clear if the Kiru Valley was fully inhabited prior to the coming of the settler farmers 50 years ago.

Located in the rift valley, south of Lake Manyara, the area is notorious for high temperatures. It was not a favorable land for cattle grazers because of the high incidence of trypanosomiasis, a disease caused by tsetse flies and which is lethal to livestock and human beings.

The area was also notorious for bilharzia, a disease associated with snails, especially in water logged areas and which threatened to wipe out Wambugwe tribe in the neighboring villages in the 1960s.

When the European farmers settled, they recruited their laborers mostly from central and western Tanzania. These people still form the core of their workforce today, although others have joined their ranks.

Information of how the estates evolved and whether some people were displaced from the area in the past to pave way for white farmers has been lacking because the authorities in Babati may have viewed the situation differently.

The farms were seen as an extension of the settler economy based in Arusha and beyond, as most of their owners had more to do with Arusha in terms of marketing their produce, procuring supplies and farm inputs than Babati.

Other farms were owned by absentee landlords who had settled either in Arusha or abroad. Until the early 1970s, the areas had no schools, dispensaries or local government administration, leaving the landlords to wield unchecked power over their helpless laborers.

Extract ID: 3439