Recent Posts

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Get in touch / Re: Njombe - 1960 - where you in the area?
« Last post by PaulC on 28 November, 2016, 14:18 »
I was born at the German Mission near Njombe (Uwemba) in 1952, so I assume that it was the local centre of excellence in these matters!  Their website is at
My parents were living in Njombe at the time (John and Dorothy Carlin).
Film, Music, Books etc / Zanzibar Uhuru
« Last post by Anne Smithyman on 15 August, 2015, 12:56 »
HI, I thought some might be interested in the novel I have written about Zanzibar - It's an historical novel covering 50 years from the Revolution of 1964. I lived in Zanzibar with my parents from 1956-1964. Zanzibar Uhuru is available on Amazon as a print or kindle version. It is also available through Book Depository. In the novel I have tried to tell the story of Zanzibar through two protagonists, one an English girl, the other a young Arab Zanzibari girl. I think, anyone who lived in and loved Tanzania, might find this interesting. Regards Anne Chappel (Mbeya School 1955-1959)
Arusha School / Re: The tortoise (kobe)
« Last post by Naomi Wilson on 13 August, 2015, 22:42 »
Our father, Rev'd.William Wynn Jones, inaugural Headmadter of the school brought the two tortoises to the school initially and they were our pets. From where he procured them we do not know.
Sir Alex's mate - my brother Tim informs me, dad gave away, purely and simply because the two tortoises munching were ruining the gardens! To whom the second tortoise was given we do not know. Naomi Wilson (née Wynn Jones)
Youngest of the WJ children
This forum / Re: New Look. 12 August 2015
« Last post by Simon Watson on 12 August, 2015, 19:06 »
Hi David,
The new format looks really good!!Well done!
Many thanks for your answer of today as regards my post of last week, but both seem to have vanished off my screen.I guess this is a temporary thing.
By the way the forum spelling of Soa Hill should read Sao Hill.
Keep up the good work.

Very best,
This forum / New Look. 12 August 2015
« Last post by nTZ on 12 August, 2015, 18:16 »
After six years the old theme was looking a little tired.  This should be a bit clearer, and should work on tablets and phones.

Let us know of any problems you find. Post a reply here, or use the email or message button under my name on the left.

Comments, good and bad, are welcome.
This forum / Re: Introduction
« Last post by David Marsh on 12 August, 2015, 15:33 »
Just posted this in the Soa Hill section, in response to an open post from Simon Watson.  Worth repeating here:


David here - the one and only administrator.  I couldn't agree with you more.

As you may have found I set this site up in 2009 to help handle all the enquiries that were coming from the first (circa 2000) website about northern Tanzania ( in the hope that it would look after itself.....

It's not help by being swamped by trolls, and you will have noticed a lot of spam postings and a members list full of strange people.  At the new year, I think, I cleared them all out, and hope that all the members are now genuine - but many still "hide" behind nicknames making it hard to recognise people that you might know.  Not sure what to do about that.

Still get about 5 people a day trying to sign up, ignoring the advise to choose a username which is not a jumble of letters and numbers, and to make sure your dates in TX make sense. 

I suspect that the forum is not so easy to use, especially for people of our generation (school in TZ in the 1950's), and I have to say that the look and feel of the site is a bit dated.  Your post is an incentive to me to see if I can freshen it up with a new look.  These days it has to work on everything from big screens to small phones, with tablets in between.  I'm stuck a little with the system I committed to 6 years ago (Simple Machines Forum software) so am constrained by what is available.  Similarly I need to update - the software behind that has totally broken!

I'm tempted to take them all down, but as you will see from the stats the Forum gets about 70 thousand hits a months. 1.8 million in 2014.  And had just under 100 thousand vists last year, which is not bad for a website that hasn't been updated for nearly 10 years (the history and the content is all still good!).

Any suggestions you, or anyone else, might have about how to regenerate interest in our past, and help encourage contact between people with that past in common, will be very welcome.

Arusha School / Re: The tortoise (kobe)
« Last post by David Marsh on 12 August, 2015, 15:10 »

Tanzania: 'Sir Alex', Country's Ancient Reptile That Still Lives in Arusha

By Marc Nkwame

Arusha — Nobody knows for sure how old 'Sir Alex' could be at the moment, but experts estimate that it could be hitting the 200 years (two centuries) mark now, making him the oldest creature in Tanzania and the 'most ancient' around the East African plateau.

The second mystery of 'Sir Alex' is that despite the male title, no one can tell whether the animal, which happens to be a tortoise, is male or female, but as it happens, pupils at the Arusha Primary School (Arusha School) in which the large reptile resides, prefer to call him or her, Babu (grandpa).

'Sir Alex' apparently is not a native Tanzanian tortoise, because it was reportedly shipped here from Australia in the early 1920s. History has it that three tortoises arrived in the country nearly 100 years ago. One was left in Dar es Salaam and believed to be either dead or simply disappeared.

The other two tortoises were dispatched up North. Along the way one was reportedly left at Moshi and got deposited at a wildlife institution there, but even this one remains a mystery whether it is still alive or died in Kilimanjaro. Now the third tortoise which was eventually given to Arusha School is the subject of this narrative. The reptile has remained at the institution for the last 90 years or so.
This is the 'Sir Alex' we are talking about. "The eye, the spirit and crown of Arusha School," said the Headmistress, Mwalimu Angela Kitigwa. What she meant was that the school was built around the tortoise and when the institution eventually opened for first pupils' intake in 1932, 'Sir Alex' was already a vegetarian veteran there.

Originally, Arusha School was established in Arusha in 1934 as a private co-educational school for European children, but in 1972 it was taken over by the government, becoming the first English-Medium Primary school educating students from Kindergarten to Primary 7.

Located along Fire Road, adjacent to another legendary city's landmark, The Arusha Hotel, the English-Medium institution currently functions both as a boarding and day school.

Many efforts to steal, abduct or relocate the famous tortoise have been botched but not without some effects; for instance, the reptile now features a slightly fractured upper shell, believed to be the act of a stray bullet.
"There have been various attempts to abduct our tortoise with the latest episode being the one which a Toyota Land-Cruiser SUV drove into the compound and a gang of men stormed out, carried the animal into the vehicle but the situation was saved by children who thronged the car screaming," said Mwalimu Pelle Ibrahim Shaibu, a retired teacher who taught at the school between 1981 and 2007.
The alarm raised by the children caused the mysterious men to flee, dropped the tortoise, jumped back onto their vehicle and sped off.

It seems there are some hidden reasons why some parties are craving to get hold of the ancient reptile. "This tortoise which throughout its life has never been named, until recently when the 'Sir Alex,' title came up, is very popular worldwide because more than 20,000 former pupils and staff who attended our school fondly remember the animal and constantly ask about it," said the school headmistress.

Large as it is and menacing as it looks, the giant tortoise, however, is a favourite among the school pupils, many of whom enjoy taking a slow ride on its back around the school compound, mapped within 48 acres, dotted with shrubs trees and bushes.

David Read now aged 95 is a famous British author behind popular book titles such as 'Barefoot Over Serengeti' and 'Another load of Bull,' once rode on the back of the tortoise when he was a pupil at Arusha School in 1936.
The legendary tortoise caused global uproar once when news started circulating, claiming that wildlife officials had gone to the school and confiscated the country's oldest reptile.

"But the residents of Arusha, pupils, parents and alumni of the school should not worry because the tortoise has been restored back to the school," revealed the headmistress who also admitted that, indeed the incident was an issue of great concern among members of the school as well as its global community.

One of the old students sent an email with concern regarding the tortoise; saying "I have read one of the items on face book regarding the tortoise that was at the school, taken away because there was no permit for the school to own it."

"I was born in Arusha in 1949 and my father was a master at the school and indeed I grew up in the school grounds, where the tortoise became part of the school life.
On my visit back to the school four years ago I was very pleased to see it is still there." And many are indeed pleased to learn that Sir Alex is still fine and doing well though many of the mysteries surrounding this Tanzania's oldest organism may not be solved in the near future.
Tanganyika / Re: Tanganyika Architect
« Last post by Simon Watson on 31 July, 2015, 08:41 »
Hi Graham,

Sorry,no photos of Lady Lead's house. As far as I know she didn't have to work! I believe it's possible that Sisal grew on her plantation and she derived a living from the sales,especially as in the 50s Tanga was the largest exporter of Sisal in the World.

Best regards,
Tanganyika / Re: Tanganyika Architect
« Last post by Graham Hutton on 26 July, 2015, 10:06 »
Hi Simon,
Thanks for trying with the contact.
Let's hope something comes through.
I don't suppose you can find a picture of Lady Leads's house...would be great to see!
Do you know what she did for a living?
Would be interested to know.
Tanganyika / Re: Tanganyika Architect
« Last post by Simon Watson on 22 July, 2015, 19:01 »
Hi Graham,

I have been waiting for news regarding my Father's old Architect friend before writing back but no joy as yet! It might take a while as my Dad is no longer around and i have contacted a couple of people who are now unfortunately not totally compos mentis! Very sad!

Lady Lead...That's a name I remember even as a child. Massive house!My parents knew her and went to Bridge parties etc..

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