As a member of Project Tanganyika, Peter C. Goldmark, '62 this summer taught English to Africans in the Tanganyika Port Tanga.
THESE notes are drawn from a summer spent in Tanga, a steaming seaport on the northern stretch of Tanganyika's coast on the Indian Ocean.
Tanga, like all Africa, exhibits the contrasts of a land alive with tension between the future and the present. A magnificent road peters out into two muddy ruts; bright new fire engines race over dirt tracks to put out a fire in a village of mud and palm-thatch houses; a group of white-shirted intellectuals talking on a street corner at night are badgered for a cigarette by a man dressed up for an evening stroll in a top hat, blue-striped pajama bottoms, and a pair of torn, cutaway tails that he has found somewhere. And on the northwestern plains, Masai warriors swoop down on a village and take the cattle, intent on reacquiring the earth's bovine population, which their religion teaches them belongs exclusively to them.
SOME of the children I taught walked five miles every morning to the squat, cement school-house on the Southern edge of Tanga. A strange collection of African, Arabic and English names belonged to those broad, smiling faces: Mbwana Hassani, Jumbe Wema, Joho Said, Lillian Grace Lukindo, Mary John, Apollonia Said....
To teach English to these children is to try to force them to master and apply, in thought and in usage, the concepts and expressions of a language and a way of thinking they must know thoroughly before they can assume jobs in service of their country.
The educational problem is one not of quantity, but of quality. Tanganyika will become fully independent December 9 this year with less trained technical, managerial and governmental personnel for its size than any country on the continent, with the exception of the Portuguese colony. British educational system has produced a breed of half caste intellectuals and semi-sophisticates facile in the superficial expressions and manners of the Western life for which they have prepared. Their intellect worldliness separate them sharply from their homes and villages, but their education has not allowed really them to understand or share the bureaucratic and scientific traditions in which they will work.
The methods of education themselves encourage a student to repeat rather than to think, to remember rather than to learn Dictation, memorization and repitition- these methods instruction do not challenge a student's ingenuity or creative powers. The student is not asked to create, or even to analyze; he is not summoned to explore in the world of ideas. He is told- and repeats- scientific lwas that are built into our lives from the day we are born, but he is not made to discover them for himself. His world contains no geometrical relationships or concepts of thrift and capital accumulation; he encounters no daily physical examples mechanical engineering, and does not undergo the analogue experience of complex social and occupational relationships. He cannot acquire automatically that all important fidelity to standards of competency and responsibility fundamental to the existence of orderly political community and dynamic program of economic technological and educational development.
THERE is only one significant political party in Tanganyika: the Tanganyikan African National Union (TANU). In constitutional democracies of the West power structure is a horizontal spectrum of interests which overlap and conflict--rural and urban groups, business and labor, Republican and Democrat, numerous subdivisions. The decision making process is legislative, work- ing by compromise and accommodation of various interests, with certain common agreements as to the lengths that any majority coalition of interests can go in forcing its will on the minority.
Developing country, the power structure is vertical, not horizontal. There is a trained, educated elite who pull, push and coax the mass of the people in the direction dictated by the future. There is only one task--that of development on every front. There are a few who can teach, and many who must learn; there are those few who must make decisions and can lead, and those many who accept and follow. The political dialogue is not among equal blocs with varied interests, but between the leadership forces of develpoment, education, and eventually industrialization- and the people who will learn new ways, and who must welcome the changes that will come as they build a country. The party, which is the effective government, holds out hope of a developed country, and educates and disciplines the people. This is the role the situation forces upon them. And in this situation there is need--and room- for only one party.
The political outlook on international affairs is one of extreme realism. As the papers say, Africa is not for the East or the West, it is for Africa.
Tanganyika's sympathies lie with the West. I had lunch with a TANU official, and to my utter disbelief heard him defend to me the American intervention in Cuba which I had just condemned.
Do you see?" he asked. "Zanzibar is our Cuba."
On the island of Zanzibar, only ten miles off the Tanganyikan mainland, Arabs have enlisted communist support in their struggle for supremacy over the island's population.
On the mainland there is some clandestine communist agitation, but from my limited and indirect contacts with the shadowy underworld of agents and counteragents, it appeared that the Africans are taking the communists for a ride. There is a small "party" which calls itself the African National Congress, led by Zuberi Mtemvu, a TANU renegade who recently returned from Peiping with fifteen boiler suits and enough money to buy himself a Mercedes- Benz. The Congress polled 60 votes the first time they ran a candidate, and 67 the second time. (The joke runs that Mtemvu's family had increased by seven during the interim.) I was told of men who had approached communist agents for money, ostensibly to establish local groups, and used the money to fly to London and enroll in a university.
The only conceivable rallying point of opposition to TANU is the racial question. TANU stands for racial equality and integration: "We care for the dignity of the human being, not about the pigment of his skin." When the leaders of the Congress are not whiling away the afternoon in a bar or visiting Peiping, they are insisting that the Indians (approximately 300,000) and the Europeans (about 3,000 permanent settlers) be thrown out.
I suppose a Marxist analysis would classify the Europeans as a sort of feudal aristocracy, the Indians as the bourgeoisie, and the Africans as the not-so-urban working class oppressed by the other two groups. The trouble is that such a "Marxian" analysis neatly coincides with the racial division. And this is the only real threat to a temporarily stable situation--that the Congress, or some other faction, might rouse the latent hostility a large proportion of the African population bears toward the other races, and turn out a government which has created a remarkable spirit of cooperation among the three races