By LUSUGA KIRONDE, 26th November 2011 @ 11:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 988
In our last article we presented a peep into colonial housing policy in Tanganyika in the 1940s and 1950s, arguing that in the early colonial days the government did not see the need to house Africans. In the 1940s, particularly towards the end, African Housing became part
of the colonial housing agenda.
Political considerations, that is, to get the goodwill of Africans; and public health considerations especially to deal with overcrowding and sanitation dictated the colonial
attitude towards housing Africans in urban areas.
Nevertheless, this housing had to be located with relations to economic areas where labour was required (such as ports and the industrial area), and had to be cheap and affordable to the African who could no longer be considered as being a temporary migrant labourer.
Ilala, agomeni and Temeke Quarters were key outputs of the colonial housing policy towards Africans during the 1940s and 1950s. We are writing these series of articles, in the light of the imminent demolition of all these iconic “Quarters” to give way to modern developments.
We pick up the story from the mid-1940s, where the colonial government in Tanzania was
preparing a 10-year Development and Welfare Plan for Tanganyika (1947-1956). A total of £2,200,000 was spent on African Urban Housing during the duration of the Development Plan.
Some £1,600,000 was possibly spent in Dar es Salaam since it had been planned to provide African Housing in a ratio of 5 for Dar es Salaam to 2 for other urban areas. African urban houses cost around £216 on average, compared to £1,000 for Asian houses, and to between £1,500 - £3,000 for European houses.
Besides, funds for African urban housing were used to to meet all the expenditure connected with such schemes including expenses of administration, construction, internal roads, site preparation, land acquisition, and installation of water supplies and other incidentals.
Therefore, the amount spent on actual African Housing was highly limited. “Ilala Quarters”, now lined up for demolition, was the first government sponsored African housing scheme in Dar es Salaam. It was conceived in the early 1940s. Pressure was mounting on colonial governments from the Colonial Office in the UK, requiring them to address the question
of African Housing.
In April 1942, the attention of the East African colonial governors was drawn by the Colonial Office to the details of some of the recent housing experiments in the South African Municipalities in view of the important developments in native housing then being projected or actually being carried out in various African colonies.
Even African employees were pressing the government to improve their housing conditions.
In August 1944, one Jeremiah Mukondya of Morogoro Township wrote to the District Officer,
Morogoro, urging the government to build or buy houses for its African servants since all good housing was occupied by Indians, and, bad housing “causes sickness”.
Commenting on the above, the Dar es Salaam Township Authority agreed, and said it had
recommended for consideration of the post-war Planning Committee, that government schemes for housing its employees be initiated since: “in most territories to the South the municipalities have housing schemes for Africans”.
In a meeting between various Tanganyika officials and Mr Jenkins referred to in the previous
article, it was agreed to set aside £2000 for an experimental native housing scheme in Dar
es Salaam in the 1944 territorial budget.
The area decided upon for the location of this experimental native housing scheme was Ilala, where it had earlier (1943) been suggested that the government acquire the 153 acre shamba belonging to an Arab, Mohamed Abeid, opposite the Msimbazi Mission, and erect thereupon a “better class residential suburb for artisans and clerks”.
It was proposed that in this scheme, lodgers be prohibited to prevent overcrowding, and that adequate light, water, roads, sewerage transport and other public services be considered.
Some 261 houses, the majority 2 roomed, with an external pit latrine, and a kitchen, and
constructed of cement sand blocks for walls and thatch for roofs were put up as part of the African Housing Scheme at Ilala between 1946 and 1950.
The Ilala African housing scheme was the early product of the epoch of native housing in urban areas. It was perhaps influenced by Southern African practice. It was undertaken as
a political gesture to seek the goodwill of the Africans. Thus, it was sited at Ilala, near the native houses, so as to highlight the difference between the government provided housing, and the dilapidated self-constructed native houses.
In part, it was also aimed at relieving overcrowding in Zone III. It was aimed at being cheap,
thus the use of thatch, but this did not tally with the drive for “permanence”. As such, the thatched roofs were later on replaced with clay tiles. During the 1950s, experimenting was going on on a new ideal African house.
The Ilala design was therefore not adopted at Temeke or at Magomeni, but due to the location of the area, and the low rents, the Ilala quarters proved to be extremely popular. Nevertheless, the government soon realised that this “direct construction” strategy could not solve the problem of African housing.
In later schemes, it remained only part of a wider strategy which included the demarcation of plots for self-construction. Thus, in the case of both the Magomeni and Temeke quarters, the provision of directly constructed houses went side by side with the provision of serviced plots for self-construction.
The very early sites and services scheme for Dar es Salaam, was the Kigamboni minor settlement scheme with the labour supply in the docks in mind. We will discuss this and the rest of the story on Magomeni and Temeke Quarters in our forthcoming articles.
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