By LUSUGA KIRONDE, 24th December 2011 @ 15:51, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 1817
This is the last of several instalments which delved into the history of African housing in Dar es Salaam during the late 1940s and 1950s.
These instalments were prompted by the imminent demolition of various buildings known as “Qusrters” in Ilala, Magomeni and Temeke, which were nevertheless, citadels of the colonial government’s housing policy for Africas. We have already seen what happened in Ilala, then Kigamboni and then Magomeni. We end up by looking at Temeke.
In all cases, the colonial government was motivated by a number of factors: To get the goodwill of the Africans (political); to deal with health issues (e.g. overcrowding in some parts); to provide what was affordable to the African and for the government (economic considerations) and to support the labour requirements of the city.
Follow what happened in Temeke. The Temeke African Settlement Scheme was considered for an African residential urban settlement in tandem with policies of labour supply to Dar es Salaam's emerging industrial area along Pugu Road.
At a meeting that took place at the Secretariat in March 1938 regarding sites for African Housing, the area of Temeke Village, between the Veterinary and the aerodrome (then at Kilwa Road) was considered suitable since it had various advantages.
It was almost wholly government land with only about 30 native dwellings on it. But more important, the inoffensive factories site was shortly to be developed nearby. "A settlement here would form a reservoir of labour for the factories," it was pointed out. A tentative layout for 525 houses and a further area where large employers of labour might erect accommodation for their employees was presented.
It was also pointed out that there was another 200 acres of government land available westwards, where 1000 houses could be accommodated with ease. The question was whether it should be for the government to build and if so, at what standards or whether the plots should be allocated to Africans to build for themselves.
In the end the government decided to put up a number of "quarters," and at the same time, make available a lot of planned land to Africans to construct houses for themselves as they deemed fit. The construction of Temeke Quarters began in 1950. By September, 1951 the first houses were ready and by January 1953, some 242 houses had been completed.
The rent for these houses was determined at 52/-, 35/- and 26/- per month for a 3, 2 or 1 room house respectively. A Miss Gold, Woman Welfare Officer trained in the Octavia Hill methods of Housing Management, was employed and was available for help.
She suggested that households could spend up to 20% of their income on housing, thus it was decided that nobody would be allocated a government quarter in Temeke, unless they were wage earners with a salary of at least 150/- per month.
Thus the quarters were only available to the cream of the Africans. Note as well that the usually cited formula that households can spend 20% of their income on housing has a long ancestry. Temeke quarters were originally quite unpopular. The rent was considered extortionate, the area lacked services and was too far from the city centre and was yet to be served by public transport.
Thus, of the 242 houses allocated by December 1952, half remained unoccupied in 1953, although everyone on the waiting list had been offered accommodation. The Temeke quarters were constructed when experimenting was still going on an economic house for the African. The quarters built slightly later at Magomeni were cheaper and the rents lower.
Together with the construction of the Temeke quarters, several hundreds of plots were demarcated and allocated in the area, beginning in 1950. At least 1,500 plots were demarcated but the figure may well have exceeded 3000 by 1960. Within the Temeke settlement, it was found necessary to include trade plots, "to save occupants to go to Dar es Salaam."
These trade plots were allocated for 33 years, at an annual rent of 100/- plus a premium equivalent to 5 year rent paid on allocation, and a covenant to put up a building not less than 10,000/- in value.
Unlike was the case with the Magomeni settlement which was meant to relieve overcrowding in Kariakoo, the Temeke settlement was earmarked to provide labour to the nearby industrial estate, thus the need to have trade plots in the area, i.e. Temeke residents were not expected to be frequent visitors of the Dar es Salaam's centre.
It was perhaps for this reason that connecting Temeke to the city centre was not considered a priority and the Dar es Salaam Town clerk, C.W. Baxter complained to the Director of Public Works in April 1952 that "the only access road to the expanding African District of Temeke was still untouched."
In conclusion, it is to be noted that Colonial policy with regard to African labour changed in the 1940s and labour stability in urban areas was accepted, at least for those with employment. This was in part, in responses to the emerging import substitution industrialisation. If labour was accepted for permanent residence in Dar es Salaam, it was not only to be employed, but to be housed as well.
Schemes to ensure the supply of African housing were undertaken. The directly constructed houses were earmarked for the upcoming African "cream." Although the standards adopted were much lower in comparison to European or Asian housing, these schemes were considered a major uplift for the African.
For some of the African "cream," opportunities to own modern urban housing were provided through the loans of the African Urban Housing Loan Scheme. Demarcated plots were provided for self construction. Housing schemes were also prepared for the Asian and European communities.
There were publicly constructed complete houses for renting or occupation free as part of the employment. There were also demarcated plots for private construction. The standard of housing, land and housing services and size of plots differed with race, Europeans getting the most and Africans the least.
The principle of public health could not be avoided, thus the concern with overcrowding in the Indian and native areas. The solution to this was also sought in creating new Africa housing schemes. The non-servicing of African areas continued to create concern in terms of public health dangers throughout the 1950s, particularly when un-serviced African areas got sited too near the low density (European) Housing.
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