I left my country (Tanzania) in the end of 1981 for studies in, (then) West Germany. After five years, I came back home for a short holiday.
It might sound awkward, but truly, I could be walking even some 100 meters away, still almost everyone would simply pinpoint at me, saying “jamaa katoka mtoni Yule!”
Our style of appearances (clothing) used to feed us with that language of “Yule ni wa mtoni na Yule ni hapa-hapa! Yes, our uniformity had something to do with “Kufunga mkanda,” followed by “Ruksa” policy.
Obviously, the after effects (economical), of “the elimination of Iddi Amin from Uganda” were still hanging on our necks! However, it was also due to our country’s policy on Textile industry that was developed in the 1970s as part of a state drive towards industrialization.
In the 80s the textile industry was the key sector in Tanzania in terms of Government Revenue, manufactured exports, employment and skills training.
“We produced school uniforms, Military uniforms, bed sheets, blankets, dress prints, canvas materials and sisal bags for agriculture produce etc.
We were specialists in Khanga and Kitenge, hardly imported these items.” Therefore, the textile sector supported very well the then Policy of Imports substitution saving the country a lot of foreign exchange.
It was after the privatization programme of the late 1990s that many of those mills were closed although some got revived later.
Among our fellow Tanzanians who superbly played his part throughout the mentioned period is Mr. ADAM ABDALLA ZUKU, a consultant and expert in Textile Technology.
The man is an Executive Secretary of the Textile & Garments Manufacturers Association o f Tanzania ( T E G A - MAT).
“I am practical man, always focused on my duties and ready to resolve problems and challenges.”
Actually, not only that Mr. Zuku sees himself as “a practical and focused person,” in fact, even his appearance (just have a closer look at the illustration in this text) tells a story of a genuine, trustworthy and sympathetic gentleman, who has played a substantial role in the history of the textile industries of our country.
Born in 1950 in Bukoba, to Mzee Abdalla Mohammed and Mama Zena Halfani Lunyamwezi, “I started my primary education at Bukoba Muslim School (later known as Zamzam) before proceeding to Grewal secondary school (later known as Bukoba).”
Emerging as one of the best in his class, the young Adam was selected to join Mkwawa High school (in Iringa) for his A level secondary education.
To my question whether decision to go into by then unknown textiles profession was intentional expectedly, this Mzalendo halisi clears me with a straight No! “It was rather a necessity to implement our nation’s mission.”
Adam’s ambition was to be a Medical Doctor but unfortunately he could not secure a place at the Muhimbili medical college! Instead, right after the compulsory Military National Service (JKT), he went to pursue BSc (Education) degree in Chemistry and Zoology at the UDSM from 1972 to 1975.
After graduation with a BSc (Education), Mr. Zuku was employed as an Education Officer under the Ministry of Education, assigned to teach Chemistry to O level and A level students.
“In Ihungo, I took the A level class (form VI) in June 1975 who never had a teacher from form five but managed to attain 85% pass in the National Form VI examinations.
Among schools I taught were; Nyakato, Ihungo (Kagera) and Ruvu (Pwani).” In the 70s the Government had a strategy to develop the textile industry to consume over 60% of locally produced cotton.
“Having a strong background in Chemistry, I was given a scholarship to study MSc (Technology) in textile and colour chemistry at the then University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).”
Also, Mr. Zuku took a Postgraduate Course in Textile Technology & Management IITM, Enschede, Netherlands. Additionally, he attended an International Seminar on Total Quality Management (TQM) at the University of Pittsburgh, USA.
“I have participated in many local and international seminars/ workshops on management and policy issues. I have participated in the integration process for the East African Community EAC and SADC to-date.”
Nowadays, Mr. ZUKU, a father of 5 (3 ladies and 2 men, all grown) and husband to his dear wife (Christina Ernest Kamukulu) is retired but never tired!
He still works as a consultant while also keeping himself busy with sports (mainly; football, long distance walking and basketball).
In fact, his love for football reminds him of his childhood, back in the late 50s at the Bukoba Kaitaba Stadium (by then it was known as King George V stadium), “when we used to climb the wall to watch matches between Bukoba teams against teams from Uganda!” These days, over 3 decades later, since those appearances of “jamaa yulee, atakuwa katoka mtoni,” I believe this Mr. Zuku has somehow played his part to enable almost everyone within our society appear “modern” accordingly.
“I am responsible for organization, management and advocacy of textile and ready-made garment subsector on competition and investment.”
Underlines this former Director of Industry Development in TCCIA. For years, Mr. Zuku has worked as a manager in Tanzania Sewing Threads Ltd, Kiltex Arusha and TD&WM (Sunguratex); “I loved my work and worked hard to increase productivity.” In fact, he was close to the workers and they called him “Chapa kazi.” Just imagine, over 30 years before “huyu mzee wa Hapa Kazi tu!” Indeed, Mr. Zuku was always given companies in trouble; “I successfully put back to production Kiltex Arusha and paid a backlog of salaries and many debts.
In TD&WM (Sunguratex) we recovered financially, paid EADB but on the way failed due to lack of power and the rest is history!”
Yes, I am glad to have known this gentleman who has made some tangible impact in our country.
Mr. ADAM ZUKU is definitely worthy to be illustrated.! David Kyungu is a veteran cartoonist, actor, illustrator, journalist, film, radio & TV director/ producer based in Dares- Salaam.