Tanga during the Germans

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The famous Clock tower in Tanga built by the Germans (war memorial) in 1901

 

The following is a brief description of times during the German period in Tanga, as recounted by Mrs. Jane Tame from stories told to her by her late husband, who in turn was told by his father, Mr. Wadia Jacob Tame. The Tame family has been residing in Tanga for over a hundred years, at the same place where Jane Tame presently resides on Guinea Road off Eckenford Avenue.

At the turn of the century the town was very different from how we see it today. In general the houses were very well spaced out. On the north (see-ward) side of the Independence Avenue, or Kaiser Allee as it was then called, the former Post Office was one of the few buildings between the Hospital (the present Cliff Block) and the Police Headquarters (the boma behind the present Library). The former Post Office, demolished in the Seventies, stood at where the present Nasaco Building is located. On the south side of the Avenue, the area was equally open.

Trolleys ran through the main streets of the town and were mainly used during the heat of the days. Most families owned their own. My husband, as a young boy, would sometimes ride on the family dogcart pulled by one of the four horses the family had at that time to visit Ngamiani to see the camel driven oil mills. 

At the back of Kaiserhoff Hotel (the present Tanga Hotel), which was owned by a real Hamburger named Mr. Klosse, on Skittle Allee, the older men whiled away their time in 9-pin play. I remember my husband telling me how he watched his father make a big break by hitting all 9-pins in one go and vowing that when he grows up he would do the same. And he did.

There was no question of a day trip to Dar in those days. People went on a passenger boat and it took three days to get there. These were the days long before one could take the early morning plane and be back in time for a game of golf (the golf course no longer exists in Tanga - in its place the Trade Exhibition Ground was built).

When my husband wanted to visit his father's estate at Kidifu on the south side of Pangani River, he had to walk with carriers. 

A popular weekly event in Tanga was the playing of the band at the Bandstand. The Bandstand was situated at Bismarkplatz, now the Uhuru Park (opposite Usagara Hostel), in front of the present Lehman's Building. Regimental music was very popular in those days. The Bandstand no longer exists.It is believed that the Bandstand and the statue of Kaiser that stood in the park were removed by the British after they defeated and drove the Germans out of Tanga during World War One.

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Market Street, as it used to be, with tram trackes in the middle of the road. The building on the right still exists, albeit in a dilapidated state, housing the Princess Nadia Bakery (Opposite the famous sugar cane juice shop near Commando's shop). The gate is also still in use. The train tracks were removed a long time ago. The trees too are gone, replaced at first by Bougainvillaea plants and now by Ashoka trees.

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