A History of Magamba

ImageThis article by Director Mrs Anneth Munga revives the history of Magamba, and makes a few outlines on what we expect it to become


the venue for prospective

Re-capturing what Magamba has been as we envision what it will become!

The process of tracing the history of Magamba is a complex one. From written documents and oral accounts we are able to understand what Magamba has been. The sources contain valuable pieces which we try to fit together. Memories of beauty and moments of prosperity are intertwined with those of setbacks; settling down is followed by breaking up. But that reflects the route of our lives, whether private or communal. Amidst of that experience, we find the urge to move on.
Magamba is the place where Sebastian Kolowa University College of Tumaini University is to be opened. In the beginning of the 1960s, the North Eastern Diocese - at that time known as Usambara-Digo Church - bought up a famous hotel, Magamba Country Club. With its beautiful tennis and golf sites, Magamba Country Club attracted people from within and outside Tanzania. This is the main building of what used to be Magamba Country Club – as it looks now:


The leaders of Usambara-Digo Church intended to use Magamba as an education centre. At the buildings of Magamba Country Club, Usambara Trade School (UTS) was opened. The Church also wanted to open a Secondary School and the first students were received in 1961. They stayed at UTS for the first two years. In 1962, the construction of the first secondary school building with classrooms and offices began. What it looks like today, you can see at the beginning of this article.

As we prepare SEKUCo, we refer to UTS as Campus A and Magamba Secondary School as Campus B. Below there are some important events in the history of these campuses, events that fill us with the urge to move on.

Friends of Magamba,
old as well as new ones,
wherever you are:

Let us thank God for what Magamba has been as we envision what it will become!
  • 1961 The Usambara-Digo Church bought the famous Magamba Country Club. At Campus A, Usambara Trade School (UTS) was opened in order to offer courses in Dressmaking, Carpentry, Metal work, Mechanics and Shoe-making. A secondary school was also opened at Campus A. The UTS was supported by Bethel Mission.

    Mr. Kolbjorn Riiser from Norway was the first Headmaster of the Secondary School. He was replaced by Michael Chesterman who was a missionary sent by the English Baptist Society. Mr. Chesterman worked as Headmaster from 1961 until 1963.

    Mr. Gephard Waltenberg was involved in the work at UTS.
  • 1962 The construction of Magamba Secondary School started at Campus B. It was funded by the National Lutheran Council (US-New York) and the World Bank. The architect was an Estonian expatriate, Harry Poderso, who had his offices in Tanga. The general contractor was Patel Constructions from Dar es Salaam.
  • 1963 On 9th of February 1963, the buildings of the Secondary School were officially inaugurated at Campus B and the students moved from Campus A. The Minister of Education, Hon. Solomon Eliufoo, performed the ceremony.

    Michael Chesterman was the Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School during the inauguration. During this year, Chesterman handed over the position of Headmaster to Mr. Paul Gustafson.
  • 1963-1965 Mr. Paul Gustafson worked as Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School. He arrived at Magamba the year before, having been called to work as Science teacher. Mr. Gustafson was sent by ELCA.

    At the end of 1963 or beginning of 1964, Mr. Uwe Puttfarken sent by Bethel Mission took over the leadership of UTS.
  • 1965 Mr. Joseph Elinaza replaced Mr. Gustafson and became the first African Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School.
  • 1969 Government of Tanzania nationalised Magamba Secondary School. Mr. Gideon Chaguza was headmaster at that time.
  • 1978 The NED decided to close down the Trade School. Both training and production units were suspended.
  • 1979 Carpentry and Metal-work units re-opened for production purposes only under a new name, Usambara Technology Centre (UTC). The premises formerly used for training during the Trade School continued to stand unutilised.
    New leader at UTC was Robert Hoza.
  • 1982 The training premises at the Trade School were re-opened. Dress-making courses were re-introduced. UTC was now functioning both as training and production institution.

    Robert Hoza continued to lead the UTC.

    In March 1982, ELCT’s School for deaf children which had started in Masoka in 1981 was moved to Magamba. The transfer was done very much with the help of the late Bishop Dr. Sebastian Kolowa. 31 pupils came to Magamba and they were hosted in some of the houses at UTC.

    Miss Anni Kauppinen from FELM was the Head of the School.
  • 1985 In December 1985, the Deaf School was transferred to Mwanga where permanent premises had been prepared. Mr. Elirehema Mgonja took over the leadership of the Deaf School.
  • 1988 Robert Hoza died. Ernest Mbondei took over the leadership of UTC.
  • 1994 The training unit at UTC was closed down. Carpentry and Metal products continue to be manufactured to-date.
    The Head of UTC at the time of closing was Ernest Mbondei.
  • 2002 The Executive Council of the NED decided to prepare the premises at former UTC for new vocational training, including courses in Agriculture. The teachers at Agricultural Training at Irente Farm (ATIFA) were given the responsibility to plan for and prepare the venue and courses. The plans were however abandoned due to uncertainty regarding the feasibility of the project, particularly after the suspension of ATIFA in 2004. During the same year, the idea of renovating the buildings into a conference centre was discussed and accepted. However, the implementation staggered due to lack of funds.
  • 2003 The NED sent the first letter to the Minister of Education and Culture requesting to get back Magamba Secondary School.
    Bishop Dr. Stephen Munga wrote the letter to the Minister, Hon. Joseph Mungai.
  • 11th of October 2005 Magamba Secondary School was legally and formally returned to the NED.
  • 6th of February 2006 Renovation supervised by the NED’s building department began.

The practical process of handing over Magamba Secondary School to the NED begun. It is still going on.