A university in Magamba

Why did we open a university in Magamba?

There are three reasons:

  1. LAND was available. The Lutheran Church had acquired over 400 acres of land in Magamba area where a secondary school and vocational centre were started.
  2. BUILDINGS were in place. Classrooms, laboratories, dormitories used when the secondary school and vocational training centre  operating were still in place. These buildings were worn out and had to get through costly renovation. But they were there.
  3. HISTORY shows that a school for deaf children was hosted at the former vocational training centre. Maybe a “prophecy” that one day this place would become a higher learning institution with a vision of placing marginalised persons at the core of society? 

This was how it started – once upon a time:

1961 The Usambara-Digo Lutheran Church under the leadership of Rev. Heinrich Waltenberg bought the famous Magamba Country Club at which Usambara Trade School (UTS) was opened in order to offer vocational training courses in tailoring, carpentry, metal work, mechanics and shoe-making. The UTS was supported by Bethel Mission and Mr. Gephard Waltenberg was involved in the work at UTS. A secondary school was also opened at UTS and Mr. Kolbjorn Riiser from Norway was the first Headmaster of the Secondary School. He was replaced by Mr. Michael Chesterman who was a missionary sent by the English Baptist Society. Chesterman worked as Headmaster from 1961 until 1963. During that time, new buildings were constructed a kilometer away from UTS. The secondary school moved to the new campus. It is at the UTS where renovations have paved way for the first campus of the university, Campus A.  
1962 The construction of Magamba Secondary School was funded by the National Lutheran Council (New York) and the World Bank. The architect was an Estonian expatriate, Harry Poderso, who had his office in Tanga. The general contractor was Patel Constructions from Dar Es Salaam.  
1963 On 9th of February1963, 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 inauguration ceremony. Rev. Lazaro Mchalo said the pray­ers and led the joint Usambara Brass Band. Michael Chesterman was the Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School during the inauguration. Later this year, Chesterman handed over the position of Headmaster to Mr. Paul Gustafson.    
1963-1965 Mr. Paul Gustafson worked as the third Headmaster of Magamba Secondary School. He arrived at Magamba in 1962, having been called to work as Science teacher. Mr. Gustafson was sent by Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (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, serving until mid-1966 when he was replaced by Mr. Gideon Chaghuza.  
1969 Government of Tanzania nationalised Magamba Secondary School. Mr. Gideon Chaguza was Headmaster at that time Headmasters who served when the school was under the Government included Mr. Mwaipopo, Mr. Mmbaga, Mr. Mananga, Mr. Dimoso, Mr. Singano and Mr. Minja.  
1978 The NED decided to close down the Trade School. Both training and production units were suspended.  
1979 Carpentry and metalwork 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 reopened. Tailoring courses were reintroduced. UTC was now functioning both as training and production institution. Robert Hoza continued to lead the UTC. In March1982, ELCT’s School for deaf children, which had started in Masoka (Moshi) in1981, 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 Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) was the Head of the School.  
1985 In December1985, the Deaf School was transferred to Mwanga where permanent premises had been prepared. Mr. Elirehema Mgonja took over the leadership of the School for the Deaf  
1988 Robert Hoza died. Ernest Mbondei took over the leadership of UTC.  
1994 The training unit at UTC was closed down. Carpentry and metal production units continue to operate 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 in2004. 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 for purposes of establishing a University College. Bishop Dr. Stephen Munga wrote the letter to the Minister, Hon. Joseph Mungai.  
Oct. 2005 Magamba Secondary School was officially returned to the ELCT-NED.  
06.02.2006     06.07.2007 Renovation of Campus A supervised by the NED’s building department started.   TCU granted SEKUCo the Certificate of Provisional Registration