<<Some among us could be Freemasons>> 

Probably the Freemasonry was discussed on the forum in the past. Anyhow, I came across an article on them and wish to share its salient facts with those keen on historical events. 

East Africaís first ever unit of the Freemasons was established in Zanzibar in 1904 and termed Lodge East Africa. This lodge, with the blessings of Sultan Ali Bin Hamud, was pioneered by civil servants and businessmen. Today, one century on, there are more than 40 units in East Africa. The Grand Master of East African Masonry is Sir Jayantilal K. Chande, popularly known as Andy Chande. 

On the occasion of laying foundation stone of their new building in Daressalaam (1940ís) the Freemasons wearing their regalia walked in a procession from Ring Street(now Jamhuri Street), and carried a vessel containing that dayís copy of the Tanganyika Standard and a small cavity with coins and other articles deposited into it. In the 1970ís when this building was acquired by the Tanzanian Government, President Nyerere realizing the Masonsí contribution, had it returned immediately. 

The organized Freemasonry is said to be 300 years old. Its diverse membership included H.H. the Agakhan, Sultan Mohamed Shah, Motilal Nehru, Cecil Rhodes, Louis Armstrong, various presidents, prime ministers and film stars. Amongst current members include Prince Philip, Gerald Ford, George Bush, Bill Clinton and Colin Powell. 

Since its membership consists of elites it may reinforce criticism that the society is meant for the well off only. However, its main objective is philanthropic and it can not function without the elites. It is said that globally 5 million Freemasons contribute US$ 400 million annually to charities which is over a million $ a day. Mnazimoja hospital in Zanzibar is one of their projects.  

The strange side of it is its religious aspect, and the Masons are said to be very secretive about it. Some of the Namaskaris could be Freemasons. Interestingly, long back in Zanzibar in the 1940s when a certain relative (Freemason) passed away, his colleagues on the instant arrived at his residence to carry away the trunk bestowed upon him by the Masonry. Mysterious indeed!



Last updated November 2007 Copyright © Abdulrazak Fazal 2007 - All Rights Reserved