The White Fathers house is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Dar es Salaam and is located along Sokoine drive of the Tanzanian city. Today, it houses the offices of the provincial superior of the White Fathers, as well as the treasurer and other administrative offices. The alternative name Atiman refers to Adrian Atiman (see history below).
A history of the houseIn 1866, Sultan Majid of Zanzibar looking for a “haven of peace”, personally supervised the construction of a palace, a fort and quarters for his resident officials in Dar es Salaam. The white father’s house was one of these quarters and according to historian Paul Foster, a lecturer at Makerere university, it was the mainland “Seraglio” of the sultans of Zanzibar.
The White Fathers moved into the house on 27th July 1921, right after the train from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma was completed. Since then, it has undergone some renovations as well as restorations, with additions of some modern technology. At the back of this house, there has been an addition of an extra wing.
What to do there?Admire the architecture of the place from the outside if interested, then go ring the doorbell at the house’s front for somebody to open the door for you. Then from there you can go through the small showcase of photo’s and writings that details the history of the house and its occupants along. There usually is an attendant present to give you a brief explanation as well as answer any of your questions and when you are done, there are several books that you can buy. One of these has the history of Atiman and the other has that of the house itself.
Who was Adrian Atiman?He was a Doctor Catechist who worked in Karema, on the Shores of Lake Tanganyika. He was Born in Mali – West Africa, in 1866 but was taken captive from his home by Arab slavers and rescued by the Missionaries of Africa in 1876. They sent him to Algiers for primary and secondary education and after that to the university of Malta to study medicine as well as catechetics.
Immediately after finishing his studies in 1888, he left for Tanganyika with the 7th caravan of the Missionaries of Africa where he was appointed to Karema. He was the first African doctor in Tanzania to practice modern medicine. He later on Married Wansahira Waminanga, daughter of King Chata of the Wabende people, as an effort to improve relations with the Wabende. The two had one son who also became a priest in 1923 but served for only 10 years before getting an incapacitating sickness. Adrian Atiman died on 25th April 1956 at the age of 90 and today his name is part of the house as a honor to his work.
Location of White fathers (atiman) houseThe White Fathers or Atiman house is located on Sokoine drive of the city of Dar es Salaam – Tanzania. Across the road from it is the Magogoni creek (Dar es Salaam harbour) to one side and the Dar es Salaam ferry terminal for boats to Zanzibar. A few metres south west of the building are a few other landmarks of the city such as St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Old Boma. For more information on its location, please see the map below (click to start).
How to get there?The BRT system has a bus stop that is just a few metres from the house, thus from any part of the city with this system, just get into a bus headed for Kivukoni and get off at the Posta or Baharini stop that lies next to and within view of the Magogoni creek. For the normal dala dala system, use a bus headed to Posta and from the last stop use the map for directions as the exact directions would depend on where you are from. If you are using private transport, then please also use the map below for directions.
AbbreviationsBRT – Bus Rapid Transit