Sir Andy Chande on freemasonry
Posted Saturday, January 7 2017 at 12:50
- Sir Jayantilal Keshavji Chande, a former District Grand Master of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Seychelles) between 1986 and 2005, although retired, is still considered a giant in Tanzania’s commercial, political and social life. He is an astute industrialist, philanthropist, trustee and a social pillar.
Sir Jayantilal Keshavji Chande, a former District Grand Master of East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Seychelles) between 1986 and 2005, although retired, is still considered a giant in Tanzania’s commercial, political and social life. He is an astute industrialist, philanthropist, trustee and a social pillar.
Sir Andy Chande, as he is popularly known, is a candid and amiable old man with a disarming smile in which one can sense honesty and sincerity. Aged 88 and dogged by poor health (he has had open heart surgery), his brain is still sharp, with a cheerful disposition, making people around him comfortable.
When I sat down with him for an interview in his home in Masaki, Dar es Salaam, it was a relaxed talk.
I arrived 30 minutes late for the interview, and was very apprehensive, considering Sir Andy Chande’s stature in society. But as we settled in his unpretentious but beautiful outdoor patio surrounded by breath-taking greenery, he made no mention of my lateness.
In the interview, he relived his days in the formative pre-independent Tanzania as a member of the Executive and Legislative Councils; his private work and current economic and political scene.
But who is Mzee Chande?
Born in Mombasa, Kenya, in 1929, he was the Freemasons’ District Grand Master for East Africa from 1986 to 2005. But that is only one facet of his life.
He was, in his working days, an industrialist, philanthropist, author and politician. He has served a member of the Executive Council (Cabinet), as chairman of many company boards including Tanesco (Tanzania’s national electricity utility company), the National Milling Corporation, East African Standard Newspaper (now The Daily News), Tanzania Railways Corporation, Tanzania Harbours Authority, Air Tanzania Corporation, National Bank of Commerce, Barclays Bank... the list is almost endless.
Sir Andy Chande has close links with Tanzania’s retired presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and this started way back with Tanzania’s founding father, Julius Nyerere.
He has also rubbed shoulders with political leaders from around the world.
Retired president Kikwete describes him as “an exceptional nationalist who has for many years served the country diligently.”
Former president Mkapa said: “I am struck by his deep conviction; readiness to sacrifice and readiness to serve, his deep loyalty to family relations, traditions and expectations, his ardent advocacy for fairness. He is a person with clear identity and vision.”
Among his published works are Transition of A Life, Collected Works; A Knight in Africa, which is an autobiography and Whither Directing Your Course, a communique to the various Masonic bodies in East Africa and overseas. The proceeds from these books go to charity.