A pet grave that has become a tourist attraction in Southern Tanzania

Sunday May 19 2019

The Nachingwea District Commissioner, Ms Rukia

The Nachingwea District Commissioner, Ms Rukia Muwango 

By Tumaini Msowoya @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Under normal circumstances, the burial of a dead dog would not make headlines in Tanzania and rarely would one grieve for losing a pet.

Many dog owners simply dig pits and bury their dogs whenever they die.

This is why a cemented pet grave, located some 500 meters away from the office of the Nachingwea District Commissioner in Lindi, has become one of the major attractions in the area.

The Nachingwea District Commissioner, Ms Rukia Muwango, told The Citizen that history shows that the cemented pet grave is for a pet known as ‘Judy’.

Judy was owned by a Briton who was identified by one name Phyllis who lived in the area during the 1950s.

Judy was not like any other ordinary pet that is known in today’s Tanzania.

“The owner loved his pet. It (the pet) was her closest friend and assistant. The pet would be sent to the market, to the butchery and the Post Office and returned with what the owner wanted…At home, the pet was that Briton’s only security guard,” she said.

When the Judy died, Phyllis mourned her, explained Ms Muwago.

“She decided to organize a funeral for her dog. Judy was buried just like the way people bury their beloved ones in today’s Tanzania. After the burial, Phyllis decided to build Judy’s grave and inscribe on the tomb the name of the dead pet,” said Ms Muwago.

She said in 2017, Phyllis’ relatives visited Nachingwea from Europe and they asked to be shown Judy’s grave.

Unfortunately, Ms Muwago came to find out that the cemented grave had been partly destroyed by unscrupulous people for reasons she could not immediately understand.

Some renovation work was done. “As we are talking, the grave has turned into major tourist attraction in the area and that most people visiting Nachingwea will never leave without paying a visit to Judy’s grave,” she said.