Aug 26, 2014


“Freemasonry is not a tool of religion, he adds, but neither is it anti-religious. Indeed, he explains, Freemasons explicitly welcome all men irrespective of their religious creed, and make no effort to change their faith or influence their worship” SIR ANDY CHANDE

Dar es Salaam. They have been the subject of all kinds of rumours. We have seen advertisements inviting people to join them if they want to get rich and powerful. Yet the Freemasons remain a mysterious society in the eyes of most Tanzanians. Now we can bring you the story of a prominent Tanzanian, who opened up on how he joined the world’s oldest fraternity.

Testimonies of a desperate search for wealth have been aired on some radio stations locally, especially after the death of movie star Stephen Kanumba in 2012. Adverts bearing a contact number have been posted on electricity poles—supposedly inviting those who want to join the Freemasons to call for details on how to do so.

Some have fallen into the trap and many more are still willing to take a gamble in the pursuit of wealth and, perhaps, magic powers.

Now one man, Jayantilal Keshavji Chande, popularly known as Sir Andy Chande, who joined the fraternity on October 25, 1954, after rigorous vetting, opens up on how he rose from an ordinary family man to become the Grandmaster of the Masonic brethren in Eastern Africa.

Sir Andy Chande, who has been a member for nearly six decades, reveals how he was recruited and ended up at the highest level in the organisation’s hierarchy. Sir Andy was born in Mombasa in Kenya, on May 7, 1928, though his parents lived in Bukene town in Tabora Region in western Tanzania.

To understand the Order more clearly, he writes in his book, A Night in Africa—a Journey from Bukene, and thus perhaps to start to close that gap between perception and reality, one must return to the guiding principles of Freemasonry.

The tenets of morality and virtue drew him into his first discussions on organised philanthropy with Messrs Campbell Ritchie and McLean back in early 1950s.

“At that time, I began to realise that Freemasonry is, at its heart, a science of life whose purpose is to spiritualise man and make him what he must become—an integrated individual,” Sir Andy writes in his 207-page memoir.

Much of this underlying purpose, writes Sir Andy, is veiled in allegory—which perhaps goes some way to explain the mythology attached to the Order’s workings.

Sir Andy reveals three key Freemason principles in the book printed in Canada by Penumbra Press.

He writes: “Thus, in the first degree toward initiation, the guiding principles of moral truth and virtue upon which Freemasonry is based are suitably impressed on the mind of the aspirant member or suitable candidate. The second degree of the Order stresses the development of talents and skills in the arts and sciences in order to play as useful a role in life as possible.”

The third degree provides an opportunity to contemplate the last few hours of one’s existence, however fanciful or far-off this might actually seem.


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