BA (Hons), The University of Dar es Salaam: 1982
M.Sc. in Educational Studies, University of Surrey, UK: 1986
PhD in Sociology/Social Anthropology, Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria : 1998

Abu Abdala Kambagha Mvungi ?an alumnus as well as past staff member of the University of Dar es Salaam—is our ‘UDSM Alumnus of the Month’ for September 2021. He was born on the 31st of December 1955 in the Mikuyuni Village of Mwanga district (Kilimanjaro region), where he grew up and had his primary education at Mwanga Primary School from 1963-1969.  For secondary education, he went to Moshi Secondary School for ordinary-level 1970-1973 and then to Milambo Secondary School in Tabora for A-level from 1974-1975. Upon completion of secondary Form VI, with high academic performance, he joined the University of Dar es Salaam for undergraduate studies at the University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (1979-1982), majoring in Sociology and social anthropology. At the end of three years of undergraduate study, he obtained a shining BA (honours) in Sociology/Social anthropology. For two years after his graduation, to 1985, Abu worked with the University as a Manpower Management Officer, while aspiring for advanced degree studies. He thereafter proceeded to the UK for a graduate study scholarship tenable at the University of Surrey, in Guildford for a two-year Master of Science degree in Educational Studies (1985-1986).

Upon completion of the master’s programme, he returned to Tanzania to work at the university as an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology - an appointment he held up to June 1994. It may well be mentioned here that, within this period of his service at the Department—between 1987 and 1995—Abu Mvungi was twice invited to a visiting lectureship in Europe, first at the University of Glasgow, UK, in 1989 and later at the University of Hull in Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire, UK, in 1993. It was around this time that the University had entered a UK Government-supported university link with the University of Hull. Through that link, a prominent sociologist (Professor Valdo Pons) spent a few months at the University and teamed up with the Sociology staff to prepare and publish a research methodology book (Introduction to Social Research, DUP, 1992). Abu Mvungi and others did benefit—directly or indirectly—from exposure to this kind of inter-university collaboration.

After a seven-year academic stint at UDSM, Abu was lucky to obtain another opportunity for overseas study, this time for a doctoral study programme at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, from 1995 to 1998.  From that time on, Dr. Mvungi moved through the ranks from Assistant Lecturer (1987-1994), to Lecturer (1995-2004), to Senior Lecturer (2005-2011); but he also served in a number of university and faculty management and administrative positions, including as head of department from 2007 to 2011.

In 2012, Dr Mvungi accepted an appointment to serve at the Institute of Social Work (ISW) in Dar es Salaam as Rector, a position he served for five years until 2017. At ISW he had an opportunity to provide leadership and guidance as well as to involve himself practically in teaching and researching dedicated to various critical issues of social development in the field of constrained policy options. For eight years from 2012 to May 2020, Dr. Mvungi served also in the academic rank of Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Social Work, and since May 2020 and as a formal retiree he is rendering his service as a Part-time Lecturer.

He has had a steadfast and productive research-cum-teaching career, with a number of scholarly publications spanning a wide area of social-community development concerns. Only a few of these are recorded here:   

  • With Mabeyo, Z. M.  and Manyama, W. (2019). “Community Organising in Tanzania: Learning from the Msaragambo Model in Kilimanjaro Region”. In Janestic Mwende Twikirize and Helmut Spitzer, Eds, Social Work Practice in Africa: Indigenous and Innovative Approaches. Kampala: Fountain Publishers (pp. 111-124).
  • With Manyama, W. (2017). “Engagement of Social Workers in Policy Practice in Tanzania: A Case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania”. In International Journal of Social Work, Vo. 5, No. 1 [DOI: 10.5296/ijsw.v5i1.12351].
  • With  Thunqvist, E.-L. and Ilskog, E. (2012). “The Figures behind Facts: Photo-eliciting Infrastructural Consequences in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania”. In Gender Technology and Development, Vol. 16, No. 3 (357-368) [DOI: 10.1177/0971852412459432].
  • With Ilskog, E. and Thunqvist, E.-L. (2011). “Functionality aspects on indicators of public health: A study on access to infrastructural services by a group of female headed household in Vingunguti, Dar es Salaam”. In Safety Science Monitor, Vol. 15, Issue 3, 2011, pp. 1-7.
  • With Leurs, R. and Tumaini-Mungu, P. (2011). Mapping the development activities of faith-based organizations in Tanzania. Working Paper No. 58. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.

UDSM is surely appreciative of the extent he worked with it in serving humanity and wishes him all best in his plans.