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Historical text analysis – answers

Compare your "source criticism" answers on Andrea Kifyasi’s medical history research project with our suggested answers.
© University of Basel
In the last two steps, we identified source criticism as a key component of a historian’s toolbox. We listed the questions you can ask when you are analysing a source, and you applied those questions to Andrea Kifyasi’s source.

Here are our suggested answers, with additional background information that isn’t evident from the letter itself (e.g. on the sender). We added this information when researching the historical context of the letter.

  • What? This is a letter of appreciation and inquiry. It was written by a former patient who had suffered from a paralysed leg but who later recovered thanks to acupuncture treatment. He inquires whether Dr Lai together with a Chinese medical team can be stationed in Bukoba, a city in north-western Tanzania on the south-western shores of Lake Victoria.
  • Who? The letter was written by Raza A. Fazal, a Tanzanian of Asian origin. He was a trader who worked for Bukoba General Traders Limited, which was established in 1952. The letter was written to the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania and copied to the regional medical officer, Bukoba’s regional personnel officer, and the Ministry of Health in Dar es Salaam.
  • When? The letter was written on 2 January 1974. From March 1968, the Chinese government had been sending medical teams to provide healthcare services to the Tanzanian people.
  • Where? The text was written in Bukoba. The addressees are the Chinese ambassador and employees at the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania. The embassy was located in Dar es Salaam, the country’s capital until 1974, on the Swahili coast. The distance between these two cities is more than 1,000 kilometres.
  • Why? Raza A. Fazal wrote this letter because he had greatly benefited from acupuncture treatment and wanted other members of his community to also benefit from Traditional Chinese Medicine. He hoped that a doctor or medical team could be stationed in his city.

Were your answers similar to ours?

© University of Basel
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