Augustus and Carol Browning were among the first proponents for the creation of a sister city relationship with an African city. As early as 1989, they wrote of their willingness to work with the Commission in the selection process. With the help of leaders in the Black Community they rallied local support that led to the recommendation of Bagomoyo as a desired sister city. The Commission supported the relationship. On November 30, 1993, Commission Chair Robert Sather presented the Commission’s recommendation to the City Council. After hearing supporting presentations from Carol and Augustus Browning and Justice Buda, the Council, with Mayor Tony Intintoli presiding, approved the relationship with the City of Bagamoyo.
The distance and remoteness of Bagamoyo from Vallejo have presented problems in maintaining an active relationship. Airfares are expensive and beyond the reach of most locals in each city. It was not until October 11, 1998 that we had our first official visit with the arrival of Tanzanian Ambassador to the United States, Mustafa Nyang’anyi and Foreign Affairs Minister Jakaya Kikwete in Vallejo to confirm the relationship. They were received by Mayor Gloria Exline and other dignitaries including Frank Jackson, President of the Vallejo Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., at a reception at the Naval and Historical Museum, where, on October 12, the memorandum of understanding linking the two cities was signed. The guests were given local tours arranged by Commission Chair Dinah Villanueva and Buck Kamphausen. Jakaya Kikwete would later be elected and serve as President of Tanzania. In that capacity, he was in the Bay Area in 2009 and, through Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, contacted Commission Chair Dinah Villanueva to express a continuing interest in the relationship.
In November 1999, Commissioner Carol Browning made the first official visit and fact-finding trip to Bagamoyo. She was warmly received and royally treated, but somewhat overwhelmed by the poor economic conditions and the problems in providing basic civic services like water and sewage as well as elementary education for the children. On her return, she gave a complete report to the City Council. In February 2001, the Council approved a gift of $5,000 to Bagamoyo to help with their humanitarian projects. Commissioner Dan Coleman delivered the gift to Ambassador Mustafa N’Yanganyi at the Embassy in Washington.
One November 1, 2009, the Bagamoyo District Council voted an expression of thanks to Vallejo for efforts to continue the relationship. On December 7th Tanzanian Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, accompanied by Emissary Suleiman Saleh, made an official visit to Vallejo. He was greeting by Mayor Osby Davis and Commission Chair Dinah Villanueva and given a special presentation by Buck Kamphausen.
On December 10, 2010, Ambassador Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar made an official visit to Vallejo. She was received by Mayor Osby Davis, Commission Chair Dinah Villanueva, and Association President Paul Ligda and feted at a Christmas banquet at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant.
In September 2012 President Jakaya Kiwete, with the support of the Tanzanian Embassy, established his life-long friend, Ahmed Issa of San Rafael, as an “Honorary Consul.” Shortly thereafter he led a delegation of more than 40 to Vallejo in advance of the 20th anniversary of our Sister City relationship. The delegation was welcomed at City Hall where there was an exchange of gifts and signing of an MOU followed by a visit to Discovery Kingdom and a reception at the Marriott. Having a representative nearby has helped in communications.
In February 2018, the 25th anniversary of the Sister City relationship was marked during Black History Month at the “Mighty Continent of Africa” program with the announcement of plans for an official visit in 2019 spearheaded by Brenda Brumfield and Pelton Stewart with the support of the Tanzanian Community Organization.
To further celebrate the anniversary, Thelma Brown with the help of Pelton Stewart organized an official visit to Bagamoyo which took place in July 2019. The attendees included Association President/Commission Chair Elissa Stewart, her husband, Dr. Ward Stewart, Board Members Paul Ligda, Pelton Stewart, Thelma Brown, and Victoria Grace, Carol Durio, Jacqueline Hensley, Laura Korbas, and Dakari Barksdale.
During the two-day visit to Bagamoyo, Julius Mwanganda, Development Officer for the Bagamayo District Council took the delegation to sites in the District in which Vallejo had contributed to improvements to local schools and health clinics.