Karimjee Jivanjee

The quintessential philanthropist

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In East Africa, the Karimjee family built and donated community schools, gymkhanas and contributed towards Bohra uusafirkhanas, charitable trust funds such as the medical funds for the poor and ailing. For their philanthropy and community work, Sir Yusufali and Sir Tayebali Karimjee jivanjees were bestowed knighthoods by the British Government. Sir Yusufali's son Mr. Abdulkarim was the Mayor of Dar-es-salaam and a Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament.

In 1825, Mr Jivanjee Budhabhoy, a trader from Cutch Mandvi in India, came to East Africa and settled in Zanzibar. He established a small trading firm that was to become a considerable Merchant Empire.

Mr Budhabhoy was succeeded by his three sons, Pirbhoy, Karimjee and Esmailjee. In 1861 the brothers separated and Karimjee set up his own business exporting commodities such as ivory, copra, groundnuts, cereals, beeswax and cloves from Zanzibar and the East African mainland to India. The business was later handed over to his three grandsons who managed it very successfully. By the time Karimjee died in 1898, the company had established trade connections with Europe.

During the early 1900's the company expanded and invested in agriculture and in the acquisition of various diverse agencies from Deutsche Ost-Afrika, Robin and Holland-Afrika shipping lines, to Texaco, Ansonia clocks, Eagle Star Insurance and Faber pencils amongst many others.

In 1939, Karimjee Jivanjee Estates was formed and in 1943 came a turning point for the family when the parent company, Karimjee Jivanjee & Co Ltd. moved its Head Office from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam after forming International Motor Mart and Karimjee Jivanjee Properties.

By 1959 Karimjee Jivanjee, besides its agricultural and motor interests represented numerous major international manufacturers of industrial and consumer products as well as two major insurance companies and nine international shipping lines.