I have taken the first photo at this year's Sauti za Busara in Stone Town, Zanzibar. a
The second is from Mafia Dance Festival announcing dates for a coming festival in August.
Seems like the wazungu go to Mafia, and that people wear clothes on Sauti za Busara.
So much more reason to go to Sauti za Busara 11-16 February 2010.
Posted by Pernille Bærendtsen on October 28, 2009 at 07:02 PM in A-F-R-I-C-A doesn't always make AFRICA, Kweli...?!, Mzungu!, Photography, Sauti za Busara, Somewhere on the Swahili Coast, Swahili, Tanzania, Too much caffeine in my blood stream (and a lack of real spice in my life), Turn up the Volume, Up on the African continent, Zanzibar | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
ALLIANCE FRANCAISE, THE FRENCH EMBASSY and VISA2DANCE PRESENT:
HIPHOP NITE / MUSIC & DANCE / TANZANIA & FRANCE with:
ZAHRBAT DANCE COMPAGNIE
(Contemporary / hip hop dance from France)
THE BEST FRIENDS
(Winners of DSM street dance competition)
TMK WANAUME HALISI
Venue: Diamond Jubilee-Main Hall.
Date: Saturday 31 October 2009.
Time: 8pm - 12pm
Entrance fees: TSH 6000
TSH 2000 (students & under 26 years)
A brilliant mix of Tanzanian & French music and dance, hip hop style. For both hip hop fans and contemporary dance lovers.
The opening act will be a presentation by selected Tanzanian dancers as the result of a two days workshop conducted by Zahrbat French dancers and choreographers.
Zahrbat performance will start by a 30mn danced lecture on the history of hiphop dance. It will be followed by “El Firak” a 30mn dance duo about separation and dealing with the issue of the wall built between Israel and the West Bank and the families torn apart by the conflict. The night will continue with live performances of TMK WANAUME HALISI, PROFESSOR JAY, MRISHO MPOTO, FID-Q and BEST FRIENDS dance show.
‘Juwala’ means 'waste plastic' in Kiswahili. The juwala ball went public in Europe last month when Ban Ki Moon held it up during his keynote address at the opening of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress in Copenhagen.
I believe the idea was to remind the Olympic Committee to connect sports with development. And the juwala ball truly is representative for how most football matches are played on the continent.
Streetfootballworld has produced a give-away postcard with easy-to-follow instructions (below).
Photo above from Dar es Salaam.
I quite enjoy to look at Africa from a psychological point of view. To just boil it down to people, desires and emotional behaviour.
According to th Wikipedia, in psychology-related slang, a control freak is a derogatory term for a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done. It can also refer to someone with a limited number of things that they want done a specific way.
Control Freaks are people who care more than you do about something and won't stop at being pushy to get their way.
In some cases, the control freak sees their constant intervention as beneficial or even necessary; this can be caused by feelings of superiority, believing that others are incapable of handling matters properly, or the fear that things will go wrong if they don't attend to every detail. In other cases, they may simply enjoy the feeling of power it gives them so much that they automatically try to gain control of everything around them.
We all are to different degrees, us, the wazungu, control freaks (me too. I, for instance, still like to believe that traffic rules should apply; and I insist that people wear safety belts when I drive).
No doubt that the first wazungu on the continent were control freaks: the explorers, the missionaries, the voortrekkers and the colonisers all bear the characteristics of a classic control freak. Stanley might be among the most infamous, while the Afrikaans later turned it into a collective, political concept which was legal till 1994.
And what else can explain the idea behind the Great Trek?
However, the string thrives vibrantly among the modern wazungu, too. Development workers, NGO management, ambassadors, lodge owners, safari companies, volunteers, diplomats and spouses - many fit the control freak profile, too. I can't help noticing that the modern control freaks carry with them different ideas of why they are here to sort it out. Some, ironically, having no prior management or Africa experience. They react differently when realising the challenge, that real Africa doesn't fit the theory.
In my experience, these are the most interesting cases. A majority of the Tanzanians I have met are brought up to choose peace over justice, and will during a potential conflict rather keep quiet than speaking up loud. It is almost too easy for a control freak to abuse this, as an mzungu can set him/herself outside the cultural rules, especially if he/she arrives with an appointed authority to lead; to make decisions; to guide and supervise others.
Chief Mkwawa is an interesting example of a Tanzanian who tried to resist the German control freaks back in the 1890ties. However, I have realised that modern Tanzanians frequently prefer a variety of more silent and sophisticated revenges over the control freak mzungu.
For instance, no mzungu beats a Tanzanian's ability to wait.
Some would claim that some of Africas worst dictators were control freaks, too. That present presidents might be. But when it comes to classifying Jacob Zuma (photo) as one, I'm in doubt, and it somehow fascinates me immensely.
The wazungu control freaks, I know, would never let loose the way Zuma does. Somehow I prefer freaks in favour of control.
Illustration from here.
Swahili Fashion week which brings forth an eclectic mix of Swahili culture ensconced with chic style also brings together talented designers from across the Swahili speaking countries and beyond, under one roof to showcase their unique and truly African creations which include clothes, shoes, jewellery, and handbags.
November 4 to 6 at Karimjee Hall in Dar Es Salaam.
* The bag is made by Doreen Mashika.
This e-mail I also don't get:
How are you hope fine, I Want to introduce my self to you before i go further, My Name is Sofia Umar from southern part of sudan.Please i want you to write me back Because i will like to have a relationship with you,so that we will know each other very well. so will you write me back in my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) i have an important discussion that i will like to discuss with you urgently, so I am look forward to hear from you soon!
Thanks and God bless you,
Miss Sofia Umar.
Not a single clear reason included for writing back: Sorry!
Airport sounds from a distance, blurred, incomprehensible, then suddenly loud and clear. "Flight sixty-nine has been..." Static ... fades into the distance ... "Flight..." Standing to one side of the desk are three men, grinning with joy at their prospective destinations. When I present myself at the desk, the woman says: "You haven't had your education yet."
William Burroughs, My Education: A Book of Dreams
Just returned from a day in Mikumi National Park. It wasn't the plan to go to Mikumi, but it rained too much in the Uluguru Mountains where Plan A should have taken us, if only we were not worried about spending a weekend in deep red mud sliding down the slopes.
At Mikumi we bought a map at the entrance, and tried to follow the land marks. I can get lost anywhere, especially if it all looks the same. It is only a matter of time. Besides I am not really into safaris where tourists dress up in khaki with many pockets, wear hats which say 'mzungu', wear oversize binoculars and camera lenses around the neck - and sulk if they don't get their expectations met.
But hey, sometimes it is fun in an odd way. Like last time.
Saturday, some game rangers had tried to make it a bit more of a challenge. I'm sure they must have had fun this week while renovating the land marks, and then tossed the road signs around the places.
Then a game drive really turns into a game.
Very few animals by the way. The place is hard hit by drought, and when it rains in other places, the animals are off for water.
The grafitti puzzles me a bit.
Is it rooted in Islam, as in religious love?
Is it the rasta way of dedicating their appreciation of Bob Marley?
Or is it a Zanzibari off the track making a statement against the legal polygamy allowing men to marry more than one woman? (I have seen a few men walking around the Swahili Coast who would make me produce statements like this all over the place if I had to be their first wife or nyumba ndogo.)
Two friends and I went to Q Bar some Friday nights ago.
In my opinion, Q Bar in Dar Es Salaam serves as one of the most wide-ranging and profound introductions to Africa, mainly because it includes all the stuff you would like to repress the existence of. Go sit upstairs on a Friday night and you have an excellent panoramic view of some of the most characteristic personalities acting out under the black sky.
First of all, it is real. Hard to believe; but real.
Some of the most vibrant personalities on the floor are the Tanzanian ladies on duty, the malaya, and the brassy selection of males who come in all colours, sizes and ages. Other bars have a tendency to favour certain - more trendy - looks, but here you can be an old, fat, bald, sweaty, sundried and overtly horny bastard, and still leave with a teethy smile.
(Pole sana for leaving that image with you).
This Friday three guys next to our table hit instant luck when three malaya dedicated themselves to sit on their laps, and shift between so-called fuck-me movements and allowing them to touch their breasts.
Q Bar certainly is 10 times more interesting than a Danish television prime time programme.
First time I found myself in the middle of a situation like this in Kapalagala in Uganda, I thought it cannot be right; I couldn’t believe that average male wazungu from my own tribe could take such pleasure in regressing to a variation of primal phases, and do things I had never seen them done back in Europe. At least not in public.
After some time I realised that this is probably closer to whom we all are if we were free of all conventions. It was also about that time I started looking at all men from a new perspective. Africa will never not fascinate me: It is the perfect place to get an idea of your own or other people's illusions.
This Friday two bosbefok Australians embarked on a conversation with me and my friends. One ended up at the same corner of the table as me, insisting to share his visions on Africa. He and his mate had just got back to town from four months in the bush at Lake Tanganyika where they had been looking for nickel. In other places and at other times they would be looking for gold for an Australian mining company.
As a true bosbefok he was in severe need for sharing his genuine impressions from the bush, and a conversation spun over the fragments below gradually developed:
- Before they threw stones after us. Now they wave
- They didn't like us at first, now they do
- We go and have beers with them, we give them money, we go to their funerals in the village
- We make people happy
He was referring to the villagers on the site, which they went to research for nickel. He kept going about the fact that he and his mate contributed to change, how rewarding that was and what good this would bring on to Africa.
I quickly noted that his selection of ‘indicators’ went from ‘stones’ to ‘waving’: Less stones + more waving = happy people, equals change.
As much as I enjoy the diversity of the company you can come across in Q Bar; – from the Saffricans in two-tone shades; assecorized tourists; loud, alpamale Chinese; Scandinavian volunteers with red faces; Libyan gemstone dealers; the Tanzanian Indian living with his family on top of their shop in Zanaki Street; the mzungu mzee trying to get two ladies with him home at once, - I simply cannot stand listening to crap like this.
And it is at moments like these where I know for sure that Africa hasn’t made me less of a socialist.
You don’t really need a degree in rocket science to know that if a foreign mining company ever finds nickel, gold or tanzanite, the primary outcome isn’t meant for the villagers. The same goes for timber, oil, gas and a lot of other natural resources. The list is long. What is likely to happen, is, that it will mess their village up big time, and the profit ends up in other people’s pockets. Usually outside of the country.
The Aussie called me rough, indicating between the lines that he liked that, and besides; ‘This is my last night in Africa, before I go and look for gold in the Solomon Islands.’ Then he went on blaming me for not openly expressing the change I make for Africa. I told him that I find it hard to believe that my pure presence (just because I happen to be white) on the continent offers vital change. That things are more complex. That I believe I'm one little brick, who occasionally gets things done which then might stirr things off in a good direction. But I have absolutely no illusion that my contribution are bigger than that; and men who have a need for making me confirm their illusion that they contribute to change in Africa (especially when they boil it down to waving African villagers), makes me outright unresponsive.
In an ideal world, yes. But at the moment Tanzania doesn't live up to its own legislation. Its natural resources are being taken out of the country, leaving almost no visible difference to the average villager. (Gado on Arabs, land grabbing, silly Africans and their leaders here).
Even me, working for a Danish NGO, do not live in an illusion like this. And sometimes, I simply cannot grasp how little some people know of the vastness of Africa and their own part in it; how huge differences there are from the ones who have, to the ones who haven't; and how much is build on illusions in our heads.
On the other hand, Africa also makes you spacious, you open up for the fact that the world is not fair, that is has to comprise people you don't agree with, and you learn to find a way to cope with it. And as well as I now accept the buzz on the floor in Q-bar, the loud inequalities of the relations being established here on many Friday nights, I have no problem telling the Aussie:
'Leave me alone. Go find some other women to play with. Safari njema.'
Posted by Pernille Bærendtsen on October 23, 2009 at 09:12 AM in A Life Less Ordinary, A-F-R-I-C-A doesn't always make AFRICA, Bling in Bongo, Chameleon, Karma Cowgirl, Kweli...?!, Tanzania, Too much caffeine in my blood stream (and a lack of real spice in my life) | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
This is hilariously funny. Fantastic humour:
I have previously written about Kariakoo with fascination, i.e. here.
Now the Guardian brings an interesting article with facts about Kariakoo; One problem is that it is congested.
And a third one: “The problem is that most Tanzanians just do business in their own. They do business individually that is why you see most of them openning shops in Kariakoo”.
According to the BBC the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has imposed life bans on four premier league referees and fined a club US$10,000 after it found them guilty of corruption.
It all boils down to commodities: transportation, food and drinks: And who actually did what, and who forgot to report it.
On days like this, I crank up this song, and when I have a decent Internet connection I watch the video. As I noted here, I do know that Scatterlings of Africa is old fashion in present South Africa, but it means something special to me. It is no secret to the frequent reader of this blog that I have a crush on Johnny Clegg. His son is cool, too, not to forget his wife (which still is one of the most frequent searches leading to my blog).
Also, I'll argue anytime that the amount of times Johnny Clegg's music is now going to be used for the World Cup soundtracks only understates the fact that his work goes beyond the mainstream.
Many videos have been made to illustrate Scatterlings of Africa, however, this one is my favorite. Shot in the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe. Johnny Clegg was brought up by his Zimbabwean mother, in his mother’s native land of Zimbabwe. She later married a South African journalist and immigrated to South Africa when Johnny was seven years old.
My first trip South of Sahara went to Johannesburg in 2003, then off 14 hours overland in a car to Harare. I went with my then boyfriend, who was born in Zimbabwe, and who later moved to South Africa, then Denmark. When we went to Harare he brought a guitar, CDs, flipflops, boxes of food, diesel and absolutely no suitable clothes for the wedding we were invited to. It didn't matter. The guitar did. Making stops, people would ask for a song, out the guitar came. After a few drinks the zulu dance moves, too. The people in Denmark didn't really get it, here it made perfect sense.
I heard Johnny Clegg for the first time then. Everybody jumped around like mad. I didn't know what it was, didn't feel the song belonged to me.
It does now.
I arrived to Africa in a complex mode of feeling innocent and open - but also intimidated and worried if I could take it. I was invited by friends, and welcomed into their families and culture. All the other times I came to Africa, I came due to the fact that I work for an NGO. That completely changed my perspective, that and the experience you gather from living 26 months along and across the Ugandan border to Sudan, or the 26 months I have now lived at the Swahili Coast.
It is no secret that I feel that my NGO contract obliges me in certain ways: My presence has a very specified work purpose, I'm a resident, not a tourist. I drive a car with a logo. I work, I get per diem and travel reimbursement. I often end up argueing politically corrrect, defending my presence, though I feel like letting go for the simpler way. NGO workers are serious people, we like to be taken seriously. Sometimes I just wanna be me.
Fortunately, I started in the real way. I know exactly what I love about this continent, I got that under my skin the first time around. Scatterlings of Africa sparks that feeling.
Finally, as a curiosity; I doubt many people know that Johnny Clegg made a reference to Tanzania in his most popular song: Olduvai (or Oldupai) is in Tanzania.
Full lyrics here.
Posted by Pernille Bærendtsen on October 21, 2009 at 10:47 PM in 2010 South African FIFA World Cup, [ùbúntú], A Life Less Ordinary, A-F-R-I-C-A doesn't always make AFRICA, Chameleon, Gone Tribal, Karma Cowgirl, Scandinavian Inside, South Africa, Tanzania, Too much caffeine in my blood stream (and a lack of real spice in my life), Turn up the Volume, Up on the African continent, What Does A Development Worker Do? | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
The One-UN system Representative in Tanzania, Alberic Kacou, has underscored the need for general election monitoring process to start much earlier than just a day or so to the elections day.
Source: The Guardian
Sounds completely sane!
I really like this song, and today I used some of the lines for a Danish article about the local elections coming up this Sunday, 25 October. I'll write more about it later, but this video says it all.
The video is - in my opinion - not perfect to the end, compositionally or technically, but it has a real great vibe, energy and some curious little features (like the young people reading Nkrumah and Nyerere). The guy acting the 'Mr. Politician' is perfect.
Some say go there on Thursdays (it's great).
Some say don't (it's horrible, too loud, too expensive).
Some say that it's a wazungu thing (with too many malaya).
Some say the name refers to the food.
Some say it refers to the malaya.
Dar es Salaam really depends on what angle you see it from and from what you need.
Kudos to Kenya for making a man take up a condom in the street and do..., well, see for yourself what he does...but I like it.
Agency Lowe Scanad, Kenya
Copywriter/Creative Director: Andrew White
Art Director: Pat Richer
Account Director: Eve Onduru
Music: Blue, with the song "One Love"
Maisha iko sawa na trust means 'life is good with trust'.
It's not a good sign when your leadership prize runs out of eligible candidates to honor after a whopping two years. Welcome to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation's Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, whose winner was meant to be announced in London yesterday:
This year the Prize Committee has considered some credible candidates. However, after in-depth review, the Prize Committee could not select a winner."
Gotta give it to Mo Ibrahim, and I suggest that this interesting approach would be considered next time the Nobel Peace Prize is up (though Bono disagrees here); or at the coming Euro Vision Music Contest.
Sometimes there just aren't any winners.
Unfortunately not (yet) in English. But if you read Danish, please read about my admiration for his work here.
Jacob Ejersbo died last summer of cancer at the age of 40. Much too early. He grew up in Moshi at Kilimanjaro where his father worked for Danida over two periods of time, and he went to ISM, International School of Moshi. Before he died he wrote three books centred in Tanzania.
Literature which is already now proclaimed to be a milestone in Danish literature on Africa. Personally, it has made me look differently at what I see in Tanzania.
This is what Klaus Rothstein writes about Ejersbo for a Danish Literary Magazine: 'Seldom has anyone written anything so insistent and impassioned, so glowing hot and ice-cold, so heartfelt and so cynical'.
I'll keep you posted when the books are translated into English.
Still, the largely weak consumer purchasing power in the country - where half of the population still lives on less than a dollar a day - puts a looming ceiling over how high telecom executives can expect profits to climb.
By comparison, for example, in South Africa where the country’s GDP stands at $280billion per year, the ARPU is $40 per month.
According to a survey conducted by Tele World, across Africa, Latin America and Asia, the number of people who do not have a bank account but do have a mobile phone is set to grow from 1 billion today to 1.7 billion by 2012. These ‘unbanked mobile’ individuals represent a compelling market opportunity for operators.
Read the full article from the Guardian on Sunday here.
The Guardian on Sunday reminded Tanzania's leaders, especially politicians that, cheap politicking fuelled mainly by egoism and the quest for cheap popularity won’t solve the current power crisis:
For the past two weeks Tanzanians have been facing another power rationing, reminding us of the worse situation in 2006 when the country nearly faced total blackout. State-owned company announced a countrywide power rationing exactly six months after the Tanesco MD had sounded the alarm bells on the looming crisis in March, during the debate on whether the nation should acquire Dowans plants or not.
Angered by the tough stance taken by the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Minerals, the outgoing Tanesco Managing Director Dr Idriss Rashidi, said Tanzania has two choices- acquire an emergency power generating plant or face a total blackout in the next 180 days.
On Thursday, Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe held a press conference whereby apart from urging the government to confiscate controversial Dowans plants, he also defended the earlier move by Tanesco to buy the emergency power generating plants. We all know who is who in the Dowans deal and would like to state clearly that, as a nation, let us not be dragged again into the debate that was ended seven months ago.
With dilapidated infrastructure built mainly during the 1970s, the company’s power supply capacity is estimated at 595 megawatts. This year, the actual demand is 787 megawatts - creating a deficit of 192 megawatts.
Read the full article here.
Friday I managed to stirr my head well with all vital, practical things related to my own (small) role in Danish development aid, electricity, Internet, water, traffic, corruption - to the music pouring out loud from the container bar next door run by the self-acclaimed peaceful rasta (who once told me that he sold drugs for the Nigerians in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, which means I don’t complain when a bar customer cranks up his car stereo outside my gate.);
And that's where I had had it:
He mimicked ‘chakula’. Food.
I got a lump in my throat, and I then went for notes in stead of coins, though it is against all principles (which ones exactly, I’ve luckily forgotten). I thought; World Food Day, my ass. I just blogged about it, and here I face my own limitations one hour later a kilometer away from the office. It made me feel like I was paying a monthly subscription for a lighter conscience in return for representing a nation which have prioritized Tanzania in their development support budget, but not the boy in the street ‘because he is outside the strategy which is focusing on another district, cluster, group or theme.’
Some days it just doesn't stop.
When I finally got home to my neighborhood, all traffic had come to a halt. Two cars had crashed, one driver still stuck in the front seat behind the wheel, people gathering like flies on sugar, hovering like hyenas. Just up front Kikwete's house in the crossing between Ursino and Migombani Street, which got tarmac last year so that people now can drive as if no one else exists.
There is only so much you can deal with in one day.
Your friends at home think you’ve finally lost it, and that Africa has beaten you. They tell you, they told you. That Africa wears you out. That it is time to return home.
So, you stop telling them what's really going on.
Or you insist that this is normal. That Danish psychological interpretations appear absurd in Tanzania. That this is what most people in Africa go through, and you are not excempted just because you are white.
If so, that is because you close your eyes and have lost touch with your feelings and conscience.
Posted by Pernille Bærendtsen on October 17, 2009 at 11:54 PM in A Life Less Ordinary, Catching the Deluge In A Papercup, Chameleon, Karma Cowgirl, Kweli...?!, Mzungu!, Scandinavian Inside, Tanzania, Too much caffeine in my blood stream (and a lack of real spice in my life), What Does A Development Worker Do? | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Siku Kuu is a great Swahili word.
Posted by Pernille Bærendtsen on October 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM in A Life Less Ordinary, Chameleon, Lost in translation, Somewhere on the Swahili Coast, Swahili, Tanzania, Too much caffeine in my blood stream (and a lack of real spice in my life), Turn up the Volume | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Dutifully I have during this week blogged about the climate on Blog Action Day, hunger on World Food Day, Nyerere Day and probably a dozen other days which have been agreed upon and then designated to mark something so special that it needs it own day.
I suddenly realised that I had completely ignored the Global Handwashing Day.
To be honest, it makes me feel a little bit stupid, and to be even more honest, I sometimes only do it (except for the Nyerere Day) to see what traffic it generates to my blog. The UN, NGOs and governments and others designate special days and they use bloggers much more targettedly to spread messages on new campaigns, i.e. events on special days like the above example. I think. however, that the messages end up getting all stirred if it doesn't come from the blogger's heart or based on a personal experience.
Maybe that's just me, but sometimes you gotta stop up and ask yourself, if this designation of days, decades and years makes any sense at all apart from giving indicators and a momentary satisfaction to a bunch of interest organisations?
I know the fundamental rules of campaigning and lobbying, but sometimes it is all just a repetition and too predictable. What difference does it really make to the people the days are all about. Most, probably unaware they have a day?
Take a look at the UN's official designations here, and let me know what you think!