Friday, 29 June 2018

And as a Tanzanian stepping in Germany

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

Heba El-Sherif inside Von Ronald's office
being taken on a tour with all of us inside
the news room of his paper.
On cultivating a new sense of our practice, what kind of uhmn means in your context here in Germany, arise for culture journalists who want to know how to play with words or play with format, do they ask for training?” Heba El-Sherif culture journalist in her 30’s from Egypt, asks culture editor/journalist Von Ronald Meyer-Arlt from Hannover, Germany.

Meyer –Arlt has 31 years experience in his field in responding to Heba he says “By criticizing...First time and the second time it gets boring, you can’t always get new perspectives on this issue...maybe a book is a good medium for that but a newspaper. You have to bring out every day something curious something tricky, something brilliant.”

Inside Brunswick Cathedral with the 1845 medieval frescoes.
It's such a beautiful building you feel reverent inside it.

This summer (June 3rdth -15th) I found myself in the quiet city of Braunschweig in Germany, invited thus with other 11 culture journalists, from various countries in Africa. So as to attend and document the ‘Theatreformen’ festival, as well coagulate and solidify a network of African Culture Journalists, in an all expenses paid and facilitated for trip.

I was ecstatic, see I hail from a country-Tanzania, where bloggers are currently asked to pay an annual fee of 900USD as tax and despite protests leading to a court case, the edict is now enacted.
I liked this window dressing on a boutique in the streets of
Braunschweig. Notice the scarf on the yellow dress, sort of
has an African Kitenge doesn't it :)
As a culture journalist currently freelancing for newspapers in my country & region of East Africa, where according to existing rates, I get a maximum of 50USD per article, with an average 100USD salary from the same. I resorted to blogging back in 2014 not to make money initially (I haven’t made a penny blogging to date) but to fairly test my ability to; ‘bring out ...something curious...something brilliant’ as Meyer -Arlt puts it.

Yet here I was in Braunschweig a first world planned city. The universe dared clash me with titans of my industry, coming from all corners of the continent think Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Cameroon, DRC Congo, Kenya and two from my host continent Europe, both hailing from Germany.

From left culture journalists Heba El Sherif
from Egypt and Monica Nkodo, and Yvon Edoumou

Something began to break open inside me, on both a professional and personal front. Something I saw reflected in the pieces I saw on several stages inside the ‘Theatreformen’ 2018 festival a festival which this year asked ‘what will freedom look like?’.

From left Mounia Melborg from Germany,
Mihel from Germany, facilitators
for the culture journalist afro network
I answer it will be, once the stereotype of mainstream journalism patriarchal reporting as it were. Acknowledges it has had a wife, who for too long has been brushed aside as mere ‘gossip’ or ‘sensational paparazzi’. When this wife screams I am ‘culture journalism!

Then more and more countries of our one world; will enable the likes of culture journalists Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour. Where I in turn will breathe see, what freedom looks like. Here are three performances I witnessed inside ‘Theatreformen’ that coaxed the following words from my cultural pen.

Independent Living

It’s a Saturday night but the sun is still out, as we shuffle onto our theatre ascending like seats, citizens of Braunschweig are sweating profusely; where I find myself pleased to come from a humid tropical climate.

From right Milisuthando Bongela from South Africa
with Yvon both culture journalists
present at the theatreformen 2018 festival
Soon the director Takuya Murakawa proceeds to introduce his play, “China, Korea and Japan have a big role in this play, and the home-care of a physically disabled person becomes the main subject...”

We sit attentively witnessing a play with mime like instructions, as the set save for the hospital bed, a chair, ‘television’ and border lines on the floor. Is made alive by gestures operating imaginary objects from the actors, with the main character (Mr Yokomori an old veteran now bedridden unable to speak or move) acted by a woman. ‘His’ body is automated by the care givers, at their whim they dictate how he sits, eats, what channel he sees, how he regulates his bowel movement and so forth.

With fellow group members waiting outside
the show 'independent living'
inside theatreformen festival 2018
Sitting there watching the monotony of painstaking motions, as we put ourselves in the characters shoes. It was a grey area whether Mr Yokomori was truly taken care of, while his body alive, was he free?

Hearing the actors speak in Japanese, Korean & Chinese, I felt a cognisance better explained by this African proverb. ‘Until the Story of the hunt is told by the Lion, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’ Independent living, made me see a country with a ‘dictator’ like Kim Jong-un, inhabiting persons not so cold, not so in-humane. 

 Hailu Mergia  

On the first night of the Theatreformen festival, at the city park in Braunschweig, under the smart direction of Chrstoph Braun (manager and curator of the music programme of the Theatreformen 2018 festival).
Me in the middle with Hailu Mergia
on the right and the base player Atemseged Kebede
after their show inside the theatreformen festival 18
Smart for as I neared the stage, there were no sudden screeches from the microphones being too close to the speakers, despite it being a small stage (about four by six metres square) set outdoors. There was no rapid hand gestures from the musicians to the sound desk at the back, motioning for this’ or that’ volume to be increased.

As my ears witnessed the genius of Hailu Mergia’s trio, my bones were enticed to dance! What made his music special on this night was visible in how the eclectic crowd present. Including a band of native Ethiopians, a healthy dose of Caucasian Germans as well sprinkles of Afro/Asian-politans like me.

Despite our melody v/s percussion affiliation in how we dance, Hailu together with Mr Atemseged Kebede’s base guitar and Kenneth Josephs drums; had us gurgling on real music myrrh as our bodies giggled to the music. “We do stuff that’s from the heart...if you’re not touching hearts you’re not doing your job.” Hailu 72 relays with a smile befitting an old kind wise man.

Because I always feel like running


21:20 sharp on the 10th June, the show begins Ogutu Muraya takes us on a journey weaving poetry, moving pictures and body installation. Whole script in his head the African griot is resuscitated on his tongue, as he tells us the story of three East African athletes.

‘Because I always feel like running’ isn’t for the faint hearted Mr Muraya in this performance, touches the live wire of African racial and colonial mutilation. Such that I found myself as an African woman, who had recently landed on European soil for the first time as an adult.

The  big city park in Brunswick, in Germany
overlooking a beautifully planned neighbourhood.
Acknowledging in a real way how this soil whose inhabitants in less than five generations past, had defeated mine. Looting items from the Serengeti (Ivory, Leather hides, Minerals), to the homes of thousands of my ancestors in Tanzania as though it was ok. Relics of which remain on this soil to date.

As Ogutu kept reciting the bravery of Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia, Kipchoge Keino from Kenya and John Steven Akhwari from Tanzania, something cracked open in my mind and I walked out, for...

Somewhere I break
The installation detailing the life of Luz Helena Mavin Guzman
in a city window inside
Braunschweig's theatreformen festival 2018

Like the wings of Sthembile Msezana
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Kepi ntajitambua,
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua

My Post Traumatic African dis-order
Breathes in percussive resurrection
A hairstyle, squeezed fences,
All head to my great, great mother’s door.

Kama machozi ya anayevuliwa nguo k/koo
Najikuta natafuta wapi naruka
Kepi ntajitambua
Ukiniruhusu, kama nnavyo pumua

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Tamasha la Haba na Haba'18 lawasili

Dancer Asha Mussa from 21st Century dance crew
in Tanzania atakayekuwepo kwenye tamasha
la Haba na Haba'18 
Ama kweli haba na haba hujaza kibaba, nikukumbukia enzi za 2011 wakati waendeshaji Shaban Mugado na Isack Abeneko, tokea kikundi cha Lumumba. Wakiwafundisha ndani ya warsha ndogo tu, pale Russian Culture centre madansa chipukizi toka pande mbalimbali za Dar es Salaam. Huku wakitoa chakula na nauli kama kidogo walichoweza kusanya kuendesha walichokiita 'haba na haba'.  

Leo Haba na Haba sio warsha za dansi pekeyake, ila ni tamasha mwanana la dansi, likiwa kwenye mwaka wake wa pili, Ijumaa hii ya tarehe 11/05/18 pale Nafasi Artspace Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam, Wanatupa fursa kujionea wanadansi kadhaa tokea vikundi mbalimbali vya dansi, toka ndani na nje ya mkoa wa Dar es Salaam.

Safari hii sio Shabani wale Isack wanaondesha warsha za haba na haba. Wao sasa ni waandaji wakuu wa tamasha nzima, na vivyo wameweza kuwaleta ma dansa au waendeshaji wa dansi bobezi tokea nje na ndani ya bara la Afrika, kufundisha madansa na kuandaa kazi za dansi zitakazo onyeshwa ijumaa hii. 

"We start this festival to give the Tanzanian dancers opportunities, to showcase their work, not only to show. But to learn more about dance through the other this year we give opportunity to many groups in Tanzania, to come to perform in the festival."- Shaban Mugado added that he was humbled how the international dancers despite limited funds they'd gathered for the festival. Were very willing to come and support them in this venture. 

Mwanadansa wa kikundi cha 'Shine Dance'
akiwaka na mavazi ya kiasili na pia utamwona
pale Nafasi Ijumaa hii 11/05/18
Jana pale Nafasi tulipewa fursa ya kukumbana na madansa hawa ambao wamekuwa wakifanya kazi na madansa waTanzania, watakaopanda jukwaani Ijumaa na Jumamosi hii. 

Wakiwa pamoja na mwanadansi mkongwe Mr Aloyce Makonde . Aloyce haitaji utambulisho kama we ni mfuratiliaji wa dansi bongo. Yeye ni muasisi wa tamasha lingine la dansi nchini #Visa2Dance. Jioni hii alitueleza historia yake kwenye ulimwengu wa dansi, jinsi alivyopambana na familia yake awali kuwaelewesha kwa nini aliamua kuwa msanii, wakati alifaulu vizuri masomo mengine. "Kuna kitu ndani yangu kilinisukuma kuingia kwenye sanaa..." Bw Aloyce mwemye miaka 46 ambaye bado anaonekana kijana alifafanua. 
Madansa wengi wamepitia mikononi mwake akiwemo Mkurugenzi wa tamasha hili Bw Isack Abeneko. 

Mwaka huu Haba na Haba pia imeweza kumleta muelekezaji mbobezi wa dansi, tokea Amerika ya Kusini aishie Ujerumani, Yolanda Gutierrez . Yeye alijitambulisha kama mtu aliyetokea kupenda bara la Afrika na tayari amefanya kazi nchini Senegal na Uganda. Kwenye kazi zake ambazo waweza ziona kwenye tovuti yake hapo juu. Alisema anapenda sana kujumuisha tasnia ya ubunifu wa mavazi video na upiga picha pamoja na dansi. Vyote kuweza toa hadithi zinazohamasisha mabadiliko chanya kwa jamii. 

Throwback in 2011 at the Russian Culture Centre in DSM, where Shaban
Mugado (left) and Isack Abeneko (centre) ran those early
Hana na Haba workshops that culminate to today's festival
Mwalimu mwingie atakaye tuonyesha kazi yake, kupitia madansa wa tamasha la Haba na Haba Ijumaa hii, ni mwanadada Benedetta Reuter Yeye kwa miaka kadhaa sasa, amekuwa akitumia tairi, ndiyo umesoma sahihi. Benedetta amekuwa akitumia matairi kwenye kazi zake nyingi za dansi. Hapo awali akiwa ulaya alijikuta akitekwa na urahisi wa chombo hiki ila alipofanya utafiti juu yake. Aligundua matairi yanatengenezwa kwa gharama kuu mara nyingi kwa mazingira na jamii zinazotoa malighafi yake, vivyo akaanza kucheza na matairi. Ukiwa kwenye mitandao ya kijamii haswa facebook tafuta kwa alama ya reli ya kauli hii 'Electric Tire Land'. 

Utaweza pia kwenye tovuti yake kukumbana na  video aliotengeneza na madansa wa Temeke, alipofika Tanzania kwa mara ya kwanza. Video hii ilitengenezwa na Bw Thobias Minzi au MinziMims. 
Throwback 'Haba na Haba' showcase at the National Museum 2015

Pia jioni hii tulipewa fursa ya kugongana na mwanadansi matata kaka Sammy Ekeh tokea Nigeria, yeye atapanda jukwaani jumamosi hii. Mnamo mwaka 2013 alikumbana na Isack kule ulaya kwenye kazi. Sammy ni mkereketwa wa dansi sema alikumbana na tasnia hii ukwabani "I started dancin after I finished secondary school..." Kwa sasa pia ni mwanafunzi wa chuo kikuu cha 'Applied Art' kule Vienna. 

The work that the team at Asedeva are doing to bring this festival forward is commendable. "Tuna madansa sasa wanafanya kazi Uturuki, Ulaya waliopitia kwenye mikono ya warsha za Haba na Haba..." Accley Manager & Lighting Technician Haba na Haba festival. 

Stll there's work to be done to ensure that dance as an industry continues to flourish in the city and the country as a whole. Mkeka then asked all the choreographers of this year's festival what they took from the dancers and what they see needs improvement in order to keep the dance torch burning in the country.
Throwback Haba na Haba showcase at a primary school in DSM 2013
""I know these dancers not everyone...So for me we have a very good young generation compared to us yeah, actually when we started we were based on traditional dance...then going through until contemporary dance. But these young dancers mostly come from street dancing 'hip-hop' modern dance or the copied, the videos. So for me what I learned is, they're very quick to learn but they're in the box. We were slow to learn but we were out of the box, so I think they need to work more on their own world of self expression because that is what we need not copying from Michael Jackson...:--Aloyce Makonde.

"In my case as I came since last year, I really not like to say that I am teaching them something because I work with them as a group...some of the movements we took them from Tanzanian traditional dance. What happened for me at the end I say ok, now I learn from you because I am going to take this as a sequence in my class and I did it....What I really think is so important for them to know is to learn technique but don't, I hope it was the message I gave to them. Don't try to do what Europeans are doing, try to develop your own...I think there's something coming up in a few years, where they will develop their own very particular contemporary Tanzanian dance...what I love is they're totally open and are willing to work, I really love that." Yolanda Gutierez, Choreographer Haba na Haba festival'18

Waasisi wenyewe Bw Shaban (kushoto) na Bw Isack wa
Tamasha la Haba na Haba
"Yea it's true there's this seriousness on their faces,,,watching from outside I was learning a lot from them; that is why I was coming during rehearsal. One of the things I learnt is how they correct themselves very quickly." Sammy Ekeh, Solo Dancer, choreographer Haba na Haba festival'18

"Me I got a lot stories nice stories, nice exchange I enjoy the musicality. Which is much easier as in Europe to find like the dancer, that is more present in his sound. And uhmn I found fascinating the point; there is a line between chaos and order, and this line is to me very interesting. So sometimes they would say 'but Benedetta it is dirty but no we need to clean it' and I'd say no not here...There is something very organic that can happen, what is fascinating to me was the group feeling the trust,  also the dancers have less ego than in Europe allowing for team work. " Benedetta Reuter, Choreographer Haba na Haba festival'18

Kwenye Picha ni Sammy Ekeh

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

In their twenties & lighting Dar’s canvas

Painters can present stark reality in magical dress, allowing you to revere what you otherwise can take for granted in landscapes faces or objects. 

Artwork by Abdullah K. Omar,
titled 'Msimbazi' oil on canvas
Pupils are perusing the scene of a street often walked on, often passed by it’s the Msimbazi ‘mwendo kasi’ bus stop in the city centre of Dar es Salaam. Only here it’s almost surreal in this contemporary impressionist painting, so expertly rendered by Dullah Wise a.k.a Abdullah K. Omar. 
Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu, titled
'A great force in Directing' acrylic on canvas
You look closer and figure there’s her hip, oooh they’re probably siblings and this is their mom. Looking at the cubist painting ‘A great force in directing’ by Innocent M. Mwaipungu you can find yourself transfixed on the spot. As you try to break down its complexity, yes its outskirts could have benefited with less. It’s the centre that displays great talent, in line, emotion & colour composition; aptly conveying its message of power dynamics between parent/guardians and child. 
Photograph by Andrew S Munuwa a.k.a. Drew Shotz of the
boy selling barbecue maize in the city of Dar es Salaam
A boy, couldn’t be more than 16yrs old is selling barbecued maize corn by the roadside, with sunset hues blanketing the traffic. Gawking at this photograph by Andrew S. Munuwa, is nothing to be embarrassed about. His works display such character, like this photograph that viscerally brings you to its scene.  
Recently these three exhibitions in the city of Dar es Salaam explored its cityscape, people & relationships in such a nuanced way that I thought it apt, to bring it to your attention. The ‘mwendo kasi’ painting which is the first depict on canvas in an exhibition, of this city’s relatively new method of transport. Is part of the exhibition ‘Rainy Nights’ that went on since the 23rd of Jan till the 9th of Dec at the Alliance Francais grounds in Dar by Dullah Wise from Zanzibar.
Artwork by Dullah Wise 
Photograph by Drew Shotz
Dullah 27, is so gifted an old soul really, with his impressionist style using oil on canvas, he's our very own young Monet. His 
body of work in ‘rainy nights’ looks at cityscapes of Dar es Salaam & Stone Town in Zanzibar by night, his portrayal of reflections from light & water is just incredible. 

“Last year around May I came to Dar for another exhibition I was featured in. As you know it was the rainy season. When I was coming back from the exhibition hall at night, I was mesmerised by the city. I thought we glorify Paris & London but right here is something special…” Dullah shares with me on the inspiration behind ‘rainy nights’. 

Dullah has been painting professionally for six years now, he was taught through part time schooling at the Old Fort in Zanzibar. 
Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu
His body of work in this exhibition depicts a very romantic city, with lights that dazzle. Now any resident of Dar es Salaam will tell you romantic, isn’t a word they’d place next to ‘Bongo’ as the city is commonly referred. 

Yet Dullah attempts this impossible and succeeds very well, the only drawback in his exhibition. Is that he was rushed for time with probably a lack of a skilled curator.
He used 2.5 months to complete 30 paintings all of which he showcased at his exhibition! It fared that some paintings here just don’t have the same attention to detail as others and or they appear repetitive in perspective & content.  
The exhibition by Innocent Mwaipungu is the first exhibition from this Tanzanian artist. “I learned to paint from my late father back when I was in primary school, he himself was a painter though he did it more as a hobby. One of my mentors is painter Masoud Kibwana, a year or so ago I met him at Nafasi Artspace, he has really helped me to grow my talent...” Innocent relays in sharing of his background.
Photographs by Drew Shotz
The 27 year old artist has launched himself on the right foot, with this exhibition ‘family distraction’. Which ran at the Goethe Institut offices from the 30th of Jan to the 9th of Feb. 

The contrast between his sombre messages which explores conflicts in family relations; from sibling rivalry, differing faiths between partners to gender violence & child abuse. Married well with his cubist realist style, that gave big faces, big gestures from his subjects. In future he’ll do well to work to better on his proportions, also to ensure there’s focus in each painting so we're not lost in a total riot of style & colour.

Poetry stanza by Loyce Gayo
The last exhibition ‘Mtaani Maskani’ which is still running till next month, at the DARCH centre in Dar es Salaam. Is one which showcases the works of Andrew S. Munwa’s featuring stanzas  from Tanzanian poet Loyce Gayo. 
It was refreshing to see poetry juxtaposed with photography a wonderful caption if any, the placing of the newsstand at ‘mtaani maskani’s entrance is genius. Though again the lack of good curation is seen by the weak display of the pieces. Instead of bunching them together in one alley, they could have benefited from more varied spacing, plus some pieces were falling of the walls.
Andrew’s photography takes us on an enlightening journey of the cities subjects, placing everyday vendors, skateboarders & coffee drinkers in a profound halo. Andrew 23, whose artist name is ‘drewshotz’ is a fresh talent on the block, this is his second exhibition. 
Artwork by Dullah Wise
I caught up with him where he relayed, “I met Loyce at a creative meet & greet called ‘the society’ last year. I also work close from where she lives and we’d take these walks in the evening... We noticed everyday gestures from the daladala stands, to the vendors and thought these are culture emblems... I was really impressed with the turnout, it’s my hope that immortalising these subjects will allow us to honour our urban contemporary culture...” 
Mtaani Maskani certainly gives us good reason to.
Well three exhibition with artists in their twenties a new generation of perspectives, we only hope to see more such exhibitions.
You can follow these artists on Instagram @DrewShots, @DullahWise @loyceG @i_malleey 

This article was first published in the east african newspaper here

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu

Artwork by Dullah Wise

Installation in the exhibition 'Mtaani Maskani'
by Andrew Stephen ft Loyce Gayo

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu
Artwork by Dullah Wise, oil on canvas

Photography by Drew Shotz
Artworks by Dullah Wise from Zanzibar

Artwork by Innocent Mwaipungu

Photograph by Drew Shotz

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A local delicacy fresh beef liver ‘Msalato Mnadani’

By +Caroline Anande Uliwa

'Kwa Chales' stall at Msalato Mnadani in Dodoma
Where do you feel the cosmos of a city, the stamp of its feet, the rustle of its conversation? Perhaps where it’s citizens gather to enjoy a public eat out. Here the meagre settings of  caramel dust, plastic sheets mounted on thin sticks to provide shade over simple plastic chairs. Don’t underscore the excitement of the occasion as delicious scents of sizzling barbecue invite you in.

Recently I was fortunate to visit a huge barbecue at ‘Msalato Mnadani’ in Dodoma, Tanzania. The  place is known for its proximity to a big slaughter house in the city.  Where every Saturday a public market is hosted, which mainly dishes barbecued beef & goat. You actually see droves of fresh slaughtered pieces of goat, cow even game meat brought in wheel burrows, then hung ready to be barbecued right in front of your eyes.

Wasafi's stall at Msalato Mnadani market in Dodoma
“At the slaughter house first we place it on nets to sieve off the blood. Then we bring it here to hang it, so it further dries before we marinate and place it on the burners…” Jackson Patiani among the chefs with a stall at  ‘Msalato Mnadani’, telling me a bit the process of his craft, where I learned he has been doing this for some 20 years now.

Dodoma not being my resident city, I was delighted at every detail in this market. Like the fact that residents of Dodoma love their meat. Unlike my home city, their food vendor stalls don’t offer minuscule portions of chicken and ‘mshikaki’, here you find goat limbs & chunks of beef ribs at every stall.

Our plate of fresh beef liver with slices of 'pilipili mbuzi'
-local chili, lemon & salt
It was time to chow down some of this meat, I was here with family and we ordered take out. However we just couldn’t resist sampling something at the scene despite it being 11 am. Which is how I came to taste for the first time in my life, a plate of fresh barbecued beef liver. 

I mean, I mean, you have to try it for yourself. The fact that the liver was fresh, added to its flavour plus barbecuing it. Ensured on the outside it was all held in place so it didn’t crumble into a gooey mess, yet the insides of it was still soft. With the simple marinate of lemon & salt with splashes of the local chilly ‘pilipili mbuzi’, our plate was finished in less than 5 minutes. 
The seating areas where customers
enjoy local brews as well as the food
Later on when we sat at home to enjoy our take out from Msalato, which was a healthy portion of barbecued goat. We learned a valuable lesson about buying meat at this market, which is to sample what you’re buying before paying up. Heck maybe we should have gotten the meat from Mr Patiani’s stall, what with his decades of experience. However I met him later on, our meat was tough & chewy not the way you want to eat goat barbecue.

Still this hasn’t made me think less of the place, if anything next time I am in Dodoma, I will certainly make my way here. The trick is to take your time and not be bamboozled by the hisses & calls from the chefs at each stall. 

Spikes where meat from the slaughter
is hung at the Msalato Mnadani
market ready for barbecue
Msalato Mnadani market gained popularity after the closing of it’s neighbouring  seasonal market ‘Maili Mbili’ in 2015. Since then it has become somewhat of a tourist attraction with it’s assortment of open barbecues.  It opens every Saturday from late morning to night fall, the city authorities encourages the business as it employs many youths.

 “After the veterinary officers certify the meat we select then buy the meat. For every cow we pay 12,000Tshs  & 4,000 for goat as tax…I am very happy with the turn out this season. Normally by this time you wouldn’t see this many people but as you can see it’s a good turn out, which means by night fall it’ll be quite hectic.” Amani Kudei, another vendor at Msalato sharing with us, how local government works with them to keep this business safe for it’s residents.

Despite Dodoma’s semi desert climate this market showed me the robust of its residents, be sure to drop by when in Dodoma.

@mkeka-mag- Instagram, @CarolAnande-Facebook, @CarolAnande-Twitter

Thursday, 21 December 2017

So much to experience in Tanzania SiTE

Cooped up in the city you can easily forget you live in a country where majority of the population lives in ‘rural’ areas.  While the word rural seems blasé, in Tanzania it uncovers all manner of touristic attractions. 

A real Leopard post mortem, dried  property of TANAPA
exhibited at the SiTE Tourism Expo 2017
With seven of the world’s heritage sites found here including; the highest free standing mountain in the world Mt Kilimanjaro. Second largest game reserve in Africa-‘Sealous’; Serengeti National Park’s Ngorongoro crater; the ruins of Kilwa and Songo Mnara. As well as Zanzibar’s Stone Town and Kondoa rock art site in the centre of Tanzania.

Bismark rocks on Lake Victoria
in Mwanza City Northern Tanzania. Photo courtesy of TTB
This was well emphasised at this year's SiTE-Swahili International Tourism Expo in it’s third annual showcase. That happened this October  at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's Tourism Board launched this expo since 2014, to open Tanzania’s doors to the world & its residents but mainly to “…provide networking opportunities between various tourist stakeholder businesses, all over the country. Also to link them with international buyers in the tourism sector. Who we’ve flown here to foster a lasting business relationship with our tourism industry.Geofrey Tengeneza-Principal Public Relations Officer Tanzania Tourism board (TTB)

On the left Viazi vya Juu & Viazi vikuu
 (Upper Potatoes & Main Potatoes) the
viazi vya juu grow above ground this
 is Linus Kalisto showing
me to them from the cultural tourism stall 
This year the expo had the highest recorded exhibitors in its history 114, ranging from travel agents, hoteliers, souvenir shop owners, safari tours guides as well as Tour Operators in culture tourism.  A facet of tourism that is gaining ground in Tanzania with over 60 programs running across the regions of Tanzania. Offering tourists close encounters with the local population, inviting the visitor to participate in daily activities like coffee farming. Cooking local cuisines, fishing as well as an array of guided tours to treasured local spots. 

The 'Ibucha' Kata at the
Culture Tourism Stall inside
 the SiTE Expo 2017
“Water or mbege (a local brew of the Chagga tribe in Kilimanjaro)  that you drink from the ‘kata’ (an elongated cup of the calabash), has a better taste than that drunk from a plastic cup or a glass. Now because of globalisation and the cheaper availability of plastics the tradition of the kata is suffering. You see to have a Kata, you have to grow its plant for a year…you can’t leave it in the sun it can break…In our tours we allow our visitors to drink from these katas… This is the ‘ibucha’ kata which is bigger. It’s used in social gatherings passed on from person to person, as a gesture of support and kinship…Linus Kalisto of ‘Mkuu Cultural Tourism Enterprise’ in Rombo Kilimanjaro, explaining to me why in his stall he had katas hanging on it’s ceiling.

This Expo managed to bring 25 international buyers invited by TTB apart from those who flew in on their own. The buyers mostly from Europe were well appreciated by the exhibitors, who this time around also came from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mauritius & Madagascar. “I remember when we started only Uganda was here from outside of Tanzania…Nassra A Haji Marketing Officer Zanzibar Commission for Tourism-ZCT

“We ended up in SiTE because we’re ready to be here, we’re competitive enough, confident in what we do, so why not come to the market and face it.” Fransis Kato Sales & marketing officer of Ahadi Lodge
Francis Kato with his colleague Ignor of Ahadi Lodge
in their stall inside SiTE expo 2017

He shared that Ahadi lodge was with new management for the past six months or so, that through participating in two similar expo’s earlier this year namely Karibu & Kili Fair.  Where the organisers of Kili Fair also organised this year’s SiTE “We've grown from 4-5 operators to now having 21 tour operators. Since we participated in these fairs for the last six months…”  Francis continued, he added that Ahadi lodge expects with SiTE to hire even more tour operators.

He did express concern on local tourists, a market he didn’t see enough of at the expo. “TTB is doing a great job but they are like an arrow pointing us where we need to go…but we need Air Tanzania right there. That’s a first key player…they’re the only ones who will make ‘utalii wa ndani’ (local tourism) really work.”

Photo of local Queen taken in the early 20th Century,
 shownat the cultural tourism stall inside SiTE Expo 2017
The slogan ‘utalii wa ndani waanza na wewe’ (local tourism begins with you) has been harped on by TTB and ZCT adamantly with efforts including. Adverts in the local media, sponsored school trips for students, tourism promo tapes on local buses going up country running fairly regularly. 

Our research in 2008 let us know that there’s been wrong perceptions among Tanzanian’s on tourism. Thinking it’s for foreigners only or that it’s too expensive. (Tourist Cite entry fees in Tanzania are halved for the locals, a sentiment that many tourist businesses echo) Basically a stickling to habits that say relaxing only involves, time at the local pub or a visit to the local beach. When we began our campaign back in 2009, statistics showed that 200,000-250,000 local tourists toured per year. Till now the figures have risen to almost 1,000,000 local tourists per year…Mr Tengeneza from TTB

Though a significant bump, compared to our population of 50,000,000+ there’s still aways to go in harnessing this local market. Plus challenges that face the tourism industry in Tanzania, also lie in pulling sufficient foreign tourists to the country.  As overall prices are still high in comparison to neighbouring countries like Kenya. Part of this has been due to expensive travel, a factor that was made worse with the lack of local air travel. Which is why since last year with the resuscitation of the country’s airline ‘Air Tanzania’. Local tourist businesses like Francis Kato’s have big expectations.

We are back & strong looking to serve our clients, as one of the main sponsors of this expo our aim is to announce to the public. That we are here to make travel, particularly within Tanzania more efficient. Already I am amazed in these three days at the tourists who on seeing our stall are like, oh we didn’t know you were flying there… We have regular flights to Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Songea, Mbeya, Zanzibar, Mtwara, Tabora & Kigoma within Tanzania our rates are affordable with 27 kilos allowed for economy & 7 as hand luggage…” Lily Tungamtama Acting Public Relations Officer Air Tanzania. 
Matema each in mbeya along side lake Nyasa. Photo courtesy of TTB

Prodding Lily to share on what Air Tanzania is doing in order bridge, what is still a wide expanse of destinations. That though with big tourist attractions the airline doesn’t fly to like Iringa, that has the Ruaha National Park. She conceded that costs like expensive landing fees by the government are making it difficult to expand rapidly.

Speaking of challenges professional services is another area that Tanzania has received criticisms within its tourist industry. Speaking with Nassra of ZTC on this, she affirmed that the infrastructure is there with 17,029 beds available on the island ranging from 5 stars to lower level guest house as of 2016. Whereas of July this year the islands received 263,551 tourists. She acknowledged the personnel services have to improve if the figure is to rise to 500,000 tourists per annum. As is the projected vision by 2020 with the ZNZ government.   

Until recently Zanzibar’s colleges only offered courses in tourism up to diploma level…In efforts to upgrade, our college ZIToD (Zanzibar Institute for Tourism Development) is linked to SUZA (State University of Zanzibar). Where SUZA has now started to offer degree courses in Marketing Tourism and Hospitality… Nasra A. Haji-ZTC

Zebra's in Ruaha National Park in Iringa Tanzania
photo courtesy of TTB
When you go online to know of Tanzania’s touristic attractions,  you’ll realise it has a lot to offer in its docket, compared to other countries in the region. However it seems its government has yet to listen closely to the needs of its stakeholders in this industry. For despite its efforts to revive air strips like the one in Ngombe & Katavi. The resulting high landing fees don’t equate progress.

“Say in Kenya the entry fees to tourist attractions are more affordable for foreign tourists than ours, their government has subsidised those fees. Our visa’s are more expensive, basically the process from booking to arrival is more cumbersome for us comparatively…we still face challenges in our laws. Like last years vat increment of 18%, which were given immediately with no grace period to let our clients know. Our clients book 1 year or 2 years in advance or even 3 years. Now I have a booking for 2020 and the agent has already paid 50%, so when you come back to them a year later saying there’s an 18%. It ruins your relationship… Luice Sales & Marketing- Antelope Safaris Tanzania 

These links & contacts below are incase you'd like to visit or know more of the various tourist packagaes in Tanzania. As gained by me from this EXPO

Seedlings at the Cultural Tourism stall inside SiTE expo 2017,
on Rau Eco & Cultural Tourism table. These seedlings are
of an endangered tree in Northen Tanzania, that tourists
get a chance to plant on their offered packages
Tanzania Tourism Board info -- 'Cultural Tourism registry in Tanzania'' +255 22 2116420,

Cultural Tourism & Tours info --= +255 769 335 359,, -- +255 686 908 137/ 784 769 795/ +255 27 2050025; +255 754 960 176/ 764 557 748/ 756 981 602;

Red Banana's grown only in Mto wa Mbu
and the experience offered showed
to be my Wesley Kileo
of Mto wa Mbu
Cultural Tourism Enterprises 255 787 855 185/ 767 855 185/ 715 855 185/ 784 243 042;,, +255 767 606 644/ 784 606 654; +255 752 420 026/ 717 003 078; +255 788 523 463/787 183  087;, +255 22 215 3361-3, +255 756 981 602/ 754 960 176/ 764 557 748; -- + 255 629 952 842/ 629 952 842; -- +255 769 335 359;; -- +255 765 143 737/ 782 324 121;

Tonga Textile's stall selling products
from Zimbabwe inside the SiTE Expo 2017 
Made in Tanzania products info

Honey +255 767 163 360/ 622 678 066,

Moringa, Mlonge Products (I was given a tester, I totally endorse them.)

Tanzi Farm
Frank Komba-- +255 665 928 080;; Uhuru Heights, mezanine floor, Posta, DSM, TZ

Furniture from local Tanzanian Grass

Mazengo; +255 764 557 748/ 677 557 748

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