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Tanzania: Blogging and Tweeting Tanzania@50

The 9 December, 2011, is a big day for Tanzanians as the mainland part of the United Republic of Tanzania, Tanganyika, turns 50. Online, bloggers and tweeps are celebrating and reflecting on the future of Tanzania.

The Dar es Salaam Bloggers’ Circle urged bloggers to mark this event by a blog post on December 9:

The rules are simple:
Write a blog post based on the topic.
Hashtag it on Twitter #DarBlogCircle and ##Tanzania50.
Share it here: http://www.facebook.com/DarBlogCircle

Misternv shares excerpts taken from a letter written by Mwalimu Nyerere to his ministers and party officials in 1964:

Official logo for Tanzania at 50. Image source: the government of Tanzania.

Do they [ordinary citizens] really love being shouted at to get off the road because the President, a minister or a regional commissioner is taking an afternoon drive? (…) Do they really feel a surge of pride and patriotism every time they are expected to stop what they are doing and stand at attention just become some newly-appointed official whom they many not even have seen before is being serenaded with the national anthem? (…) Dignity does not need pomposity to uphold it: and pomposity in all its forms is wrong. Even if it were proved that the people really enjoyed it – which I very much doubt- it would still be a wrong; and it would still be our duty to put a stop to it and to tell the people that what they had learned to enjoy was wrong. (…)

After pointing out a few things that Tanzania could do better, David Mugo who lived in Tanzania for 18 months, finishes his post by saying:

In conclusion, I still think Tanzania is still one of the greatest countries I have been to in Africa. The people are definitely the best. Happy independence day, reflect on what independence you have, what it means to you, to this generation and future generations. I challenge young people to view things beyond the eyes of our aging leaders. Congratulations again. Long live Tanzania and its people.

Tanzanian activist and blogger, Ashura, wonders, “Where are we at 50?”:

In the Arusha Declaration of 1967 by Mwalimu Nyerere he stated ‘Independence means self-reliance. Independence cannot be real if a nation depends on gifts and loans from another for its development…’ lets ask ourselves today does Tanganyika not depend on gifts and loans for her development? The answer is yes that is why most of the land is sold to foreign company while leaving Tanzanians with neither land nor compensation. Our government thinks our development will be brought by foreigners in exclusion of Tanzanians, according to Mwalimu Nyerere we cannot depend on foreign company and act as we please! Its fifty years since Tanganyika got its independence on the 09th of December 1961 the country is almost regress and not progressing at all. In 1967, £ 1 was worth Tsh. 16.6 today £1 is worth 2650+ this has bad meaning as far as the economy is concerned.

Mwalimu Nyerere celebrating independence. Photo shared on Tanzania-Have-Your-Say Facebook page.

In celebrating 50 years of independence, The Wayward Press writes:

Right now, our country finds itself at a moment of transition and great uncertainty. Our politics lacks a sense of direction or grand ideological vision anchoring us forward. Our leaders seem to be making it up as they go along. Our knowledge of our history is fragmented and rooted in skewed nostalgic visions of the past. Our cultural identity is confused, informed more by foreign forms than any sense of a local aesthetic. To be a contemporary Tanzanian at the moment is to be a person of great potential unclear about what the future holds for him.

The Creatively Maladjusted looks at blogging and social media in Tanzania at 50:

In a country such as Tanzania where media coverage is likely censored or at the very least is inconsistent / unreliable, blogging (and social media generally) open up a whole new world of opportunities. “Social media can give Tanzanians their own public voices. That’s the most powerful opportunity I can think of to be frank”- Elsie from The Mikocheni Report blog. A common (often intended at ending any further conversation) response that I hear in discussions about social media in Tanzania is that most people don’t have access to the internet. In rural areas where 75% of the population lives, access is without doubt the major challenge (related to poor electricity coverage as well as few and expensive internet cafes), but this situation is rapidly changing from both supply and demand vantage points, with increasingly cheaper internet access on mobile phones and younger generations attracted to the connectivity that social media offers. In towns I would argue that a large proportion of the population are at least on Facebook, and via links on Facebook probably have much more direct access to blogs / citizen journalism than people living in the West…

Ahmed at VijanaFM asks, “Tanzania at 50 what do we have to show for it?”:

I think there is a challenge right now of galvanizing the people to reflect on the past fifty years. We do remember the good times but are constantly reminded about the bad. We have immense challenges and, as the saying goes, do Tanzanians feel they are better off today than they were ten years ago, let alone 50 years ago? The answer is probably no. I think instead of being nostalgic about the good old days we should really look inside ourselves, both the mwananchi and the leadership and interrogate how we can build a better tomorrow. This is because I think the majority of us are concerned about what the next 50 years will look like.

Karim Hirji, a professor of biostatics at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, discusses the education system in Tanzania after 50 years of independence:

At the time of Uhuru, not a single doctor was being trained in Tanzania. Now, my research methods class at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences has 150 students. My dilemma reflects the situation in most of the subjects taught at my university and, in fact, at all universities across the nation. Student numbers have expanded sharply, but the number of lecturers and teaching resources have not. Some universities have a department with 20 or so academic staff, yet none has a doctoral degree We have just gone through a multimillion-dollar curriculum review exercise. Yet, hardly any department has changed the substance of what it teaches.

On Twitter, tweeps celebrate Tanzania@50 with the hashtag Tanzania50:

dgtlUbun2: I am remembering ALL those lives UNNECESSARALIY lost in ZanzibarBoatTragedy & many more lives LOST due to a corrupt system. #Tanzania50

@BabatundeJnr: Happy birthday to D nation of a great African Julius Nyerere #Tanzania50. Wish the people freedom from corruption & bad governance. #Africa

@ChickAboutTown: Happy 50th, Tanganyika! (Dar is ablaze with fireworks.) #Tanzania50

@SalimHatib: Never forget the heroes who sacrified their life's to bring up this glorious day. Happy Independence day #Tanzania50

@dgtlUbun2: Only in Tanzania,whr over 80% population lives in poverty, BUT Mp's get 185% raise on sitting allowances.This is #Tanzania50 gvt. in action.

@SwahiliStreet: sorry, but the independence celebrations include a display by the police of how to stop a public demonstration?

@KateBomz: My finale goes to —> #Tanzania at 50 what do we have to show for it? by @asalim86 http://vijana.fm/2011/12/07/ni-hamsini-ni-hamsini-tanzania-at-50-what-do-we-have-to-show-for-it/ I saved best write up 4 last!

@tweetingchaga: The British departure from tanganyika in 1961 was premature. Yes, i said it #Tanzania50 @atititu @dizainatweets @jmkikwete

@Dunia_Duara: Blogs about #Tanzania50. Read and/or join @DarBlogCircle: facebook.com/DarBlogCircle

Tanganyika gained independence from the United Kingdom on 9 December, 1961, and later Tanganyika formed a union with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

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