editorialBy Munir Daya
Most of what the world reads about Africa is focused on the continent's many problems--famine, genocide, HIV/Aids, corruption and poverty. It is true that the continent is besieged by these problems and there is no harm when writers compile reports for affirmative actions.
However, sometimes writers intentionally try to blemish the continent and its people. Minor problems are magnified and alerts are issued for the flimsiest of reasons. People need to be enlightened that there is more to Africa than famine and genocide.
Prior to South Africa hosting the World Cup there were numerous newspaper reports and alerts on the possibility of terrorism and the high level of local crime. Earlier reports even stated that the country was not in a position to host such a big event. South Africa went on to host the tournament successfully in what was probably the best World Cup tournament ever.
Earlier this week when flying between London and Toronto I noted an In-flight magazine that had some coverage on Tanzania. Surely the objective was to promote Tanzania, the Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam as a tourist destination. However, the details about what tourists can do or eat in Dar es Salaam barely reflected what our Haven of Peace really has to offer.
On places where tourists can eat in Dar es salaam the write-up says - "There is communal Ethiopian fare of curried meat and vegetables on a base of spongy bread at Addis in Dar while Indian restaurants in Upanga serve vegetarian dishes and no alcohol.... Upmarket restaurants cluster on Msasani peninsula, particularly in Namanga, where you will find Africa's only Croatian restaurant, Simona."
This information deprives readers from being informed on the variety of food and restaurants that Dar es Salaam actually offers.
There are many Indian restaurants that offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine, there are numerous barbeque resorts, there are many restaurants on the beach that offer anything under the sky, some of which specialise in sea food and there are restaurants that offer Thai, Mexican, Lebanese, Chinese, Italian and so many other types of food.
The same report in the In-flight magazine says, "Dar es Salaam's busy streets are bustling with goats, chickens, dust-shrouded safari cars, suit-clad office workers and traders in colourful traditional dress."
We have isolated road stretches where motorists can see goats and chickens but Dar es Salaam has over the past decade become a truly urban city with a new skyline and a much better road network. One barely sees goats and chickens on the streets and neither does one fine dust-shrouded safari cars.
On what to see or do in Dar es Salaam, the report states "Stroll among the peacocks in the Botanical gardens. More conventional sightseeing options include the eccentric National Museum. The word "eccentric" means 'weird' or 'unusual' - why would the report want to refer to the National Museum as odd?
The report had no information on the many other things that tourists can do in Dar es Salaam like sightseeing tours, a game ride to Mikumi, holidaying and sea sports on the beach resorts, trip to Zanzibar or a study tour on African culture at the Village Museum.
Tanzania has much more to offer than goats and chickens on our streets.