Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

19 August 2012

Tanzania: Seriously, Are We Good At Anything?

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The Olympics are over. Our team came back sans medals. I must say they must have been very brave facing the competition out there in the London summer, knowing that deep down in their hearts they were not going anywhere. Welcome back team.

My only worry is that what we need now is a forty year strategic plan for building a super heroic swimming team. For the simple reason that our country is endowed with vast natural water bodies.

At the coast we have the expansive Indian Ocean. The largest lake in Africa, Lake Victoria is at our doorstep even though we share it with two neighbours. Furthermore we have the deepest lake in world, Lake Tanganyika and not too far from that lake is Lake Nyasa.

In other words we do not have to build fancy swimming pools the swimmers all over the country have somewhere they can converge and practice swimming. Furthermore swimming should be made compulsory in primary school and pupils awarded certificates. That way, swimming would become second to nature and from there we can groom a winning swimming team.

The reason why a 40 year strategy is necessary is so that teachers themselves will have enough time to learn how to swim. So that in addition to mastering the concept of the square root in mathematics swimming would be an exciting introduction to the school syllabus.

So instead of blaming sports officials we can as well concentrate on one sport and that is swimming and wait 40 years from now for the gold medals to roll in. So back to the question what then are we really good at? Seated with colleagues recently we agreed after a noisy argument that since we are not the best sportsmen there must be some vices we could boast of.

One of the energetic debaters suggested maybe we are good at drinking. The statement was thrown out of the window as we googled from a mobile phone and found out even amongst countries that are listed as the best drinkers worldwide from three different surveys our country did not feature anywhere near those lists.

In one survey Naijaland was listed as the top drinker of beer on the continent which we attributed to the very fertile population of over 100 million people! In another survey that singled out the consumption of alcohol in East Africa the honours surprisingly went to Uganda.

So fellow countrymen what is it that we are great in at the end of the day? I will make one suggestion, I need to go to a country where I meet people who can whine half as well as we do.

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