Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

23 November 2012

Tanzania: Civic Plays Get DC On Stage

ON Monday evening residents of Kidatu Ward in Kilombero District, Morogoro Region, were pleased when the District Commissioner, Hassan Elias Masala, paid them a visit.

This was the first time since he had taken office six months earlier, for him to stand literally amongst them. The look of pleasant anticipation that came on the people's faces, when he was asked to talk was similar to the one observed when the white land cruiser drove into the primary school's grounds about 20 minutes earlier.

By the time of speaking the DC was seated on a chair surrounded by residents following a stage play called "Tuamke Sasa" by a theatre troupe from Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania Community Civic Initiatives (TACCI) had been in the district for over a month performing their play.

When talking about this civic production their coordinator, Neema Henjewele, told the 'Daily News' it was specially designed to educate and inform residents of the need for them to work together towards the development of the country. For this to be successful real action must be taken, she added, by each individual from wherever they are.

"I would not like to take much of your precious time here talking because this audience is not here for my purpose. This is an important exercise with a vital message that has been prepared for you. I want you to continue getting it. I will prepare the opportunity for us to meet, so that we can discuss our government issues and other things on another occasion," Masala said.

Then he apologised to the crowd, which surrounded him that although he had made several visits throughout the district and more precisely division, he had not had the opportunity to visit them in Kidatu Ward as yet. He then thanked the organisers of the event for bringing their community play there, which he admitted not having any real picture, as to how it went.

In fact, the DC openly admitted that he had benefited greatly from being part of the audience that afternoon for the 60-minute play, which was held in an area within the school's grounds surrounded by trees. This naturally formed a natural shade over the area used for the performance.

The DC had come as the Guest of Honour and took-up his seat amongst the villagers, without any hesitation. Henjewele told the 'Daily News' her colleagues and herself were pleasantly surprised to see the DC's response to their invitation, when they had gone to his offices earlier in the month to introduce themselves and their purpose for being in the district.

"We were extra pleased when he said he would come to watch the performance, which he did do and later told the audience how he found it enlightening, open and had much teaching for anyone with common sense to learn from," Henjewele told the 'Daily News' after the afternoon, which went into the early evening performance had finished and the DC had left them wrapping-up to leave the site.

Throughout the performance the DC was busy jotting down points on his note pad, to which he referred to when addressing the audience. He said the play had touched people of the government like himself and issues such as schools, where they were constantly looking for ways of improving.

He had also noticed that it had talked about issues that affected the residents directly and emphasised the point that they also have a part to play. "I'm sure that if you present this play within every corner of this district it would simplify my work.

All the challenges that are spoken of in this play are the ones which are giving us problems. Issues of education, environment, issues of taking care of our natural resources and this is a very rich district, but inhabitants have not recognised the importance of these," Masala said.

When he finished talking and Henjewele took over the microphone again, she thanked the DC for playing a physical role by coming to support the play. She then reminded the audience of the points made in the play, as being based on building the country together as one people, irrespective of tribe, religion and political affiliation.

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