Our Naija brothers and sisters call 'sodas' minerals and do not ask me why. So there was this joke that a class teacher asked her pupils what are the three leading minerals in Nigeria. Eager to answer the question a boy shot up his hand.
The teacher turned to him and he answered "Coca Cola, Fanta and Sprite." About a fortnight ago interviewing pupils in one of the leading government schools in Dar es Salaam I asked a rather fidgety standard six girl to name three exports of Tanzania.
She looked at me like I had asked the impossible. But I stuck to my guns and told her I had all the time in the world for the answer. She squirmed in her chair, made faces, looked up at the ceiling but no answer was forthcoming.
So I asked her to think about what our dear country grows or makes that is taken out to other countries. By this time I was wondering how on earth she was going to sit for the primary school leaving examinations next year without a clue of what Tanzania exports.
I was too sacred to ponder over what else she might not know. Well after what seemed like eternity she blurted out Tanzanite. Phew, relief so there was hope after all. Prodding her a little further hoping for another miracle I asked her if she knew what else the mines in Tanzania dig.
This time round it was a bad as falling from the frying pan into the fire; she had no idea. I then informed her that gold is got from the mines and she confessed she had never heard of it. I must say our teachers have a hard time imparting valuable knowledge to our children.
After the strained conversation with the young girl it has got me thinking that maybe it is about time we aggressively branded Tanzania as the 'Home to Tanzanite' both at home and abroad; especially at home! For starters we could encourage our brides to wear Tanzanite jewellery at their weddings instead of cheap imitations of cosmetic creations.
One Tanzanite gains value and two it can be worn over and over again. Be it dangling ear rings, bling bling bracelets or a dainty necklace around the neck let them wear Tanzanite. For an extreme makeover to the gifts showered on the mother of the bride or groom at wedding receptions let us start by slowly but surely presenting our mothers with some quality Tanzanite trinkets. Surely they are worth it.
For the men we encourage them to sport Tanzanite cuff links and tie clips. Let us Tanzanians wear our very own Tanzanite with pride. What do you mean it is expensive? Everything good comes with a price.