Tanzania: Teen On a Mission to Promote Tanzania Abroad

At 17 years old most teenagers would rather be on social media doing things that teenagers do, chatting with friends they will probably never meet in a life time.

But this has been different for Rania Nasser who has taken completely a different path. She has chosen to use her free time to inform the world about what Tanzania is all about through pictures.

Two years ago she embarked on a journey that has taken her to almost every corner of Tanzania exploring the social and cultural diversity that Tanzania's over 120 tribes have to offer.

"During every little break I had, I would go different places where I took pictures of people in their own environment across the country," says Rania

With this initiative she hopes to change the stereotype about Africa and Tanzania in particular in the eyes of the western world.

"The pictures show everywhere I have gone and the people I have met, and the stories that have heard. I think I have seen the very best of the Tanzanian spirit," she says.

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According to Rania during her travels abroad she realised that people knew so little about Tanzania and many still hold the narrative of a country that is very backward with no sign of development whatsoever.

"There are people out there who think Africa is a country and all they can see are images of poverty stricken villages, violence-plagued townships, disease and misery," she says referring to her travels in the US and the UK.

She thanks the people around her especially her father and mother who she says have been there for her as she embarked on what some thought was a wild goose chase.

As a result this week courtesy of Alliance Francaise, she staged a four-day photo exhibition which she has christened 'Watu wa Tanzania' where hundreds of pictures were on display for the world to see. "The pictures show our diversity as Tanzanians, the stories and what we do as a people as we forge forward," she says.

With the four-day exhibition according to officials at the Alliance Francaise, she became the youngest ever exhibitor to show case there.

"My dream is to come up with a documentary that shows some of the things that many people across the world do not know about our country, Tanzania," she says.

She adds: The use of photography or videos to tell stories is very impactful: it can educate, change narratives and perceptions and bring about positive changes in the world. We have seen so many examples of this: change starts from changing public perceptions.

On that windy Friday evening Rania was in company of high profile visitors such as ministers, ambassadors, corporate officials and even her classmates who were all in awe at what she has done.

Part of her guest list included the Managing director of the Tanzania Tourist Board whose institute was recipient of the photographs form Rania.

Receiving the pictures, Tanzania Tourist Board Ms Devotha Mdachi said the exhibition by Raina creates an opportunity for people around the world to see Tanzania in a better perspective.

"We at TTB are truly honoured by Rania's decision to donate the pictures to TTB so that we can carry on what she has started through our tourism promotional platforms both locally and internationally," she says.

According to her, TTB is proud to see Tanzanians who are ready to take the initiative and support their country by telling the world the country's story.

"We are all aware of Tanzania's uniqueness and beauty found in the hospitality of its people, culture, history, natural resources and peaceful environment, standout among the best in the world" she says.

She had a lot of encouragement for the teenager saying she should keep her head high, reiterating TTB's support for the young photographer.

"TTB will always support your work and we believe that wherever you go you will always tell the Tanzanian story," she said.

Her final promise was that they would take the pictures to all the tourism expos that they attend across the world.

Also present was the deputy minister for Foreign affairs Dr Damas Ndumbaro who hailed the teenager's spirit and courage because the pictures show the very best of Tanzania something that most Western media don't show.

"These pictures speak volumes, they show the Tanzanian spirit of hard work and the smiles that fill our daily lives," said Dr Ndumbaro.

But as the exhibition closed its doors on Sunday evening, Rania Nasser is even more determined to take more pictures to tell the world about Tanzanian people.

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