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A CHAT FROM LONDON: Tanzanian Asians issue a ticking bomb about to explode

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Beauty, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Beauty

    Beauty JF-Expert Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    Joined: Feb 6, 2008
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    Friday, 17 September 2010

    Freddy Macha

    Recently, a young Tanzanian was almost beaten to death for allegedly being in the company of an Asian woman. The incident is part of a rising backlash against Tanzanian Asians who we know as Indians and Pakistanis. It is alleged that the young couple were happily ambling around a heavily populated area of Dar es Salaam when the female (not Indian but actually from Indonesia) was then verbally abused by a bunch of Africans.

    Trying to defend her, the Tanzanian boyfriend faced the mob. Having lived overseas he was used to retaliate against racist abuse."They called him mwizi (thief), "the story goes, "and you know what that means in Africa. He nearly died."

    In 2007 Miss Tanzania of Asian origin, Richa Adhia, caused much controversy after winning the national female beauty contest. An image of her face was inserted on a sexually explicit photograph of a phonographic actress and circulated all over the internet. She had to defend herself in the media insisting that she was Tanzanian, that her family had historical roots here. At the height of the episode for example over two hundred mixed comments were published in the popular Bongo Celebrity blog. One reader, Subusiso, writing on 3rd September 2007 asked:

    "It's a shame how you haters are acting, do you want her to be black, to be called a Tanzanian? What happens to the Tanzanians who take up US citizenship and are called Americans or those who take British citizenship?"

    Both events are a barometer of a growing trend.

    I remember around 1981-82, I wrote an article intended for my column in Sunday News asking questions regarding racism caused by Tanzanian Asians. My then editor advised that we did not want to inflame things; and that Mwalimu Nyerere's policy was for Tanzanians to live side by side in peace without racial hatred or conflict.

    During this period a book by award winning Trinidad Asian travel author, Shiva Naipaul, ("North of South", Penguin, 1978) suggested that what happened in Zanzibar during the Karume leadership (regarding forced marriages) was retaliation to Asian and Arab Tanzanians refusing to mix or interact with fellow African folks.

    Point is, historically, we have had this problem brewing slowly.

    Asians were brought to be foremen when railways were being built first time across East Africa at the end of the nineteenth century. They brought their entrepreneurial skills hence establishing an enduring shop-keeping tradition that has since made them economic kings of the region.

    During colonialism tensions between Asians, Europeans and Africans were manifested in various ways. An ex colonial British officer, Michael Longford, mentions this in his memoirs, The Flags Changed at Midnight (Gracewing, 2001) by recalling affairs of the late 1950's.

    "Asian traders were not always popular with their African customers, "he writes.

    These tensions were also portrayed in the music of the legendary Swahili composer, Salum Abdullah. He sings about three chickens, one white, another red, and the last black. As the birds fight he asks:" Who is stronger?"

    Salum Abdullah who died in 1965 was himself son of a shop-keeping businessman and lived to see that strength being given to African rule in 1961. In other words the white chicken (Europeans) fled; Africans were left with red chicken (Asians) a commercial class who not only dominate the East African economy but key aspects of the society. While Mwalimu Nyerere managed the situation peacefully, Ugandan Idi Amin resorted to extreme measures by expelling Asians in 1972.

    Which is the best solution?

    Ongoing reports tell us how Tanzanian employers (both black and Asian) treat their domestic workers like slaves. However, most of those caught, arrested even tried publicly in the UK, for example, have been Tanzanian Asians.

    This is only a minute aspect of the problem. Of concern, conclusively, is the growing backlash where both sides are becoming victims. Where will all this lead to?

    Was Mwalimu Nyerere right to order the media to have a pacifist approach, bridge tolerance and racial harmony where racial tension already existed?

    Within all this commotion there are many unique Tanzanian Asians who have contributed to our well being materially and intellectually. Certain academic circles regard one of the best African thinkers to be Tanzanian Asian scholar and lawyer, Professor Issa Shivji a re-known defender of human rights or fashion designer Ally Remtullah whose work continues to enchant and popularise the Tanzanian brand of clothing.

    Now is the time for media, educators and our leaders to look at the issue before it explodes into something painfully, sinister.

    Source: The Citizen
  2. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    Joined: Nov 5, 2008
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    ALL THE CORRUPTION IN TANZANIA is spearheaded by Asians.
    They buy all the leadership and put them in their pockets.
    And they are so smart that they even keep documents to keep the tally.
    Remember Baghdad? He was jailed , not only because of his corrupt deeds but because he also dared to mention the name of the politician he bought.
    Chavda,Valambia,Jeetu Patel,Subhash Patel,Somaia etc the list is endless. They know they cannot be prosecuted so long as they keep dishing out money to their political puppies, making sure that they are well fed!!!