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I live in Dar es Salaam on a street with no name... but hey, you can always find me

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Mwembetayari, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. M

    Mwembetayari JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 18, 2012
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    The old saying, “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” suggests that if you maintain personal physical, moral and environmental tidiness you will sit on the right hand side of the Great Wizard.

    God don’t like ugly, and filthy sure is ugly.

    Which means Dark es Salaam is a godforsaken place, a sprawling, unkempt, ugly mega-village that they call a city only because a proper name has not been found for it.

    If there were a contest to choose the dirtiest capital city in Africa, Dar would be among the topmost contenders.

    But there is something else about Dar that makes it a huge village with concrete structures in the middle.

    Dar es Slum, the capital of the United Republic of Tanzania, is a collection of rundown neighbourhoods and shanty towns surrounding the concrete central business district, which also houses government offices, all without proper street names or plot numbers displayed.

    Even where there used to be street names and house numbers before, like in the Swahili suburbs of Ilala, Kinondoni and Magomeni, these have disappeared.

    You might think they were done away with because they were unwanted relics of the colonial era.

    In the newly constructed “posh” suburbs such as Mbezi Beach and Mikocheni, where the rich and powerful have built themselves Malibu style villas, there have never been any official street names or numbers.

    The excuse for a city council that sits in City Hall has not seen the need for irrelevancies like street names and house numbers.

    These unnamed and unnumbered streets — most of them ruts that turn to mud when it rains and to dust when it shines — have struggled to give themselves an identity quite divorced from the absentminded City Fathers.

    Concerned residents have taken it upon themselves to name their streets, hoping that this way they can direct their friends and relatives who want to visit.

    These do-gooders, no doubt meaning to inspire good citizenship and ethical living, have chosen nice little names, like Hekima (wisdom), Upendo (love) and Afya (health).

    Someone has been bearing the expense of having metallic signposts painted with these names and planted at street corners.

    It goes to show that when the governors have gone to sleep, the people will govern themselves (Was this what Karl Marx was talking about when he wrote about the withering away of the state?).

    Trouble is, though, that these people-generated street names do not have a central origin, as they are the creation of disparate groups of volunteers without a citywide organisation.

    This has meant that the name given to the street outside your gate could be exactly the same name given to another street 20 kilometres to the south of you, and another 25 kilometres to the north…

    This has produced expensive jokes, such as when you walk up and down trying to locate the “one-storey house with a light green façade, French windows and a brown gate” on Hekima Street 10 kilometres away from the domicile of the person who gave you the directions.

    Yet this marks progress of sorts. It’s infinitely better than the practice in those areas where a benefactor has not emerged to put up street name signs.

    There, the standard practice is to give directions such as this one: “Get off the dala-dala at Makonde and take the road on your right; on the left you will see a pharmacy and on the right there is a butcher’s shop… walk on for some ten minutes and turn right; you will see a broken down bus parked on the left, continue for five minutes then turn left to the ground where children play football; ask any one of them to bring you to Mama Salim’s house. They all know this place…”

    Look over the shoulder of a Dar resident filling in immigration forms at some foreign airport and see what he gives for his home address: P.O. Box 10098, Dar es Salaam. Don’t follow him there because that’s not where he lives.

    Jenerali Ulimwengu, chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper, is a political comentator and civil society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: ulimwengu@jenerali.com

    I live in Dar es Salaam on a street with no name... but hey, you can always find me  - Comment |theeastafrican.co.ke





     
  2. Nairoberry

    Nairoberry JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 18, 2012
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    This is too bad very bad why has dar been so neglected I agree its the dirtiest in eastern and suthern africa. Dar could be a much better place if they cleaned it especially the dirty beaches it would be a tourist attraction.we need to learn from mombasa
     
  3. Tulizo

    Tulizo JF-Expert Member

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    Nadhani mwandishi Jenerali Ulimwengu siyo Mkenya hivyo ukweli aliosema hautobezwa na kupingwa...too sad.. Dar es Salaam....tunaishi kimjini mjini na mishemishe zetu...
     
  4. Nairoberry

    Nairoberry JF-Expert Member

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    kwani lazima iwe ni mkenya anaongea vibaya kuhusu dar?? jemeni tuwache mafikira duni kama haya
     
  5. eliakeem

    eliakeem JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 19, 2012
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    It's normal to for streets of cities in developing countries to have no street names..... Urban planning is very important.
     
  6. k

    kotinkarwak JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 19, 2012
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    Jenerali hapa hapa,
    Spend a few minutes on Google maps and find Dar-es-salaam street names.
    The issue of lack of signage is secondary from your assumption that there is no planning of sorts for the city infrastructure.
    I would also assume that you are not local or not currently living in Dar for it appears you have not been contributing to the development via the payment of council dues in the form of the property Tax. If you had, you would have seen a property code for your property akin to the post-code or zip-codes used elsewhere in the World.

    Now how will this be used?
    It is now a requirement that you install a property plate number that shows the plot number and the mentioned property code. That when say a commercial value can be attributed to the codes, you might find it easier say to get to mama Salim's house, for there would be postal services that utilize that info, the Taxi business using the info, The power companies using the info etc etc...


    On the dirt issue, please Jenerali, umetembea kweli?
    We might on occasions be swamped in dirt being as a result of the contractors not doing their work but comparably, it is not the dirtiest city around.

    Why you call people who empower themselves to make changes to their circumstances do-gooders, or don't you actually know what that means? Self empowerment does not mean sitting back and waiting on the govt to do everything for you, circumstances like "chuma chakavu" has resulted in the many signage to be vandalized and sold as scrap metal. Where you see a new sign erected, be it by your so-called do-gooders (I will call patriotic, and active members of the society they live in), the names written are from the official street names.

    And why involve God in this?
    We talking about human created filth, I would not think God would have an input here, If its on the destruction of his creations (environment), believe me our little heaps of dirt don't even show in the environmental destruction performed elsewhere, maybe God would still be happy with us on this count! but again, I am not his spokesman....
     
  7. zomba

    zomba JF-Expert Member

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    Can you compare Kibira with slums of Dar es Salaam? we have no pigeon holes as human dwellings here, you only find the in Nairobi.
     
  8. kshaka

    kshaka JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 19, 2012
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    mkuu, si uchangie kwa hii thread basi
     
  9. Kinyungu

    Kinyungu JF-Expert Member

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    In Nairobi; especially Kibera area they have the so called flying toilets! Usiombe ukutane nayo aisee!
     
  10. M

    Mwembetayari JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 20, 2012
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    Cities are meant to be centres of progress, places of advanced forms of social, economic and cultural life, bringing together in aggregate the most dynamic elements of people, goods and ideas drawn from the hinterland and farther afield.

    Cities are the complex expression of the level of development and sophistication attained by a nation, a proud advertisement of its material wealth and spiritual balance.

    City life is civilised life. Citizens are city residents. Outside the city walls live countrymen and countrywomen. The differences between the two sets of nationals range from diet to dress, sanitary arrangements and leisure and recreation patterns.

    It is thus that civilisations since antiquity have prided themselves on the splendour of their metropolises, vaunting the grandeur of their public buildings, the width of their boulevard, the luxuriance of their gardens: Babylon, Athens, Rome.

    In their pursuit of excellence, cities have borrowed heavily from each other, copying what they have found desirable in what others have done, sometimes even taking it by force as spoils of war, sometimes by commissioning architects, artists and sculptors from abroad to come and work a little magic on their towns.

    This copycat activity has been so successful that many a time I have had the experience of waking up in a new town and drawing the curtains to look at the skyline and wondering — helped, of course, by the effects of a late night — whether I am in Toronto, Frankfurt or Nairobi. There is too much of a muchness about many big cities of the world.

    There are exceptions, of course. I suppose it would be too much bother trying to do another Jaipur, with its pink facades, and Rome will always be the only Eternal City, while only Cape Town has the Table Mountain. San Francisco has its charm too, with its famed Wharf and the Alcatraz view, but generally huge towns, like big bodies, are hard to dress up.

    Smaller towns fare much better, as is the case with Berne, capital of Switzerland, or Sacramento, capital of California, or Lilongwe, capital of Malawi, or Salzburg, hometown of Mozart. Petit, manicured, ventilated. Kigali’s reputation as one of the cleanest towns of the world should not surprise anyone since Paul Kagame, essentially a military man, needs a “smart area” for him to work properly.

    Still, a city can be big, sprawling and uninspiring without being an absolute eyesore — such as Bamako, capital of Mali; or Ibadan in Nigeria; or Ndjamena, capital of Chad.

    The Ethiopians are currently seriously reordering their capital, Addis Ababa, which, having avoided the colonial experience of racially determined zoning, has had a mixed-grill layout of shantytowns juxtaposed with state of the art buildings.

    You could thus look down from your room in the sumptuous Addis Sheraton onto ramshackle structures with scrawny children doing their early-morning bowel movements.
    Over the past five years or so, the Ethiopian authorities have been giving Menelik’s city a facelift, building highways, byways and overpasses, cleaning up the slums and erecting estates of houses affordable by the poor, and generally creating a new flower, as the name Addis Ababa says. So, it can be done.

    Certainly, dirty, chaotic and dangerous towns like Dar es Salaam and Kampala can borrow a leaf from what the Ethiopians are doing in Addis. The disorderliness of these two capitals denotes the disorderliness in the minds of their citizens and city fathers.

    Dangers of communicable diseases, as well as disasters such as fire and floods, increase with greater demographic concentrations, a matter about which our city fathers need no special instruction.

    It is partly to avert these that orderliness and cleanliness are a must in cities.

    Jenerali Ulimwengu, chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper, is a political comentator and civil society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: ulimwengu@jenerali.com

    A tale of two dirty, chaotic and dangerous cities: Dar, Kampala need to style up  - Comment |theeastafrican.co.ke



     
  11. k

    kotinkarwak JF-Expert Member

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    Mar 20, 2012
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    such drivel...

    Mwembetayari: Are you this said Jenerali Ulimwengu, can't see the point of the preceding post. Conclusions even a standard 7 pupil would surmise of the greatness of cities in a hastily put together composition, I asked you kweli umesafiri?, I wouldn't expect conclusions like "City life is civilised life" from a globe trotting fellow. and damn, someone actually pays you for this!!!.
     
  12. M

    Mwembetayari JF-Expert Member

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    I am not Jenerali Ulimwengu but you may contact him using the email address listed if you feel inclined to bleat on about what he has written. Judging by your comment I doubt there is anything other than chest thumping and name calling that you can engage in. Such posturing is symptomatic of a villager who went overseas and is now convinced his plane ticket was a certificate in all matters sophistication. The truth, a bitter pill to swallow, is that pinch that people on the ground in our cities can identify with but for green card seekers and those blinded by patriotism it is an affront on 'national pride'!
    Well, open wide and close your eyes.
     
  13. Smatta

    Smatta JF-Expert Member

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    Kibera is being upgraded, Mathare is next in line as the government has already secured funds. you will run out of ammo soon, you simply cant keep up. Dar is one big unplanned city, its sad that its inhabitants are more than comfortable living there and defensive when their dirty city is called out.
     
  14. Tripo9

    Tripo9 JF-Expert Member

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    really??!!
     
  15. k

    kotinkarwak JF-Expert Member

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    Mwembetayari: Kimekuuma eeh!

    Nahisi wewe ndie huyu Ulimwengu au wewe unapotundika hizi posts zake, haujazisoma na kuelewa, unafurahia tu...

    Mwenzio nipo hapa hapa bongo mjini, sina nia ya kutoka nje kujua kuwa utumbo anaoandika Jenerali ni yale yale ya kuwapumbaza watu kuamini kuwa huko nje ni bora. Ndio mimi villager, lakini kuelewa ulimwengu sio lazima nisafiri ila tu nijue na kuelewa.
    Nyie ndio mmaotukwaza kwa kuangalia ya nje na kubaki kulalamika kuwa kwanini kwetu kusiwe vile, post yangu ya kwanza nimemuuliza, kwa nini ametumia neno "do-gooders", kwani hajalielewa maana yake... anyway nimeamka pazuri leo sina haja kuanza kubishana...
     
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