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Radio Tanzania from Propaganda Piece Ubepari ni Unyama in the 70s now still brainwashing the Masses

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by nngu007, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Apr 2, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    Back in the 70's, Radio Tanzania (RTD) used to run a propaganda piece, usually following the news and 'Mazungumzo

    Baada ya Habari' that went: "Ubepari ni unyama; Ujamaa ni utu". For added effect, the slogan was read in a deep, commanding voice and 'utu' was repeated several times to fade. In a common mocking of the slogan, the wananchi substituted 'utu' with 'uchu', Swahili for 'greed', of course, partly in subtle reference to the perceived
    hypocrisy of the political class, which was seen as living off of the average Tanzanian's sweat.

    Ironically, I think, the derision of the RTD slogan by the wananchi was also a reflection of the success of the political propaganda itself. TANU (and later CCM) had so succeeded in brainwashing the masses regarding the supposedly irredeemable evils of capitalism that most Tanzanians came to regard even modest signs of material comfort as irrefutable proof of one's corruption. This is not to suggest that corruption was non-existent; as the saying goes, even paranoid people have real enemies. However, in the minds of most people, distinction was lost between, on the one hand, capitalism defined as private ownership of means of production and distribution, and rabid consumerism and materialism devoid of any humanity, on the other. For instance, another common RTD slogan in
    those days unflatteringly referred to capitalist-leaning Kenya as a nation of a bunch of "nyang'au". In case you're wondering, "nyang'au" is a hyena, but in the ideological context in which the word was used it meant to imply Kenya
    was a society of 'savages' - you know, 'man-eat-man' society.

    Of course, all of this was happening during a period of lack of political pluralism or alternative ideological viewpoints. To compound matters, the country was in the midst of economic collapse and perennial shortages of the most basic material goods. You had to be seriously connected to lay your hands on a bar of soap or tube of Colgate Toothpaste, for example. All the while, the political leadership was expounding populist pronouncements and railing against enemies of Ujamaa, foreign and domestic, real or imagined, including the so-called rich and educated elites (if they didn't believe of course). 'Walanguzi' and 'Wahujumu' are two of the other famous entries in Tanzania's political lexicon of that era. Those two words, especially, have similar connotations to "Wafisadi" of today, but in the 70's and early 80's to qualify into the club of 'walangunzi' one needed only to own a color TV set not a multi-million dollar bank account, but I digress.

    The point of narrating the preceding was to suggest that Tanzania's past socio-political history helps to explain, though not forgive, some of the mindsets that prevail in the country today. And, this is not to mention what you (and others) have referred to as 'Uswahili'. It's not surprising, therefore, that unhealthy suspicion of wealth and envy of the relatively moneyed class persists. This is compounded by the desperate plight of the average Tanzanian, not to mention a deluge of daily reports of high corruption.

    Also indisputable is the need for the government to move swiftly to clear people wrongly accused in the media and elsewhere of stealing from public coffers, as well as to prosecute fairly cases where there's incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing. Not to do either of those things is to deliberately or otherwise feed the frenzy and
    tarnish the names of innocent people. Moreover, even as it has quietly dropped its socialist past and adopted free market policies, CCM has not articulated a vision for the country that would help to dispel the entrenched notion that being wealthy is tantamount to being a crook. Additionally, the majority of people are disillusioned about the prospects for individual prosperity and economic development even as some politicians seek to exploit, cynically I might add, this sense of desperation. Add a pervasive lack of credibility and transparency on the part of the
    government and you have fertile circumstances for societal rifts to grow.

    A final thought: Although envy is as human as breathing, in my humble opinion there's a bright line separating nasty little envy that gnaws at the impure of heart among us, and exploitation of envious resentment of a particular social class (justified or not) as a form of Machiavellian political strategy. The latter is potentially
    corrosive to the very fabric of society. For example, it enables those in power to engage in witch-hunts and state-sanctioned prosecutorial malfeasance masquerading as looking out for the little guy. Apparently, some claim this is beginning to happen in Tanzania. What is needed, therefore, is a sophisticated investigative and analytical kind of journalism that can keep politicians' feet to the fire and cut through the bull manure to expose what's really going on. Sadly, this too seems to be lacking at this time.