All About Tanzania
- The official name of the country is the United Republic of Tanzania (Jamuhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania). The name was born after the union of Tanganyika (Tanzania mainland) and Zanzibar (the Islands of Zanzibar). On April 26, 1964. Tanzania is one the Big five in Africa and one of the sixth East African countries. It is the biggest of the East Africa countries and the fifth in Africa in size.
- It is almost three times as much as Italy. It measures almost France, Germany and Italy taken together. It has an area of 945,062 square kilometers which comprises the island of Zanzibar with about 2,000kmsq, 62,000kmsq water bodies, 3,350kmsq of forest and 881,000kmsq Tanzania mainland, it is a country known as the “island of peace and tranquility” because it is a peaceful country and its people do not like war but peace. The national park areas cover about 4.5% (37,523kmsq) of the total area.
- The country is located south of the equator between 1and 2 latitudes and 29 and 41 longitudes east. Its neighbors (or boundaries) are the country of Kenya and Uganda in the north, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique in the south, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) to the west while in the East it borders with the Indian Ocean. The country is divided into 32 political regions. 27 regions in the mainland Tanzania and 5 in Zanzibar. Also there are more than 120 tribes almost each with its own vernacular language.
- The political capital is Dodoma while DSM is the commercial capital. Other famous towns are Arusha (known as the Geneva of Africa as baptized by the former president of America Mr. Bill Clinton on his visit to Arusha in 1999. It is the tourist center, a midway between Cairo and Cape Town, the headquarters of the East Africa union with the Rwandese tribunal court and the only place in the world mined the precious blue gemstone called Tanzanite). Others are Mwanza, the second city after DSM, the commercial town with high population, with factories like those of fish. Other towns are Moshi, Tanga, Morogoro, Dodoma, Mbeya and Zanzibar (the islandof spices famous for the cloves.
- Early history of Tanzania is not well known due to lack of written records. The scramble for Africa by the European power at the end of the 19th century (in 1884/85) led to occupation of the mainland by Germany and Zanzibar became a British protectorate. After the World War 1, Germany was forced to surrender its territory to the British. Tanganyika achieved independence on December 9th 1961 under the leadership of Mwl. Nyerere who remained in power until 1985. On 26th April 1964Tanganyika joined with Zanzibar to become the United Republic of Tanzania.
- After Mwl. Nyerere, Ali Hassan Mwinyi was elected the second president who ruled for ten years up to 1995. The third president is Benjamin W. Mkapa who elected under the multiparty system in 1995 up to 2005, fourth president is Jakaya Kikwete who elected in 2005 up to 2015, the firth is John Makufuli who elected in 2015 dead in 2021 thereafter vice president Samia Suluhu Hasani took the leadership according to the constitution and still in power. Multipart system
started since 1992, the general election for the presidency and the member of the
parliament is held every five years.
- The island of Zanzibar has its own autonomy government. Zanzibar was onevisited or invaded by foreigners including the Assyrians, Sumerians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Indians Chinese, Persians, Portuguese, Omani Arabs, Dutch or Germany and English. Shiraz Persians and Omani Arabs stayed to settle and rule Arab merchants visited the coast some 2000 years ago and settled in Zanzibar around the 13th century, later establishing trade route into interior. The Portuguese established temporary settlements in 16th century, supplanted by the Omanis in the 17th century who developed the infamous slave trade.
- It has been already under the leadership of 7 presidents now. The first revolutionary leader was Abeid Amani Karume. Others were Aboud Jumbe, Idrissa Abdul Wakil, Ali Hassani Mwinyi ( who ruled foe a short time in 1980 to 1985), before he was elected the second president of the United Republic of Tanzania in 1985 to 1995. Others were Salmin Amour, Amani Abeid Karume (the son of the former Abeid Amani Karume) and now is Dr. Mohamed Ali Shein. Most of the population is islam with 97% while the remain 3% is Christian, Hindus and other.
- The national anthem (wimbo wa taifa) is rather a prayer to God praying for the country of Tanzania, for Africa and its people at the large. Praying for the blessings, wisdom, peace, protection of the leaders and its children. There are several public days and holidays celebrated annually. They include the 1st January New year, 12th January-Zanzibar revolution, Idd el fitr or Ramadhan celebrated between February and March depending on the moon sighting, Easter celebrated between March and April, 26th April is union day, 1st May is Workers day, 8th August is farmers day, 14th October remembrance of Mwl. Nyerere death, 9th December is independence day while 25th and 26th December is Christmas and boxing day.
- As for the population it has more than 50 million people, about 51% are women, 99% are native Africans (indigenous Africans) while 1% consist of Asian, Europians and Arabic in origin. On the religious belief, 40% are Christian, 40% Islam while the rest 20% is traditional beliefs. The official national language is Kiswahili, growing fast in the world now accepted (used) by African Union. Another official language is English mainly used in the offices and big towns, however, there are a number of vernaculars corresponding to the tribes.
- The official currency is Tanzanian Shilling equivalent to 100 cents. The exchange rate to US dollar is equivalent to about 2,200/= shillings to a dollar (as per January2018). The main airports are those of Kilimanjaro International airport (KIA), located almost half way between Moshi and Arusha Town, Mwl. Nyerere International airport in Dar es Salaam, Other are in Mwanza and Zanzibar.
- The flag consist of four colours. The black which signifies the people of the republic, green which signifies plants, blue which signifies water and yellow or gold signifying mineral richness of the country. The symbol of the country (Nembo ya taifa) consists of various sign, symbols and features with special
significance. It compress the national flag, the symbol of independence. The warrior’s shield the sign of protection to our freedom. The golden portion on the upper part showing the richness in minerals. The red portion with blue and white bands underneath signifies the red soil of Africa. The wavy bands represent the land, lakes and coastline of the United Republic.
- Other are superimposed features on the shield, the flame of a burning torch that signifies freedom, enlighten and knowledge. A spear signifying defense of freedom. Crossed axe and hoe as the tools used by people to develop the country. Elephant tusks on each side of the shield supported by a man on the right and a woman on the left. The tusks signify the richness in tourism while man and woman signify gender equality and cooperation. At the feet of the woman is a cotton bush indicating agriculture in Zanzibar. At the bottom of the shield is written the motto of the united Republic in Swahili “Uhuru na Umoja” That is freedom and unity.
- The country has a climate ranging from tropical to temperate highly influenced by variation of the altitude and the distance from the coast in the highlands temperature ranges from 10 centigrade to20 centigrade. The rest of the country is never bellow 20 centigrade. The hottest period is between November and February (25-35 centigrade). The coldest period is between May and August (15- 20 centigrade. The highlands have low cool temperature with high rainfall (2000mm) while the central plateau is hot and dry with little rainfall (600mm). The coast area is rather hot and humid with an average temperature of 30 centigrade and rainfall 1905mm. The annual rainfall ranges from 600mm to 2000mm.
Education in Tanzania
Education in Tanzania is provided by private sector and the public sector. Government primary schools teach in Swahili and English in the English medium based schools. It is compulsory for every child who has reached the age of seven years to be enrolled for primary education. Government of Tanzania eliminate fees and other contributions for Public secondary education. The government tries to keep education affordable while maintaining quality as high as possible. Private secondary school fees may vary according to their regulations but the Government has put the manual for maximum fees for those private schools. Tuition and fees are burdensome to many families, especially large families, single parent families, and orphans. Families where the parents do not yet appreciate the value of education, especially for girls, is often enough to keep them from agreeing to pay for schooling.3 years in pre-primary education for age of between 4, 5 and 6 which are baby class, pre-one class and pre-unity class. A number of private primary schools, with substantial attendance fees, teach in English. Ethnic community languages (other than Kiswahili) are not allowed as language of instruction, neither are they taught as subjects, though they might be used unofficially (illegally) in some cases in initial education. 7 years in Primary school education at age of 7 to 13 year which are called standard 1 to standard VII then 4 years to ordinary secondary school for the age of 14-17 which all call form 1 to form 4. Another one is 2 years advance education from age 18 to 19 which is called Form 5 and Form 6 and last is 3 or years of university education.
Religion in Tanzania
Current statistics on religion in Tanzania are unavailable because religious surveys have been eliminated from government census reports since 1967. Religious leaders and sociologists estimate that Muslim and Christian communities are approximately equal in size, each accounting for 30 to 40 percent of the population, with the remainder consisting of practitioners of other world faiths, practitioners of indigenous religions and people of no religion.
Music in Tanzania
The Tanzanian national anthem is titled “ Mungu Ibariki Afrika” (God Bless Africa), composed by a South African composer – Enock Sontonga. The song is also the national anthem of South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The music industry in Tanzania has evolved over the years. Due to the mixture of various cultures in Tanzania, native music is morphing into new music that is a combination of the old, new and imported sounds and rhythms. Tanzanian musicians are among the best in Eastern Africa. They mix native music with imported sounds and the result is a range of interesting flavors of music.
Traditional Tanzanian music are Zouk, Ngoma, Taarab and Ndombolo. Some of these traditional music types have been incorporated into exported music to create unique sounds that are referred to as Mtindo, Sikinde, Modern Taarab, Bongo flavor, African hip hop, Bolingo and Reggae etc. Traditional music instruments include ngoma, marimba, coconut shell fiddles, Filimbi (whistles made of wood or bone) and Traditional trumpets made from bull/buffalo horns or ivory.
Language in Tanzania
Over 120 languages are spoken in Tanzania, most of them from the Bantu family. After independence, the government recognized that this represented a problem for national unity, and as a result made the kiswahili language (Swahili) the official language. The government introduced it in all primary schools to spread its use.
Kiswahili was the logical choice because a wide range of people were already informally using it along the coastal regions and it was a perfect language to help unify the country since it did not originate or belong to any particular tribe. In northern Tanzania, speak Khoisan or ‘click-sound’ languages those are Sandawe and Hadzabe. Nilotic languages spoken by the Maasai. Other majority are Bantu speakers, the largest is the Sukuma, followed by the Nyamwezi, the Makonde and the Chagga from Kilimanjaro region.
Kiswahili is also taught in universities around the world such as; Harvard Today, a great majority of the population have accepted and fluently use Kiswahili, thus English is generally well known. As a result of this linguistic situation, many of the 120 tribal languages are slowly withering away with every new generation. Kiswahili on the other hand has grown into an international language that is widely used across multiple boarders. Kiswahili is ranked among the top 10 international languages. Apart from Tanzania, it is now used in Kenya, Uganda, DRC Congo, Zambia, Malawi and
Mozambique to name a few. Some universities are teaching Swahili language those includes Oxford, Yale, Cambridge, Colombia, Georgetown, George Washington, Princeton and many more.
Food in Tanzania
Tanzanian cuisine is unique and widely varied. The coastal region cuisine is characterized with spicy foods and use of coconut milk. Those includes Pilau (fried rice), Bagia, Biryani, kabab, Kashata, Sambusa(Samosa). In mainland you will find foods that are less spicy such as Ndizi-Cooked bananas, Wali-steam rice, and Ugali, which is ground maize or corn used as the basis for many meals, Maize flour (dough) is cooked with water to form a stiff porridge called UGALI which will served with Kuku choma (grilled chicken), Nyama Choma (grilled meat), Kiti Moto (grill or rosted pork), Mishikaki (skewed meat), Samaki (fish), Bamia(Okra), Mchicha( greens or spinach), Njegere(peas), Maharage (Beans), Kisamvu(cassava leaves),
At the breakfast famous Snacks are used with hot milk, Tea or coffee accompany with, Chapati (pancake), Maandazi (bread-like rolls), Kabab, Sambusa (Samosa), Mkate wa kumimina, Vitumbua ( rice cakes) ,Bagia, and many others.
Drinks in Tanzania
Native beverages are specific to certain regions and tribes. These are, Mnazi and Tembo (Coastal region), Mbege (Kilimanjaro region), Wanzuki, Gongo (Central region). There also various local beers, wines and spirits produced in Tanzania commonly taken in the evenings when the sun is cool. These include Kilimanjaro beer, Safari beer, Serengeti beer, Konyagi, Banana Wine and many more. Soft drinks like soda and juice also are common such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Pepsi etc.