063_G17_InFocus_Tanzania

Global_17

In Focus Tanzania including the likes of Shafi Adam Shafi , Chachage Seithy Chachage, Amandina Lihamba, Edwin Semzaba, Penina Muhando Mlama and Euphrase Kezilahabi. The musical tradition in Tanzania can be split into three distinct styles: the rural rhythmic ngomas, which vary from ethnic group to ethnic group; the urban taarab, deriving from Persian, Arab, Hindi and Swahili styles; and the more modern Bongo fl ava, favoured by bands such as Ottu and Sikinde. Perhaps the best known Tanzanian musician is the ‘queen of the taarab’, Fatma binti Baraka, known as Bi Kidude, who died in 2013 – reportedly at the age of 113. The slightly hoarse, sexual quality of her powerful voice and the sheer energy she brought to her performances made her perhaps the most sought-after artiste for weddings and naming ceremonies. She is reputed to have broken all the rules of the polite Muslim society she was brought up in, discarded the veil early on in her life and enjoyed smoking and even the occasional shot of alcohol. The intensity she brought to the often beautifully composed lyrics won her admirers all over the country and invitations to tour around the world. She drew rapturous audiences and dedicated fan followings wherever she went, even to places such as Helsinki in Finland. A documentary, As Old As My Tongue, made her something of an international celebrity. “What was special about Bi Kidude was she lived the life that she wanted to live,” DJ Rita Ray, who worked on the documentary, says. “She followed her own spirit. She ran away from two husbands, she was childless, she drank, she smoked, she really broke their rules, but at the same time she embodied all the great cultural aspects of that island.” Although Tanzania has produced a few mainstream graphic artists, such as Stephen Ndebalema, Elias Jengo and Mohammad Raza, it is the colourful, cartoon-like character of the Tingatinga ‘school’ that has travelled beyond its borders and now seems to have become a staple for storybook illustrations and T-shirt decoration. The Makonde people of the interior have also achieved international fame for their carvings of intricate, intertwined scenes from life, which are so suffused with vigour and energy they seem to leap into frozen life as you look at each tableau. Culture in Tanzania is a complex, many-faceted, shifting and ever-changing phenomenon that seems to have effortlessly linked the past to the modern, the Muslim to the Christian and animist, and the mysterious and sometimes frightening world of the spirits to the digital age. 1961 Tanganyika becomes an independent Commonwealth realm 1979 Tanzanian forces invade Uganda, occupying the capital, Kampala, and help to oust President Idi Amin global f i rst quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 63 © ScreenStation / Aubrey Fagon, from the lm As Old As My Tongue 2012 The Statoil and Exxon Mobil oil exploration companies make the biggest offshore discovery yet of gas reserves off the coast of Tanzania Bi Kidude (1900-2013) from the biopic As Old As My Tongue: The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude 1929 Tanganyika African Association founded 1964 Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to become Tanzania, with Julius Nyerere as President, head of the Zanzibar government and leader of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) 2010 Plans to construct a highway through the Serengeti game reserve are announced. To date, no consensus regarding the nature and scope of the highway has been reached


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