Posts Tagged ‘tanzania’

anjuman islamia

keep an eye out for this stunning building on Bibi Titi Mohammed Road almost opposite the Uhuru Torch monument in Mnazi Mmoja

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two chairslike many other things in life, one plastic chair is often just not quite enough

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bafana This lovely three storey building stands on Aggrey Street – named after Dr Kwegyir Aggrey (1875-1927) a missionary from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) who taught emancipation through education and advised the Tanganyika colonial government.

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I cycled past my old house yesterday, now reduced to another national housing pile of rubble. A sorry pile of broken bricks and a mess of wires, like dead snakes that were too slow to escape. Another home of memories now removed from the physical to the abstract.

But for now i remember the terracotta tiles beneath my feet, the frangipani view from the tiny balcony, the accumulated cutlery of past tenants, the rusty ceiling fan’s squeak, the erratic lights in the hallway, the intricate shapes formed by peeling paint and my gorgeously cool mornings insulated by thick old walls and doors.

I don’t even have a photo of the place, but at least the fabulous sign just down the road survives…


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rattexIt is a strange irony, how I, the poet of provision, the builder of beauty, am deemed unworthy of my own creation. They run me out of town, and I go: what is a mere artist to do in the face of brutality?

excerpt two from ‘I am machinga’ by Hafiz Juma, soon to be published in Street Level the elusive book…watch this space (well, glance at it occasionally in the next few weeks for more information)

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capital bureau

capital paintThis stunning building on Zanaki Street stands close to the Bohora Mosque and is reputedly the creation of a wealthy member of that community known as the “King of Pemba”. The cantilevered balcony and ornate woodwork make it easy to imagine the building as it was in the past – at the centre of the old Indian Bazaar.

from text for Street Level by Karen Moon


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salamanderThe Salamander building – one of the victims of Dar demolition.

If you have any memories, stories, anecdotes about this or other buildings in Dar es Salaam I would love to hear from you.

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green oranges


Juice dribbles slowly down his chin as he grins at me. Otherwise motionless, he carefully sucks every last piece of the fruit without breaking his smiling gaze. Sparkly eyes above a sun faded yellow football shirt. The dark ‘Fly Emirates’ slogan yells silently from his chest.

Casting the skin aside he finally turns and rearranges the baskets on his bicycle, crammed full with sweet green oranges to sell in town.

‘Fly Emirates’ is emblazoned across his back as well. This sinew limbed cyclist farmer, advertising one of the richest airlines in the world. His shirt has already travelled thousands of miles more than he ever will. I doubt he even has a passport, let alone anything more tangible than distant dreams of flight. 

I buy a sweet green orange and as the juice dribbles down my chin, i dream of standing on a london street and seeing ‘sweet green Tanzanian oranges’ emblazoned across a grinning businessman’s chest.

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This morning, 
I woke to find an American flag 
hoisted above the fisher camp on Msasani bay.
Sometime during the night 
the stars and stripes were erected 
and now proclaim that the
corrugated iron sheets, 
the plastic bottles, 
the sun-bleached washing hanging on a line, 
The graffiti saying mysteriously - Naz -
are all somehow Yankee property. 

Later I will go down and ask what it is all about,
But just now, I wonder who put it there and how
And whether on this little coastal strip 
- between the dhows and the Baobabs trees -
Someone slipped in in the night to claim
Dominion over the rocks, and seaweed and sand.  

An excerpt from ‘The Invasion’ by Louise Hoole

sangara sign

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street justice


The dull thud of wood on flesh solicits little response from the men around me. Another thwack, and the boy stumbles, struggling not to loose his footing as he lurches out of the back of the lorry. 

The truncheon, polished smooth by years of prodding and more strenuous exertions, is poised over the next boy who drops quickly to avoid a blow. Several more follow, some avoiding the blows, others not so lucky.

Their wares follow them over the tailgate – bandanas, phone chargers, cd cases, gaudy stickers, an assortment of ‘made in china’ goods form a bright pile in the dust.

More militia shove the sun dazzled boys into the cramped courtroom, more sticks at the ready for any unwarranted moves. Squeezed on to a bench, their heads lowered in submission, the street vendors await the day’s justice. 

an excerpt from ‘Street Justice’, by sm

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