Tanzania has been recognized as unique among African nations in its tolerance for tribal, religious and racial differences. There are over 132 distinct tribes in Tanzania and they are considered of equal value, without any tribe receiving favoritism. Tanzanian’s have learned the value of respecting differences and living in peace. It is not to say that all tribes have affection for one another, but they have peacefully accepted these differences. Most Tanzanians have a hard time understanding the violence among other tribes on the African continent. You will be immediately impressed with the hospitality, warmth and interest the Tanzanian people display towards you. One client expressed “Tanzania is the one third-world country I would visit over and over again. It was truly the friendliest place I have ever visited.”
History of Tanzania
The country achieved its independence in 1961, as part of the United Nations de-colonization initiative. Then known as Tanganyika, the country had been a German protectorate from 1884 until 1917 when the German colony was given to the British at the end of World War I. While the English settled and developed Tanzania, it was never on the same scale as in Kenya. The advantage to Tanzanian people was that they did not receive the same psychological or cultural impact as did the Kenyans. Additionally, there has never been a ruling white class in Tanzania thus the country did not experience the same tension between whites and blacks as so many other colonized African countries did.
Union of the Mainland and Zanzibar
Upon achieving independence as Tanganyika in 1961, the first president, Julius Nyerere, established the country as a socialist economy. In 1964, the island of Zanzibar joined the mainland and the country officially became known as Tanzania. The union of the mainland and Zanzibar is a unique arrangement and leaves most Tanzanians with definite opinions about how the two governments should interact.
Founding Philosophy of Tanzania
Nyerere had a profound and very positive impact on the psychology and founding philosophy of Tanzania. He made it very clear that no matter what your religion, tribe, race or country of origin; first and foremost the citizens of this country were “Tanzanian”. This has created a sense of unity that is the catalyst for tribal harmony that is unique on the continent. Nyerere’s philosophy was called “Ujamaa” or family. He saw the nation as an extended family, sharing common African values and working together towards self-reliance. With over 132 tribes, the priority must be the nation and working together to build its future. Nyerere also created a vast and effective system of public education, with education seen as the most important factor in developing the country.
Among African countries, Tanzania’s tally of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites is exceeded only by Ethiopia and South Africa. Five of these - Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, Selous, Serengeti and Zanzibar Stone Town - are household names, but two lesser-known sites on this prestigious global roll call deserve greater recognition.
Kilwa Kisiwani, an offshore island south of Dar es Salaam, supports the haunting ruins of the most important of the Swahili city-states that flourished as a result of the medieval gold trade between Africa and Arabia - indeed, the 14th century globetrotter Ibn Buttata called Kilwa ‘one of the most beautiful and well-constructed towns in the world’.
The Kondoa Rock Art Site, inscribed as recently as 2006, consists of 150-plus painted rock shelters in the vicinity of Kolo in the central Rift Valley. Some of these exquisitely crafted panels are thousands of years old, and several can be visited as an extension to the Northern TZ safari circuit.