Monday, March 30, 2009

HT: The Towering Billboard?

I once had a post commending the Tanzania’s government attempt to promote the country.
As I pointed out in that previous post, the journey had just begun….

Let me just remind folks that I am not a marketing junkie. As a business student, I took a few marketing classes to fulfill my graduation requirements, but that’s it. Despite my lack of marketing acumen, I still believe I can dish a few marketing pointers here and there. If I make a boo-boo, just bear with me.

Companies use celebrities all the time in their attempt to piggy-back on their recruited celebrity’s social status and visibility. This is not just about Michael Jordan pitching for Nike or David Beckham selling for Adidas. I have seen Masoud Kipanya endorse for some beer company in Tanzania.

So why is the Tanzania Tourist Board sleeping on Hasheem Thabeet, especially during this March Madness season?

Dude, Hasheem Thabeet is the most recognized face of any Tanzanian in the United States of America right now. So why don’t you jump on him, secure an “endorsement” deal before the kid turns pro and start demanding millions of dollars?

For basketball junkies, particularly the NBA, Tim Duncan of San Antonio Spurs is endorsing for US Virgin Islands, in case you didn’t know.

I could be missing some NCAA rules that prohibits student athletes from performing public service for their country, but something like “Tanzania, the land of Hasheem Thabeet” tag line could be more effective currently in the United States of America. That is because American college kids, some of whom could take summer classes or future family vacations in Tanzania identify with Mr. HT, than anything or someone else Tanzanian.

Marketing, I believe, is about opportunities. I strongly believe that there is nothing that can advertise Tanzania better in the United State of American today than the towering Hasheem Thabeet.

TTB, the clock is ticking…
Photo Credit: Michuzi

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Staying Right Here, Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I know that you and your fellow politicians like to talk about how you desire for folks like me in the Diaspora to come back home. Fortunately for me, I have never attended one of those forums. I have just read of your call through newspapers.

If I were in attendance during one of those rhetorical speeches, I would have just clapped my hands out of courtesy. Deep inside of me, there would have been this boiling anger and a desire to just slap the heck out of you. You guys are full of crap.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not violent but just a little passionate.

Back to this come-back-home cry that you and your fellow African presidents like to make. It appears to me that you have never figure out why your fellow countrymen left the continent in the first place. Since you are not stupid, I presume you know the reasons – only you are so arrogant to face your own selves. Besides, why bother about nameless countrymen you only meet for a couple of minutes overseas?

So I heard your cry, but my answer is a huge “no”.

It is not like I don’t like Africa. I do. It is only that you made me a sweet deal to stay overseas. I bet you are flabbergasted by what that means. Don’t sweat it, for I will break it down for you.

Remember the billions of dollars you and your buddies in the system stole and stashed away in a European bank? Remember the fleet of expensive European and Japanese cars that you and your buddies keep on bragging about? Remember all those crazy contracts you have awarded to “white” folks? Remember all those shopping spree in Europe and America? Remember all those stupid medical check-ups you have overseas?

Well, I know the list is not exhaustive, but the common denominator is this – all those choices you have made are actually destroying the African progress, while building the economies of all those places I’m currently a resident. So I got me employed at a decent salary while receiving better good social services compared to what my aunt gets in the motherland. It is not that I like I'm proud of my aunt's situation - I just feel lucky a little bit.

OK, I didn’t mean to give you a pop quiz, but how many people do you think get employed in Japan when you order eighty (80) expensive Toyota SUVs at $50,000 each? [And that is excluding genuine spare parts that you will eventually order, since you have neglected building better roads].

That is why I think it is hypocritical and hilarious of you to ask me to come home, while the money you have stolen is actually right here, working for me. While it was nice of you to ask of me to come back home, I will continue staying right here. The Bible tells me that where "my" treasure is, my heart will follow. It just so happened that you and your buddies moved "my" treasure from the motherland to this foreign land.

So just move the cheese back to the motherland and I will show up.
Photo credit:

Monday, March 02, 2009

Flyovers In Dar? Ride At Your Own Risk…

I’m glad that innovation is actually creeping up on the mind of Tanzanians. I’m glad that at last some of those Vasco da Gama types of global treks are paying off. Seriously, shouldn’t we be happy that at least the Bongoland government is contemplating building flyovers in Dar-es-Salaam to ease traffic woes?

Well, let me praise on one hand and whip on the other. I can do, can’t I?

This is the saddest part. The Bongoland government has this crucial institution called the Tanzania Bureau of Statistics. Among other areas, TBS is charged with the duty of collecting census data. I stand corrected, but I believe the main objective of collecting census data is planning for the future.

Another important agency that the Bongoland government has is Tanzania Revenue Authority. Well, TRA can tell you how much loot been collected by the government, but I believe (I could be wrong here) these guys can actually tell you how many new cars are registered on any given day.

My point is this – it doesn’t take a load of money or collection of European “experts” to figure out what the projected population and number of cars on Dar roads come 2019, for instance. I mean, you can simply plug the historical numbers on an Excel spreadsheet and wham! You have your projected numbers for proper planning. It is not like traffic jams and population increase caught anyone by surprise.

I guess I am just living on a different planet.

Though reactive in nature, the construction of flyovers is a good idea. With the city planning being what it is, you can’t go anywhere other than creating roads on the open sky.

The only thing is this – anyone riding on those flyovers will have to do that at their own risk. I have been around long enough to know that anything is possible in Bongoland. I’m sure some contractor or his vibarua will deliberately shortchange the structures when it comes to cement or other construction elements.

Seriously, if someone can cut corners on their private building why not do that for a public structure?

What I am saying is this – don’t laugh at me for being cynical. When the flyovers are finally here (if the Bongoland government actually walk the talk on this), riders should beware. If you happened to join the unpleasant statistics, don’t say you didn’t get warned.

There are things you can trust in Bongoland. Some are obviously a no-no. I’m not sure if I can trust flyovers in Dar. Seriously.
Photo credit: