Tanzania -- Geography --
At 945,087 km? Tanzania is the world's 31st-largest country (after Egypt). It is comparable in size to Nigeria.
Tanzania is mountainous in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, is situated. To the north and west are the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa's largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania comprises a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.
Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north, and Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall's studies of chimpanzee behavior.
The government of Tanzania through its department of tourism has embarked on a campaign to promote the Kalambo water falls in southwest Tanzania's region of Rukwa as one of Tanzania's many tourist destinations. The Kalambo Falls are the second highest in Africa and are located near the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika.
Tanzania -- History --
Reaching back about 10,000 years, Tanzania is believed to have been populated by hunter-gatherer communities, probably Khoisan speaking people. About 2000 years ago, Bantu-speaking people began to arrive from western Africa in a series of migrations. Later, Nilotic pastoralists arrived, and continued to immigrate into the area through to the 18th century.Travelers and merchants from the Persian Gulf and Western India have visited the East African coast since early in the first millennium CE. Islam was practiced on the Swahili coast as early as the eighth or ninth century CE. Claiming the coastal strip, Omani Sultan Seyyid Said moved his capital to Zanzibar City in 1840. During this time, Zanzibar became the center for the Arab slave trade. Between 65% to 90%population of Arab-Swahili Zanzibar was enslaved. One of the most famous slave traders on the East African coast was Tippu Tip, who was himself the grandson of an enslaved African. The Nyamwezi slave traders operated under the leadership of Msiri and Mirambo.
During World War I, an invasion attempt by the British was thwarted by German General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, who then mounted a drawn out guerrilla warfare campaign against the British. Formerly a German colony from the 1880s through 1919, the post-World War I accords and the League of Nations charter designated the area a British Mandate (except for a small area in the northwest, which was ceded to Belgium and later became Rwanda and Burundi).
British rule came to an end in 1961 after a relatively peaceful (compared with neighbouring Kenya, for instance) transition to independence. In 1954, Julius Nyerere transformed an organization into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU's main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became officially independent in 1961. Soon after independence, Nyerere's first presidency took a turn to the Left after the Arusha Declaration, which codified a commitment to socialism in Pan-African fashion. After the Declaration, banks were nationalised as were many large industries.
After the Zanzibar Revolution overthrew the Arab regime in neighboring Zanzibar, which had become independent in 1963, the island merged with mainland Tanganyika to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. The union of the two, hitherto separate, regions was controversial among many Zanzibaris (even those sympathetic to the revolution) but was accepted by both the Nyerere government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar owing to shared political values and goals. Nyerere set up one-party rule. The communist bloc powers of China, East Germany and the USSR established friendly relations with the new regime. Corruption was rampant.
The socialist regime burned villages and forced people to relocate onto collective farms, which greatly disrupted agricultural efficiency and output. Tanzania turned from a nation of struggling sustenance farmers into a nation of starving collective farmers. From the late 1970s, Tanzania's economy took a turn for the worse. Tanzania also aligned with Communist China, seeking Chinese aid in Tanzania's socialist endeavor. The Chinese were quick to comply, but with the catch that all projects be completed by imported Chinese labor.
Years of failed socialism left the country as one of the poorest, the least developed and the most aid-dependent in the world. From the mid 1980s, the regime financed itself by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund and underwent some reforms. From the mid 1980s Tanzania's GDP per capita has grown and poverty has been reduced
Tanzania -- Economy --
The economy is mostly based on agriculture, which accounts for more than half of the GDP, provides 85% (approximately) of exports, and employs approximately 80% of the workforce. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area.
The nation has many resources including gold and natural gas. Extraction of natural gas began this decade. Gas is drawn into the commercial capital, Dar Es Salaam and exported to various markets overseas. Lack of overall development however has hampered the extraction of these various resources, and even up to the present there has been effort to develop the natural resource sector but no major quantifiable results.
Industry is mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods. Tanzania has vast amounts of natural resources including gold, diamonds, coal, iron ore, uranium, nickel, chrome, tin, platinum, coltan, niobium and other minerals. It is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana. Tanzania is also known for the Tanzanite gemstones. Tanzania has dozens of beautiful national parks like the world famous Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, that generate income with a large tourism sector that plays a vital part in the economy. Growth from 1991 to 1999 featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Commercial production of natural gas from the Songo Songo island in the Indian Ocean off the Rufiji Delta commenced 2004, with natural gas being pumped in a pipeline to the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, with the bulk of it being converted to electricity by the public utility and private operators. A new gas field is being brought on stream in Mnazi Bay.
Recent public sector and banking reforms, and revamped and new legislative frameworks have all helped increase private-sector growth and investment. Short-term economic progress also depends on curbing corruption and cutting back on unnecessary public spending.
Prolonged drought during the early years of the 21st century has severely reduced electricity generation capacity (some 60% of Tanzania's electricity supplies are generated by hydro-electric schemes). During 2006, Tanzania suffered a crippling series of "load-shedding" or power rationing events caused by a shortfall of generated power, largely because of insufficient hydro-electric generation. Plans to increase gas- and coal-fueled generation capacity are likely to take some years to implement, and growth is forecast to be increased to seven per cent per year, and perhaps eight or more.
There are 3 major airlines in Tanzania, the Air Tanzania Corporation, Precision Air which provide local flights (Arusha, Kigoma, Mtwara, Mwanza, Musoma, Shinyanga, Zanzibar) and regional flights to Kigali, Nairobi, Mombasa routes and a third one that provides local flights only. There are also several charter aeroplane firms. There are two railway companies: TAZARA caters for service between Dar-es-Salaam and Kapiri-Mposhi, a district of the Central Province in Zambia. The other one is the Tanzania Railways Corporation, which provides services between Dar-es-Salaam and Kigoma, a town on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and between Dar-es-Salaam and Mwanza, a city on the shores of Lake Victoria. There is also a service across the Indian Ocean between Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar by several modern hydrofoil boats.
Tanzania is part of the East African Community and a potential member of the planned East African Federation.
Tanzania -- Culture --
The music of Tanzania stretches from traditional African music to the string-based taarab to a distinctive hip hop known as bongo flava. Famous taarab singers names are Abbasi Mzee, Culture Musical Club, Shakila of Black Star Musical Group.
Internationally known traditional artists are Bi Kidude, Hukwe Zawose and Tatu Nane.
Tanzania has its own distinct African rumba music where names of artists/groups like Tabora Jazz, Western Jazz Band, Morogoro Jazz, Volcano Jazz, Simba Wanyika,Remmy Ongala, Marijani Shaabani, Ndala Kasheba, NUTA JAZZ, ATOMIC JAZZ, DDC Mlimani Park, Afro 70 & Patrick Balisidya, Sunburst, Tatu Nane and Orchestra Makassy must be mentioned in the history of Tanzanian music.
Tanzania has many writers. The list of writers' names includes well-known writers such as Godfrey Mwakikagile, Mohamed Said, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Prof. Julius Nyang'oro, Prof. Clement Ndulute, Prof. Frank Chiteji, Prof. Joseph Mbele, Juma Volter Mwapachu, Prof. Issa Shivji, Jenerali Twaha Ulimwengu, Prof. Penina Mlama, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Adam Shafi, Dr. Malima M.P Bundala and Shaaban Robert.
Tanzania has remarkable position in art. Two styles became world known: Tingatinga and Makonde. Tingatinga are the popular African paintings painted with enamel paints on canvas. Usually the motives are animals and flowers in colourful and repetitive design. The style was started by Mr. Edward Saidi Tingatinga born in South Tanzania. Later he moved to Dar Es Salaam. Since his death in 1972 the Tingatinga style expanded both in Tanzania and worldwide. Makonde is both a tribe in Tanzania (and Mozambique) and a modern sculpture style. It is known for the high Ujamaas (Trees of Life) made of the hard and dark ebony tree. Tanzania is also a birthplace of one of the most famous African artists – George Lilanga.
MDUNDIKO- This is a form of dance which takes place during wedding ceremonies. A call out to nearby neighbouring streets inviting them to come and celebrate with the family and friends of the Bride and Groom. A group of men lead by A Drummer playing different types of musical instruments i.e. drums, trumpets and many other followed by a women, men and children dancing as they walk heading towards the house in which the wedding takes place. This will be followed by a big feast and celebrations.
Tanzania -- Political system, law and government --
Tanzania's president and National Assembly members are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for five-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly. The president selects his cabinet from among National Assembly members. The Constitution also empowers him to nominate ten non-elected members of Parliament, who also are eligible to become cabinet members. Elections for president and all National Assembly seats were held in December 2005. Tanzania is a one party dominant state with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi in power. Opposition parties are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power, however, the country remains peaceful despite this assertion.
The unicameral National Assembly elected in 2000 has 295 members. These 295 members include the Attorney General, five members elected from the Zanzibar House of Representatives to participate in the Parliament, the special women's seats which are made up of 20% of the seats that a given party has in the House, 181 constituent seats of members of Parliament from the mainland, and 50 seats from Zanzibar. Also in the list are forty-eight appointed for women and the seats for the 10 nominated members of Parliament. At present, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi holds about 93% of the seats in the Assembly. Laws passed by the National Assembly are valid for Zanzibar only in specifically designated union matters.
Zanzibar's House of Representatives has jurisdiction over all non-union matters. There are currently seventy-six members in the House of Representatives in Zanzibar, including fifty elected by the people, ten appointed by the president of Zanzibar, five ex officio members, and an attorney general appointed by the president. In May 2002, the government increased the number of special seats allocated to women from ten to fifteen, which will increase the number of House of Representatives members to eighty-one. Ostensibly, Zanzibar's House of Representatives can make laws for Zanzibar without the approval of the union government as long as it does not involve union-designated matters. The terms of office for Zanzibar's president and House of Representatives also are five years. The semiautonomous relationship between Zanzibar and the union is a unique system of government.
Tanzania has a five-level judiciary combining the jurisdictions of tribal, Islamic, and British common law. Appeal is from the primary courts through the district courts, resident magistrate courts, to the high courts, and Court of Appeals. Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice, except those for the Court of Appeals and the High Court who are appointed by the president. The Zanzibari court system parallels the legal system of the union, and all cases tried in Zanzibari courts, except for those involving constitutional issues and Islamic law, can be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the union. A commercial court was established in September 1999 as a division of the High Court.