TANZANIA is much endowed with God-given gifts. The country is beautiful and full of water bodies surrounding it in form of Lake Victoria, Nyasa, Tanganyika, Rukwa and Eyasi. In fact, no other country has such large land water bodies in Africa, if you did not know like Tanzania!
These lakes we share with our neighboring countries contribute to the historical exchanges and relationships, we shall always maintain.
And the same as what the lakes do- connecting Tanzanians with people from other nations, the Kariakoo Market, does it also very well.
The market plays a role of linking Tanzanians and people from other countries. People from different countries have been coming to experience what Tanzania is when, they visit Dar es Salaam and in this case the popular Kariakoo market.
However, recently it was saddening to see the unexpected fire tragedy raging in the market and burning million shillings wares of the traders.
Nonetheless, the fire marauded structure will very soon stand tall again. The Prime Minister on behalf of the Government has promised that.
The Kariakoo market rekindles a lot for many of us who are from farming and agricultural trade communities and flash back memories, when we were new comers to the city.
I remember when, I for the first time came to the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam to bring potatoes to the market’s basement section.
The auctioneers at the market sold the produce on our behalf and once the sale was completed, we left for home either happy or sad depending on how the market was in terms of the dictating market forces and prices.
This is because, for example with Irish potatoes, one can be lucky when your cargo arrives and let’s say from West Kilimanjaro and you don’t get a competitor from Lushoto, Iringa and Mbeya.
For us farmers who are also traders you might recoup the cost, but to traders you might register a full-fledged loss.
Maybe these days, mobile phones can help, which may not be the case, because you cannot know how many haulage trucks with sacks full of potatoes are on the road and soon to arrive at the Kariakoo Market .
Imagine you are coming from some rural district for the first time to Dar es Salaam and you have to stay for a week and supervise the auctioning of your farm produce by smart and experienced auctioneers.
If you can be tempted to easily go and see the Indian Ocean for the first time, or go to watch a movie or see the Malls, you are likely to be less on top of things during the auctions and to receive feedback on the proceeds without some knowledge of what exactly happened.
Some less deserving auctioneers may try to persuade you before the auction is completed (that starts at 06.00 o’clock in the morning till dusk), to go sightseeing! If you are gullible, then you deserve the outcome!
However, most of the auctioneers of the past were mostly trustful as they bring to you your proceeds in the hotel, while they know you are to travel in the next morning with some handsome cash.
These days, mobile transactions and improved bank services lead to less travels with cash might have reduced the opportunities for dishonesty in a possibly changed behavioral context.
The Kariakoo market is also important to visitors from outside Tanzania. Some years back, possibly in 2010, there was an InterAfrica Leadership Forum for young leaders organized by the British Council that brought together selected young people, in positions of leadership from the public service, academia, and the civil society.
Dar as Salaam was one of the hubs among the three hubs in Africa where participants from other countries were made to meet for a week for a capacity building event: all members of all the hubs met again later in London, the UK. Luckily, the organizers and facilitators treated us all as newcomers to the country, when they bundled us in nice minibuses and organized for us tours to Dar es Salaam and visit places.
As we sat between participants from other countries, Dar es Salaam looked beautiful and no different from many other beautiful cities visited in Africa!
A lady from Zambia asked if it is possible to go to Kariakoo, so we offered to take them there after the sessions!
They loved the place and made many serious small purchases! Some of us viewed Dar es Salaam psychologically as visitors, despite that we have been residing in Dar es Salaam for a number of years.
It is difficult to tell how that happened, but that is how it was.
Though it is difficult to register the fact that recently the market went a blaze, Tanzanians, as peace loving people whose purpose as citizens is to promote national and regional cooperation and harmony would continue to handle the calamity as they handled many national calamities, such as the recent national level calamity: the passing away of the late President John Joseph Pombe Magufuli.
Kariakoo Market will always be an interesting and beautiful place to visit and be written about!
● The writer is Dr Faisal Issa – is a Senior Lecturer in Public Management at Mzumbe University.