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‘Hakuna Matata’: Tanzanian culture in  the eyes of the traveller and the local

‘Hakuna Matata’: Tanzanian culture in the eyes of the traveller and the local

THE Tanzanian culture is characterised by being rich, diverse and relaxed, something that both tourists and locals alike recognise. For the tourists of Tanzania, it could take a long time to discover the attributes of every tribe and area of the nation, with over 120 tribes, each having their own traditional foods, customs and dialects.

Susan High, originally from Arizona, US, visited Tanzania as a tourist from September 17th to October 3rd, 2021. After climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, she spent her trip on a safari, absorbing the natural landscape of the country. She also noted the stark differences between her homeland and Tanzania, from an economic perspective.

“I am used to a more ‘developed’ city with lots of shopping opportunities and resources. Where we went in Tanzania, you just buy stuff off the side of the road,” she said.

High found that the language barrier and money conversion were some of the biggest cultural adjustments she had to make for her time in Tanzania. The national languages of Tanzania are Swahili and English, however, children learn in primary school with Swahili, and commence study in English as they advance.

“Some Tanzanians speak English, but sometimes limited and difficult to understand”, High said.

“Money conversion was an issue a couple of times as we were spending US dollars and did not have shillings”. Despite the challenges presented to her in the trip, High commented on the gracious nature of the local people and their warmth and kindness.

“The few local people we did interact with were extremely gracious, friendly and kind”. Mr Douglas Tarimo, a local Tanzanian man, was born in Marangu, and now resides in Moshi. He has always loved the beautiful natural scenes of the country.

“Tanzania is home to many of the best and biggest parks in Africa, and some of the most varied and unique landscapes that you’ll ever see,” he says.

The Tanzanian people are well known for being very polite and friendly, especially to visitors, and they are also very well known for their relaxed way of life – the term ‘hakuna matata’, popularised by the Disney movie –The Lion King.

“The place is very good, has friendly people, interesting culture, a relaxed pace of life, and some of the most amazing nature”. The author is a Communications and Media student at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, Australia.

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