Many thanks for the great response to the questionnaires sent out with our last issue of TA. Readers were asked to express their interest in or lack of interest in the various sections of ‘Tanzanian Affairs ‘. Well over 100 readers responded and almost all the comments were flattering. Political news came out as easily the most interesting part of the journal. 99% of readers found this section ‘very interesting’ and no one found it ‘uninteresting’. The section on ‘Readers letters’ came second – I hope we shall be receiving many more of these now that we know that 98% of our readers will read other reader’s letters! The next most popular group of subjects included economic news, book and other reviews, and ‘Tanzania in the Media’. Other subjects which came slightly lower in popularity included stories of personal experiences in Tanzania, news about Zanzibar, obituaries, ‘Business News’ and ’50 Years Ago’ (12% of readers were not at all interested in this section). There were fewer readers interested in the arts (21% said they were not interested) and music, especially modern Tanzanian music, was even less popular. 28% of readers described news about sport as ‘not of interest to me’. Perhaps if Tanzania had qualified for the World Cup finals! The percentages reflect a very high rate of interest in virtually every aspect of Tanzanian life. Many readers said that they read TA from cover to cover and passed it on to others to read.
Readers were invited to comment and many did. One suggested a clearer layout. Others wanted weather reports, more on trends in Swahili, an annual accumulative index (any volunteers to compile up to 27 of these? – I can supply a complete set of back issues); stock market reports; more on community/school links (please see the Britain-Tanzania Society’s Newsletter for these), more on the living standards of ordinary people under the ‘reforms’, and a new section on public transport. Other readers said ‘Do not drop any of the present sections’ (we agree), ‘provide more photographs’ (this may be possible but space is a problem), ‘an environment slot please, especially on Tanzania’s exceptional biology’, ‘please ask advertisers to give some idea of prices’, ‘more on literature’, ‘more articles from Tanzanians’, ‘more about small scale development projects’, ‘more on problems and events in other African countries’ (must say no to this one – there is never enough space to cover Tanzania!), ‘a little more background e.g the make-up of the National Assembly (see TA No. 53), ‘more on local government’, ‘a travel up-date section please ‘. Finally, one reader asked for a statement of purpose. This is easy. It is to keep people informed about what is happening in the country. That is all.
Some readers broadened the scope of the debate. One commented that many Tanzanians have strong opinions about expatriate ‘aid’ and how it is exploited by sections of their communities; another said that the length of TA can be off putting initially (do not fear – it will not get any longer!); another congratulated us on leaving political correctness behind and being neutral to the IMF.
Many thanks again. All comments have been noted but please remember that we have only 48 pages three times a year and an awful lot happens in Tanzania all the time! – Editor.