The Guardian reported that the government has banned eight magazines and suspended three tabloids for allegedly publishing indecent photographs that corrupt the society and thwart campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS in the country. The Swahili tabloids which have been banned for six months include Cheko, Zungu, Kombora, Mama Huruma and others. The statement cited five issues of Cheko which showed half¬≠naked women. This demeaned them, he said. ‘Publishing pictures of half naked persons seen making love shows that it promotes amorous behaviour and frustrates the move by the government and the society to fight against the killer disease, AIDS. However, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Association of Journalists and Media Workers and the Tanzania Union of Journalists jointly expressed serious concerns about the ban and said that the Minister’s action had been “draconian and a negation of freedom of the press and freedom of expression which are core pillars of any democratic and tolerant society.”

Mtanzania reports that the government has decided to supply hospitals and dispensaries with the anti-malaria drug FANSIDAR instead of Chloroquine which is being phased out.

The government has started registering special villages for the Hadzabe community in Arusha region. The community has for many years been living in the bush. Government hopes to educate the Hadzabe Community so that they realise the importance of farming and livestock keeping ­Guardian.

Under the heading ‘Turning henna painting into an art’ Ashura Kilungo writing in The Express (August 5) described the work of Zanzibari artist Shawana Mohamed, who earns her living by painting women with henna, a type of dye used to decorate women with figures and patterns. Extracts from the article: ‘Shawana Mohamed, who was born in Zanzibar and now lives in Dar es Salaam, started enhancing female beauty with henna seven years ago after she had curiously studied older gurus excelling in the intricate art of henna decor, and shot to fame at a very young age. The steep fees for henna demands that the painter be careful, as most people expect to have value for their money after coming out of the painting session with nothing less than what bewitches the male eye ….. the dye gives a reddish-brown finish. Henna, like other traditional cosmetics including wanja, for eye lashes and mdaa which reddens the lips and tongue, is widely used by women living in Bagamoyo, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Kilwa and Zanzibar. Although it has nowadays gained a liberal use among different types of women, it was originally used by female Muslims brides out to attain a gorgeous look during their wedding ceremony. Shawana charges brides Shs 10,000 to Shs 15,000 and women coming to be decorated as a matter of routine between Shs 5,000 and Shs 7,000. In most cases, Shawana creates the designs herself to marry the complexion of the woman.

During celebrations in March on the 50th anniversary of the British Council in Tanzania, Parliament thanked the Council for its assistance. The paper quoted Speaker Msekwa as saying that he was satisfied with the cooperation between the Council and the House and wished it to continue. Council Assistant Director Sharon Crowther launched a ‘Directory of Tanzanian Alumni in the UK’ and said that more than 700 Tanzanians had studied in Britain over the last 50 years – The Guardian.

Minister of Defence Philimon Sarungi told MPs in June that some 15,000 Tanzanians joined the Army during the Second World War of whom 2,225 died. He said that in 1999 the Tanzania Legion with the help of district commissioners had collected the names of 426 surviving veterans. They were given Shs 29.5 million by the British Commonwealth ex Services League.

The School of Oriental and African Studies hosted an exhibition in June entitled ‘Princess Salme – Behind the Veil: the Life and Writings of Sayida Salme’ put together by Said El Gheity, Director of the Princess Salme Institute. The Princess was the only known woman in the 19th century Zanzibari Court, who breaking the tradition, taught herself to write, which she did in secret by copying calligraphy from the Koran onto a camel’s shoulder blade.

Tanzania has been officially admitted to the International Cricket Council (ICC). This means that the national team will now compete in the world championship as an independent team in the same arena as such cricket giants as Australia, Pakistan, India and South Africa.

The Guardian reported on July 20 that during recent months a special police crackdown had identified 103 stolen cars, many stolen in South Africa. Some Tanzanian owners of the cars were protesting that the cars were being identified by South African Insurance agents rather than the legitimate South African owners who had probably claimed the insurance and then sold the cars.

Majira (August 6) reported that young Muslims were trying to take over the management of mosques in Dar es Salaam. The paper quoted leaders of the mainstream Muslim Council (BAKWATA) as saying that the youths were extremists influenced by Iranian ideology and were accusing BAKWATA of being government puppets. Meanwhile, in Zanzibar, according to Mtanzania women have been warned that they would be flogged in public if they were to wear short dresses. The message came in a clandestine letter circulated by a Muslim group calling itself “Lions of God”. In early August this group cordoned off Darajani Street and started attacking women wearing short skirts saying that they were indecently dressed. They beat up one woman and tore her dress before she managed to escape into a shop. She was rescued by police.

Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete has told Parliament that the government had purchased 66 buildings for its embassies to avoid heavy rental payments. Arrears of rent had reached $550,000 in New York, $192,000 in Moscow and $40,000 in Lagos -Mtanzania

An item in the Guardian on August 10 indicated that the MP for Muhambare, Mr Chrisant Mzindakaya’s interests were not confined to sugar (see articles above). He pointed out in the House that research in some countries had revealed that boys grow big breasts after eating chicken because the chickens are fed with drugs meant to be taken by women for birth control. Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye responded by advising poultry keepers to check the feeds they were using for chickens so as to avoid the side effects experienced by men in other countries.

There will be a concert of sacred music in aid of the Mazinde Juu Girls School in Lushoto on September 30th at 3pm at the St Joseph’s RC Church in Wembley. The soprano Una Barry, who has raised money for water and educational project in Tanzania over many years, will give the recital with organist Tim Story. Details: 020 8902 008.

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