Jacob Knight reports on two social events in Wembley recently organised by Tanzanians which gave a glimpse of the active Tanzanian community in the South East of England:
The first was on 17th July and was a cultural celebration of 50 years since Saba Saba the formation of TANU, though there was little in the programme to reflect this. After an opening speech by the High Commissioner there was a fashion show supposed to be a ‘Journey of Tanzania through 50 years’ though the audience and MCs were left guessing as to how the procession of poorly lit models related to any historical background. A ‘Celebration of the Khanga’ explaining the different ways a khanga can be worn managed to make no mention of their use for carrying children and no reference to the Swahili messages printed on them, and was all rather odd bearing in mind that most of the audience were Tanzanian. However the drama and dancing by students from the Bagamoyo College of Arts and the ‘Highflyers’ acrobats were much more enjoyable, and Khadija Kopa sang some excellent taarab music which lifted the evening. The final performance was from Freddy Macha and his Kitoto band, who are based in London.
The second event “Miss London Tanzania 2004”, held the following Sunday, was much better attended with over 300 people, the vast majority Tanzanian. Organised by www.miracletouch.co.uk and ‘Prime Time Promotions’, the idea was to choose a winner from 7 contestants who would go to Tanzania to compete in the Miss Tanzania event later this year. The night was compered by glamorous DJ Fina Mango from Clouds FM, and during the numerous intervals, there were performances by Ray C (soul), Khadija Kopa (Taarab) and Mandojo & Domokaya (Bongo Flava rap). The evening was also spectacularly late in starting (not getting going until after 11pm! ) but the general atmosphere was very enjoyable.