December 9, 2009

Independence and Republic Day in Tanzania

This East African nation had a relatively peaceful process of gaining independence from Britain that ended with full independence in 1961. At that time, the nation was called Tanganyika. 

In 1964 the i
ndependent island nation off the coast of Tanganyika, called Zanzibar, merged with the new country. The new name, Tanzania, was also a merger.

Tanzania is bordered by Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria, and Africa's deepest lake, Lake Tanganyika. This country is home to Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, and of the famous wildlife spot, the Serengeti Plain. Africa's second highest waterfall, Kalambo Falls, is also located there; this is a tourist spot and an important archeological site. Zanzibar, sometimes called “Spice Islands” for all the cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper it produces, has wonderful sandy beaches, coral reefs, and Stone Town, which is considered the oldest still-functioning town in East Africa.

With all that going for it, it would seem that Tanzania would be a fantastic place to live. It may be a very good place to visit, but there is a lot of poverty and disease and other problems.


Tan-ganyika + Zan-zibar = Tan-zan-ia
There are lots of examples of place names that merge together two names. On the border between California and Mexico lie two twin towns. The California town is called Calexico, and the Mexican town is called Mexicali. Can you see how the names come from Cali – Mexico and Mexico – Cali?

Take any two countries that lie side-by-side and try to figure out what a merger of those two countries should be called.
Which two countries would make up the fictional country of Braziguay? How about Spanigal?ANSWERS: Brazil and Uruguay...Spain and Portugal

See Tanzania through slide shows here.
The slideshows are on the right side of the screen. Be sure to click around to explore the rest of the website.

Look at the wonderful paintings in the Tingatinga style here.
(Scroll down.)
Edward S. Tingatinga settled in Tanzania and produced the first works in this style, which many artists have now adopted. Tingatinga paintings are made with bicycle paint and have bold colors and sharp contrast. Originally painted on masonite, tingatinga paintings now also decorate objects as varied as wooden trays, drinking glasses, and spare tires.

Tingatinga originally most commonly painted elephants, giraffes, lions, giraffes, and zebras/antelopes/oxen. He painted the animals so that they filled most of the frame, in the Swahili fashion, and he positioned the animals in a decorative way, like intertwined calligraphic letters from Scandinavia.

Now try to draw and color (or paint) your own tingatinga picture.

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