Tanzania has been recognized as among African nations in its tolerance for tribal, religious and racial differences. There are over 132 distinct tribes in Tanzania and they are considered of equal value, without any tribe receiving favoritism. Tanzanian’s have learned the value of respecting differences and living in peace. It is not to say that all tribes have affection for one another, but they have peacefully accepted these differences. Most Tanzanians have a hard time understanding the violence among other tribes on the African continent. You will be immediately impressed with the hospitality, warmth and interest the Tanzanian people display towards you. One client expressed “Tanzania is the one third-world country I would visit over and over again. It was truly the friendliest place I have ever visited.”
The country achieved its independence in 1961, as part of the United Nations de-colonization initiative. Then known as Tanganyika, the country had been a German protectorate from 1884 until 1917 when the German colony was given to the British at the end of World War I. While the English settled and developed Tanzania, it was never on the same scale as in Kenya. The advantage to Tanzanian people was that they did not receive the same psychological or cultural impact as did the Kenyans. Additionally, there has never been a ruling white class in Tanzania thus the country did not experience the same tension between whites and blacks as so many other colonized African countries did.
Upon achieving independence as Tanganyika in 1961, the first president, Julius Nyerere, established the country as a socialist economy. In 1964, the island of Zanzibar joined the mainland and the country officially became known as Tanzania. The union of the mainland and Zanzibar is the arrangement and leaves most Tanzanians with definite opinions about how the two governments should interact.
Nyerere had a profound and very positive impact on the psychology and founding philosophy of Tanzania. He made it very clear that no matter what your religion, tribe, race or country of origin; first and foremost the citizens of this country were “Tanzanian”. This has created a sense of unity that is the catalyst for tribal harmony on the continent. Nyerere’s philosophy was called “Ujamaa” or family. He saw the nation as an extended family, sharing common African values and working together towards self-reliance. With over 132 tribes, the priority must be the nation and working together to build its future. Nyerere also created a vast and effective system of public education, with education seen as the most important factor in developing the country.
Unfortunately, Nyerere’s economic policies were not as successful as his founding philosophy. His acceptance of socialism gained him aid from countries such as the Soviet Union, China, and the Scandinavian countries, but did nothing to create international investment in Tanzania. The second president of Tanzania, Ali HasanMwinyi, spearheaded economic reform, privatizing many industries and promoting international investment. These efforts for privatization continued with the Presidency of Benjamin Mkapa and now with President Kikwete. While Tanzania is a very poor country, it has made remarkable progress in its democracy, economy and dedication to conservation and tourism. It is a politically stable country with incredible growth, well maintained natural resources and renowned hospitality.