* Mzungu, meaning white person, comes from the Swahili word
kuzunguzungu ‘to wander around aimlessly, as though drunk or mad’…
* Mtwara, in Southern Tanzania, was the site of one of the British colonial
movement’s least successful enterprises, the ill-fated Groundnut Scheme.
The Labour government of the 1940s wanted to grow peanuts in the area
to provide cooking oil, still scarce in the post-war rationing era.
A combination of poor climate, barren soil and striking workers caused
the scheme to end in a disaster.
* Zanzibar used to be the world's largest producer of cloves, and its history
was heavily influenced by this activity.
* Tanzania has over 130 tribal groups, making it the most diverse nation
in Africa. Yet, Tanzania is considered to be one of the most peaceful
countries in Africa.
* Arusha's clock tower is supposedly situated at the midpoint between Cairo
and Capetown, therefore representing the halfway point between the two
termini of the old British Empire in Africa. The clock tower is currently
adorned by the logo of the Coca-Cola Company.
* The late Freddie Mercury, who was the lead singer and front man for
the band “Queen”, was born in Zanzibar on 5th of September, 1946.
His birth name was Farouk Bulsara, and his father was an accountant,
working for the British government in the House of Wonders in Zanzibar
Town. His family had emigrated to Zanzibar from India, but were originally
of Persian extraction.
* Dar es Salaam, and sometimes the whole mainland of Tanzania, are
known as ‘Bongo’, and its inhabitants are known as ‘Wabongo’ in Swahili
language. The word Bongo means ‘brains’ and it’s thought that this slang
expression comes from the harsh years of the socialist era, when one had
to have brains to survive…
* Stone Town has been designated one of the world's few heritage sites by
the United Nations.
* The shortest war in history was fought in Zanzibar in 1896. On the 25th of
August, Sultan Hamid bin Thuwaini died, and two hours later, a usurper
broke into the Sultan Palace and declared himself a ruler. In a show of
Victorian gunboat diplomacy, the royal navy was asked to evict him. At
precisely 9 o' clock on the 27th, three warships opened fire and in 45
minutes reduced the Sultan Palace to rubble, and deposed the usurper.
The bombardment has since been called the "Shortest War in History", as
verified by the Guinness Book of Records.
* Favourite Tanzanian foods include Maharagwe – red bean stew, Ugali –
maize or cassava porridge; and Nyama Choma – grilled meat, all
accompanied by Kilimanjaro or Safari beer.
* When famous explorer David Livingstone died, in what is now Zambia,
his body was carried by his two faithful attendants, Susi and Chuma,
for thousands of miles, and rested in Zanzibar’s Anglican Cathedral, on
its way home to be buried in Westminster Abbey. The wooden crucifix in
the cathedral is carved from the tree, under which his heart was buried.