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Life Arts

A first visit to sub-Saharan Africa -- peace and wilderness

By       Message Siv O'Neall     Permalink
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(Article changed on November 13, 2012 at 10:36)

Crossposted with Axis of Logic

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The savanna the way we saw it on our first day.

When you first visit a sub-Saharan country, in our case Tanzania, on a safari tour, you easily get the impression that this is paradise. Wild animals in a healthy environment who live together, most of them getting along wonderfully well. Obviously though, in spite of the superficial impression of peace, when you see a lioness with her two cubs tearing at the pieces of a recent kill, you realize that what governs the lives of these wild beasts is the law of the jungle.

These precious wild animals are in constant danger from poachers and also from farmers who kill the wild beasts that attack their herds of domestic animals.  It seems self-evident how enormously important it is to keep protecting these precious islands of wildlife in the world.

After a few days of safari and after asking questions about the government and the way of life of the people, I got the impression that this was one of the very few peaceful countries in Africa, unspoiled by the multinational corporations and corrupt leaders. The truth is, however, that Tanzania is not very different from most other African countries.

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So far the national parks are untouched, thanks to the first president, Julius K. Nyerere, of the newly independent republic of Tanzania (1964- 1985)[1]


"Nearly 50 years ago the first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, recognized the integral part wildlife plays in the country. In September 1961 at a symposium on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, he gave a speech that has become known as the Arusha Manifesto:

"The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration but are an integral part of our natural resources and our future livelihood and well being.

"In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children's grand-children will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance.

"The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower, and money, and we look to other nations to co-operate with us in this important task -- the success or failure of which not only affects the continent of Africa but the rest of the world as well."

Nyerere was not perfect, and his plans were not very successful for the economy of the new country, but he is still seen as the Father of the Nation, the same as Nehru in India. His statue is to be seen in the big city squares -- again, the same as Nehru's in Indian cities. Most Tanzanians are still today devoted to him. African socialism was something different from Western socialism and Nyerere wasn't isolated  in his ambitions to make Tanzania a country independent of Western colonialism.[2]

Quote from "A Discourse on African Socialism'

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"In one of his leading discourses titled "African Socialism Revisited', Nkrumah places African socialism in its historical context. 'Many African societies in different periods of history manifested a certain communalism " the philosophy and humanist purposes behind that organization are worthy of capture.'

"To define African socialism therefore, Nkrumah insists that one should look not at the structure but at the spirit of traditional African society '" for the spirit of communalism is crystallized in its humanism and in its reconciliation of individual advancement with group welfare.'"

The way Tanzania (a fusion of the former countries Tanganyika and Zanzibar) has developed under subsequent governments seems pretty much to resemble the trend in most other African countries, that is, relative corruption on all levels and dependence on the world rulers, the Corpocrats who own the world. The country does get some profit from their own mines of highly precious minerals and precious stones, but royalties for international mining companies are very far from what the people should have a right to demand. The law of the jungle is the rule in the area of the country's economy as well as in the wildlife reserves.

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Siv O'Neall was born and raised in Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout the U.S, Europe, and other continents, including several trips to (more...)

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