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On learning to learn from Tanzanian television


Anyone might reasonably think that a person coming back from his first visit to Africa – as I did a week ago today – would feel an overriding need to gush the gush that Africa inspires in so many of us Europeans. About the dignity of poverty-stricken Africans who have to improvise their livelihoods, for example, or about their natural tendency to laugh (unmarred by Western Sophistication), or the sad cuteness of weary African schoolkids: that kind of gush.
But the first impression that truly impressed me on my recent Tanzanian trip, was an interview on Tanzanian television. I was watching a Swahili sitcom, convinced by previously chugged Tusker beer that I could catch its gist, when suddenly a chat show host popped up speaking in English. This he did because his guest that day was the South African diplomat Thandi Lujabe-Rankoe. At first I merely gawped at the curious spectacle of two people talking with fluent irony in a third language about years of pale-faced oppression familiar to both, but eventually noticed that this interview was taking a blissfully long time, time not being an issue for an underfunded TV station. As a result, I felt I was coming to know Ms Lujabe-Rankoe's extraordinary life - she had fought against apartheid since her teenage years - exceptionally well, and was getting more out of this one in-depth conversation than I had from years and years of sound-bite geared chats on English, Catalan and Spanish talk shows. How wonderful, if someone here decided to learn from this Tanzanian way of interviewing. How wonderful, it suddenly struck me, if we really realised, in this case and others, that the most surprising things can be learnt from countries we have forever been used to treating as slow pupils.

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -