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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A 'New Tanzania' Diaspora in New England

What is increasingly regarded as the Tanzanian Diaspora in the New England area of the United States of America is indeed growing rapidly. This was evidenced in the recent commemoration of the New England Umoja Foundation (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/index.html). Apart from the fact that a number of Tanzanians are moving to the US to study and/or work the other reasons for this steady growth of the community is children/youths as seen in the pictures of this event (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/matukio/11anniversary/index.html).

In a chat with one of the key organizers, it was intimated that sports - and especially soccer/football - is a major force in bringing together Tanzanians within the US. Though a competitive game it still foster cooperation - and thus Umoja (Unity) - among teammates and rivals alike in the long (organizational) run no wonder the Yanga vs Simba 'utani wa jadi' continues beyond our national borders. Boasting its own NBA superstar, Hasheem Thabeet, who also attended this commemoration, the yearly event is also attracting a number of basketball youngsters. Thabeet's vest said it all in regard to challenges one has to face to make it and survive here/there: 'Go Hard or Go Home'!

Fashion shows, hosted by the celebrated Asia Idarous is also becoming a permanent feature of events organized by the foundation, it happened sometime in April (http://www.newenglandumoja.net/matukio/11fashionrunaway/index.html) and also in this commemoration. It features a lot of African/Tanzanian-designed clothes as pictured.

The community is also trying to support students who are studying in colleges. Moreover, it is trying to bring change at home, for instance, in the case of making the tragic albino killings history. One can imagine what gigantic force will be unleashed when the social, cultural, economic and even political potentials of the Tanzanian diaspora in 'home away from home' in the US is fully unleashed to bring social-economic change at home and abroad. Umoja is surely doing its part very well, will the glamorous Diaspora Council of Tanzania in America-DICOTA (http://www.dicotaus.org/) pick a lesson or two from this and rise to the occassion or will it only go the primarily exclusive corporate capitalist way?

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