22 colour photos, 25 b/w photos, 9 cartoons
Text language: English
In the wake of the transformation from a socialist to a neoliberal capitalist economy, Tanzania has witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of cultural production which went hand in hand with a steep rise in formal and informal media outlets. Bongo Media Worlds provides insights into the diverse and creative practices of producing and consuming popular media in Dar es Salaam, the country’s cultural capital. Bongo, an augmentative form of the Swahili noun ubongo meaning brain, is the popular nickname for Dar es Salaam and by extension the whole of Tanzania: One has to use one’s brains to survive in the city.
The term bongo has therefore come to encapsulate the notion of creativity and the readiness for improvisation born out of circumstance and necessity. It mirrors a positive self-image of Dar es Salaam’s inhabitants and the citizens of urban Tanzania at large. The spirit of bongo is also manifest in Dar es Salaam’s vibrant media landscape and its inhabitants – the producers and consumers of the various forms of popular media culture.
This collection of essays presents ethnographic case studies on some of the media worlds that have developed in Dar es Salaam during the last two decades under conditions set by economic liberalisation, political democratisation, technological innovation (in particular digitalisation), and globalisation with all their manifold implications. Eleven lively essays cover media and genres ranging from bongo flava music and video clips to bongo movies, televangelism, televised political satire, comics, live interpretation of foreign films, living rooms, and beauty pageants.
Matthias Krings / Uta Reuster-Jahn:
Bongo media worlds – an introduction
Uta Reuster-Jahn / Gabriel Hacke:
The bongo flava industry in Tanzania and artists’ strategies for success
‘Antivirus’ – the revolt of bongo flava artists against a media-and-entertainment empire in Tanzania
Tanzanian music videos in the Black Atlantic – the production, distribution and visual references of bongo flava video clips
Marie Luise Brüggemann:
Walking a tightrope – Orijino Komedi and political satire on Tanzanian television
The hour of consolation – mediating charisma in Tanzanian televangelism
Don’t Mess with an Angel – the reception of a Mexican telenovela in Tanzania
Turning rice into pilau – the art of video narration in Tanzania
The rise and fall of a Tanzanian movie star – the case of Steven Kanumba
Daima mrembo – Beauty forever: promoting commercial interests and national identity through female bodies in the Miss Tanzania pageant
Katuni – an ethnographic study of Dar es Salaam’s comic world
Living rooms in Dar es Salaam – a photographic essay
Notes on Contributors